Alexa turns one, and I go to Hamburg


Well it’s time for another update from St. Ingbert.

I’ve been pretty busy over here since I last wrote. Classes are going fairly normally, I had one fabulous hour last week where my students successfully carried on a conversation entirely in English for the whole class period and announced they wanted stay at the end of the hour!!!! It was awesome, but if the results can be repeated is yet to be seen.

The 21st was Alexa’s first birthday, so we spent almost the entire weekend celebrating. Nanette’s parents and Anne, a former exchange person from France, came for the festivities. We kicked the weekend off with an early Thanksgiving, which I cooked. It was fabulously delicious! We had the whole nine yards, I found a Turkey and due to my dear mother’s import services was even able to make Pumpkin pie, stuffing, yams, mashed potatoes and everything else. Unfortunately I forgot the pickles and Olives, but then again I think the Pilgrims probably did too.  Festivities continued the next day with the family (plus foreigners) cake coffee and gifts hour. Alexa got many fabulous toys that I’m sure she will enjoy greatly once Coralie is finished playing with them.  Between Hilde and Nanette we enjoyed five different cakes, all of which were to die for. The next day we enjoyed the cakes again, but this time with friends and Alexa, and by default Coralie, again got many wonderful things.   I also finished my novel on that Sunday night, which was pretty exciting as well. And yes I may allow people to read it, but it needs some serious editing first.

The rest of the week flew by since we left on Wednesday afternoon for Hamburg! It is a very very long drive to Hamburg accompanied by two small children, but we made it. It was COLD in Hamburg so the first two days we spent primarily running from warm spot to warm spot. We went on a short boat ride, stopped by the Christmas market and did a lot of shopping. The next two days I set off by myself to try and see a bit more of the city. I went to the Town hall, four or five Christmas markets, a variety of random cool looking streets, the international maritime Museum(very cool, ten floors of naval history) and at one point met the group at miniature world, which is pretty much like it sounds, a reconstruction of famous places in miniature, it is totally cool. Every person is hand done and I think no two people are the same, each and everyone is different and there is probably close to two million of these tiny people, the same thing for the buildings, and to top it off everything moves, lights up and changes seamlessly from day to night. It is one of those you have to see it to believe it sort of things. We left yesterday and it took the whole day to get back to St. Ingbert, luckily I had already planned for today so after a quick dinner and some wine with Hilde and Albert I went to bed, exhausted. It was a very cool trip and worth the many hours of driving. I’m not sure what this week has in store except for that I’m having dinner in France on Sunday, one of the perks of living on the border.

“Let them eat cake!”

Alexa loves Birthdays!


Adventures with class 10d and other news

Hi everyone,

I admit that I am in a way using this blog and therefore all of you as a procrastination tool while I try to think of the next scene in my novel, but also I have been pretty bad recently with updates, so I guess it works out well.  Life here is continuing pretty much as normal, the small one continue to be small and cute and I continue to be cold. Actually only on the way to school and that’s my own fault.

There are of course some new developments. I started two German classes at the university last week and six days into them I really like them. The teachers are really nice, and the group of students is great. At the moment my head hurts from contemplating German prepositions too long, but otherwise fairly good.

I also went to a very exciting St. Martin’s day festival at Coralie’s kindergarten. St. Martin is famous for sharing his cloak with a poor man, and I think he refused to be a Bishop as well, but don’t quote me on that one. So anyway they have a person in a cloak on a horse as St. Martin, and then all the kids make lanterns and parade around the streets, the festival culminates in the eating of sugared pretzels and drinking of gluhwine(hot spiced wine), over all I approve highly of this tradition.

I am also continuing work on my novel as stated earlier. A brief explanation for those of you who have no idea what I am talking about, There is an international event each year, where participants write a Novel of at least 50,000 words(approximately the length of the Great Gatsby) during the month of November.  I participated and finished back in 2006, but since then have not had enough time to do it again. Well this year I have tons of free time and therefore the Novel writing in November tradition has been resurrected. This years novel is a about an apprentice who sinks the King’s ship with unexpected complications. At the moment I have 20,000 words written, so I’m making progress slowly but

Finally the most important development is that I have a job for next year. I deferred my Teach For America position last year in order to come here, and on Tuesday I received notice of my placement for next year. I will be teaching 4-8th grade English in the Rio Grande Valley in Texas. Days like today reinforce how glad I am to be working with younger kids. My Thursday 10th graders are notoriously difficult and I always have problems with this particular group, so I shouldn’t be that surprised by today’s conversation, I quote:

Student: Mrs. Goodfellow, when you fill out an application it wants to know your geschelct, what’s that in English.

Me: Gender, whether you are male or female.

Student: That’s sex.

Me: Yes sometimes it says sex instead of gender.

Student: Then what is sex in English?

Me: We also use the word sex.

Student: No what is sex, like, well sex in English?

Me: It’s the same word, we say sex for the action as well.

Student 2: She means how do you say f@#$ing in English?

Me: I know, we say to have sex.

Student: So If I want to f@@# someone, I ask to sex them?

Me: You would have sex with them, but we don’t really use F&$@ing in normal English, it’s not an appropriate word.

Student 2: That’s not true African Americans use it all the time!


Sometimes I hate tenth graders.

Anyway that’s my life at the moment, stay tuned for more updates from the Sting Bert.