I went to Paula’s school today to visit her English class. They spent the whole class time asking, or attempting to ask, me questions about everything under the sun. 5th graders in Germany are the same as 5th graders in USA. “What is your favorite computer game?” “Who is your favorite football club?” And my favorite, “what kind of phone do you have?” They were begging me to come back again so I probably will. I have a feeling they only want me to come back so they don’t have to do work again.
Paula’s school consists of 5-12 grades, and I visited 7th grade and 12th grade English classes as well. From what I observed, the students stay in their classroom and the teachers for each subject move from class to class. I am not sure if this is the routine for the 12th graders, but I know it was the case for 5th and 7th. They also have mini 20 minute breaks often throughout the day. This is chaos, especially with there not always being a teach in the classroom. German students are much more aggressive with each other I have noticed, both at Lennart’s school and now at Paula’s.
In the 7th and 12th grade classes I mainly just observed. I was very impressed with their English skills. The 12th graders spoke just as well as I do it seemed, and currently studying Romeo and Juliet, a text that is difficult even for a native speaker.
After that I went down the street to a little petting zoo/farm/farmer’s market. They had animals you could feed, a large playground, and a lot of flowers and produce. It was pretty cool. They also had a food area where you could purchase fresh baked breads and cakes (of course), fresh waffles and flatbreads, and soup. I got some gulash soup for lunch and it was pretty good.
Tonight is the last night Monika is gone, thank goodness. Lennart has thrown some sort of fit at least twice a day since she’s been gone. I don’t know what about most of the time, but I know I’m tired of whining, crying, and talking back. I made chicken quesadillas for dinner and had to convince Lennart to not put ketchup and mayo on them. He actually listened and loved them.
Today I went to Cologne for the kick off of Karnival. It is a HUGE deal in Köln and they consider it a 5th season. They kick off the season at 11:11AM on November 11th and it continues all the way through February before Lent. So from today until the week before Lent starts, which is basically a city-wide week long party, different groups and organization will have parties in different parts of town, usually on the weekends.
Today though was pretty much a huge costume party starting about 9 AM and involving 70,000+ people in the old town market place. There was a huge stage with famous Cologne bands playing mostly native Cologne style music. Some of it sounded very similar to country music. Also, a lot beer. 9:00 AM is just too early in my opinion. Anyways, I went with Jan and he gave me a choice between two costumes, a cow or ladybug. You would think I would choose ladybug, but no, I picked the cow. We only stayed for about an hour and a half, but I was good to experience something so important to Cologne culture and history. I’m still not quite sure what Karnival is about, but I do know Germans will use any reason they can to drink beer and party for hours on end.