Having A Right Mare

I don’t think I’ll ever get into a certain routine of writing posts. Before coming to Germany, I thought I’d write one every week; perhaps every Sunday. But I’ve become used to the fact that here I have no routine (or at least, something exciting seems to happen every day), and that if I leave everything until the end of the week, you’ll be reading essays and essays.

So last time, I wrote on Friday. Just after writing, I headed to the train station to pick up a certain Welshman who was visiting for the weekend: After a pretty hectic week of his trying to find somewhere to live, I decided to invite Shane to Hannover, who’s doing his year abroad (teaching English just like me) in the beautiful city of Köln.

After only meeting Shane two weeks ago now (wow, how time flies!) we seem to have clicked well with our joint love of all things German, and, as I say, after hearing his stresses down in Nordrhein-Westfalen, I decided a weekend in Hannover (perfectly the weekend a trip to the zoo was planned with other assistants) was what he needed.

Shane, as he put it, “having a right mare”.

After he arrived on the Friday evening, we swiftly made our way to Jim Block. I’ve been here a few times so far, and the best way to describe it as a ‘posh McDonalds’. For around 7,50€, you get a burger, chips or bread (yes, there’s a choice between chips or bread) and a drink. So the price isn’t too bad. After “having a right mare” with Shane braving (or being stupid?) eating his burger with no cutlery, we then headed to a board game evening at the University which Lisa, my housemate, invited us to. We played ‘Stone Age’ which I’ve done so before in our flat, and I lost, which I also did so in our flat. It’s a lot of fun however, and definitely difficult to get your head round when it’s all in German, as it’s not just a ‘roll the dice and be lucky’ game, more of a ‘what do I actually need to do to get points whilst making sure my people don’t starve’ game.

After just one game, and linking to the fact both of us had had early starts at school (damn you 6:15am wake up) we headed back, ready to rest ourselves for the day after.

Saturday came around, and it was zoo day. Or in my case, my second zoo day. After being recommended to do so by Ilka (my mentor), I bought myself a years’ ticket, meaning I can now pop to the zoo whenever I want. And talk about German efficiency – within 2 minutes I had my own plastic card with my name printed on it! I was pretty impressed, I must say. And I need to go just 3 more times in the next year for the price to be worthwhile, which I’m pretty sure I will do when I have visitors (you better want to bloody go to the zoo, guys).

And again; the zoo was fantastic. In total, there were 8 of us which I was quite happy about. This included, of course, Shane and myself, as well as none other than Elsa. Despite seeing her just 3 weeks ago (again, how time flies?!) it was lovely to see her face again, and find that this time she didn’t sound like the Queen when speaking English (I really don’t know what was wrong with you last time, Elsa!)

It was pizza for dinner/lunch instead of Currywurst like last time which was delicious all the same, and a few of us even had a cheeky beer and ice cream after food (including Kat who really tried to like beer but just couldn’t bring herself to it!). We saw the elephant show (just) as well as the sea lion show (in which Elsa beautifully got slapped in the face by the wing of a massive bird – it had to be someone, right?)

Oh, Slush Puppies, you beautiful things.

After slush puppies, Elsa befriending a goat, and Millie being bit by an evil llama, it was time to leave. But the day was not at an end just yet. After getting back into Hannover, and a confusement after realising there are not one, but two Café Extrablatts (sorry for the trek, guys), all of us decided on eating at Jim Block, with it being the only place I could genuinely recommend so far.

After um’ing and ah’ing for a good 5 minutes, Shane and I decided we were not fat enough to eat two giant burgers two nights in a row, and so we said we’d go find somewhere else and meet the rest of the guys afterwards. After randomly walking around like massive tourists contemplating what we actually want to eat, we decided on Café Extrablatt (I do love that place). After some tasty lasagna and beer, we met the guys back at Jim Block, and decided on another favourite place of mine – Jack The Ripper’s. In the meantime, we’d gained two more members to the group who are also both assistants and were in Hannover for the weekend, so it was nice to see more faces from Altenberg two weeks ago!

My first sunday dinner in Germany!

Though it was quite early, we decided to leave to make sure some people got to the station alright and caught their trains safely, and we headed back to mine, ready for our Sunday. This involved everything English, in the food sense. Lisa’s friend invited us around for an absolutely delicious sunday dinner (or ‘roast dinner’ or ‘roast lunch’ or however you may call it), including beef, Yorkshire puds, potatoes and an array of vegetables, including sweetcorn which I wouldn’t normally eat in a sunday dinner, but was tasty nevertheless! This was followed by apple crumble, both with cinnamon and without, and a bowl of digestive biscuits and custard creams (I did get quite excited when I saw the custard creams), and when I was offered a cup o’ tea, I couldn’t resist!

After laughing at a few German phrases (including how they literally say ‘cook water’ for ‘boil water’, and a kettle is called a ‘water cooker’ – I honestly don’t know why I found that so funny though!), it was time to head to the train station to wave Shane off on his journey back to Köln (but this time with the ICE trains which are the big, classy, fast trains due to his nightmare journey to Hannover on the Friday), and I’m very excited to go see him in Köln because I bloody love the city, so I better get an invite soon (hint hint).

Since then, I’ve had two days at school, including my favourite 4th year class, a 10th year class, and another 4th

The zoo group!

year class who were allowed to ask me lots of questions, which ended up including “Have you ever kissed a girl?”, “Which colour do you hate?”, “Do you have a Nintendo 3DS?” (they got excited when I said I play video games) and a further array of wonderful questions. As I was leaving the class, they shouted out, in German, asking whether I smoked, which I said ‘no’, and as I was closing the door I heard someone ask whether I drink beer, which I obviously said ‘yes’ to, to which there was a massive outburst as if it was really wrong to drink beer. I think I’m going to enjoy that class!

I was also invited to Ilka’s house again on Sunday to finish off some forms I need to do for my university, which ended up me being chased around the house by little Suzanne, Ilka’s 4-year-old daughter, as well as laughing at Isabelle, Ilka’s 1-year-old daughter, who seems to sometimes think that ‘nein’ also means ‘ja’, so when she was asked if she wanted some yoghurt after tea/dinner, she pulled the most excited grin you’ve ever seen, started nodding her head and shouted ‘nein!’

I’ve also half angemeldet (signed up as a citizen), in which I mean me and my mentor went to one place and did lots of forms and stuff, but now we need to go somewhere else to hand in a form, which we’re going to do on Thursday. So hopefully by the end of the week, I will be an official citizen of Hannover, worauf ich mich freue!

And just to finish off this long post, I thought it would be interesting to know that I have now been here for exactly 45 days (no, I didn’t just work that out, I used wolframalpha)! Half of me feels like it’s been longer, half of me feels like it’s been a lot shorter, but all of me is really excited for what the rest of the year here in Hannover has to offer!