Monthly Archives: September 2013

Erdbeer Fields Forever: Rostock, and other tales

This is me, right now, in a photo I’m calling “Chelsea, Who Is Bored.”

I'm also wearing what I've decided to call my "German Power Outfit."

I’m also wearing what I’ve decided to call my “German Power Outfit.” Note the large infinity scarf.

So, what better to do than write a blog post? Surely this will help alleviate the tedium of my day between the hours of 2 and 8 PM.

Luckily, it’s not all just the daily grind here in Deutschland. I had a fabulous weekend in Rostock! Visiting my dear friend and fellow ETA Ashley, as well as the other ETAs posted up in that North of all Northern cities (not counting anything in Schleswig-Holstein, of course).

I spent a lovely three nights and four days in the good German state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, something I’m sure no one has ever heard of, but we’re gonna roll with it, because it’s real. For some reason, I’d heard less-than-positive things about Rostock from people here in Oldenburg, though I now can’t imagine why. It was an absolutely lovely place.

Though not quite this bright and sunny, it being mid-September, and all (damn, time flies).

Though not quite this bright and sunny, it being mid-September, and all (damn, time flies).

Not to mention the myriad of attractions surrounding the place! Not only did I get to enjoy the various ethnic restaurants and communist ice cream shops that line the streets of Rostock, oh, no. I also had the pleasure of visiting this place:

STRAWBERRIES EVERYWHERE.

STRAWBERRIES EVERYWHERE.

Karls Erlebnisdorf/Erdbeerhof! A MAGICAL WORLD OF FRUIT AND WONDER. I ate cake! Went through a corn maze! Slid down a giant slide! Spent way too much money on strawberry-related souvenirs!

The best part: The Probier-Bar. Free samples of strawberry wine, blueberry wine, cherry wine, sea-buckthorn wine (huh?), plum wine! AND– the kicker, free samples of various house-made liquors! Drop a coin in the little metal bank and SAMPLE, my friends, SAMPLE. It’s supposed to be 50 cents, but we figured as long as a metallic clanging sound was heard, it was all okay.

Speaking of strawberry souvenirs, these are now in my possession:

Red wine for KINGS.QUEENS).

Red wine for KINGS.

And! The Erlebnishof also houses the world’s largest collection of porcelain coffee pots! Guinness Book of World Records Certified! So, there’s that.

If you weren’t sure, I love this place. It is absurd and whimsical and delicious.

Another magnificent Ausflug made during the weekend was the jaunt up to Warnemünde, a beachy-resorty-touristy-town a bit more north and on the Baltic Sea. It wasn’t exactly “beach-weather,” but we had a nice time walking around, eating fish-type-foods, and drinking beers in the sand (and sand in our beers).

Best moment: Old German man walks up to our group and asks if we’ve been in the water yet. Like sane people, we say no, and recommend that he also avoid the freezing waves of death just a few yards away. As we start walking back toward the town, we turn and observe said old man stripping down to his underwear and galloping into the water, all while his wife and daughter look on and take pictures. He got in all the way to his chest, spent a little time doing whatever-the-hell one does in a frigid sea, and retreated to the safety of shore amidst our applause. His family was so delighted by the showing of support from confused onlookers that our efforts are now forever documented in their vacation photos.

And don't forget the harsh winds. YOU CAN'T FORGET THE WINDS.

And don’t forget the harsh winds. YOU CAN’T FORGET THE WINDS.

I had a great time, and I’m looking forward to visiting those Northern Peoples again some time. If for no other reason than I’m bound to run out of this strawberry wine by tomorrow over the coming months.

I made it back to Oldenburg safe and sound in the wee hours of Monday morning and have been enjoying being home after such a hectic few days. Ate some Nordsee with Alice, bought some pants (10 Euro– sweet deal!) and am starting to begin to consider thinking about planning my trip to Salzburg and Oktoberfest in two weeks.

In closing, I leave you with these remarks.

  1. Rostock is a very nice place.
  2. No matter how many people think it’s “so capitalist of you (quote),” go to Karls Erlebnisdorf/Erdbeerhof and get your buzz on at the Probier-Bar.

You never know what awesome photo-ops will rise from such merriment.

Perhaps one probier too many.

Perhaps one probier too many.

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Special Edition: Oldenburg’s Next Top Model

There are no words truly eloquent enough to describe what you’re about to see. Other than to say that the lovely Alice, ETA from Montana, makes a guest appearance at the end.

Enjoy.

“Magic Oldenburg Modeherbst Male Model Dancing Extravaganza” video expertly taken by the quick-thinking Chelsea Patton.

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When German kids attack…

Good morning, America. It’s afternoon here in Oldenburg, Deutschland, and my only accomplishment of the day has been making coffee and dressing myself in an outfit not previously worn.

This has been a wonderful week in the life of Chelsea, Fremdsprachenassistentin Extraordinaire.

First of all, school is fabulous. I ended up going to a bunch of different classes this week, and I LOVED it. Various ages of students and various levels of English ability, and it’s so fascinating to see how they all reacted differently to my existence. One girl in the 9th grade went nuts as soon as she realized I was from the United States, and the 7th graders all wanted to know what my favorite song was and how old I am.

You'd never guess, would you?

You’d never guess, would you?

One of my favorite moments is one I’ve forgotten to recount to many people. I was in a 7th grade class and accidentally let it slip that I knew German. The kids all got really excited and at the end of class, the teacher decided to let them ask me any question they wanted auf Deutsch.

One little boy started trying to test my knowledge of the language. He asked me to say a Plusquamperfekt sentence, and when that didn’t trip me up, asked me to say something in Präteritum. When his tricks didn’t manage to phase me, he announced to the class, in German, “She knows too much!”

‘Twas pretty cute.

You will not outsmart me, German youths.

You will not outsmart me, German youths.

Anyway, school is great, life is great. I feel pretty social for someone who knows a grand total of four-or-so people in this city. No real plans on the horizon tonight, but I’m hoping to step out a bit and explore the nightlife with Alice! Speaking of life at night, I figured out how the light on my bike works! So, thank god, I can ride it in the dark without getting yelled at by the scary German police. At least for the light thing. My knowledge of the Bicycle-Road-Rules here is so limited that I’m resigned to the fact that I’ll be reprimanded before long.

So, it’s a rainy Saturday at 1:00 PM in Germany, and the view out my window is a bit dismal, but hey. I’ve got a few friends. Life is looking pretty good.

Not to mention, plans are in the works for a visit to Oktoberfest in München and a weekend in Salzburg. GET READY, ÖSTERREICH. More details coming soon.

Just know this:

My dirndl is en route to Oldenburg.

My dirndl is en route to Oldenburg.

CHELSEA OUT.

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Just another Deutschtag

Having returned from my venture out to Rossmann (a sort-of drug store), I am now enjoying a glass of white wine that I purchased there while watching Arrested Development. Because hey– Netflix works. Oh yeah.

Aren’t I supposed to be living in Germany?

Just for clarification, I definitely do, and as proof I offer to you (the Internet) this picture I just took while walking through downtown.

Only in September in Deutschland. Because these are logical people.

Only in September in Deutschland. Because these are logical people.

I can’t answer any more questions, because I just don’t know.

Two days have passed now since I have “officially” been working at the school. Though I should mention, I’m using the term loosely, as I’ve yet to do very much. There are SO many English teachers at my Gymnasium! And I have no idea who they are, and I think a lot of them aren’t sure what exactly to do with me. Next Monday is a meeting of the English faculty, which is good, cause I think my role might be cleared up a bit, and hopefully I’ll be able to get together a good schedule for watching and observing the different classes.

Yesterday, though eventful, wasn’t the first-day-of-school I’d been expecting, really. I did mostly logistical things– got introduced to the faculty by the principal, got my keys to the building (so much power), drank coffee, left early… Mind you, to get a bike (!!!) and eat lunch at one of my Betreuungslehrerinnen’s houses.

I do only the most important things at work.

I do only the most important things at work.

Today, I at least made it to one class! It was a wonderful one, too, a seventh grade class. And I really enjoyed watching the teacher. Coming at English from the perspective of it being a foreign language is a completely different way of looking at something I’ve been familiar with my whole life (obviously). And really, it’s pretty cool.

I also have at least two other classes I’m visiting tomorrow, so that’s good. Hopefully once I’m at school again I’ll have the opportunity to ask a few other teachers if I can hop on in with them.

Well, at least the text is appropriate.

Well, at least the text is appropriate.

Speaking of German-problems, today has not really been my most on-pointe DeutschTag. I’m just not spittin’ those words as well as I do some other days, which is actually quite frustrating, but whatever. I’m blaming it on my over-consumption of Arrested Development since yesterday.

Najaaaa, anyway. I also did a great job of making non-German speaking friends the other day. Which, I guess, is not that big of an accomplishment since English is like my big ol’ fluffy baby blanket, basically, but I’m still super jazzed.

And tomorrow night I’ve got dinner plans with the other American ETA, Alice! I feel like such a go-getter. AND, as the week goes on, get this: I have even more things penciled in on my social calendar. Chelsea, you butterfly, you!

Flying into social situations with a frequency you wouldn't believe.

Flying into social situations with a frequency you wouldn’t believe.

And, one bit of fabulous news before we exit this elevator: I got accepted by the Uni Bremen to do a Gaststudium! Which means! I get a SemesterTicket! Hooraaaaay!

All in all, things could be worse. Now if you’ll excuse me, Mr. White Wine and I have a bit of a date to get on with. Tschüss!

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You might be homeless, but you’re never Domless

I don’t think I’ve ever slept more in my life. The past 24 hours, I have taken two naps and gotten the full 8-hour night-time amount on top of all that. I’m feeling fly, guys. Why so much sleeping, you might ask? Or you might not, but maybe you would!

To answer that question, I think it’s easiest to say I spent a week in Köln, bitchez, and did all the things a girl in Köln should.

Zum Beispiel: Ashley and I climbed the Dom! It’s insanely tall, once the tallest building in Europe, I hear. Took about a half hour to get all the way up (granted, we did take lots of chat-breaks).

I wish I could say this was the view from my apartment. DOMVISION.

I wish I could say this was the view from my apartment. DOMVISION.

And for those of you wondering, Dom means “cathedral” auf Deutsch.

The weekend in Köln was quite enjoyable. Made some friends, drank some Kölsch. What else could you ask for? Oh, right. Another 3 days in a picturesque countryside hotel with 139 other American teaching assistants.

We all journeyed together from the Köln Hauptbahnhof to Maria in der Aue, a beautiful secluded conference center hotel type thing about an hour from the city, in a village called Wemelskirchen. Much to my mother’s dismay, it was SO secluded that internet and phone service were spotty at best.

The food! The people! The knowledge! After orientation, I’m glad to say I feel a BIT more secure in my “job description” at my Gymnasium in Cloppenburg. Speaking of, I start work on Monday.

YEP.

YEP.

I’m nervous, but the school is wonderful and the teachers are wonderful and (here’s hoping) the students are wonderful. It’s gonna be great.

Last night I was invited to dinner at a new friend’s apartment. It’s ridiculous how such a small thing could make me feel SO HAPPY. I felt like I had friends! Do you know what a good feeling that is!? Viel gegessen, viel getrunken, viele Kartenspiele gespielt.

And tonight! Tonight is apparently the Nacht der Museen, where the museums in Oldenburg are open at night and you go and walk around and it’s cool, apparently. Regardless of if that’s true, I’m going! With the other ETA living in Oldenburg and her roommate. Very much looking forward to this, I feel like I am real person having weekend plans and the like. GO ME.

Droppin' truth bombs.

Droppin’ truth bombs.

Also got some sweet deals at H&M today. I shouldn’t really be spending money, but c’mon, when you get a dress and t-shirt for only 10 Euro, who can say no? Well, I can’t, at least.

Two more small gems to leave you with.

1) A bunch of cows got mad at me for taking a picture with them.

I've never heard such angry moo-ing.

I’ve never heard such angry moo-ing.

2) Last night I held a gecko and wasn’t even that scared.

What big eyes you have!

What big eyes you have!

So many animal encounters! Anyway, that should keep you (mom) satisfied for a few days. I’ll be back on Monday, to tell the story of Chelsea, English Teaching Assistant, and Her Adventures at the German Gymnasium. We’re hoping the students avoid the topic of Syria when asking me questions, because do you think I’ve been keeping up with the news lately?

If you said yes, I don’t think we’ve ever met.

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