Ch. 19. What to expect…

Louise woke up the next morning and knew it wasn’t a dream. She had cheated on Edon. She shoved her face deep into the pillow. How could something like this happen to her?

Maybe Edon wouldn’t leave her! Maybe he would understand that she had been drunk! She didn’t sleep with Scott! But she did let him take her upstairs. She did kiss him and tell him she wasn’t wearing any underwear. She did allow invite him to take off her closes. And she didn’t even try to stop him from locking the door and climbing into bed with her. If Edon hadn’t seen her downstairs and come looking for her, she might have slept with Scott.

The thought scared her. She had been so angry with Edon in the beginning because he flirted with her while dating another, but this was much worse. Louise didn’t recognize herself. She stopped recognizing herself about a week ago.

She sat next to Edon at breakfast, he even held her hand. Afterward the two went upstairs. Louise tried to tell him she was sorry and begged for forgiveness. She sat on the floor across from him.

‘’Edon.’’ She said looking at the dirt on the floor. ‘’I don’t know what came over me last night. I know there is nothing that I can say to make it better, but I have to try. I don’t like Scott, I was drunk. I came down looking for you. When I couldn’t find you, I got worried and I realized I should have stayed in bed. Scott just helped me upstairs.’’ She looked up at him.

‘’What do you expect me to do, Louise? I came upstairs to check on you and the door was locked. Scott opened after two minutes. Why didn’t he open sooner? When he did finally open the door, I came to find you lying naked in Bed. Did he hurt you? Did he do something to you that you didn’t want him to do?’’ Edon was getting angry.

Louise couldn’t lie. She couldn’t get Scott into trouble, when she led him on and never once told him to stop. ‘’No Edon. He didn’t hurt me. He was very gentle.’’

‘’What did he do?’’ Louise couldn’t believe she was going to have to tell him.

She stared at the floor again. ‘’Do you really want to know?’’ she hoped he would say no. She looked up. He was glaring at her. He wanted to know.

‘’We didn’t have sex.’’ She said, as if that would make things better. She knew she was going to tell him the rest. This was so embarrassing, but she had done it to herself. She owed it to Edon to tell him the truth. ‘’I kissed him. I told him I slept naked. I asked him to help me undress. He locked the door and came to me.’’ She had to stop. This was too difficult. She pulled her knees up to her chest and stuck her head in them. She began to cry.

Edon didn’t comfort her. He waited for her to continue. She could feel him staring at her. Unsympathetic.

It took her a moment to gain control again. She didn’t b,other whipping her eyes. ‘’He touched me. I didn’t say no. I didn’t try to stop him.’’ She cried. Then in almost a whisper, she said more to herself than to Edon. ‘’I’m sorry.’’

She knew the answer before she asked, but she couldn’t help herself, ‘’Can we just forget that it ever happened, please?’’

Edon stood up. ‘’I need time to think about this.’’ was his answer. He left the room. She let him go. She stayed there on the floor for a long time before getting into her bed. She didn’t want to see anyone. She wanted to be alone. She felt so stupid.

Edon eventually told her that he couldn’t continue the relationship, which didn’t surprise her.

One of the girls, who was friends with Scott, tried to make Louise feel better. Her name was Morgan. She was the best friend and roommate of Edon’s ex-girlfriend, the redhead named Kate. The three girls went to the ice cream shop down the road from Biergarten.

‘’I know you miss Edon, but you can do so much better than him.’’ Morgan said.

Louise didn’t want to ‘do better’ than Edon. She didn’t think anyone could be better than him. He talked to her and listened to her. He was better looking than anyone she had ever seen. He was funny. He didn’t smoke. He was nice to everyone. And to say he was great in bed was an understatement.

Louise ended up becoming good friends with Edon’s ex-girlfriend. Now the two of them had something in common. They had both dated Edon for a short time. It didn’t take long before he had a new girlfriend. Louise wondered how he could soberly jump so quickly from one girl to the next.

Louise wasn’t over him, but she knew that she had to try. She did something unforgivable and had to live with the consequences. She decided to focus on the year ahead of her instead of dwelling on her mistakes. She used the last week to focus on learning German. He spent the last week hanging out with girls she had neglected the past week. She focused on what the leaders were teaching about German culture.

Here is a list of the things she was told to expect during the exchange year.
1. When it comes to making friends; Americans are like peached and Germans like Coconuts. It is easy to make friends with an American but the heart is so hard and secret you may never make it in. It takes a long time to become friends with a German, but once you’re in, you’re in for life.
2. If you think recycling is putting newspaper and aluminum cans in a separate bin, you’re in for a surprise. Germans separate in all these categories.
a. Glass bottles go back to the store
b. White glass
c. Green glass
d. Brown glass
e. Plastic
f. Paper
g. Cardboard
h. Compost
i. Batteries
j. Electronics
k. Other house old appliances, such as furniture
l. Building sight rubble, including sand
m. Paint
n. Poisonous household prays and chemicals
o. The medicine goes back to the pharmacy for proper disposal.
But the most important thing for visitors to remember is this: Blue trash bags are for paper and don’t cost anything. Yellow trash bags are for plastic, milk cartons and metal and don’t cost anything. Black or gray trash bags are expensive and are for everything else other than letters i-o from the list above. Those things have to be brought to a special garbage separation place. Or you can call to have them specially picked up from in front of your home. But there are rules, making it easier to just bring the trash away yourself.
3. If you are invited to a family gathering, expect to stay for hours, maybe even for two meals plus a few more hours.
4. ‘’Kaffeetrinken’’ or Coffee drinking, means eating cakes and drinking coffee or tea around three or four 0’Clock in the afternoon. You will do this often as Germans love Kaffeetrinken.
5. When setting time to meet, a German won’t use am and pm, they’ll use what Americans call military time Example: 1:00noon = 13:00
2:00 noon = 14:00 …
11:00 pm = 23:00
12:00 pm = 00:00
6. Expect to sit with the adults and be asked your opinion about politics, religion and other important issues. Expect to be taken seriously, even if you are only 15.
7. If you speak to your family on the telephone and use the names your host family members, be sure to tell them afterwards what you were talking about, so that they do not think you were saying bad things about them to your family.
8. Different doesn’t mean bad, it just means different.
9. Something that might seem offensive to you, may not be meant how you interpreted it. Be open to learning a new way of doing things.
10. There is an emotional curve that you will go through this year. It looks like this:
a. Excited in the beginning
b. Homesick around Christmas (this when most exchange students leave, hang in there, you will regret it if you don’t, this is a chance of a life time)
c. Open minded and settled in around spring
d. Right before you leave for home problems often occur, because it is easier to say goodbye when you are not on good terms. Plus you will see your new friends and host family making plans, which do not include you, because you will be gone. And you will start planning activities with your old friends and family for when you return, which is often times painful for your host family and friends.

Louise also took the last week to finally write an email to her family members. She wanted to do it much earlier but was having so much fun that she forgot.

And she also took this last week to finally listen to the CD her father had given her to listen to on the plane.

© 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.