Ask Jamie: The Abroad Experience

Willful Exposé asked: Here’s a question: How many times have you been to America and where? As Caitlin said, you’ve probably been here quite a bit because your English is excellent.

I’ve been to America three times. You could say four times, because one time was really two times interrupted by a three week return to Germany, but I think of it as three times.

The first time I was in America was when I was 13 or so. We stayed in California for three weeks. It was my, my mom and another family with two little kids. One of the little kids actually was the friend who rented the DVDs on Saturday. Back then he was a toddler and I was a teenager, now I would most likely refer to him as a friend. Time surely changes a lot of things.

We started the trip in San Francisco and then went south stopping at Monterey, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Los Angeles and Carlsbad. Then we went back north taking a route that took us to Yosemite and Seqouia national parks (in the reverse order, I think) and back to San Francisco. Of all the places we went to I liked San Francisco and Monterey best. Although the steep streets and occasional tremblings were really something you have to get used to.

I think when we went there I had about 2 1/2 years of English at school. I understood a lot, but certainly not everything. There was this one incident where I thought that ‚I beg your pardon‘ meant ‚I noticed your perfume‘. Don’t ask. It makes kind of sense when you know the circumstance, but I admit it sounds pretty stupid.

I didn’t come back until June 1999. That was shortly after I finished high school. There was a friend of my aunt who needed someone to help her with her kids over the summer and my aunt asked me and I said yes. What do you think I said. Of course I said yes. That’s how I got to spend three months in Hoboken, New Jersey. When people here ask me I usually say that I was in New York. That way they get an idea where I was. It’s not even that much of an exaggeration. From where I lived it was about a 15-minute bus ride to Port Authority, Manhattan. After all, I was in New York.

I came back in February 2000 for a few days. It’s a very complicated story involving a relationship with someone I met there in summer and me meeting the boyfriend one month earlier and falling in love. It’s not a memory I usually like to talk about, so most people I met afterwards don’t even know I was in a relationship with an American for half a year. My stay was originally planned to last for a whole six weeks, but I rescheduled my flight and came back home after nine days.

That’s it.

I also spent a total of about three weeks in England. One was a school exchange and the other one a trip with the choir. I always went to South England and all I can say is that South England, especially the New Forest is just plain beautiful. I would always return there.

Of course I’d also always return to America, especially New York City, which I consider the most amazing place I’ve ever been to. Maybe it was also the fact that I was short out of high school, but I never felt as free and relaxed as I felt when I was in New York City. I loved walking along the streets and I was just happy.

As for my language skills, that’s another topic totally worth writing about, but right now I will leave it.

Question answered?