Tag Archives: leipzig

FOUR MONTHS, zusammengefasst

It’s been an extremely long time since I’ve written on here, but I will not apologize for this absence. Frankly, my dears, I have been having a damn good time and couldn’t be bothered with updating! No offense, or anything, but life is for living, is it not?

The weather has been INSANE and beautiful as of late. Today, it got up to 33 degrees Celsius!

(91 degrees Fahrenheit, I know you were wondering.)

(91 degrees Fahrenheit, I know you were wondering.)

It’s June, time is almost up here in the great D-Land of my heart, but the past few months have not been wasted, and the coming 24 days shall not be, either.

Since we last spoke, I’ve had many things happen, but I will only detail a few of them here.

I went to Berlin and met up with the OU Salzburg group! ‘Twas a delight, truly, and I think I showed them a bit of what Army Chelsea of 2011 was like on all those group excursions. At a time in my life, I was, indeed, a badass.

Bernie & Marianne came to visit in Leipzig! That was pretty sweet, they shared their intimate knowledge of our collective city and I got to find some hidden gems that I’d not yet stumbled upon. Shout out to Substanz, the most delishhhh place in Reudnitz, probably (possibly).

I had the beautiful privilege of visiting my roommate Vanessa in her hometown, Wittenburg! Saw that 95 Theses door, hellooooo Martin Luther! HISTORY COMES TO LIFE SOMETIMES, GUYS.

At times more literally than others.

At times more literally than others.

Another pastime of mine became what I’m now referring to in my head as STADTWALKS, just long, often aimless walks around Leipzig for hours at a time. I’ve come upon some pretty cool things. One day I took a train out to a tiny village 15 minutes away from Leipzig and decided to walk all the way back to my house, a trek that Google maps correctly estimated to be 4 and a half hours. Why would I do this, you might ask, why on earth would I do this!? Well friends, out in the tiny town of Beucha, one finds a truly delightful sight.

MY HAIR IS SO RED

MY HAIR IS SO RED

THIS IS THE BERGKIRCHE BEUCHA! So pretty. So so pretty. I couldn’t deal I almost lost my shit marbles.

On the way walking back from Beucha, I got yelled at by a scary German farmer man for taking a picture of his crumbling barn. He chased me down the street and wouldn’t believe that my intentions were anything but malicious, and told me that you just can’t DO that, this isn’t AMERICA after all.

Preach.

I explored the Sächsische Schweiz! I was treated to homemade, traditional cuisine at my lovely mentor teacher’s house! I went back to Salzburg! Because I love Salzburg. And I can’t not be in Salzburg for very long, apparently.

Stiegl for life.

Stiegl for life.

Luke was here! We went to the zoo! Kat was here! We went to Berlin! Maddy was here! We stayed out until six in the morning really enjoyed catching up!

Goth Week came and went, Leipzig filled up with the darkest of souls for a long weekend and oh my, so many heimliche pictures were taken. I sort of wish that was what Leipzig was like ALL the time, like 1/3 of the city just always walked around in period Victorian wear with dog leashes around their necks, painted from head to toe as a skeleton.

What a world, you guys.

What a world, you guys.

And now, we are in the throws of Stadtfest, what has been a wonderful week-long celebration of Leipzig’s 1000th birthday.

That’s right. ONE THOUSANDTH BIRTHDAY. Leipzig has been around for ONE. THOUSAND. YEARS. Take a moment and try to fathom that, because seriously, you cannot.

The coming days of June promise to be warm, sunny, and delightful. WHO CAN SAY what is yet to come, but I’m going to Berlin tomorrow (again) with Layla and Nathan (not again), so that’s already a good sign.

Perhaps I’ll update you on that trip once it happens, and perhaps not. Holding a grudge is a sign of weakness,

LOVE YOU, CHELS

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This Post is Basically Just About Food

So I concede, it’s been quite a while since I’ve last detailed the intricacies of my absolutely fascinating life on the internet for all (Mom) to see. Please excuse me, but like, really guys. I’ve been a little busy, you know, doing totally cool stuff and being a badass.

Just to clarify.

Well, a lot has happened since, what, November? Things like Christmas and my 24th birthday and the apocalypse I joined a gym. These are just a few examples.

All of December here was truly amazing, as you might expect. If you remember correctly, December is the time of CHRISTMAS here in the Vaterland. Weihnachten, that is. And Christmas markets. I cannot tell you how much I love the Weihnachtsmärkte. It’s probably my favorite thing about being in this country– for a month in what might otherwise be a dreary time, weather-wise, you can almost certainly be brought into a sort of fairy-tale like world of delicious food stuffs, lights, singing, overpriced handicrafts and, oh you thought I’d forgotten, Glühwein.

Glühwein

Ahh, Glühwein. That most sultry and cinnamony of winter-time beverages.

I do declare that from here on out, never a Christmas season shall pass that I do not sip on this most delectable of treats. As per the usual, I made sure to bring some along to my Christmas festivities at home, because yes, once again, I was most warmly welcomed back into Ohio for two beautiful weeks of family and friends and far too much alcohol.

It was great being home, as one might think. I have a tendency to forget that being around people you’ve known for years and years is pretty cool, and I like that my time spent away (so much time) has allowed me that perspective. Here’s to keeping that idea fresh and fancy forever (we’d hope).

Returning to Leipzig was bittersweet, of course. I’d come to really be used to a steadily stocked fridge and the cozy comfortableness of having absolutely nothing to do all day. Yet I was happy to get back here, see my beautiful roommates, hand out the few little things I’d brought back from my time in the crazy place that is the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA (exotisch), and begin preparations for what would be the day that marked my 24th year of life.

For my birthday, I decided we’d cook fajitas.

Fajitas? You might ask. But Chelsea, really, fajitas? Didn’t you just return from America, the magical land that allowed you to eat Mexican food for six straight days in a row while you were home?

Yes, I’d answer. Yes, I did, but get ahold of yourselves. There is no such thing as too much Mexican food.

So! The effort began to bring the delight of fajitas to Germany. It’s not exactly an easy task, since what Germans lack in the Mexican food department they make up in, basically, just sausages. We toiled and shopped and spent a while at the grocery store, but eventually emerged with appropriate supplies. I made guacamole, we had some sort of strange taco-seasoning to add to the mix (in the hopes that it’d impart some of that flavor food around here sometimes seems to be missing), and a whole lot of peppers. Cause fajitas means peppers.

This is not a picture of the fajitas we made.

This is not a picture of the fajitas we made.

And lo– we did it! Fajitas were created. I managed to even find some black beans, cause I love black beans, though they were drenched in some strange chili sauce so I washed them off and they were actually pretty good. Gotta buy me some more of those, mental note. I was pleased, not only by the fajitas, but by the three different kinds of sangria I also purchased as a taste-test to go along with the meal (Spanish/Mexican/whatever, it worked).

Muy bien!

The week after my birthday, dear Eva, my roommate, celebrated hers. We threw a big ol’ party on that Thursday that we got sponsored (??? still confused) and therefore had like 6 cases of free beers and a bunch of free Bacardi to offer our guests. Pretty fly. Good times had by all, and the following day, I departed for a grand adventure to my most favorite of European locations…

If you've ever met me, you  know how stupid happy this sight would make me.

If you’ve ever met me, you know how stupid happy this sight would make me.

Salzburg! My homie Bernie just got there a few weeks ago for his last semester of college, so I traveled on down, aboard a bus, mind you, and spent the weekend in my European hometown. I love getting to continue visiting that place. I made so many of my best friends there.

To top it all off, we got to spend the day in Maria Alm, a little village surrounded by Alps (that were obscured entirely by some kinda wonderful snowstorm) just a few hours away from Salzburg, with my former German professors and their crazy cute adorable bilingual children. And we went to lunch with them at this wonderful little restaurant place named after a Farmer’s Cabinet (no time to explain, the dog’s on fire!) and I ate some Käsespätzle and my life was complete.

You guys, I almost couldn’t leave.

But then I did, because Leipzig, and I reminded myself that I love it here too, in different ways and for different reasons. I got back here at like 5 AM on last Tuesday morning and I was so happy to see that Hauptbahnhof, you guys– this place is fabulous.

Also, while in Salzburg, Bernie and I made the important discovery that my target audience for everything I write/do/say lately is really American people (or people who have a vast familiarity with Americanness) who speak/study German. So, if nothing I write/do/say comes off as funny to you, that’s not my fault. It’s all on you, for refusing to partake in the joy that is the German language.

See like it's your own fault if you don't get that.

See like it’s your own fault if you don’t get that. YOUR SCHULD. Sorry.

Since then, life’s been sailing along pretty smoothly still. Friday night I went with Kim and Vanessa to a party thrown by the university’s sport-department. The theme was Fasching, aka Karneval, aka German Halloween, and I dressed up as Little Red Riding Hood (or Rotkäppchen, if you wanna be authentic) in a cape I sewed myself, out of a 2 Euro red fleece blanket (bargain, eh Madre?), along with a little wicker basket I used to hold my purse.

That was, shall I say, preeeetty fun. Just affirming my belief that Leipzig belongs on the list right next to Salzburg of Chelsea’s Favorite Places on this Earth.

I also finished my graduate school applications! 9 schools, all submitted, almost late just in the nick of time. Just all send out positive thoughts that I don’t suck so much that I can’t even get into one of them. Oh god oh god, why did I even just put that out there.

Oh, and yeah, I joined a gym. Crazy stuff, but shut up. I’ve got a wedding to be in this summer, and I better be lookin’ damn good. No more Schnitzel hips for me, kids.

Dude I've been fighting you for like four years. GET OUT.

Dude I’ve been fighting you for like four years. GET OUT.

We’ll see. Cause really, sometimes that stuff is kind of delicious.

BABY STEPS.

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Märchenstunde // Storytime : No. 1

This is a story about a girl named Chelsea who hailed from America and had a fondness for German. Even as a young child of only 19 years, this passion for Deutsch led Chelsea down a tangled, twisted, sometimes tortured path. She traversed the Valley of Separable Prefix Verbs, ascended through the infamous Adjective Ending Chart Mountains, and sailed down the deadly but often tedious Subordinate Clause River, where she searched for and, one day, miraculously found the often-sought but seldom-discovered village, curiously named Verb at the End of the Sentenceville.

At the age of 22, she emerged from the Reflexive Forest, herself a victor, herself a conqueror. Such triumphs, though celebrated, were mere hiccups for our fine explorer. Chelsea knew that though her skills had been tested and her quest had been noble, no journey could prepare her for what lay ahead at the end of the map.

Frankly, it wasn't all that easy to follow in the first place.

To be fair, it wasn’t all that easy to follow in the first place.

No, there was nothing to be done that might have allowed Chelsea a glimpse into the future. To a world in which her battles didn’t matter, her successes were but moments in the past, forgotten and made unimportant by the passing of time. To the present day, to miles and miles away, to now, where Chelsea, age 23, finds herself: as a teaching assistant, at two German schools, in Sachsen.

This is a story about a girl, a girl who spent years struggling with German, fighting her aging brain to just please let me have a little more space I only need to shove a few more irregular verb conjugations in there okay guys; it’s a story about a girl who spent many a night alone in her room, a Wörterbuch her only bedfellow, highlighter in hand and crazed glint in her eye, a girl who couldn’t sleep at night for the unending questions rattling against her skull– Is that verb reflexive? I can see how it might be… but I can also see how it might not be. But it seems like it’s reflexive. Oh well, I’ll just go to sleep… actually I better look that up.

For all that time, that effort, that struggle– and what? A decent grasp of the German language, of course. But did that prepare Chelsea to take on a role as an English Teaching Assistant? No. Not at all. Because to be an English Teaching Assistant, knowledge of German is only 5% of whatever I’m vaguely talking about. 95% is making a fool out of yourself and trying not to offend anyone. Only anecdotal evidence may shed some light on what this truly means…

Surprise!

Today with special guest, Angela Merkel!

And now, what follows, are short tales of life in a German school as seen by an American teaching assistant.  Ignore the Erich Kästner in her hands and imagine instead that our German pal Angie up there is reading these little vignette-y things out loud to you. It’ll make everything that much more authentic.

Today, we bring you 3 stories–  all true, all plucked from Chelsea’s daily life, and all not actually presented by Angela Merkel.

 


 

1) The “Beaches” Incident

Chelsea sits in a small “Vorbereitungsraum” with three 9th graders, two boys and a girl, practicing English conversation skills. A few uncomfortable moments where kids tell me their families don’t have enough money to travel to other countries and look at me as if to say “and why the hell is this your business?” I want them to know, it’s not my fault! It’s just the activity I was given! But otherwise so far, so good. Question to discuss: where would you like to go on vacation if you could go anywhere in the world and why?

Noah: I want to go to Monaco.

Chelsea: Oh really! That’s interesting. I’ve never been there. Why do you want to go to Monaco?

Noah: Um… I think for the fast cars. And also for the bitches.

(Other two kids start to laugh)

Chelsea: For the beaches?

Noah: Yes, yes, the beaches. (Noah starts to laugh)

(Everybody’s laughing now. Chelsea is laughing, but she isn’t sure if she should be laughing)

Chelsea: I mean, unless you mean bitches. Or bitches on beaches. Right? Yeah guys? Right? Haha… heh… I don’t know.

 


2) Do You Have a Scorpion for Me?

It’s almost Halloween and Chelsea is preparing a lesson for the kids at the Grundschule. Shopping for ideas, she runs across a bag of neon glittery plastic insects– spiders, cockroaches, scorpions, the like. “Perfect,” she thinks, “the kids will love these. I’ll give them to the winners of the memory game I will go home and spend three hours making by hand, with love.”

Fast forward to the following week. A fourth-grade classroom. Children’s screams echo down the hallways for sure and Chelsea stands in the midst of their source, surrounded by the kids themselves.

Kids: That’s so MEAN. It’s not FAIR that only the winners get them! It’s not even like the game was HARD it was just all about LUCK this isn’t FAIR you’re MEAN CHELSEA.

Chelsea: Blahfweaosdjkfasdljfsladf…?

Kids: THIS ISN’T NICE THIS ISN’T FAIR

Chelsea: (resigned to the fact that she is not cut out for this long-term) Would it help if I bought you guys presents and brought them next time?

One Kid, Conceding: Yes… but can I have a sparkly spider right now though?

And they weren't even as cool as these so I don't get what the big deal was GUYS.

And frankly they weren’t even as cool as these so I don’t get what the big deal was GUYS.

While no children were harmed in the battle of the Iridescent Plastic Cockroach of 2014, a few tears were shed amongst the students. All other classes were told that there were no prizes, there had never been any prizes, and anybody from another class who told them that there were prizes was a dirty, dirty liar.

 


3) Rebel Rebel

Chelsea walks in to a 4th grade classroom. This class isn’t always the most well-behaved, but there’s a certain group of girls who make up Chelsea’s “fan club.” They usually participate and try to impress with their knowledge and enthusiasm for English class.

Today, they grab Chelsea’s arm and notice… her tattoo.

Evita: Is that a tattoo!

Chelsea: Uhh…

Leah: I want one! That’s so cool!

Evita: Me too!

(The girls run to grab a pen. Chelsea sits at the front of the room. Silent. Wondering if this is what parents mean when they call something a “bad influence”)

Katja: Can you draw it on me, Chelsea?

Chelsea: Umm… I don’t think that would be… I don’t know if… Uh, well, you go ahead, I guess.

Yeah... yeah.

Yeah… yeah.

 


So! Meine Damen und Herren, until next time.

This has been the first edition of MÄRCHENSTUNDE//STORYTIME, brought to you diesmal by Angela Merkel & friends. Join us next time for the fun with a different German moderator, just as much unnecessary extravagance, and, most importantly, more tales from the Vaterland about Chelsea, our adventurer, and the ridiculous things that happen when you hang out with foreign children in school all the time.

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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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