Day 2, 2009:
Summer nights in Germany are cold, at least in my room. I was unfortunately awake at 3:30am by jetlag. My first day of German high school! Frühstück (breakfast) in Germany consists mainly of toast with marmalade or nutella, and butter, paired with a cup of coffee or tea. Pretty simple. My Gastvater (host father) packed me and Clara snacks for school: freshly-baked brownies…mmmm. We rode the 6:40am train and arrived in Nürnberg around 7:10am. The Gymnasium was about a 5 minute walk away.
I spent the morning with the group of American students I flew with, and met my German chaperone, Herr Birkelbach. Clara and Charlotte swooned every time he spoke because it was like melted dark chocolate: so deep and velvety. Haha. Our group met at “der schwarze Box” (the black box), a flat-faced 3-story building painted all black. Inside der schwarze Box was a foosball table, a ping pong table, a computer lab, a super sweet sound system…list goes on. My favorite place in dem Box was the “chill-Eck” (chill corner), a rest area with bean bags, books, and games.
I then went to Chemistry with Clara–thankfully it was only an hour of confusion in trying to understand orbitals in German. We had a “Pause” (break) for 15-minutes after Chemistry. Since Clara needed to go to choir rehearsal, I went to her friend Sarah’s German class. Man what a raucous class! Students walked in and out as they pleased; if we did that at my high school, we’d get penalties. Got to read Oedipus in German, which was a surprisingly easy read.
My group and I were treated to a tour of the school when we were done shadowing our host sisters/brothers. Melanchthon is about 500 years old, with a “secret” vault in the library that held valuable books. They had everything from first edition copies of Shakespeare’s plays and early editions of Dante and Voltaire.
German school days end around 12:30–so short! We got home around 1:30pm, just in time for lunch. My Gastmutter made this tasty fettucine alfredo with fresh zucchini:
I later helped Charlotte bake a cake for her graduation ceremony and dry the dishes. With about an hour or two before Clara’s concert, my Gasteltern (host parents) took me on a small excursion through Nürnberg. It was adorable how much my Gastvater loves chocolate and tea; we went through every shop selling either (or both) as we explored. To quote my Gastmutter, “he’s in his element”.
We passed the Ehekarussell (Marriage Carousel) when we were walking around. My Gastvater explained to me that the Ehekarussell was created in the spirit of the poem “Bitter-Sweet Married Life” by Hans Sachs. The poem basically follows marriage through the first stages of passionate love to disputes and struggles, all the way until death. The work starts with beautiful and youthful figures and gradually deteriorates into old, weary souls.
The concert was wonderful! Great orchestra, the kids’ choir was sweet, and Clara sounded wonderful. Lots of wonderful solos too. To be honest, I struggled to stay awake for much of the concert because of how early I had woken up…