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Seriously. So Much Easter

So Monday was spent not doing a fat lot. I really don’t remember what I did particularly. I assume tutoring prep like every week. Mondays are not the most interesting days.

In my first class on Tuesday, we sang a song about spring time and then the kids made a book out of a work sheet about eggs (because it’s Easter). It then turned out that neither of the other English teachers were in school, so I wasn’t needed for the rest of the day.

Tutoring was on Tuesday instead of Wednesday this week, because of reasons. The kids told me what happened in Fanastic Mr Fox, and we did some colouring and a wordsearch and it was generally fairly chilled. Then I pelted it home to get to the Café meeting on time.

My first lesson on Wednesday was cancelled because of an absent teacher. So in my second class I was in the class I’m not normally in, where we made Easter cards. My third class was also cancelled, and then my fourth class was making Easter cards again.

Thursday I did German with class 3/4c on the computers, which they proclaimed super easy, and I was actually, for once, inclined to agree with them. And thus ended the term. Which I’m super happy about, not because I hate school or anything, but 1) I need to catch up on sleep, and 2) it means I get to see Dad in two weeks.

Thursday afternoon, I actually went to the BC café not for a shift but to actually use it as a café, which was novel. And also pretty cool.

Friday, I forgot it was Good Friday, until Facebook reminded me, so I spent most of the day watching Game of Thrones series 1. Seeing as everyone seems to be talking about the new series which I can’t watch yet, I wanted to feel a little involved. Also, Game of Thrones.

Saturday, I realised an hour before all the shops closed that I actually needed to buy things in town, so got dressed in three minutes and legged it. Made it, bought things and then spent the rest of the day watching Game of Thrones series 2.

Easter Sunday I realised I had no Easter eggs. To get over that, I packed my suitcase, ‘cause I’m headed to Dresden tomorrow to see the ever lovely Manda. 

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Queen Kat of English.

Welcome back to the usual weekly updates of my life. Let’s begin, as always, at the beginning. Monday was spent wandering round Ilmenau fairly aimlessly, because I had no lessons to plan. The highlight of which was someone talking to me in the café and me having no idea what was being said to me. So I apologised and told him I was English, or apologised for being English, I’m not quite sure which. He asked me if I came from near London, and to my eternal shame I said yes. Don’t revoke my Midlander citizenship. I’m sorry.

Tuesday I was back at school, and two interesting things happened. The first was an English teacher telling me that ‘jumper’ must be a regional word because the textbooks all say ‘pullover’ or sometimes ‘sweater’. Naturally, I took to Facebook to document this and it appears my fellow FSAs have had the same problems. And my American and Canadian friends assure me that no-one across the pond says ‘pullover’ either. Ah well, sometimes it’s nice to sound like you’re in a Famous Five novel. The second thing that happened was I somehow ended up talking about the Royal family. And the kids wanted to know if I was a princess. It was eventually decided that I was the English Queen of the Karl-Zink Schule, and that if I ever marry Prince Harry (George, of course, being too young) I have to invite the kids from school. Though they do seem to be under the impression that it’s more a case of when I marry Harry rather than if. (Though I’d get to play this song constantly. I always did love Calamity Jane.) But if I did marry Harry, my sister in law would be Catherine. Which would make four Catherine/Kathryn/Katherines in my family, and I’m not sure I can cope with that.

Wednesday I emailed in ill. I went to bed at half ten. You know what time I actually fell asleep? Half four. I have to get up at 6.20. Trying to get up after 2 hours of sleep resulted in me nearly throwing up, so I made the executive decision that I wasn’t going to be any good to them. So some time later, after actually getting some sleep, I went on a wander because it was beautiful day.

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I’m going to miss the woods when I’m back in England.

Then that evening I went to tutoring. It was Victoria’s birthday, so we did about dates and how to say Happy Birthday. I gave her a birthday card in which I spelt her name wrong, but she gave me a christmas card with my name spelt wrong so I think we’re even. Her and Luka told me how to say Happy Birthday in Serbian and Bulgarian, but I can’t remember it, because they refused to say it more than once. They told me not to be too upset that my pronunciation was horrendous, because they’re difficult languages. At which point I told them I’ve studied Japanese, Russian and Arabic. Cue wide eyes and demands to know how to say ‘hello’ in the different languages. We also had cake because it Victoria’s birthday and we played Uno. Sadly I had to leave halfway through a game otherwise I would have had to walk home. And seeing as it takes about an hour to walk whilst the bus takes 20 minutes, that wasn’t something I wanted to do.

Thursday I really wasn’t needed at the school. I watched the kids do a maths test and then helped them with normal maths work and then the teacher said I could go. So that was a grand total of 25 minutes work on Thursday.  However, I had a doctor’s appointment at 1pm, so despite being finished by quarter to nine, I stayed in school till 12. When I finally got home, because I still had no laptop cable, I ended up reading more of Game of Thrones. Or A Song of Ice and Fire, I suppose I should call it. I read two and half of the books in four days. Have you seen those books? They’re huge. That’s what happens when you don’t have a functioning laptop. You get all productive.

Friday I talked about London and breakfast in England. This included me trying to explain to eight year olds why I’m not a huge fan of David Cameron and yes, there are different types of eggs. That was really it on Friday. I came home and crashed out for the rest of the evening. I know, I lead such an exciting life.

Oh wait, no, one more thing I did on Friday. I bought a ticket to see Eddie Izzard in Berlin next Sunday. I’m a huge Eddie Izzard fan and I saw his current tour last year in Birmingham. So Kat, I hear you cry, why are you going again? Because, dear reader, he’s doing it in German. Oftentimes he tours in France in French, but never have I heard of him doing other languages. So to Berlin I am going. (If you’ve never heard his comedy, I would like to recommend The Death Star Canteen, his thoughts on empires, dictators and cake or death; and Robin Hood. Though I probably should point out there is liberal swearing in most of it.)

So Saturday I was on a cleaning up shift at the BC Café, which involved much washing up and talking about TV shows with Kim. It also involved a guy who looks like Daniel Brühl’s younger brother and Kim insisting that I speak fluent German. And free food. Can’t forget the free food. And then Saturday evening I went to hang out with Ausama, who lives on my corridor and plied me with cake and tea. Was a very pleasant way to spend an evening, and I got a crash course on variations within Islam, the geography of Syria and Syrian etiquette.

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The phonetic spelling of what this is called is Kneffi (according to me).

Sunday I was at the BC café again, helping to pack away after the Spanish brunch. Every month the café puts on a themed brunch and you should care because Therese, my flatmate, helps organise them. Again, this involved much washing up. Pretty sure my hands are just going to remain prunes forever at this rate. And I thought Queens had people to do their washing up for them. Hmm… Might have to work on marrying Harry quickly.

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All Christmassed out.

So this weekend I was in Dresden. Me and Manda spent quite a while trying to figure out how many times I’ve been to Dresden and it turns out only three, and one of those times was for one night on my way to Prague. So although it feels like I’ve been there a billion and one times, the real number is actually considerably less.
Friday was a school free day so I was on a train at 12 and arrived in Dresden at 4pm. Had a wander round what I thought was the Christmas Market and then headed to Neustadt to meet Manda, who callously had work so couldn’t meet me as soon as I got off the train.
Friday night was originally designated as Game of Thrones and pizza night. That didn’t happen, but only because Manda’s mentor teacher was lovely enough to invite us both to her boyfriend’s work do. Yes, she invited the random English girl she’d never met (that’s me) to her boyfriend’s work’s Christmas party. It was at a Mongolian bar and the way it worked was interesting. You went up to the serving area and picked out what vegetables and meat/fish/tofu you wanted and then you handed it over to the chefs. About a kazillion years later, it was served to your table having now being cooked. The food was really good, don’t get me wrong, it just took them so long to cook it.
In terms of what I ate, first there was a red curry soup which burned the back of my throat and made steam come out of my ears. And then I tried crocodile – tastes an awful lot like chicken but springier – and shark which just tastes like cod. There were other interesting meats like kanagroo and rabbit, and even more that I didn’t have a clue what they were. But I grossed Manda out enough with the crocodile and shark so I figured I should stop. Also, we were then offered ice cream and there’s no way I’m going to turn down ice cream in favour of kanagroo. All in all it was a really fun excursion, and Manda’s mentor teacher was super nice. And then we watched Game of Thrones when we got home.
Saturday was a day of Christmas markets. You know I said I thought I’d wandered round the  Christmas market? Yeah, no. That was one of many Christmas markets in Dresden. On Saturday we visited four. Four. The Augustusmarkt, the Mittelalter Weihnachstmarkt, the Striezelmarkt and one by the Frauenkirche. The Augustusamarkt is in the Neustadt and is one of the smaller ones. Small doesn’t mean bad though. There was glühwein and toffee apples and stalls from Latvia and a hut that told you how many miles it was to Coventry. And so many fairylights. There was a supercool tree in the middle of it.

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The super cool tree and a ginger girl who I seem to have a few photos of.

The Mittelaltermarkt was my favourite. We had to pay to get in because it was the weekend, but when the door is guarded by a guy in armour I feel like it’s worth it. The Mittelalter Weihnachtsmarkt included stalls selling drinking horns and weaponry and rings with intiials on so you can wax seal your letters. I did not buy any of these things despite being this close to buying a cross bow. I did how ever appropriate the beaker we got served hot chocolate it in, because it’s fantastic.

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It has a unicorn on it. A unicorn!

The Striezelmarkt aka the actual main Weihnachtsmarkt in Dresden was heaving. So much so that when we headed into the McDonalds nearby, I queued for half an hour/45 minutes to use their toilets. I’m pretty sure that’s the longest queue I have ever had the misfortune to be in. Also, a word to the men of the world: If the queue for the female toilets is out of the door, do not boast about the fact that there’s no queue for the male toilets. The only thing stopping every woman in that queue from pummeling you to death is the fact that to do that they’d have to step out of the queue and all their waiting would have been in vain.

But the Striezelmarkt was awesome. We met up with a couple of other FSA (Fremdsprachassistenten)  who are also based near Dresden. It was dark by the time we got to it, and so all the fairy lights were on and there were people everywhere and then a nearby church’s bells started pealing and it was all kinds of awesome. Once more there was Glühwein galore and it was fantastic. When we headed to the market by the Frauenkirche, the theme of the decorations suddenly became stars, which was super cool. We didn’t spend too much time at that market mainly because by this time we were cold and starting to be a little bit christmassed out. Or at least I was, I can’t really speak for the others.  We ended up at a pub where I managed to order the manliest rink. Dark beer – it’s better than light beer.

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So many lights. I totally didn’t get over excited. Nope.

On Sunday, me and Manda went to Dresden zoo. I haven’t been to a zoo in close on a decade, so that was pretty cool. Flamingos are way pinker than I ever expected. And red pandas (or small pandas as the Germans call them) are the cutest things in the world. They’re a fantastic colour, and the one in Dresden was kinda chubby and was all sorts of adorable. After stopping at a photo booth to take dorky photos, we headed home to finish off Season 3 of Game of Thrones before going out for an Indian for tea. How I miss Indian food.

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I feel like giraffes understand me. They’re ginger and tall too.

On Monday, I made my weary way home safe in the knowledge that I am now officially caught up with Game of Thrones (the TV series at least) and that even if I don’t make it to any other Christmas Markets, I’ve done more Christmas than I ever normally do. Though that isn’t stopping me planning on going to at least another two Weihnachtsmärkte. What? When in Rome and all that.