I’m very proud of the fact I didn’t write yesterday. As mentioned, I was a little worried I’d get addicted and you’d get bored with constant updates. I guess the fact I’m writing again now after just two days since my last post suggests I’m still a little addicted, but I don’t have anything else better to do right at this moment, and the past 48 hours have been quite eventful.
So I went back to the flat I spoke about in my last post in the Nordstadt. I met the 27 year old, Martin, but the 25 year old, who I think is called Florian, wasn’t there. General impression was that both work very hard. Martin apparently does a lot of things outside of work, including sports and music, and I slowly began to think that it wasn’t the place I want to be – I’d rather be with people my age who won’t be too busy with any kind of work. I’ve been told I will be notified at the end of the week about their decision as there were other applicants, but I’m slightly hoping they don’t choose me because I don’t want to be mean and turn them down.
Despite being in Manchester, Ilka is still texting every now and then which is nice. She’s even been looking online at other flats and recommending I take a look at the website. We however agreed that we’d wait until Ilka comes back on Thursday until we start looking around flats again – I’d said I was a little worried I don’t understand something (which is fair because it’s kind of going to be my year’s accommodation) and Ilka said she’d rather be with me anyway. I found an advertisement on one of the many notice boards at the University, so I wrote down the email and I’m going to send them an email after this – it’s in Nordstadt again (the student area) and I’d be living with a 21 and 23 year old, girl and boy respectively, who are both students, and they wrote that they want to do lots of things together such as cooking and going out which sounds more appealing to me!
My visit from Sam and his brother was good. It was nice to speak my English accent face-to-face, despite at first actually finding it hard to speak my normal speed and sometimes forgetting the English word for something so simple (I got very worried when that happened)! We went for a drink on Thursday night, and then I showed them the Roten Faden tour yesterday. It was nice being the tour guide and made me feel more at home here! Then, after a coffee in Starbucks (in which the barrister spoke to Sam and his brother in English because she quickly realised they were English, but I don’t think she realised I was English and spoke to me in German – win!) we went back to their hostel to pick up their bags and then to the train station. They caught the train at around 16:30 and I headed back to the university to use the internet.
And that’s when that nasty homesickness feeling hit again.
I was sat there, all alone, and I knew nobody, yet again. Ilka is in Manchester, the majority of the people I know/have the number of in the summer academy have gone on the Berlin excursion this weekend, and even Camel who didn’t go to Berlin has gone to Cologne (I think) to see a friend until Sunday. So this made me quickly realise that it’s only when you’re alone when you feel homesick. In England, I sometimes enjoyed my own company – just sitting in my room watching something on iPlayer or something. Here, however, I feel I want (or perhaps even need) company 24/7; preferably German company.
After sitting there browsing Facebook for a good half an hour (Facebook being something else I definitely don’t recommend when you’re feeling down because it makes you think about the people you miss most even more), I plucked up the courage (which as I said I seem to have loads of at the moment) and text Henri to see what he was up to. I was very happy to hear he wasn’t doing anything, and he decided we should go to the Maschseefest.
I’d been to the Maschseefest before. Well, kind of. When I went for a drink with Henri on Wednesday, we basically walked through a small part of it. The Maschseefest is an annual festival in Hannover, which Henri said he thinks has been going on for around 35-40 years now, which takes place every August along the Maschsee, which is a river. It was absolutely fantastic – just imagine German Christmas Markets, but in Summer, and with more beer, as well as bands playing and entertainment such as fire jugglers (which I think have a proper name but I’ve forgotten) and other stuff. I’ve become used to beer (which I would have never drunk before I came), so we got a couple of Beck’s and sat along the river; our feet dangling above the water (which at first I was quite worried about but everyone was doing it so it was fine). I was told the part of the river we were at was about 6-7 metres deep. The sight was absolutely marvellous; the festival ran a fair long way along the river, and the colourful lights reflected on the water. I took a picture as you can see, but I don’t think it does it quite as much justice as it deserves. I recommend you click on the picture because it should then show you a bigger version and you’ll be able to say the wonderful array of colours better. The Maschseefest started this year on the 1st August (so I read on the televisions on the Stadt-Bahn) and I think the first Saturday this year saw the most people it has ever seen since it started! There were loads of stands (simply ‘Stände’ in German) selling different foods, just like you’d probably find at a Christmas Market. There were loads of bars, too, as well as a stage where bands which are quite new and not yet popular can play. Admittedly the band playing whilst we were there didn’t really suit my taste, but the atmosphere was still really fantastic.
One thing I also found really cool was when we bought our Beck’s, we were given little tokens, and the idea was that you took the token and your empty bottle back when you were done to get some of your money back. I experienced this a little bit when I went to Christmas Markets in Cologne; returning the empty mug which had had Glühwein in, as well as plates which had had different kinds of food in (‘had had’ sounds a bit weird now), but I didn’t realise how much the concept was used, and I think it’s a fantastic way to avoid people simply throwing bottles on the ground or in the river!
After the Maschseefest, we went to a bar and I met Henri’s girlfriend as well as another friend of his. One thing I’ve found is that I seem to be really bad with names, and I’ve actually forgotten both of their names, but I however remember Henri’s girlfriend’s birthday month (I know certain ones of you will now be laughing at me. Me and my bloody memory of dates, eh?). They were however really friendly, and what I also found awesome was that Henri spoke to them in the same speed he spoke to me which made me realise he’d never spoken to me slowly in the first place, and I can understand the majority of what he’s saying. I did think he had been speaking fast, mind. I just didn’t realise how fast/normal it was. It made me feel quite proud of myself, if that doesn’t sound weird. I actually enjoyed just sitting and listening to the conversation. Obviously, sometimes I didn’t have a clue what was being said, but I’ve found that reading body language actually really helps and is a good start to guess what the conversation is about. All three of them ordered cocktails, but wussy me ordered another Beck’s which I did regret when their cocktails came. Henri had a White Russian which I tried a little bit of and it tasted really good! After that, we had a shot of tequila (which brings my tequila count to 3) and left to go to a club. After trying two clubs, both of which asked for ID and Henri’s girlfriend is just under age so has none, we ended up walking around for a good half an hour and then deciding to head back to Kröpcke (the town centre) and catching the Stadt-Bahns home. Despite being turned away from clubs, it was a really good night.
My favourite bit though was definitely the Maschseefest. According to my summer academy booklet, we’re going there as a class possibly on the 18th August which I’m definitely looking forward to, and I can be a proper geek and show the others the bits I know already.
And tonight is the football match which should be good fun. I’m meeting Henri and his ‘Bro’ (not actually his brother, but one of his best friends) beforehand to go for a drink, and he said we’ll possibly go clubbing after the match which I’m looking forward to doing so I can perhaps compare to clubs in England, including the infamous Arena which I told Henri about, along with its wonderful aroma of cheese and feet.