It’s that time again for a short blog entry. January has flown by and things at school are slightly confusing as three teachers in the English faculty are either sick or on parental leave. Therefore, my timetable has changed slightly and I have a few new classes. It has been snowing in snatches and the daylight hours are gradually getting longer (at the peak of winter the sun sets at about 4pm but now it sets at around 5).
Last Friday I took a train to the federal capital, Berlin, which is exactly three hours from Erlangen. I first visited Berlin about four years ago and back then I had mixed feelings about it. So this was a chance to reassess the city from a slightly different mindset. During my stay in Berlin, I also took the chance to visit the German states of Sachsen-Anhalt and Brandenburg.
New Year’s Eve in Germany is called Silvester which is named, for some positively boring religious reason, after Pope Sylvester I and, unfortunately, not after the lisping cat from the Looney Tunes. We had a Sause, a crude colloquial nominalisation denoting a “booze-up”, a word which I had learnt some years prior from a few German undesirables in Lithuania of all places.
Since it was my first Xmas outside of Australia and I have no family here to celebrate with, my friend, Mirj, who lives in Nuremberg, invited me to her family’s Xmas celebrations, which was super nice of her. So I was not only having my first German Xmas but my first Franconian one, and it should be very obvious already that Franconia is my favourite region in Germany.
This was the penultimate week of school before the Xmas holidays and it’s clear that the festive season is here. Even though I’ve seen more 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.
My first impression of Hamburg wasn't exactly positive. It is a really big city and the sheer number of people, homeless people in particular, was unbelievable. Hamburg is also definitely one of the dirtiest German cities I’ve encountered thus far, the streets were littered with broken glass and of course it was windy and raining the whole time I was there.
Winter is officially here and there was one day with a couple of hours of sleet, which easily distracted one of my year 7 classes. Two days per week I start class at 8am and I’ve had to get use to riding a bike in the early morning at quite low temperatures and the associated wind chill.