Angela Merkel. With my own two augen (=eyes). We had our Abschlussseminar in Berlin this weekend with all of the kids from language camp. The day when we all saw Frau Merkel was our "Bundestag.. Tag". It started at 5 am and ended at 2 am the next day, and filled up a good five pages of my journal. I will try to abbreviate:
There is a big room in the Bundestag (German parliment) building where all of the work gets done. It sits under an enormous glass dome and has a metal eagle (which actually looks more like a chicken-- an appearance of harmlesness was intentional when it was designed because the Germans wanted to keep the eagle but avoid Nazi conotations), which weighs 2 tons or something. We weren't allowed to bring cameras, otherwise I would have taken a picture, because it's all a little hard to explain. In any case, there are seats for the civilians who want to listen (ie us) way above, and we got to watch lots of important things get done. They told us not to get our hopes up about Angie being there, but we all hoped deep in our hearts, and I had promised to "bestell schöne Grüße" (give pretty messages) from my host sister (for whom Angela Merkel is something of a hero) but when we got there and everything got started, we didn't see her. The members of the Bundestag who were there did give a little speech about our program and how proud they were of us and applauded, but it just wasn't the same without our beloved Bundeskanzlerin. But then, as we were all sitting trying to concentrate, guess who came around the corner and sat in her seat??? Angela Merkel! She chewed gum the entire time, which somehow made me really happy.
After this, we were ushered into a big room with 400 other exchange students and several important people (the ambassador from the US, Bob Bishop, Norbert Lammert, some other members of the Bundestag). A few exchange students gave speeches and there was a question and answer session (during which I completely humiliated myself by forgetting every German word I know)and we got a video message by Hilary Clinton (yes, the Hilary Clinton) about how proud she was of us and a letter from Nancy Pelosi (sp?), also telling us she was proud of us. It was all quite exciting, I think I got a copy of the letter and will try to get a copy of the video. After this, we were let go and I walked around Berlin until 10:00 pm. This, of course, was wonderful, we saw all sorts of buildings and memorials and other things that I won't try to describe because I'm trying to keep this shorter than five pages. My day ended with a dance party, where I shared a glass of ginger ale with another Utahn and put my roommate and a few other kids to bed, wishing them pleasant dreams and mild hangovers.
I am coming home in two weeks. We all fully realized this together, but I can still hardly believe it. I have heard that reverse culture shock can be brutal, and I have changed a ton since going-- I wanted to warn everyone because I've heard that it is hard for other people as well. So expect the same old Ingy deep down, but don't be shocked if I don't structure my sentences well anymore or get lost.
I can't wait to see all of you. Bis später.
2 days ago