¿dónde está el elefante?

It has a been a while, dear reader, but fear not, for I have returned.

Basically, I haven’t had much time to write a post. Either that, or it was basically that I had keinen Bock darauf. But now I bring exciting stories, so there may well be quite a lot to read. I will try and make it as interesting/funny/as little boring as possible for you so you make it to the end.

Firstly, I need to actually go back to my last post to see what I have and what I haven’t already written about.

Wow, it was quite a while ago, eh? Then yes – there is a lot to write. But I will try and stick to the most interesting parts, which is mainly the zoo and Hamburg, so let’s hit those two first.

Giraffe whilst on the boat ride.

Hannover Zoo is absolutely fantastic. I’ve never been to such an awesome zoo. We saw the elephant show as well as the sea lion show, and it’s absolutely amazing what they can do. I understand some people may be against zoos, but at the end of the day, the elephants and sea lions did genuinely look like they enjoyed doing the shows. I was also told that they do the shows every day, even if there’s nobody watching, so that the animals have something to do because, as I say, it looked like they were having a right ball of a time dancing/swimming around! Naturally, there were loads of different animals there, and we also went on the boat ride which passed some of the animals, such as zebras and giraffes. My favourite animal, which has been and always will be my favourite, is the penguin, but I will show you my favourite photo from the day to the right. It’s the giraffe (as you can see) which is apparently really popular in Hannover. Our teacher today told us that the people of Hannover always hear about everything that happens in the zoo, such as when new animals are born – the newspapers basically fill themselves with lovely stories about the zoo. I thought this was actually really nice as, for example, my teacher knew the name of this giraffe, and also asked us whether the penguins had returned because she’d read in the newspaper that they had had to be moved for a little while whilst their home was renovated or something. It kind of feels like the centre of Hannover that everyone has in common, and it’s lovely.

My favourite section of the zoo.

My favourite place at the zoo (it’s split up into loads of different sections) was the elephant section. There were loads of flags (see left) and it was basically a great atmosphere. There were fountains, too, which children were happily splashing about in. I met with Ilka, my mentor, after Carmen and Gabi went home, as she was also at the zoo for the day with her children, and it was really funny watching Linus and Suzanna properly dive into the water and crawl through the fountain, whilst all the other kids were quite nervous and daren’t get very close to the fountain.

It made me chuckle, but then I realised it’s just as normal as burgers in England, that they served Currywurst at the zoo. So that’s what I had for dinner. I link currywurst with Christmas Markets, but then again that’s me having been in Germany only during winter before (apart from now, of course), and I felt proper German sat eating Currywurst in Hannover Zoo.

I’ve also been learning quite a bit of Spanish, thanks to Carmen and Gabi, including ¿dónde está el elefante?, which means ‘Where is the elephant?’. Sometimes I’m not too sure if the words they tell me are right or not, or whether they are just taking the mick. For example, I asked what beer was. They told me a word, so then I could say ‘Where is the beer?’, but today they laughed when I said it. So either I said it wrong, or they’ve taught me something rude and it’s not beer I’m asking for the location of.

Hamburg Rathaus

Let’s move onto Hamburg. In short, the trip was absolutely rubbish, I’m afraid to say. We saw the Rathaus (town hall) at first, which was brilliant, especially outside the back of it. Then after that is when things went down hill. We took a boat to a different location (it worked just like a bus or a train, but on water in a boat), and I think we must’ve taken the wrong one, because we got off, waited 15 minutes (in the boiling sun on a rocking platform, may I add) and then got on a boat, which sailed to the same place we boarded, but then we went on further. We then had an hour to do what we want, which basically consisted of food and beach – so we basically barely saw any of Hamburg itself. Or at least, we didn’t see the parts you would have thought they would have taken us to. But, oh well, I guess it can’t all be perfect, and even though the actual things we did weren’t up to our standards, it was at least a nice day out (disregarding the fact the train back was late so we ended up getting back around 11pm).

Carmen, Gabi and Gülnur chillen mit einem schönen Ausblick der Gärten.

Today, we had an outing to the Herrenhäuser Gärten here in Hannover. In short, it wasn’t really to my liking as it was quite boring, but there were some pretty decent gardens, I guess. It was a really quiet place and I can imagine people go there often just to chill out. My favourite part was the fountain in the centre, especially when the wind blew in our direction and faint little drops of water flew into our faces. It felt so good in the heat wave we’re having at the moment!

In more year abroad-type news, I have somewhere to live after I move out from my student accommodation. Unfortunately, it’s not exactly what I was expecting – I was thinking of a WG (i.e. living with people my age, preferably students), but because now is the time loads of students are trying to find places to live, Ilka and I are struggling to find good places. So we have settled, at the moment, with a family. I’m going to be living with a family. I think it consists of mum, dad and daughter (who’s 31 years old) as well as an adorable dog. Ilka knows I’d rather live in a WG, but she recommended I move in with the family for now, and then afterwards we can properly look for WGs when the mass rush has died down, so I may possibly live with the family for a month or so and then move out. At first I was actually quite worried (and to be honest I still am). I’ve seen the room and the house and stuff. The room is massive and has two beds and everything, so if ever anyone wants to visit it’s perfect. I’m just concerned that the people I’ll be living with aren’t my age, and it is quite in the outskirts, but there’s a direct connection to IGS Roderbruch (where I’ll be teaching from 7th September) which I guess is ideal. So kurz gesagt: I’m nervous, but it should be interesting to live with a family for a little bit.

Moving onto something else I’ve noticed whilst living here. Basically, I think I know how it feels to be a woman now. Or at least have a rough idea (not being sexist in the slightest here. Or at least not meaning to be). By that, I mean my emotions are crazy. I didn’t really think this would happen, but I seem to either be in an absolute neutral mood (like right now), absolutely over-the-moon happy, or absolutely down in the dumps. There doesn’t seem to be a balance; simply just extremes. And I don’t know why. For example, if something slightly good happens (such as when I had a good night out with Henri and Marco or the trip to the zoo) I feel amazing. I feel everything is going so well and I’m so excited for what the next year will bring. But when something slightly bad happens (such as my internet in my room not working despite buying a new bloody ethernet cable, or having a hangover after being out drinking the night before) I feel absolutely Scheiße, as if nothing at all is going well, and I want to go home right now. Very strange, but that’s what happens. I tend to have the over-the-moon mood more though which is definitely a good thing.

I guess that’s all for now. I have bought myself another puzzle book in German for when I’m in my accommodation with no internet (I will never, ever take the internet for granted ever again), so I will probably head home from the uni in an hour or so, after a Skype session with dear mother (she’ll probably cry), to do my homework like a good little student and do a puzzle or two. Or at least have a go – usually, I’ll get about a quarter way through and get bored and move onto another one, usually because I don’t fully understand what the aim of the puzzle actually is.