May allowed me to experience the magic of Phantasialand for the first time. Phantasialand is an amusement park only thirty minutes away from where I live, and it's basically the Disneyland of Nordrhein-Westfalen.
At Phantasialand we rode lots of different rides and ate some yummy churros.
Taron is the name of Phantasialand's newest rollercoaster. It's super fast and I think even set a few records. We would have ridden it twice, but the line was over 30 minutes long.
This month, I painted my favorite picture so far in Malschule. It didn't turn out exactly like the example, but I'm still taking it back to the U.S.
On Muttertag, we headed to Lüdenscheid to visit Oma and Opa. We ate cake and then watched the election predictions roll in.
In May, Nordrhein-Westfalen voted for the Landtag (state parliament). The results, the way I understand them, are that one of the most popular parties, the CDU (Christlich Demokratische Union), gained seats in the government and the another popular party, the SPD (Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands), lost a few seats. Any party that doesn't receive at least 5% of the vote loses their seats. There is now a coalition between the SPD and the Grüne Partei.
The area that I live in is surrounded by coal mines. Every now and then, free bus tours through the mining sites are offered. My host parents and I took advantage of this one weekend in May. We had to wait for the next bus, so we headed to the walking trails to pass the time. There's an old urban legend surrounding my town, Bedburg, that still lives on today. Peter Stubbe was a local farmer in the 1500's who was put on trial and coerced to confess to practicing black magic and murdering townspeople, supposedly even his own son. Allegedly, he was given a magic belt by the Devil that allowed him to transform into a werewolf. The story gets a lot more twisted, but I'l leave you to decide if you want to investigate further. Anyways, there is a walking trail called the "Werewolf-Wanderweg" that is named in reference to Peter Stubbe. We walked along it until splitting off to another path. Deciding to be adventurous, we wandered a little too far and got a little lost. However, we ended up making it back just in time to make the bus.
Throughout the tour, the guide told us what was mined there, how long it can and has been mined, what equipment is used, the environmental impact, and what happens to the land after they are done mining it. He also explained how the mine is being expanded and because of that, villages are being relocated. This is part of the controversy surrounding the mine.
Most of the machines were not in use, but it was still interesting to learn more about something that plays such a big role in my community.
I went to London the last weekend of May with my host family. You'll definitely want to check this out!
It's unbelievable to think that next month, June, is my last full month here on exchange in Germany. I've still got a couple things up my sleeve, so stay tuned for them!