My Year Abroad Diary: Grüße aus Deutschland!

Hallo meine Lieblings,

It’s now been almost a week that I’ve been here in Deutschland, but so much has happened that I wanted to write a new post, and I’ve also forgotten how to speak English because I keep wanting to add random german words as write… #yearabroadproblems.

As you’ll know if you read my previous blog post, I flew to Köln, early on Monday morning, ready for a short training course before starting my placement. Nerves were high both the night before and during my journey to the airport, but once arriving in Köln and meeting a couple others doing the training course I realised I didn’t really need to worry.

After buying a BahnCard25 and my train ticket down to Weingarten for Thursday, which took ages, we met up with the huge group of language assistants and got onto various coaches to Maria in der Aue. The next few days were pretty intense with seminars from 9am-9pm each day, but really interesting too. A couple of highlights were hanging out in the evenings drinking beer in the bar, and the lowlight? 11 of us getting stuck in a lift made for 8.

Annabel’s first German beer!

I think we liked the beer?

Far too happy to be stuck in the lift, oder?

On Thursday I headed down to Weingarten with my massive suitcase in tow. Getting on and off trains was a bit of a stress, but thankfully I had my roomie from the course on the same trains too so we could help each other out. Arriving in Weingarten, I was picked up by the teacher from the school, Herr Schlecht. He was really friendly and instantly made me feel at ease, even if he was speaking German really fast to me! After driving to my new home and on the way being told about different things including a massive Basilica, he left me with my new housemate.

This is the basilica, it’s actually enormous.

My housemate René is really nice and friendly, and together with his friend Aisha, he welcomed me in and helped me settle in. Our first proper conversation was a bit of a fail though, as all German flew from my head and I couldn’t remember how to say anything! Later on we all went into the town centre together and went to Kaufland to buy food to cook for dinner. After cooking together, we watched Lord of the Rings, which was an experience since schmiegel’s voice sounded totally different in German!

On Friday, I got up early to go into the school for a meeting with my mentor tutor. René and Aisha were so lovely and woke up at the same unearthly hour in the morning to eat breakfast with me and drive me to the school. The school seems so far to be a really great place, the teachers were so friendly and Steffi my mentor made me feel welcomed really quickly. The pupils are aged between 10 and 18, so there’s a real mix, but the most striking thing was how casually people dressed. I was worried that my outfit wasn’t smart enough, but actually jeans and trainers seems to be totally acceptable. Might have to tone down the posh southerner in heeled boots look a bit! After trying, and failing, to both anmelden (register with the town, it’s a german thing…) and open a girokonto (bank account) at the sparkers bank, I headed back home. Seemed kind of typical that the only time I’ve ever needed to go to sparkasse bank, all of the computers in branches across Germany would break down. That afternoon, René, Aisha and I went into the nearby town of Ravensburg, which was beautiful, and then that evening we went out to Alibi, the local student bar, for a drink which was just a really nice time getting to know the two of them better. I can’t thank them enough for being so friendly and welcoming to me!

Saturday was quite quiet and I didn’t really do much except go to Kaufland to shop again. German supermarkets are so confusing, no baskets, and there’s so much choice of meat that I haven’t even braved the meat counters yet. I did by knoppers (chocolate wafer biscuits) and Green tea with lemon (after spending a good 10 minutes searching for something to vaguely resemble PG tips!) One thing I’m realising is how much I need some kind of project or something to fill my time with. I only work 12hours a week, so I need to find something really interesting to do to stop the Netflix binges! Ideas? And in the same vein, any book recommendations? Especially christian ones? Let me know down below please!

And now we come to today, Sunday. So far all I’ve done is go to the local Evangelisches Gemeinsamkirche (church). It seemed like a welcoming, happy church and I made friends with a girl there, but it was extremely traditional. I can’t decide whether to just continue to go there, or if I should try some others in the next town along!

So, prayer points in case you are so inclined? First of all, that I would have wisdom in the church situation. And secondly, that my first proper week of work would go well, especially with regards to building relationships with the teachers I’ll be working with and getting to know the kids.

Bis nächstes mal!

Abi xx


My Year Abroad Diary: Who’s up for Round 2?

Guten Tag, long time no see, ey?

Well I’m back with another year abroad post, because tomorrow morning I’m off to Germany to begin the second part of my year abroad (first officially, but I’m counting my time in Belgium in it!). On Monday I head to a place near Cologne for a quick training course, and then on Thursday I head down to Weingarten to begin teaching in a local Gymnasium.

I wanted to write this post to update you all, but also to ask for prayer if any of you reading this like to do so. I’m feeling pretty nervous and anxious at the moment about all the things I have to do before I can properly settle in, so please pray that I know God’s peace especially over this coming week as I get organised and meet new people. And my second prayer point is that I develop good relationships in the school, make friends easily and especially find a church where I can build relationships. Without friends, life could be a bit lonely!

Bis Bald!

Abi xx

Why Rubies?

I’ve come to realise that I’ve never really explained the story behind my blog name. So, since I’ve spent a couple of weeks without blogging in this slight ‘pause’ between coming back from Belgium and leaving for Germany, I thought I would tell you a bit about it. The term “Her Value Above Rubies” comes from Proverbs 31v10 in the Bible, which says,

A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies.”

It’s part of an epilogue (it’s also an acrostic poem in the original Hebrew!) called, The Wife of Noble Character, and quite honestly, she sounds pretty awesome.

What makes this woman so great? She’s trusted (v11), she continually blesses her husband (v12), she works hard (v13), and provides food not just for her family, but for all who are under her care (v15), she makes wise purchases with the money she has (v16), she makes money from her business (v18, 24), she gives to those who are poor or in need (v20), she’s prepared for the hard times (v21), she dresses well! (v22), she is strong and dignified and isn’t scared of the future (v25), she gives wise advice (v26), she looks after the household and isn’t lazy (v27), she is admired by her husband and children (v28), and she knows that her identity in God is far more important than what she looks like (v30).

Those are pretty great compliments. I decided to name my blog Her Value Above Rubies, because I want it to be all about building each other up to be women of noble character. Whether that’s through sharing thoughts, woman of the week posts or simply sharing my life, I hope you’ll join me on this journey.

With love,

Tip Tuesday: Iron-free Ironing