February has been a hectic month, from gaining millions of sweets, to losing a really good friend (in the sense of her moving, nothing too serious). Here are the highlights of my 7th month abroad:
- 3rd February: Finally finished the book ‘Cloud Atlas’
So this isn’t really specific to Germany, but I thought I’d throw this in. I bought ‘Cloud Atlas’ just after Christmas, and a month later I finally finished it. I recommend it to anyone who loves a good story which gets your brain ticking. I did have to read the forums afterwards about the exact ins-and-outs, but now it all makes sense!
- 5th February: Signed up to a French evening class at the Volkshochschule
After wussing out back in August because of the fact I was told I could attend the French classes at my school, I decided to finally sign up to an evening French class at the Volkshochschule (a kind of adult-evening school) as I felt bad I was stealing the education of the French students at my school. It took a fair while to finally get signed up, but it eventually all got sorted, and I even got a 50% discount either because I’m a student or because my income is low enough (it wasn’t really made clear but I’m not complaining either way).
- 7th February: Elsa’s first Jim Block
There was no other place to celebrate the end of Elsa’s last exam and the end of her university life – Jim Block. And it turned out it was her first Jim Block, too (she clearly hasn’t been thinking straight when she moved to Hanover over a year ago!)
Beforehand I went to Jack The Ripper’s to meet with Elsa and her classmates, where I confused the barman by speaking English, even though I’m pretty sure he was English, too, and with a northern accent. I also showed Elsa the British Shop where she got very excited and spent quite a bit on wonderful treats such as cider and Terry’s Chocolate Orange (she also bought one for me – THANK YOU SO MUCH! Favourite chocolate bar, that!)
Then afterwards we went to Jim Block. Elsa enjoyed it, and Millie and I enjoyed it because it was an excuse for Jim Block. Not that it’s ever difficult to find an excuse.
- 8th February (Early Hours): The biggest scare yet in the scare war
So you know about the small scare war, right? It started between me and Elsa. We scared each other every now and then and recorded each other.
Then, in the early hours of 8th February, I headed to the bathroom and wondered if Lars would come out of his room if I was to open the bathroom door and shut it again (at that point in time he’d also been dragged into the war). So, looking at his door, I opened bathroom door, was just about to close it, when *BOOM* he jumped round the corner, dressed fully in black, and even had a black wooly head mask thing which shows only your eyes and your mouth.
I screamed, Elsa and Lars burst out laughing, and the neighbour knocked on our door to tell us to be quiet. What a massive loser.
- 11th February: Rosenmontag in Köln
I won’t bore you with repeats of my Karneval experience in Cologne – here’s a link to my post about it if you haven’t had a read already: Kölle Alaaf!
- 12th February: Pancake Day
Pancake Day, Pancake Day, we all love Pancake Day. You can eat it with chocolate and ice cream, or you can eat it with ham and cheese. You flip it in the air and something something something WE ALL LOVE PANCAKES!
This is a rough estimate of our song we made up to try and pretend that we did have a Pancake Day song in England (I hate to break it to you, Fabi, but this doesn’t actually exist. Though I’m sure you worked that out on the day).
We showed Fabi and Sabrina how we celebrate Pancake Day in England, and they seemed to enjoy it! Lars also had a taste of some pancakes. Though there was a dire moment when we didn’t have enough eggs, Millie saved the day with a quick dash to Rewe.
Generally, Germans found it a bit weird that we have a day dedicated to pancakes, but when you counteract with the fact they have massive parades and a variety of costumes to celebrate Fasching, they realise how simple and easy Pancake Day is.
- 14th February: My first French class
Just over a week after I signed up, I had my first French class. Baring in mind I was told to just learn the imperfect tense in the 9 days I had (casual) I was quite nervous. Though, all in all, it went well, bar the few words I didn’t even know in German so was sat like a maniac typing on my phone trying to find what word was being said in English. I hope the teacher didn’t think I was being rude and texting or something!
- 16th/17th February: Big Cam and Dan’s Berlin Trip
As with Karneval, you can see a nice, big blog post about my first year abroad trip to Berlin (I’ve been before, but that was 3 years ago and only for the day): Big Cam & Dan’s Berlin Trip.
- 20th February: Cocktails and I ❤ Hannover postcards
After a lovely Jim Block with Fabi, Sabrina and Millie (I think we are pretty much addicted), we headed to a bar I’ve never been to before, but it’s really easy to get to. With it being a Wednesday, the cocktails were 2-for-1 which made it even better.
I forgot to mention before – I’m slowly collecting I ❤ *place name* postcards and sending the to Exeter where they are happily accepted (or maybe just ‘accepted’) by university friends. Since I arrived in August, I’ve been on the hunt for a I ❤ Hannover postcard, and 7 months in I still had no success.
But then, out of the corner of my eye, I finally saw one, and as the icing on the cake (or the ‘point on top of the letter ‘i” as the Germans say), they were free. We took all of them. There were about 8. No regrets.
- 22nd February: Hannover with Beth and Phoebe & Millie’s Surprise Party
On 21st February, Beth arrived after she’d already travelled to Amsterdam and Hamburg. She arrived in the afternoon, and due to me having my French class, the rest of the day wasn’t that exciting. On the 22nd, Phoebe arrived, and we all had a big tour of Hannover which I haven’t done in a fair few months.
Luckily, we found our way around the most important places, and were all set for Millie’s Surprise Leaving Party, which I started planning about 3 weeks ago (by which I mean I made a quick event on Facebook to see who was interested). Though I didn’t expect it to be, the actually build-up was stressful with trying to get everybody in the building that Millie lives in (it’s the best place for a big room), whilst Millie was having meal with Rosie and David. After they finally arrived, Millie was extremely surprised and said she didn’t have a clue whatsoever that something was going on, but rather just found it a little weird that Rosie was so adamant to pay quickly after they’d finished eating. I also made Millie a cool book, which a friend of my mum made for us – she has a really cool collection if you want to check out her Facebook page or her eBay page:
- 23rd February: Braunschweig & Wolfsburg
Like I did last year, I visited Braunschweig & Wolfsburg on the same day with them being so close to each other. This time, I went with Beth, Phoebe, Rosie and David.
Braunschweig was quite chilly and we saw a few bits and bobs, but when I mentioned Phaeno (the interactive science museum in Wolfsburg which is a little like Magna in England), we decided to leave Braunschweig earlier than planned and spend the afternoon running around like little kids. It made a lot of fun, as the Germans would wrongly say.
Afterwards, we went to the Autostadt after 6pm with it being free entry, drew some stuff in the snow, pretended to be cars on the little karting road (UNFALL!) and chilled above the small globes in the floor at the entrance of the Autostadt.
Afterwards, we went back to Hannover and met with Millie. And guess where we went..?
That’s right – Jim Block.
- 24th February: Hameln
24th February saw another trip to Hameln, and this time with Phoebe after having seen
Beth off earlier in the morning. We met with Lucianna, walked around a little bit, was spoken to by a man in a wheelchair for a good 10 minutes about his life story (which was
actually quite sweet, as he did it in English and told us how much he loves England!), saw the Glockenspiel play, and then ended up in the Museumscafé where we all enjoyed Pfannkuchen. We stayed in the café for a good 3 hours to avoid venturing back out into the cold, but we gradually forced ourselves outside and explored a little more. We also saw really cool snowflakes that actually looked like snowflakes through the naked eye, and not just a little lump of snow.
- 27th February: Read a bit of Roald Dahl with a sixth form class
This was very exciting. Basically, as the title suggests, I read a bit of Roald Dahl with my sixth form class. We did Charlie & The Chocolate Factory, as well as James & The Giant Peach (i.e. my favourite of his!) It made lots of fun.
- 27th February: Millie’s Leaving Meal
On the same day, it was Millie’s last evening in Hanover. Together with Rosie, Sabrina, Fabi and Alex, as well as Millie’s parents, we headed to Bavarium – the traditional Bavarian restaurant in the centre of Hanover where we’ve been before on other celebratory occasions.
It was an absolutely brilliant evening spent with close friends, and I managed to not go for the ever-so-tempting Schnitzel with mushrooms (I, instead, went for fish with potato salad which was most certainly not a let down). Millie will be very much missed, and, despite now that she doesn’t have an excuse to return to Hanover to close her bank account, I’m hoping she does come back to go to Jim Block and other fun places.
Other things to mention:
- Millie left this morning to go start the second half of her year abroad in Paris. Though it’s really, really sad she’s not just a Straßenbahn ride away anymore, this does mean I get a good excuse to travel to France’s capital – somewhere I’ve wanted to go to for ages, and where myself and Shane will hopefully be going at the end of April!
- I’ve started to go play badminton with Fabi and Sabrina, who usually go every week. It’s wonderful to continue something I enjoyed so much at university, despite the fact Fabi beats me every single time (and also looks like a gorilla when he is losing because he’s a sore loser).
- Next month is possibly the most plan-filled month yet, with a trip to Cologne for Shane’s birthday and also more goodbyes to assistants leaving, a trip to Bremen to see ‘Of Monsters and Men’, a weekend in Barcelona to visit Anna and Kate who are doing their year abroads in Spain, and to top it all off I’ll be being visited by my sister, her fiancé, and my nephew, who’s 1st birthday is in just around 3 weeks (yep, that’s right – it’s nearly a year ago since he was born. Crazy!)
- Because it’s been a long time since a photo of my nephew, Finlay, here’s a very recent one for you to ‘awwh’ at: