A Pretty Damn Good Deal
Wow. What a hectic few days I’ve had so far this week.. Again, the whole ‘write a blog post every week’ is going downhill – everything’s just so exciting, even though I’ve been here almost 8 weeks now!
Let’s go back to Saturday. Shane and I, wanting to get out of our ‘hometowns’ for a day, decided to meet half way between Hannover and Cologne, which resulted in us picking Paderborn. Paderborn, in short, was a beautiful town, without a Starbucks.
Paderborn is in Nordrhein-Westfalen, the region below where I am in Niedersachsen, and is actually slightly more closer to Hannover than Cologne. The reason we decided on it, however, was because Shane could easily buy a Nordrhein-Westfalen ticket (meaning he can travel all around the region with just one payment), whereas I had to buy specific tickets to and from Paderborn due to not being in the same region. Another reason also, though it wasn’t the main reason because that would seem desperate, is because Paderborn has a S.Oliver which sells (or at least we thought would sell) denim Lederhosen which I very much want for Oktoberfest in just over a weeks’ time.
After meeting at 12:30, we worked out we had around 5 hours before we should head back to Hannover/Cologne, and we headed in the general direction everyone was walking and came across the main high street. After a failed attempt in S.Oliver due to Lederhosen being sold out, we found a café where I had the most
delicious chicken dish. I’m not even sure what it was exactly, but it had chicken, curry sauce, rice, and a mass variety of fruit, including pineapple and melon. I ordered it purely because it sounded different, and when it arrived I did start to regret it a little after seeing what it actually had on it, but it was so good, and also deserves a picture on here as you can see.
We then set off to see if we could find a Starbucks. It was our initial plan at first to find one to use the Wi-Fi to plan what we could do in Paderborn, which ideally we should have done beforehand, but after failing to find one miserably after a good 30 minutes, we decided to randomly hit other shops, and also dare to leave the main high street (though not too far), which included a visit to the Kaufhof where I laughed at the price of piggy banks. Basically, a small one was 3,99€, a medium one was 4,99€, then out of nowhere the giant was 39,95€ – well that escalated quickly! Shane also decided to name it ‘hefty’ pig, and a picture can be seen on my Facebook here, along with the prices if you don’t believe me.
We then started chatting about what we were doing that evening, and after realising Shane would be returning home to his mentor and probably sitting in his room all night on Facebook, I decided to invite him back to Hannover, and on the Sunday we had a quick tour of the city, including the Rathaus, and some ice cream (or at least I think we had ice cream – I seem to be eating ice cream a lot recently), and we also discovered on the Saturday that you can buy wine from Lidl in the main train station for around 2€ (approximately £1.60), which was definitely a good find, and I’m sure Mummy Gilly would be proud!
After Shane had left Hannover, I met with Rosie for some tea at Jack The Ripper’s, where we both had chicken basket meals which reminded me a lot of The Ram back at Exeter. I really do miss Exeter. But speaking of Exeter, I know I am now going there for my birthday to see none other than Florence + The Machine (and Belinda and everyone else, of course) which I am so excited for! Also, on the Lederhosen story, I ended up sending money to Shane to buy me size M Lederhosen from S.Oliver in Cologne, because the store in Hannover had sold out, and the website was extremely confusing and I didn’t want to risk ordering it wrong. So I have Lederhosen ready for Oktoberfest!
Anyway, Monday came along. This week is ‘Projektwoche’ or ‘Aktionswoche’ (I’ve heard both used), which basically means all the kids have no classes and do fun stuff and go on fun trips all week, some of the bigger trips including a 3-week exchange in Canada (thought of you, Leigh) as well as a group of kids going to York for a week. Must say I am slightly jealous they are in York. But on Monday I went to the Zoo (ignoring the fact it’s the 3rd time I’ve been) with a 7th class, where they had a task to pick and research an animal, so it was a different view on a trip to the Zoo at least (yes, I did just chuckle to myself because I made a rhyme. I hope you did, too). We were only there for 3 hours, and then it was back to the school and then back home. But before I headed home, I wrote a note on the table in the language teachers’ staff room saying I’m not actually sure what I’m doing this week so if they had anything to let me know. This week is random for me, and I’ve basically been told to ask teachers if I can join them, which proves extremely difficult when you barely know any teachers and even if I recognise a face, chances are I can’t remember their names.
After desperately texting my mentor on Monday asking if she knows of anything I can do on Tuesday, she called me and said I could go join a trip to the museum here in Hannover which I obviously said ‘yes’ too, as British Council say we should. I also asked about the Wolfsburg trip I’ve heard about – Wolfsburg being the massive car building town (or city? I’m not sure as I’ve never been!) and my dad actually knows someone who, I believe, has a managerial position in the BMW factory, so I decided I really wanted to visit the place I’ve heard quite a bit of from my dad. Ilka gave me a home telephone number (gulp) of a teacher who mentioned the trip to me, and I decided to wait until the next day to call seen as it was quite late at the time.
Tuesday saw a trip to the museum, which I realised I’ve actually been to before with some of my summer academy friends, but that time I was quite tired so left early, and this time we had a tour, and the children were given questions to answer which was quite fun to watch as they presented their answers to the class one-by-one. Beforehand, we also had a walk around the Altstadt which really is beautiful place in Hannover. The buildings are all like tudor houses. I’m not quite sure on the English word for them, aber auf Deutsch sind sie ‘Fachwerkhäuser’. I was also bought an ice cream, and I chose the mango flavour which I think is becoming a new flavour of ice cream, just in case you wanted to know what my current favourite ice cream flavour is (…you could do!).
On Tuesday evening, I met up with Millie to accompany her as she was going to view a flat and wanted someone to go with her. Afterwards, we headed to none other than Jim Block for a big (and as Millie would say, “dirty”) burger. After having a good chat about anything and everything to do with our year abroads, as well as Millie asking “What’s the German word for ‘coke’?” which amused me a lot, we called it a night. When I returned home, I emailed a teacher who I had heard was organising the Wolfsburg trip (a different teacher to the teacher whose home phone number I was given), with my fingers crossed hoping I hadn’t missed it/was actually allowed to go along.
On Wednesday, which is today, Millie and I had made an appointment with someone at the University to begin our signing up process. After speaking to a lovely woman from America who even told us to get in touch with her if we had any problems with the schools we’re teaching at or our accommodation which we found adorable because that has nothing to do with her whatsoever, we headed back to the main building to get signed up. Or at least, to ask how we actually pay and how much it actually costs. After attempting poor German trying to explain our situation, we were both given two very difficult-looking forms, as well as information on how we pay the 246€. This may seem like a lot, and it’s only for one semester, but if you look at the current £9000 in England, as well as consider the fact we’ll not only be able to attend lots of classes, but also receive a Semester Ticket which means free travel throughout the entirety of Niedersachsen, including Bremen and Hamburg, as well as simply the tram here in Hannover, I’d say it’s a pretty damn good deal. So hopefully this time next week or at least soon enough we’ll be fully fledged students with our trendy Semester Tickets.
We then decided to go for some tea seen as both of us had nothing to do. After finding out Rosie was busy so couldn’t make it, we hit the ‘Markthalle‘ where I ate with Ilka last week, and we couldn’t resist a good bit of Currywurst. Along with chips and a coke, it was just 6€. Bargain!
After realising Millie still hasn’t done the Roten Faden tour, we decided to go on it, and despite it being around 6pm, the Rathaus was still open. We also got caught amongst a massive crowd of football fans, as part of the tour is near the football stadium. Afterwards, we felt it was ice cream time (see, I am eating a lot of ice cream recently!) and we headed to the Ernst-August-Galarie after Millie mentioned the ice cream place in there. We got sat down, opened the menu, and basically made weird and excited noises for a good 2/3 minutes looking at all the different ice creams and waffles available. There was ‘lasagna ice cream’ and everything! Millie went for Spaghettieis, and after the waiter came up, I decided to ask him what he’d recommend. He recommended the Spaghettieis (“natürlich”), as well as the waffle with Nutella on it. I said I’d
actually try the waffles with strawberries, but, for the first time ever in my life, I was actually told by the waiter that the waffles with strawberries isn’t too good. What kind of waiter does that?! So I decided to be easy and go Spaghettieis as well, partly because I’ve never actually tried it before. And it was beautiful. Natürlich.
We then decided to go stand outside Starbucks and steal the Wi-Fi, because I’d previously sent an email out to more teachers asking what I can do tomorrow having not heard back from the teacher about Wolfsburg (so I’d put myself in the mind frame that I wasn’t going to be going off on any exciting trips this week).
After seeing an email from Sabine, who teachers my favourite 5th class, who said they’re going to the Herrenhäuser Gärten where I’ve already been, as well as another email which basically said they didn’t have a clue what I could do because they had no plans either, I saw an email from the teacher who I emailed about Wolfsburg:
ich habe deine Mail erst heute morgen gelesen, da du promt in den Spam-Ordner geschoben wurdest.
Heute waren wir (Klasse 7/3) bereits in Wolfsburg im Schwimmbad.
Morgen, Donnerstag, fahren wir nach Hamburg in das Dungeon (Gruselmuseum mit Live-Actors) und machen anschließend eine Hafen-Rundfahrt!
Wenn Du magst, dann komm doch mit. Der Tag wir um 8.20 Uhr am Bahnhof Haupteingang starten und Ende dort gegen 19.30 Uhr.
So, in short, I missed the trip to Wolfsburg (which turned out to be just to a swimming bath which wouldn’t have been too fun), and that instead I can go to Hamburg tomorrow to visit the Hamburg Dungeons, have a tour on a boat, and have everything paid for me. In excitement, I called Frank to accept, and he said I only need to bring food and drink, and perhaps a raincoat, and he has sorted everything else out, including transport costs. So tomorrow is going to be an extremely exciting day, and I think the fact I only just found out an hour ago makes it even more exciting!
Looking further on, I’m moving house this weekend. Though I’m not sure whether it’s on Saturday or Sunday, I am quite upset to be leaving Eulerstraße, and part of me is really not looking forward to moving due to the fact I will be living in the living room (which will become my room when I move in) which means I’m sleeping on a sofa. Other people have lived in that room before, but it just seems a bit weird to be living in the living room, on a sofa, in a house which is extremely old due to it being the landlady’s parents (who have now died) and so she doesn’t want to change much. I don’t even have any curtains or blinds, and it’s a pretty big window looking out onto the back garden. It’s also not technically ‘Hannover’, it’s Langenhagen. About 10 minutes further out than where I am now, but 10 minutes more travel to school and back, as well as just into the centre of town, doesn’t sound too nice.
But then again, maybe I’m just too comfy where I am now so am putting a negative thought on my future house as much as I can. My contract is unbefristet, meaning I can technically move out whenever I want if I find somewhere else. But then again, it might turn out to be amazing. I guess we will just have to wait and see.