Louise stepped onto a plane for the first time in her life without one of her parents. She was 18 years old about to move in with a family, which she had met only one time. She sat down next to Katherine. Both girls had traveled to Germany prior to this trip, whereas some of the girls were sitting in a plane for the first time. Louise and Katherine talked about the trips that they had been on until the plane started rolling and ascended into the sky. Dinner was served and television screens turned on around the cabin, but the little group of American teenage girls and their teacher didn’t bother to watch a movie.
They started talking about what to expect in Germany and how excited they were to be taking this trip. Some girls were nervous, others just excited. Louise was both. She figured school would be the same as in the USA, and that family life would also be similar. It was difficult for her to know really what to expect which made her nervous. But she was still excited to be traveling out of the country for the second time in only two months.
Louise had been to Florida, New Hampshire, Atlanta, Texas, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Orange County, and even two of the Hawaiian Islands. Louise had always known that she would one day move to the beach. She wanted to have a house with a direct view of the beach. It never once crossed her mind that she might actually move to another country.
Somehow the girls got on the topic of giving birth and Frau told them how painful the birth of her child had been. Louise had only ever heard of long painful births and thought it must just be a part of life as a women. She knew that her own birth had taken 16 hours. The very thought of being in pain that long, of a baby’s body being pressed through her tiny vagina was just plain unbearable. She was in no hurry to get pregnant.
In the summer before the eighth grade she thought she had become pregnant. She told her boyfriend, the only boy she had ever slept with, that she might be pregnant, which pretty much led to the end of their relationship and friendship. She hadn’t meant to have sex so young. Her period came and with it a desire, a lust for passion, closeness, touch. It was overwhelming. She noticed that boys and men looked at her differently, or had they always looked at her that way? She wasn’t sure. She had always liked boys. Kissing them on a dare in the clubhouse at age eight. But as puberty came, she felt a fire in her bones. The simple touch of a boys thumb rubbing softly over the back of her hand in class made her swell with a warmth, and send her mind whirling, not being able to comprehend anything other than this touch. She did not entertain thoughts of sex yet she would often find her underwear wet with a slim that she could not explain. Eventually one thing led to another and she did begin to entertain thoughts alone in her room. She knew that most boys were more than willing to help her bring fantasy to reality. But she wasn’t sure that she wanted to take it that far.
Louise’s Father made sure that she knew what all boys wanted. She has known since the age of 8 that boys and men only have one thing on their mind. Sex. She knew this because her father would often talk about it. It was meant to be a warning so that his girls would know what to expect. He told them that if a boy loved them that he would wait to have sex, but at the same time saying that it is all boys have on their mind. What he didn’t tell Louise is that she would also have a strong desire. He just said she shouldn’t have sex until marriage. She really didn’t want to lose her virginity anyway. Girls who had sex were considered sluts.
But one day her boyfriend came over to the house when no one was present other than herself. It must have been her ovulation time because she took off her clothes and stood in front of him waiting for him to take advantage of the opportunity. Lucky for Louise, her boyfriend was also a virgin. He didn’t know that all he apparently had in his head was sex. He just stared at Louise. He did not move from the sofa for a moment. She sat down next to him and they began kissing, but his hands stayed away from her body. She took his hand and placed it on her breast. She thought for some reason that boys would just know what to do to please her. She didn’t realize that these things didn’t come naturally.
She remembered one afternoon being at a friend’s house with her father and sister. It was an old friend of the family. They had three little girls whom were all homeschooled. The adults were watching a movie in the living room. Louise had come over to couch to rest. After a short time the father of the three girls paused the movie and told Ted that he might want to send his girls out of the room, ‘’There is a rather heavy sex scene coming up.’’ he said.
‘’Oh, no, I think that’s great. I want my children to know that sex is something natural. Why don’t we get Kelly in here to see it too… Kelly come on in here I want you to see this.’’ Kelly had been playing in the other room and was now on the way into the dark living room. She sat down on a chair next to her father. Louise sat up straight thinking this must be important if my father calls in Kelly from the other room just to see it.
‘’Ted, are you sure you want them seeing this? It is pretty intense.’’ The friend iterated.
Ted assured him that it was alright and the movie began again to play. Louise remembers seeing a man and a woman under a blanket in bed. The woman was on top moving very fast and making heavy breathing, almost panting noises. Her breasts were flopping up and down in front of the man underneath her who was obviously enjoying what was taking place.
Louise knew all about sex. She knew the proper names of private parts. And she knew that a man entered the woman between her legs. She had been well informed about the technical side of reproduction. Most of what she had learned came from listening to Dr. James Dobson tapes in the car with her father. He would put them in on the way to camping trips or any long car ride. It was horrible. Louise hadn’t been ready at the age of 8 and younger to hear about teenage issues. She thought boys had ‘coodies’ until being forced to listen to these inappropriate tapes in the car.
The movie continued. Louise didn’t know that the actors were not actually sleeping with each other. It looked very real. The woman continued to pant and shake and scream ‘yes, yes, yes’. Then she lowered herself on the man, as the scene came to an end. Louise and Kelly asked if they could ‘leave now’, which they did. The two girls went into the other room to play cards. They didn’t talk about they had just seen. And no adults came to discuss it with them either. But this image of what ‘natural sex’ should be stayed imprinted in Louise’s mind as what sex should look like. The girl on top, moving quickly while breast wave at her partner. So you can imagine what Louise’s first time sex looked like.
Her boyfriend had a condom in his pocket like all cool teenage boys did. You know… to show his friends that he ‘needs’ one. As if to prove sex was something he did often. Of course Louise’s boyfriend was a virgin. As they sat there on the couch kissing and touching each other, Louise could only think of one thing, this video she had seem many years ago and that she wanted to do the same. Her boy-friend opened his pants and pulled them down enough for Louise to sit on him. She didn’t so slow at all. Not because she didn’t want to, she thought she wasn’t supposed to go slow. She did everything like the women in the video. The sex was over almost before it started. Ryan’s orgasm came so fast that Louise had no time to enjoy any part of it. Afterward he tried without success to please her. She said it was fine. Ryan went home. They continued to have sex for about two years until Louise thought she was pregnant. The relationship ended and Louise swore off boys for a while.
That’s when she decided to go to an all-girls private catholic college preparatory high school. She hoped to get away from boys for a while and it worked. It was the summer before senior year and she still managed not to have a boyfriend. The girls at her school would never have guessed the things she had done. Having sex was only one of many things that would shock the girls at her school if they only knew. Louise was normally quiet and stayed to herself. She only confided in one other girl at her school, who wasn’t on this trip to Germany.
Dinner was served on the plane so all the girls separated into their own sets. Louise ate Penne noodles with chicken. She liked airplane food and didn’t understand why people often complained about it. After dinner she and Katherine decided to watch a movie. So the rest of the plane ride was fairly quiet. Not until landing did Louise begin to wonder how on earth she would manage to live with another family in a foreign country for three weeks. She knew she was overreacting. She told herself that everything would be fine. This is an adventure to enjoy. Even though she had to go to school it wasn’t so bad. She could understand so little that she never knew if there was homework to do or not. She decided to see this trip as an opportunity to test her ability to spend time in another home away from home. After all, she had signed up to spend a full year here.
The trip ended up being brain boggling hard and at the same time fun. Louise got drunk, not for the first time, but for the first time legally. It was nice to be treated as an adult. Well to have freedom like an adult. Louise went to unsupervised teenage parties with legal alcopops*, beer and wine. And to her amazement, no one was having sex, doing illegal drugs, smooching in the corner, flashing their private parts, making sexist or racist comments, pulling disgusting pranks on one another, or trying to drive while under the influence. No one tried to take her to a back room, touch her bum or any of the things that she knew to normally happen when teenagers drank in ‘The States.’ They had fun talking about school, politics, religion, human affairs and of course listening to music and just being silly. But that was it. Louise couldn’t understand every word, but enough to understand the gist of what was being said. And she could tell a lot through body language. Plus there was normally some boy wanting to show off how well he can speak English, who was more than willing to translate everything being said.
Louise soon found out that the teenagers were given freedom yes, but were also expected to behave as adults. Keep a clean room and help out around the house. Not just a clean room rather a spotless room with no trails of dust or even the slightest bit of clutter. Not just loading and unloading the dishwasher, but also washing dishes that don’t fit in by hand, vacuuming, helping with laundry, doing a bit of the shopping, cooking, gardening, ironing, and thoroughly cleaning the bathroom. They were expected to introduce themselves at gatherings and behave like an adult, have an opinion on world politics, religion, cultural differences, history, and be able to defend their position with intelligent answers. They should have knowledge on a wide variety of books, music, plays and be able to discuss them analytically. It wasn’t some kind of privileged family pressure rather a culturally accepted norm.
This trip was filled with action. Parties, bike rides, canoe on a river, sightseeing, shopping, swimming, dancing, sleep overs. Louise had so much fun. More fun than she had had in a long time. She decided that Germany is a place she can definitely see herself spending a whole year. Louise was lucky to find out while on this trip that she had been accepted in the exchange program. It would begin one month after her arrival back home.
© Rebekah Schmidt and Ten Years in Germany 2013, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Rebekah Schmidt and Ten Years in Germany with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.