In a strange way, this month has gone really slowly, yet I’ve carried on having the time of my life. It seems strange to think I’m now ‘arbeitslos’ (unemployed) as my wonderful housemate likes to put it, and the lack of other assistants doesn’t seem to have worsened my experience like I worried it would do, as most of them left at the end of last month/start of this month with the original end date being 31st May for foreign language assistants.
I’ve now been here 11 months, meaning I’ve nearly achieved the full year abroad.
Now.. sit back and enjoy the many highlights of one of my most enjoyable months/possibly my favourite month so far:
- 1st June: Arabic Day at the Zoo
There’s no better way to celebrate the start of a new month than with a trip to the zoo, and luckily the Zoo here in Hanover had a special day going on which was just another excuse to go (not that we needed one in the first place…).
So along with Fabi and Sabrina, I went and enjoyed the sunny weather and some Currywurst in the Jungle Palace section, and also had a little tour of the elephant house, which you can imagine smelt quite bad.
On a side note, I also ended up dancing in the streets with an older woman in the evening: In Germany, they love their stag nights and hen dos, which was what we came across. I got a shot for doing it though so I can’t really complain!
I also said goodbye to my dear fellow Hannover assistant, Rosie, who I very much miss meeting up with to talk about our schools and contemplate the wonders of the German language (we were basically just massive geeks).
- 2nd June: Hameln with Lucianna and Matthew
As mentioned above, most of the assistants left at the start of this month/end of last month, meaning Lucianna, who also goes to Exeter University, and Matthew, who’s from Newcastle, also left to return back to England.
The day was nice and calm and we all met in Hameln, had a walk around, and had some ice cream (of course, because we’re in Germany). It’s nice to know I’ll be seeing Lucianna again next year, and I hope I cross paths with Matthew again – which might well happen with him already researching possible Masters in Hanover and that also seeming like a good idea to me…
- 7th June: Wolfenbüttel with Hannah
Luckily, not all assistants have gone home, and I met up with Hannah, an assistant in Braunschweig, to go visit my last ‘9 Cities of Niedersachsen’. You can read about my views on all 9 of them here: Die Neun Städte Niedersachsens.
In general, Wolfenbüttel was an extremely pretty town, and the wonderful sun beaming down on us definitely helped lift our mood after we realised the Jägermeister factory (as Jägermeister is produced in Wolfenbüttel) isn’t really open for tourists like us. We did, however, visit the shop there, which had everything from Jägermeister dressing gowns to Jägermeister toasters!
In the evening, we headed back to Hanover and helped celebrate the end of Nathalie’s time in Hanover, who was a French assistant from Switzerland.
- 8th June: Hamburg
Towards the start of the month, Jo’s friend from England, Emily, visited, and along with those two and Matthew (who didn’t actually leave Germany until the 11th June) headed for to Hamburg for the day so Emily could see a big, famous city in Germany.
The weather at some points was too hot, but most of the time was wonderful (it was unfortunately building up to the heatwave we were about to experience…), and we obviously showed Emily Jim Block, with Hamburg being its hometown.
We travelled by boat to a beach and sat along a wall staring out into the river and watching people enjoy the heat we were having – it was strange to think we were in Germany and not somewhere like Spain! A certain someone actually fell asleep for a little bit on the beach (I was pretty tired) but luckily my sunglasses hid my closed eyes, though the guys did work it out seen as I went quiet for about half an hour.
In the evening, we watched the Firework Competition (France’s entry) in the Herrenhäuser Gärten from the top of Dorotheenstraße where Jo and Caley live (and where I lived in August) and afterwards went to Baggi, the nightclub which is basically just like what you’d find in England, located perfectly behind the train station. Emily couldn’t get over the fact that Hanover was so busy at about 6am, seen as we’d be back and sleeping by about 2pm if we were to go out in England!
And to top it all off, I fell asleep on the tram on the way home (I told you I was tired!) and ended up missing my stop and getting shouted out by the nasty tram driver. Luckily it was so late (or early?) that the trams were running regularly…
- 10th June: Heide Park
I finally got the chance to go to Heide Park, which is a gigantic theme park in the north of Niedersachsen. My chance came after being asked by my AG students, who were going on a big class trip with their teacher, Tobias, who I get on really well, so I didn’t think twice about accepting the invitation!
We travelled by bus which took about an hour, and spent a good chunk of the day there. The best way to describe it would be to tell you to think of Alton Towers in England – there were different sections, such as the Jurassic area and the Pirate area, and some humongous roller coasters, such as Collosos which is the world’s most steepest wooden roller coaster – and I went on it with a screaming Tobias sat next to me!
It was an absolutely fantastic day, and I can’t thank the students enough for inviting me to go along with them, especially Iris, one of the students, who basically organised the whole trip, including booking the bus and everything! We also had 2-for-1 vouchers which added to the excitement!
- 12th June: Skype with Mum in my AG
Yep, you read that right – I skyped with my mum during my AG (i.e. my English club) at school.
There’s not a great deal to say about it, but it’s exciting enough to mention. The kids had the chance to hear a proper northern accent (seen as I’m slowly but surely losing mine here because otherwise nobody understands me…) and they found out lots of fun facts about my mum, such as that her favourite 21-year-old son is me and her favourite 12-year-old son is my brother (who’d have thought it?) and that she’s actually only 29 years old!
- 13th June: My last French class
If you’ve been a true fan and have been reading all my blogs (i.e. you, Mum), you’ll know I’ve been doing a French course since February, and unfortunately I had my last class this month.
However, it wasn’t all sad faces, as we all brought lots of food and drink to celebrate our last lesson together, but it was quite sad that I won’t be returning whereas all of the other people who attended the classes will be doing the next level up together from September onwards.
Though there were many embarrassing moments during the past 4 months in the French classes, mainly due to the whole learning French in German without any signs of English thing, I thoroughly enjoyed myself, and am really glad I plucked up the courage to do it! I definitely recommend future year abroaders to just go for it when it comes to trying to keep up a second language, even though the thought of learning a foreign language in a foreign language sounds daunting!
- 15th June: Wolfsburg for VW-Event
After having the quickest shower of my life due to being late (honestly around 90 seconds), I managed to get to the train station on time where I met with Elsa, ready to go to Wolfsburg for a big event at the VW factory. We met with Moritz, Elsa’s boyfriend, and spent the day playing games, winning prizes (I won coloured chalk for our blackboard!), and we also spent an hour queueing for special VW-Currywurst.
It was worth it, I swear.
We also took part in a raffle to win a car. Elsa was gutted she didn’t win.
- 16th June: Staff BBQ
The evening was nice and calm, and it was nice to spend time with the teachers outside of school and talk about things other than school-related things. The teacher leaving the school is also a big fan of vases, and brought a big box of them, letting us all pick one each to take home with us. I picked the one in the picture, which I still haven’t bought any flowers for, but it’s a wonderful little vase which is a lovely reminder of my very special time working at the IGS Roderbruch.
- 17th June: Wheelchair in the Zoo & The Canadian Stammtisch
Because Fabi is so awesome at football, he ended up twisting his ankle, but was still adamant we had another trip to the Zoo. Due to that, Sabrina, with working at the Zoo, got him a wheelchair ordered for the day, and myself and Fabi went to the Zoo, with Fabi sat in his wheelchair.
With the many jokes about Little Britain building up before the day actually arrived, I was extremely embarrassed right at the start of our trip when Fabi saw a bunch of older people all in wheelchairs, lifted his hand, pointed to them, and shouted ‘IT’S MY GROUP!’
After strenuously pushing him around the hilly Zoo, I met up with some teachers afterwards in Linden, which is a really cool part of Hanover, because the Canadian Exchange had arrived. I met Kim, Brady and Rob who were the leaders of the exchange, and all three of them were absolutely lovely, with Kim becoming my surrogate mother for the week. We all did lots together during the week which you can read about underneath!
- 19th June: Belated Pancake Day & The Awful Heatwave
As my time at school slowly but surely drew to a close, I had my last English club, and we all decided to do something in the kitchen to celebrate. One student suggested pancakes which I immediately agreed on, with pancakes not being too difficult to make, and also due to our Pancake Day in England (which the kids didn’t actually believe at first and they had to be reassured by my mum the week before during our Skype session that there is actually such thing as Pancake Day!)
Alongside this, we had an absolutely horrific heatwave, with temperatures over 30 degrees celcius. This meant making pancakes wasn’t as fun as I had hoped with the blazing heat! There was even ‘hitzefrei’ at school for the younger kids, which someone asked me to translate into English – I had to look on my phone, and the result was ‘to have time off from school on account of excessively hot weather‘ – I guess we don’t have a word for it seen as that’s pretty much unheard of in rainy England!
- 20th June: Zoo with the Canadians and the dreaded Mosquito Bite
I met up with Ilka, her family, and the Canadian leaders at the Zoo (YES OK I LOVE THE ZOO I KNOW) for some Abendessen, where we enjoyed asparagus, schnitzel, and some tasty Rote Grütze. It had also absolutely chucked it down beforehand as I was going to the Zoo, meaning I turned up absolutely ‘klitschnass’ (soaking wet)!
Afterwards, and perhaps regrettably, we went for a walk through the forest near to the Zoo, with our destination being Ilka’s house which isn’t too far from the Zoo. Due to the rainy weather we’d had, there were mosquitos EVERYWHERE and I got bitten several times, with a huge one biting me on the leg. More on that below…
- 23rd June: Hameln with Ilka and the Canadians & their Verabschiedungsfeier
On the Canadian’s last full day, the three leaders, Ilka and I went for a day trip to Hameln, and I found out that Ilka actually used to live there when she was younger and went to primary school there! Ilka showed us all the nice bits I’d never seen before, such as the Altstadt (Old Town) which was really beautiful, and she even showed us where she lived as a child – above a little bakery!
The weather was wonderful and sunny throughout, and we also enjoyed watching the Pied Piper play in the centre of the town. We also went to the ‘Pfannekuchen Haus’ (Pancake House) which is just as exciting as it sounds. Unfortunately, I felt a little worse for wear due to a certain night out the night before, so I stuck with a nice simple sugar pancake, but immediately regretted it when the others received their pancakes with chili con carne, with cheese and mushrooms, and other delicious things!
Returning to Hanover, we all went to the Canadian’s Verabschiedungsfeier (leaving party), where I enjoyed good company and good food.
During the Verabschiedungsfeier, myself and other teachers and Canadians started to realise that my leg, which had been bitten on the Thursday, definitely didn’t look right, in that it was really swollen, red, and it hurt to walk on. After being told of a dangerous mosquito in Hanover which had recently been reported about in the local newspaper, I started to panic like mad (which you would naturally do when told someone was sent to hospital for 5 days due to a mosquito bite in Hanover…), but luckily my surrogate Canadian mother, Kim, calmed me down, and gave me some tablets and got someone to get me an ice pack. I was asked if I wanted to be taken to A&E, but I refused after being told I could be waiting for hours there, and I promised I’d go to the doctor’s the next day if it hadn’t improved after the tablets and cream I was given…
- 24th June: My first trip to the doctor’s
And lo and behold, the bite was not better, and it bloody killed to walk on the next day. Elsa recommended her doctor which is just around the corner from our flat, and after saying goodbye to the Canadians at the train station (I miss my surrogate mother!), I went to the doctor’s, accompanied by Jo and Caley just in case I was sent to hospital so they could pop back to mine and grab some stuff for me (I wasn’t over-exaggerating – I’ve been told in Germany that they send you to hospital sometimes for the littlest of things!)
Luckily, the doctor I saw was lovely, and said it was lucky I went to see him but that it wasn’t as serious as I thought it would be. So, with tablets in hand, I limped home and rested my leg with some ice on it.
(And just on a side note – my leg is now better! Phew!)
- 26th June: My last day at the IGS Roderbruch & International Day
After a couple of days of relaxing, it was unfortunately time for the day I had been dreading – my last day at the IGS Roderbruch. You can read more about it here: My last day at the IGS Roderbruch.
I’m just happy to know that I’ll be returning to the school at least two more times before I leave for good, one time for my Verabschiedung (farewell), and another to celebrate the school’s 40th anniversary, hopefully along with my mum and stepdad!
In the afternoon after my last day at school (classes only ran until around 10:45am), I went to the main building of the University of Hannover for the International Day, which saw a huge variety of stalls for different countries. I ended up somehow helping out a little bit at the Great Britain stall, and I also enjoyed foods from other stalls, as well as having my name written in Russian and Chinese, and I also got a henna tattoo from the Indian stall! Jo, Caley and I also managed to put the Bundesländer crests correctly on a map at the Germany stall and won ourselves pens and little memory games!
- 29th June: Die Geburtstagparty von Lisa und Tobias
To celebrate their birthdays, Lisa (my ex-housemate) and Tobias (a teacher at my school who I went to Heide Park with) had a big party at their house which isn’t too far away from me.
It was lovely to spend another evening with teachers outside of school, and I also hung out with a bunch of students who I got to know when I lived with Lisa back in September. We played a couple of fun games, my favourite being ‘Werwolf’ which required everybody to play a role and try and kill the people who had randomly been given the role of ‘werewolf’ – but you didn’t know who had what role! I was unfortunately just a boring ‘Dorfbewohner’ (villager) and was abgemurkst (a word for ‘killed’ which would maybe only be used in fictional senses!) by the werewolves during the second night. It was fun to play a game which didn’t require any props – we just had the person in charge describing the whole thing, and it was fun as we had to close our eyes when it was the ‘night time phase’ whilst the narrator told the werewolves to open their eyes and point to who they want to kill, and there were also other roles which played an important part of the story, too!
We also played a game where someone had to try and guess what our illness was by asking us questions (it was a little like my favourite game ‘I’m making a triangle between…’ – I can sense that will make a lot of people sigh in annoyance!) – we basically had to pretend we were the person to the right of us and answer the questions as them, and if what we answered was actually wrong, the person to the right had to say ‘Abracadabra’ – and the person asking the questions had to try and work out what the illness was (which was the whole pretending to be the person to the right of you which was discussed before they came into the room!) I did go quite very British though when there were certain questions asked in front of my colleagues – you can probably guess what kind of questions there were when people were drinking…!
- 30th June: The Schützenfest Parade
To finish off a fantastic month, Steffi and I went to the big parades to celebrate Schützenfest here in Hanover. From what I’ve been told, the Schützenfest in Hanover is the biggest in Germany, or maybe in Europe (or maybe the world?!), and is basically just another excuse for the Germans to drink!
The parade reminded me a lot of Karneval in Cologne, but what I liked about these ones was that it wasn’t as packed as in Cologne, and you could actually move around without worrying about treading on anybody around you.
Lots of things were also thrown into the crowds, and I ended up going home proud with a condom, banana, loads of little sweets, and a postcard, and Steffi got a beer, a little sausage, and a toy car! Morning well spent I’d say!
Sorry for the mass update there. Before writing this, I didn’t realise how much I’d actually done this month, but apparently it’s quite a lot!
My time here in Germany is slowly disappearing in front of my eyes, with just 2 months left (it actually makes me feel really sad typing that. And Drops of Jupiter – Train has just come on Spotify which doesn’t help in the slightest). I’m still making the most of my time here, and I’m slowly thinking about returning here after my last year at University last year, maybe to study Masters or something – I just need to work out what I want to do with my life first, which I guess is quite an important decision… Gulp.
Thank you again for always reading my posts! And congratulations for getting through this especially long one!