Sunday, 28 October 2012


Busy Times!

Life has suddenly got rather busy! What with going back to school, two family visits and the never-ending appearance of more activities (e.g. a dance class that said it was going to be ballroom but ended up being rather more hip-hop - don't think I'll be heading back there again!), I am definitely keeping myself occupied. Several particular highlights:

Watching my cousins with my host family all picking apples together off the trees in the back garden - with a special long-length apple-picker, no less (amazing!).

Having a French-speaking session in my new favourite café, Moccaklatsch in Bielefeld, with other assistants in the area (some of them French, some not) - and then getting very confused when we had to speak to the waiter in German!

Coming back from a day out with my sister at night, only to discover that my usually-quiet town had a late-night shopping event going on and the whole high street was lit up with candles, with the smell of Glühwein in the air (that Christmas feeling is starting already).

Going round and enjoying live music in several pubs in Lemgo with my sister and several friends last night - a lovely, chilled-out evening (with some 70s rock to end the night well!).

I am starting to become rather fond of my lovely little German town =]

Half-Term Holidays

The last two weeks have been school holidays (yes, two whole weeks for autumn half term!), and school holidays means travels! I have several colleagues who went for the rather adventurous destinations of Rio and New York, but I went for the slightly closer but no less worthy German cities: Berlin and Heidelberg. It's been a mad couple of weeks, and one to make me realise how ridiculously lucky I am to be doing this year abroad, assistantship, degree and all it entails!

My impressions of Berlin: constantly changing scenery thanks to the never-ending re-building of the city that's going on; never-ending nightlife thanks to the 24-hour clubs that stay open all weekend (we didn't stay that long, thankfully!); and the ever-changing faces of the people we had to share a room with in the youth hostel (some more welcome than others...).

Heidelberg was a little different - a beautiful old city right in the middle of Germany with a ridiculous amount of students!

I have thoroughly enjoyed these last couple of weeks seeing friends, meeting new ones and having adventures. It was only at one point, as I was (mildly) stranded in the middle of Heidelberg at night with nowhere to sleep and no way of getting back home that I began to appreciate the distance between myself and home. With a world full of so many people, I am truly grateful for those God-given relationships that fill my life and give it warmth. Life is precious!

p.s. I found somewhere to stay and a way of getting back home (eventually!). Thanks Abbii!

Monday, 22 October 2012


Having survived a week full of perils, possibilities and (im)practicalities, I have had a few minor revelations. Nothing new, just old chestnuts God had to put back on my heart. Story of the week has to be the tale of the Semesterticket:

So, the concept of the Semesterticket is simple - a card that will let me get around the whole of my (not unsubstantial) region for free! However, the actual getting of the Semesterticket was rather more complicated than that. Firstly, I had to enrol myself at the local Uni. So far so good. Then, I had to wait around for a bill from the University so that I could pay my tuition fees and become an official student there. First bump in the road - I had no money to pay with because I hadn't got paid yet. This was sorted out by some very kind people at my school, who decided that me having no money was not actually very nice, and proceeded to lend me some from the school funds (thanks guys!). So, all moneyed-up, I could then pay my tuition fees and get the card, right? Not so fast. Admittedly, the next problem was partly my fault, but that doesn't make it any less stressful - I went to the bank to pay in and transfer this money, and the next morning when I looked - I couldn't find my bank card! Stress and panic ensued, particularly as the next day was a bank holiday so I couldn't go back and ask if I'd left my card at the bank until the next day (which I had). Forgetful, me? Never! Anyway, so, next step down, I decided to ring the Uni to see if I could pick up my Semesterticket in person, as this would (hopefully) speed up the process a little. After several failed attempts (which included me blurting out all my problems to a rather bemused civilian - wrong number - oops!), I managed to get through and talk to the international student office. As it transpires, the ticket comes in three parts, one of which is the student card, one of which a sticker to stick on the student card, and one a separate paper card, which is… the Semesterticket! I'm sure they do this on purpose. So, I headed off to the Uni to pick up my student card. Got sent back because they wouldn't let me have it without a passport (apparently driving licences aren't good enough here). A few days later I managed to go and pick up my card (with the right ID this time!), but I still had to wait for the other two parts of the card to come through the post, which I am still waiting on. Oh, Germany!

After all this, I have come to realise that, despite the amazing wealth of possibilities out there, there are still some things that are out of human control (or at least mine!). This is actually quite a relief. Despite the power we have as the great human race (can you tell I've been watching Doctor Who?), some things are just beyond our control. Some people call this chance - I think it goes deeper than that.

A quick Bible verse that sums up my thoughts:
'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'