by Sarah Lime, Greenheart Travel High School Exchange Student in Austria
Hello! Or I suppose I should say, Guten Tag! The extent of my knowledge of the German language consists mostly of “hello”, “goodbye”, and “how are you?”, which is surprising considering I will begin my long journey to the small town of Feistritz im Rosental in Austria in exactly 2 days, 13 hours, 8 minutes, and 10 seconds. Before I state the details regarding my upcoming adventure, I should provide a brief introduction of myself.
My name is Sarah McDonald Lime, and I am a 16 year old living in East Grand Rapids, Michigan. I am most interested in Biology, Anthropology, and Psychology. My hobbies include trail running at my cottage in Canada, passing the lacrosse ball with my younger brother, and watercolor and printmaking (generally expressing surrealistic themes in my artwork). In the future, I would love to breed either baby guinea pigs or piglets, and I am determined to explore the world in search of leprechauns. My Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Henry, is my best friend, and I don’t know what I would do without him. And lastly, my sister Emily, the most eccentric person I know and the most prominent reason I enjoy adventuring, has influenced me more than anyone else in my lifetime. From an early age, Emily was feeding me concoctions of soap and tissue and water with the idea that it would provide me with super speed, reenacting murder trials in which I would always seem to play the hopeless victim, and forcing me down the laundry shoot which she believed to be a passage to an alternate universe. And perhaps it was my naivety feeding her playful, harmless manipulation, but I believe she has taught me that the link between imagination and exploration leads to discovery of one’s self and others, thus inspiring me to embark on this adventure.
This adventure I continue to refer to is a cultural exchange program (Greenheart Travel) which will send me to Austria to live with a host family for five months. I cannot wait to meet my host sister: Chiara, host father: Christian, and host mother: Gerlinde! I will attend school in Klagenfurt, though I am not sure which classes I will be assigned. I look forward to skiing, hiking, exploring, and traveling to Italy for a pizza dinner with my host family!
So, with only three sleeps left in my own bed, I am feeling quite anxious, but very excited. The fact that I will be thrown into a completely new lifestyle for five months has not quite registered with me yet, and I don’t imagine it will until I am on the plane from Grand Rapids to Detroit. I hope all my reservations (the language barrier, not doing well in school, struggling to make new friends, missing my friends and family, and being too reserved), will fade once I arrive. Okay, wish me luck! Hopefully I will be able to navigate my way through the Grand Rapids, Detroit, New York City, Paris, Vienna, and Klagenfurt airports. . .