My Year Abroad Diary: My Final Week in Germany

Woah. I can’t believe it’s my final week here in Germany already. I’ve been here now 5 months and I can’t believe how fast my time has whizzed by! I’m really not ready to go home, because I have honestly had an amazing time. Although it’s by no means been the easiest things I’ve done in my life, it’s definitely been one of the best.

My final one has been a crazy one! With the school’s open day on my last day I feel like I’ve hardly had time to breathe!

On Monday one of my highlights was a class I taught about the EU Referendum. We had such an interesting discussion and hearing German perspectives made me realise that the Referendum isn’t just a British thing. It’s something that will affect all of Europe.

I also went out for lunch with Annette on Monday. If you didn’t know this from previous blog posts, Annette has been a really important person during my time here and I cannot thank her enough for all she’s done for me.

Tuesday was a crazy, hectic wonderful day. Unusually for me, I had 7 lessons with no free lessons, but I loved each lesson of my day. My first lesson I prepared a role play debate lesson for a whole class which they really enjoyed.

Then I had yet another chance to teach a whole class and what was really good about this one (other than the fact that it was really good fun!) was that their teacher gave me really helpful feedback and said I should definitely consider teaching as a career. As an aspiring teacher, getting feedback and learning how I can get better at it is something I really value and I’m so grateful that he took the time to think.

The rest of the lessons that day consisted of organising short role plays and practising for our play of Dick Whittington for the Open Day. I’m really going to miss this school!

Wednesday was comparitatively a fairly empty day. I only had 2 classes, both 7. Klassen. One was lovely and I helped with writing dialogues about how to plan a leaving party for me. That was great fun and at the end lots of the girls came up to me and said that they were really sad I was going and that they’d miss me.

The other class had actually prepared a leaving party for me. One of the boys, Arthur, had baked a huge cake coloured like the German flag and then we ate cake whilst they gave me presents. They’d been really thoughtful as to what I might like to take back from Germany. They gave me a school tshirt, a signed photograph of the class and my personal favourite, a ring binder of all their favourite German recipes that they’d each chosen. I can’t believe how thoughtful they were and it really made my day.

Thursday was comparitatively a normal day for me, but at break time I was formally said goodbye to in the staff room. My colleagues had bought me some tulips, a lovely card and a Käsespätzle maker so that my obsession can continue. They also sang old Lang syne to me, and I shed a few awkward tears whilst laughing at how silly I felt crying!

Friday was my real last day at the school, but it was too busy for me to reflect or feel sad at all. I spent pretty much the whole day organising scenery and posters, and practicing for the open day in the evening when my lovely 5. Klasse were putting on a performance of Dick Whittington. I was so so proud of them because they definitely nailed it. They had worked so hard to learn the script by heart although it was a pretty difficult one for their level of English. They worked so hard at it, and it really showed!

After the school open day I went out for dinner and cocktails with my lovely colleagues and had my lovely favourite cocktail once again. It was one that wasn’t on the menu and the bartender made for me, so I’m hoping that now if enough people go in and ask for “an abi cocktail” that the name will stick and I’ll become famous in Ravensburg. That would be super cool!

Cocktail Time!

 On Saturday I had a leaving party. The theme was “Denglish” so Carina and I made a bunch of German and English foods and drinks. It was a lovely way to say goodbye to such a lovely bunch of colleagues and I really enjoyed it.

The Denglish Party!

 Sunday was my organising and packing day, but at lunchtime I went for Käsespätzle with Carina at our neighbours flat. As anyone who’s met me in Germany will know, I love Käsespätzle and would love to eat it for the rest of my life. That lunchtime was the 4th lot of Käsespätzle in 4 days. My obsession is real. That evening Annette and I went out for dinner at a lovely Italian restaurant. It was so lovely to spend time with her, and the perfect end to my time in Germany, before flying back to England the next day.

Annette and I at Kantina

 Since I’m halfway through my official year abroad (not counting Belgium because that was just an extra!) I thought I’d write a reflection/memory post of my time in Germany – a summary as it were. Being in Germany has been one of the best experiences of my life. I have totally loved it, although I haven’t loved every moment by any means. Without trying to sound like the typical year abroad student, and accidentally sounding like one, this year has changed my and made me grow in ways I would never have imagined.

At points it was really, really hard to settle into a new place and try to make a new circle of friends when you don’t know anyone. Outside of school/uni, making friends is hard work, and my one regret is that I didn’t put myself forward more. I spent many hours at the start watching Netflix and feeling sad. Those moments now seem so strange to me as I’m leaving Germany today with friends who I know I’ll stay in contact with for a long time.

Maybe that’s why I don’t feel sad about leaving, it’s not really goodbye. Although I would have loved to have stayed longer in Germany, teaching at the school and enjoying life, I don’t feel like this is the end of my relationship with this place. I already have a trip back and a visit from my friends planned so it’s not like I will never see anyone from Ravensburg again.

Another thing I’ve learnt is that I love teaching. I’ve fallen head over heels in love with it. I love how active it is, getting to talk to people all the time. I love the fact that I’ve helped the older ones learn more English and that I’ve helped the younger ones to find English exciting and fun. It’s made me want to pursue teaching as a career.

I’m so thankful for everyone who I’ve met in Germany. For the classes that I’ve taught, the colleagues that have welcomed me, for the friends that I’ve made. I want to thank Annette for taking me under her wing and always being there for me. For helping me to find my place in the teaching staff.

Annette and I at another Italian – food is definitely a theme in our friendship!

 I want to thank Carina for welcoming me into her flat and being a really great friend. Thank you for teaching me how to hit schnitzel with a saucepan, put on a dirndl and possibly most importantly, make Käsespätzle. Without you I would probably be far less happy, and maybe a little thinner!

Because silly faces.

 I want to thank Anke and Anna for a great trip to Vienna. It was so lovely to spend that time with you and it was such a great trip – even if Carina’s plastic tub still stinks of “Spittlauch”!

Throwback to big dumplings in Vienna!

  

Vienna! 

And I also want to thank all my lovely colleagues at Gymnasium Weingarten, it wouldn’t have been the same without you!

And lastly I want to thank all the friends and family that I’ve seen and those who have prayed for me. Just knowing that you’ve been there praying for me has been such an encouragement – thank you!

German Girlies

Sassy in Strasbourg with my french girlies!

Family Photo

Sisters!

Thomas at the Pancake Place.

 This is a not-so-final (like Terminator, I’ll be back!) Tschüss from Germany!

Abi xx

Advertisements

My Year Abroad Diary: The Penultimate Week

Hello! I’ve certainly not been doing too well with writing these year abroad blog posts recently, but hey ho, there we go. Last week was my penultimate week in Germany, but it was a good one.

Lessons went well as usual, along with a bunch of extra work going into the play of Dick Whittington that my lovely 5. Klasse will be putting on for the open day. I really love working with this class, but I’ve also definitely lately been enjoying the range of classes that I get to teach. To go from teaching how to tell the time to 10 year olds to talking about politics with 18 year olds is probably one of the best things about my job here. There is so much variety, and I would hate to give any age up.

On Friday evening I cooked “Toad in the Hole” for dinner for Carina and Annette. For those of you who don’t know what that is – shame on you. Carina and Annette seemed to really like it, but it was me honey roasted parsnips that really stole the show. After dinner Anka came round and we all sat and chatted and drank wine together. A lovely evening!

Toad in the Hole

In Ravensburg there’s a market every Saturday but I’m ashamed to say that up until last weekend I’d never really seen it. Sure, I’d walked around a bit as it closed, but I’d never really “done the whole market thing”. Carina and I got the train in and wandered around eating cheesecake for breakfast (which apparently isn’t weird in Germany!), buying fresh food for the coming week and trying not to hate the terrible weather. We also stopped for a coffee to warm ourselves up before the walk home.

That evening Carina and I decided to go out for cocktails. We went to a couple of very lovely bars for a few drinks and really enjoyed just sitting and chatting. I got talking to the guy behind the bar and he made me a special cocktail that wasn’t on the menu. It was honestly the best cocktail I think I’ve ever tasted (other than maybe Vodka Rev’s Tennessee Mudshake – chocolate always wins!) and was made with fresh raspberries and chocolate.

Cocktail Ready!

Sunday was a relaxed day, but in the afternoon we went out for coffee, cake and prosecco for Annette’s birthday. It was so nice to finally celebrate it, as she was ill for her actual birthday so we couldn’t celebrate then. We went to Il Podio; an italian restaurant/café in Marienplatz in Ravensburg. The cake was good – the company was better!

That’s pretty much all for now. I’m now in my last week here in Germany and I really do not want to leave. It’s been a great experience and I’ve really loved my time here. If you do pray for me, please pray for this last week as I organise myself to go back and prepare for the open day on friday. Please pray for peace and that I would be able to leave in a happy way instead of just bawling my eyes out like I expect to happen!

Lots of love,

Abi xx

My Year Abroad Diary: Vienna and Würzburg

Hello there! This week has been half-term in Baden-Württemberg so I’ve had the chance to visit two really cool places – Vienna and Würzburg!

On Sunday, Carina, Anka, Anna and I went Vienna by for a few days. After an early start we arrived there at about 3:30pm and soon wandered around the city a bit to find somewhere to go for dinner. And find somewhere we did. We went to this gorgeous traditional Viennese cellar restaurant where there was live music played and the loveliest of atmospheres. The food was gorgeous and it was a great first night in Vienna.

 

Monday was our jam-packed walking around day. We started off by taking a loop train around the city which went past all the main sites. Unfortunately however it didn’t actually loop and stopped halfway round. We had to walk back, but since the whether was good we didn’t mind that!

 

 

This is where the viennese parliament is…

Next stop; St Paul’s Cathedral. It looked gorgeous both inside and out. There was actually a scaffolding lift and rickety stairs that you could take to the top for a view over Vienna. I climbed my way to the top, legs shaking like jelly because I suddenly developed a random fear of heights.

 

 

It might look just like a pretty church, but like art, everything had a meaning!

 After that we were ready for a coffee and a sit down so we went to the Sky café where you have a view across Vienna. There we each had a “Wiener Melange”,  which is basically a latté, but Austrian style!

 

 

A view across to the Rathaus/Town Hall

Our next point on the checklist was a tour around Vienna. It was however, not your standard tour. This lovely old lady took us around the city focusing mainly on Vienna’s history of prostitution and sexually transmitted diseases – something that I would never really have associated Vienna with, but that was really interesting and different all the same!

 

 

Looking gooooood…

This turquoise colour seems to be a big style point in German and Austrian architecture…

Nice, huh?

Wouldn’t mind shopping here…

You of course cannot go to Vienna without eating a Wiener Schnitzel, so that’s what we got for dinner – so delicious. Oh, and just as a small thing to note; when ordering Wiener Schnitzel in Vienna you often end up getting two huge schnitzels!

 

Tuesday morning we went to “Sucession”, a museum showing the Beethoven freeze. I love interpretations of artwork so I really enjoyed seeing it. After that we went to the tourist info office to buy tickets for the theatre that evening, and we met up with my lovely best friend Georgina. After living with her last year, it feels weird to go months without seeing her. We went to “Tiroler Hof” for drinks and some kind of sweet traditional food that was a cross between a doughnut and a dumpling.

 

I’m really not good at this group picture taking thing.

Obligatory bestie selfie photo!

Next stop, home for a change of clothes before the theatre. We went to watch “Mozart: Das Musical” and it was fantastic. Mozart is a really big deal in Vienna because he worked and died there – they even sell chocolate truffles with his face on everywhere. It was really interesting to learn more about his life, and it was a really, really well-done musical. The music, the costumes, the dancing; I loved it all!

 

Wednesday was miserable weather, and also the day we were leaving, so we ended up just sitting in a café for a good few hours. We drank, ate and chatted away before getting the train home to Ravensburg. I really loved getting to spend some time with some of the loveliest colleagues I could wish for!

Thursday passed without much event for me. It was a pause and sort out everything day. I booked flights too which made me realise how soon I’ll be leaving Germany. Honestly it’s gone so quickly, if France goes by at the same pace I’ll be back in Sheffield before I know it!

On Friday, Carina took me to Würzburg, where she studied and her parents now live, for the weekend. When we got there we had Brotzeit and her dad very enthusiastically educated me in the art of German beer drinking. We tried several different beers and he told me which glass I should use for which. He even gave me a tulip pils glass from the local brewery which is a souvenir I’m so happy to have!

Saturday was a jam-packed day. We started our with Breakfast at a hotel/café with Carina’s best friend and her husband. It was delicious and reminded me that perhaps it’s true, Germany really is a “frühstücksnation” as people keep telling me!

 

It looked better in real life!

We then went to another friend’s speech therapy clinic’s opening where a catholic priest came and blessed it. The priest said a few words before walking into each room, crossing it and then flicking some holy water. That was possibly one of the most abstract things I’ve experienced in Germany!

 

After that, coffee at Carina’s brother and his fioncé’s flat. We drank tea, held lizards and chatted for a couple of hours. Despite the miserable weather, Carina showed me around Würzburg, which was lovely, but I’m pretty sure would have been lovelier in nice weather!

 

This was bombed too.

Würzburger Dom. Like the tardis, it’s bigger in the inside.

The rainy bridge and the supposedly beautiful in the sunshine Festhalle.  

I can’t remember who he is, but apparently he’s the most important of all the statues on the bridge.

 Time for tea! We went to cute little wine cellar for dinner which was constructed so that all the tables were little huts. It was a fun place, and the blueberry wine that I drank was so tasty.

 

 

Just in case I forgot where we went!

After that Carina and I went to one of Carina’s old haunts – a cocktail bar called “Esco-bar”. There we chatted and relaxed after a hectic day before going back to her parents’ house.

 

 

Sunday was Carina’s dad’s birthday. Carina’s uncle had also recently had a birthday so they had a joint  party. It was a very very German and many of my German stereotypes were fulfilled which was great fun. Plus, it was another opportunity to dirndl up!

 

 

Well that was my half term week! Now I have just 2 weeks of school before I leave Germany… For those who pray, please could you pray for a happy exit (I’m terrible at goodbyes!) and that I would be able to organise everything that I need to organise before heading home and then to France.

 

Tschüss,

Abi xxx