March 10, 2008

Life in Berlin

Due to popular demand (she says, as tumbleweed blows across the screen), I have decided to put more effort into being a geek and keeping this blog in action.  The last time I wrote on this I had just come back from Celle, that seems like a lifetime ago now!  Since then I have been on a whole heap of adventures.  I have moved in with a German family, been on two fantastic holidays (Prague and Stockholm respectively), joined a German acting club, survived hurricane Emma (!) and unwittingly discovered the meaning of FKK (all I wanted was a nice swim!!!).

Now, all of these things are obviously fascinating but today I would like to tell you a bit about my German 'family' (mainly because I was just given a memory stick full of photos which I would like to show off!).  So, in October, after scouring WGgesucht and Zitty for somewhere new to live, I stumbled across an advert for a WG in Friedenau.  When I called up the number in the advert I was invited right away to have a look around and the rest is history, as they say.  So for the past 5 months I have lived with Helmi, Monika and Daniel (time for a photo I feel)


Daniel, Helmi and Monika are the ones on the left of this picture.  The guy on the right is our neighbour, Hassan, and the other is Tiago, our Brazilian Mitbewohner who has sadly now left.  So anyway, these are quite possibly the nicest people I have met in my life!  Ever since I arrived they have treated my so well.  We often go on little outings to parks or to Kabaret and they know how to let their hair down, as these 'gangsta' pictures perhaps best demonstrate...



We have had lots of guests since I arrived here including a Mexican film director called Estaban who was competing for a prize in the Berlin Short Film Festival (he took us for a night out there, it was amazing - and he gave me a signed DVD, so hopefully he will become mega famous and I can flog it on ebay for a fiver) but perhaps my favourite guest was the lovely Tiago -


A student at the Goethe institute in Berlin, this Brazilian who depended hugely on the phrase "Entschuldingung, I don't understand", filled our flat with laughter for the last 2 months and I think it's fair to say we all miss him.

Something I really love about living in the WG is that we have a really good relationship with our neighbours.  Every couple of weeks we get together for dinner and a Filmabend and the sense of community is really lovely. 


Here we are chowing down on "Sauerkraut delight"...


... and eagerly anticipating the start of "Das Zigeunerlager zieht in den Himmel" (I know, whose choice was that!?).

To round up, I am very happy and am so glad that I live here! 

October 12, 2007


So, that was my drunken night out in Hannover... moving swiftly on to my very relaxing day in Celle. 


Celle is a picturesque and traditional old town which is filled with buildings like this one (and yes there are also great shopping facilities, for example, Street One!)


This lake is just outside of Sarah's house (yeah, I know, amazing).


In Berlin it seems that you are constantly at risk of being run over by a tram or Mercedes, in Celle even the horses wait patiently at the traffic lights.


In other news, we found a tree in a plant pot.


Then, Sarah made me climb all the way up these creepy stairs in a really old church...



... but look at the views that greeted us when we reached the top!


Clearly not content with making me walk up a thousand steps to see the best views of Celle, Sarah then decided we should check out the town on her new bike... hehe...


I really loved my little visit to Celle and I hope that I will be receiving another invitation in the near future!

October 08, 2007


This weekend was amazing, first I went to Hannover to see the terrible twosome who go by the names of Sarah A. Brown and Sarah A. Brown...


They have the same name but not the same face :)

So we started off Oktoberfest by buying a few (hundred) drinks...



... unfortunately they didn't last very long...


... so we went to check out the funfair...


... Will warned us against the Ghost House after meeting this strange chap wearing bondage gear...


... but we were drawn in anyway after spotting a talking tree (!) ...


... Sarah and Leanne were terrified but I tried to put on a brave face...


... after the scary Ghost House we decided it was time we tried some of the beer at Oktoberfest...

(...then some time elapsed...)


The End.

September 29, 2007

I'm back!

This blog has been somewhat neglected of late but I'm glad to say that it's because I've been such a busy girl lately that I've just had no time to keep you up-to-date.  Some highlights of the past few weeks have been:

1) Seeing The Streets -


Wow, that's a big picture - if I knew anything about computers I would probably make it a bit smaller, but I don't, so I hope you enjoy it.  Anyway, The Streets was a free (mmm free, my favourite price) music concert put on by 02.  It was really great as it took place in a huge outdoor arena close to Warschauer Strasse and there we loads of people there.  Even queueing for two hours didn't dampen our spirits as there were people selling hotdogs everywhere (yes, it really is the simple things).  The best bit of all about seeing The Streets was that the German people didn't seem to have a clue what was going on whereas we knew all the words and had a great time dancing about.

2) Sarah coming to visit -

Last weekend Sarah came to visit and we had such an amazing time.


That is Sarah :) We did so many things including lots of shopping, drinking, going to markets, dancing and drinking.  Hehe.  Sarah also finally got to meet the legend that is Bernie and they got on like a house on fire (well, until he started drunkenly ranting about goats and centipedes hahaha).

3) Being at the Ruppin Grundschule!  Yes, Sean, it is the same school as Oliver Hopwood worked at (I guess that must be a very distinctive door!) and he seems to be a bit of a legend there, but I think if I bring some Dairy Milk back after Christmas I might one day attain Hopwood status (meh, who am I kidding?).  But Oliver was quite right when he said that this was the best Grundschule in the whole of Berlin.  I'm still loving it.  Perhaps the best part of all is when I have to work with the 6 year olds.  It's so funny as they sometimes really have no idea what I'm yacking about, like on Tuesday I had to pretend that I was a pet shop owner and they had to buy pets from me.  Try explaining that one to a group of children who answer the question "and what is your name?" with "six fingers".  I completely lost all dignity by the end of it but they seemed to quite enjoy watching me sprawling around the floor pretending to be a puppy.  It was really cute though because when I was walking home after that class I was behind one of the pupils who was telling her mum about all the pets she bought from Katy.  Cute.

pet shop

September 18, 2007

The day I finally met Knut

So, anybody who lived with me last year is well aware that I developed somewhat of an obsession for a little polar bear called Knut (Knut, Knut, kleine Eisbär aus dem Zoo!).  For those of you not in the know, Knut is the best polar bear in the world; he was born in Berlin zoo but his mother rejected him (what a meanie) and so he was raised by zoo keepers.  This is him -


Today, I finally got to see him for myself as I went to the zoo with some language assistant buddies.  And yes, he is as cute in real life (if not a bit cuter).  I found it funny because Knut even has his own merchandise stall in the zoo where you can buy Knut posters, calendars, armbands, bookmarks....


We also went to a great Italian restaurant by my school today and I managed to wangle me an English cup of tea (it was in a glass and the waiter refused to call it anything but black tea with milk, but it still tasted great!).


School was really fun too today.  In one class the topic was "Things I like about Katy" (hehe) and my favourite answer was "she always smiles".  I hope you are all happy xx

September 15, 2007

The case of the missing underwear and the new flat

I'm very happy to report that I've survived my first week as a language assistant at the Ruppin Grundschule!  It has been a great week and I've been quite overwhelmed by how lovely all the staff and pupils are.  My favourite lesson this week was with a class of very young children who seemed to love singing in English.  They were so sweet and their rendition of 'Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes' was second to none!  They even taught me a song called 'Mini Monsters' complete with dance moves :) It won't be long now before I get them onto the Pussycat Dolls, I'm sure!  Can you think of any other songs I could teach them?


Although I really like my room in Schlachtensee, it takes me around 40 minutes to get to my school and some days I have to start work at 8:15.  Because of this I have spent the past week trying to find somewhere new to live and I think I may have come into luck.  Yesterday I went to visit a flat that I had seen advertised on the internet (it's what they call a 'Wohngemeinschaft' here, which basically means a shared house with other students).  This flat is not exactly 5 star luxury (ok, so it's not even 2 star luxury) BUT it is within 2 minutes walk to my school, which I think is absolutely amazing.  The current flatmates will have to decide whether or not they want to live with me first, but if they agree then I will be living with 3 guys (I know, it will be a bit of a change from my girls only student house in Leamington Spa!), two of whom study in Berlin and another who studies in Potsdam.  The room is quite sweet, it has a Hochbett (which means I have to climb up a ladder to get into bed!) and its own balcony.  Wish me luck with that!

In other news, I went out to a Thai restaurant  with a group of language assistants in Prenzlauer Berg (East Berlin) last night.  This restaurant was every student's dream... their slogan is, "Die Steuern erhöhen sich, doch die Preise bleiben!!!" ("Taxes go up, but our prices stay the same!!!").  I had a huge curry and a glass of wine for 6, 35 € (just over £4?) and it was absolutely delicious. 


It's funny because the teachers I have spoken to at my school are all very 'West' and don't have very much enthusiasm for the East.  Despite this, I can't help but feel a certain affection for the east with its funny traffic lights (, Pennymarkts and deliciously cheap food.  In addition to this, an amazing new shopping centre called 'Alexa' has just opened in Alexanderplatz which only fuels my enthusiasm for the east, check out this video to see what a big deal the opening of this store was for the people of Berlin They're mad for it! 


In other news, I opened my postbox this morning to find a note saying that a parcel arrived for me this morning but it was too big to fit through my post flap and could I come and collect it from the above address.  I presume this was my bra collection... it's just a shame I have no idea where the address on the form is.  Will I ever get my beautiful bras back?  Stay tuned!

September 11, 2007

A delightful day filled with love and German bureaucracy :)

Today was my second day at school and, oh, what a day it was!  My first class was a group of about 30 ten year olds and we started off the class with an 'interview'.  Again I was asked lots of questions about my hobbies and life in England, including my favourite TV shows -  the fact that I like to watch The Simpsons was greeted by a round of applause!  One boy in the class asked me whether I had a boyfriend and when I said no he shouted "YES!" and then said, "I love you!"... after the class the same boy came up to me, shook my hand and said, "You are my best friend"... this was all very funny and I'm glad to see I'm already making a good impression!  Then the second lesson I was meant to be in was cancelled due to a school trip so I ended up in with a group of 7 year olds in a German class.  That was a little bit terrifying as I had to help them fill in their worksheets which were about food and were full of vocab that you never need to learn at uni like "peel the potatoes" but all in all it was a sweet class and the children were far too busy showing me their Yu-Gi-Oh! cards to realise that I didn't really know what was going on.  It was also really cute because after the lesson three little girls came and spoke to me and were very curious to know what I was doing in their school.  I saw them later on in the corridor and they all said, "Hallo Katy!" which made me feel really happy.  My third and final lesson was with the same group from yesterday who now all have my MSN address and that was fun too as I got to take a small group into a separate room and have a chat with them and show them my photos from home (what can you see in this picture children?) :) 


So that was school.  This afternoon was not quite as fun as I had to go to register with the local authorities and open up a bank account... yawn!  However, both of these things are now done and I feel quite proud of myself for getting through that alone.


Now I am off to have my dinner with my delightful flatmates (I really do love them, one asked me yesterday whether I have ever bumped into David Beckham in Bristol).  Tonight I shall be preparing a culinary delight known as Salami, Salat und Brot... make of that what you will!


September 10, 2007

Greetings from Germany!

So this is my first attempt at writing a blog, I hope it gives you a good impression of my new adventure in Germany!  I think I have finally settled in here now and I also have 3 lovely flatmates which makes things alot easier.  Two of my flatmates are from Thailand and they have been particularly welcoming since I arrived, they even unlocked their cupboards so that I could use their cutlery hehe... My flat looks a bit like this (if you squint and ignore the graffiti!)


and now, with a little help from my German friend (who said the other day, "Cardiff, that's in the countryside, right?"!!), I have kitted up my room with stuff from Ikea (including a very sweet little plant which I have named Heinrich).  So now my room looks that little bit more welcoming, almost welcoming enough to distract my attention away from my resident spider (she is called Bertha and is not sweet in any sense of the word!).

Today I started teaching at the school and it was so much fun, I was asked some very interesting questions like 'what brand is your laptop?' and 'do you like scorpions?' :)  Everybody at the school was so welcoming and I am really looking forward to working there... this is the door of the school... very pretty, eh? 


One of the questions I was asked at school today was whether I have MSN and if I could write my 'addy' on the blackboard.  So now I have the pleasure of talking to my pupils on the internet in a lovely blend of English, German and some very confusing web lingo... would that even be allowed in England?!

Talking of England, there are some things I really miss from home... firstly I really miss my collection of bras that I left on the dressing table in my parent's room (mum, please send them soon, I'm getting so desperate that I'm appealing to you on the internet!!!).  Secondly, I really really miss Robinsons orange squash :( :(  :(  All they have here is this dodgy stuff called Sirup which does not fill me with joy!  Thirdly, I miss the wonders of the 'Big 4', particularly Asda and Tesco.  The stuff you can buy in supermarkets here is pretty limited and you can kiss goodbye to the hope of finding some lovely cheap clothes... not to mention Warburton's bread... oh well, I guess I'll just make do with Salami and Sauerkraut!


Of course living in Berlin also has it's advantages.  For example its endless supply of entertainment, cheap beer, currywurst, efficient public transport, easyinternet cafes, dunkin' donuts.. I could go on.  All of these things fill me with joy :) 


Well, that's all for now, it's time for me to hit Aldi and buy my dinner!

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