Last week was my official "winter" holidays, even though they took place in spring. A single week to punctuate the transition into warmer weather and longer days. And boy, have the days gotten longer.
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.
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.
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.
This is going to be a short one because not a lot has transpired over the last two weeks. One particularly notable event, which was actually the only interesting thing to happen during the week before last, was the Laufgelage (“walking feast”). It is evidently the second biggest social event in Erlangen after the Bergkirchweih and is held once a semester, organised by the uni here and consists of a three course dinner shared with complete strangers.
My housemate, Annette, invited a fellow English assistant, David, and I to her family home in Freudenberg in the Oberpfalz (Upper Palatinate) region, which is about one hour east of Erlangen.
My third week of teaching English in Germany is over and I’ve almost completely settled into my school; I now know the locations of all of my 12 classes and have spoken to all 11 teachers I’ll be assisting, and all of them are more or less approachable and amicable (though I can’t say the same about most of the teachers in the other departments).