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?