Well, firstly we start with last night (as I wrote yesterday’s blog before I left in the evening). It was James’ birthday (his twentieth, at that!) so we went out to celebrate, German style! No, really. He’d had his eye on a restaurant called Hofbrauhaus and a bar called Berlin Bar, and it just so happen that the two were about a block away. So a night of Germanity it was! (That’s like a portmanteau of German and insanity, mainly because it sounds better than German-ness). That’s right. I just used the word portmanteau.
Anyway, so we met up in various stages and had dinner at Hofbrauhaus, which was very German-themed, what with the fellow playing the accordion and the large photographic prints of German mountains and everything on the menu being made primarily of large portions of meat (with a side of potatoes and sauerkraut). James and I had the obligatory steins of beer (which are moderately heavy to lift, being a litre of the drink encased in approximately three metric tonnes of glass) and I ordered spicy sausages (with sauerkraut of course!). There were also some musicians playing, although they had a notably un-German repertoire (Ain’t Misbehaving, The Sunny Side of the Street, etc…).
After we eventually figured out the bill, we went off to Berlin Bar, only to find that they couldn’t sit ten people at that point. Undeterred, we ventured to 7 Eleven, which is where the ATM and Magnum icecreams are kept (better value than German restaurant desserts), and also to some pub, in which a strange but somewhat friendly woman came up and complimented Grace’s hair (which she’d recently dyed a quite striking orange).
We gave Berlin Bar another chance, and, fortunately, were admitted and seated in the East Berlin section. There were interesting lightbulbs hanging down from the ceiling (pictured), military-style bunk beds and the walls were covered in Berlin Wall-style graffiti. I tried a drink called a Checkpoint Charlie, being some form of vodka-based concoction, but with pepper on the rim instead of salt! (For those of you who don’t know, pepper is pretty much my favourite thing, after coffee and David Bowie and Avant postcards and… well, I like pepper quite a bit).
Then homewards bound (via McDonalds, of course) and to be as soon as possible, because I had the singular pleasure of getting up for work in the morning! Hooray! Luckily, it wasn’t that bad, and I had some fun trying to encourage the students to write more creatively. Some of the set writing tasks are quite boring (“Write about your pet– what does he eat? how much does he cost to maintain per month?”– absolute drivel), so I sometimes try and make it more interesting (“Write about your ideal pet. Bonus marks for superpowers, quotes from Charlie The Unicorn and getting my liger reference.”). I also had some fun (and also some difficulty!) organising some group work– getting them to make up storylines in groups and then individually present a monologue-style presentation from the perspectives of different characters.
Another nice drive home (reasonable traffic, loud music, golden afternoon sunlight) for some IT Crowd (“What does IT stand for?” “What DOESN’T it stand for?” “Yes… but what DOES it stand for?”) and more decorating of my room. I’ve managed to put all the posters and other things up and still have the postcards with which to fill gaps. I’m thinking I might need a ladder for some parts…
(Oh, and I made my first Etsy sale. Hurrah!)