Winter delights

December 20, 2009 at 1:00 pm (Germany)

Well it is well and truely winter here in Germany. It’s absolutely FREEZING. At the moment it is -12 degrees and the landscape is covered in snow! I am sick of having cold toes… the other day they were still cold after 40 minutes of being in the nice warm train. Complaints about the warm Melbourne weather are simply not welcome at the moment.

I guess snow does have its advantages. Firstly, it is absolutley beautiful to watch. The snowflakes swirl all over the place and can be quite mesmerising. Secondly, it enabled me to tick off one of the things on my ‘To do List’. Yesterday I went tobboganen on a proper wooden sledge! In Australia I had only done this on the plastic things. Was lots of fun, although a little unsteady for my liking. I even got air off one of the bumps!

Sophie’s visit was awesome. It was so good to see a familar face and I loved having her strong Aussie accent around. I dragged her around to lots of different Christmas markets and made her try all the different forms of German junk food. (Döner Kebab being the clear winner) We spent a day sightseeing in Heidelberg with my flatmate Carry, saw the sights of Darmstadt and she even came and watched me play hockey.

Heidelberg Castle

A highlight was visiting the ‘Aussie pub’ here in Darmstadt for a meal. We spent ages laughing about the ‘typical’ Aussie meals and commenting on the tacky deco. She’s back home in Australia now… weird thinking she was with me last Sunday and is now home. Absolutely loved having you Soph! xoxo

During her visit Soph reminded me about how funny/interesting the Pfand system here is. For evey bottle, can or glass that you buy there is deposit payed on top, that you only get back if you return the bottle/can/glass. That means that in the pub there are no bus boys, broken glass or bottles hanging round because everyone simply takes their stuff back to get their money back. Totally pratical if you ask me.

Like I mentioned before, I have been Christmas marketing it up. It’s kinda sad that my last Glühwein will be this afternoon. 😦 I’ve been to the Christmas markets at Darmstadt, Frankfurt, Michelstadt, Erbach, Heidelberg, Bonn and yesterday I added Marburg to the list. Not a bad effort huh?

The last couple of weeks have been reunion central. I had Soph to stay, saw Damaris’ mother Gudrun in Heidelberg yesterday and am currently visiting Angela and the family in Marburg. Had a ‘Berlin’ reunion with Lotte and Maike last night and I fly to Manchester to catch up with Bec today. From there it is Christmas in Scarborough with mum’s family (am so excited about Chris’ roast) and a catch up with Suzie, an old friend from highschool in Oxford. Late January Alisia is coming to stay….

No time to be homesick with so many familar faces to see… and of course a full tin of Milo!


P.s More photos? Check out


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Ikea adventures

December 3, 2009 at 6:34 pm (Germany)

Well Teacher Kate is well and truly back in action.  I have my own classes, my own timetable and even my own CD player.  Getting up at 5:30 am Mondays – Wednesdays is definitely a new experience though.  I feel like a zombie in the mornings (I probably look like one too!)  and when I arrive at school for my first period it is still pitch black.  Weird!

Writing with CHALK!

School here begins at 7:45 and there are six 45 minute periods with two breaks of 2o minutes in between before the end of the school day at 1pm.  The students generally have one or two long days at school (ie.  more than period 6) and the school therefore has it’s own cafetiera.  I only have a ‘long day’ on a Thursday and even with my 40 minute public transport commute, I am still home before the end of the school day at McKinnon.

I am slowly becoming accustomed to writing in chalk.  That’s right folks, squeaky, messy chalk.  I still squeak a little and make a mess of my jeans, but it is getting better.  I miss the technology and lovely white boards.  Walking into a classroom in Germany seriously makes you feel like you are walking back in time!

Weihnachtsmarkt with Carry

Luckily I am getting amazing support at school.  The teachers are lovely and everyone is making sure I get extra support with understanding corrections etc.  Most of the time I feel like I am back at square one and my head simply wants to explode.  Too much German can sometimes be a little crazy.  I am pulling through though and have even managed to mark my first class of major assignments.  🙂

I am now officially living in a shared flat in Darmstadt.  My Australian flag is proudly on display in the hallway.  My two flatmates are awesome.  Alex is 27 and studies, Carry 18 and completing an apprenticeship.  Carry and I get on really well and often cook together or head out.  We have a weekly date at the local Weihnachtsmarkt (Christmas market) for Glühwein and a chat.  Last week we managed to have sugar overload the next day though.

Of course a trip to Ikea was in order to sort my room out.  I’ve actually been twice.  First trip resulted in a LOT of things.  (Mostly things I needed… but yeah, a whole lot of random stuff too!)  That place is SO ridiculously addictive.

We finally got to the checkout after waiting in the queue for approximately 45 minutes, had all of my things scanned and then, I pulled out my VISA card to pay…. AND… the checkout chick announces that they don’t accept VISA.  Are you kidding me?  IKEA?  I couldn’t believe it.  (All I wanted to do was burst into tears)

Kate the Handywoman

I was directed to the ATM… which of course could not contact my bank in Australia.  At this point the checkout chick was not impressed.  There was a massive line behind us, and apparently she couldn’t serve anyone else until our transaction was through.  (I doubt that very much)  Luckily, Lotte had enough money on her card to cover me.  Otherwise I have no idea what we would have done.

So I have been busy building furniture, painting my desk, organising my photosl…etc.  It’s nice having my own space and watching it grow a little different each time.  I’m particularly fond of my postcard wall.  I’m aiming to have the whole wall covered.  Mum keeps sending me random postcards (don’t forget all you need is an Air Mail stamp to send me one) and my two favourites are the one from Parkdale and one from my brother Michael.  (On the back ‘Superman is cool.  Love Michael’ and on the front a kid dressed in a superman suite looking unhappy.)

I have clearly established that I am no indoor hockey player.  It’s quite frustrating because even though I have been playing for so long, I feel like I am starting from scratch.  The game is so different.  Am definitely looking forward to the field hockey season, which starts in March.  I have played two games now, and managed to score a goal in the first one.  🙂

At the moment I am really looking forward to the Christmas holidays but more importantly a visit from my cousin Sophie!  She arrives for five days next Wednesday and I simply can’t wait.


P.s  More photos?  Check out

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