Can’t believe I’ve already been here a month, damn. There are times when it feels like longer, but then there are times when it’s been just like 2 weeks. But a month. A MONTH. Holy cow. O_O
So we had our Late-Orientation Camp this weekend. Freaking great weekend. Ended way too fast. But let me start at the beginning. I’m gonna try to tell you everything, but some specifics I don’t remember anymore. Plus you might get bored.
So the camp was at Karlsruhe which is kinda far from where my committee and I live, so the journey there was an adventure in itself.
Me and Stepan got to skip school that day though. :D Anyhoo. So we rode the train to Schwäbisch Hall where 5 people from my committee got on. Then we rode the same train to Öhringen where we got off and met with the rest of my committee. Then at Öhringen, we got on a different train and rode it to Heilbronn, which took maybe an hour. Then at Heilbronn we changed trains again, and got on the one which would finally take us straight to Karlsruhe. This is where the fun begins. Since there were 11 of us, we kind of took over the front section of the train. I feel sorry for the people who were sitting near us. We were loud and noisy and crazy and having way too much fun for people on trains. We played a Brazilian game which involves slapping people’s hands. There were exploding coke bottles and we sang the Macarena. And of course, were in the very front, so the rest of the train was looking at us. But it was great.
So we finally get to Karlsruhe at around 4:30 (journey started at 12:38) and we’re outside the main train station so there’s a whole lot of people, and we’re waiting for the others in the camp to arrive to we decide to play a game. Like Ninja. But with feet. So we’re in a big circle just jumping around, and yeah, people are staring, and people are laughing, but we don’t care because we’re “tourists”. :> There’s a slight possibility that we might end up on YouTube.
So the others finally arrive and we’re off to the youth hostel. We’re all just talking with everybody and stuff. We get to the youth hostel, get our room assignments and and get settled in and stuff, then it’s dinner time. First workshop started after, at around 7:30.
So we’re in like a meeting room thing and we’re all sitting in a circle, 25 AFS students and 5 volunteers, so 30 people all in all. We introduce ourselves first, and discuss all the rules and stuff. We were waiting for one more girl to arrive to we kind of just hung out and got to know each other. When we were all there, we separated in to three groups and just talked about experiences and how life is after one month. I think this was great. It’s just nice to know that you’re not alone and that we’re all going through the same thing and we all feel the same frustrations and stuff. I actually feel more comfortable speaking in German around them than at home. The whole workshop of day one ended at around 9pm. The youth hostel wasn’t gonna lock it’s doors ’til midnight so we decide to explore the city, even though everything is closed. We were a big, loud group and it was late at night, for Germany, so I’m surprise bottles weren’t thrown at us. But it was fun otherwise. We finally get back to the hostel around 11:45. First we sing “Happy Birthday” to Julio from Colombia. Then we head upstairs to the rooms, bought a bunch of gummy bears, then we all hung out in one room singing and laughing and being crazy and stuff. Finally went to bed around 1:30 maybe?
Breakfast was 7-9. So me and the other girls in my room decided to wake up at 7:30 so we’d all be ready at 8. Yeah we plan well. We’re cool like that. :D So anyhoo. Yeah breakfast is bread and cheese and salami-like things. No surprise there. Next workshop was around 9:30. This time we were separated by continent. South Americans were together. Europeans were together. And they put us Asians (THERE WERE THREE OF US. I WAS NOT ALONE MWAHHAHAHA) and the North Americans together. And we kinds just did a “compare and contrast” thing between Germany and our home countries focusing on being a teenager, communication, people. Stuff like that. One of us Asians, Wai from Hong Kong, is just the best. He can’t speak German and speaks a little English and he’s so freaking funny. So we were playing Ninja during one of our free periods and he was beside me, so naturally, I aim for him, and he goes “No no no no no! Asian team, asian team!” It’s hilarious. He’s the best. :))
Anyhoo. :)) In one of our workshops, we played this game. They separated us into groups of three and gave each group an apple, a banana, and a map of the city. We were supposed to go around the city, asking random strangers if they would trade anything for the apple or the banana. And just keep trading and trading for more expensive things. We had 2 hours. It was great. We got to tour the city and met all these nice people and it was fun, seeing what people would trade and stuff.
That night, after all the workshops, we had a talent show, and everybody was required to go up on stage and do something at least once. You didn’t have to go alone. Me and the Schwäbisch Hall gang performed the Macarena. No kidding. We planned it. We even had a 5 minute practice the night before. People did some weird things. Anyone would just get up and do anything really. Jonathan from Canada ate a whole bag of gummi candies all at once and it looked like he almost died doing it. Chianna from USA recited the whole “To be or not to be” speech which is honestly just friggin’ amazing to me. The whole show was a free for all thing and we all had fun with everything.
After this, we all got ready to go explore the city some more, since we had more time this time. This is the part where I have my first McDonald’s experience in Germany. I didn’t see anything special on the menu really, and I wasn’t in the mood for burgers. So I had chicken nuggets. 6 pieces. I didn’t know if they had barbecue sauce so when the guy asked if I wanted ketchup, I just said yeah. Because ketchup in German IS KETCHUP. O_O And I therefore conclude that chicken nuggets with ketchup tastes weird. Oh yeah. Their regular fries here is probably bigger than the size of the large fries in the Philippines. Oh. And some guys, who might have been a bit drunk, were asking questions and stuff and when one guy found out we were exchange students, he gave us his number and told us if we ever
wanted to party or find out where the best beer was, we could call him. Lol.
So it was the last day and in my mind, I was trying very hard to make last longer. We had one last workshop before lunch. Lunch was cute because we got to see the family of some of the students, because some families came to pick up their guest kids. And then we took a few more group photos (there were a lot throughout the weekend) before those of us taking the train back home walked to the train station. And then on the way to the train station, and at the train station, there were more laughs and weirdness, and being all strange and attention-grabbing in public again. Got on the wrong train a few times, but we got out in time. And yet again, we don’t care. :)) When us Schwäbisch Hall people finally get on the train, we’re all dead. Everyone just falls asleep. No more weirdness, unless of course you were a stranger. Then you see one whole section of the train filled with kids sleeping, on each other’s shoulders, on the floor, just wherever feels comfortable and whatever.
And that was my trip. Most of it anyway. I don’t think it’s as much fun reading about it than it is experiencing it. I think these camp things are great thought. It helps to know that you’re not alone and that there are other people out there who understand completely how you feel, and you take comfort in it. Well I did anyway.
I needed this camp. It was an epic weekend with epic people. If any of you epic people are reading this, just wanna say thanks for a great weekend. Let’s make sure that the next time we see each other is before the next camp ayt?
And for the rest, thanks for sticking with me y’all.