Dear Hedersleben,

I am writing this letter to you because if I tell you out loud, I will start to cry. And you know as well as I do that I hate crying and have done it several times since I’ve been with you. Tomorrow, I will have to say my last goodbye and after that, I don’t know if I’ll ever see you again. I know that I will miss you more than you’ll miss me. But I hope I will have given you good memories to hold on to. I hope I will have left some kind of mark with you. Maybe when I’m older and can afford to travel, I will come and visit you again. And I’ll bring others with me. I’ll show them your firefighters, who I grew so close to. I’ll show them the German boy that wanted my name tattooed on his back. I’ll show them the German girls who smoked outside the monastery. Ah yes, and I’ll show them the Monastery. I’ll tell them the scary stories, and lead them down to the dungeon. And in ten years, I know you will be just the same. Nothing will be different about you. I’ll come back in the fall, so I can dance with you again in the rain, kiss the red leaves, and eat yellow plums that will soon fall from the trees.

Thank you. Thank you for teaching me not to say “Ich liebe dich” to everyone. Even though I learned it the hard way (Yes, the German boy still emails me. He asked for my ring size last week), I am glad YOU taught me the “Ich liebe dich” rule, before I left for Aachen. Thank you for showing me the importance of being grateful for what you have. Thank you for giving me opportunities to go to other churches (The Protestant and Catholic churches), and helping me realize how important my own church is.

Thank you for letting me speak the language. I won’t forget the first question I asked a German. “Können wir spielen?” and how excited I was to speak the language, and how the German responded by saying, “Natürlich.” I was proud. And you were proud of me too. I could tell by the sunny weather and singing birds that you were happy I could be with you. I made you laugh when I spoke in German to Constantine, the eleven year old, for a half hour straight. And I made you laugh when the German teenagers came with burning cigarettes. Remember? I pretended to hack up a lung and fall to the ground. “Too much smoke. Dead. I’m dead,” I said. And you laughed that day. I could feel you laughing when the trees rustled. When the wind blew passed my cheek.

I’m sitting on my bed, looking out the window. I’ll miss this spot, where Hannah talked to me about life. Where Micky surprised me. Where I watched Billy and Nick climb. Where I wrote in my journal.

And another adventure begins.



  1. I love you.

  2. Great post!! You’re going to be amazing wherever you go, and I don’t think you’ll realize the lives you’re going to touch just by being who you are!

  3. Ahh, the unsent letter: one of my favorite formats. I’ve got to believe that you will get back there sooner or later. You will make it happen.

    I love you.

  4. What a beautiful writer you are. But I guess that is to be expected coming from the genes you do. I love reading about your adventures. I have never traveled and it is a joy traveling through you. I miss you but I’m so grateful you get this expereince! How awesome!

  5. Anonymous

    I loved Hedersleben and I miss it sooooooooo much! I’m so glad later generations love Hedersleben as much as we did. Though I don’t know if any other group ever had a pajama rave. Have a wonderful exchange year!

  6. Anonymous

    Anonymous, whoever you are, you were definitely in my group. The pajama rave and Gerd’s reaction were wonderful. I loved the Feuerwehr and the DDR Autos-thingamabob. Wonderful article! I miss it so much!

  7. Anonymous

    The pajama rave was epic. I remember making signs for it with my main boo Sara A and asking her how to spell every word because it was my first time writing anything auf Deutsch. Then Gerd saw the signs and after the 7 o clock news session asked who had made them to come speak with him. We thought we were in trouble, but Gerd just wanted to throw his two cents into the matter! Love him, that town, and my CBYX gang forever 🙂

  8. Just saw your comments, Anonymous CBYX friends. 🙂 Loved seeing them. I often miss Hedersleben more than I miss my host family. It was a wonderful time.

    If you’re a new or old CBYXers, I’d love to hear your experiences. You can keep commenting here where I’ll check regularly or you can email me at

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