Wednesday, 18 September 2013

One Week in Lemgo

So, we've reached Mittwoch, which marks day 7 in beautiful Lemgo.

This week I have been sitting in classes at the school, in an attempt to learn how to actually teach classes (or at least parts of classes) myself. I'd fully expected to prefer working with the older ones with a better level of language, but surprised myself by loving the two classes of 10-11 year-olds I sat in with on Monday. They aren't yet at the age where being enthusiastic is uncool, and they kept on coming up to me in the break and asking me questions, all in adorable German accents. Bless.

One thing I have to work on is forcing myself out there and making my own entertainment. School on Monday finished at 1 (for me at least), which left the rest of the day free for boredom and loneliness. I've heard this is quite a common problem for language assistants, since we have so few contact hours with the school. Monday afternoon was the kind where even that weird corner of youtube where everything is cat remixes (admit it, you've been there!) has been exhausted of all entertainment value, and multiple trips to Aldi suddenly seem like a fun idea. Down-time is sometimes necessary, but if I'm to make the most of this year I definitely need to find a productive way of occupying my soon-to-be-even-more-extensive free time.

That said, yesterday could not have been more different! It was enrolment day for us language assistants at Bielefeld uni, and I spent an eventful day revelling (slightly ashamedly) in the company of other English speakers. Seriously, the ability to express any idea you want without much effort is ridiculously easy to take for granted. I've only been deprived of consistent contact with fellow English speakers for a week, yet I was a little shocked by the relief I felt to be back with people who I could talk freely to without having to think hard before every sentence.. I'm sure this will change as my German improves, but right now I am fully sympathising with all those erasmus students back home who just stick with their own erasmus clan.

That slightly negative (is it? I can't tell...) thought aside, today was great! Highlights included being invited to a weekend of fun with actual Germans (a chance to work on my English-speaking-dependency perhaps?), going to the school's orchestra rehearsal and hilariously mishearing 'festival of carols' (yes, we're doing Christmas music already!) as 'festival of carrots', and finally MY SUITCASE ARRIVING! Huzzah! Now I can stop re-wearing socks (don't judge me).

Anyway, as you can probably tell, things are still very up-and-down around here, and I expect that is likely to continue for most of this year. I suppose that's new experiences for ya! I hope I have lots more positive things to report next time. Sorry for the over-enthusiastic use of brackets.

Liebe Grüße.


  1. Oh, I'm so glad your suitcase arrived! I'll let everyone know. :D Hope you find something to fill your free time soon. What are German Aldi's like? I remember them having lots of Jager minibottles. Nom. :3

    I wouldn't say it's bad to find it a relief to be among fluent English speakers, I can see why you feel guilty though as having English as a first language is a great advantage in this world. I'd say use the situation productively as a way to build empathy for recent immigrants to the UK.

    1. German Aldi is just like other German supermarkets, and only a bit like the ones back home. I found a really weird-looking squeezy tube of chocolate spread, and a packet of biscuits called 'hobbit'. Haven't seen any Jäger yet though... Give it time ;)

      Actually the main reason I feel guilty is because my year abroad is supposed to be for immersing myself in the language and actually improving as much as possible while I have the chance! But yeah, we are incredibly lucky... I've actually had a few conversations with Germans about how bad English speakers are at learning languages, just because we think there isn't a need for it. And it's true that learning languages doesn't give us the kind of leg-up in the world that learning English does for speakers of other languages, so learning languages isn't AS important for us... But I still think it's important! I definitely feel empathy for people in the UK with little English! Learning languages is great, but language barriers really suck sometimes. Anyway, rant over! Thanks for the comment :) Miss you xxx

  2. Maybe you should take up a new hobby. Unicycling for example...