World cup madness

Hallo aus Deutschland! Since I last blogged and as I’m sure you all know, the world cup has kicked-off! According to my reliable source in the UK (my Dad), there isn’t the usual madness at home this year. As Gary Lineker said before our first match, “Expectattions are low!”  This is not the case in Germany; the Germans have high hopes this year and, football fan or not, there’s no avoiding the Weltmeisterschaft!

The German colours are absolutely everywhere.

pic3 She definitely caught me taking this picture!

They’re on houses:

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This family don’t want to commit their support too early!

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But there’s no doubt as to which team this household’s supporting!

They’re on cars:

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…And not just the sport-shops but all types of Laden!

pic9There seems to be a bit of a World-cup themed window display competition at my top-shops. This one is the butchers; it was so sunny (not rubbing it in-honest) that there is so much reflection that you can hardly see, but this is a life-size football fan tending to his barbecue! 

I can’t even eat a biscuit without learning the name and number of a German player and I’m starting a sticker collection because they come free inside my Hanuta packets. It’s not just biscuits, but chocolate bars and crisps too. Kinder even has a new limited edition range of chocolates in the form of the German footballers! I’m not too sure whether junk food promoting sport is ironic, or if it’s good that it’s advertising exercise!

It’s not just the German team’s matches but all the matches that people are interested in.

pic 6 “ALL World Cup games live”

Away from football now, I’ve already completed my first week at work! The work is varied and the topics are interesting, but working in an office is, of course, very different to teaching and I’m really missing moving around and interacting with people. However, it is really nice to come home and put my feet up, without having to plan! I finish work at half past four every day so I have a lot of free time in the evenings, which is lovely.

I’ve been using this free time to explore the city a bit more. Since the weather has been so nice, I’ve spent a lot of my time sunbathing in the park in the centre of town. Now I’ve got a bit of a tan, I’m determined to keep it!I’ve also met a lot of new people and I’ve already discovered some of Stuttgart’s best secrets! On Wednesday evening I went to a bar which has different free live music each week. This week’s band played quite soothing blues/folksy music which suited my Wednesday night mood perfectly!

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On Friday, I went out and found myself at a rooftop bar with a beach theme! It was dark but the views of the lights across the city were beautiful and it was fun but a bit strange to be on a “beach,” complete with deckchairs, parasols and sand, in the south of Germany!

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Faux-pas of the week: My faux-pas  is particularly embarrassing this week because it’s something we learned to avoid when we very first started learning German! I was invited out for a coffee at “Halb neun/half nine.” In English when we say half 9, we mean half past nine. However, when the Germans say it, they mean half to nine. You’ve already guessed it; i turned up at the cafe almost an hour late! Thank goodness the person was really nice and understanding about it!

I’m going out now with my housemate to join in the madness and watch Germany play football! Bis gleich!

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Beginn

Grüße aus Deutschland! I’ve been in Stuttgart for 5 days now, and I can’t really believe it’s been that long. I still feel like I’ve only just arrived! However, when I think of all the things I’ve already done in that time, I’m surprised it hasn’t been longer: I’ve already left and returned to Germany once!

I’m living in one of the outer suburbs of Stuttgart, an area called Heumaden. I have a room in the attic of the same building as I’ll be working in, the positive of which is a very short commute and the negative is that I’ll never really leave work! I’m trying to think of living in an attic as arty and cosy, but in reality I’ll probably get sick of only being able to fully stand up in the middle of each room! So, next time you see a pretty German house with a sloping roof, spare me a thought, stooping in the attic!

I’m sharing the flat with another intern, Petter, who is from Norway and a headless statue, Isaac, who lives in the corner of my bedroom and is pretty scary to wake up to!

Image…Nothing says “Welcome” like a headless statue!

Petter has been really welcoming and friendly, and has introduced me to the city and his friends, which I really appreciate. Living in an outer-suburb, we need to use the public transport to get into the centre. The S-Bahn (like a cross between a tram and a train) is fast and reliable but very expensive. A return journey costs just under 7 Euros if you buy single tickets, but Petter helped me to get a monthly Verbundspass, which is much more cost-effective. Germay is famous for being beaurocratic, but I found the process simple. I left with the pass the same day I applied for it, and the lady complimented my German, so I won’t be complaining!

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On Thursday I went downstairs(!) to the office to introduce my coworkers. I’m going to be working for a foundation that does a lot of legal work, but I’ll mostly be doing translation. German business correspondence is very formal but thankfully everyone seemed quite relaxed and open.

In the evening I found myself at a Flohmarkt/flea-market in a converted warehouse, which is usually used as a disco so there was also Bier. True to the stereotype, beer seems to be a really popular beverage here in Germany! It was a little bit surreal and definitely not what I expected to be doing on my second evening in Germany but it was fun and I met a lot of nice people!

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Some of the people I met at the market invited me on the trip they were planning to Bodensee, which is a lake on the German-Swiss border, on Sunday. Travelling was also not on my first weekend’s to-do-list but spontaneity can be great and it was a really good opportunity to make get to know people and to get to see some more of the country.

We first went to Konstanz, on the German side of the border, to explore the town and take a dip in the lake! It was 33 degrees so a swim was more than refreshing!

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We then crossed over the border into Switzerland to see the Rheinfall, which is the largest plain waterfall in Europe. It is 150m wide and watching all the water flow at 700³/s was both impressive and quite scary!

Faux-pas of the week: “Fall” has a double meaning in German; previously I only knew the other meaning, which is case/instance. I spent most of the day not knowing where we were going!

Having covered a lot of ground in the heat and spoken only in German (which, thankfully, has come back to me quickly) all day, I was absolutely exhausted by the end of the day! However, thanks to a very hot and stuffy room and early morning bell-ringing practice at the church over the road, I wasn’t allowed a lie-in this morning! I’m feeling happy and accomplished but definitely not rested and fresh ready for my first day at work tomorrow. Wish me luck!