I’ve been wondering for years why, but people always seem to assume that I’m a really organised person. Ask my parents and they’ll happily tell you that actually, the exact opposite is true. Don’t get me wrong, when something’s important I’ll make sure it gets done properly, but when it comes to the day-to-day stuff I just can’t be arsed. Desk looking a bit untidy? Don’t sort through the stuff that’s there, just put it in a neat pile! It’s 10.30pm, your alarm is set for 05.45am and you still haven’t made lunch for tomorrow? No problem, just go to the baker’s at break and let them do the hard work!
It was in this vein that I found myself in a bakery near one of my schools on Wednesday afternoon last week eating my usual Salamibrötchen (salami roll, you have no idea how much I miss a decent British sandwich), cake and cup of tea. I was thinking about the fact that I was approaching the end of my 3rd month in Germany, and looking forward to some time spent home at Christmas when lo and behold, this started playing on the radio:
It was the most beautiful piece of timing I’ve ever experienced, and had me sat there grinning like an idiot. Parts of the filling in my roll had dropped out onto my plate, and my tea was in serious danger of over-brewing if I didn’t take the teabag out soon, but I really didn’t care because I had to take a moment to appreciate the perfection of the situation. If ever there was one, this was a moment where you feel like you’re in a film; cue a slow pan out of the bakery followed by a cut to the arrivals lounge at Heathrow where I emerge with an ever so slight yet triumphant grin on my face!
So yes, I am looking forward to going home but that doesn’t mean that things aren’t going well here! The winter is starting to set in now which means I’ve been doing a lot of running to make the most of the last few weeks. I forgot to bring my joggers with me so I’ve been doing it in shorts, which is absolutely fine for me but causes a lot of (very typically German) blatant stares on the tram on my way back. A few weeks ago I had a long-awaited visit from my brother Sean. We had a pretty jam-packed weekend, squeezing in all of the Leipzig sights (including the zoo, which was Sean’s first trip to one ever), plus a day-trip to Berlin involving a 5 and a half hour round trip and a good 10 miles of walking. We also got to go to the Panometer, which is a 360 degrees art exhibition about the Battle of Leipzig. It sounds bizarre but it’s actually really cool and is the most talked-about thing here amongst some of the assistants! It was a bit odd having Sean here given that he’s the first face-to-face contact with home I’ve had since early September, but it was great to see him all the same.
I also had a visit from Vicky, who I went to visit in Lübben a few weeks ago. We took a day trip to see Emma from uni in Dresden, which despite being roughly the same size as Leipzig feels a lot, lot bigger! It was the first weekend of the Christmas market (Dresden’s is one of the oldest and most famous in the world) so it was absolutely heaving, perhaps slightly too busy for my liking, but it was good to cross another place off the list nonetheless! Most English people associate Dresden with World War 2 bombings – it’s twinned with Coventry and it has to be said that the Germans did a massively better job at rebuilding their side:
The Christmas market has arrived in Leipzig too which means that a considerable part of the city centre is filled with stalls selling all kinds of Christmassy stuff and more food than you can shake a stick at. Despite all the moaning I do about Germans and their vinegar obsession, I’ve discovered a new favourite in Kartoffelpuffer mit Apfelmus, which is basically hash browns and apple sauce. Sounds disgusting. Is DELICIOUS.
I couldn’t make a post without mentioning school – it gets better every day, even if I’m still struggling with the whole “remembering kids’ names once the lesson has finished” thing. I’m also being given a lot more responsibility, like supervising and marking tests and in some cases, splitting a class down the middle and then teaching exactly the same thing as the teacher but in a smaller group. The longer the year goes on, the more convinced I’m becoming that teaching is the way forward for me (the pilot dream isn’t dead though!).
So that’s the last 3 or so weeks of life in Leipzig, and here we are on December 6th with 15 days to go. The land of hearty food, polite supermarket staff and English speakers everywhere is calling; excited is not the word!