Monday 10 Sept
For dinner, we had pasta and salad! It was delicious! I love German salad. If only it was so easy to make for myself. I’m sure I’ll eventually learn a version of it. I sat with some guys from Ohio, which made me feel at home because of all the Ohioans I met at SEU. There are only 3 true Texans in the group, so it was nice to have something somewhat familiar. The one thing missing from dinner was BREAD! I was rather disappointed that there wasn’t any bread.
After dinner, we met in a big group again and went over a few administrative things. We then divided into ländergruppe (basically we were divided into groups based on the state we were placed in). We went over some more administrative things and played 2 truths and a lie, which was right up my alley. I just love ice breakers! It was a fun thing to get to know some of the fellow Fulbrighters. After we were done in the groups, it was time for social hour! They had a bar and it was great! It was a 1.50 Euro for a glass of wine and that night they even let us buy a whole bottle of wine! It was so great to just relax and have fun.. Heidi was great because we split the bottle of wine, true friends bond over a bottle of wine! 🙂
Tuesday 11 Sept
Heidi and I decided it would be smart for us to get up early and shower before everyone since there were only 3 showers. So we woke up at 6am to shower before everyone else and then go back to sleep for an hour. It turned out to be a pretty good plan because there wasn’t anyone in the shower and these really loud bells woke us up early anyways! It was nice to go back to my warm bed after the shower too! Breakfast was great!
The rest of day included more administrative stuff, some videos on other Teachign Assistant videos, which was basically our training on classroom etiquette. Afterwards, we discussed the videos in the ländergruppe, which was interesting because I think people saw the videos in different ways, which is perfectly fine and its what makes the world go around. We then had a break for lunch, and of course it was good food again!
After lunch, we started working in groups on a mock lesson plan. We were separated into groups of about 15 and then split into groups of 3. It was great, but also somewhat frustrating as most simulations are because they aren’t real. Plus it was hard because we had to follow a certain format and each person was supposed to teach for 15 mins of the lesson but that doesn’t work with the format. Regardless, it was fun! My group did a lesson on Thanksgiving and it was awesome!!! We had all afternoon to plan and then we would present the next day.
Next was dinner and I can’t remember what it was, but I’m sure it was delicious. After dinner, the second year ETAs shared with us their wealth of knowledge. It was great! It was a really long two hours, so I wish it was at a different time when I was more awake and more willing to write some stuff down. Regardless, it was all very helpful! I’m also really thankful that I have 3 great previous Fulbrighters from SEU to ask questions. They’ve been solo great to me! (also random side note: through an exchange friend, I’ve been in contact with a girl who was an ETA in Mainz in 2010-2011. its crazy how small this world is sometimes). Then, social hour commenced again with beer and wine! it was so wonderful to be able to get to know all the other ETAs.. There are so many wonderful people sharing this same experience!
Wednesday 12 Sept
Today was the day full of lessons, which was really helpful!. It was cool to see all the different lesson plans that people created. One groups talked about gun control issues(obviously for higher levels of English), another group did English Idioms and another group did Parts of the Body. It was great exercise and I learned lots of valuable lessons from each group and especially my own lesson. We also finally had a welcome from Fulbright Kommision which was great and we heard from the American Embassy. After hearing from the Fulbright Kommision, I felt more at ease because I have a “family” to turn to if something happens or whatever. I was feeling weird not having Rotary like I did in Switzerland, but i actually do have something to turn to in case anything happens, which is quite comforting.
In the evening, we also had a talent show. Of course, i love country music and I am a proud Texan, I figured I had to teach everyone a line dance. So I wrangled Morgen, one of the other Texans into doing it with me. The Boot Scootin’ Boogie seemed to make the most sense! We decided it would be better if we asked people to do it with us. We spent a little bit of time practicing beforehand so we would make sure to teach the right dances. Sadly, I didn’t have my cowboy boots with me. I had left them at my apt because I didn’t see any use for them, well learned my lesson! Well the talent show was AWESOME!! there were lots of very talented singers!! Luckily, a lot of people joined us for the dance and I had a blast!! Plus a lot of people came up to me afterwards and said they really enjoyed it!! Plus some of the teachers said that would be the perfect lesson for school!! so who knows, i might become the line dancing fool in Germany!
After the talent show, we had social hour again with beer and wine. It was great again and the conversation was wonderful! Such a great experience at orientation! I went to bed around 1 am, which wasn’t very smart!
Thursday 13 Sept
We had to wake up super early to leave for Cologne. We woke up around 545 to shower and get all of our stuff together plus take off all the bedding. It was somewhat sad to leave Altenberg because it was such a cozy place and it was comforting being around so many Americans. Although, I was somewhat happy to be back at my apt and something familiar. Once we got back to Cologne, the weather was rather crappy so we just deiced to hop on a train back to Mainz. There ended up being about 6 girls on the same train, not all headed to Mainz though. I came home that day and slept for a little bit and then attempted to take care of some of my registering with the city. I got as far as printing off papers because it turns out to be rather complicated.
Overall, orientation was a wonderful experience! I’m so thankful to be able to have this experience. My goal is to make the most of this experience because I know its a once in a lifetime type experience.!
here are a few pictures:
The teachers and one of the head guys did a song for everyone too!! I’m pretty sure it was in Russian too!
Teaching everyone the boot scootin’ boogie. This was the best picture I could get!
The Ehemalige (previous ETAs doing their second year) at the talent show. Dan did a sing-along song. The white things have words on them, you just can’t see them in the picture.
much love to everyone!
(maybe eventually I learn how to be more concise in my posts! also, i need to take more pictures!)