Exchange is a whirlwind. It's a series of ups and downs, of laughing and crying, of jumping in and jumping out. Three months ago to the day I landed in Frankfurt, met my new family, and began my life here. Looking back on these first months of my time in Germany, the moments of confusion, of fear, of loneliness are definitely there. But way more prominent are the moments where I learned a new German word, where I met new people, where I tried new things and liked them, where I felt at home here.
A member of my Rotary club in Heidenheim remarked that my time in Germany was more than a quarter gone. That's incredible to think about. But so far, I think that I have used my time here well. Looking back, I remember the good parts, and almost all of my memories make me smile.
So, here are some smiley memories from the past few weeks.
I celebrated Thanksgiving with my fellow exhange students, and made a pumpkin pie all by myself.
 It was actually really good!

Our brief bout with Thanksgiving was followed immediately by a dive into Christmas. In Germany this holiday lasts a month or sometimes longer. Advent, the season of counting down to Christmas, means that Christmas decorations and cookies and lights must be prepared in the third week of November. Or earlier. 
We observed this early-Christmas phenomenon with Rotary...

...in the greenhouse where people buy their Christmas decorations...
...in my house, baking cookies...

...in the snow that is all over the place...

...and in Heidenheim, where there is a Winterdorf selling Wurst, Pommes and Pfannkuchen mit Marzipan...
...as well as lights everywhere. 
So, to celebrate the holiday spirit, we went to Ulm. There was a Pfannkuchen Haus, which is basically a restaurant where you can order anything you want (liver, fruit salad, mushrooms, amaretto...) on a gigantic crepe. It is completely the best thing you could ever eat, ever. 

I even ate the bananas.
And then we attended a Weinachtsmarkt (Christmas Market). Aisles and aisles of food, Christmas decorations, people...
...all around the Ulmer Münster.

Schöne Adventszeit! 

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