Welcome to the Neighborhood

German Word of the Day:


Nähe

(a) n. f.; neighborhood, area, vicinity

(b) adj.; nearby, close

(c) v.; to become close (to someone)


Well, I’m here.

On Friday afternoon (though it felt like morning to me) I arrived in the town of Rodenberg, Germany.  A few pointers about the area:

  • They speak German here.  This can make communicating a bit difficult.
  • Everyone is very blond.
  • You will have to get used to eating pastries and Nutella. (This shouldn’t be too hard.)

Still, waking up 4,000 miles from home has been mind-boggling.  Every day I see things that I’ve never seen before.  At dinner, I think I look ridiculous as I struggle to eat with my fork in my left hand.  The first time I got on my bike, I immediately fell off because the chain and brakes are set up a different way than they were on my old bike.  And all of it set against a background of words that I’ve never heard and can’t understand.  It’s really difficult.  But it’s possible.  In fact, adapting to a new environment goes surprisingly fast – because it has to.  When you’re away from everything you know, you need to create a connection to something, someone, or someplace, and you find that you’re able to.  If you’re wondering what’s so unique about international exchange programs, perhaps it’s this:  if you want to really get immersed in a culture, you have to let go of your safety rope.  You have to be wholly dependent on the people, places and language of this new life.  When you need to learn, you do.

Yesterday I headed out to explore the Nähe.  The city of Rodenberg is like a little German fairy tale town.  Tiny herds of sheep and goats and flocks of chickens and ducks graze in pastures next to houses with red-tiled roofs.  Here are a few pictures:

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The neighborhood sheep.  I named the black one Margot.
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This picturesque little field is right next to my house.
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I haven’t named any of the chickens yet.

This environment is a big change from the cityscape that I’m used to, but so far it’s looking pretty good!  So, for now, Tschuss!  I’ve got some goats to introduce myself to.

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8 thoughts on “Welcome to the Neighborhood

  1. So glad you arrived safely. You, my dear, are an excellent writer! I look forward to reading more of your blog’s. Just one question, why Margot?
    Love you!

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    1. Well, obviously I went up to the sheep and introduced myself, and she replied “ich heise Margot”. How else would I know?

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  2. So happy you arrived safely and appear settled in, Mia. So many people are proud of you and are wishing you all the best. Me too! Thank you for sharing, and I look forward to following you as you continue your journey. P.S. Love the photos!

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  3. Guten Abend Mia,

    Your Uncle Matt and I are sitting out on our porch this evening watching the moon rise and catching up on your blog. It sounds like you are settling in and off on a very positive foot! Good for you. When does school start for you? You are going to have some amazing experiences, I’m sure. Take care and we look forward to living vicariously through your blog!
    Auf Wiedersehen,
    The NW Wergers

    P.S. Some of my German is coming back to me 😉

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    1. Thanks for reading! I’m very hopeful about the year right now 🙂 School starts in two weeks – in the meantime I have a crash course in German that I am taking with some other exchange students. I hope everybody’s doing well at your house! Bis balt!

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  4. Guten Tag, Mia. We are all doing well, thank you. We had a heat wave for a few days, triple digits, but now it’s a comfortable 70-80. School is right around the corner for your cousins. Natalie starts Sept. 6, Estuardo the 7th and Jacob heads down to OSU on the 18th. Go Beavs! I’m sure your German language skills are growing by leaps and bounds. Once you get some vocabulary under your belt it will be practice, practice, practice. I remember when I was in Germany, the people would just smile as I stumbled through my questions. But, I knew they appreciated my effort, even if it wasn’t perfect. You will do great there. Have a wonderful week.

    Hugs,
    Auntie Gwen & crew

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