Monday, 20 September 2010

welcome to the 'burg

it's been precisely one week since i arrived in germany, and i thought it might be time to update everyone on how it's going and also try to figure how i even feel about the whole weird situation.

soooo.. arrived in cologne on monday afternoon (after the wheels having come of my piece of shit suitcase in brussels, complete fml) and met the other language assistants headed for the three day induction at altenberg. there were about 120 of us, majority british with some canadians and irish for luck, making for a pretty intense mini freshers take two experience

altenberg consisted of 7.30am starts, a day full of talks/workshops/practice lessons and then followed by the opening of the bar at 8.30 every night (we will never get bored of getting drunk). of course the obligatory round of 'i never' on the first night lead to a number of revelations which allowed us to estimate the male population of the induction course at around 50% gay (schwulenberg), hilarious times. also we managed to track down a tv on the first night and watched some of GIRLS CLUB (mean girls dubbed into german: "und nichts for gretchen wiener..")

of course the thursday morning rolled around far too quickly, we headed back to cologne for some emotional farewells and i think it's fair to say that everyone was going to miss our little altenberg and the amazing people we had all met there :)

luckily, there was a good twenty of us headed to hamburg, so we all caught the four hour train together, gradually bricking it more and more until we arrived at the central station to meet our crazy german mentor teachers and begin our lives as proper foreigners. mine started off with an awkward lunch at an italian restaurant (all conducted in german of course, where i proceeded to realise that i don't understand a word anyone is saying..). i then headed to my shiny new shared flat, right in the centre of the city with (wait for it..) a lift which opens up straight into the kitchen, ahhhhh yeah

since most of my new flatmates are still on uni holidays, we've been out almost every night since i've been here. i of course invited a couple of assistants round for some moral hand holding - i still don't have the courage to go out on my own with a group of german people. but they've all been extra nice to me so far, so here's hoping! last night was the obligatory night in and involved over 14 hours of much needed sleep.

so now i'm sitting in a still fairly blank room, wondering what to do with myself until school rolls round again tomorrow. my first day was friday and i had to take an entire class pretty much by myself - not really playing by the rules, but if they wanna pay me to speak english for an hour and a half i'm more than happy to oblige. it's weird teaching people the same age as me. it's pretty much exactly like henley college, so it's weird being on the other side of the desk. but i got to use the blackboard (yes they still have blackboards here) and draw a rudimentary map of the uk. they loved it.

i haven't yet properly tackled the german bureaucracy - tomorrow is the day for registering my residence, opening a bank account and activating my sim card. HOORAY

so on the whole, it's going alright. i sometimes forget i've only been here for a week, so when i feel like a newbie foreigner who doesn't know anything or anybody, it's cos it's most definitely true. but like all things, i'm sure i'll settle in soon. i need to man up in pretty much all aspects of life right now, but i'm sure one day i'll look back and laugh at my first shaky few days as a foreigner.



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