Dienstag, 16. Dezember 2014

Heyo guys.
Seriously, I havent blogged in FOREVER. I didnt really feel like it and also school was really busy, but yeah now I'm here and I feel like I have some time and motivation to talk some about my life again. :P

So, where did I stop?! Still in Richmond.
Well the last few days at VCU where pretty great (as I might have already said, I really don't remember). The day before my flight home Sav had to leave town for family reasons, so I stayed in his room with the "southside gang" (basically just our bunch of people there). Having him leave first kinda sucked, but I also didn't really realize what was happening so maybe it even made the whole thing easier. But still, it was the first time he didn't come to the airport with me, and it was weird. So I spent the day with the rest of the guys, and the morning of my flight they all got up relatively early (definitely early for college students on a Saturday) to help me get my stuff ready and say goodbye, and then Michael and his girlfriend Hannah took me to the airport.
Leaving actually was a little easier. Maybe because the biggest (or worst?) part was already over, maybe because I knew it was only a 'see you later' and this see you later would only be 4.5 months away, which is the shortest it's ever been!

The first days home were pretty bad again, but once I got over the kind of cultureshock which seems to happen literally every single time, I was doing pretty well again. The month there at college with Sav was just fking perfect, it was the greatest thing we've ever done.

So then school started getting crazy. 2-3 exams every week until christmas break, we all thought we were gonna die. Well, I just started taking everything waay easier which is doing my mental health really well! And so today is already Dec 16 so it's only 3 more days until break, only one more exam tomorrow, and we survived it all. I don't quite know how, but looking back at it it wasn't even too bad.
Also, I finally got the okay for my research paper. So starting in January, I will have 3 months to write a 12-15 page research paper about the effect of music on children and teenagers.

Yeah, I've been trying to talk my parents into letting me go to VCU and getting me a new flute. I mean, as you might understand, it's a looooong process. But I honestly think I'm not even doing that badly, of course I won't get a 13,000$ flute by tomorrow, but I'm not doing too badly. I still need to look into the whole SAT taking thing and do that (eeeeh I dont wanna :( ), but I already figured out a lot of stuff. :) I'm really excited, I have exactly one year left do get it all done and I'll have to have applied by Dec 1 next year.

And I already booked my flight back to RVA :) I'll be gone between March 26 and April 11 this time. It's not a whole month again, I know, but it's my Easter break and that's all I've got so we gotta make the best of it.

Uhm, other thoughts ... plans ... I decided to do a crash course for my license next summer, so I'll get my license after two weeks of constant training. Sounds hard, is probably gonna be hard, but it's also quick and that's basically all I care about.
Then, I've been craving Chipotle like a bch. It's bad. I want a burrito.

And I'm turning 18 the day after tomorrow, but for some reason everyone else seems so much more excited that I am myself. Honestly, the thing I'm most excited about is that I'll be able to write my own notes for PE ... #lazy

Donnerstag, 30. Oktober 2014

Beach time

Gotta love my Armanny

and that guy too :3

Welcome to the US, where they put random umlauts on the menu to make it look more German

Campus snapshot #1

Campus snapshot #2, the dining hall (Shafer)

Campus snapshot #3

Frands chilling in our room ~

First sushi in my life, and also breakfast

Seafood with those two crazy creatures

VCU waffles man. What is this madness, because I'm game

VCU arts - we're kind of a big deal

Short update on my great life here as a wannabe music student! Sorry I don't post as much but life is too much fun to spend time on the computer.

So last week wednesday we had friends from Cville coming over (Shaun and Armanny) and we went to VA beach with them for an evening. It was really great, just something you don't do every day but it was totally worth it. They picked us up at around 3pm and we got to the beach around 5.30. We went to eat dinner at some really nice restaurant right on the beach and just walked around and had fun :) Unfortunately we couldn't stay the night, so we headed back towards Richmond/Cville around 9pm. It was a heck of a drive, but it was so much more fun.

Then I had my first flute lesson with Dr. E last week friday. I was kinda worried/nervous, but it was fantastic! She's a great teacher (a lot like my german teacher for some reason) and apparently she really likes my playing (or maybe that's just what she's got to say hahah). We talked about majors and stuff, and she told me that a lot of the performing arts students have double majors. To make their families a bit happier and to have something to fall back on in case it just doesn't work out with getting a job and all that jazz. So right now I'm actually thinking about maybe doing the same thing and going for a double major in performing arts and international relations. Would be hella cool, but you know it's all a matter of how much you can affort.

What else. Uhm. Last weekend Sav and I tried to take the bus down to downtown Richmond, but we couldn't find "downtown Richmond", so we basically just rode the bus around and went back to the Campus to have dinner hahah. It was kinda fun. 
Other than that we still have the same classes (classes are fun. I really like them, even though I kinda have the need to punch his keyboard skills teacher every once in a while. She's like that old lady that just goes around, putting students on the spot and instead of actually teaching them she just keeps on yelling "no! wrong!" at them. Gaaaahhh). The food is guuuuud, we went to some new mexican places ("new". I just hadn't been there before) but we decided to stick to Cane's and iHop mostly :D
We still take kind of a lot of naps, go to bed way too late, hangout with the guys and do way too much insane stuff. But that's what it's all about, right? Having fun? Isn't that what college is about?

Well, I'm having tons of fun here, and I'm actually learning SO much. It's fantastic. I'll actually try to post a couple of pics later tonight :)

Stay fresh!

P.S. There's a "haunted house" thing on our floor right now, as preparation for Halloween I guess. It's pretty damn great. All you can hear is screaming people. Mwhahahahah

Dienstag, 21. Oktober 2014

A day in the life of a music student (shadow)

The alarm rings at 7 am. After a not all too comfortable night getting up is kinda hard, so we stay in bed until 7.45.
I'm really glad that the single bathroom isn't taken. I get a bit mad every once in a while when I'm in a hurry and a guy takes up that bathroom - as I'm staying on the boy's floor it's the only bathroom I can use while they have two big other bathrooms. Relatively quick shower and back to S's room. I feel kind of bad blow drying my hair while Luke and Kai are still asleep, but we have to leave.
8.45, we're heading out to get breakfast before class, meeting David R on the way but he doesn't want to come. Einstein Bros (Bagels) with bacon and cheese, veeeery good :3 So off to Keyboard Skills, that class. . . I spend the 50 min sitting next to Sav trying to teach him stuff on the piano and playing my own stuff. Turns out I taught him more than his teacher did all last semester - woops. Back to the room since our next class isn't until 11am.
Sav tries to sign me in; the security lady starts asking around if she's even allowed to take foreign ID's (don't be a bitch, it worked all last week.) Back upstairs, the guys are still asleep. We watch a show on the bed for about 45 min, then head back out to Aural Skills. Class with Dr. Hammel (m), comment: Oh, the shadow is back, the German! (background knowledge, he named me Shadow #2 last week) Girl next to me asks me if I know German and if my name is actually Shadow. Righttttt ... talk to her for a while, nice person :)
Aural Skills is fun, we're singing solfege and conduct and all that. Hard, but fun. Dr. Hammel lets us go early for no real reason, but who would complain. Sav and I try to get a practice room, but he can't open it so it's just back to the dorm again.
We eat some chocolate because we're already hungry again and watch some more "Hunter" (the show). At 12.40 he brings me down to the lobby again to sign me out so I can go to my next and last class, University Band. It feels good to be able to walk around campus by myself; I know my way around now, but he has to sign me in almost everywhere I go. I go to the huge performing arts center and sit down in the big hall with all the other band members. Kiara arrives only a few minutes later and soon we can go in together. Unpacking and on stage. I'm not quite sure whether Dr Austin knows that I'm still there, Kiara doesn't tell him; he looks at me a couple of times during rehearsal, probably because I sit right in front of him, but I'm still not sure. He starts telling us about his experiences playing at some national convention in Cincinnati and we play a bit, but the 50 min rehearsal goes by very very fast.
I walk Kiara halfway to the Pizza place because she wants to get food but then head back to Johnson since Sav will be waiting for me in the lobby at 2 to sign me back in (it's a pain). Neither  Kai nor Luke are in the room, so I use the time to practice a little and Sav does his homework. Luke and his girlfriend Emily walk in (oops) but only drop their stuff off before going to lunch. I practice for about 30 min before Kai comes back as well (for good). Sav is still doing homework.
I join him and help him out a bit, ending up in doing quite some levels myself (ought to say though, it was a very good practice for me too). It gets to the point where both of us just mess up over and over again, so we decide to just rest a bit - - and end up taking a 2h nap. Thankfully Kiara shows up at 6.20 to tell me where the flute recital is, I go into sort of a post-nap shock (unexpected nap fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck) which only lasts for a couple of seconds though since the recital is at 7. We get up and I slowly get ready. Sav doesn't want to come, so he just signs me out and starts working on the homework again.
Unexpectedly Dr. E is the one playing in the recital (with some guy on the oboe, he is reeeal good) I get together with Kiara and Taylor whom I finally run into for the first time since I'm here.
The recital is really nice, not too long and they play extremely well (well, they are the professors here) I text Sav as it's done and walk back to Johnson by myself. He is already waiting to sign me back in, and we go back up to his room (which is on the second floor btw). He is still doing homework, it doesn't seem to end. We start working together again (team work is the best kind of work) and it goes just on and on and on. People keep on walking into the room to talk a bit but never stay too long. at around 10pm I start getting hungry again, but we decide to finish the MacGomut first before going to Cane's. It takes us another hour until we're finally done, Unfortunately no one wants to come since they all got food already (damn homework.) It takes us quite a while to get our food, and we walk back to the dorms to eat it there. So back to bed it is, we eat our chicken fingers (God they're guuuuuud) and I go to get ready for bed/. I technically wanted to go to bed a little earlier, but it's already after midnight again.
So Sav and I get into bed, Kai as well as Luke and Emily are watching something on their laptops and we open YouTube to watch some PewDiePie. Thanks to Advising Day we don't have any music classes tomorrow, which means as much as no classes for me. Awkward as I am I will have to go to Sav's advising though, since neither of us can leave the building alone anymore (he signs me in with his ID, and the only way to get it back is to sign me out too). Oh well, who would complain? More to learn for me, and more time to practice.
We relax a bit from the day and soon fall asleep with the laptop open. Tomorrow, 7am, the alarm will go off again and who knows how we'll get out of bed this time ...

Sonntag, 19. Oktober 2014

First week

Heyo ihr lieben Menschen :)

Okay, also da ich ja grad wieder in den Staaten bin werde ich wohl erstmal auf Deutsch schreiben fuer meine Freunde/Familie dort . . .es gibt ja noch den translator :p

Letzten Montag war ich das erste Mal mit Kiara im Unterricht. Das heisst so viel wie, zuerst Keyboard skills, wo Sav auch war. Der Kurs war relativ furchtbar fuer jemanden der schon wenigstens annaehernd Klavier spielen kann, da haben wir also quasi nicht viel gemacht. Heisst aber auch, mit dem Kurs kaeme ich klar :D
Dann Oral Skills. Da ging es vor allem um vom Blatt singen, Solfage, dirigieren. Hat richtig Spass gemacht! :D Es gibt so eine Art Solfage Zeichensprache (ich weiss nicht mal wie das genau heissen wuerde), die ich jetzt mal gelernt habe. Dann muss man zum Teil Melodien auf Solfege singen, mit einer Hand dirigieren und mit der anderen die Zeichensprache machen. 
Music Theory. Natuerlich irgendwie schwerer als das, was wir in der Schule machen, aber es hat echt Spass gemacht und es ist auf keinen Fall unmachbar. Ausserdem wird Oral Skills und Music Theory von einem etwas aelteren Paerchen unterrichtet, sie sind unglaublich lieb und witzig und sie erklaeren die Dinge auch sehr gut. Wie gesagt, ich war in beiden nur einmal und ich habe in beiden auch so schon etwas gelernt, trotz Sprachbarrieren.
Ausserdem ist da dann noch Flute Choir, die Flute Masterclass und Flute Club, was aber letzte Woche alles ausgefallen ist.

Ansonsten ist hier alles ganz schoen schoen. Normalerweise essen wir morgens vor dem Unterricht immer entweder bei iHop (relativ direkt neben dem Gebaeude wo wir wohnen) oder in der Mensa. Gegen 5 Uhr gehen wir dann eigentlich immer mit der ganzen Gang zu Cane's, direkt neben iHop. 
Montag und Dienstag sind wir in die Schule gegangen, Mittwoch haetten wir nur Keyboard gehabt und ja . . . das haben Sav und ich dann sein gelassen :p Donnerstag und Freitag war dann "Fall Break" hier, und Mittwoch Abend sind wir mit einer alten Freundin von der High School zurueck nach Charlottesville gefahren. Eigentlich wollten wir dann zum Lake House von Sav's Vater fahren, das hat allerdings nicht so geklappt, von daher sind wir fuer das ganze Wochenende bis morgen Abend in Charlottesville, dann geht es zurueck nach Richmond. Hier in Charlottesville haben wir Shaun und Armanny, auch Freunde von der HS getroffen; waren mit ihnen abends weg und sowas. Heute haben wir Allie noch ein surprise visit abgestattet, es war suuuuper :D 
Joa, was gibt es sonst noch zu erzaehlen . . . ich hab jetzt wieder einen Laptop :D Sav hat mir seinen alten gegeben, und ausser dass er natuerlich keine Umlaute hat ist er richtig gut. Wir haben auch Mr Thomas einen Besuch abgestattet, war super :)

Okay, morgen Abend geht es wieder zurueck zur VCU. Am Montag ist ein Flute Recital wohin ich eingeladen wurde, und am Freitag hab ich wohl zum ersten Mal Unterricht!! :D Ich freu mich UNGLAUBLICH.

Alright . .  . not much else to tell, I'll talk to y'all later! :) 

Samstag, 11. Oktober 2014

Welcome to the Virginia Commonwealth University!

I made it!! I'm here :D

First of all, I'm sorry for not having posted in so long. I was really planning on doing it a couple of times but I was actually kinda busy with school and everything.

So yesterday was FINALLY Oct 10 and I got to go back to the United States - to Virginia - to see all of my lovely people here.

What happened ... I had to go to Charlotte, NC before going to Richmond. As much as I was looking forward to the weather here (It'd been over 80 degrees last week, I was so excited and even packed a pair of shorts), it's really rainy and kind of cold actually. Probably not quite as cold as Germany right now but yeah.

So Sav picked me up from the airport with two friends, David and Michael. They are reeally cool, I literally already love most of the people I've met here. We went to eat something first at a place called uhm .. something with Steaks? I can't remember. The food was good (I MISSED AMERICAN FOOD SO MUCH) but the portion as also huuge :D After that we stopped by at Target to get some stuff and then went to VCU to put my stuff in S's dorm room and just chill a little.

VCU amazes me. Having been at the University in my hometown in Germany not long ago I just realized how increadibly beautiful it is here. The buildings are huge (okay, everything is huge here) and I don't know. I can't quite put it into words other than saying that it's extremely beautiful.

So we hung out in Sav's room with a lot of people actually, it was great. They are all so nice and cool :) In general i just really like somehow how people just knock and walk in the whole time, like it's so rare to be alone. I don't know, maybe I'll start having a problem with that at some point but right now I just love having so many positive people around me, it's fantastic. They were planning on getting more food later that night, but in the end we didn't do it and I was kinda thankful because I was reeeeally tired.

This morning we stayed in bed til like 11 but it seemed way longer for me. Let's see how long this jet lag is going to bug me this time. But yeah after taking a shower and all that we went to iHop to get breakfast with all the people.

So, some background information for my following posts, just to understand all of what I'm talking about the whole time. "All the people" is most likely always gonna be Sav's group of friends. They call themselves the "South Side Gang" (because they all live on the southside of the dorm floor - tricky tricky lol) I can't really tell how many they are, I'm at 5 right now. I love them, they're all really cool and extremely nice and really positive people, so basically just the kind of people I kinda needed for a change :D
And also, I really like the dining thing here. So you get dining dollars from VCU (which you pay for in the tuition of course) on your VCU ID card and then there are fast food places on campus that take those dining dollars, it's perfect. I unfortunately don't have a VCU ID (that would've been so freaking cool) so I have to pay with "real money" everywhere . . . booooriiingggggg :D
What else is there to tell. I don't know, the dorms room really look like college dorm rooms hahah, it's so comfortable here. I FREAKING LOVE IT. I hope that the classes are gonna be just as fantastic. Kiara also stopped by last night to say hi, she lives in the same building but a couple of floors higher. I'm gonna be shadowing here in school and I'm really really excited.
This is gonna be so great :D

Montag, 1. September 2014

... of the attempt to register and wonderful people

Yo guys! It's getting closer!! :D
Only 5 weeks and 4 days - or 39 days - and I'll be on my way back to the US! :D 

So this post is about my attempt to register at VCU. . . I guess it's kinda obvious that it was a total mess.
So like, let's say a little less than two weeks ago I got the email that my internship is not super duper officially approved. Like, I got the signatures and everything. The guy who's been going through everything with me asked me to register then - I only had like 4 days because registration ended on August 27, so he asked me to do it relatively immediately. I tried, couldn't really find all the stuff online, so I emailed him again for help. Yikeeessss, weekend and I couldn't reach anybody, and then it was getting closer and there was no one who could help me and yeah. Soo the day before registration ended I decided to just email the administration office I mean, they should be able to help me. Turned out they didn't really know about my internship and everything about it (apparently it's kind of an unique thing), but they sent me the application to register as a non-degree seeking student. I was kiiinda stressed out because it was like 5 pages of application stuff plus I had to find my school transcript again and all that, but I actually filled it all out in like an hour, scanned it, sent it back.
After a few correspondences the news: Nele, you cannot attend college classes without a high school diploma. 
Uhm ... wha? So I told them that I wasn't trying to enroll in classes or anything but that I'm gonna be an intern in a couple of weeks. Answer: Oh, we think this is the wrong adress for you then. You should check with ***.
Whaaaaayy, that was kinda frustrating after all the filling out and stuff, but I emailed a different administration office that was supposed to know better how to help me. Result was, that I should register as an Advances Scholar. (Those are the high school kids in the area who are so smart that they can enroll in one or two college classes while still in high school.) That meant, I had to fill out 3 more papers, write an essay on why I wanted to do it (yup, I wrote that essay) and I even needed a recommendation letter from my guidance counselor! Since we don't really have that in Germany I asked them for permission to ask my English teacher instead (yes, I emailed her in the middle of the night during summer break for a recommendation letter ... she even said she's gonna do it asap,  really bless the Lord!) Oh, and they asked for my PSAT/ SAT score . . .yikes :D 
So yes it took me one night to fill out all that stuff and I turned everything in on August 27. (Except for the letter and the test scores of course)
Turns out: nah, this isn't really working. They are figuring out something else for me now to get me in as a visitor since I'm not staying for the whole year. I was shocked I mean, the deadline to sign up for classes was that exact day. Thank God they said I'm not tied to any deadlines anymore and they are just going to keep me posted.

At the end of that day I was really just so relieved. Yes, I filled out a ton of unnecessary applications, ran around collecting signatures and all of that, but in the end it all worked out for the better. And I just have to say how lucky I am for being able to do this - the people at VCU are putting a whole lot of effort in this project and it's amazing. I haven't even been there yet, but I already think that I'll really really like it :)

Oh yeah, S' and Kiara started classes there only 2 weeks ago - Dep of Music of course :3 And they really love it so yeeeaaah I'm excited af!!!!! 

Btw, as you might have noticed, I changed my blog a little. It's not "Destination USA - My year in VA 2012/2013" anymore - this blog hasn't only been about my exchange year for a while now. Now it's also about what came after it - it's me, trying to live my very own American Dream :)