The All Ohio State Fair Youth Choir

Hello! Hola! Guten Tag!

So back in 2016 I did this thing called the All Ohio State Fair Youth Choir. It’s basically a choir camp for three-ish weeks, where 200 kids from all over Ohio come together in Columbus to sing at the state fair. We gather five days before the fair begins and learn about 50 pieces of music, both pop and art songs. And then we perform anywhere from 5-8 concerts every day. In the end we do just a little over 100 concerts by the end of the fair.

It’s such a fun thing to do. I met so many amazing and inspiring people in 2016, and I knew that I wanted to do it again. I had planned to come back in 2017 for the state fair, but unfortunately since I was going to be leaving for Germany, I was unable to participate last year. But while I was in Germany this year I filled out the application, because I thought that it would be a great breaker between my life in Germany and my life in America.

I am SO thankful for all of the people who were able to help me out State side while I was busy working on paperwork for my program, and getting ready to come home. Without everyone in Ohio I wouldn’t have been able to participate in this year’s choir. The day that I got home my mom handed me a big packet of music that had come in the mail. I had 8 days to study it before I went to the Choir.

When I did leave for Choir I was both nervous and excited. I felt like a new member all over again, and I told myself that I shouldn’t feel that way because, after all, I was a returning member. But it definitely didn’t feel like that. I missed out on an entire year of learning new people, different music, and so many memories. Seeing the directors, and people from my first year definitely helped to make me feel at home in the beginning.

I quickly met new people during Rehearsal Week. My bunk mate Faith, ended up being one of the people I got closest to throughout the fair, just from hanging out in the dorms together. I was able to rekindle old friendships and spark new ones. That’s one of the reasons that I love the Choir so much.

This year’s theme was This Is Me. Our title song, from the Greatest Showman, was one of my favorites to sing, along with so many others. All of the music we did was so inspiring, and I really connected with each of the pieces in different ways.

When I wasn’t singing for 12 hours every single day, I was able to hang out in the dorms, play cards, go out on the fair, and just hang out with friends. The friendships I have made this year are so valuable to me and I am very thankful that I have gotten to know so many amazing people.

The fair flew by much quicker than I thought it would. People always say that time flies when you are having fun. And I definitely did have fun, but there’s no way to really realize how quickly three weeks can go by when you’re spending it with so many people you love.

I truly do hope that I will have the opportunity to participate in the Youth Choir next year, as it will be my last. So to any of the staff or students who may be reading this…honk honk and goodnight choir.

Stay Gold!

-Jocelyn

I’m Officially State Side

Hello! Hola! Guten Tag!

This might be a little off topic for the beginning of a post which I am sure will be really interesting, but I don’t know why I write ‘Hola’ anymore, my Spanish went down the drain after Christmas, and I dont really remember a lot of it…oops! Any who! As you can see from the title of this post I am officially back in the United States of America!

The journey home has been a whirlwind of emotions, traveling, camps, and so much more. I don’t even really know if I can call it the journey home, because I have two homes now. One in Kempen and one in Cedarville.

I shall start where I left off in my last post. My friend Gesa and I got to hang out the Wednesday that her and Theveya did their presentation. We hung out at my house, she took a TON of clothes that I didn’t want to haul back to the US, and we got to share some awesome music with each other. Including my new musical artist obsession, Shawn Mendes.

June 24th was my last meeting with my local AFS chapter. We all got together and grilled and just hung out. It was really bittersweet to say goodbye to everyone. It was one of the first moments where I really realized that I wouldn’t be seeing some of these people again. It was just weird to think about the fact that my program would be coming to an end and that over the next few weeks that’s what I would be doing non stop. And weird is the only word I can think of to describe that feeling.

June 26th I had planned to make my way into Düsseldorf to tour the Heinrich Heine Universität, but never actually made it that far. Instead I stopped in Krefeld to go to Media Markt to return a pair of headphones I bought that didn’t work. Fortunately I found my way there, unfortunately my phone nearly died. Fortunately they let me return my headphones in exchange for new ones. Unfortunately I was on the sketchy side of town and  wasn’t too sure of the way home. But I made it home in the end, and was proud that I used all of my german skills to return a pair of headphones.

June 27th I met up with Gesa in Straelen to go to the second-hand store we found there and get ice cream. We had a lot of fun together since it was our last time hanging out one on one! I was glad that’s how I got to spend one of my last Wednesdays in Germany!

June 30th was a really fun day for me! My mom, during a trip to St. Augustine, had met some people who love sailing! Their names are, Ken and Ami, and they own a travel blog called Sea Shifter! They were doing a European trip and were actually along the Rhein in a town near Koblenz. My mom and I talked it through, and I asked my host parents, and I booked a ticket to go down to meet them!

We decided to meet up in Boppard for lunch, there we got to sit along the Rhein, watch the boats and people, eat, and talk. They are such great people and I definitely suggest you check out their Facebook Page! We were able to explore the beautiful city of Boppard before making our individual ways back to Koblenz.

After we had said goodbye I still had plenty of time before I needed to go back home. So I was able to explore Koblenz a little bit. I hadn’t been there before, so it was a little confusing at first but once I was in the downtown area, or touristy area, I was able to find my way around. Some of the things I did in Koblenz: The German Corner, Coffee, H&M, and a typical German Biergarten where I ate basically the German version of mac and cheese.

The very next day I got up, somewhat, early so that I would be able to make it into Cologne. I had made plans with some people to meet up, but then they ended up getting cancelled, so I was alone in Cologne. But it was okay, I wasn’t going to waste my last day there. I went to an art museum that was really close to the Hauptbahnhof. There were a lot of interesting pieces and it was actually kind of relieving to get to explore something like that alone. I was on my own time, and if I didn’t like something I didn’t have to do it.

I also went inside of the Dom. I had been inside once before, and its gorgeous, but in my opinion the outside is much more breathtaking than the inside. That may just be because I have already been inside so many churches in Europe, or because I actually find some other churches prettier on the inside. Who knows?

Entering my last week in Germany.

On the 3rd of July I made my way to Geldern to meet up with my friends from the first school I went to. We walked around the city, ate some ice cream, and goofed off together. I was so thankful that we were able to plan something before I left so that I would be able to see them at least one more time before I was gone.

On the 4th of July I was an obnoxious American. But that’s okay. 🙂 I dressed up in some black shorts, a tank top that said USA, and a camo jacket. I went to Düsseldorf to meet up with Samantha. The first thing that we did was get food from our favorite restaurant in Düsseldorf, Sattgrün. It was delicious, as always. After lunch we went to a park near the Medien Hafen and laid in the grass and played music. Some of it was really American, other was just good music.

We stayed in Düsseldorf late enough to get dinner so we went to this restaurant called Green trees in Düsseldorf Bilk. There Samantha and I both got açaí bowls. It was my first time trying one, and she was shocked. It turned out to be really good. And they were filled with different fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, and deliciousness.

That evening I rode the train back home thinking that would be my last time in Düsseldorf for a while. Turns out it wasn’t because that evening I found out that my 1st class was cancelled so Samantha and I made plans to go back to Green trees for breakfast.  Later in the afternoon I met up with a lot of my friends in Kempen for ice cream and just to say an official goodbye. I thought that I would still have Friday to say goodbye to everybody, but turns out ALL of my classes were cancelled on Friday, so that didn’t happen.

Friday evening me, Annette, Christoph, and Annette’s parents all went out for dinner at a vegan restaurant in Krefeld. We had a great dinner together, and I was so thankful to get to see everyone one more time. The next morning I woke up early to have breakfast with Annette and Christoph. I had made them a little picture frame collage with pictures of us together throughout the year to give to them. We ate breakfast and exchanged gifts. I truly do have the greatest host family.

That day we drove down to Frankfurt am Main to meet up with the rest of the AFSers who were flying home. After we signed in I was able to eat dinner with my host family in Frankfurt. When they took me back we said our goodbyes. It was hard, but I know that I will see them again, so I tried to keep that in mind. When we parted ways I went downstairs to where the rest of the AFSers were. Saria was there so we were able to hang out for that evening.

The next morning was a LONG day. We woke up at like 5:30 and had to leave for the airport even though the plane leaving to Washington DC wasn’t until 12:30. We hung out in the airport for a while before going through security and then waiting at our gate. I felt strangely okay the entire time. I saw my friends saying goodbye to their host families, or crying because they didn’t want to leave. And I had felt sad yes, but also happy for this new adventure. I don’t think that it had really hit me that I was leaving until we were outside of the airport walking to our plane, and I saw that I really was leaving. I cried then, but it was good, I let myself cry. It was the healthy thing to do.

The 8 hour flight back to the states was so long, yet I almost forget everything that happened. I think that when you are in the air that long things kinda start to feel like a dream. I remember watching a few movies and sleeping for a little while.

When we landed it was afternoon in the States. We got through customs, made our way back to the hotel, and had a session with AFS CBYX. Saria had pulled some strings to make sure that we were roomed together so we would be able to spend some more time with one another. And I am so thankful that they let us room together.

The next morning I was up at 4 AM getting Reese’s from the vending machine because of jet lag. I stayed up for the rest of the day through out our meetings at the State Department, and with our Representatives for Congress. In the evening I was SO tired.

Our last day in DC we had a “Graduation Ceremony” with AFS saying that we had officially completed our program. There was sparkling apple juice, and photos, along with a little certificate saying that we had completed the program. We had another little re-entry program, and then the parents started arriving.

Saria and I hung out and played the Deutschland Card Game that my host family had gotten for me, we played our ukulele’s, and just enjoyed each other’s presence. It was really hard for me to comprehend that I would be saying goodbye to all the amazing students who were on program with me, and I wouldn’t know when the next time I would see them. Every one of the CBYXers were all amazing in their individual ways, and some of them I may never see again. Even if I wasn’t close to everyone on program it’s still weird to think that we went through something so life changing together, and then we just have to say goodbye. It all went by so fast.

The goodbyes to everybody were emotional. When the time came that I had to leave for my plane with the rest of the Ohioans who were flying I wasn’t ready to go. I had already said one of my two hardest goodbyes. Samantha had left for her flight long before I needed to, but when it came to Saria I was heartbroken. Even though Saria have basically mastered the long distance friendship, this time there was no set date when we could see each other again. Life can get in the way of a lot of planning, but when you are on a program with required camps, you know when you’re going to see a person again. I still don’t know the next time I will see Samantha or Saria, but that’s okay. We will have to make do with texting and video calls.

When we got to the airport I was at a different gate than the other Ohioans, so we parted ways, and I sat at my gate until my plane was ready to board. The entire flight home I was so anxious, and exhausted. I tried to take a nap because it was supposed to be a two-hour flight. But was too excited/anxious to land. I couldn’t listen to music either, and anyone who knows me, knows that if I can’t listen to music I must have been pretty occupied. Hahahaha.

The plane ride turned out to only be 45 minutes instead of 2 hours, which was awesome. After I got off the plane I tried to make my way to the baggage claim to get my items before I found my family. TURNS OUT my family was already there! I heard someone yell my name and turned to see my grandparents, my mom and brother, and my friend Jessica and her mom!

After I saw everyone standing there all of the nerves and excitement left my body. I knew that I was home and that it was all going to be okay. I know these people. I have for a long time, and there was nothing to be nervous about. After getting photos some more of my friends from Cedarville arrived, more hugs and pictures ensued. I was so happy to see everyone.

When everyone arrived and the excitement died down a little bit we went out to Melt Bar and Grill for dinner. They have delicious grilled cheese! We had dinner and then drove home. It was oddly strange to ride home, everything felt so normal, but also surreal and unfamiliar. I knew where I was, I knew the people I was with, and that was comforting. It felt normal, but there was still a little voice in the back of my head reminding me that I was gone for 11 months, and this was my first time back. It’s indescribable unless you’ve experienced it yourself.

I am so happy to be back home, and while I miss Germany so much I know that I will be back soon. ❤

Pictures will be up on my Instagrams : @jocelyn.minton and @the.guten.tag.blog

And AS ALWAYS

Stay Gold!

-Jocelyn

MEGA UPDATE

Hello! Hola! Guten Tag!

It’s been a WHILE since my last post. I’m sorry about that, it’s been a mixture of procrastination and wanting to focus on the rest of my time spent in Germany. I guess that I will start from where I left off in my last update about my life.

April 27th I went to Kleve to meet up with my Betreuer, Hannah. We hung out around the zoo there and then walked through the city and had some ice cream together before I had to make my way back home. (We also snapped a cute pic of me and a goat at the zoo, at least I think it’s a goat…)

On May 1st I went to the movies by myself. I’m really happy I was alone looking back on it though. I went to go see Avengers: Infinity War, and I kid you not, I SOBBED in the theater. Which was completely packed by the way. I just am really attached to my Marvel characters okay? Nobody touches Tony Stark or Peter Parker!

May 2nd was a really fun day for me! I woke up early to go to Bonn to visit the UN. We had a group of CBYX students, from AFS and other programs, meet up to do the tour together! Bonn is such a beautiful city and I am so thankful that I was able to visit and learn more about what the UN’s mission is there!

On May 4th (STAR WARS) I met up with my good friend Julia for ice cream in Kempen. She graduated this year and is already finished so I don’t get to see her that much any more, but it was great to catch up and hang out for a little bit! That evening Samantha came over and we had a sleepover at my house.

The next day Sam and I went into Duisburg for some ice cream and to walk around the city, I then spent the night at her house and we goofed off, listened to music, and watched a really weird movie called Flatliners.

On May 6th Sam and I were STILL together and we made our way into Bochum to check the city out. Sam has been talking about going to Bochum since January and we finally made it there in May. It wasn’t the prettiest city, but it was nice to walk around somewhere new. We also stopped and got some vegan sushi for dinner which was one of the best things I’ve tasted!

On May 9th I went to the city of Essen to meet up with Samantha again for ice cream at a cafe called I Am Love. They had this delicious strawberry mint flavor that reminded me so much of Jenni’s Splendid Ice Creams. I can’t wait to get some Jenni’s when I am back in Ohio! ❤

The 10th of may I made my way back to my favorite city in all of Germany, Hamburg! There was an email that my program had sent to me about a scholarship for a camp that would have a program all about economics. I am so happy that I decided to go because this camp was so much fun, and I learned so many new things. It was also a free trip back to my favorite city, and I got to spend it with some of my favorite people.

At the camp we had student lead group discussions about different topics that we were interested in. From how politics and economics works, to the fashion industry and economics. It was all very interesting and extremely informative! Our camp was set a little ways away from the actual city of Hamburg, but on the 12th we were able to make our way there. There was a boat tour that we did, which reminded me so much of summer! Our group sat at a table and played cards the entire trip, while we drank AMERICAN SPRITE! (Yes, it is different in Germany)

When we made it into the city it was so gorgeous! The perfect day to be out! Ailish, Charlie, Osmar and I made our way to a cafe that sits right along the harbor that a group would always go to during Language Camp. We took a bunch of cute photos and even got to experience the celebration of the birthday of the Harbor!

For dinner that night the entire camp went to a restaurant that I forget the name of. When we got back to the hostel that we were staying at a group of the CBYX AFSers who were there got together and stayed up really late having deep conversations. It was awesome, there were snacks and friends. ❤

After Economy Camp it was spring break! Christoph and I drove down to Bayern, excuse me BAVARIA, for spring break. It was so gorgeous and I was so happy to see the Alps! We went to a small little festival where I tried a typical Bavarian pretzel. I was able to see people wearing Dirndls and Lederhosen which was a big change from NRW (North Rhein Westfalia, the state that I lived in)!

On May 21 we took a small trip to the Königssee. We did a small boat tour and got off at the St. Bartholomew island! We had dinner in a Biergarten and got to watch the sunset on top of one of the mountains! I still can’t get over how gorgeous they are, it reminded me so much of being in the Smokys.

The next day was so cool, and I bought my favorite thing to come back home from Germany with me, other than Katjes Gummies of course! I purchased a Dirndl! It’s blue and pink, and I love it so much and am really excited to wear it to dinner the night before I leave, and to German Club events when I am back in Ohio!

On May 25 we were back home, and I had made plans to go catch a movie with some friends in Cologne at the english movie theater! We all met up for indian food, walked around the city, and then watched Deadpool 2 together. It was a hilarious movie, and if you liked the first I definitely suggest going to see the second! 🙂

The 26th Samantha, Annette, Christoph, and I were all in Düsseldorf for Japan Day! Which was a festival celebrating Japanese culture. There were dance performances, music, food, and so many people! 🙂

On the 30th I met up with my friend Gesa after school in Straelen, a small town nearby Kempen. We went to the first thrift store I have seen in Germany that isn’t disguised as a vintage store which is really expensive! I bought two shirts each for only a euro! We hung out around the town and got ice cream before going back home.

The 31st Annette, Christoph, and I went to the movies in Kempen to see Solo: A Star Wars Story (in German!!) It was also such an amazing film, and I feel like the actors really did their characters justice. If you like Star Wars you should watch it ❤

On June 2nd I went into Cologne to meet up with Samantha, Hayley, and Keldon. I bought some new pants and a shirt for our End of Stay camp in Berlin. We had a ton of fun goofing off around the city and eating sushi! 🙂

The 5th I left my host family early to spend the night with Sam because on the 6th we left for Berlin! We spent the day after school in Düsseldorf and had a good dinner together. The next morning Samantha’s host mom called a cab to take us to the Duisburg Hbf, where we would take our train to Berlin. On the way there we were stuck in the quiet room, because that’s where our reserved seats were. Which meant that we couldn’t really talk like we normally would, but it was okay in the end. I got to listen to music and watch a movie.

When we made it to the Berlin Hbf I don’t know why, but I was nervous. Maybe it was because this camp meant that it was really the end of my exchange year. Maybe it was because I was SO excited to see my best friend again. Maybe it was because I was in a new city. I don’t know but there were angry butterflies in my stomach and I did not appreciate it.

When I found the rest of the CBYX group I left my bags in the middle of the walk way because Saria and I did that movie thing where you both drop everything you’re doing and run to hug the other person. It’s crazy how someone you’ve only seen in person four times can impact your life so much. I may or may not have teared up a little bit when I saw her, but it was the best hug I have received in a while, and I am glad that she was the one giving it to me. ❤

Our first day of End of Stay (from here on referred to as EOS) we took a bus tour of the city. There was a lot of information to take in, so I don’t remember everything, but I will say my favorite part of the tour was the stop we made at the East Side Gallery. That evening the Betreuers took us out for dinner at a fully vegan African restaurant. It was SO delicious and I hope that I can be more mindful about trying different cultural foods when I am back in the US.

June 8th was our Bundestag Visit! We had to wake up at like 5AM so we could be ready on time. When we got there we were able to meet all 350 CBYXers for the first time! It was great seeing everybody together. At our visit we were able to watch a Debate in the Bundestag, have a panel discussion with some of the representatives, eat lunch, and meet all of the other CBYXers!

After we were done at the Bundestag we made our way back to the Brandenburger Tor and went to the American Embassy. There they welcomed us with music, doughnuts, American soda, and conversation about different professions we could potentially take up with the embassy when we are older. It was all very interesting, and a little bit refreshing to see that American Culture.

June 9th we had free time in the city after our programs. I got to hang out with some really great girls who kept me calm the whole day, as I had thought that I lost my phone. (Turns out it was under a german flag laying on my bed -_-) We then went to a German history museum which was really cool.

That evening the Betreuers made a little graduation ceremony for us. I, being the emotional human being I am, cried more than I would like to admit. IN MY DEFENSE, they did sing Seasons of Love for us, who wouldn’t cry to that?!

On June 10th after we said goodbye to everyone the same group I hung out with the day before, and I, all went out to discover the city a little bit more. There was a market going on, and a little festival as well! It was REALLY HOT outside, and at one point I really needed to find a restroom, but they aren’t free in Germany and I didn’t wanna pay. So we went looking for ice cream, found out the place had a free toilet, and then bought some of the best ice cream I have ever had. The shop was owned by two American women, and they had such unique flavors!

June 13th a group of us CBYXers got together in Düsseldorf to visit the American Consulate. This visit to the consulate was so interesting because the Consulate General was so open, honest, and genuinely wanted to answer our questions and even hear what we thought about things too! After our visit there we went to get dinner, froyo, and I bought a few shirts from the HUGE sale H&M was having. On the 14th I met up in Duisburg with Samantha and we got a lot of work done in Starbucks!

Last but not least in my update, this past Wednesday my friends Theveya and Gesa did a presentation over Indian Culture, and one of the things they talked about was fashion. They had asked me to model a Sari for them! It was such an interesting presentation, and I really think they did a good job! ❤

I should be periodically adding photos to my instagram instead of on this post because there would be a lot to add! But this was an update for now! I will be writing more!

Stay Gold!

-Jocelyn

oh my gosh I am so sorry

Hello, Hola, Guten Tag!

It’s been a WHILE since I have pushed out a blog post, and I have really  been meaning to write one, but I just haven’t. I am currently on my train to Berlin for my End of Stay Camp! :)))) The WiFi isn’t the greatest, but I will try to write one big blog post about the MAJOR things I have been unto since my last post.

Again so sorry for being inconsistent lol.

Until Then!

Stay Gold,

-Jocelyn M

 

The Guten Tag Vlog

Hello! Hola! Guten Tag!

Ok. So. I had the idea of vlogging long before I had started the Guten Tag Blog. Recently I thought it would be interesting for all of you to actually get to see what my life in Germany is like through more than just words and photos. Therefore, I have decided to try out vlogging! I am really excited, I think it will be something enjoyable for everyone who watches, while also pushing me out of my comfort zone and forcing me to explore more than I maybe would have before! I will let y’all know when I upload the first video, and if any of you have ideas, or requests for what I should do (maybe other than just a normal vlog) email me, DM me on Instagram, or leave a comment down below!

Until Next Time!

Stay Gold!

-Jocelyn

Halbzeitcamp in München!

Hello! Hola! Guten Tag!

I recently got back from my trip to Munich with my CBYX program for our Midstay camp! It was so much fun to see all of my other Americans, and get to explore a little bit of Bayern, even though it was much colder than the Düsseldorf area during this time of year.

I started my trip on February 25th. I left from Kempen around 9 AM to get to Düsseldorf Hauptbahnhof. There I met my friend Shaila and we waited for our train to arrive. The ride was nice we talked about what had been going on in our lives recently, and how excited we were to see everybody. When we were about halfway through our train ride, before we needed to change, we arrived in Koblenz. I was so excited to get here because one of my best friends Saria was going to be boarding our train! I hadn’t seen her in six months, and was so ready to give her a hug!

When Saria got situated on the train we all started talking again. It was so surreal to be there with her in person. Saria and I will often talk on the phone, but it’s so different to talk face to face instead of over video. Somehow we got on the conversation of languages and a nice man who was sitting next to us joined the conversation, in English first, but later we all switched to German. It was cool to see someone who was interested in what we were talking about. Oftentimes a stereotype about Germany is that people won’t make small talk with strangers, and while I have found this to be mostly true, that does’t mean there aren’t exceptions. This man was definitely an exception. He was so kind, and it was cool to have a conversation with him.

When we transferred trains in Mannheim we were getting onto an ICE that had A LOT of the other CBYXers from NRW. I sat with Samantha, and got to say hello to a few other people. We later arrived in Munich, and made our way to the youth hostel that we were staying at! After everyone was signed in we all got to eat dinner together. The food at the hostel was pretty good, and I am happy that they had vegetarian options available for me. I had forgotten to email AFS about that, but it didn’t seem to be an issue.

On February 27th we got to ride from Possenhofen, where our hostel was, into the city of Munich. There we walked around and some of us went to an art museum. It was really interesting and had some nice pieces. Although a few of them seemed to be pretty dark. I really like to go to art museums because even if I don’t necessarily understand what the artist was trying to convey, I can still enjoy the fact that they put the time and effort into creating something.

After the art museum we all met up by the Rathaus for a small tour of the city. It was all outside, which was COLD! But the tour was all in German, so everyone was able to practice their German while learning something new about the city we would be staying at for a week.

After our tour of the city some of went to the Deutsches Museum. There was so much to see and so little time. Eventually Saria and I ended up in the Space and Astronomy section and just hung out. We even met a family from Arizona who was on vacation in Germany!

Throughout the week, when we weren’t in the city, we were at the hostel going through different presentations and group activities about the different rules of the program, and sort of ‘therapeutic’ sessions to talk about how our exchange year was going so far. This was not my favorite part of the camp, but it was required so I can’t complain. Especially because I was able to see all of my friends!

On March 1 we went once again from Possenhofen to Munich. This time we had the option to go to a German history museum, or a Jewish museum. I decided to visit the Jewish museum, it was very interesting and had a nice set up to it. Right at the beginning of the museum there were different comics about different things both in German and in English.

After the Jewish museum we all met up to go to a Synagogue. Unfortunately I am not able to post any of the photos from here, but the building was gorgeous. The ceiling was made out of glass so you could see the sunlight through it. A woman gave us a tour and we were able to explore a little bit on our own.

After the Synagogue we had some free time in the city. I went with Samantha, Charlie, and Ailish! We made our way from the Synagogue to a restaurant called Hans im Glück. It is a fairy tale themed restaurant that has delicious burgers! (Vegetarian and Vegan ones as well!)

When we made it inside the restaurant we were all excited because Charlie’s mom was coming to visit her! It was so good to be around an American mom! She was so sweet, and paid for our meals, if you’re reading this thank you so much again!

After we finished our burgers we walked through the city trying to find another restaurant that Sam wanted to go to. They sold vegan cinnamon buns, and they were delicious! After that we walked a little bit more through the city before making our way back to the hostel!

I forget exactly when this happened in the timeline of our midstay camp, but we did get the chance to meet with the Council General from the U.S. Consulate in Munich. He was very nice in answering all of our questions. It really interested me in researching more about governmental jobs involving foreign affairs! Who knows maybe one day in the future I will be back in Germany working at the Consulate!

On our last day in Possenhofen we held a dance. Everyone dressed up a little bit and we got to have snacks, and a bit of fun before leaving each other for three more months. It was nice, but I was also tired so I went to bed early. The next morning everybody woke up and brought their bags down stairs. We had one last meeting before we began to make our way towards the Munich Hauptbahnhof to catch our trains home. I got to hang out with Saria a little bit more before we said goodbye for what we thought was going to be the last time for three more months.

The ride back home was nice. I think I probably listened to music or watched something on my phone. When I got home I was exhausted, but it was so nice to be back with Annette and Christoph. Kempen really feels like a second home to me, and even the thought of leaving it in July makes me somewhat sad. I know that I will definitely be back to visit, but it’s not the same as living there for almost nine months.

Sorry that this post got out SO LATE. I don’t know what I have been up to. There should be more coming soon about things I have done after midstay. Until then!

Stay Gold!

-Jocelyn

Since Munich, and Easter Break

Hello! Hola! Guten Tag!

So since Munich not that much has happened, other than Easter Break, but I will fill y’all in any way! So on March 17th Samantha and I hung out in Cologne. There was a little bit of drama, which caused some awkwardness between a few people, but in the end I think it turned out okay. We got to hang out in the city, go thrifting, eat some DELICIOUS vegan burgers with the best vegan cheese in the world, and just goof off together. The next morning we did face masks and made some delicious yoghurt fruit bowls.

After that on March 23, I got to hang out with a friend from school to eat dinner for her birthday. We went to this delicious American restaurant that had a ton of decorations on the walls (kinda like Cracker Barrel) and played country music! As an American I can confirm that the food was pretty similar. On the way home, as we were waiting for my bus, we got to have a small photo shoot in Wachtendonk. For some reason my camera was being really weird and had an odd filter on it, I am blaming it on the ghosts haha.

March 25th was the first day of Ferien, or Spring Break! I road into Düsseldorf to pick up Saria! She recently switched host families, and is now moving from Koblenz to Bremen. So on the way she stopped by my house for a week to discover a little bit of North Rhein Westphalia. We rode our bikes around Kempen, got some ice cream, and had a photo shoot around town. The weather was so nice so we were able to wear shorts!

The 26th we spent the day in Düsseldorf! We naturally went to Sattgrün to eat, because I SWEAR it is some of the best food I have ever eaten. We stopped and got cupcakes from Sugarbird Cupcakes which is near the Altstadt, and Saria finally bought the Kånken she has been talking about buying.

The next day Saria and I had decided on riding our bikes into the Netherlands to a town called Venlo. We thought that it would be warm, because the weather in the morning in Kempen was, but oh were we wrong. Both of us wore shorts, and we both KNEW that it was going to rain later. But we still went. It took about and hour on the bikes to get there, its 12 miles away from my house.

Once we were in Venlo, after a few bumps in the road, we stopped in a park that we saw and had a picnic. It was so fun to people watch and eat our food out in the open. Even if it was freezing cold and both of us couldn’t feel our legs. Once we had enough of the weather we locked up our bikes and found the nearest cafe to get some tea and cake. Both of us got tiramisu and tea. We brought our diaries so we could each catch up on where we had last written.

Around 4PM we decided that we wanted to start riding back home, so we would be there before it was dark, and before dinner. We snapped a few photos and then began the journey back. This time we took a different route that seemed more through nature than along the highway. Maybe this wasn’t the best idea since my phone wasn’t fully charged, but we made it back safely.

As we were making our way through the woods it began to rain harder than it was before, but since there were so many trees we didn’t notice. Finally we were back in Kempen in the warmth of my house. We ate dinner and went to bed.

After Venlo we wanted to go into Bonn to visit another CBYXer, Hayley! She showed us around her city and we got to talk about a lot of deep stuff while still having fun! We went shopping, tried on dresses that were way to fancy and expensive for our needs, and stopped by the Haribo factory store before making our way back home! It was so fun to visit Hayley, and I hope to make it back to Bonn one more time!

The next day we made our way over to Essen where we met up with another CBYXer, Audrey! We met at Five Guy’s and ate together, and then started making our way to one of the largest Primarks in Germany. Along the way we stopped in various stores, but there was one that we stayed in longer than the rest. There is a vintage boutique that has a bunch of different dresses and clothes that are all styled like the 40s and 50s. They are all so cute, well made, and not as expensive as you think they would be! As a woman who loves dresses I was shocked at the prices!

The next morning Saria and I woke up early to make our way back to Düsseldorf so she could catch her bus to Dresden! The rest of the day I chilled, and packed my bags to go to Juist! Juist is a small island in the North Sea.

The day after we dropped Saria off my host family and I began our ride to Juist, we were accompanied by Annette and Christoph’s niece Paula. She is so nice and I am happy to have met her! I mostly slept the entire car ride, but when we were there, I was so excited to be out of the car and on the island. An interesting tidbit about the island is that there are no cars. People get around by bike, walking, or even a carriage.

After we had all put our bags away we took a small walk along the beach, it’s so pretty and it reminded me of New Year’s in Denmark! On Easter Sunday we all went on an “Easter Egg Hunt” but there were no eggs, just candy (which I was perfectly okay with hahaha). Most of the week we were able to relax. We went on walks, ate together, and all got to go on a Mudflat Hike! There is a part of the sea where all of the water is gone at the low tide and you can walk for a really far distance! We got to see different worms, clams, and walk through the North Sea, without any water! It was such an interesting hike, and was probably my favorite thing we did on the trip. There was a camera crew there who was recording a report on the Mudflat and all about the program that is served. (I will have to keep an eye out for it and put a link somewhere for you guys when it is up!)

After Juist we went to Rotterdam. Over the past months Annette has been training for a marathon. The last two days of our Easter Break was when she ran! The first day I had a little bit of free time to explore Rotterdam on my own, before leaving with my host Grandparents over to Pernis, which is where our hotel was. It was a small little town which was very cute!

The next morning we got to follow Annette around and cheer her on throughout the marathon. It was so cool to witness, and maybe one day I will try to run one as well! I loved the vibe that the city had. Maybe it was because of the marathon, or just Rotterdam in general, but it reminded me so much of the time that I was in Chicago. I fell in love with Rotterdam a lot quicker than I expected.

This past week I have been back in school. On Monday I went into Düsseldorf with Samantha for frozen yogurt because it is so warm right now! I am loving the spring weather that Germany is having at the moment. That is all for now!

Until next time!

Stay Gold!

-Jocelyn