For those of you that know me, you will probably know that my European adventure is fast approaching. By 7:30pm tomorrow, I will be on a plane headed to Berlin, Germany, in preparation of my beginning work as an assistant English teacher. I have been anticipating this adventure for so long, that I can hardly believe the time is finally here!
Writing this is bringing back a ton of memories to the very first time I wrote for this blog. It was about 11pm the day before I took off to Germany for 3 months, and I figured that it would be a great way to record all of my adventures. I have learned a lot of things since that first trip: for one thing, a three month trip is extremely different from going to Germany for 5 weeks. I had never realized how proud I was of being a Canadian until I was away from home for that long. I also missed home more than I expected to, although the experience was definitely amazing. I have also learned that, for me to finally speak German flawlessly, I have to stop allowing people to talk to me in English. Last year I kept expecting my language skills to magically improve themselves, but it is definitely going to take some intense work! And most importantly, I learned that there are a fair amount of people that enjoy reading all about my adventures. I thank you all so much for encouraging me to continue writing, and I strive to create something worth your time!
This time, as I am going for 9 months, I am quite nervous…it sure is a long time to be away from home with no visits! But I’m enjoying this moment of not knowing what exactly is to come, and looking forward to the moment when I look back and see how much I’ve learned. Never stop growing, right?
But anyhow, let me fill you in on what I do know at this point! I will be working at a High School in Germany, which teaches students from grades 7-12. I imagine I will be working with the older kids, who could enjoy hearing someone with a Canadian accent instead of a German one. I am bringing both my bagpipes and my smallpipes to Germany, and may use my big bagpipes as a threatening tool whenever the class gets out of hand. “Settle down, or so help me I’ll play a tune!” I’ve also been taking pictures of various Canadian things throughout this summer to show the students: playing with my pipebands, working at the Stampede,and driving through the mountains. My job will require an hour-long commute there and back, every day, during which time I intend on reading my heart out. I’m bringing lots of books with me, and once I finish them I would love to attempt to read a few German children’s books.
I arrive in Berlin on August 23rd, and on the 25th Sebastien and I will begin driving to Cologne (Köln). We will be making a stop at the Köln Zoo, where we can check out the awesome hippos there (in case you didn’t know, they’re my favourite animal!) On the 26th I will meet up with a group of people also participating in the P.A.D program, and we will be transported from the Köln Central Station to a spot near Bonn, where we will have orientation for 2 days. I really hope I am able to find the group, instead of wandering by them aimlessly three times like I did with my group last year. On the 28th, I will take a train back to Berlin, as long as I do not end up hopelessly lost. And on August 30th, the real work begins!
I am really excited for when I form a routine with my job, and know what is what. I would love to take a German course if I can this year, perhaps through a program at Sebastien’s university. I would also love to visit a few other places if I get the chance, such as Portugal and perhaps the UK. It would be awesome if I could attend a bagpiping competition in Scotland at some point, although I am not bringing a uniform with me so that would be a bit of a gongshow.
Besides that, I am certainly excited for all of my visitors! My mom is planning on visiting me in November, and my dad in March. A few piping friends will likely pay me a visit in December, so I’m looking forward to that! I’ve had a fantastic summer at home, playing with both the Cochrane Pipeband and the Rocky Mountain Pipeband – it makes me hesitant to leave, but as my various friends are going back to school in Victoria or beginning their big-kid jobs in the real world, I’m getting more and more excited to begin this adventure.
Well, there you go. A taste of what is to come, and hopefully enough to keep you interested!