Emma in Euroland

Tea, Cake and Travel: a year abroad in Germany

Getting back into the swing of things.

As I had always expected, coming back to Germany after Christmas was hard. The truth is, I felt pretty alone. Getting back into the swing of things was difficult as my mentor was ill and the snow made moving around incredibly difficult. Those first 2 weeks went really slowly and I wondered how on earth I was going to cope with the rest of it. I was desperate to get back into a proper routine with school 4 days a week and activities in between.

It was cold and wintery and treacherous, but it was pretty beautiful at times too.

It was cold and wintery and treacherous, but it was pretty beautiful at times too.

It all changed in a moment though. All of a sudden, Ramona was better having been really poorly since before Christmas and the early starts were back again. I realised I hadn’t missed them much. School itself is actually quite good fun though and having some structure back to my week was very welcome. Time was moving quickly again and before I knew it, I was in Paris.

The weekend before last, I went to Paris to see my mum. It was a long and stressful journey there. I only had to change at Frankfurt and I had 24 minutes to do so. Not so stressful, I hear you say. Well, yes, it shouldn’t have been. However, my first train was delayed by 25 minutes. We all stepped off the train (there were a number of us going to Paris) and ran as fast as we could. 13 platforms is a pretty long way to run when your train is leaving imminently and you are having an asthma attack though. Did I not mention that? Well, all that needs to be said is that it made a difficult and stressful situation much more difficult and stressful.

Disaster was averted though and, wheezing and panting, I made the train, as did the other runners from platform 6. Whilst this was supposed to be a direct train to Paris, we had to change trains at Saarbruecken. Our connection was delayed by 45 minutes and then gained a further delay of 35 minutes. Quite frankly though, at this point I really didn’t care. I was still going to get to Paris in time for dinner, I was on the train, and I was not going to miss a connection. Plus, my new arrival time was actually more convenient for Mum so I couldn’t complain much.

What is it about your Mum that just makes everything better? I felt better as soon as I saw her running through Paris Est, arms outstretched. We had a wonderful, quiet weekend, initially beginning with a lot of laughs after realising that we had brought the same pajamas (sorry Mum!). We look the same at the best of times but catching sight of ourselves in the mirror with the same clothes on? Priceless. I’m chuckling just thinking about it. We had two main things we wanted to do whilst we were away, the first being the Louvre. Ramsey and I hadn’t really had time when we had been before and so it was a big priority for me. This might be blasphemous, but the Mona Lisa was a bit of a disappointment. I’m well aware of the importance of this beautiful painting, but its on a wall opposite one of the biggest and most spectacular pictures I’ve ever seen: The Wedding Feast at Cana by Veronese. It is a stunning, busy and colourful oil painting and much more awe-inspiring than the Mona Lisa. It is my understanding that the Mona Lisa is the pinnacle of renaissance art but the truth is that many other paintings did much more to turn my head on our stroll through the gallery.

The Venus de Milo

The Venus de Milo

The other thing we particularly wanted to do was go to Sacre Coeur. When Mum was pregnant with me, she lit a candle for me there. Nearly 22 years later, with us there together again for the first time since, it seemed only right to go back and do the same, to say thank you. We headed up there on Sunday morning and saw the end of the service. Whilst we are not Catholics, the spirituality in the place at that time was tangible and we both came away moved. It really is a special place.

The rest of our trip was spent wandering the streets of Paris, sleeping in late and eating good food (and way too much mousse au chocolat!). It was lovely to have some time alone and just enjoy each others company. It’s not so easy to come by nowadays with me being away from home more often than not and with time at home being family time, and rightly so. It’s easy to forget sometimes how important those moments can be though and we both made a promise to find time for each other more often.

Don't we look alike?!

Don’t we look alike?!

Since then, the week has passed pretty quickly and without event. This being because I have spent most of it asleep. Having been sent home from work on Friday unable to speak, I went home frustrated. My throat was excruciating, I was coughing a lot and I had completely lost my voice but I didn’t feel ill as such. By the evening things had worsened greatly though and I had to go to see the emergency doctor. This outing, which was only across the road, seemed like a trek up a mountain and I sat in the doctor’s office in tears, unable to soothe the pain all over my body. He quickly diagnosed me with bronchitis and insisted that me needing to use my inhaler 5 times a day was not a good thing. He signed me off work, gave me antibiotics and some horrible fizzy things which help my lung function and sent me home to bed. I have essentially slept since then. As someone who finds sleeping pretty difficult usually, I feel I have excelled myself. Sleeping all day and all night feels like quite an achievement :). Either way, the sleep has done me good and since I have to go to school tomorrow, I forced myself to be a bit more active and eat some proper food today. The nice thing about all this, in a way, was that I was so poorly that I really didn’t have time to wish I was home or cry that my Mum wasn’t there. I didn’t have the energy for emotion, I just got on with being ill. So, 4 and a half days in bed and I feel human again. I only have one lesson tomorrow so as long as I can get up early enough for it, I’m hoping that the effort doesn’t send me to bed for another few days. Here’s hoping, eh?

As an additional note, I’m really sorry that there has been a whole month since my last post. It would seem that I have lost my way a little and couldn’t find the energy to write. I promise to write more regularly from now on and I must thank you for all your continued support.



  1. I really like the first picture. Brings back memories of visiting Jena in the wintertime.

  2. Hope you have recovered and that all goes well for you this year.

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