Monday, December 24, 2007
Rotary Meeting... or Christmas Dinner. Anyways. We hung out outside a bit. Talked in German a lot. Enjoyed, well, tried to enjoy Marronni (chestnuts).
Went inside and went insane with Jorge and Jessica... ahhaa, yeah.
Lots of pics.. lots.
We went home early cause it was 10:00, we had school the next day, and they still hadn`t even served the cheese!
It was Christmas Day in the school! Little did I know that it would be a happy happy day for me. Ok, I could have guessed. But never would I guess that I would get so many gifts! My school friends are soo good to me. I am so blessed.
One gift goes back to a "inside joke".. or handshake, involving whipped cream.
So I got a can of whipped cream.. and went to town.
My entire class got photos with it, mouths filled... and I even got my school principal :D I filled his mouth till it came out and onto the ground.. I didn`t get in trouble, thank goodness.
After school I went with Jessica to upload pics.. it was the last time I really got to hang out with her... sad. I am going to miss her so much. I only met her in August and poof, she is gone! I only get to see her once more.. and that is in the airport.
Well.. something happened that night, I have no idea what. I think I felt sick.
Anita, my old host sister came over. And that was amazing. She came and we made Christmas music together. Well, it wasn`t the same as playing with, say, Mom, Dad, or Amanda... but it was quite quite nice.
Anyways.. I think that was my day.
I had it all planned out... Saren for Migros and then Luzern for Photos.. ahha, yeah right.
Jorge wanted to pick up his board in Engelberg (that is quite high up in the middle of no where).
But it was none the less epic. I never got around to buying any of the gifts.. but that matters not.
Jorge, you be epic.
We went to Engelberg.. and from there, thîngs were interesting. We had no idea where to go.. Titlis Sport, yes, but where be that place? No one knows.
No laughing at the name "Titlis" it is the name of a mountain.. yes, I know you think it is funny...
Anyways... we finally found the place, got Jorge a free snowboard for the season (I love Rotary).. and headed down the mountain.
Got on the next train home.. walked up the hill for 15 minutes...
And settled down for a nice large portion of fondue with the family.
Sigh.. fondue is soo happy.
That night.. Jessica had a going away party.
Naturally, I went... to Giswil!
Giswil, what an awesome town.
Essentially it was a class party + a few exchange students.
At first, I was a complete dork and read a book.. until I was invited to play a drinking game...
(note.. with orange juice, I love orange juice.. we both love orange juice don`t we Jorge?)
And so yeah... that game was.. interesting? Involved laughing, noses, bending, left hands, and blowing cards... yeah.
It was so freakin smokey.. my hair now still smells like smoke, and I have washed it thoroughly in the shower for 5 minutes.. whoa is me. And yeah, my eyes were watering.
In Switzerland they have these fireworky thingys with no fire.. just toys.
So we got that.. and that was quite exciting. I got a noise maker.. and went insane with it.
Then Ramiro and Matthias came.. and they are happy people.
11:06.. time to go home, last train.
Went home.. and slept. Oh ho how lovely.
No church.. what to do?
Familie Bucher is amazing... like a family to me and I could not get through the year without them and Eveline. Defiantly not.
So they had me and Eveline over and that made me super happy.
We had an amazing breakfast lunch thing.. epic. With eggs, bacon, beans, cheese stars, eggs, and even butter shaped like a sheep!
After that.. (here comes my favourite part) we made music.. cause music makes everyone happy.
There were three of us playing. Me on the cello, Emmanuel on guitar, and Eveline on piano.
And I think it sounded nice.
And everyone sang....
And did I mention I was super happy? Very happy.
After that we read a wonderful Christian story and then talked about it, reflected on it.. had a discussion (in English) and that was refreshing.
We prayed! Together!
And talked some more.
Went for a beautiful amazingly amazing walk... wow! Frost is on everything.. it looks like a dream. Like magic.. but what can I say? It`s Switzerland.
Came home... and... my host family, we decorated the Christmas Tree!
We have one of those trees without a single child made ornament.. all was gold and silver and light. It is quite pretty though.
Sunday, December 16, 2007
Yes, it is true. I can ski now.
Beautfiul isn`t it?
Well, I thought so.
So how was my weekend? Details Maggie, details!
We went up to the Frutt (yes, like the food, Fruit, pronouced the same same way) where my host family has a vacation house. It is an amazing little snowy area and perfect for skiing.. so I am told. And after my experience there, I would have to agree.
To get up there you need a some 25 minute car ride and then 20 minutes up the mountain with a bahn (lift sort of thing). So when you get up there, no cars!
There. Our house is in that group of houses.
I slep in the same room as Gina, it has four bunk beds.. whoo hoo?
Let`s see.. sleeping at a high altitude is tough. I thought it was just me. The next morning they asked how I had slept. My automatic responses was, "Gut." and then they commented on how lots of people have trouble sleeping so high.. and then I admited that I was awake many times during the night.
The next day we were up and going at 9:00. Breakfast was normal.. and then time to put on all the ski gear.
I am soo blessed in Switzerland. So blessed. I haven`t had to spend a cent this year for skiing. My host family surprised me and for Christmas bought me a ski pass! Oh my goodnesss! Those things are, well, not cheap. And I was so greatful. They hoped that I would like skiing (thank goodness I did). And my old host family took care of the clothes and acutal ski aspect. I guess they rented skiis for me! And they are orange and new and perfect. And I love them. Hhehe. My jacket from home works quite well with everything so I am good to go.
I think the hardest part of skiing for me is putting on the skiis themself. But I finally got it done. We live sort of on a slope. So after I had my stuff on, they told me to go. Just go. And I was thinking.. er.. I have no idea what to do. So I moved forward and BANG I went down (the hill). And didn`t fall.
No falling for Maggie!
And walking.. that is also a challenge. I was sooo slow at first. I think I still am slow, but oh well. I am Maggie!
I started with a tiny hill.. you hold a rope to go up the hill. Up and up. It is slow.
And I went down the hill.. no falling.
Next? I learned to stop. Well, they tried to teach me to stop, I still need to work on that.
Within an hour I had gone down several times stopping and learned to curve and so forth.
No falling. (haha, can you tell I am proud of that)
Finally.. the big hill! The BIRD HILL!!! AHH!
It was quite, big and, um, steep.
It is for beginners.. but it honestly is quite large and big for a person like me.
To go up you have to sort of sit on a upside down "T". One person on each side. It is quite lovely. I went up with my host dad.
OH! One thing. I am so blessed. BOTH of my parents used to be ski instructors so they knew just just just how to teach me.
We went up and up and up the mountain hill thingy... and then we were at the top.
I forget exactly what happened... but I started to go down.. really fast. Just straight down. Haha.. that was amusing. I couldn`t stop or anything I was going so fast. Finally, I saw that the super duper steep part was coming and I needed to stop, so I made my self fall. My first time down the hill and I just went for it straight down.
BANG.. and I was shaking after that, but ok. Cause it was cool!
I love hearing my host family tell that story to other people. It always makes us laugh going back to the time when Maggie went down the hill for the first time.
After that, we took is slowly.
Within 2 hours I could say that I was able to ski.. cause I could!
I could go down the hill making only a couple of stops and making "S"`s the entire way. When you do it all curvey, you go slower.
Ok... they told me that I learned fast.. and I think I did. Who knows? But I can say that I did not find it hard at all. Yes sir, I sound conceited. Sorry. But it came to me quite quickly. You just sort of... go.
But the good thing is that I enjoyed it! So that ski pass will not go to waste.
Never before have I actually had to do anything when sledding. I started to worry though when they told me I needed my helmet.
And I needed to steer.
We went down the entire mountain.. it was like a dream!
It is this really nice path with lots and lots of swerves and so forth.. all down hill.
It was all through the snowy woods.
And as we came around the corner, we could look down to the valley which was a sea of fog.. and the sun set behind it. Like I said, it was a dream!
And so for 35 minutes, it was just pure bliss going down hill.. but it was kind of freaky at times.
And the beauty of it? You take the bahn back up. The lift. So I didn`t have to walk up hill once with my sled.
It was a sledders dream. 35 minutes down hill and no long walk back up. We went down the entire big mountain thingy...
I really really am enjoying my host family. Family Hinter was wonderful and no complaints there. But I feel like I really fit with this family. I love it when my host dad tells people I am his daughter. I love laughing all the time with my host sister. It just works! I don`t know how to explain it. But skiing with my host mom and seeing her smiling when I get something right. They are just amazing. And I have no complaints or issues. Well, it is only the first week. But still... I feel more like a sister with Gina than before. I mean, before was amazing! But here it is more sister like. You just have to trust me or try to understand.. haha, yeah.
And I met my host cousin. Gina, him (John Lukas.. spelling?), and I all hung out last night after we went out to a restaurant. Just a easy going night. It is nice having a cousin again.
In short.. after a couple hours I was able to go down the entire slope without stopping once.. just going going going.
I was sooooo happy... ahah, yeah.
And Jorge came up too! So I got to see him. First it was through my house`s window. Natasha was teaching him how to snowboard.
And I saw a guy from my school. It is cool to be able to walk in some random place and see a face you know... even if it is hiden behind a bunch of snow gear.
That is my weekend in short!
I am so happy.. happy I can ski now and happy with my host family.
I feel like I belong.
Sunday, December 9, 2007
How is it going so far?
Yes, I know that it always seems amazing at the beginning. So I can only pray it goes well this long... but it seems like I will have a wonderful three months here.
Anyways, I arrived to see my new bedroom... I love it! It is adorable.. haha, yeah. It has an amoire thingy and the colours are sweet.
I will get pictures up as soon as possible!
What have I done since I moved in?
- Unpacked. Thank goodness they gave me lots of space for all 2 suitcases and three large bags full of stuff... plus my cello.
- Cello Concert. My first one here. Quite.. happy.
- Ate Dinner. Bread and cheese and butter as usual.
- Listened to Harry Potter (the 7th) book on tape
- Watched TV with the HostFolks. I heard Wicked outside of my bedroom and sprinted out to see Wicked (the German Version!!!) on TV! I was wearing my Wicked shirt and had fun telling them that my shirt was what was on TV. Later on the show there was a kid who could identify any of 60 different golf ball brands with his mouth! It was weird. And then a guy who could identify any of his 18 cows by name by just hearing them eat apples. Later, Mika came on the show. I think I found a new favourite TV show that is worth my time. Mimi the cat came and sat on my lap for much of that time and made my lap warm.. she is sweet, but bites.
- Ate breakfast. I was not alone though. Half my family, well, the animal half, was there the entire time just watching me eat. Kind of weird honestly. I tried to tell them to go away, but they speak better German than I. So I ate standing up at the kitchen bar sort of thing that isnt a bar.
- Went to church.
- Made Christmas cookies with my host mom! The Swiss go ALL out for Christmas cookies. On THIS weekend, all the moms in Switzerland get baking with not just one kind, but who knows how many types of cookies. So far it is the middle of the day and my host mom has made some 3 or 4 different types. I loved helping her bake! It felt happy.
- Watched skiing on TV with Gina.
- Read Globbi with Gina.
- Discussed photography with my host mom and looked at her work.
I really feel like I will have a good time here... once I get the computer to read my camera`s memory card. Anyways, it is like a warm house. Home. Not house, home. Much better word.
Who knows what could happen in the next 3 months? But they only speak German to me.. so that`s good. And it seems like they really all work together and so forth.
Naturally I am still praying over everything, but I think God has blessed me once again with a great host family.
About the Wiggers:
- Two parents and a 15 or 16 or so year old daugther named Gina.
- Two (sweeeeet) Dogs: Barsa and Arif (not sure about the spellings)
- One Cat: Mimi (she has only 3 legs)
Haha.. yeah. So thank you all who have already prayed for me! I know that God`s hand really was in the picking of my host families. I feel so blessed.
Friday, December 7, 2007
What is with me and getting sick as I have to pack?
Remember back in August? The 2nd? My Dad`s birthday. Anyways... I had strep and a temperature. Click Here.
Well... tomarrow I leave at 10:30 in the morning to go to family Wigger.
Today, I woke up miserable. But I was absent last Friday so I figured it was time to get myself to school. My principal personally checks on me when I am absent. I think he thinks that I was in Luzern or something.. but I was in bed. Grr. Anyways.
The first half of the day was, as my favourite man would say, crap. I was dizzy, headache, runny nose, sneezing, sleeping, coughing. But I could walk! Thank goodness my host mom drove me to school and back.
I decided it wasn`t worth it to go back to school in the afternoon. My classmates had been telling me that I ought to be home in bed.
Anyways... my last lunch with family Hinter? Quite nice. Some sort of cheese and egg thingy... not sure exactly. They call it cheesecake, but that is just a direct translation.
I stayed home and didn`t get out of bed till we ate fondue at 6:30.
5 and a half hours of sleeping and resting... while listening to Harry Potter (the 7th) book on tape which I have on my iPod. Every time I am sick, I listen to that and I normally get well rested and end of sleeping. But it keeps me from being on computer or reading or mucking around.
My last dinner was super! I felt horrible... but it was ok. We had fondue!
It wasn`t really eventful... but I enjoyed it. Just realizing how I have finally come to fit into this family. Not perfect fit.. but I will, honestly, miss them. I gave them all their gifts from Seattle and they acted perfectly. They made me feel good. Haha, yeah. I wasn`t sure if they would like them, but they all gave me hugs.. and Philipp even shook my hand! (I gave him a CD of music from Seattle like Jimmy Hendrix, Foo Fighters, and even, yes, Blake Lewis)
After dinner Philipp brought down his CD player and sang for all of us.. it was amusing. That kid really is amazing. He had to sing because he dropped his bread in the fondue pot. Hehe. Sometimes you have to drink a glass of white wine for that, but with the Hinters, not so. So Philipp went all out.
I have been packing now for around two hours and am pretty much finished. I realized I have too much stuff. Can`t wait to send some home in January.
But I have been blessed. God put me in the right place. And I belive that my next home can be just as good... with God by my side. I`m trusting him. And if it doesn`t go well, well, I can just learn to depend on God more and I know that I have people here and back home that will help me go through this.
Photos from Samichlaus Tag are here: http://hs.facebook.com/album.php?aid=12205&l=8eed3&id=504513649
On yet another note... Christmas is coming and I have a new address!
I have been told that Christmas can really be the worst time of the year for any exchange student... THE WORST! And I know I can get through this! But would love encouragement from you guys... it means sooo much to me. And it only takes some 5 minutes to make my day... and 90 cents. And if you can`t pay that, go see my parents.
Margaret Hubert c/o Familie Wigger
I feel horrible begging... but I will write back to you! What can I say? I am a pathetic exchange student and love getting stuff in the mail. I tend to carry around postcards with me wherever I go and read them over and over and over... haha, so desperate.
Pray for me!! That is the best thing you could ever do!
By this time tommorow, I will be living with a new family.
Thursday, December 6, 2007
This has been an amazing first part of my exchange year. The perfect start for me. In such little time, I have somehow managed to adapt to a new culture, make friends that I will have for the rest of my life, and even learn to live with a new family.
But here is a good thing.. I am leaving my host family when things are going well. I really feel good here. Really do. I have been so blessed to get landed with the Hinter family. We had a couple rough spots.. but could I expect it to be perfect? And it was those times that got us here. I think it was necessary to go through that so we could move on. In examining myself at that time, I think I grew too. Like today, in coming home I was able to just hang out in the kitchen with my host mom talking. And she and my host dad and I all looked at the pictures I had printed. I cant say I am one hundred percent comfortable in their home… but it was more than liveable, I enjoyed it. And glad that as I pack, I honestly only have happy thoughts. Not once has, “Thank God I am leaving this family.. finally!” crossed my mind.
Today my host brother was watching TV, so I joined him. And all of a sudden, he asked what I wanted to watch. If I wanted to change the channel. That meant so much to me. I don’t know how to explain it. But if you knew my host brother you would understand. He is a sweet kid, but I didn’t expect him to treat me like that at the end of our time. I thought things would get worse but instead, it is ok. I mean, we don’t really talk a lot and I am sure he doesn’t mind me leaving, but we are doing fine.
Yep. The Hinter family. So long to them. They were a really good first host family for me. They gave me a solid foundation to base my exchange year on.
And now, I have to move on, literally, whether I want to or not. And you know what? God has something in mind for me in the next host family too. So I am excited to see what he has in store. Who knows? I admit I am a bit nervous, but not a lot. I am expecting the worst and hoping for the best. That way, I can not be disappointed and unprepared.
Well.. my room is a utter mess now, things everywhere. But in 48 hours it will be empty.
But my life is… full?
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
One of my new favourite things to do is stream my favourite Seattle radio to Switzerland.
It is easy to find the streaming button.
Now I have so much Chritmas music!
Here, Christmas music isn`t really a big thing. There aren`t even 10% of the songs we have in Englisch. Quite sad actually. A huge part of my Christmas life is, well, musik. So I stream the music and it makes me happier.
Today was quite laid back.
In the school aspect, today is my "late day." That merely means I get to sleep in longer every Wednesday because I have the first class free.
Well, I went to class to find out that I had two more hours free. The teacher was sick. And when the teacher isn`t there, they just let you do whatever.
Next I went to Englisch which is always culturally interesting for me. In fact today we were discussing cultural differences between Americans and Europe.
Biology... well, the teacher is quite nice. But nothing eventful.
Lunch was Alpler Magronen! Ask anyone in Switzerland I know, that is my favourite food here! It is like cheese and noodles on steroids. And my host mom grills up some garlic to go on top and that really tastes good.
I got to open and close our history presentations.
That was fun.
I was told I could say whatever, so I practiced with some random crap and was told. "Yes Maggie, all of it. The more you talk the less we have to talk." Naturally that was said originally in German.
Anyways... I spoke like I would. Whatever I wanted to say...
"One photo is one, and one is two!"
"One photo has the king. The king is fat."
In the end, I ended up wishing them a beautiful vacation... goes back to the Ukulele Band Days.
Then there was the entire cofusion of languages (nach verses nacht and ohr verses eier)...
After that, some of the girls in my class said some stuff that made me super duper happy and settled.
I don`t feel like typign it here.. but trust me, it stil makes me smile...
And realize that God totally knows what he is doing with me! He knows where I belong.
A little look into what happened:
*group looks at poster that says nachhilfe or something like that.. really means tutoring but I didn`t know that"
Maggie: Nachhilfe? Night help?
Person: Not night.. after...
Maggie: OooOhhh... not Night Help
*talking and explaining.. then talking about what night help would be*
Person: Bring bring. Maggie... I need help with this night.
Maggie: Well, first you must close your eggs...
That there was the problem, I confused the word for eyes and eggs... which made the whol conversation take another turn... and you can imagine the rest of what we talked about.
I guess you had to be there. But we were laughing quite quite hard. And keep talking about shutting those eggs.
Also.. the conversation was in German, not English, to the translation is a bit iffy.
Today Jorge and I hung out.
Just one of those times where you don`t really have to do anything.. so all goes well. Just sort of relaxing.
We went to the Weienachmarkt (Christmas Market) in Sarnen.. that was cool, but soo cold.
There were some 100 booths (I checked online) with all sorts of Swiss stuff... hats, scarfs, lots of gift items and home decor.
It was outdoor and so cold.
What was cool is how they shut down all the major streets in the city for this market. It was really snazzy. All festive and crowded. Everyone was there.
There was a live nativity with a choir singing, "Aint no mountain high enough.." and real sheep that come from my school.
Then we went to a church and then to a trampoline.
That`s life there. Jumping to Hakuna Matata, Bare Neccessities, and You Gotta Friend in Me while jumping.. life doesn`t get much better. You know me. I like the simple stuff. That`s what makes me happy.
We watched some Teen Girl Squad... cause they are cool.
Anyways.. that is life.
Life is just going on... better than ever.
I could not ask for anything more, I truly couldnt.
I have been blessed.
Thanksgiving went quite better than I thought it would.
First thing... the Swiss naturally don`t even acknowledge the day. Why should they? But for me, it has been an important day to me. A family day. And, well... there was no family this year.
First class I had was Italien, and that was probably the saddest part of my day.. perhaps I almost cried? No. Not really. I just sat there.
But then I went to the next class to be almost knocked over with a big hug from Connie. And she had made me a Happy Thanksgiving card! That made so amazingly happy. I had this stupid Maggie grin on my face I was so happy.
From there, the day was quite better.
It was a Thursday... so I got out of school earlier than normal.
We had lunch at my host grandparents.
Then I went to Nicoles.
That girl went all out for Thanksgiving.
I was there while she prepared some of the food, but I can`t really say I made it. Neigh. I stirred a couple items... ah! Gravey and Macaroni and Cheese.
On her thanksgiving menue was...
Turkey, Ham, Mashed Potatoes, Cranberry Sauce, Pumpkin Pie, Deviled Eggs, Stuffing, and something else?
Anyways.. cooking in Switzerland is not easy. The food turned out amazing though. I was quite impressed.
To cook the ham we had to go to my house cause we had no more room in her oven.
But how to cook it? Frau Bucher saved us there...
And I got my Thanksgiving hug from Mrs. Bucher also. I don`t think I could have made it through the day without that. You all know me... hugs are pretty essentail to life.
And Iate with Nicole and her family and that was pretty awesome.
Nicole is another exchange student from America living in my town.
Anyways.. the eating was interesting.. and interesting conversations.
I even got to call home and talk to my entire family! and Emily L. too cause she had no family for Thanksgiving either. And that made me feel goood.
And that was Thanksgiving in Switzerland.
The African Childrens Choir came to my church.
It was amazing... touching.
Those kids, wow.
They sing with their soul.. no shame. Just singing out.
And I found them on YouTube.
Found that I remember this song from when they came.
They sing with happiness... they like what they do.
I remember how three of them even came to stay at my house! That was so cool! The smallest of the choir stayed with us. I remember Aunt Peace (their guardean) came too from a really hard place to say. I could find it on a map though. They were just joyful kids. They loved chai tea and oranges.
Just watch this video.
These kids are beautiful to watch.
Friday, November 9, 2007
Maggie: *translates paper happily*
(note: I do pay attention in class. But they were reading out loud the same paper and I, well, understand at a slower pace)
I guess I misheard him.
Anyways... he was just smiling about something. Sort of a smile? And I looked, and my class was looking at me.
I thought they were talking about America again.
Then he said that magic word.
A HUGE grin spread over my face, I looked out... and just sort of stared.
Then I went to the window, opened it (it had already been open half the morning, one more minute woldn`t hurt) and stuck my hand out. Staring. Smiling like an idiot... itwas just too excited.
And it stopped.
Then in my special German class, we got more snow! More than ever.
I was soo happy.
And it stopped before I could touch it.
On the entire bike ride home, I blasted Christmas songs from my pocket.
The problem with me and snow is that:
Snow = Christmas
No doubt about it.
You can`t have it snow till around Christmas time... or Valentines day.
Anyways.. all of a sudden my entire mind is thinking about Christmas and singing the songs.
This could be a long two months...
Thursday, November 8, 2007
I wrote it on March 28, 2007.
Funny thing is I randomly pulled out my journal on the same day that this entry refers to (October 28, 2007). Ok, so I looked at it one day early. But it was so random. What are the chances of seeing this.
Enjoy a look into my, er, personal thoughts.
So it`s pretty cheesy, but whatever. Still kind of fun to read right after I wrote it.
I meant to put it up the day of.. but my host sister had the computer. So here it is a bit late.
There are so many questions I have about my exchange.
Funny how in some 7 months (October 28, 2007) I will be able to look and read this article and see my questions. My wonders. I`ll realize that I had nothing to worry about. That I am so unprepared. Or that my worries are true.
I wonder about my future host family. Will they accept me for who I am? I ahve so many awkward ways and insecurities. I like to play my music loudish and jump. I like to express myself. I hope they let me alone in the house occasionally, so I can do this.
What about school? I`ve never gone to a school where I am all alone. Will they like that funny little American girl with horrible German? I`ve heard that no matter where you go, you can always find a friend.. but it`ll be a unique friendship.
Will I have any host brothers or sisters? Will they like me? Tlak to me? Help me? Reject me? Be annoyed by me?
Will I get my own personal space? I need space. Space to relax. Space to be me.
Everyday, it seems I encounter situations where I find items I need to remember to bring. I`ll probably start a list soon. How can I bring my entire life with me to Europe? I can`t. I need to let my old life go. I need to move on. To grow. To change.
Be with me this next year and for all my life. I pray that I will rely on you for my strength. I want to be like you. Show me your will for my life. I trust you.
I heard it might snow tomarrow.
I am excited [into oblivions].
(really really really excited... maybe a bit too excited)
I have had a headache for some *looks at watch* five hours.
Finally I figured it was time to take some action... besides resting.
Told my host mom.
Apparently.. having a headache means a change in the weather is coming or something.
So here I am.. my very own weatherman.
My head is like the weatherforcaster.. it knows when snow is coming.
How cool is that?
Photos from today are here:
Sunday, November 4, 2007
I admit, I am currently morning the loss of CCBY (my life revolved around you) but God is really using this year. I think a lot about what this year is is not being dependent on other people for my faith. Not being dependent on the weekly sermon to fire me up or fellow Christians.
Cause my faith is between me and Christ. That relationship there. And I think this year is cool cause it is becoming more so that. Where I don`t have someone checking up on me weekly.
Well, I do... sort of. But no sermon I can completely understand.
(I write this all out because it gets confusing in my head... and it feels good to finally step back and look at what is happening)
It was a pretty amazing weekend.
(naturally I miss CCBY especially... jumping for Jesus, the after glow, crying our eyes out, really feeling the presence of the Lord, fired up for Christ).
A general overview of the weekend... and skip to the end if you want to read about, well, what I think God is showing me. Ok, what he IS showing me.
I went up to the weekend with Ruth, Emmanuel, and Eveline in Ruth`s car... we went to Murtun or something like that. I forget, honestly, as usual. Swiss names are quite difficult for me to remember.
On the way up, listened to some Christian music and that was refreshing beyond belief. And the fact I had someone else singing with me made it all the better.
We reached the FEG Murton church, parked, went out for a bagette sandwhich lunch, met up with two other folks whose names I can not spell who go to my church as well and we headed back.
It was really well put together, the weekend.
Quite a bit of down time, but I liked that. Time to just hang out.
The opened with some amazing worship. I loved it.. I really did. Reminded me of home a bit. A band called Narroway from Thun. They sang both English, German, and Swiss German songs. And often, I knew the German songs... just the English version.
They sang some of our favourites (History Maker... wow, I almost cried to that one, "we sing glory, honour, power and strength to the Lord", "Open the Eyes of My Heart Lord") and I got some new favourites. (Click here.. and wait to hear a bit of You Shine). I will get up some sounds clips.. I recorded a bit so you guys could hear.
And the messages were of course all in German... so I had a difficult time there. But it was still worth my time. I think I misunderstood a few times... a lot. Especially when I thought he was talking about "flying tuna fish".
And they had something called the Idea Market... and that was pretty much a bunch of boothes and so forth where you could discus ways to bring others to Christ or ministries for Christ at school, sports, missions, and so forht.
My favourite was the missions.. they had a girl from England there representing OM. It was so refreshing to talk to her. I am going to visit her soon in Zurich. Rosie! She has been here for pretty much two years.
It made me realize that God could have a lot of plans for me that I haven`t even thought of. She is here on missions to Switzerland... not exactly the first place you would think of going for a missions trip. I am looking into that now. Who knows what God has in store.
We slept in a bomb shelter underneath a school... and that made me smile.. a lot. Although I was a bit, er, anxious sleeping after I was warned that the mattresses were... dirty? So yeah, I defnitly was in my sleeping bag that night.. and George (my monkey) wore an extra shirt to keep him clean. I think I fell asleep around 1:15.. but who knows.
I honestly don`t know if it was just me or if God was speaking to me... but here is what happened.
We were singing and I got a hug and then sat on the ground. That is how I am used to worshiping God, either standing or on the ground hugging my knees or something.
The entire weekend I had sort of felt, well, distant from God. And it was really scary. Like I saw him there but I couldn`t reach him. And I know, draw near to God and he will draw to you, but something wasn`t working. I was even scared. I tried to figure out what the boundaries were.. something keeping me from him. And slowly began to work things through and pray. Sins. And even forgetting to trust in him with my future more.
And then there I was on the ground. And I stated to think of CCBY and family. And I pictured myself hugging people (Mom, Dad, Ian, Jenny, Caitie, Emily, Sarah and so forth). And, well, it wasn`t working. I couldn`t hug them. They disapeared or something. It was like hugging air. And so I cried.
And then, I turned around (in my mind) and there behind me was God. Shining. Smiling. Right beside me. Behind me. Dressed in white. So gentle. (before, I had been trying to go to a God in front of me and he was really far away).
And, well, stuff happened.
He pulled me onto his lap (I stopped crying then) and he wrapped his arms around me.
And he told me I am his little girl and he will be with me through this year. Always right beside me.
And then... we danced.
We ran around dancing, having fun, laughing, together. Reminding me he is not just a serious God... he is a God of joy! And so that was amazing. Just dancing with the Father. Him looking down on me with this amazing loving face. Well.. his face wasn`t clear. But you could just feel it.
And he wants me to be a light for him. Smiling. Joyful. I can`t really discribe, explain it.
We were in a big open whiteness sort of room...
I don`t know if it is bad for me to post this. Am I supposed to keep stuff like this to myself? I just never want to forget it... ever. Ever. Did I make it up? Was it all in my head and me wanting to see that or was God.. well. I don`t know. I am really confused. Did I make that up? Was it just me? Was it God. Wonderign... But also so joyful. I mean, God is with me! That is SO cool. I am not alone! I am not alone!
He has given me an amazing church family to watch out for me this year.. and another one back home who is praying for me every step of the way.
God is soo good.
God is so good.
God is so good.
And things get rough... but that cool guy up there is looking down on me.
That was pretty much my weekend.
Ooohyes, the ride home.
We listened to some, er, interesting music. Not sure how to describe it. Well.. there is one word for it.
I admit it grew on me... a bit.
Something about a wild rabbit?
And OoooooOOooOOOh Cathy? in the country?
I enjoyed my time a LOT though in the car.
(Emmanuel... you drive fast... I think? I just converted in the KM to Miles... and no wonder the car made cool noises...)
Anyways, Eveline had some Christian CDs and wow. That could have been the highlight of my weekend right there. It was sooo cool hearing Christian music being played really loud. And not singing on my own. Having someone else there to share in the excitement of each song. Goodness, it was like each song was a present. Just going to Switzerland in fall. Those are the memories I want to, well, remember.
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
In America, we have high school drop outs.
The drop outs are those kids who just don`t fit the mold of going through some 3 years of high school. Sure some of them are those crazy druggy kids, but there are a lot of brilliant kids that leave high school... or stay in it and do horribly as it just isn`t there thing.
We are trying to fit all kids up to the age of 18 into a single mold... high school.
But with such a variety of teens, shouldn`t there be an alternitive in which they can still be successfull at life and not be dubbed failures for life?
In America, we have plenty of kids who just don`t have the will to keep going and doing hours of random sciences and math that won`t help them in the career they wish to pursue. Yet, it can be difficult for them to pursue the career of their choice without going through those 3 or 4 years of random studies.
This is where Switzerland gets brilliant.
Switzerland has an alternative.
Once you finish elementary school, you have to pick what level of education you want. Either you go to a school that is pretty much like a giant IB or AP school... or you can go to another school with studies at a level that is less intense.
What are the reults of the two schools? What happens? Where do you go from there?
Well.. you can only go to college if you pick the "smart" school. In America, it seems that college is essential to make a good living... yet that is not so in Switzerland. You can only do some 3 years of secondary education and make a fine living.
If you pick the lower option, you go to three years of "high school" and then, from there, you start a 3 year apprenticeship. With this, you go to school maybe 1 day a week... and in the meantime you learn a trade.
This is perfect for all those hands on learners or the students who just want to get started in life. Those kids who just don`t see the need to study the books much longer.
I think that system is brilliant. Students are not forced to continue in a busy high school education that will not help them further their education much. And even though they can`t go to college, it is no big deal.
But naturally there are flaws in the system that I have come to dislike.
In Inglemoor and America, you can pick your classes. In Switzerland you have no choice... you have a grade level (like Freshman or Senior) and each grade level has a set of classes that go with it. One class is up to you, but the rest are set in stone.
The pro? Well, it makes scheduling a whole lot easier.
The cons? You can`t move ahead or struggle. Everyone must move at the same pace. While some kids may be strong in a language and weak in math, they are all forced to remain at the same level. I see brilliant students in math finish quickly while other struggle with every thing the teacher says. Wouldn`t it be nicer to put them in different classes? Let the slow one go at an easier pace and the other learn as much as they can. We all have our strengths and weeknesses, and in this aspect, the Swiss are trying to fit all the students at the upper high school into one mold.
There are entirely other things I could write about comparing Swiss and American schooling (such as the number of classes, school hours, and going home for lunch) but I have a year to write about that.
What have I learned?
To every system there will always be something negative. And both systems have a lot to offer. As an American coming to the Swiss school, I find it a bit, well, constricting not having any choices. But for the Swiss, they know nothing else. They don`t think of a school where you can learn at different levels and speeds. It`s a bit more mechanical. Yet it works.
What are your thoughts on the Swiss school system? American? another system?
Note: When writing this, I am generalizing all of Switzerland... but honestly I write of Obwalden school system. I am sure there are other systems. Perhaps some have other choices? But this is the system I know.
Sunday, October 21, 2007
"in summary: SEVERUS SNAPE!! real chocolate chip cookies, not being able to open windows without being yelled at, trampoline of death, vertical spooning, maggies incredible HILARIOUS stories, random hiking, good conversations, seeing everyone again, and just getting away! it was fuhhhh reaking cold tho!"
Yep... so true.
This weekend I had a rotary weekend, well, rotex.
It was amazing.
I went from Sarnen to Luzern and met up with people. And we went to Bern. Ramiro got in a sleeping bag and sang the worm song he wrote. It was crazy. Double decker train. And then we met up with the Bern kids and we headed to some random town.
Our train hit a person.... we were quite late because of that.
We arrived, it was cold, and we were in teams.
My team`s name was the, well, Granny Maggies.
I can tell, you are impressed.
It consisted of Fernando, Jorge, Jayme, and Liam.
We pretty much... did not dominate.
We went inside.
Lots of hanging out.
We ate lots of Amarettes cookies.
And then there was the bed issue. There was no no no room for everyone. So we had a bed made for some 8 or 9 people... I think we had 13 of us on it? I was quite warm that night.
Each group had to come up with an activity for the night. Games ranged from murder dance parties to human knots to charades to snazzy skits with Severous Snape (as Miss Nelly mentioned above).
And we sat around some more... and there was this crazy bench thingy with fire under it so it was quite quite quite warm.
And we had Alpermagronnen for dinner.
We all brought desserts.
And we all had fun on the trampoline.
Later that night everyoone was in bed, but I was not tired. So some of us went up to the guys rooms. And all of a sudden I went on this story mode. No details there.
Next day, woke up, ate, made sandwhiches, went for a hike, it was excessively cold.
Good times though, just talking with everyone about everything. Really refreshing.
And then we went home.
A rotex person drove me, Jorge, and Jessica home so we got home in around 1.5 hours instead of 3 hours.
That was my weekend.
Pics are here:
Friday, October 12, 2007
I had a really really rough time the other day.
I could go into details... but I already wrote that blog.
I wrote my "pity for Maggie" such blog and don`t intend to post it.
Cause who wants to hear that crap?
Some friends and even my real Mom have helped me out and I am back on track.
But why not tell you what God is showing me and what I have gotten from this.
Last night, after I said good bye to my mom on IM, I started to cry and then pray.
And here is what I have gotten...
This is only just the beginning for me. I am going to be pressed from all sides like never before. I have a feeling that what I experienced was only a little part of the pain that I may feel here. There is going to be so much more. There are going to be many nights where I go to bed crying.
(I admit I am a bit scared)
And hence, I need to have God with me every moment.
I need to check my every action with him.
I need to put on my armor each day and head out with a smile on my face.
I gotta face each day
And God will be with me every moment.
I need to really humble myself. Just listen to others words and not defend myself. I need to put myself in a position of humility.
I was raised in a society quiet different from that.
I am here to learn humility.
Side note: Allison.. what is your email address??
Monday, October 8, 2007
Went to church.
After church, had an invitation to eat with the Buchers.
It was refreshing more than you could believe.
The Buchers - amazing Christian family who is fluent in English.
Their two daughters walked home with me from the church to their house. They live 2 minutes from me, walking.
We had fajitas!
I drank apple juice... well tried to. In the end I threw up a bit in my cup from choking with laughter.
We played the Game of Life, in German.
I just had an amazing wonderful time... I loved it. Yep.
My Lemon Tart... they put the whipped cream on for me :P
Saturday, October 6, 2007
On Saturday, the 6th, I met up with Kyly and Becca in Luzern.
There were pirates, well, people just dressed like them, invading the bahnhof!
(My favourite song, a version of it, just came on the radio!)
Anyways... we walked outside and BANG there was a ferris wheel and the swing ride.
They went on the swing ride.
Kyly`s shoes came off and almost hit an old lady.
There was this crazy guy on the ride, well, a kid, and he sat there with his head on his hand in a bored position. He even yawned.
Gotta love them Swiss folks.
And I went to lunch for some random man`s 50th birthday.
Happy Birthday Man!
Friday, October 5, 2007
In the morning, afternoon, I went to Interlaken with Becca, Kristen, and Amarette.
Mainly we were on the train all day. A couple hours there and back.
We took the Golden Rails Panoramic or something like that trail through the Brunig pass and up and around to Interlaken.
We got there and defnitly did a Migros run. Food is essential to live. I packed to sandwhiches and hence was able to purchase some chocolate and chippy like thingys for the group.
We searched and asked for a park... and found one. It was amazingly epically just a field.
I ate chocolate.
That was a weeeee bit crazy after that chocolate and it took quite some time to calm down :P
On the train ride home, I cried a bit. I listened to the Rainbow Connection. My Dad sings that song.... and I thought I heard him for a moment as I listened. But I wasn`t sad sad. Just crying. And then I could laugh and cry. And my friends said it was a bit scary. Hehe...
Sorry about the lack of fotos... I am trying to be quick on the computer.
After that was youth group... one of my favourite times of the entire week! Probably the highlight.
Emmanuel led worship... and a lot of the songs were in English! Or had an English verison! I was quite the happy camper.
Also.. wow. I love my church. The youth group leader and her sister, they handed me something.... for my birthday, they got me my very own GERMAN BIBLE! WFJOWJFIFW.
I was happy into oblivions.
The message was on Ecclesiastes 7 or something... and all in Swiss German. Natanja helped me a bit with the trannslations as her brother spoke out the message.
Then we played Werewolf.. aka, Mafia. And I forgot how to play. But through their facial expressions, I understood most of it in Swiss German and the rest they explain in English.
I was a dorf... dorfer? Well, that is a villager in German.
Thursday, October 4, 2007
All the AFSers were headed to Basel... so naturally I had to impose mysefl upon them.
Me and Kristen and Amarette (Rotary Representatives :P) Joined us to head to the more so Northwestern Area of Switzerland.
Basel... sounds like an herb eh?
That`s right! Say it out loud. You know you want to.
Anyways, we had around a 1.5 hour, I think, hour train ride to our lovely town of Basel.
Lots of pics.
You all know me.. so naturally I will be vain and put up pics of myself. But trust me, I have hundreds more. Cause that is just how life lives...
See Mom? I am still as normal as ever.
We arrived in Basel... it was one sweeeet train ride. So beatiful!
And I was quite sick that entire day and felt like crap.
Anyways... Amarette, of Bernish areas, met up with us there.
We decided to catch a tram.
While the AFS folks bought tickets, I was amused with the pigeons.
And we went to the Market Platz.
I really can not pull off sunglasses.. I felt like a bug.
Bern is the best place for shopping.
Me and Amarette and Kristen went to a Kebab place (where else?) for lunch and ate by the Rine.. Rhyme, Rhyne. I don`t know how to spell it.
Then we took a ninja cool boat ride across the water where we saw the AFS kids again.
The boat dude sang for me!
And then we went shopping, of course, and I wish I had more money. Sigh. What a life. So many clothes. I found many items.. I ended up buying one shirt.
They picked out this shirt for me to try on.. sadly, it was not in my stupid stupid budget. But I don't think it would have kept me warm this winter. So I had to take a picture of it and let that be enough for me.
And we hung out at some fountain for a while.
It was overall a wonderful day... I should write more but it is 2:50 at night. I normally go to bed at 10:00... but tonight I am blogging a bit to get that out of the way way way. Cause it is in my head and I must get it out. For me. For you. For my foot.
Yesterday I hung out with Madlen.
She is a girl from my church and very sweet.
We met in Giswil.
Her house is an amazing storybook house! Over 100 years old!
And they have 4000 chickens and lots of cows.
And it felt like a very loving home.
I loved it there.
I got to eat grapes straight off the vine!
They invited me for dinner... it was soo good. Afterwards we read the Bible. And then I was invited to spend the night. So I did. And so that evening me and her sister and brother played a crazy cool Swiss card game.
And they gave me a toothbrush.
And her mom said I looked like one of her daughters.. that made me smile.
And then we slept.
And now I am cover in at least 20 (I wish I was exagerating) bug bites... but it was so worth it.
I loved it!
In the morning, I was invited for lunch but had to go home.
But inivted to come back.
That was an amazing night. So simple... yet that is what I neeed in my life right now.
I went on a Rotary Weekend.
It was a bunch of Rotary people and me and Jessica.
Lots and lots of hiking.
I ate lots of food, it was good.
I enjoyed talking with Jessica.
We went to the beginning of the Rhine.
I ate chocolate.
Jessica busted her ankle and mine wasn`t exactly keen itself... so we made quite the pair.
Monday, September 24, 2007
Well, I finally feel like I am with it... well, know what I am doing in a sense that I have a reutine developed.
This day in history... last year on this day, it was Sunday and Chris and Lexi held a gathering slash party and we pretty much had an epic time and I talked to the crazy druggie guy who asked me for Rittalin. And I called the waitress Marsha and so forth. Quite epic I thinks.
I think I look the same...
[i was cold... looks like I am posing]
Another shout out session to Hannah Russel (epic present!), Sarah Wyler (more presents!!), and Kristen (perfect`!)... goodness I feel loved. And just a random shout out to Whit cause he sent me a really encouraging note with exactly what I needed at the moment.
Anyways, right now in school we are doing project week, but my host brother wants to play some random war game on the computer and I wish to stay on his good side. Anyways, for project week I have my group... and then I have my group that is not my group but is a group which I am in which is not one of which I am a member.. crane fly!
That`s pretty much life.
This weekend went hiiking with Rotary in the mountains, it was beautiful.
Friday night had youth group which was really good for me.
Yep... that`s life.
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Happy Birthday to me?
God really is faithful.
Emily recently reminded me to let God, let Jesus be my expectations, and then I won`t be disappointed.
He never fails does he?
Last night I decided that for my birthday, I wanted a sunny day.. not hot, just sunny. To day was absolutely perfect. I sang, “God is So Good” on my bike as I rode to school after lunch.
Anyways, in the morning, I had a lovely card from my sister on my plate! Already, my day was turning out good.
Even though my host brother refused to acknowledge my birthday after the blatant prodding of my host parents. It just made me laugh. They were like, “It`s Maggie`s birthday…” and he would just read the paper. And then they would say, “Aren`t you going to wish her a happy birthday?” and he gave me a blank stare. It didn`t phase me a bit. Honestly.
Anyways, it was time to head to school.
It was cold.
I walked into school and my entire class was there as we had a later start today. And pretty soon, they were all giving me hugs. Yep. I got sooo many hugs and happy birthdays. One at a time, they each gave me a hug. I was on a natural high. And I was no longer cold.
And then Romy pulled out a bag… for me!
My class is amazing, really they are.
So anyways, the bag was a huge epic Migros Budget bag with Migros Budget written all over it.. I was happy already… excessively happy.
And I look inside.. and there was so much stuff! And almost everything had a connection to me or what they knew about me.
First was Swiss chocolate… a bajillion chocolate frogs and a candy bar that would put the King Sized Hershey Bars to shame.
And then, the first day I met my class, one of the girls, Conie, had these Dancers. They are a chip cracker puff thingy and amazing. And I loved them. And was awe when I tasted them. And so there was a bag of that.
They also know that everyday, I eat a Knopper. It is like a hazelnut wafer cookie thing. I love them. And so they had two of those.
And then the nonfood items…
I looked into buying one once, but didn`t have the money. They aren`t cheap.
And I love to use theirs. They are fun to use.. jep. And the best part is the MagicStick.. it literally erases the pen. It is amazing and like nothing I have ever seen. It leaves no trace. And so quite often, I use their MagicSticks and pens and make things disappear.
In my bag was my very own pen.
It was red with clouds and an angel and perfect.
And there was my very own MagicStick with the “Super Pirat” on it.
By the time I got to that, I was all smiles and practically speechless.. all I could say was “Danke!”
And On top of that, there was a cell phone case with “Migros Budget” all over it.. and it is perfect for my phone.
And there was a card, and each of the students had signed it.
I was soo touched, cause each of them, literally each of them, even the guys, had chipped in to help buy this for me. Each of them were amazing. I felt soo happy. Just yesterday I saw them collecting money, everyone was giving one girl money. I asked what it was for. I was told some random answer and naturally believed them. I could see that they needed money from everyone as there was a list, and pretty much they all had paid. I had no idea it would be for me today! They went to all that work… for me!?
A card, for me!?
My very own pen!
I was just sort of in a daze, a bit too happy.
I was kinda sad about my birthday, a couple weeks ago, honestly, that it wouldn’t be like at home. But God has my life in his hand and never fails to amaze me.
I went home for lunch and there was a place set all pretty for me with a green napkin.
We had wonderful Magronen.. or something like that, and freshly made apple sauce (apfel musse).
Then I got my present, or parcel, from my host family.
Once again, I was practically speechless.
They had gotten me my first Swiss Watch… and it was perfect for me!
It was a Swatch, I love their watches, with plaid and red on it.
And it is super cool.
And I adore it!
It matches my pencil case.
And then I got to open my presents and packages from the mail.
My friends and family are amazing.
The cards made me laugh, the presents made ms laugh, I was just so happy.
You guys mean the world to me.
And from my real family, I even got a DVD they made.. it made me cry and laugh. Just when they make eye contact with the camera and talk to me, I cry. And then I laugh, cause my family is the greatest ever. And it was hilarious. And great. And I love it. And it is the bestest thing ever.
And my brother wrote me a song!!!! And Ashley did too! And life is epic!
And Jenny painted me pictures and made me a scarf and such!
And my parents sent me soap and my Dad`s CD (I love it!) and a pin (already on my jacket!) and chapstick (it has a weird name but tastest good)!
And Sarah sent me a CD of amazingness and iTunes gift card and two hilarous cards!
And my grandparents sent me cards and such!
And I had a card from Rachel and Emily!
Shout outs to my family, Jenny, Sarah, Emily L, Rachel, my grandparents, and the youth group for everything.
I think my hostmom made me a birthday cake, not quite sure.
All I know is she baked a cake this morning.
But I guess it was not for me, as it was half eaten when I saw it next.
And I never got a piece.
And that made me sad.
No cake for my birthday… why is it on the counter, she doesn`t make cakes just because, if not for my birthday? Or am I just self absorbed to think that a cake could be for me if it is baked on my birthday.
But they ate it without me.
So I admit I am confused.
But I am absoltuey thrilled and happy.
And I got a super happy call from Kristen! She is a snazzy person I tell you and I was just dancing with bliss of the day.
That is pretty much my birthday life. More about what happened in the afternoon later, but this is the birthday blog with only birthday things
And thank you EVERYONE for your birthday wishes by email, MySpace, Facebook, and wherever.
I read each of them and they all mean so much to me and I love you guys!
That`s my life!
That`s my birthday!