When I realized that it has officially been a month since my birthday, I realized it has been almost that long since my last blog post! So I shall briefly summarize the most exciting things I’ve been up to lately, and it’s up to you to decide whether they’re actually that exciting or not.
Since my last post, Berlin was hit with a fairly large amount of snow – just a little sample of what everyone else at home has been experiencing all winter. Luckily, I finished knitting my very fancy scarf right before the snow hit, and was able to coast through the bad weather in comfort. Now, it’s back to being nice and mild. I realize this is a pretty boring update, but it does present a good chance to put up a few photos: one of my school in a winter wonderland, and another of the amazing scarf.
One of the teachers at my school has put me in charge of the Lesson Plans for a grade 10 class. I’ve been producing tables that list what the class will be doing every ten minutes, based on their current unit (Science…who would have thought I would be teaching science! Good thing it’s not their first language). I get nervous before every class I teach, but so far I’ve been very pleased with how each one went. The students are attentive and good at doing the tasks I set out for them. I think they enjoy having me teach them vocabulary, because I involve my amazing charades skills to describe exactly what each word means. During the first class I was able to use the seating chart to memorize a good portion of their names, but by the second class they were back to sitting wherever they wanted – so by now I know about 25 percent of them. Most of the time, I point and kind of make a vague murmuring sound so they think I have addressed them by name. A few of their names are really tough, especially since I’m learning from a sheet of paper. My personal favourite is ‘Ngoc”. I thought maybe she was prone to choking, and that’s where her name comes from. But if I recall correctly, it’s pronounced “I-nuq” or something like that. There was another one that was spelled really strangely, but in the end it’s pronounced “iTouch” which isn’t too hard to remember. In any case, I’m really enjoying working with that group. All grade 10 students have a really intimidating oral exam coming up, so when I’m not acting as the main teacher I’m taking pairs of students into the hall and helping them to practice their speaking skills.
This Thursday, I attended my last German class at the Technische Universität. Each student was asked to bring some sort of food for the last class, so I made three separate attempts at baking cookies. Unfortunately, granulated sugar and icing sugar are very different, so my first batch of shortbread cookies turned into one big sugar-butter blob. Then I tried my classic peanut butter cookies using German peanut butter, and these turned into…well, they actually looked the exact same coming out of the oven as they did going in, except greasier. Luckily, my boyfriend very kindly gave me some of his Canadian peanut butter, so that batch turned out a lot tastier. (Note to self: better ask my Dad to bring Sebastien more peanut butter in return for his kindness!) I brought said peanut butter cookies to the class, and they went over very well. There were a lot of really interesting dishes there for me to sample too – a friend from Britain brought in English mustard with sausages, and there were a number of different Chinese delicacies to try. We finished the class by playing “Mensch ärgere Dich nicht” which is the name for a game that basically every culture knows. I think in Canada we have “Trouble” and “Sorry” and it’s all basically that same concept. It was really sad to say goodbye to everyone in that class – it had been a really close group thanks to the small size of it, and I feel like I learned a lot through having such long discussions all in German. An excellent experience to add to the list from my year here!
And Friday was, of course, Valentine’s Day! It was my first Valentine’s Day in the same city as Sebastien, but we didn’t get up to a lot of romantic things. Sebastien’s sister invited us to an event going on in Hohen Neuendorf, which is a small town outside of Berlin. This event was “One Billion Rising” and was actually taking place throughout the world. I think I read somewhere that in 2013, the event occurred in 203 countries worldwide. People gather in public places and dance in protest of violence against women. The event was well publicized, with coverage in the newspaper and an entire youtube video created afterwards. I had a lot of fun at this event, although I acted all shy and was therefore in practically no photos. However, I’m going to attach a photo of the event – I’m the one in the dark purple sweater and colourful sheepie hat, if you would like to try and spot me. Also, here’s a link to a video of the event this year: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J9PVO_ZPbVc
The last, but certainly not least, most interesting thing that has happened to me this past while is that I’ve been accepted to two Library Science Master’s Programs! Yay! I have been accepted to both Western Ontario University, and the University of Toronto. I still have a ton of decision-making ahead of me, but it’s nice to know that I can officially begin a program in September. The application process isn’t over yet, especially since I’m still applying for a few scholarships, but it’s nice to finally be getting results.
And this weekend, Sebastien and I are off to Prague! It’s a short trip, just for the weekend, but we’re hoping to fit in lots of sights while we’re there. Perhaps my next blog post will be longer than this one was, with lots of new stories to share.
I hope that you have a great week! Thank you so much for reading!