German Tests and Ending the Preliminary Course

Posted on September 30th, 2010 by

Alright, so we went to Worms on Sunday September 19. That was a pretty good way to spend a Sunday. The Dom (cathedral) there is pretty impressive and it’s where the Diet of Worms took place so there’s a good deal of history to be learned there. (Hint: I didn’t learn it all) Because this was a trip made and organized by just me, Megan, Haleigh, Annika and Melissa, we didn’t really learn all there was to know but we did see a pretty good amount for the time that we were there. We saw the cathedral of St. Peter of course and after that we saw (a lot of memorials) and Martinskirche. I really liked Martinskirche actually, even though it was much smaller and less impressive. If I’ve got this right, it was one of the first Protestant churches, so there wasn’t a money of money to be spent. It was still a very pretty church though, just simpler and smaller. There were only two other people in there so there wasn’t much of a tourist atmosphere. I was really tired so I sat down and just meditated/prayed/sat quietly without sleeping for 20 minutes or so. I just felt an incredible feeling of peace there and it was such a relief.

After that we went on our way and continued home to Heidelberg. The next week was our last of actual class, for this preliminary course we took. As intense as I thought the final days before the DSH were going to be, we spent one and a half not in class at all. On Tuesday we had our weekly IB’s and this week our group (different group this time) went to visit a grade school that was within the bounds of Heidelberg itself! We had no chaperon though and so didn’t really know what was going on. Thanks to a very friendly postal worker though, we found out we were going in the exact opposite direction we were supposed to and got turned around right quick. We also didn’t know what to expect or what we’d be doing at all. Since there was a possible internship available here, we thought maybe we’d be interacting with the Kinder but no. First the five of us (me, Sarah, Haleigh, Annika and Renee) were divided into two groups (the man made quite a deal about there being 5 of us instead of 4 like he expected, but we weren’t sure how to be comforting in German about it). Annika and I went to a third grade classroom, which was very interesting but we didn’t really do anything. We actually weren’t even introduced to the kids but we got to look around as they were being ADORABLE!! The teacher was reading a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure type book and the kids were SO into what the next choice would be. This was as they were coloring in pictures of marine animals and cutting them out neatly to put on a giant piece of blue paper. It made me quite nostalgic for my youth actually. (my grade school youth, I mean) I mean, when’s the last time I had chocolate milk, or snacktime? Or had recess?? Man, life is hard.

Later that week we went to Schwetzingen, a little ways away from Heidelberg. There is a castle there but more interesting (apparently) are the grounds. The garden is HUGE and spans like a lightyear in every direction. Or something like that, I missed the specifics. It was actually a tad warm that day so excuse me for getting a little testy. But from this point you can only tell from my degenerative photography that the day was wearing on me. Actually, I did enjoy seeing it. One good time came as we picnicked by the pond and some geese came out of the water to visit!! One came right at Herr Dörr and he was all set and ready to kick that thing in the FACE!! It was awesome. (and that picture has since become famous amongst the AJY students…) There were also a million statues and whatnot but the cool things were the bathhouse (found out a bit late about the no-photography rule but it was OK because I had been lacking being told off by an irate German man and now I can finally check that off my list) and the fake Roman ruins this guy had built. Oh, I forgot, this was this guy’s summer home. With a rather large back garden. And just some Roman ruins he built over there. Oh, and a mosque was built there too, in the spirit of the Enlightenment in the 18th century. Of course, I took another thousand pictures there too. Any one place there would be so cool to just relax and enjoy the afternoon. But like I said, the heat and the tired made me not to sorry to leave finally.

That weekend was the biggest festival Heidelberg has. It’s called Heidelberger Herbst (Heidelberg Fall) and I didn’t realize how extensive it was until I actually left my room, that rainy Saturday and found the altstadt chock-full of booths, tents, stands, people in costume, medieval marching bands, and many many stages for musical groups. I live right near Uni-Platz (it’s actually Universitätsplatz but who’s counting) which was rather medieval themed. There was one stand that actually had a roast pig on a spit! I somehow missed taking that picture. I went with Sarah, Haleigh, Megan, Aaron, Annika and Melissa. I didn’t get any beer but others did and decided to keep the glasses. Usually they charge a Pfand, or deposit, which you get back when you return your glass (it was 3 Euro here) but we thought that was also the price for keeping them. Turns out it’s not and we actually just stole them. But they’ll make great souvenirs and it’s probably not that uncommon anyway.

Later that night we witnessed an amazing rock ‘n roll/metal (/etc.) cover band. It was, if nothing else, entertaining. The lead singer swung his dreadlocks, the guitarists swayed in unison, the fire leapt up from the stage on every chorus of Ring of Fire (yes, of course they sang that song). It was just something to behold. And to take out the hearing from my left ear. We later got cotton candy and met Megan’s Sprachpartnerin briefly. Other than that we didn’t get too crazy, since this was the weekend we were supposed to be preparing for the schriftliche Prüfung (written portion of the DSH) on Monday morning. We did end up studying (sort of) for a while on Sunday evening and the test wasn’t really too bad. About half the students passed, which I guess is about typical. Only I didn’t know that if you didn’t pass you no longer had to take the oral portion. What? If I had known that maybe things would have been different!! But as it was, I passed and so got to prepare for another exam on Thursday. That was today and I don’t want to talk about it.

On Wednesday (so like yesterday) we ventured to Speyer, also in der Nähe von Heidelberg. There we saw a pretty awesome Dom. I mean, it was seriously so huge. We went around it before we went in it and it took so long! It was seriously impressive and I liked it. I might be getting my churches mixed up (I know, how is that even possible) but I feel like the inside was pretty alright as well. There were lots of paintings and something about the numbers 6 and 12 that kept popping up. I probably took some pictures. It was an immense church. I guess that was sort of the idea. When people came to the church hundreds of years ago, they would have never seen anything so huge or impressive. Of course they would be impressed by the immense idea of God and Heaven!! I certainly was! (the ceilings were SO far away!) (not as far as like the sky but there you go)

Since the last part of the DSH is over Fall Break has officially begun and people are traveling all over the place. I know people going to England, Scotland, Cairo, Romania, Hungary, Austria, Denmark and also Germany. (but places we haven’t even been yet!) I’m pretty excited for my own travels to Salzburg, Vienna and Copenhagen starting next week on Monday. When I get back I’ll have to tell you how it went. I’ve never gone on a trip of this magnitude just with my peers so we shall see how this progresses!! Bis dann!


One Comment

  1. Jim Bernhardt says:

    This is an interesting posting. Did you find information about the Diet of Worms in Worms? Growing up Lutheran in the upper midwest, the Diet of Worms was a big deal (really enjoyed that in middle school!). Is it there? I would be great if you posted some of your pictures.