I'm back in Germany for 4 days and I still feel like I'm dreaming, that I wake up in a minute and lay in my bed in South Carolina. I can't describe what it feels like being back after so long, I don't know what I expected it to be, I just feel really weird-confused-lost. It is the hardest thing waking up every morning and realizing that I can't hang out with my Southern friends and family every day anymore because they are over 7oo0 km away from me and I just can't change it. Of course I feel home in Germany too but it is like having the biggest crush on a state you can't stop thinking about and South Carolina will be in my heart forever. Since I am 14 I have the dream to move to the States one day and this year pushed me even more to pursue my dream. People missing out on going abroad because they are insecure, fraightened and listen to other people more than to their own heart. I want you to know that going abroad is the best desicion you can ever make in your life!!! Nobody will ever take away those memories, experiences and feelings you had and that you will remember for the rest of your life. Jealousy will be a big part of your whole trip too. People are mean sometimes and don´t like seing other people happy. But even now that I might not have the exact same group of friends as I did before I left for the USA I´m not any less happy. Of course there are ups and downs abroad, just because it's an amazing year doesn't mean its easy. But during this year you know what it feels like to be independent, happy and strong and besides the language you incredibly increase in your maturity and confidence. So travel, experience and enjoy every second of your life! Time flies by way too fast anyways! There is this quote some of you might have heard before, but it reflects my feeling to 100%. "You build a life for several years and leave it for 10 months. You build a life for 10 months and leave it forever. Which one is harder?" That was definitely the hardest part about this whole experience. Leaving my host country. After everything you have established, the realtionships, friendships, even the little things you loved in a whole different country - leaving is the hardest thing you´ll ever experience. It is forcedly saying goodbye to the people you love, know, need and have seen for so long. And there is no set date when to come back. I´m so sad writing the post and I didn't want to end my blog like this but I felt like I had to tell people that are interested in going abroad what it´s like to come back home aswell because most of the time it´s not easy at all.

I want to say thank you for everything that has happened to me this year, all the people I now call family and also y'all who went with me through this amazing journey. I am so blessed. If there are questions, you are welcome to ask anytime! Svenja xo

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Since we already were up North, we had the pleasure to spend the last two days at Auntie Lara's amazing lake house in Michigan - I mean look at it! I've already seen so many pictures of it and my host family would tell me how much fun it is up there and so I wanted to go sooooo bad. So now a dream came true and I couldn't be happier. There are pretty much only two words to say: unforgettable fun. From seeing amazing sunsets on the lake, having smores by the fire, going on boat cruises, swimming and wakeboarding to tubing, jetskiing and paddle boarding, you name it, we didi it. It was so so so much fun!!!! Unfortunately I don't have many pictures, because we were in the water all day long, but yet there are some I wanna show!

Loosing what are the odds all the time and so had to jump in the water while thunderstorming/lightning

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Around late afternoon today us girls went downtown again to finish up the rest of the little sightseeing trip. Unfortunately we couldn't visit Shedd Aquarium, but other than that it was another successful day! I'm just so grateful to be able to see this wonderful place again.

It was so need to see the bean in the winter as well as in the summer

Buckingham Fountain

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... that's all I can say. By that being said I mean I couldn't be more excited to end my exchange year this way - A two and a half week long trip full of adventures!

I probably have to split up the trip in several parts, because so so so much fun things are waiting for us! So stay tuned and let's start with this one as post number. 1

The first stop was in North Augusta to spend the whole week with my favorite and best cousin in the world again. Papa and Grandma were taking us to the lake and we spend a whole day out on the boat, having fun and even taught Ellie how to swim on Monkey Island! PS: Will never forget this Erin!!!


Ellie

Papa

After being one day back home, it already meant packing up the suitcase again and saying "bye bye" for the next destination - CHICAGO! Mom found an amazing deal online and so we were able to fly which we were all extremely excited about rather than driving 12 hours! Hitting the airport at 3 am and having a bar and a Starbucks coffee in our hands we were ready to take off! (We were able to see the sunrise which was incredibly beautiful!) The first thing we had in Chicago was of course an 100% American breakfast with the fam. Calorie overload!


Today was one of the best days ever! Us girls decided to go downtown and spend the entire day in Chicago. We started off with an amazing boat tour on Chicago River, followed by tons of yummy food, Navy Pier, shopping and the Willis Tower. I don't even know how you can not love this city! There is so so so much things to do! Here are some more (😜) pictures from today... Ready?

1916 - 2016

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Unbelievable. It is the last month in the United States for me and I just don't understand why the days go by faster and faster. Here are some pictures that might not mean anything to anybody looking at them but they mean the world to me. All these girls have helped making this the best year of my life and I couldn't be more happy. I learned so many things from them and they made me to the person I am today. So many memories we have together!!! Last night I had my little "Farewell", a little goobye party, even though I still have some time left here. It was just such an amazing night. Said " see you later" and " you are family" but also "be safe and all the best in the future" which made it just so hard not to cry floods of tears. I tried to pick the best pictures but it is just impossible. Also a big shoutout to my host family for supporting me with everything and trusting me so much. I can't believe I will have to leave them.


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