I’M SORRY…

I am so sorry for not posting in 3 months!! So much has happened and I seriously don’t even know where to start… time flies when you’re on exchange, I’m telling you….

Actually, let’s start where I ended my last blog post: SEATTLE.

We were in Seattle such a long time ago, I can’t even remember everything… We went to the Sherlock Holmes exhibition at the Science Center and we went up the Space Needle, it was an amazing weekend. We did so many small things as well, went shopping, had amazing dinner and stayed at a fancy hotel, it was just an amazing time.

…that was in November..

In December I started Basketball season and even though it was one of the hardest things I have ever done it was totally worth it and looking back at it now… I made some pretty amazing memories, and that season was probably one of the best things in my exchange year so far.

Also in December, to be more specific December 17th we headed to TEXAS! It took us 3 days to get from Springdale, Washington to Corpus Christi, Texas. But it was totally worth it. We stopped at the 4-corners–a monument where Utah, Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico meet, and even though it wasn’t as glorious as I thought it would be, it was still worth seeing.
So my host mom’s parents live down there and they always celebrate Christmas with them, which is why we headed to Texas. It was amazing coming from super cold (-20°F) Washington to amazingly warm (78°F) Texas. I’m telling you, coming back home after those 2 weeks was hard!!! But let’s not forget to mention what all we did.
We went to the gulf of Mexico several times and I even went in there on Christmas day. Christmas was a totally new experience for me. Having it in the morning of the 25th and not at night on the 24th  was weird. It was also weird not having our traditions and not being with my family. Another very different thing was the weather. I have never celebrated Christmas while it had 80° outside… and I have also never been swimming in the Gulf of Mexico…
I saw SO many dolphins and I’m totally in love with those animals! I have never seen one in real life before.

New Years was a big disappointment, while at home we celebrate it really big, it seems not to be such a big deal in the US.. or maybe just with my family? We watched the Ball drop in New York about three times, until it was finally our turn to say Goodbye 2016 and Hello 2017! I didn’t even see any firework.. I mean… New Years without firework? What’s up with you America? You’re weird…

Anyhow, on the 2nd of January 2017(!!!) we left beautiful Texas behind and drove towards home. Thanks to the horrible road conditions due to snow and ice in Idaho, Montana and Washington it took us an additional day to get home, yes, we were in the car for 4 DAYS. But it was quite nice because we were only 5 people again… Oh wait… didn’t I tell you? My formerly introduced new host sister from Thailand left us again. I will not say why exactly, just because me and my host family agreed not to spread it to wide, and well.. the internet is very wide! lol. Anyways, let’s just say she didn’t fit into our family plus she made a huge mistake which cost her her second chance in my host family… So we left her in Texas with an IEC from EF who took care of her and did everything she should have.

Once we came home I went back to school and on Saturday, January 7th was my big day… my 18th Birthday! I knew that the 18th isn’t as important here as it is at home and I knew that it’s really nothing special…. But it still made me kinda sad, that my family and friends weren’t there to celebrate this  big day with me and I was also a little bit sad that I didn’t have a party… but my host parents made the day the best they could. My host mom made me a cake, got me 18 red roses (which my mom asked her to buy for me, I cried!) and took me out for dinner at a german restaurant, where I was able to speak German with one of the waitresses. All in all it was a pretty decent day!

I don’t really know what else happened those past 3 months, but I think I broke down the most important things. I started Softball season today and I will go to Seattle Comic Con this weekend, I am super hyped and can’t wait!! I will keep you updated (no promises on when I will post again, I will try to post every month from now on, but.. you know.. sometimes life happens!)

Talk to you soon!!

Laura

(It’s been 208 days here in the US and only 92 until my parents come over here and tour the west coast with me….time flies… make the best of every second!)

 

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HUGE UPDATE

I’m sorry for not posting in a while (almost 2 months actually) but it’s hard to find time and internet to upload pictures etc. But therefore you’ll get a HUGE Update now. A lot happened in the past few weeks!

Let’s start with HOMECOMING…
It was in October, a pretty long time ago actually. As my school is VERY small the dance was really small and boring too. I expected it to be way better than it turned out to be, but I still had fun with my friends, we danced, took pictures and had a “good time”IMG_2617.JPGIMG_2626.JPG

Next thing that happened….
Well, I kinda got a new Host Sister. NO, my host mom didn’t get a baby, but they decided to host another exchange student from Thailand, because she had a really rough start, had to change host families twice and couldn’t get into a school so we decided to take her in as a Welcome Family. We later said that we’ll keep her for the rest of the year.
Her name is Ramida, she is 16 years old and actually pretty decent, I mean sometimes she can be annoying, but that’s what siblings do haha 😀

Next thing… Halloween
Halloween has been amazing, we carved Pumpkins and wen’t trick or treating at night. It was an awesome night.

hhh.jpg

Ramida’s been with us for about 4 months now and she’s attending the same high school I do. We also started Basketball together.

Basketball is really exhausting and my legs constantly hurt now 😀 I really have to get in shape!

home-2015-11-thanksgiving-dinner-stocksy-main.jpgYesterday was THANKSGIVING and it was GREAT. we had A LOT of food, about 12 different side dishes to the turkey and the ham and 13 different desserts, they all looked delicious but if I tried all of it… well… Idk if I could still walk now 😀
We went to my host families family, which also are our neighbors and had dinner with the family. We spent all day with them, talked, ate and had a good time.

Today is Black Friday, which meant we got up at 4:00 am so we could leave at 4:30 am to go into town for black Friday shopping, we went to Fred Meyers and Walmart and then we headed to Seattle.

We stopped in North Bend, where a big Outlet Mall is, to do some more shopping. We finally arrived in Seattle at about 2pm and we got into our hotel. We’re staying at the Sheraton Hotel in Downtown Seattle and we’re on the 16th floor, and it looks really great.
We’ll spend all weekend here, and I promise to post a separate blog about it sometime next week!!! IMG_3315.JPG

I hope you’re having an amazing day/week/month.

I will talk to you soon!!

-Laura

(It’s been 114 days (almost 4 months) in the US already, crazy how fast the time flies when you’re having the best time of your life.)

 

My first 7 weeks.

In the past few weeks A LOT has happened, and I am very sorry that I’m not able to post as often as I would like to, but I don’t have internet for my computer and I really don’t like writing on my phone (don’t ask me why.)

So… I’ve been in my host family for  7 weeks now. And I’ve been in school for 3.5 weeks.

First of all I have to tell you, that I will not only write the good things about my exchange year, if something bad is happening, I will tell you, which means I’m not filtering anything, you get the truth and nothing but the truth from me (xD).

Let’s start with something not SO great, We started Volleyball practice on August 22nd, and on August 23rd, our second day of practice, lucky me rolled her ankle pretty good and sprained it. It was twice its normal size, so we drove to Urgent Care. I didn’t break it, but as I already said, I sprained it real good.

I haven’t been allowed to play Volleyball ever since and I started Physical Therapy last week, I hope that I will be cleared soon, so that I can play in the last few games in this season.

First day of school has been great, I already knew a few people from my two days of Volleyball (xD) and my host mom had already introduced me to some people of my school. So when I came there the first day, I was pretty late, because my host mom had to bring my host sister and my host brother (who both go to different schools) to their schools, and I was last to be dropped off (because my school starts latest), I met Brooklyn outside of school and she offered to bring me to where we had to go, the auditorium. I of course said yes and we went there right away. After our principals speech in the auditorium, she helped me find my first class and then she headed off to her first class.

My schedule is pretty awesome, I think.

I had to take US History or Government and English, because it’s a requirement from EF. All the others I could choose from myself.

So I have:

  1. AP Literature (my English class)
  2. Psychology
  3. Digital Photo
  4. Drama
    LUNCH
  5. Senior Government
  6. Pre- Calculus (math ._.)
  7. Foods

I love it so far, and even Math is pretty much fun.

In the past 3.5 weeks of school I have already made quite a few friends. I hang around with  two other exchange students from Switzerland and Taiwan quite a lot, but I also am friends with a few Americans.

So, to sum it up, my first 7 weeks here in Washington State have been amazing, I loved every single second of it, and wouldn’t change anything (except for my sprained ankle maybe :D) I love my school, the people there and of course my host family.

Everything is perfect so far, and I’m positive that it will stay that way.

Talk to you soon!! (hopefully)

-Laura

What did I get myself into…!?

Hello! 

First of all I wanted to say I’m sorry that i haven’t posted in a while.  

I’ve been in the USA for exactly 2 weeks now. My first 4 days i spent in New York at my welcome days with EF. 

I arrived in NYC on Wednesday, August 3rd at 11p.m.. Thursday we had classes and on Friday we drove into Manhattan.  

I had my first ride in an American school bus that day.  We got dropped off at Columbus circle at the Southwest end of Central Park. We had about an hour to walk around Central Park.

After that we went down 5th street where we saw Rockefeller center and the St Patrick Cathedral – which I’ve fallen in love with!!

we went to Times Square after that, and it was beyond amazing. I loved it. 

After returning to the Campus in Thornewood, NY, we got ready for our departure thee next day.

On saturday, August 6th I got up at 1:30am we left Thornewood at about 2am and headed to JFK. 

At the JFK Airport we had to check in, which caused some minor problems… once we finally managed to get signed in we went to our gates (I flew to Seattle with 1 other girl). We had to wait about 3h because our plane didn’t leave unyil 7:15am. 
The flight was quite boring, as we didn’t have TVs or food… but it was ok. After 6 LOOONG hours we finally landed in Spokane. 

The first meeting with my host family was amazing. They were super nice right from the beginning!! 

I’ve been in Washington for 13 days now and I really love it. We have already been camping for a softball tournament and were in town quite some times. 

I really love my host family and I’m sure that I couldn’t have gotten a better one! 

My school will start August 31st and Volleyball practice starts on August 22nd.  I’m super excited! 

Btw. I will go to Mary Walker High School, which is the school in Springdale which I was about to go right from the beginning… 

I’ll try to most more frequently now that I’m in the US, but no promises 🌎

-Laura

Saying Goodbye…

The day’s almost here. The day that I will leave my beloved home behind. The day that I fly into a country I have never been before, to a family I’ve never seen in real life before, into a life I’ve never lived before.

Actually that day is TOMORROW, and I can’t believe it.
I started my countdown exactly 381 days ago and now it’s almost time.. 1more day.

Saying goodbye to my family and friends is hard, I had two farewell parties, one with my family and one with my friends and it was very sad when they were over.

I started packing yesterday, which was probably a huge mistake as I haven’t really thought IMG_8037.JPGabout what I’ll take with me and what not, which makes my last few days at home pretty stressful! But I don’t think I’ll have a problem with the 23kg, as I talked with my host mom and she said that I actually need nothing (I thought about traveling without a suitcase… nah just kidding). So anyway, I’ll spend my last day at home packing – I love it.

 

I have finally finished my gift for my host family and bought a few things for them.
I might show pictures once I gave it to them, as I don’t know whether they’re reading my blog or not ^^

Anyway my flight leaves at 02:10pm from Vienna and I’ll be in New York for my 4 day orientation at 07:55pm (with a 2h layover in Frankfurt).
I’m very excited for New York, as I’ll finally meet quite some people I’ve been talking to for a long time now.

I’ll probably write my next blog once I have arrived in Washington, which would be this weekend. It’ll be about my flight, New York and the arrival at my host family’s.

See you very soon.

-Laura

#1DayLeftInAustria

Update…

Hey there 🙂

So my last entry was quite some time ago (about 2 months I think :o), so I thought why not write a quick update right now!?

 

Basically the most important news is probably that I will probably be attending another high school than originally expected.

That means NO Mary Walker High School but Jenkins High School or Paideia High School instead.
The why is pretty easy to explain: My host sister and my host brother both will be attending another school next year and my host mom wants me to be in one of their school districts to make things easier, which I can totally understand.

Actually my host mom tries to get me into Jenkins High School which is in Chewelah, a little town not far from Springdale, as my host sister will be going to Middle School in that district. However it isn’t quite sure whether they will take me, which is why there’s the possibility that I’ll be attending Paideia High School in Valley, another small town not far from Springdale ;D

To be honest… I hope that Jenkins High School will take me. I already googled it and found out that it’s about twice the size of Mary Walker High School – still pretty small but they have amazing subjects which I would LOVE to take!  And they have Tennis in Spring which I would also love to join.

However, there still is the possibility, that I will go to Paideia High School. The School has about 30 Students in 4 grades (9-12) and not very many subjects to choose from. They also don’t have clubs or sports, so I would do that at Jenkins High School.

I really do hope that I will be attending Jenkins HS because that school would be A DREAM come true – it seems so amazing!!

Anyway, it’s 24 more days ’till I’m leaving Austria for 10 months and I’m very ready!
I haven’t really thought about packing yet and I’ll probably start packing 1 day before my flight (which might not be the best idea…)!

See you!

-Laura

#24DaysLeftInAustria

97 more days until I will start my exchange year.

97 more days until I will leave everyone and everything behind to go some place I have never been before, to people I have never met before. 

97 more days until the biggest journey of my life will turn my life around.

VISA :) 

Hey!! 

So, I had a Visa appointment at the Embassy in Vienna on Monday (April 18th) and I was so excited and scared!! 

First of all I had to get up at 4:45am, because my appointment was at 8:30am and I had to catch the train to Vienna which left at 5:45! – so I was super tired and almost fell asleep on the train! 😀 

When I got to Vienna it was ~ 7:30am so I was an hour early!! I met up with a guy from my Organization, who also had an appointment at the same time I did, and walked around Vienna a bit until we went to the embassy. There I first had to stand in a line to get to a guy who scanned my bag and jacket and looked at my appointment confirmation. Then I had to go through a security gate (one like the ones at the airports, idk how they’re called!) and then I got to go through a very secure door, which a woman behind a glass opened (it was all so weird, the staff was armed – i think).

After I got through that door I had to stand in another line to get to another woman behind glass, to hand her my application form and my passport. She then told me to take a seat and wait until my name was called. So that’s exactly what I did. The chairs were all facing one way to a television where News were on. 

After about 20 minutes my name was finally called and I went to another woman behind glass. There I had to scan my fingerprints and then she asked me some questions such as: 

»What will you be doing in the US?« 

»How long will you be staying? «

»Do you already know where you’ll be staying?«

»Will you live with a Host Family?«

»What do your parents do for a living?«

That’s basically all she asked! After that she just said: 

»Your Visa is approved, we will send you your passport. It will be there in about 3-4 days!« 

That was it! All the waiting… all the fear… all the excitement… and after 2 minutes it was all over! My visa was approved and I had nothing to worry about anymore! Nothing can come between me and my exchange year anymore! 

And today – only 2 days after my interview I reveceived my Visa! I was so excited when my mom sent me a picture of the envelope!! The visa itself is sooo beautiful! I mean the picture really sucks – I look like a felon (I would have probably not let me in with that picture :’D but I’m glad they did!!) – but the rest is so…idk haha it makes it all feel so real!

Anyway… now I have my host family my visa and all my forms and vaccinations readyz Nothing can stop me now! 😀 

Conclusion: The visa interview is nothing to worry about! It was really easy and I thought about it way too much!! 

That’s it for today!!

See you! 

-Laura 
#105DaysLeftInAustria (sooo close to two digits!!!)

The VISA

Hey Hey Hey 
After quite A LOT of time… There’s finally something happening! So… I applied for the Visa around a week ago and it actually was really easy. I mean it took some time as you have to read everything and it’s quite a few pages, but it didn’t take me too long… I mean… I had to do the whole Application TWICE but else.. 

Maybe I should tell you why I had to do it twice, and maybe give you some advice  if you’re applying for the visa. So there’s an APPLICATION ID NUMBER which you can find on any page of the application, in the top right corner. TAKE IT DOWN somewhere, photograph it or write it down, it doesn’t matter, but make sure you write it down right AT THE BEGINNING because if you don’t you might get to the same situation I did. Silly little me didn’t write down the number, and when I was finished, uploading my photo, suddenly I got a pop-up message that I had taken too much time and that I have to login again… Well without the Application ID you can’t log in again… Sooooo I had to do it all again!! I was close to crying!! 😂 

But.. Eventually I made it – I took the number down this time!! So I made an embassy appointment yesterday, for April 18th which is so soon…..like, once I was at the Embassy I will soon get the Visa which will make me feel closer to my exchange year again!! 

Soo that’s all for now, I will probably write a new post once I was at the Embassy and tell you how that went!! 

Bye for now!

-Laura 
#119DaysLeftInAustria

WOHOOO!

homer-excited.pngOnly 162 more days ’till my Journey to the beautiful state of Washington finally starts!
So, as far as I know, I’ll leave on 3rd August, spend my first 4 days in New York City and then leave on the 6th for Washington State! 😀
I don’t know all my flight details yet, I just talked to my host mom, and she told me that I’d come to them on the first weekend of August!
I’m so excited! I remember being in Vienna for that Interview, as if it was yesterday, but it actually was 220 days ago already!
Time flies so fast! I mean it’s not even half a year anymore 😮 I just hope, that the time won’t fly that fast once I’m in the US! …guess you know what I mean ;D
I’m really exciteeed! Can’t wait! It’s getting really close now, it’s only 5 Months left :3 5 MONTHS! Can you hear me celebrating? 😀

Sooooo I still love my host family, even though we don’t talk THAT much anymore 😀

Alsoooo very good news (at least for me, idk if you even care :D) 
I recently found out that they have Drama at my high school – which I was praying for – and I’m soooo happy now! I feel like there is an actress inside of me, it just never gets out, because we don’t really have drama clubs or anything like that here 😀  haha by that I mean, that I always wanted to try Theater (as I even consider to study it) and that I will have to opportunity to makes me really really happy!!

Nothing else to say here, all the good news were brought to you by…

 

-Laura

#162DaysLeftInAustria