Friday, January 13, 2012

Back to Work!

So, I had a wonderful last week or so of break, beginning with New Year's, and following up with a trip to Copenhagen to visit a couple of exchange students who had lived in Wisconsin for a year.

New Year's here was great. I was at my fellow teacher Anette's apartment, and met a bunch of her friends (a number of whom were also teachers, though not all), and we had raclette, which is (I believe) a Swiss thing. We each had our own little individual frying pan things, and we put food in and put them into a central stove-type-thing. It was different, but the food tasted good, so no complaints here. I got along really well with Anette's friends, especially a fellow named Rupert, and another teacher named Maria, who immediately after learning I was a native English speaker said, "Oh! I have to show you this." And promptly wrote something on a piece of paper. She then explained that her students had to do a presentation on Central Park, and that one had started the presentation with the following sentence:

"Central Park is a large pubic park in New York City."

I cracked up as soon as I saw the sentence. I love the little mistakes we all make with foreign languages ^_^

At midnight, of course, we all went outside, and that was something I have never witnessed before. Anette lives near a very large public space, some kind of park or something. But it's large, and flat, and you can see a fairly long ways. And every last inch of that space was covered with smoke from fireworks.

They were everywhere. I don't think there was a single group of people there without at least one box of fireworks, and for the Americans reading, I mean the kind of box which is about a 1'x8", and about 8" tall, firing something like a dozen projectiles into the sky. And everyone was out on the street, firing them all off. It was insane. I thought Americans were the crazy ones when it came to things that went boom, but I saw Germans placing these boxes, lighting them, and taking a single step backward to watch them go off. I am somewhat shocked I didn't see anybody blown up or burnt while we were out there. They were only a few feet from cars in other instances. For a fellow raised by a firefighter, it was quite a spectacle. I've seen some great fireworks displays in the States, but nothing like the free-for-all that New Year's Eve brings to Germany.

Copenhagen was...amazing. It was great to see Tine again, who lived in Janesville for a year waaaaaaay back when - about 13 years ago, now. We had a ton of fun together, and she and Anette seemed to get along very well, too.

Copenhagen itself is a beautiful city. We didn't make a lot of concrete plans, but we walked around the city a lot, and saw as much of the city by foot as we could. There are simply too many things to tell you about the city, and so I will include a couple of links. These are the albums of pictures I took while we were in Copenhagen.

Copenhagen 1

Copenhagen 2

If they don't work, I'll sort them out, but I hope you can all see some of the pictures. It was really an amazing trip.

School has, of course, started again, and I'm frantically finishing the tests I need to have finished (I was not so...diligent over break as I perhaps ought to have been) in order to input the students' grades next week.

On a lighter note, however, a good friend of mine from St. Olaf has evidently been traveling around a bit over here, and is arriving tomorrow for a visit. She'll stick around till Tuesday, and while I unfortunately could not find any dancing for us over the weekend, I imagine we'll figure something out.

All the best to all of you, and my wishes for a great year.

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