WELCOME TO WEEK 12 OF LIVING IN GERMANY!
(Ok, TECHNICALLY this is week 13 but I wrote most of this in week 12, AND 13 is an unlucky number so I’ve kept it as week 12, thought I’d clarify in case you are counting down the weeks like me – other British council gals I’m looking at you xox)
I’m not completely sure why, but 12 weeks feels like a kind of milestone (even if 1 of them was spent in the green and pleasant lands of England), and in case you need clarification it’s the same as 3 months / 91 days / 2190 hours / 131400 minutes… not that I’ve been counting.
Having been here for what feels like a small life time, I am starting to think that this year might just be “schaffenable” (Genglish for achievable), SO welcome to a (relatively) positive post about the past few weeks, BUT don’t worry there are of course a few moments which have been FALSCH (literally, WRONG), namely accidentally Hitler saluting my cover class of 10 year olds… but we shall get onto that little gem in a bit!!
So, from where we last left off, my parents and brother came to visit me for a weekend which seems ages ago now, but it was just as cute and wholesome as it sounds.
We stayed in Heidelberg for a few nights which is BEAUTIFUL, so beautiful in fact that I am already considering doing a masters there… as long as this degree doesn’t defeat me first, stay tuned to see how it goes x.
We wandered the streets, went to the castle (up another Festungsbahn, a piece of vocab you will be familiar with if you are a keen reader of these blogs!!), and ate lots of yummy, yummy food, and generally it was nice to be looked after for a few days, and not have to battle with Deutsche Bahn or other forms of strange German transport (apart from the Festungsbahn of course, LY).
The fam also visited Boppard and all met Frau Nicky, cute.
It did however include a 30-minute sit down conversation of her talking, me trying to translate, and mum and dad trying to string together a few sentences in German, which I will admit were not too bad, but if something doesn’t quite make sense, instead of helping, Frau Nicky generally just stares at you (not so cute).
All good practice for 4thyear !!!!
I also had a sneaky trip back to Blighty to celebrate Felicity’s 21stB day…
I shan’t write too much about this because it was a speedy trip back so not technicallyyyy year abroad (I’m such a jet setter now I know), but it was lots and lots and lots of fun to see my King’s gals again and go on a proper Cardiff night out which ended in us singing ABBA into a baguette. Classic.
Speaking of music (linking paragraphs is key, Miss Carney I hope you are proud), my school also had a “Musikabend” (music evening) for the upper 6th, and let me tell you, this was like NO other school concert I’ve ever been to (7 years in the school choir with Mr Smallwood teaches you one or two things about music let me tell you).
Everything started fairly normally, glasses of wine (yes please), lots of excited parents, teachers who didn’t want to be there, a number from the school choir, and a few piano duets.
THEN came on a group who did a whole spiel with recycled objects – this took my knowledge of Germany’s love of recycling to a NEW LEVEL.
THEN, to end the evening on come 3 sheepish looking boys, holding racks of beer bottles, which they begin to play like… windpipes??
AND to top it off, all 3 of them downed a beer each after they had finished, while the audience (including the head master) cheered them on. Legends.
Germany is more Germany than it will ever realise.
Despite Frau Nicky explaining to me that Halloween isn’t a German tradition so those who celebrate it should be shunned, I did manage to sneak off to Mainz for a cheeky Halloween party chez Maria (shout out to you).
It was SO nice to be around students again although, it would seem German student house parties are pretty different from ours… the main differences are broken down here for you all to enjoy:
- There was no Abba or Africa
- There was a guy making very elaborate (if deadly) cocktails (Strongbow dark fruits get a load of that)
- The Germans are actually really good at dressing up… tactfully… don’t worry though we English gals went the whole hog and did our country proud, like an odd final stand-off for brexit (see pic below)
- They go on LATE, despite telling all the Germans how hard English students like to party, by 4am we were POOPED!! I’m not sure how long it went on for because we all fell asleep, defeated by the party… the Brexit analogy continues.
Speaking of Brexit EVERY TIME I enter the staff room, someone always comes over to me and starts a Brexit conversation.
My vocab has now grown to include phrases such as “don’t blame me”, “yeah, he’s a dickhead”, and most importantly “just because I’m English doesn’t mean that I a) know what’s going on, b) know what is going to happen, or c) VOTED FOR THIS TO HAPPEN”.
So, from now on I generally just pretend I’m very busy filling up my water bottle for any break time I spend in the staffroom to prevent further questioning.
On the topic of the staffroom, despite the Brexit conversations, sometimes teachers do come up and genuinely start talking to me, which is nice.
I always start off pretty well, understanding what they are saying and following the conversation, then suddenly I’ll lose it, and it’s game over.
SO, I generally nod my head, smile, and say “ja”, a lot, which normally means I get given a lot of cover lessons (Hitler salute cover lesson story is coming soon PROMISE), BUT this week it meant I got to ride with one of my teachers!!
She was so, so sweet, drove me 45 mins to where her horse is kept, we rode together, and after had lunch at her mum’s who gave me 2 apples to take home with me. An odd offering but odd events seem to keep happening this year so I’m learning to keep up.
I’m not sure if I accidentally said I something wrong but she seemed very concerned and gave me a massive apple.
Sadly it was rotten inside, this was very sad, here’s a picture so you can all re-live the disappointment with me…
Despite the apple it was SUCH a lovely afternoon and so nice to be riding again, even if the pony was a bit cheeky, he reminds me of my old pony.
It was also VERY intense German, the 45-minute journey there and back, the new horse vocab, the ride itself, and the lunch with her mum…
BUT I’m glad I did it, and I’m not ashamed to say that I’m proud of myself for hopping in the car of a teacher I don’t really know, riding her pony who seemed a bit bonkers, AND doing it all in a foreign language. Sometimes you have to just give yourself a pat on the back, and anyway, you never know when the word ‘Hufhacke’ (hoof pick) might come in handy in 4thyear!!!
Overall these last few weeks have been lots of fun, but it does feel like an AGE until I’ll be back in Blighty, and I’d be lying if I said coming back to Germany from Cardiff after seeing all my lovely King’s gals wasn’t hard.
I’m a big advocator for having a fat cry, and sometimes that’s exactly what you have to do, a little German town is by far not a bad place to spend a year, but it can sometimes be a lonely one.
Especially because now it is the winter season (and fucking cold might I add, we had snow the other day!!), these once cute, buzzing Rhine towns have turned into GHOST towns, to the extent that Maria, Rebecca and I visited Bacharach (try saying that in a German accent) this week and were kicked out of a pub at 5:30pm because it was closing.
LUCKILY Boppard was bopping enough to offer us a few beers and a cheeky free BRIGHT GREEN shot offered by the owner of the bar… or at least we think he was the owner… definitely could have just been a random old German guy, BUT seeing as my Erasmus money hasn’t come in yet, we’ll take all the free booze we can, luckily it wasn’t spiked, and we lived to see another day. WIN, WIN.
SO, shout out to my English pals who are always there to listen to my complaints (of which there are many), and the other British gals also here in Deutschland – we are POWERFRAUEN and will schaffen this.
(EVEN if that means hiding in toilets and lifts at train stations in the middle of rural Germany as we try and get to each other…)
To conclude this post, I leave you with my story about my cover lesson which included accidentally Hitler saluting my class… TOP JOB ALEX.
So, I had been told to cover the first lesson with my favourite year 5 class, they are a nightmare, but their hearts are in the right place bless them. I also had no work for them to do so we went through their homework, then I thought we’d play hangman with the vocab they were meant to learn (classic).
All was well until I realised that actually hang man is played VERY differently here (or so it would seem) and soon I had 24 10-year olds arguing about how you draw a hangman, how many lives you are allowed… to be honest they could have been arguing about anything, it was all in very fast German and I had no idea.
In an effort to regain some control and prevent the outbreak of WW3, in the most teacher voice I could muster I shouted “HÖR AUF UND HINSETZEN” (stop it and sit down but it sounds a lot better when shouted in German trust me).
Once I had almost regained control, and got my own shit together, I was answering a little girl’s question when out of the corner of my eye (it’s true, teaching does give you eyes on the back of your head… attractive!!), I saw one of the boys stand up again, exasperated, I didn’t turn to look at him, and instead just raised my hand to tell him to sit down, without thinking I accidentally left my hand up there in a Hitler salute esc style…
Before I knew it the whole of the front row had copied me and were laughing, so I had 7 10-year olds Hitler saluting me and laughing on the front row. All I can say is THANK FUCK it was a cover lesson and I was the only teacher there.
Needless to say, the lesson was an absolute FLOP from then on and I think I can forget ever being a real teacher.
TV show of the moment: Germany’s Next Top Model (key vocab picked up so far includes “jetzt habt ihr eine CASTING für das MODELLING”, it’s really helping my language)
Quote of the moment: “If you don’t try, you won’t fail” (thank you @charlieadams)
Frau Nicky’s lunch of the moment: Pizza and tinned PEACHES (that’s right pineapple, MOVE OVER)
Face time of the moment: TIMMY (at least he tried, see pic below x)
Again, this was quite a long one, so thank you if you made it this far, even if you just looked at the pictures 🙂