Everything is so exciting!

I’m now sat in the staff room at my school, but when I started writing this blog, I was sat in my room in Eulerstraße, waiting on a phone call from my mentor, Ilka, to tell me she’s on her way to pick me up. I literally wrote 2 paragraphs when the phone went and I had to pack my laptop, but I’ll show you the first paragraph I wrote anyway so I don’t feel I wasted a minute of my life:

I’m writing this blog post in a kind of mad rush, due to me moving out within the next hour or so. I am, however, fully packed, and have fully cleaned the room, so I thought I’d write my next blog post as I’m going to at least get a 10 minute warning when Ilka, my mentor, rings me to say she’s on her way. As you may have remembered from my last post, I’m living with Ilka until the end of October, which I’m actually quite looking forward to!

But anyway, back to my year abroad madness (though living situation does count towards that). Since my last post, I had my first proper trip to Cologne. I’ve been to Cologne four times before; twice with school, once with college, and once with university. This time, however, I actually stayed in Cologne for longer than just a day, and this time, unlike the last four times, it wasn’t to see the Christmas Markets.

The Cologne Cathedral, or ‘Kölner Dom’, at night.

Cologne is absolutely beautiful. Or, at least, the Dom is beautiful. When Shane and I got to Cologne, we just had to catch the tram from the main train station (after a cheeky visit to McDonalds), but I was determined to catch a glimpse of the Dom which is right outside the station. And I wasn’t disappointed. It’s actually quite spooky if you look at the picture, but so, so beautiful.

Having “ahh’d” a bit, as well as getting really excited that I was in Cologne again, we headed back to Shane’s, and with it being quite late alright and after a long journey which included a lot of standing/falling to sleep/late trains which meant we missed one of our changes so had to wait an extra half an hour (but at least with my newly received Student Travel Card I could travel on the train in Niedersachsen for free which is the first hour of the journey), we headed straight to bed, readying us for our Ikea-filled Friday.

On Friday, we met Zoë, another foreign language assistant based in Cologne, at the train station, and after helping her buy tickets for Berlin on the ticket machines which can sometimes be confusing, we headed to the tram platform. After a good half an hour sat there with our trams shown on the screen three times and then disappearing, Zoë then decided to remember that the website did say something about possible disruptions, and the screen also decided to tell us we had to catch the tram somewhere else.

Zoë and Shane chuffed with their Ikea meatballs.

After a long journey of a total of 5 trams, we finally arrived at Ikea, and I found it quite exciting that it has its very own tram stop ‘Ikea am Butzweilerhof’. We headed immediately for the café, and you can probably guess what all three of us went for. Yes, meatballs. There were also refillable drinks which added to the excitement.

Meatballs eaten and plenty of drinks drunk (‘drinks drunk’ sounds weird if you say it too many times), we headed into the wonderful world of Ikea, where Zoë pretended to use a showroom toilet and bought a Strawberry teddy, and Shane didn’t know quite what to do with a brush he found (which was in fact a back brush for in the shower, not a giant toothbrush), and afterwards, like true fatties, we hit the café again for dessert, where I had Rote Grütze. I think I’ve spoken about Rote Grüze before, but basically it’s a massive mix of red berries with vanilla cream, and I think I’m right in saying it originates from the North of Germany. But I just had a quick glance at the Wikipedia page I linked above, and I’m now not too sure. Either way, it’s bloody tasty!

After leaving Ikea finally at around 5pm and heading back into town to buy Pokémon Schwarze 2 (eeeeeeeeeeee!), we headed for more food (when in Germany…) at Vapiano, which is an Italian restaurant which I also ate in in Munich. This time, I went for something less spicy than the Calzone in Munich – I went for Ravioli which I then realised I miss so much so I plan to eat more of soon. We went for a few cocktails (though I think one of my cocktails was basically a glass of tequila) and headed back home for some well deserved sleep.

Knackered after the climb, but happy because we made it!

And when I thought Friday was tiring, along came Saturday. I basically repeated what I did on the school trips back when I was in Year 10 and then again in Year 11, bar the fact there were no Christmas Markets. We headed up the Dom, which is where I used my Hannover Student Card for the first time which I was also very excited about (everything is so exciting here!), and over 500 steps later, as well as two stops to have a drink as well as finish off the Pick ‘n’ Mix I got at Ikea the previous day, we were at the top enjoying the wonderful site. I don’t know why I thought it, but I remember wondering what my mum’s reaction would be to being so high. Probably not a good one!

In true Howden School-style, we then headed to the Lindt Chocolate Museum. Natürlich. I also used my Student ID there (living the German student life) and after pikeying some free wifi at the café there, we somehow swiftly made our way to the factory section where you can get free tasters of the chocolate fountain (not literally the chocolate fountain itself, though that would be amazing if we were allowed to eat the entire flow of chocolate), as well as ‘um’ and ‘ah’ over the possibility of ordering our own specially made chocolate, but with it having to take 35 minutes we decided not to. We did, however, make our way to the shop at the exit and bought a thing or two, as well as a present for Ilka’s daughter whose birthday was last Wednesday (it was difficult to decide but I ended up buying her a big chocolate bar covered in Smarties!).

We then headed to a place I’ve heard a lot of in Cologne – Culux (Curry Deluxe) where you can choose which sausage you have, which sauce you have, which side you have, and how how the sauce should be. The two hottest options actually required you to be ID’d as you had to be at least 18. So being a massive wuss, I went for mild, but with onions on top. All I can say is ‘om nom nom’ and I will definitely be revisiting there when I return to Cologne (which should hopefully be for the Christmas Markets! Excitement!).

Then the worst time hit. For some unknown reason, I actually started feeling ill – kind of the ill you feel just before you get a cold. After trekking around town with Shane who was unsure whether he should get a 3DS with Pokémon Weiße 2 or not (we could link up and swap Pokémon and everythiiiiiing!), we made it back home, with me having a few paracetamol crossing my fingers that the next day I wouldn’t wake up to illness, as well as a 4 hour journey home. Luckily, I didn’t, and I travelled back to Hannover happily (well, as far as happy can be with a train I had to stand up in for an hour and a half).

Monday was another school day, as well as my 4th moving day since I got here over 10 weeks ago. I had my favourite class at school, receiving an origami camera as a present from one of the kids (n’awwh how useful!), and then after sneaking in a bit of dinner at Extrablatt with Millie, I headed home to finish off packing and cleaning the room, ready to move to my mentor’s for the rest of the month.

So far, life at my mentor’s is brilliant. Her family are so lovely, and I read a storybook to Suzanne and Isabella (who fought over the Smarties’ chocolate bar…), which involved Suzanne thinking it was funny to put her finger on a picture of fireplace, and then touch my nose screaming ‘Heiß’! I naturally reacted as if it hurt, which she found utterly hilarious. The littlest things, eh?

“Bye Dan. It was great with you. It is stupid that you are going”

After some wonderful Abendbrot, as well as preparing my speech which I have to do tomorrow in front of the foreign language assistants in the Hannover region and their mentors and the big education authority people (no pressure), it was bed time, and soon wake up time at 6am this morning to get to school. I had my favourite class again, but this time it was my last time with them for the year (though I’m hoping to sneak them into my timetable again later on), and I received a cute ‘farewell’ letter from one of the children! I also turned up this morning to a note saying that the teacher was stuck in a traffic accident, so I had to teach the class (or basically get them to talk about their weekends) which at first I was very scared about in the few minutes I had to think about it, but it went smoothly albeit it being spontaneous.

And now I have 7 minutes to get to my next class, after which I’m trying out the Mensa for the first time since the Summer Academy (which seems like years ago now!) as well as getting my wifi sorting on the Uni Campus – yay for more internet access points!