A German presentation, two maths lectures, and Magdeburg.

The last few days have consisted of a German presentation, two maths lectures, and Magdeburg. Here’s how they went:

The German presentation was on Wednesday. One month and a half into my being an assistant, the Hannover region decided to run a welcome day for all the language assistants (though admittedly the French only arrived last week so I think that’s the reason the ‘welcome’ day was so late on for us Brits). One person from each country was picked to hold a small presentation, in German, about their time so far in Germany. And it just so turned out I was picked for Britain.

It was kind of the feeling I had when doing the ever so beloved Referats at university, but this time I wasn’t being assessed, rather I was holding it in front of 50 people, including high up people in the education authorities, a wide variety of mentors including Ilka, and other assistants, including Millie and Rosie, who initially said they were going to try and make me laugh throughout. Luckily, they were nice enough (or wussed out?) to not do it in the end.

The presentation, I think, went well. I managed to make everyone laugh at my love for food, as well as impress them with how I mentioned that the trams here in Hannover are ‘zuverlässig’ (reliable), as well as compliment the Hannover Town Hall. The other four people also managed to make the crowd laugh as well, so all in all it was a calm and friendly half an hour of speeches!

Books, leaflets, and a key ring – thoughtful gifts from the Hannover Education Authorities.

The food was also spectacular, a little like Altenberg when we sometimes didn’t know what we were eating but it tasted wonderful nevertheless, and we also got wonderful gifts, not to mention the big band that played to welcome us at the start of the day. Hannover really knows how to treat us well!

It was also a good chance to catch up with people, a few of which I haven’t seen since last month in Altenberg, and we also got to know the French assistants, and headed off with them to Jack The Ripper’s for a drink or two, followed by a cheeky visit to Jim Block (pretty much describes my ideal evening hitting those two spots).

On Thursday, I met with Lisa and I went with her to two maths lectures. At first, the lecture was at 12pm, but then it turned out the first was actually at 8am. Despite that meaning I had to get up at 6am, I actually still got up and went to the lecture (YOHOYA/Always say ‘yes’!) and I’m really glad I did so. The first lecture was ‘Lineare Algebra’ which I’ve kind of done (or at least done some of) at Uni in Exeter, but it was interesting to sit in the lecture in German, despite having to sit on the steps in the lecture theatre because there weren’t enough seats for all students. The lecture after that was computing stuff which I wasn’t too good at, and it proved to be difficult, no matter how easy the helper guy seemed to find it.

Afterwards, I went with Lisa to the Mensa where she met some friends who I also know, and had some günstig dinner (just 3,15€ for chicken in a sauce, mash potato, rice and a drink). After then seeing an email which said Friday was the last day I could sign up for language courses at the Uni, I decided to head back to the main building to investigate, which then resulted in my fully signed up for the course ‘DE408-1 Mündliche Kommunikation: Die Stadt Hannover (B2)’ which I’m quite looking forward to starting, despite me not being able to go to the first lecture next week as I’m busy travelling in the South (I have sent an email to the lecturer to say I won’t be able to attend but she hasn’t replied…)

And then today saw my first trip to the Bundesland ‘Sachsen-Anhalt’ which borders Niedersachsen to meet with Charis who’s doing her year abroad in Naumburg in the south of Sachsen-Anhalt. We went to Magdeburg, the capital of Magdeburg. Let’s just say when I first told Ilka I was going there, she answered with ‘Why?!’, and when I met with Charis, she told me that the people she’d told had the same reaction. At first, we began to understand why – it was quite dull. We did, however, stop in a nice restaurant where I had the most fantastic Schnitzel (becoming a favourite food of mine), and finally after 3 hours of searching we found the Tourist Information and got ourselves a map and headed out to do some proper exploring.

Die Grüne Zitadelle von Magdeburg – Hundertwasser.

Generally, the further we left the city centre, the more pretty Magdeburg became. I took some really scenic shots (such a photographing pro me) and, as Charis said, I began to realise that German Autumn really is lovely. We came across another work of Hundertwasser (who designed the Uelzen train station which I explained in a previous post), and the building was absolutely fantastic. It had a nice fountain in the middle, as well as a random roaring fire cauldron thing which you could feel the heat of quite far away. There were lots of little shops inside too, and it was hard to resist to buy all of the trendy little bits and bobs.

There was generally a lot of greenery too, and I noticed there were a lot of trees, which added to the Autumn feeling with loads of leaves fallen on the ground.

And now the Herbstferien are fully here (despite the fact my last day of school was Tuesday), and the next 9 days see me visiting a minimum of 5 places – Bremen, Münster, Cologne, Tübingen and Stuttgart. Hopefully there’ll be a little more exploration in Badem-Württemburg when I’m in Stuttgart, and I will also be making my fourth trip to the Zoo here in Hannover as Phoebe is going to be visiting (and we’re doing this whole epic adventure together) and she really wants to check out the zoo here!

So much excitement, so many places to explore, but for now it’s bed time.

Gute Nacht!