Thursday, 31 January 2013

Time is speeding up.

I know it has been almost a month since I last posted, but there is a reason for that. Basically, I've been very busy! Time seems to be speeding up and I have a feeling it's not going to stop until I fly off at the end of February. Things are going better than ever - coming back to a place always seems to make you appreciate it more. I've been doing all sorts of fun things with our amazing group of assistants, and also actually spending time with German people, who are no longer just some sort of language-practising device but actual people that I'm getting to know and becoming friends with. This is such a nice feeling, I want to appreciate it all the more while I can.

Some of the things that I've been experiencing lately in the lovely Lipperland:

Snowwwww!!! Plus the ridiculously freezing temperatures that come with it. Minus 10, anyone?

Frühstück am Sonntag - a very German breakfast with my church friends, consisting of many, many bread rolls, jam, spreads, OJ, coffee, and the ever present (but oh so unnecessary) ham and cheese (really? at breakfast?)

Making my host family the typically English meal of beans on toast the other day - they loved it! I tried to tell them it was a cheat's way out of cooking dinner, but they were massively impressed nonetheless. Well, what can you do? Obviously I'm just massively gifted in the beans-on-toast area. That is a gift not to be scoffed at.

And some not so much in Lippe:

I went on a choir trip, with the school (no jokes) - was pretty good, actually! Lots of snow and singing, and a bit of socialising in there too. Some interesting stories that came out of that one (I definitely know the students better now than I did before)...

Weekend trip to Dresden (in the East, on the border to the Czech Republic) - a really amazing place, and very cool to be able to compare what used to be East Germany with the Western side, where I'm living now. My conclusion: more friendly and more alternative. But that could just be Dresden. Anyway, I liked it! Except the part where we had to sleep on the night train and missed our stop by an hour because we overslept. Not good.

Finally, the pièce de résistance... a surprise birthday party for my Scottish friend! I don't know who looked more awkward, her standing there being rather befuddled by our sudden appearance or us trying to sing Happy Birthday in the street. Anyway, it was great fun and we eventually got to see this little town and Scottish pub she's always talking about! Schön.

Also, as you may be able to tell, I am getting rather Germanised in my speech and thinking (Denglisch is definitely the way forward). As fantastic as this is, it could cause minor problems when I go to Spain in a month's time (basically, no one will understand me). For this reason, I would really appreciate prayer in order to prepare me for the coming change and that God would provide me with the strength (and vocab!) to get by, particularly at the beginning.

Next time I write, I shall be one year older (21 on Sunday!!). I'll be sure to let you know how it feels. Until then - tschüss!

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Fellow Brits, friends and acquaintances.

Back on the green shores of the home land! I have spent a rather lovely two weeks in good old England, appreciating being able to eavesdrop on conversations and understand almost 100% of what's being said; talk to people in shops without being terrified I won't understand the response, and, of course, the wonderful art of British queueing! Had also almost forgotten the unavoidable reflex to apologise for everything that happens, even if the situation is completely and utterly not your fault (my friend Megan apologised for having a knife thrown at her in a restaurant. Yes, really).

With only a fortnight in the country, after spending Christmas with the family, I resolved to spend as much time catching up with people as humanly possible. This was made possible by the lack of revision (no Uni exams in January! Woo!), and the rather pleasant amount of money I have gained from actually working abroad, rather than volunteering or such like (we'll see how it is in a few month's time...). It's been rather strange seeing people again, as it's basically been about 6 months since I've been around to talk to, and quite a lot can happen in half a year. With some people, it was a bit weird - the gradual introduction of the  'So, what are you doing now?' question, as people my own age have actually started growing up and getting jobs and things (scary stuff). With others, it's been like I barely went away - we just slipped into the same comfortable conversation that we had before, and will hopefully enjoy for years to come. It's been lovely, and made me really appreciate the importance of being able to see friends and family, particularly as the next time I'll see many of them will be June at the earliest (not even considering what would happen if I decided to move abroad permanently at some point!!). I also feel a bit better about leaving Germany at the end of February (which I know is going to be hard), as I know that some people will always stay my friends, even if I don't see them for a very long time. See you, suckers!