As I write this there’s still a sprinkling of snow falling, as it has been doing for most of the past two days. Given that it’s arrived so uncharacteristically late this year there was talk amongst the assistants of perhaps avoiding the apocalyptic winters that we’ve been fearing – how naïve we were! On Saturday it’s not forecast to get above -5°C, and this could just be the start! Last year in Saxony night-time lows plummeted to -20°C, so cold that overhead wires froze and the tram network ground to a halt. The reactions of the kids at school has brought up quite an interesting difference between the UK and Germany; in schools across Britain, the slightest bit of snow can completely wreck a lesson plan as kids start bouncing off the walls in anticipation of a snow day. In one of my classes today however, the kids’ response to my “oh look, it’s snowing!” was “yeah, and?”.
I can’t make a blog post just after Christmas and not mention my time at home. I had managed to nab a really – and I mean absolutely ridiculously – cheap fare in Business Class with British Airways so naturally I jumped at the chance. It involved an early start so I stayed the night before in Berlin and was invited to Janina’s dad’s birthday barbecue (yep, the Germans have BBQs in December), which was fantastic. It’s always struck me how welcoming Germans are, and this evening was no different!
The flight back was the most relaxed I’d ever had – if only Business was always that cheap! Mum, Dad, my brother Sean and my Nana met me in the arrivals lounge, which was my only proper request for my time at home. You might remember I wrote about those times where it feels like you’re in a movie; this certainly was a Love Actually moment!
The rest of my immediate family, about 25 or so, were hiding in the dining room when we got home and near enough frightened the crap out of me when they jumped out, but it was fantastic to see them all again. After that the “ahhh home” feelings subsided and I slipped right back into Corby life as if I’d never been away. The only other nostalgic moment that followed from there was being in the bakers near my house and getting asked “are you wantin’ a cake wi’ that son?” in the broadest and most maternal-sounding Scottish accent ever – a welcome change from the typically blunt “NEXT CUSTOMER”, “GIVE ME EXACT CHANGE PLEASE” and “YOU WANT *WHAT*?!” that I’ve become used to over the last few months!
So it was with a heavy heart that I returned to Leipzig. Much to my surprise, it took quite a few days to settle back into the routine, but now I’m back to “normal” things are really getting into gear, hence the Los geht’s title which is German for “let’s go!”. Last weekend a few of the assistants went to Chemnitz, formerly known as Karl-Marx-Stadt (Stadt: City). We were only there for the massive bust of Marx (see below), but despite numerous people shrugging and answering the question “what else is there to do here?” with “nothing!”, we had a great (and slightly drunken) day out, including an improvised winter olympics on a frozen-over halfpipe:
So, los geht’s – 18 weeks of my year abroad are left and I’m determined to make the most of every day. Look out in the future for posts about trips to Paris, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Konstanz and with a bit of luck, a couple of other exciting places! Mach’s gut!