This was the penultimate week of school before the Xmas holidays and it’s overbearingly clear that the festive season is here. Even though I’ve seen enough Xmas markets in the last couple of weeks to last a lifetime and it’s begun snowing, it definitely does not feel like Xmas to me since in Australia unbearably hot weather and sweatiness tend to signify that the festive season is coming.
Anyhow, on Tuesday I had dinner with Josephine at a Thai restaurant (Samui) since it had extremely good internet reviews. But the food was pretty freaking average which didn’t surprise me as I’ve so far found it incredibly difficult to find decent Asian food in Germany. The exception is Indian cuisine and I was pleasantly surprised by an Indian fusion restaurant, LêBar in Nuremberg, which was absolutely exceptional. In any case, somewhat unexpectedly, the staff at this “Thai” place got a bit crabby that we ordered a few dishes to share. Did they never hear that “sharing is caring”.
Regarding the teaching side of things, one of the more notable lessons I taught this week was centred on pronunciation. I got one of my year 8 classes to read out tongue twisters and sets of words which tend to be difficult for German native speakers. For example, the class didn’t perceive a difference between low, coat, boat and law, caught, bought until I said them aloud. They were blown away by the word antidisestablishmentarianism, even though they are plenty of everyday German words which are as long or longer.
The highlight of this week was clearly our triple birthday party which we hosted in our modestly-sized flat since Annette, Heidi and I all have our birthdays in the middle of December. David came over from Cham and a couple other teaching assistants dropped in. There was beer, there were people and there was a sea of shoes. It was a successful night which lasted until about 6am at which point (a very drunk) Annette had to boot out the overstayers. I’m not sure where all the time went but I do remember having a number of lengthy, completely nonsensical drunk conversations (the German word umständlich fits well here); but hey, I guess I’m going senile in my old age.
On Saturday, we sluggishly got up at 10am and had a seedy brekkie consisting of pretzels and Obatzda and then trained it into Nuremberg to catch up with another assistant, Cormac, for lunch. Nuremberg was absolutely seething with tourists due to the popularity of the Xmas markets but once we squeezed our way through the masses and had a quick gander at the Kaiserburg, we had lunch at Hausbrauerei Altstadthof famous for their Rotbier (“red beer”). The establishment was cosy and gemütlich if not overpriced. The rest of the weekend was dedicated to recovery and we were even greeted with snow when we woke late up on Sunday afternoon.
On Monday I had dins with Jo again and we tried out a newish pizza place (Locanda) which served ridiculously large, delicious pizzas that could easily feed two people at a reasonable price (7-12 Euro). We also perused the Erlangen Xmas markets and I’m pretty sure I burnt my tongue on piping hot Glühwein (mulled wine).
Yesterday was my birthday and, despite my attempts to keep it from my colleagues, the principal wished me a happy birthday when I entered the building and even a few of the other teachers found out, but I was lucky that none of the students found out as I wasn’t prepared for classes singing Happy Birthday.
So this is what they call the dirty thirties.