Sunday, 30 September 2012

Choices, choices.

Week three of my German adventure (already!!), and things are starting to get philosophical again. I have been thinking (I have quite a lot of thinking time at the minute), and at this point in my life I have come to the conclusion that never before have I been presented with so many choices. The thing about being on your own in another country, in another culture, with a lot of free time, means that you are very much in charge of your own life, and have to make decisions accordingly. Having never been much of a decision-maker (ask my parents!), I am finding this rather new - but exciting! I'm now realising the power that comes with decision-making, and at the moment I have the opportunity to really use this time to do something interesting. But this also requires a fair amount of energy - I often underestimate the effort it takes to always organise your own activities (especially in another language), and the temptation is often to stay at home, wrapped-up warm with my duvet and hot-water bottle (and possibly some Kuchen alongside...). Hey ho. It's a good challenge, and one I'll take on with pleasure. We'll see what comes out in half a year's time!

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Lemgo City!

First lesson.

A quick anecdote:
My first lesson - and what a disaster! It was actually a cover lesson, so all I had to do was say hi (in English), and put a film on for the class to watch. Simple, right? Not quite as smooth as all that! First, all was well - we set it up, I pressed play, the laptop was working, the projector was projecting, the speakers were... speaking. Then it all went a little stir crazy. The projector decided it was too hot and turned itself off. The laptop decided it was too tired and went back to sleep. The speakers, thankfully, were still performing, but unfortunately, due to the tired laptop, they were beeping quite loudly every 5 seconds or so. And I had a class of about 30 students sitting in front of me, expecting me to do something about it! I took the situation in hand and decided that, instead of making myself look stupid and faffing about with overheated projectors and what like, I was going to do something I knew how to do - talk! In an English class, that's a pretty legit. way of passing the time. So, we had a nice chat about Uni life and UK pubs (apparently one o' clock is shockingly early for closing time). And then a very helpful student came back with a new projector and new laptop and very kindly fixed everything for me! Good times. Phew, first lesson managed! What an experience!

Eine interessante Woche.

How has life continued? Hmm, hard to pinpoint exactly what has changed, but things are definitely different to how they were last week. Things develop at a slower pace here than they did in France - I have to keep reminding myself 'Relax! You're here for six months!'. One thing that I have noticed: I can now manage getting up at 6 in the morning much better than before! I'm pretty sure I'll never get used to it, but I can bear it now a little more. Another thing - it's strange, to be starting from scratch again in yet another foreign country, but a lot of things have stayed with me (the accent, for example - see last post!). My attitude towards people and situations as well - I know now that if there's an opportunity that presents itself, grab it! And that sometimes you have to go out and make your own luck - otherwise I would be tempted to just sit at home and watch TV (although we have started watching Doctor Who together - but I count that as intercultural education, don't you?). All in all, things are getting there. But it is tiring to always make your own way - so prayer for energy, courage and strength (as always) - beginnings are hard, but I see many opportunities on the horizon!

p.s. One of these is to start playing volleyball - I have totally joined a volleyball group and plan to be amazing by the time February comes around! Unfortunately, at the moment my play leaves much to be desired...

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Das Leben beginnt.

So, week number two in Germany! And, quite aside from all the Buttermilch, Gurken and Bratwurst that I've been trying out (some more successfully than others), this week has been one of new experiences and settling in to my life here in fair Deutschland. I have now spent a week at my new school, successfully been introduced to about half of the teachers (and promptly forgotten all their names again), been on a tour of my town and even got a bike (a necessity for anyone who wants to be truly German)! Although here I am anything but truly German - I speak English at school in lessons, I spend time with language assistants from Britain, Ireland, America, France and Spain and apparently I now talk German with a French accent! All that time spent trying not to sound British in France and now I just can't help sounding French... gah! I have also been invited to several local activities by some of my colleagues - a very busy schedule at present but I think it is a good way to begin.

Life is gradually taking shape.

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Deutschland, Deutschland

As you may have guessed, I am now in Germany! It's been a while since I last wrote because so much has been going on, I hope you can forgive me for not having the time to write when I had three days in the UK to sort out everything I needed to go on the the next country (which I didn't quite manage, you won't be surprised to hear). I was trying to count how many different beds I've slept in in the past three weeks, and I think the count is somewhere up to 6, at least. Thank goodness things are starting to calm down a bit!

So, a quick summary of my life so far:

In the UK I spent a lovely few days with my family and friends, celebrating various occasions and even managing a cheeky trip to the Olympic Stadium for the Paralympic Games, which was a great experience. I even started to feel a bit normal again - however, that didn't last very long! I was soon whisked off to the airport on a flight to Cologne to start with an introductory course in Altenberg for my new job as an English language assistant in a German secondary school. Great few days there getting to know all the other assistants in the area - there's a lot of us (and from all over the world!) - and generally preparing ourselves for what is to come. Then we were all schlepped back to Cologne, and I made the journey over to my new home town for the next six months, Lemgo (feel free to look it up - not even German people know where it is…). I am here with what seems to be the loveliest German family in the world (others may argue but I'm sure they can't be far off), and gradually adjusting myself to life the German way. Judging by what everyone asks me, what seems to be important here is sport, religion, work/education, and bikes! Oh, and coffee and cakes (Kaffee und Kuchen), which I have taken as my new motto. No wonder sport is so important when the cakes here are so good! So, all is well for the minute - we'll see how things go in the next week or so. For all who wish it, I am now Skype connected and you are also welcome to visit, whenever you have the urge! Just let me know =]

Till next time.
Much love,
Nat xxx

In Limbo-Land

Music - C2C - Down the Road.

So, here we are! I'm on the ferry with my family, soon to return the not-so-distant shores of my homeland, adding another few precious hours to my travel total of 21 hours in transit this past week. And I do feel a little like a cargo shipment at the minute. Not in a negative way -  this in-between time has really been a chance to clear my head and sort my thoughts out (and boy, did they need sorting!) - but I do feel a little displaced. I'm sure this is pretty normal for someone who has spent two months living the lifestyle of a crazy, French children's entertainer and then suddenly finds herself in the midst of her very British (and very lovely!) family. I'm even having difficulty getting random French phrases out of my head - worrying… Having expected a slight return to normal life at this point in the proceedings, and having not really got it, I have come to the realisation that I, in fact, no longer have a normal life! This fact is both exciting and rather worrying, but in any case is sure to continue, as I head off to Germany on Monday to start my latest adventure. Slight feelings of anticipation, but mostly just wanting to get there and begin all over again. And it will be completely different again, of that I am sure. Please pray that I manage to get everything organised in this (very!) short time that I have to sort myself out. Your support is invaluable to someone who is feeling a little rootless <3 xxx