Sunday, October 28, 2012

An International Birthday Party

How cool it would be, if I got the chance to celebrate my birthday here in Germany....

Today, I attended a birthday party of a friend of mine. She is an exchange student just like me. She comes from Xiamen, China. :D She officially turns sweet sixteen!

A birthday party consisting of Germans, American, Malaysia, Italian and of course herself being a Chinese from China. The party was celebrated with some close relatives and friends but can this party be any cooler with people from all over the world?! 

Germans. American. Italian. Malaysian. Chinese.

Exchange students UNITE!
Friendship always starts strangers meeting, getting to know each other and start building a strong bond with each other.

The world we live in today is so big yet so small that you never know who you might meet in the corner of the earth that where you are. In the last eight months being in Germany on this exchange program, I have met so many people from different parts of the world. We are of different nationalities, backgrounds and culture but the thing we all have in common is, we are just trying to live and enjoy our lives to the fullest and discover more of this beautiful world.

The thing is, it is never boring to meet new people because you never know what kind of interesting things you can actually discover when you start talking and exchange knowledge with them.

I am really glad to have gotten the opportunity to meet all of the other exchange students today! :)

If I were to celebrate my sixteenth birthday here, my greatest birthday present would be to be on this awesomemazing exchange program.

I didn't have any doubts before coming for this exchange program, neither do I have any doubts while being on this exchange program because participating in this exchange program has been the best decision I have made in my life. I am very lucky to be given this opportunity to participate in this life changing program.

I would like to thank my parents and my siblings for the support for me to go on this program.Not forgetting, AFS, the organisation I am with for this exchange program for the given opportunity.

I have been put through all kinds of situations, some that I don't think you can ever imagine, but it was because of them that I have seen and learned so much. One thing I know for sure is that they certainly have shaped me good in one way or the other. :)

Before I end, I would like to wish Sibei again, HAPPY SWEET SIXTEEN! I hope you enjoyed our company and your many presents that will keep you well prepared for the COLD German Winter. :D

ALLES GUTE ZUM GEBURTSTAG, SIBEI! :D

Friday, October 12, 2012

I am a Kid!

I completed my Learning on Job at the Dorf Kindergarten which is located near my house. It was only a short period of time, only five days but it sure was a fun and memorable time spent with the children.

At the kindergarten, I learned that children should be allowed to be children; be themselves and most importantly, let their curiosity take them around to discover this amazing world that they live in.

During the time that I was there, I spend a lot of time playing with the children indoor and also outdoor.

Here, they believe that the best way for the children to learn is through playing and doing activities.

Therefore, they don't conduct scheduled lessons to teach the children German, Mathematics, Music or anything like these subjects but simply just fun games kind of activities that the children can learn through participating. We did lots activities with the children, mainly, singing, drawing, doing handcrafts works, cooking and sports.

For the children here, they only start their proper classroom lessons when they attend Grundschule which is equivalent to primary school. 

Kindergarten classes normally end by noon unless the children have what they call Spätdienst here, where the children stay back for another two hours until 2pm. And before classes end, the children are allowed to go out of the room and play if the weather is fine.

There are 13 children in this Kindergarten (ages from two and a half to six) and the children play around with each other most of the time. Only during certain activities will the children be divided into groups according to their age groups so that the teachers can handle and work with the children more effectively.

The children here really taught me how to be a kid and how a kid should be allowed to play and enjoy his childhood :)

:)
The children doing handcraft together.
Playing the game 'Freeze'.
" Can you please swing us, Roxanne."
Ich will auch eine Brücke, bitte!  I want a bridge too, please!
Woahhh~ Ich fühle mich schwindlig.. Woahh~  I'm feeling dizzy.
Schlusskreis! End of school circle.
Autos, autos! Cars!




Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Weekend at the cow farm

Last Saturday, I visited an exchange student, Si Bei from China who just came this Summer. Actually, we both planned to meet up in my town and maybe do something together but then I changed my mind and decided to go to her house instead.

Si Bei lives with the Lüdemann family who owns a cow farm. That's is the reason why, last weekend, I got the chance to finally experience working in a cow farm.

Now, I can tick off another thing on my To Do List In Deutschland! 

It was raining outside when I woke up on Saturday morning. At first, I was having second thoughts about going over to Si Bei's place but then my host mom convinced me to go over anyway.

So, I took her advice and got myself all dressed to work at a farm. I prepared myself well, I even packed along my rain jacket and rubber boots for any possible rough wetter.



The exciting day started of with Si Bei's host dad taking us on the tractor to pick up the cows from the field around 15 minutes away from where they lived in the afternoon.

On the way to the field, he was explaining to me that the cows are normally left out on the field for a period of time before they are brought back again to the stable when the weather gets colder.

YES, I AM ONE LUCKY GIRL TO GET TO RIDE ON THAT TRACTOR!!!
This tractor here is actually meant for only one person, which is the driver but then her host dad took Si Bei and I on it. Yeah, you can probably imagine how cram it was inside the tractor. It was so uncomfortable as I only had a small little area on the side of the door of the tractor to lean on in the tractor. But I was all excited to see how the cows the brought back to the stable that I didn't really care about my comfort.

At first, when he parked the tractor by the entrance to the fenced field, I thought, oh, now we were going to have to walk all the way to the end of the field to bring the cows to us. 

The cows are at the far end of the field. See the white and black figure there? 
However, it turned out that all we had to do was to stand there and just wait, wait for the cows to come.

Mr. Lüdemann and Si Bei chatting while waiting for the cows.
Don't worry if you don't understand what I mean by waiting for the cows.
I was quite confused myself when Mr. Lüdemann told me that.
I was wondering to myself, are the cows really going to come to us on their by themselves? How would they know that it is time to go home?

LOOK! They actually came running towards where we stood!
Can you actually believe it? HOW AMAZING IS THAT?!

I really had no idea cows were that intelligent!

Let's go home~
According to Mr. Lüdemann, the cows will come to us because they are curious to find out what was the commotion going around them.


The first batch of cows heading back home.

The remaining cows waiting patiently for the tractor to return for them.

Our  Rubber boots! Extremely practical for the job and also the rainy weather.

Second batch getting on the animal transporter.

"Na komm! Komm!"

Host brother and host mom helping out.

Heading back to Home Sweet Home~

The very experienced farmer concentrating on the road.
Mr. Lüdemann has been doing this job since he was a little boy and now, he has taken over the family's business. 

Some of the cows outside.

The cows in their stable.

"HEY, wad ya looking at, kid?" :D

After tea break, we, the kids went out to play at the playground nearby. I tried cycling on a two rider bicycle for the first time. It is really not as easy as it looks.

You have to be really synchronized with the driver on the pedal because there is only one long chain connecting the two pedals together. Besides that, you have to really trust the person on the bicycle handles and let him steer the bicycle because at the back seat, all you can see is the back of the head of the person in front of you.



Next up, the highlight of the day; MILKING!

There are almost a hundred cows in the farm so obviously they need some help of the machines. But even with the aid of machines, there was still quite a lot to do during the milking process.


 Before putting on the Milchansauger Anlager (Milk-sucker machine), the Zitzen (Tits) of the cow has to be wiped with a clean cloth and milk a few times to make sure the milk can flow out smoothly.

Squeezeeeee!!! :D
After the cow is done with the milking process, we have to do stippen (dipping) on the titts of the cow with antiseptikum (antiseptic) to prevent any unwanted infections.


Rinsing the Milk-sucker Machine.
For hygiene purposes, the Milk-sucker machine is rinsed after each milking process.

Oh, that is not all our work when milking. We also had to be always prepared for any 'open pipe' (the sound of the cow peeing is like the sound of an open pipe)! XD The cows will just suddenly pee without giving you any heads up, so, if you are unlucky enough to stand right behind it, then congratulations! =D But of course, you get used to these stuff when you work there every single day. Besides that, you always have an apron on when you are working.


Next, we proceeded on to the other part of the job at the cow farm; feeding the calves!

Filling up the milk in the buckets for the calves.
Here, they use milk powder to prepare the milk for the calves instead of the fresh milk because there contain more mineral in the milk powder compared to the fresh milk.

Look at this hungry little cow.


Don't they look cute? :D


Little calve sucking on the 'milk bucket'.
Day in and day out, there is always something to do in at the farm; the cows have to be milked twice a day (one at five in the morning and one at 4 in the evening which each milking session takes up around 3 hours), the calves and cows have to be fed daily and children to take care of. There is just not a day off for the farmer and this wife.

So, I hope that after reading this, you now know how much work there is in producing the milk that you drink. Milk don't just appear out of thin air, there are lots more of work behind it.

I, myself am really glad that I made the decision to go to the farm for otherwise, I would have missed out all these interesting things that I got to do at the  Bauenhof (farm house).

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Got a Praktikum place!

After the cold Winter, cheerful Spring and bright Summer, Autumn has finally arrived. My Autumn break has already since last Saturday. Honestly, I didn't have much plans for this holiday.

I thought that it would be the best chance for me to maybe do a learn on job, or what they call it, Praktikum for a few days during this holiday.

This Praktikum is something that the school kids will experience during their school years. It is different depending on school but for my school, for the students in 9th and the 12th Class, there are two weeks in the beginning of the year where they will do their Praktikum anywhere they managed to find a place in. Most of the time, students have to apply to work in anywhere they want, very early ahead to be able to get a Praktikum place.

At this point of time, it is quite hard for me to be able to experience doing a proper Praktikum for it is not only very late late for me to apply for a place, I also need to attend school.

However, I got to know that in some places like the Kindergarten, anyone can just drop by and ask if you can lend a helping hand. It will be quite like a 'Praktikum' too, I thought. That, for me was the perfect solution for my fuss trying to find a way I can experience doing a Praktikum just like the students here.

Therefore, I decided to drop by the Dorf Kindergarten around 10 minutes down the road from my house and ask if they would perhaps need a helping hand with the kids. Luckily enough, I was allowed to stay and take care of the kids! SUCCESS, I GOT A PRAKTIKUM PLACE!

I am allowed to spend a few days at the Kindergarten with the children! :D

I am thinking that this will definitely be a nice way to spend part of my Autumn Break. :)

Today was my first day at the Kindergarten. I tried to just blend in and play with the children. They were so cute and friendly!! My first day was awesome but I think that there will certainly be more excitement in the coming days.

Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures for now but I will try to get some. You have to know it's not easy to get pictures of the children for the people here are very sensitive with you taking pictures of their child. Will have to see if I am allowed to get some quick shots. :)

The children were really lovely kids. Guess what, I even got a little drawing from a little girl called Jannike that she drew on her own. How sweet of her, right? :)

By Jannike.

I shall write more about the Kindergarten later on. But you won't be able to believe how different the Kindergarten here is compare to the one I attended back home when I was a little kid. How cool if I got to  attending Kindergarten here!

Now, I got an early morning tomorrow! Therefore, I better get into bed now. Ciao~ 


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

September Fun!


I am back, I'm BACK! Missed me? Ah, for sure. :P haha, being totally thick skinned here.

It is almost a month since I last written a blog post but I have a good excuse for my disappearance. The reason why I went MIA is because, I was in Osnabrück on my two weeks Study Tour having lots of fun with a bunch of new friends and new family! :D It was really a great opportunity to experience something totally new all over again.

If I was given the tiniest chance to rewind time, I would like to relive my life when I was in Osnabrück again. But unfortunately it is quite impossible. I only can remind myself of the wonderful time spent there by retelling my story. :)

Now, okay, I know you guys are getting excited already. Lets get started with my story!

Ladies and gentlemen, Roxanne presenting..... my wonderful time spent in Osnabrück in the month of September 2012! :DD

ENJOY!


 During the first four days of my Study Tour, 30 of us, exchange students from all different parts of Germany were gathered in Vlotho where we had our AFS Study Tour camp. The theme for our Study Tour was Europe and therefore, the topic of the seminars we attended were mainly on Europe and the European Union.

Due to the short period of time, we were not able to learn everything about Europe but we sure did at least learn some interesting things about Europe and the EU. Besides just learning about Europe, we got to learn and get to know each other.

After the four days camp, we were all packed once again and ready to move off to the next part of our Study Tour; meeting our new two-weeks Host families! Every one of us were placed in a Host family for the two weeks we were there that lived either in Osnabrück or the other neighboring villages.

As I was on the train heading from Vlotho to the main train station in Osnabrück with the others to meet our host families for the very first time, I had the exact same feeling that I felt on the first day I arrived in Germany when I met met my first host family! I actually felt nervous meeting them! Because apart from the few emails I got to exchange with them before leaving Itzehoe, I must say that I had totally no idea who they were or how they looked like. Were they going to like me and accept me into the family?  

But the thing is, this nervousness that I had slowly disappeared after I exchanged hugs with my host mom and host sister who were waiting at the train station for me. Those warm hugs were the best comfort and it seemed to be an assertion that we were going to have a great time together during that two weeks.

When I arrived at my new home, I met my other family members, my elder sister and my host dad. We chatted and got to know more about each other over the yummy dinner my host mom prepared. :D

During the week, I attended school at the same school as my sister, Gesamt Schule Schinkel. It is a very different type of school that I used to attend in Itzehoe but I mean, this school is different in a good way.

My first impression on the school was, WOAH, this school is seriosuly super duper cool! Not only that the students consisted of many different nationalities like Turkish, Asian, Russian, Kazakh and German, they also had lots of really cool facilities including games rooms, huge canteen, laboratories and many more for the students to utilize. On top of that, this special Gesamt Schule Schinkel is actually a UNESCO School Project!

I would love to have the opportunity to study in this kind of school where everyone with different background get to mix and understand about each others' differences.
 

On the first Saturday, the whole group of exchange students went down to Amsterdam for a day trip to visit the Anne Frank's Museum. It is actually the house that she used to live in when she was in hide with her family in Amsterdam, which is now preserved and turned into the Anne Frank's Museum for the public to visit. 

Anne Frank, this poor little girl lived a really hard life since she was young; she and her family was always on the run and had to hide so that they wouldn't get caught like the many other Jews. Despite all the effort of fleeing and hiding for such a long time, they were discovered and captured by the German polices. She and her sister, Margot were transported to the Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp and the both of them died there because of Thyphus in March 1945.

It is really sad to see how much suffering this innocent little girl had to go through just because she was a Jew. :(

After visiting the Museum, we were given free time to discover Amsterdam on our own. We went to this tourist spot in Amsterdam where the word 'Iamsterdam' was spellt and huge letter structures.


I. A.M.S.T.E.R.D.A.M.

This is us standing in front of one of the Alphabets from IAmsterdam in Amsterdam.

Sister,  Marlene and I. :)
 We didn't have the time to see everything that Amsterdam had to offer but we sure did walked quite a lot around Amsterdam.  All of us were exhausted by the end of the day especially my sister and I since we only got 3 hours of rest the night before.

On one of the weekdays, we also visited the Industry Museum in Piesberg which was previously a coal factory.


It was interesting that we got to see how people in those days used Steam machines to replace man power. What a smart invention!

Discovering gold deep down below.
Lucky us, we also got the chance to take a trip down to the center of the earth to see the valuables. XD It was seriously cold down there. I am just wondering how in the world did those men work under such humid and cold temperature for hours last time. I have only one word to describe them, Amazing.

(: the group.
Next up is the coolest HIGHLIGHT of my whole Study tour.

*Drumroll*

KUNGFU classes!
I got to attend Kungfu classes with my sister at the BlackBelt Kungfu Academy in Osnabrueck.

It was my first time ever doing Kungfu but, despite the toughness, I find it totally impressive and useful. My sister find Kungfu very interesting too, that is why out of so many other sports that she could have chosen, she chose to learn Kungfu instead. :D

FYI, I have written an article on Kungfu and it will be coming out in the papers soon so I shan't explain so much here. For those in Malaysia, do keep a look out for my next article in theStar R.AGE on Friday! :)


What watch out, the next time you ever think about bullying me. I advice that you should perhaps think again twice before taking any reckless actions. :P Don't play play ah~ I know Kungfu!!! Hayyyyy yahh~

My SIFU Wolfgang.
Next up, I would like to introduce the coolest person I met when I was in Osnabrueck. I met many cool and amazing new friends when I was there but the coolest and most amazing one I found is this girl her, she is not only my friend, she is also my sister from different parents.
 

We are so ready to rock the dance floor!
This picture was taken before we left home for Arlando, a disco club in town for a party. :D It was also my first time ever going to a club in Germany. Totally cool!

Before I end, here's a photo of us at the small farewell party AFS organized for us before we all depart Osnabrueck for our homes. There are actually more of us, some of them went off earlier that's why we didn't get the chance to take a complete photo all together.

You guys are amazing, you know that?
I am really glad and lucky to have met every one of you. I had lots of fun with you guys, I hope you guys felt the same too! Seriously, I miss you guys already! Do keep in touch and hope we meet again soon in the future! :)

All of us, once strangers,
are now bonded together closer than we can ever imagine.