Monday, 14 October 2013

Hedgehogs, High Jinx and a Happy, Happy Birthday!

So, important news first: The Reichelts have HEDGEHOGS!!!

They found three baby hedgehogs without a mother who would not have survived in the wild, and and took them home to look after throughout the winter. Unglaublich süß!

Now, down to business. On Saturday, it was birthday time!!! (Not my birthday of course, we've still got another month to wait! It's Carly's (my previously-mentioned American friend) birthday today, so we celebrated early.) So, naturally, it was time to head off to trusty Bielefeld again (after retrieving my bike, that I'd left in town during all that saxophone palaver) for the Geburtstag celebrations.

On arriving at the bar, I met Carly's friend Stuart, who, I soon discovered, was one of the few teaching assistants with the actual desire to become a teacher (a surprisingly rare occurrence), and who also held an unusual prejudice against the Welsh. He revealed, somewhat enigmatically, that he had once had a 'bad experience' with a Welshman. When pressed further, he recounted a hilarious but decidedly random story, involving a Welsh mandolin player who was less-than-wisely invited round and fed copious amounts of absinthe, whereupon he began ranting about circumcision, and trying to bake a pie... I'm glad to say that I was able to dispel Stuart's preconceptions of Welsh people (this not being entirely representative of the Welsh population, though I've not been to Anglesey in a while). However, I wasn't able to comment on mandolin players...

The evening progressed, and resulted in us returning by the final train to continue the proceedings in Lemgo, accompanied by a bottle of Jim Beam (of which I did not partake - yuck!). Needless to say, my companions were soon looking a little worse for wear, though perhaps my fellow passengers enjoyed being serenaded in raucous English and being offered swigs of bourbon from the bottle. Who knows? The night was finally rounded off when someone (naming no names) fell asleep on the toilet and was kicked out of the bar. So, all-in-all, a highly successful soirée...!

After an (accidentally) extremely lazy Sunday, it was back to reality. Today I observed the year 5s (mostly 10 &11-year-olds, but there are actually a few 9-year-olds in there as well) in their very first class test, which is just a mini presentation about their old and new schools, then a short role-play. I learnt a new word today, Mitleid, which means 'pity', but transliterates as 'Withpain', or pain that you feel along with someone else's. I was certainly feeling some serious Mitleid by the end, as one nervous child after another timidly recited every detail about their old teachers and favourite subjects, interspersed with uncomfortable silences as they desperately tried to find the right words. My heart went out to them, die Arme.

Having said that, one of them, when asked if he had any pets, replied 'yes, I am a chicken!' Now, I would never laugh in a child's face when they get something wrong (mostly because I know all too well how hard it is to pluck up the courage to speak another language anyway, let alone when people laugh at your attempts!), but this took me totally by surprise! Let's just say that I had to retreat behind my water glass for some minutes before I could trust myself to keep a straight face. Witzig!

So that's what happened the last couple of days! I also have a shameless plug to offer you. I've started writing for LearnEnglish Teens, which is an online magazine by the British Council (which can be found here) to help teenagers from around the world learn English. I have written two blog posts so far, so have a gander if you fancy it!



Anyway, I think that's it! Tschau Kumpels!


  1. Ooooooooh, I love your posts on the British Council website!!! Especially the one about books that remind you of home. Well done!! :D Just for interest, how did you find out about it? Did they approach you, or did you submit to them to be considered?

    Also no offense to that guy you met but anyone who judges a whole country of people by one person they met who was a jerk is suspect in my eyes. ^^

    1. Thanksssssss!! And they actually sent an email round to people doing British Council placements, otherwise I would never have heard of it! They asked us to submit a sample piece (mine was the I <3 Germany one), but apparently most of them do get through onto the website.

      And I'm not sure it was a serious prejudice ;) I think it was probably more likely an excuse to tell the random (albeit pretty funny) Welshman story!

    2. You are SO fab at writing that I'm sure they couldn't say no! :)