I don’t know Sir, friendly thing isn’t he!”
Boy was Dorothy right. There’s no place like home. Despite being just over an hour’s flight away (that’s when you’re travelling with AirBerlin assisted by turbulence!), there are an abundance of cultural differences between the English and the Germans. As well as I’ve settled in here and am relishing every moment, home is ultimately where the heart is J . I was quietly impressed with AirBerlin last week; a smooth outbound flight, two free magazines (see below, I took the German editions to try and show off), and some complimentary chocolate. So despite having had to get up at 4am to catch my flight, I was in incredibly good spirits. But to be fair, nothing was going to dampen my mood, because I was on my way to spend 6 days with my one and only Grace Scott at Surrey University and in Broadstairs. Greeted by quintessentially English weather (it couldn’t have been any more English), grey, chilly, and foggy, I was going to be in for a treat!
Before I break into a run over my adopted homeland, I’ve got to give a breakdown of how exciting my time with Grace was! It had been just under a month since I’d seen her, so those 6 days felt like `forever (although they went painfully quickly), and we inevitably had the greatest of times. We made damn sure that we caught up together on the best of British television: Jeremy Kyle and Frozen Planet, we dined at the best British restaurants: Nandos, and we experienced the best of British cinema: Twilight (I’m not saying that with my fingers crossed ;)). It was eye-opening to say the least, settling into Grace’s new house in Guildford. Yes, you guessed it. Despite her vehemently guaranteeing before the start of the term how tidy she was going to keep it, the house turns out to be absolutely no different from my home last year: Messy, for want of another word. Just how student life is meant to be J . Anyway, we caught up with loads of Grace’s university friends, went for a few runs, attended a couple of her lectures, went shopping (naturally Grace didn’t take her purse), and finally visited her parents for the remaining two days. Just like it always is when we’re together, it was really sad saying goodbye, but I know that I’ll be seeing her before long. So thank you for an amazing time Grace!
On my return to Deutschland I was greeted by a very excitable Charlie, who, like most other dogs, has little concept of time, and was jumping about when he saw me even though it was very late at night. It’s great having Charlie there to shower you with love and slobber every time you walk through the door, as I was rather beginning to miss Grace’s dog Tessa, who as you can see from the photo above is the world’s CUTEST friend.
At the end of my last blog I promised to elaborate on a particularly strange event that occurred last week, involving some people from the ‘Middle Ages’. So, here goes. Now as far as ‘nights out’ in Göβweinstein are concerned, last week could arguably be classified as an attempt at a ‘night out.’ Anka had shown us all a ‘party’ flyer a few days before; which alluded to the presence of alcohol, in a nearby village, and we’d all demonstrated an interest in attending. So on the Thursday evening, quite unawares as to what we were headed to, Anka, Stefan, Christian, Ingo and I caught a lift to the location. Like Göβweinstein, it was a rather small village where we ended up, fields all around, just like everywhere around here! This gathering was apparently taking place in the centre of one of these deserted fields in a marquee, and the path / mud-trail towards it was lit by candles on the ground (almost ritualistic / spooky). Anyway, despite the rather unconventional location, we followed our noses. If I’m being honest, we really weren’t sure what to expect, and to persist with this honesty, we would never have guessed what we actually found in the marquee. To put it in a nutshell, what we discovered inside of the marquee was 10th century Britain. Wooden furniture draped with decoration from the Middle Ages, men and women dressed up as knights and maidens (a number of them fighting each other with swords, real swords), a ‘band’ singing / howling Medieval tunes, and a rather jovial atmosphere. This, it turned out to be, was a Medieval role-play society, hosting this event in a bid to publicise the group, not, as it turned out, the kind of ‘party’ that we were expecting! However after overcoming the initial surprise (and adapting to our rather unusual surroundings), we soon tried our best to join in with the fun for a couple of hours (which mainly consisted of drinking mead and trying to look comfortable amongst all the sword fighting). It was indeed an odd, but nevertheless fun couple of hours, thanks to the members of the role-play society being really welcoming. Not what we had expected, but without a doubt an experience worth remembering.
It appears that the Germans have a soft spot for early Christmas preparation just like the English do (except maybe not to the same extreme, e.g. end of October). I’ve definitely caught ear of a few Christmas tunes on the radio, most notably Last Christmas by Wham, and things are definitely looking very festive here in the hotel as you can see from the photos above. I’m very excited about the arrival of the Weihnactsbaum (Christmas tree) which is scheduled to be here by Thursday (I’ve heard that it’s going to be massive!). Don’t be fooled by the other image above, the Child-Catcher is fortunately not coming to Göβweinstein (or is he?!). No, that image is actually a flyer advertising a short festive theatre production that will be held here in Gasthof Stern for the younger people in the village (5 year olds),and is said to be ‘very popular.’ No doubt I’ll catch a glimpse of it, as I’m assuming that I’ll be working that day. Either way, it’s certainly beginning to feel very Christmassy here!
So, as things are gearing up here for Christmas and the New Year, I’ve recharged my batteries back at home with Grace and am ready for the work ahead. It’ll be the first time that I’ve ever worked over Christmas, and also the first time that I’ve spent it away from home (pining for those lazy student days!). I’m looking forward to experiencing how the Germans do Christmas, so I’ll be reporting back to you as regularly as I can. Hopefully I’ll find out before long when I’ll next be seeing Grace, but for now, everything is just right J .