London


So in the late hours of yesterday evening, I returned to Hannover after a wonderful weekend in my Heimatland – though the weekend was spent in London, bringing my total London visits count to a large number of 4 (including the fact that one of those visits was me just changing trains there), it was still nice to be surrounded by all things British, including Tesco, pounds, and beautiful British accents.

As I think I mentioned before in a previous post, the reason for my trip to London was the UK-German Connection, for which I was picked as an ELA ambassador. The idea of the weekend was to basically find a German who was a German language assistant in the UK and start creating a project with them, which was done by basically just getting to know one other, as well as a tiring Speed Dating session, where we basically had to repeat our ideas 21 times to each of the Germans, and they told us their ideas, too.

Long story short, and a large awkward patch after the Speed Dating session where people were slowly but surely pairing up, I ended up pairing with Thilo, who was actually my roommate in the hotel we were staying in. Thilo comes from near Stuttgart, Nürtingen to be precise, and is working at the Bischopsgarth Maths and Computing College in Stockton-on-Tees which is near Middlesborough. We have very similar ideas on our project, but we’re first going to start with focusing on our Christmas project, which will include letter and Christmas card exchanges between our schools. So hopefully our exchange will bloom, and my hope is that the link between IGS Roderbruch and Bischopsgarth Maths and Computing College will continue after both me and Thilo have left next year.

One end of the Christmas Market with the London Eye and Big Ben.

We didn’t have too much free time throughout the weekend, though we had the evening off on Friday, for which we were all given £10 to find some food, and after a long trip to Wagamama, it turned out the queue was massive, yet it also turned out Wagamama was right beside a German Christmas Market along the River Thames, so there’s no guess as to where we spent the evening.

We had a few hours free on Saturday, too, and our seminar was luckily placed right next to a collection of museums, so a few of us decided to go and see the National History Museum, which I’ve always heard about and wanted to see. We unfortunately didn’t have too much time to look around the place, but it was nice to see certain sections, and I’ll hopefully go again one time to have a better look around the gigantic place!

I’ve met a great deal of people this weekend, both German and English, and managed to learn some Bavarian German (in the South of Germany), which the Germans from the North cringed at – meaning I better be careful to remember which words and phrases I learnt this weekend come from where in Germany, so I don’t confuse the teachers at my school with a distinct Southern phrase. Me and Emma, who’s also at Exeter University, also met a girl who’s doing her assistantship in Tiverton, but lives in Exeter, and it just so turns out that she’s living in the exact same house as Emma did last year – what are the chances?! I was very jealous of Antonia though when she went to Paddington Train Station to head back to Exeter, especially after she talked about places like Firehouse and Timepiece. It made me cry a little inside, but it also made me even more excited to get back to Exeter next week for my birthday.

Last minute decision to bring these with me after I was nearly late for my flight.

There are also things I’ve realised I miss about England, only be seeing them there and realising I haven’t seen it or had it in the past 4 months. These things include ready salted crisps, Lucozade and Terry’s Chocolate Orange, and I also realised I do like proper British tea with milk and sugar – I never used to drink it at home, but there was a somewhat homely feeling when slowly sipping it. And I also obviously bought some peach water from the Tesco which was perfectly placed around the corner of our hotel.

So, all in all, a wonderful weekend, though with London not being a common place for me, and the fact I was surrounded by a lot of Germans, I kept on forgetting I was actually in England, and genuinely kept being shocked when I heard a proper British accent on the Underground or something. It also seemed weird to talk English when I went into shops – at one point I said to someone ‘have a nice day!’ which in Germany they do all the time, but somehow it felt weird to say it as if I was being some kind of sarcastic idiot, and I also held a door for a woman who said ‘thank you’, and I replied with ‘you’re welcome – also felt strange, as by the time I finished the phrase, she’d gone. It’s so much easier to just mutter ‘bitte’ like they do in German.

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