Germany 11.12.17 -15/16.12.17

Monday, 11th of December 2017

The night before the Estonian flight from Tallinn to Frankfurt had been cancelled due to some snowy weather in Germany (, which was no understandable reason for our friends from the north but that didn't help). So they had to take the next flight available and spend the night at a hotel next to the airport. When they finally arrived in Hannover on Monday morning one of our teachers and the mother with the largest car picked them up and brought them to school where everyone else had prepared the little welcoming ceremony and a breakfast. After a short welcome from our vice head master and two presentations introducing our school and the region everyone went to class with their German exchange student (in my case maths). Unfortunately we had to leave the lesson early to have lunch together in the cafeteria. Everyone drove to town individually so we met at the castle again to start the town rally. After roughly one hour of walking through the snowy city centre and across the Christmas market, taking dozens of pictures and eating "Schmalzkuchen" the rally was over and everyone enjoyed the afternoon with their exchange student

Tuesday, 12th of December 2017

Tuesday started too early for some of us. At 7:15 am we met at school to take the bus to beautiful Hamburg where we started with a tour through town at 10:30. The beginning of the tour was at Jungfernstieg from where we walked across the town for about three hours. On our way we saw the town hall, the famous "Speicherstadt", the Elbphilharmonie, the red light district and even took the underground and the boat on the Elbe for some stops. Besides we learned about historical events like the great fire that destroyed most of the town in 1842 and how the town grew over time. Because of the typical German weather (it was super cold and rainy) everyone was looking forward to spending their free time inside. For most of us that started with lunch at the food sky of the Europa Passage and continued with shopping. A group of students had planned to see the Miniature Wonderland with their exchange students so everybody found something to do during their spare time and on the bus ride back home there was plenty of time to exchange all kinds of stories and experiences of our time in Hamburg.

Wednesday, 13th of December 2017

In contrast to Tuesday, there was enough time to sleep in a little because we started our day at 9am at Lobetal. That's a charity that supports people with mental and psychological disability, epilepsy, addictive disorder or who generally depend on care. In Celle they provide help for underage refugees who came to Germany without anyone in charge of their care. Every pre-planned group of three Germans and their exchange students teamed up with one refugee. We started with a short getting-to-know-each-other-session after which we began to plan the recipes we were going to cook on Thursday. After every group wrote down a shopping list and we made sure that not every group bought the same essentials like salt and pepper we took off for grocery shopping in various shops. Much faster than expected all groups were done with their list and we had lots of time left to spend on our own.

Thursday, 14th of December 2017

Thursday was our big day. We started a little later than on Wednesday to avoid finishing earlier than planned again. Every group started with preparing the ingredients and tools required for their meals so they could start cooking. Everyone put a lot of effort into their work and even the Estonian headmistress passionately supported her group of students preparing traditional cookies. It was especially hard for the Spanish girls to cook their tortillas but with the help of their German teacher even that task could be mastered. In the end an impressive buffet of intercultural meals from Germany, Estonia, Spain, the Netherlands, Iraq, Bangladesh and Afghanistan was the result everyone had worked for the last days and this morning in particular. Nobody expected such a colourful and delicious-looking outcome so the astonishment and pride felt by all students and teachers was nearly visible. Maybe that's why the opening of the buffet had a kind of rough start because nobody wanted to destroy that beautiful collection of various meals everyone had worked for so passionately. Eventually someone had to start and after the first plate was filled with all kinds of food many more followed. When everybody had enough it was time to award each participant with their certificate for the week. That little ceremony was followed by a cleaning session as the mess of our work had to be erased. That task was fulfilled rather quickly so everyone was happy to spend the afternoon with their exchange student.

Friday, 15th of December 2017

The day started very ordinary with four lessons in school. After that we all together took the bus to the train station to go to Hannover. In front of the main station in Hannover we spread into groups of six to start another rally in which one had to put together a puzzle of a picture of a sight in Hannover. When that was done the way to the sight had to be found (often with help of strangers) and a picture of the group together with the sight had to be taken. So we spend all noon running around Hannover and taking funny group pictures in front of more or less famous places, statues and buildings. When a group finished the rally they were free to spend the rest of the time shopping, eating or sightseeing. Around six pm we met with the teachers at the train station again to go back home and spend the evening in our families. At the station in Celle the first "goodbyes" were exchanged because the Dutch students would leave the next morning.