Du Hast ‘N Freund In Mir

Since my last post, I have done a variety of things. From singing German disney songs, to witnessing someone buy 17 stamps, to eating ratatouille with English teachers at the school I’m working at, and even buying a new best friend.

But let’s start from the beginning, which I believe takes us back to Tuesday.

One of the Singstars we had. Disney in German.

On Tuesday evening, myself, Lisa, Millie and Rosie went to Lisa’s friend’s flat for a Singstar evening, along with a bunch of other people. I’ve never really played Singstar before, or at least not from what I can remember, but as the British Council say – always say ‘yes’ (which has been proved to be a very successful motto so far in the 7 weeks).

Anna-Lena, Lisa’s friend, lives in Dorotheenstraße where I lived last month. But instead of walking into a dull, depressing flat which I imagined after my experience there, we walked into a really nice flat. The living room was decorated really nicely, and the sofas were actually nice to sit on (in that they didn’t look hideously dirty like they did in my flat!)

There were Pimm’s, loads of muffins, and other wonderful treats. And then there was Singstar. Though I’m not one for singing in front of people (or singing in general for that matter) it was good fun trying to sing in German. Though luckily some songs were in English, including the duet me and Millie did of the wonderful song you would associate with being ‘Rick Rolled’ on Youtube. I also sung Murder On The Dancefloor with Lisa, which I somehow ended up winning (Anfänger Glück, oder?)

My favourite, however, was being randomly given Toy Story’s ‘You’ve Got A Friend In Me’. However, it was its German equivalent of ‘Du Hast ‘N Freund In Mir’. At first, I tried to sing it in English seen as Singstar picks up your tone, not what you actually sing, but it turns out the words don’t fit so I had to try and sing in German which proved very difficult, though very fun.

Wednesday saw a busy day at school, with a total of 5 classes. Though it was quite repetitive introducing myself to a group of 3/4 students at a time, it was good fun to get to know some more students. Since, I’ve had students shout out my name from afar when they see me outside of class which makes me feel a lot more comfortable! After finishing at 4, I headed straight home and had some food, and, after checking about 10 times that I had all my forms to finish off signing up as a resident which I was planning on doing on Thursday, I finished off the evening playing board games with Lisa and Anna-Lena. Save to say, I didn’t win any games, but it was funny to watch Anna-Lena desperately struggle on a game which involved 3D blocks and having to make them fit on the board. We also played the bean game again (not sure if I mentioned before but you basically have to collect beans and try and swap them with others to make sets – it’s a lot better than it sounds, I promise!) which I found a little easier with the German. Still didn’t win though!

Thursday was the most random day I’ve had to date in Germany. I met up with Ilka to finish off my signing up as a citizen. We met at midday outside the Dublin Inn (with it being the only place I know in that part of the city), and headed to the ‘whatever it’s called’ to hand in forms we received on Tuesday. When we got there, we realised we had come at the lunch break so would have to wait for 2 hours. We went to the porter, however, to ask if we could leave the forms there with him. Long story short, we didn’t need to take the forms there. They were for the ’employer’ (i.e. my school). So after making fully sure we didn’t have to hand in the forms, Ilka and I decided to go for dinner somewhere. We went to a giant place which had a wide variety of eating places inside. Ilka said workers meet there often during their breaks to go for some dinner. We decided on mediterranean food (there was also Bavarian, Italian, Russian, Turkish…) and, though I wasn’t quite sure what I was actually eating as I just said I would have whatever Ilka was having, it tasted delicious.

Then, I met up with Millie who was in Hannover (Primark, to be exact). We went to buy about a million postcards for Millie’s family, and it was also funny watching Millie ask for 17 stamps at McPaper in the main train station (No, not 10 stamps. 17 stamps). We then headed to a café we decided to check out at Kröpcke (the centre of Hannover), where Millie had an extremely cheesy Flammkuche, and afterwards we met up with Rosie and went for a drink at the café I went to with my summer school class on our last day (which, scarily, was 4 weeks ago today – time is flying a little too much for my liking right now).

Before we went to the café, however, me and Millie had been to Ernst-August-Galerie (a big shopping centre next to the main train station), and walking past Build-A-Bear, I saw the most Germanic looking teddy you’ve ever seen. He was wearing Lederhosen, with a hat, and was even holding a pretzel. I asked a lady if the pretzel came with the outfit, seen as the pretzel was nowhere to be seen in the leaflet, and she went to have a look in the back, came back, and said she had one more pretzel left which she would give to me as a gift if I got a bear.

I had to have one. But I resisted, and that’s when we left and met with Rosie.

After thinking long and hard about the bear (as well as looking through the leaflet), I caved in. British Council said always say ‘yes’, after all! Myself and Rosie left Millie behind writing her millions of postcards, and headed off back to Build-A-Bear, where we were greeted with a smiley face from the nice pretzel-giving lady. We were passed onto another lady, and that’s when the madness began…

Me and my new best friend, Otto.

After having to do star jumps, spin around on one leg, run backwards around the shop, give the bear a shower and brush him, dress him (underpants and all), warm up and kiss the heart I then put in his back, and finally think of a name for him, as well as blowing up his house for him (‘blowing up’ meaning literally that we had to ‘blow’ to make the house ‘pop up’), I finally had Otto the Lederhosen-wearing polar bear. Though he was a little pricey (as Build-A-Bear is) I still have no regrets, and I plan to keep him for the rest of my life as a symbol of my year abroad in Germany (I’m such a soppy bugger aren’t I?)

Finally, after eating at a spanish restaurant where I saw Rosie freak out at octopus tentacles, walking around the University trying to find rooms available for Millie on the adverts on the notice boards, and being taught a new card game by Rosie who wasn’t even sure on the rules herself, the most random day in Germany to date was through.

And then came Friday, which involved a good bit in bed. The initial plan was to visit Elsa in Hannoversche Münden, but after realising I would be travelling more than I would actually be there due to having a meal with the teachers at my school in the evening, I didn’t see it to be worth it, but I know I will visit Elsa in her beautiful town some time in the future, despite her moving to Vienna on Sunday. This evening, as mentioned, I went for a meal with some of the foreign language teachers. There were about 12 of us, and we went to a nice pub called ‘Das kleine Museum’ which specialises in French dishes. Immediately after seeing the word ‘Ratatouille’, I’d decided what I was having, and it was delicious, alongside a Beck’s Green Lemon. It was nice to have a good chat with the teachers in a more informal environment, too, though at first I just sat there and listened (which, for those of you on your year abroad, I’m sure you will understand).

So that was the end of my 7th week in Germany, not including the weekend of course which I have many plans for already. There’s just not a lot of chance to have a lazy day here in Germany, which is definitely not a bad thing at all!