Monday, September 19, 2011


I chose this.

It wasn’t like I didn’t have the grades or the extracurricular or the brains to go to college. Three even wanted me in fact.

But I turned them down. I said it was because of scholarships, but in the end I chose that too.

I chose to go to Wake Tech, I chose to work, and I chose this life. No regrets.

But it hurts.

And when you post on your facebook about how wonderful college is or how great all your free time or how it’s so hard to find time for your four classes and a social life…

I might just hate you a little bit. But I hate myself more.

Because I chose this.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

To Remember.

It’s hard really. Remembering I mean. It’s been one year and it feels like yesterday. Looking back my exchange seemed to never end and yet it ended too soon. Weird how time does that right?

The year back has been probably the fastest ever. Most likely cause I threw myself into my school and work and buried my head under ground and once in a while came up for air. I also went to Germany three times.

Yes, three.

I wish they told us before we left that this year would never leave us, that it would change us and shape us and become so entrenched in our being that we can no longer be that old person that we were.

Wait, they told us that?

I guess it’s hard to believe at first. You know, starting out, heading across the ocean to this grand adventure, six months seems like an eternity and a year a lifetime. It’s not that they didn’t tell me of I didn’t listen, it’s that my tiny, Americanized, teenage brain couldn’t comprehend the fact that once you live somewhere, once you allow yourself to fall in love with that country…

It’ll never be the same again.

Sorry kids. The secret is out. Germany follows me around like a shadow, sometimes comforting, sometimes not. I can’t let go and I can’t forget (Was I supposed to?). And I know I’ve become that obnoxious person that just won’t freaking shut up about that one subject, but sometimes it kills.

It’s sitting at a stoplight talking to your friend and she says something to which you reply “genau” and then you sit there laughing cause if you don’t laugh you’ll cry and then they’ll never understand. They’ll never understand what it’s like to know a language you never thought that in a million years you’d learn and yet there are days you can’t even think in your native tongue let alone hold a decent conversation. And how happy you are and yet how sad you are because of it. What’s that they say?

Don’t cry because it’s over; smile because it happened.

Oh yeah. Working on it.

But being that it has been one-year and all I can’t help but remember.

Remember my last party in Germany.

Saying goodbye to friends.

Saying goodbye to host siblings.

Then the final goodbye, standing at the airport, before going through security and passport control.

I won’t describe it, because I can’t. But I will say I cried my way through security, passport control, the terminal, and somehow made it on my plane. And then cried some more. I must’ve been an interesting row mate that day.

I honestly don’t remember that day too clearly, but I do remember the take offs and landings. That’s when the reality hit. That’s when I wanted to scream: “stop!” “rewind!” “play again”. Silly Lise, right? This is the real world kid.

You don’t get second chances.

But I didn’t want a second chance; I wanted to continue my first one… forever? No go. The real world is waiting- or so everyone said.

But don’t they understand that my year in Germany was every bit as real as the life I’m living now. The bonds I made in Germany with my friends and family will last a lifetime and then some. So don’t you dare pat me on the head and say:

So you were gone for a year. How was your trip?

It wasn’t a trip. It can’t have been. A trip doesn’t break you down and build you up. A trip doesn’t give you friends that stuck by your side and helped you with calculus in German, a trip doesn’t give you deep friendships with people from across the globe and a trip sure as heck doesn’t give you a three year old girl who tells people that her sister lives in America.

No, it wasn’t a trip. It was a journey. A life. A not too shabby one at that.

But I’m back now. A year in and the clock keeps ticking and I keep remembering.


But believe it or not, I smile more than I cry.


Monday, November 15, 2010

Why I Threw It All Away

As I approach the end of my first semester at Wake Technical Community College, I feel the urge to slightly explain myself.

Many people expected "better" things for me upon completion of high school; ie scholarships, good universities, etc and what not. However upon actually receiving my diploma I trotted off contently to Wake Tech leaving many scratching their heads.

Why, you may (or may not) ask?

Two reasons.

A) I received no scholarships and although I could turn this into a long story, I'll just leave it at that. No money for Lise. Nada, zilch.

B) I was done.

Background: I was the good student, the nice kid, played sports, active community service, yadayada. As of my junior year, it was clear in my head that I was going to graduate school and head off to a four-year college, upon arrival would work my butt off, graduate and then join my peers as a good, working-class citizen of America. And up until about November 2009, gosh darn it I was supposed to do all that. No doubt.

What happened? Well most of you know the answer.


And although I could write pages and pages upon my experience I shall let that one word speak for itself.

Because as of November 2009, I realized that I did not, no could not leave. And I fought for it. For about a month I fought with my school in the U.S. to let me stay in Germany and still graduate on time. And in doing so I found a backbone I never knew even existed in me.

So why did I want to stay so bad?

As in exchange student you are sent to live to a country you've never been to before (well most), you get a new family (who has only meet you through emails and a dorky letter you write), a new town, new school, new language, new culture, the list goes on. You can no longer rely on who you've come to identify yourself as. No longer does JROTC, baseball, NHS, or all these things apply to you, you are simply you. What you chose to be and who are you truly are. So what do you do, with nothing to define you except "American" and "Exchange student"?

You live.

Your world is thrown off its axis, your head is spinning, and the moments in which you do not try to cling to your old thoughts and ideas, the world explodes in a freshness that takes your breath away and makes you realize you can never, ever go back to your old life. And those random people that picked you to live with them? They become your family. That random school you got sent to? The people there become your friends. And that random
town of 20,000 people you get shipped off to? It becomes your home.

So I chose not to return in January. I chose to stay in Germany. Doing so probably cost me those scholarships, those prestigious awards had fought so hard for.

But don't ever think I regretted it.

And why did I chose Wake Tech instead of taking out student loans?

So that two years from now, I can walk away debt free ready to begin my life. Not one graduating from a four year school who must immediately enter the work force in a 9-5 job to pay off their student loans. That did not sound appealing to me.

So I admit it. I'm done playing the game and following the "rules". I work to please God and find the best path for my life. That's it plain and simple.

And I guess when it comes down to it, I just want to know that 50 years from now I took every opportunity that was given to me and never looked back.

I want to see the world.

And that's why I threw it all away.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

To tide you over

I'm backed up again. I promise I'll update with everything- lots has happened! But that will take too long and I have college apps due. Hopefully by the end of the week I'll be back on track with this blog. For now I went around my room taking pictures of stuff that I am doing/loving/just feel like sharing. Enjoy!

Why yes they DO indeed have trader joe's in deutschland. not the store. you can find this at aldi. what is this? fruity iced tea. amazingly good iced tea for that matter! bojangles watch out! and it's only 45 cents to boot. well 66.6 cents when you are talking exchange rate. and with 21% zucker (that's sugar for all you ignorant non germans) you can literally feel your teeth rotting while drinking it! and have I mentioned I've drunk almost 3 liters of the stuff in two days? I do have will power I promise...

This is what I do in math class when bored. Perhaps that is why I got a 9/60 equaling epic failure on my math test. we shall never know. anywhoo I tried. and at least it was in german!

this falls under stuff I like. I have four trash cans in my room and my host mom labeled all of them. the sad part? I'm still confused. immer.

no I did not take a picture of my shadow. it's of the radiator which supposedly heats rooms in germany. I'm not convinced yet. I think that I might petition to sleep on the floor next to the fire downstairs once it gets REALLY cold here. what? negative two degrees C isn't cold?!?! It's "fresh" as my host mom puts it.

this also falls under stuff I like. mmm radler. yes it is beer. not it is not crazy alcoholic. and yes it is yummy. but I'll be honest I only really like beer that doesn't taste like beer. :)

this book. rocks. love it. it's what I did on a four hour train ride home. (that's another story though)

alright signing off now-my hands are kinda twitchy- I really think I need to detox from that eis tee. seriously. I do have SOME self control. maybe.


ps. comments are nice. really nice in fact. they make me smile. wouldn't you like to make me smile today? :)

Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Harzburg

Later in the day after we went to the border we went to the mountains, specifically to the on with the Harzburg (kinda a castle) and we rode the Burgbahn up and walked down... it was a long walk! And we took a wrong turn... oops! I got some amazing pictures and a great story to tell...

Sooo when I was back in the US I would day dream about Germany. Not expectations really, just wishing and wondering what life would be like. And my mind always drifted back to this one little specific dream. I would be standing on a mountain overlooking villages and seeing just rolling hills and other mountains and behind me would be an old castle and it would just be so Germany and perfect. Cute dream huh? IT HAPPENED.
Perfection. Wilkommen zu Deutschland.

Me living the dream.

The wall of the burg... crazy huge!

Again... with everyone!

Some monument to some guy... not really sure who. :)

On the way up... it was high!

Oh and Katherine if your reading this be jealous! No I didn't get to do it but I want too!

ps. I love my life.

die Grenze

Last weekend my host family and I went to the border (I live about five minutes away) and to a special museum talking about East Germany and the restrictions stuff. For example, you couldn't come with a 500 m radius without a blue stamp and a 5km radius without a red stamp or something like that. There were mines leading up to the border but the guards turned them off when it rained. Really interesting stuff. But I think pictures are worth more so here you go!

Entry to dugout beneath a former watch tower


Part of the border wall

It was all very interesting and kinda scary in a way. This isn't 100 years ago or something, up until very recently a country was divided within itself. It's very sobering and I'm glad I got to go see it.
ps. I also got a cool post card I'll take a picture of it before I send it and post it


So two? weeks ago I went to the Altstadtfest in Goslar. It was a lot of fun and we heard some really good bands and I ate Chinese food and ice cream. Yum yum. I also got told I look very German. WoHoo! Now I just need to sound it... On a side note the singer of this really good band was incredibly cute... oh my German boys... :D Okay picture time!

Yum. Eis! Lecker!

Well Rachel got cut out...

Marita and I!

It was really awesome because Goslar is such an old looking town. Very German-y. I had a lot of fun in particular dancing to... COTTEN EYED JOE! With Marita! haha great night. One of those perfect whyicameonexchange moments. Gotta love 'em.

ps-I think I like American Chinese food better than German Chinese food. :P