ARCHIVE: A Productive Month

Remember that far-away time when I said I would try to update this once a week? Yeah, so do I. Whoops.

Alright, the first four weeks of the winter semester are over. I’ve chosen my classes, started assistant teaching at a high school, and traveled a bit to boot. One thing at a time:

Classes
The first two weeks functioned as “shopping” time, a period where we all ran around and sat in on various classes we were interested in. I already had a somewhat-final plan in mind, so I went about visiting the classes on my list.
German classes only happen once a week, as in, my Literature class is once a week every Monday. Language classes at the Uni HD are different, but I’ll get to that in a second.
Right, Literature class. I was super pumped to get started, and I’m thrilled to be in it. It’s an into to the ’science of literature,‘ or how we should read, analyze, and write about it in a professional sense. I decided to take it because I want to study literature in the future (specifically literature written by immigrant-German authors). The professor, Herr Joachimsthaler, is actually Herr Lengiewicz’s boss. He’s intelligent and enjoys when people participate. The first story we were assigned was something I’d already read over the summer, a Kunstmärchen by Ludwig Tieck called “Der blonde Eckbert.” It was interesting to hear other people’s take on the strange tale. We have an analytical article about it to read for tomorrow.

Ah, theatre! The course Wir spielen Theater is a class designed to help foreign students improve their language skills through drama. It’s more like a 101 class, but it’s fun and a good stress reliever (and required if I want to take part in the production class next semester, which I do). The teacher is a goofball, very energetic and nice and eager to help people get involved. Two other AJY students are with me in our period. I’m making friends with a few other people as well, a girl from Lithuania, a girl from Austria, and another American. The only downside of the class is that I have to book it from Max-Weber-Haus to Bismarkplatz (about a 25 minute walk) to catch my bus to get to Turkish. To be theatrical about it: a bike, a bike, my kingdom for a bike! (or for the money for a bike, I guess)
My only other formal class is called ‚die deutsche Frage,‘ the “German question.” The professor has a reputation for not grading easily, and the lecture is always very in-depth. As such, I go with the other two AJY students taking the course to the tutorial before the class early Friday morning. I’m at a disadvantage, because I have little to no background of European history. I’ll need to do a lot of reading to keep up and get a good grade on the end exam. I’m optimistic about it, because the topic is interesting and can pertain to so many other study areas.

I said called the course my only other “formal” class because I’m not getting a grade or credit for Turkish or French. I take Turkish at the Volkhochschule, not with the college, and thus get no credit for it. French is at the college, but I’m auditing it because I wanted to take it but would have been over my allowed credit amount if I took it officially. I still do all the work and take the tests for both classes. The point is to learn the language, and that’s all that’s important.
Speaking of French; the class is twice a week. I’m making friends with a few people in it, two Germans and a Ukrainian. The professor is a sweet little lady who loves to see us learn. It’s something I always look forward to. I almost wish I was getting credit for it, but my practicum demands to recognized instead.

Practicum
…also known as an internship. I teach with my friend Tessa four days a week for 90 minutes at a time at the Hölderlin Gymnasium in the Altstadt. We’re assistants to an English teacher named Herr Schork. He’s a cool guy. Last week was the first. I was nervous on Tuesday, as it was the first time I’d ever taught in front of a class. After that I felt confident, though, and the other periods went splendidly. The students speak better English than they give themselves credit for and some are really motivated. I can’t get over how great it was to explain something and see them understand. I’m so excited to keep doing this, possibly also next semester (and then the rest of my life, booyah).

And now, what you’ve all been waiting for…
Travel
I spent the first weekend after classes in Erfurt, the capital of Thurigen in central Germany (part of East Germany when the wall was up). I was invited by a cheerful woman named Petra. She graciously let me sleep in her apartment and wouldn’t let me pay for a thing. We went hiking on a gorgeous day and visited the Wartburg, where Martin Luther was imprisoned. The next day we also visited the church where he studied as a monk. Did you know that he once thought he saw the devil, and his response was to throw ink at him? I mean, aside from nearly dying from lightning and defying the church with his theses, that just makes Martin Luther even more of a badass.

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Petra made sure I went home with enough supplies for the long journey back. I’d like to go visit her again.

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Last week I sat on the floor in the hallway for most of the five-hour long train ride (always reserve seats, kids) on my way to hit up Hamburg with Hannah, Karolina, and Katie. We figured out the S-Bahn system with relative ease after taking ages to find out hotel, a sketchy-looking place on the outskirts of the city. That night we were served delectable Italian pasta by a man who apparently only spoke Italian. Who’d’ve thought I’d have a chance to use my miniscule Italian in Hamburg? Charles met us later and we adventured together. We spent our Saturday at Chocoversum making our own chocolate and sampling everything after visiting the Brahms museum, where Katie and Charles got to play on very piano he did (Katie was ecstatic). We found the Speicherstadt and admired the harbor. Charles left us for a few hours to go meet a friend, and we covered a considerable amount of ground in the Großbereich (the big ring around the inner city and arbor area) in our hunt for cheap food. We ended up at our second Italian place in two nights, but just as good. Charles met up with us again afterwards. We snagged two cheap bottles of wine from the store in the Hauptbahnhof and made a night of it. Karolina was creepily followed by the men in the room across from us, but after I slammed and locked the door they left us in peace. The train ride home was again spent either standing or sitting in the corridor of the train. All in all, it was a nice trip.

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Aaaand lastly, I returned last night from a day and night in Freiburg. I was reunited with Sarah, a German who had studied at McDaniel last year. She instructed me in the art of making home-made Käsespätzle and the three of us (myself, Sarah, and her housemate Anita) saw the new movie ‚Fack Ju Göhte,‘ from the creators of ‚Türkisch für Anfänger.‘ It was pretty funny. I managed to hurt myself, of course, after hitting a curb while on a bike and flipping over to land on my right hand and knee. I was immediately surrounded by concered Germans as I tried to gather my dignity. I bruised and skinned my knee, but otherwise all that was wounded was my pride. Sarah and I went on tour of the city on Saturday led by a man dressed in a cape. It was nice to see the sun in Freiburg after the constant rainy-grey in Heidelberg. I like the city a lot and will be back sooner rather than later.

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There. A blog post. I knew I had one in me somewhere. Now, to read and write for my Lit class tomorrow and maybe even clean my room, seeing as I’m on a productive streak so far today.

Much love from HD!

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