Gewürz up your life *

Today marks the official last day of Herbstferien, that magical two-week time period in which I got to be in Leipzig and didn’t even have to do anything, ever. What a blessing! And with so many Euros in my pocket, no less! But alas, today is the end of days, and while I still don’t actually have to go to school tomorrow (Monday is my free day, ha!), I’ll be back to the daily grind on Tuesday, tellin’ kids about English things once again.

And really, that’s okay, too. There is nothing bad about working 12 hours a week and getting rubber-band presents from children who think you’re the bee’s knees.

The ghosts even make this a seasonally appropriate joke.

The ghosts even make this a seasonally appropriate joke.

But, as you may guess, Herbstferien has been great. I will admit to doing a LOT of sleeping. But I’m a 20-something girl with probable insomnia, okay? It’s just how it is. Plus I love sleep and hate mornings. Don’t judge me. However many other things happened, too. I shopped a lot (which was, eh, probably not so advisable), I had 4 visitors who came to stay during various times of Herbstferien *shoutouts to Babz, Helen, Breanna & Tracey– sup, kidz* which made for pretty fun times, I went out and about quite often with the roommates, celebrated Halloween in more ways than one (masks & pie, explanations forthcoming), and was even slightly productive when it comes to my grad school applications (still gotta be more productive in that regard, though, time’s a ticking).

So you know what? I will dare to call this Herbstferien a success. I WILL DARE. It’s been fun. I didn’t travel or anything special, but I have made a promise to myself that I’ll get my shit stuff together (i.e. grad school apps) before I allow myself to galavant this time around. And I stuck to that, and I’ll continue to stick to that! Soon enough.

Oh yikes, that's all too accurate.

Oh yikes, that’s all too accurate.

But I mean it.

Anyway, yeah, about the masks and pie. In light of Halloween approaching and Halloween & pumpkins being so closely associated, Vanessa and I decided to make a pumpkin pie. Which we did. And we ate it yesterday and it actually tasted PERFECT, which was surprising since we accidentally made it out of pickled pumpkin chunks.

Yes, that’s right. I said pickled pumpkin chunks. You can’t buy canned pumpkin puree in Germany, because nobody makes pumpkin pie in Germany. And we didn’t feel like buying the pumpkin and making the pumpkin puree ourselves, because that would have added like a whole hour onto the pumpkin-pie-making process. So we bought a jar of pumpkin, and only when we opened it at home did we realize it was pickled pumpkin, made by this company that specifically only makes pickled things.

This. This is what we bought. It doesn't look all that menacing, but just imagine a pumpkin pie that tastes like pickles. Ughhh.

This. This is what we bought. It doesn’t look all that menacing, but just imagine a pumpkin pie that tastes like pickles. Ughhh.

As I said, LUCKILY, all the spices you put in pumpkin pie totally eliminated any potential-pickle-power (PPP, from now on). All traces of PPP were engulfed by cinnamon and nutmeg and other seasonal Gewürze, and the pie tasted great. General consensus was somewhere between “it tastes like autumn” and “it tastes like Christmas.” So, Thanksgiving. As it should be.

Later that day, Thursday, the day before Halloween, I went to a Masquerade Party with my roommates & company! It was pretty great. I made my mask myself, having bought a blank mask from this craft store. Nathan and I spent an hour or so the Tuesday before jazzin’ them up and then I finished it the next day, when I decided that masks need to be TOTALLY COVERED IN GLITTER (there was, thereafter, glitter all over everything in my bedroom) (and continues to be).

(I also glittered my fingernails). (I may have a glitter problem).

It's totally hard to tell cause of the masks but this is a picture of 4/5 of the original Spice Girls. Dead serious.

It’s totally hard to tell cause of the masks but this is a picture of 4/5 of the original Spice Girls. Dead serious.

* Note to anyone speaking German, the title of this post makes sense in a very loose understanding of the word “sense.” Note to everyone else, I’m making a lame Spice Girls joke, because of course I am.

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I’m not always knitting, I swear

Well, well, well! A month and more has passed since my September 1st arrival in Leipzig, and I’m happy to say that all continues to go swimmingly. I love my schools, I love my apartment, I love my roommates, and I love that I finally got paid last week. This means: I’m now 4 dresses, 2 pairs of tights, and 11 balls of yarn richer. Right?

I've been busy.

I’ve been busy.

While the past few days have mainly consisted of many yarn-related crafts and countless episodes of Gilmore Girls thanks to the “eh”-quality of the weather outside, many delightful things have passiert since my last update. I’m here now to do my best to give a brief, but stunningly interesting overview of each with the most important highlights.

1) I have now met all of my roommates

Big shout outs to the wonderful humans that are Vanessa, Jan, Kim & Eva! Now that university classes are starting up again, everybody’ll be coming home to Leipzig pretty soon and we’ll all be here together and let me just say that I’m SUPER JAZZED about all that will come out of this beautiful union.

2) I’ve made some friends

Now’s the time to shout out to a few more fabulous humans, the other English teaching assistants living in Leipzig this year– we’re only just beginning, folks. Looking forward to the rest.

3) I went to Dresden! And visited Meg before she left

Had a MAGICAL time in that gorgeous city with one Meggelin, which included a splendid tour of the downtown area and a fun evening in the Neustadt, complete with a weird but token free-standing bathroom experience.

Me and Meg, on our way up a mountain in a magical mountain train.

Me and Meg, on our way up a mountain in a magical mountain train.

4) We’ve decided to make going to this English Quiz Night thing at this Irish Pub a weekly occurance

It seems that every Tuesday there’s an “English Quiz Night” at this Irish bar in the kool kid part of town, and me, Nathan, and Layla have decided that we’ve got a standing appointment to lose miserably every week. Maybe one day we’ll get that 25 Euro gift certificate… just maybe.

5) I went on a bus tour of Leipzig with a bunch of teachers from my Sportoberschule

It was great! I love bus tours! They are second only to boat tours.

And I'm not even a tourist cause I tooootally live here.

And I’m not even a tourist cause I tooootally live here.

6) As previously mentioned, I got paid

800 Euro, all for meeeeeee.

7) I Skyped with some of my best girls last night

This doesn’t have all that much to do with my neues Leben in Leipzig, but it was pretty exciting. Me and Abby and Maxie and Sara had a nice little Google Hangout time and all got new titles for the wedding. So, when someone starts referring to me as COO of Wedding Day Shots, don’t be confused. Just down it and roll with it.

8) I got many rubber band presents from small children at the Grundschule

One of the greatest parts of working at an elementary school and not being one of the “real” teachers is the undying adoration I receive from the many little German babies in my classes. Today alone I was gifted a bracelet and a rubber band owl, and promised many more to be presented to me next week. Lovin’ life, guys.

If only the youths put this much effort into literally anything else.

If only the youths of today put this much effort into literally anything else.

11) I registered my address with the city

This, my friends, means that I am a for real // bonafide // echt // non-imaginary // true resident of this fine city named Leipzig. That’s cool. And it’s the first step in the process to get my Aufenthaltstitel, a painful process I’m sure to repeat. At least this part’s over with.

10) I am “officially” enrolled at Universität Leipzig

Now, before everybody goes and gets all pumped about this, I’m enrolled at the university here mostly basically for the badass student card. It gets you all kinds of beautiful benefits, such as free public transportation in the area and discounts around and about! However! I would really like to take a class or so if it were at all possible. This is a cool place, and the university is cool, and I’m sure there are some cool classes offered– I just have to figure out HOW to sign up for them… I’ll get back to you.

I also enrolled for the free tote bag.

I also enrolled for the free tote bag.

What a nice update, don’t you think? I’m happy to have relayed all that information to you, out there, faceless and nameless reader-statistics of the internet.

Tomorrow is “Lichtfest” here in Leipzig, commemorating the 25th anniversary of the Peaceful Revolution here in 1989. Shaping up to be quite an interesting event. There’s a bunch of other American assistants coming in from around Sachsen to visit for it, so I think it will be a nice time. Not entirely sure what it all entails, to be honest. But that’s the best way to go into things, don’t you think?

Blindly.

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My Leben in Leipzig, Part 1

Greetings, meine Lieben!

I write to you today from LEIPZIG, my brand new German home. Surprise, surprise, we’re all surprised, but we all think it’s possibly the coolest thing to ever happen, so hurrah for me.

My update is a bit delayed, I got here on Monday, but until today, the wifi at my apartment has been out, on the fritz, what have you. Then, magically, just a few hours ago, I discovered it was BACK, which is great news because my new lovely wonderful roommates are unfortunately out of town for the weekend…

Hello, Netflix!

BAE <3

BAE ❤

It’s cool, though. This will, to be fair, give me a bit of time to explore this fantastic city and get lost get to know the place all on my very own! I sure hope so, at least.

Yesterday was an interesting day. First of all, I’m at two schools this year. A Grundschule (1-4th grades) and an Oberschule (5-12th grades) that caters to sports. Interesting placement for me, you might be thinking, if you know me, or have ever heard anything about me, but I’m up for it! Maybe it’ll inspire me to buy those workout clothes, after all.

But yeah, anyway. Yesterday, I went to the Grundschule for the first time. Unfortunately, I’ve been suffering from jet lag a bit more than I usually do and, deswegen, I was late getting up. I didn’t have time to shower before running out the door with a nectarine in purse and no real idea of where I was going, aside from the name of the tram stop near the school. But hey I made it.

My Betreuungslehrerin at the Grundschule is, let’s say, delightful. The school is adorable, the Schulleiterin was super friendly, too, and everybody there was just like… nice. Like super nice. It was a really happy day.

Maybe I'll get to have my own crayons. You know, standard ETA supplies.

Maybe I’ll get to have my own crayons. You know, standard ETA supplies.

BUT THEN, the chaos came. My dear pal, Bernie, who spent last semester in Leipzig himself, took it upon his wonderful being to organize a bike for me before he left. I arranged to pick up said bike from his old apartment on Thursday, and, lucky me, I’d even been there before when I visited him in March. So, smart Chelsea, I figured I knew where I was going. And I did!

For a while.

After successfully picking the bike up, I began the process of getting the bike home. Now, Bernie’s old apartment was located, I believe, in the part of the city known as Lindenau. My apartment, however, is not located there. It is, actually, located at least 25 minutes away from Lindenau when you’re riding the convenient (and yet sometimes terrifying) Straßenbahns.

Seeing as how I wasn’t entirely sure where I was going, I decided to walk the bike home rather than ride it. This idea, I thought, was logical, and might only take about an hour at most. I wasn’t too worried about it, since I hadn’t showered that morning anyway, and, what’s an hour’s walk, really?

GUESS WHAT. I was mistaken about everything.

May as well just have gone down this street.

May as well just have gone down this street.

I got lost A LOT. I used up all the data on my phone because of our lack-of-internet at home, so Google Maps was super slow and little help. At one point, I walked past this park and continued my journey for 25 minutes or so only to SUDDENLY REALIZE that I was walking past the exact same park on the exact same side of the street somehow. So that was super fun. And then I almost got hit by a Straßenbahn. It was ringing its little bells at me all angry and everything, and I still managed to almost let it kill me. Whaddayaknow, eh?

Finally, though, FINALLY, looking a hot mess and having to walk directly through the center of the city, I found my way back to my happy, not sweaty apartment. Two hours after beginning my trek. And mind you, it was very hot outside. The weather here’s been pretty mild this week, but it was really warm that afternoon, I swear.

Anyway, that’s been the only rough patch in my life thus far. So, I’d say I’m doing a-okay.

Then today! I went to the Sportoberschule. It was also great! I met the Schulleiterin there, got a little tour from my other Betreuungslehrerin (who is also amazing, and bought me a flower on Wednesday–so sweet!), and met some of the other teachers.

So, yeah. My outlook is positive.

And my Friday-night plans are firmly in place!

And my Friday-night plans are firmly in place!

I can tell this will be a lovely experience, a lovely year, in a lovely city, with lovely roommates in a lovely apartment.

And on this LOVELY note, I leave you, dears. I’ve got a super hot Netflix date and some 2-Euro Austrian wine calling out my name…

Tschüssi!

[Side note: I just went and checked my website statistics, and it appears that my blog has been found twice thanks to searching “lederhosen for little boys.” So. Progress?]

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Let’s do the time warp again

And so, it appears I skipped May entirely. Well, for the best. Who needs it? Some good things did happen, though…

This is not Las Vegas!

This is not Las Vegas!

1) I went to Paris!

If to you this is not already an indication of the good things that May brought, I could not begin to fathom continuing this conversation with you. So, for your sake and mine, let’s imagine that you were equally excited as I wanted you to be the first time around. Paris! That’s right!

I took to the streets of the city of love with one Ashley and one Morgan, Ashley’s cousin who came over to visit for a week. The first part of this trip (i.e. the 11-hour bus ride to get to Paris) is not even worth mentioning, so I’m going to pretend it never happened.

After Ashley and I found each other, we successfully navigated our way to a train station, put our bags in lockers, at some food, drank some coffee, watched some Parisians being Parisian, and shelled out 20 Euro each for tickets to and from Charles DeGaulle to go pick up Morgan. Laaa-aaame, if you ask me. Somebody should really check that ticket price and knock it down, yo.

Once Morgan was in our midst, the real fun began. The next several days were a whirlwind of walking tours, mussels, wine, the Mona Lisa, crepes, cemeteries, cheese, tampons (no comment), baguettes, weird Indian snacks, postcards, Oscar Wilde, and Metro stations. Not to mention, the most important highlight of them all: macarons.

THESE ARE NOT PRETTY PATTIES

THESE ARE NOT PRETTY PATTIES

GUYS GUYS GUYS we went to Laduree and ate macaroons and I wanted to die I was so happy. My macaron obsession comes full-circle: goin’ right to the source. Pistacia Vera ain’t got nothin’ on that shit. Pardon my French (wink!).

To sum up this entire experience, Paris was awesome. I got to see Brittany, the legendary babysitter from my childhood, we went up the Eiffel Tower at night to see the lights and experience the bitter cold even higher up in the sky, we ate decadently and deliciously. I was not disappointed.

2) This weird thing happened at school called a “Maigang” and some teachers and I reenacted (and rewrote) select scenes from “Rocky Horror Picture Show” on camera.

Not sure when my acting debut will be, but someone, somewhere, in the back halls and dark rooms of my Gymnasium, there exists footage of me improv-acting auf Deutsch. My break-out moment is truly when my throat is cut and I die but somehow manage to come back to life seconds later to a rousing chorus of “All You Need is Love.”

I’m not sure, either.

Just me, as a dress-up-German interpretation of "Janet"

Just me, as a dress-up-German interpretation of “Janet”

3) Another thing happened where I made random friends from Wilhelmshaven and did a solitary early-morning hour-long walk home… but that’s really all that needs to be said about this.

4) “Vatertag” / Christi Himmelfahrt

Not entirely sure about the inherent mutual exclusivity of these events, but it seems that in Germany, Vatertag (father’s day) is always celebrated on the day of Jesus’ ascension into heaven. It just so happens that the Germans enjoy their drinking events, and Vatertag seems to be no exception.

Ruth and I were taken under the wing of my dear Betreuungslehrerin and shown what Vatertag is really all about. We went to this place called Drögen Hasen, which, surprisingly, has nothing to do with drugged-up rabbits.

Don't look so shocked, an umlaut makes all the difference

Don’t look so shocked, an umlaut makes all the difference

Instead, it was a field near a restaurant called Drögen Hasen where a cool little festival thing was set up. There were beer wagons, food wagons, there was a dance floor, and there were portable bathrooms. What more can you really ask for when embarking on a day-long drinking adventure?

AND NOW IT IS JUNE.

When the hell did it get to be June already? And MID-June, at that??

How can it possibly be that there’s only — count ’em — EIGHTEEN DAYS left until I make my merry way back home? I’m just as confused as you are, guys. I thought it wasn’t possible to speed up time, but I have in fact been proven wrong.

In making with the fun and attempting to wring out every last squeezable drop of enjoyment from this fabric called LIFE, June has been keepin’ me pretty happy thus far. There were already two, TWO five day weekends this month. Now that’s my kind of month! The first weekend in June (which was rung in with Vatertag) and this past weekend, thanks to something I’m still unsure about called Pfingsten.

Hooray for church holidays being state holidays!

This past weekend was lovely, and included such headliners as the delicious “MC Wok,” the ever-elusive “Skype,” the fickle friend “Karaoke,” my longtime companion “Wine,” with special appearances made by “Hafenfest” and the always-charming “Nordsee.”

This photo is called "Three Ladies on a Beach Making Kissy Faces at One Another"

This photo is called “Three Ladies on a Beach Making Kissy Faces at One Another”

Tomorrow, I make for the Nord again and head to Rostock for one last mini-vacation. Luke will also be showing his freckled-face, so it’s what I like to call “REUNION TIME” up in here. Excited for that, and the happiness that will ensue.

But seriously, how is it June. I feel like my birthday just happened, but in all actuality I’ve been 23 (apparently) for like 6 months now. I’m barely 23 anymore. I may as well be 24, I’m about as close to that as I am to 23. How weird! Am I right?

Guys?

I love me some Google image search.

Google Image Search kills me.

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Ireland is Green & More Astute Observations

Shocking developments as I join you, my dear readers, to report that I have been to Ireland and back, and I will never be the same.

I'm now living in this tower.

I’m now living in this tower.

Yes, that is correct: the Ireland trip has come and gone! Two nights in Dublin, a night in Westport, a day on Achill, two nights in Galway and another night in Dublin to finish it all off: Ireland was a treat. My expectations were high and that beautiful island delivered, my friends, it truly did.

First of all, it was amazing to see my family. My parents, my brother, my grandparents, Aunt Eileen, Rhiannon and Doug, too! We’ll count Doug as a bonus. Everyone flew into Dublin early Wednesday morning and I joined them later that afternoon, after a harrowing journey around approximately one city block for around an hour, attempting to find my dad and/or the hotel in the rain to boot. But I finally did find my family, shortly after young Colin joined us from his apartment somewhere in Dublin that no one ever saw (I do believe he’s living under a rainbow in the shade of a pot of gold…)

Anywho, we had two nights in Dublin, a magnificent start to our journey, in which we par-tayed har-day, like you do, visiting Temple Bar (naturally) and a few other locations that my brother’s become quite familiar with. It was nice having a tour guide in the family, and that most of his highlights were bars was an extra plus. While in Dublin, Doug and I became professional whiskey tasters.

Effectively adding one more superfluous credential to my resume.

Effectively adding one more superfluous credential to my resume.

I sure made the family proud.

After Dublin, it was off to Achill Island, a literal island off the west coast of Ireland where, in fact, my ancestors lived. And when I say “ancestors,” I don’t mean “we’re guessing and it was like 300 years ago so who really knows but how cute of us to visit” (well, I do, but!) — I mean my grandfather’s grandfather was born there! And then came to Cleveland! Because I guess that’s what people did!

It's real!

It’s real!

Achill Island was legitimately an indescribable experience. Our last name was originally spelled “Patten,” before my grandfather’s grandfather made his way to Ohio and it got changed somehow to “Patton,” and it was unbelievable the number of Pattens we were faced with just driving through the place for a few hours.

We stopped at a coffee shop shortly after crossing the bridge onto Achill Island and asked a barista for directions to the castle– in addition to telling us she knows “Pattens all over the island,” she unwittingly directed us to my favorite destination of perhaps the whole Ireland trip, Patten’s Bar, as well as a statue of Johnny Kilbane, a boxer from the early 1900s who I am also ACTUALLY related to (through the Kilbanes on my grandmother’s side). He’s her cousin! We also stopped at a graveyard along the way and I was astounded by the number of Pattens who stayed there well after my family had gone.

Can we move in any time?

Can we move in any time?

From Achill we went to Galway, where I strangely ran into a friend from Austria in a bar (die Welt ist ein Dorf– fo real, though). That was bundles of fun, and we also managed to squeeze another castle in there, too. Shout out to the poor souls that live in Bunratty, a lovely place with an unfortunate sounding name. Sadly, all good things come to an end and I returned to Germany while much of my family returned to Ohio.

But! A twist! My parents and grandparents came back to Germany with me and we all spent some time exploring Oldenburg et. al as well as Hamburg together, culminating in their departure earlier this morning. I was sad to see them go, but I’m stupidly excited to sleep in tomorrow.

And that, my sweet friends, is what happened. Another thing that happened is that I have almost literally zero Euros now, thanks to too many pints of Guinness and the bus ticket to Paris that I finally got around to buying today. Ooh la la!

If I do not come back to Germany exactly like this guy, it will not have been worth it.

If I do not come back to Germany exactly like this guy, it will not have been worth it.

For now, and the next few days, I will enjoy the peace and quiet that comes with it being Osterferien in Niedersachsen and all of my friends away traveling. I have a new hot water bottle to my name (I’ve been in this country too long) and a few shows to catch up with, so until Thursday (spoiler: Netherlands!), I’ll just be here, in my chair, eating Haribo.

Ahh, the life!

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