So how am I feeling on the eve of my departure? Pretty darn good overall. My bags are packed. I ended up with one more bag than planned. I'll still be able to get it all on the plane without incuring extra fees, but let me tell you its going to be reeeeeaaaally fun trying to get it all onto a train by myself... can't wait for that. Oh traveling... I love it and a hate it all at the same time.
Before I go I'd like to write down a few goals for the upcoming year that I can look back on at the year progresses.
1. Be a dedicated teacher. Stay on top of lesson plans, be creative, get to know the students and keep them interested. Impress the students and teachers with your maturity and confidence. And speak loudly enough for them to hear me!! Go above and beyond. Find a project you care about and follow through, start an after school club. Remember, teaching is the reason I'm in Germany!
2. Utilize free time. You are in Germany for goodness sake. Get out of your little dorm room and do something cool! Visit every museum, church, park you can. Walk, hike (in the Alps!) , ride a bike, get moving! Take interesting classes, do the reading, learn something! Travel as much as possible and travel alone sometimes. Try new things, be open minded and adventureous.
3. Meet people. Be outgoing, be confident. Make friends, but don't spend all your time with the same people, this is the perfect oportunity to meet new, different, and interesting people. Be open to anything and anyone (just don't be too naive).
4. Speak German! Don't spend ALL of your time with English speakers! practice, read German, take classes in German, study German, write in German. German, German, German!
5. Budget. Plan a monthly budget and stick to it. Make some extra money to use for traveling. Cook your own meals, don't buy clothes or stuff you don't need and can't fit in your suitcases anyway! Be smart, plan ahead.
6. Stay in touch. Send postcards, write e-mails, take pictures, write letters, make phone calls, blog blog blog. All that good stuff I can do to let you people know how much I love you even though I'm so far away.
I realize that these aren't the good kind of goals that you can actually measure, but at least it's something to look at if I'm ever feeling lonely, homesick, or just off track. Mostly I hope that I can have a great time, be happy, have fun, all that. And I hope that I can make it meaningful!
My heart goes out to all those affected by Hurricane Katrina and to those who are doing all they can to help. The images on the news are shocking and appalling, I can only hope that relief finds all the people stranded there as quickly as possible.