Hide and Seek (AirTag Edition)

Authored By:

Zoe S.

Last month, fifty Americans from Experiment traveled to the charming town of Oberwesel for our midyear seminar. The five-day seminar flew by in what felt like only a few short hours and was a lovely opportunity to look forward and prepare for the second part of our exchange year. It was also a great chance to compare our experiences and reflect on the past five months. Amidst the chaos that is bound to happen when you put fifty American teenagers in a youth hostel, I came to my own sort of reflection. 

It began in a small room in the basement of the youth hostel we were staying at. A few of my fellow exchange students and I decided to play hide-and-seek for our evening activity (shout out Layla). Eventually, we had the idea that we would somehow place an AirTag on one of our "teamers“ or counselors for the mid-year seminar. Then, during the game, we‘d track them down and reveal their position. 

It was not long until we found our target: August. 

The difficult part was figuring out how we would inconspicuously get an AirTag on him. Fellow CBYX blogger, Hugh, suggested a few unconventional ideas that involved pockets and physical contact. One thing led to another, and it turned into a competition to see who could AirTag August the fastest. From this point on, it was easily geschafft (accomplished).

I sprinted up to my room, grabbed the AirTag I‘d brought with me, and sprinted back downstairs. I slipped the AirTag into the pocket of Layla‘s jacket with the letters "USA" printed across the front, and we all ran to August and gave him the jacket in a traditional offering of American patriotism. With little persuasion and a few short minutes, he was AirTagged and ready for hide-and-seek that evening. Hardly a competition.

During the hide-and-seek game, while the rest of our little American friends ran around looking for places to hide in the youth hostel, Hugh and I focused on finding the most important player, August. It wasn‘t long until we outed him hiding out in the clever hiding spot of what I remember to be the kitchen but to be honest, there was so much happening around us during the game of hide-and-seek that he really could’ve been hiding anywhere. 

After finding August and being asked, "Where is that noise (the AirTag noise) coming from?“ at least three times, we revealed our nefarious intentions and continued with the game. Teehee!

Later in the night, after a few other activities and a short dance party, I reflected on the foolish, little activities of the day.

The past five months of this exchange in Germany have been such a whirlwind. As exchange students, I feel very much that we’ve experienced things that have changed us forever. None of us are the same kids we were the day we stepped onto the plane going to Germany. All the things we’ve experienced in the last five months, the little and small things, the successes and struggles, have shaped us into who we are today. 

Playing hide-and-seek with an AirTag, as simple and dumb as it sounds, reminded me how far we’ve come. It was maybe a little surreal and overwhelming to be together again with so many exchange students all going through similar experiences as me. Simply living in the moment of our silly game of hide-and-seek was so refreshing. Not being in my head, constantly translating a few seconds behind everyone else, and figuring out how to structure my sentences in German gave me a whole different perspective. It also showed me the progress that we’ve all made in terms of language learning and cultural immersion. 

First moving to Germany, there were so many things that surprised me that have now become so normal. For example, waiting at a deserted crosswalk until it turns green to cross the road, even with no cars in sight. The sheer quantity of bread one can eat in a single day. These tiny cars that barely fit one person casually zooming by on the street. We‘ve all come a long way since those first days in Germany, and I know there’s still so much time left to grow and change before we fly back to the USA. 

Personally, I’m excited to continue learning about the German language and culture. There’s so much to do and so many people I haven’t met! I have so many fun, stupid ideas, like the hide-and-seek game, that I can’t wait to try out. I live for the moments when I realize the world is so much greater than I once thought.

So until my next adventure…

Ciao ciao for now!

Zoe Schauder