Alles hat ein Ende, nur die Wurst hat zwei. Even when they’re trying to make a poignant comment about life, the Germans talk about sausage.
So, here we are, about 39 weeks since I sat in the departure lounge at Birmingham Airport absolutely shitting myself about the terrifying situation I’d gotten myself into and wondering what the hell I’d been thinking when I chose to do a language at university. Thirty nine weeks later, I’m sat here trying to put down into words exactly what it feels like to be at the end of this adventure and having a really hard time! It sometimes feels like I’ve lived in Leipzig for 10 years, but the final few weeks have crept up really rapidly. Last week I had my last days at my schools, where I was presented with a signed picture of the Pregnant Oyster by one of my classes which almost got the waterworks going in front of an exam hall of students and the headteacher! Despite the 5.45am starts, occasional difficult student and having to say “he, she, it, das ‘s’ muss mit” until I was blue in the face, working at the Oberschulen Portitz and Rahn has been really great fun and if you’re studying a language and are starting to think about this kind of thing, I couldn’t recommend an assistantship enough. You get paid a decent wage, you get wads of free time to spend the money in, and you get a really authentic taste of German life. Plus, if you’re thinking about teaching after your degree, you won’t get a better opportunity to find out it it’s the job for you!
If you’re a future year-abroader, or even just looking for a nice city break, then you certainly won’t be disappointed with Leipzig. As I’ve previously mentioned, I’ve moved around a lot over the past few years but Leipzig is the only place that I’ve ever truly felt at home in. It’s a fantastic city bursting with charm and character that I’m very proud to have been a part of for 9 months, and I really am absolutely gutted that my time here is over. Having said that, my family and friends at home shouldn’t think I’m dreading coming back! Having spent a grand total of 20 days in the UK since last September, a little bit of home time will go down nicely! The feeling of the week this week is “conflicted” with a capital C.
To the people from 18 countries who’ve collectively read this blog 2,900 times, thank you. I hope it hasn’t been too tiresome having me pollute your news feed on Facebook! I also hope you didn’t think that this has been too much of a self-congratulatory “look at me and what I’ve been up to” kind of thing! It’s been very difficult to put this year down into words, but I hope you think I got the balance right. I promise I won’t keep mentioning my “yah abrahd” all the time when I get back home, too!
Another thank you should go to all of the Germans I’ve met this year, particularly my flatmates. Danke, dass ihr immer sehr geduldig wart als mir 30 Sekunden oder so das deutsche Wort nicht einfiel, und dass ihr immer mit mir auf Deutsch geredet habt! Es war mir 100% ein Vergnügen, ein Teil des WG-Lebens zu sein – wenn ihr irgendwann in England seid, gebt mir Bescheid!
But it goes without saying that the people I need to thank the most are the other assistants in and around Leipzig. Whether it was a day trip somewhere, hanging out at the park or just going to the pub to offload after a day of too much German, there couldn’t have been a better bunch of people to spend the year with, and without a doubt the year wouldn’t have been half as enjoyable without you guys around. I remember reading a blog while I was in 2nd year that recommended that while abroad you should use English friends just as a springboard to getting to know Germans. Frankly, that’s a load of bollocks! Could I have made more an effort to meet Germans this year? Probably. In hindsight, would I change anything? Not a chance!
All good things must come to an end, and with that I’ll sign off. For the people at home, I’ll see you soon! For the people and the city I’m leaving behind, wir sehen uns nochmal!