When my host family arrived at the castle, I ran over to give them all a quick hug before they were ushered inside for a “host family orientation.” Finally meeting them after texting with them for the past few months was so amazing! After their orientation, my host family and I had lunch together at the castle before driving to Höxter (my new home).
At first, it was kind of awkward, I wasn’t really sure what to talk about with them. Fortunately, after a little while in the car we started talking about all of my experiences so far in Germany, what my life is like back in the US, and what Höxter is like. The drive was about 2 hours, but I was so excited that it seemed to go by pretty fast. Before I knew it, my host dad pointed out a sign saying that we were entering Höxter. As we drove through the town, I was overwhelmed by everything I was seeing; so many restaurants, stores, parks, and churches. Luckily, I have a whole year to explore everything here.
When we finally pulled up to the house, the first thing I noticed was a huge bouncy castle in the middle of the street. My host family explained to me that the neighborhood was having their annual block party that night. After grabbing my bags from the car, my host family walked up to the house with me. When we opened the front door, I was immediately greeted by their huge Burmese mountain dog named Monty. At first, I was a little scared, but after he kept nuzzling my legs, I quickly realized he’s just a friendly giant. Happy, the smaller dog, was also running around; she was obviously very interested by all the excitement.
I dropped my bags off in my room, which has a nice big window in it so I can look out over the trees and the other houses. Then my host family and I had some coffee and cake together. They surprised me with a placemat that has some photos of me and my family on it. I will admit, I was feeling so many emotions that I started tearing up a bit when I saw the placemat.
After talking for an hour or so, I went up to my room and started organizing/unpacking all of my things. At around 5, my host sister that’s my age, Josie, came into my room and told me the block party was starting. We went outside together and I was able to meet a lot of people that live in the neighborhood. Everyone was so kind and very interested to hear more about me. Josie and I walked around together looking at all of the food and saying "Hi!" to people. After a couple of hours, I went back to the house. The block party was still going on, but I was so tired and drained from all of the excitement from the day. I fell asleep at about 7:30 and didn’t wake up until almost 9:30 the next morning.
I was filled with so many different emotions. For the past month, I had been living with 49 other teenagers, which meant even when I was “alone” in my room at camp, I was still surrounded by my 3 roommates which meant constant laughter and chatter. Now sitting in my room here is actually quiet, which to some degree is peaceful but also a little lonely. All I know is that I’m excited to grow closer to my host family and explore more of my new town. On Monday I start school, which will be a whole new adventure on its own.