Ok... sorry everyone for my negativity and bad posting. It's really tough sometimes here. In the last month with the onset of extreme nordic coldness I have been confronted with the task of actually settling down here and learning to live life as a German, not an American visiting Germany. Not an easy task. I've been learning to find a balance between what I used to be and how much I've changed... something that will change who I am in the long run as well.
Thankfully, in the last week, my german has gotten to the point where I can actually read simple books and short stories and I understand 90%. That's a big thing because now I can start tackling writing that I get in school. And, with my new school schedule I've already made 3 new (german) friends.
Over the weekend Esens recieved two new exchange students, both from South Africa. They will be staying for 6 weeks (and leaving the same week as both Jacob and Diana). That will be a sad week... losing most of my best friends here all at once. But, I will be going to a new host family shortly after, of which I look forward too. The more I get to know my next host family, the more I like them. Meeting with one of the new girls made me also realize how much I've learned in the past 4 months. I've learned a language, a new culture, new friends, new family, a new diet (I've lost 5 lbs here!... and I'm more in shape!), and a lot about myself.
Anyway... more of my usual stories... with December here, things have taken on a whole new flavor! Every town has Christmas markets... they are outdoor markets with mostly handmade crafts. Everything from candles, jewelry, food, and world renowned arts and crafts (nutcrackers, small wooden angels, everything... quality german craftsmanship! simply uncomparable). Every other booth is a bar where one can get waffles and other fried christmas foods and Glühwein (glowing wine... red wine with sugar and spices) or Grog (something with rum). My favorite booths are the honey booths. There are beekeepers here in germany that make the most excellent honey that I have ever tasted. But then, people take the wax and make candles and the honey to make marvolus foods and drinks (honeywine anyone?). If I didn't love maple syrup so much, I would say honey is my favorite food. But the idea of making a million things out of honey is not at all different than what we do with maple syrup.
Thankfully I am almost done with christmas shopping, or I would go broke. Saturday I visited one of the biggest Christmas markets in the north in Bremen. Afterwards I went with my host dad (from my next host family... I was in Bremen with my next host family) to a Boy's Choir christmas concert. I finnally learned a few more german christmas carols. I have also discovered that my two favorite chritmas carols at home (Silent Night and Es ist ein Ros' entsrungen... I can't remember the english title anymore) are actually German ones.
So, things aren't really all that bad here. I'm off to wrap presents and get down to the post office. Tomorrow is my host sister's 18th b-day. 18 is a big one because kids are allowed to drive and also, the german government and culture considers an 18 year old to be a fully grown adult, with all due respect, responsibility, and freedom. A lot different from our 21 year old ''new'' adults. Schöne Adventzeit! (Happy Advent time... it isn't merry christmas.. schöne Weihnactzeit... until around the 20th)