Emma in Euroland

Tea, Cake and Travel: a year abroad in Germany

A few lighthearted disasters along the way.

It's always a snowy morning nowadays.

It’s always a snowy morning nowadays.

So, yesterday I fell down the stairs and today I was involved in a tram accident. What an eventful life I lead! I fell down the stairs on my way to a choir rehearsal. We have concerts tonight and tomorrow and last night was the run-through in the church. I wasn’t especially looking forward to it as these things involve a lot more standing around doing nothing than anything else. I was walking down the stairs in my building to go and get the tram. I knew which tram I needed to get and didn’t have a great deal of time to faff about but I wasn’t rushing. Not yet anyway! It had been snowing and the floor must have been wet because I put my foot down and it just kept going. It was strange, as I was falling, I felt no fear and so when my hip smashed down onto the floor, it was an unpleasant surprise. Surprise, that was honestly my first thought. Then a massive desire to cry and then pain, and lots of it. I knew I didn’t have time to cry or go home to inspect the damage. William was meeting me at the tram stop to take me to the church as I didn’t know where it was and it wouldn’t look good if I didn’t go to the rehearsal. I just stood up, wiped away the few tears which had escaped from my eyes and continued to walk down the stairs. Keep calm and carry on, as the British say.

Thankfully, I was able to sit down a lot more than I had expected and just felt stiff after about half an hour. I had luckily taken some painkillers for a headache before I came out, so that obviously helped. All is not lost though. I was shaken yesterday, but not seriously hurt. It was good to have the rehearsal to keep my mind off it in the end. After a good night’s sleep, I felt completely fine. I will just be a lot more wary with those stairs in future!

Verkehrsunfall in Germany!

Verkehrsunfall in Germany!

But what about the tram crash?!“, I hear you say. Ah yes. The tram crash. So I had to go and pick up one of Ramsey’s birthday presents after school today. After a bit of wandering (I bought a brilliant dictionary that I had wanted for a while) I decided to get the tram back from Anger. Germans seem to be funny about seats on trams. Even when the tram is pretty full, if I ask someone to move their bags, I always get a seat. Maybe you’re not supposed to ask. Either way, I was on the tram home. We had just left Bergstraße. That’s when it happened. *BANG!* Ok, it didn’t really happen like that. There wasn’t just one bang. It was more like *CRUUUUNNNCCCCHHHHHHHHH*. It takes a lot to mess with a tram. The initial impact did give us a good hit though and it happened right where I was sitting. I was sitting though and although there were a few stumbles, nobody fell over. The thing is, it shouldn’t have happened. Trams run on tracks, they travel in a straight line. They can’t veer to the left or the right, only travel on their prescribed course. How then, did we end up having a crash?! Well, some woman had got her car ever so slightly over the tram tracks. The tram doesn’t end at the track though, they hang over the edge so that meant that there was quite a lot of tram to hit her. The most stupid thing about it though was, that the tram was coming towards her. She could see it. Yes, she was in the wrong position. But when she saw the tram, she could have moved. We only hit her at the back of the tram though. So she must have moved into us, not away. Who knows what happened. So we hit her. Or she hit us, egal. The tram stopped. She moved her car. She moved her car onto the other tram tracks. Now, tram tracks in both directions are blocked. Both drivers got out to discuss damage and legalities and the tram doors were opened so we could walk if we wanted to. He didn’t know how long this could take. She also couldn’t drive her car now because the front tyre was blown. Bergstraße is only two stops from me so I got out and was grateful for the walk to be honest but I could see the groups at the stops on the way getting bigger and there was a mass of students coming from the university having been informed that the tram wasn’t running. You could tell which ones were already late for lectures on the other side of town ;).

An Advent calendar and Christmas biscuits?!

An Advent calendar and Christmas biscuits?!

That’s not the only thing which has been exciting over the last couple of days. Yesterday, was the 6th of December. Now, this did not occur to me yesterday morning, even when I opened my Advent calendar. It certainly did not occur to me that it was Nikolaustag, not even when Ramona and Elvi started inspecting my shoes! In Germany, on the 6th of December, the children celebrate Saint Nikolaus. He is the patron saint of little children, sailors, merchants and students. Although he has a long beard and wears a red cloak, he is not to be confused with Father Christmas. German folklore has been incorporated in the tradition and he usually carries a sack too to collect the naughty children in. German children are pretty scared of being questioned about their behaviour by Saint Nikolaus or worse, taken away in a sack! The night before, children polish their shoes to show they’ve been good and leave out a boot for Nikolaus. Only one mind, so as not to appear greedy. Then, if Nikolaus agrees, he leaves presents in their boot, usually chocolates, small toys, sweets and an orange. Well, apparently I’ve been good because Nikolaus visited me! I got a lovely Christmas box and a beautiful felt bag, all filled with goodies. There were Christmas chocolates, Christmas decorations, beautiful Lebkuchen with real stem ginger inside and even an orange! It is a lovely tradition and one I hope to bring to my children one day. Whilst it is actually nothing to do with Christmas (6th December is the anniversary of the death of Nikolaus) it certainly builds the anticipation. I have also been given two beautiful advent calendars: one traditional one with chocolate, just like we had back in the day with a picture behind each chocolate to match and a lovely Advent card with little windows to open, which I can keep forever. What’s even more special about that is that it is of Erfurt and depicts the Erfurter Dom and the Weihnachtsmarkt. I love opening them all every day and look forward to showing people my Advent card in years to come.

Present's for my clean shoes from Saint Nikolaus

Present’s for my clean shoes from Saint Nikolaus

I’ve been truly spoilt haven’t I?! I also discovered yesterday that I have a Postfach in the office! I looked inside and there was something in there, a little book with a bow round it. How exciting! When I opened it, I discovered that it was actually a birthday present that I hadn’t found. I felt terrible that I hadn’t said thank you but as I saw Iris yesterday at the rehearsal, I wrote her a card which I gave her then, in my best German, of course :). So, it’s been a week of accidents and presents and all in all, it’s been a good week. I didn’t sleep well over the weekend but after a few busy days, I have slept pretty soundly and even my early start on Wednesday (I started teaching at 7.35!) hasn’t negatively affected my week. I’m feeling very festive now and have the most beautiful nativity which I bought from the Weihnachtsmarkt here in Erfurt. Most of all, I just can’t wait for next Friday. Ramsey is coming in ONE WEEK! I can hardly bare it. I feel like I want to go to Frankfurt and camp out at the airport until he arrives!

It’s amazing what a little bit of good sleep can do to your mood. I am feeling so much better about everything, despite the issues at school (more on that in a later post!). It is nothing to really worry about and some issues got resolved today anyway, on my own, just by talking to said person directly. I hope I have set a precedent for dealing with things in future.

In other news, I am planning on looking for a job next year. I think it would be good for me and my German. I would have more money which would give me more freedom. I would also have a bit more structure which would be nice. I think I would find it really hard when I first started. It would be nervewracking and difficult. Plus, all the jobs I have seen advertised are in retail which I have never done before. I might not get a job, of course. But I think it would be good experience and it’s certainly worth a try, even for that experience alone! I think I’ve learnt a lot since I got here but there’s still more to learn. Always. I have organised my first private tutoring appointment, one hour, once a week but I’m ready for the next step now. Proper work. Keep your fingers crossed and I’ll keep you updated! 🙂

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