GERMAN EXCHANGE BLOG 2015 DAY'S 1 to 3
The saga begins...
‘Oh goodness, its finally happening, they’re here!’ Mrs Ellis welcomes the learners to Ambergate whilst Mrs Mackinnon and Mr Walker ensure that the passports and boarding passes are present and correct. Mr Ryan is lost in a world of pizza toppings for supper leaving Matt and Toby to share their sporting specialism with the kids on the astro-turf; twirling.
Following the fun and frolics pizza is consumed with a side order of horrible histories. Soon after everyone is in a state of slumber; even the Ambergate ghost is settled!
The early, so very early, oh so incredibly, ridiculously early start of the day offers a chorus of alarms at the mark of 2.30am. With many tired eyes (except of course for Mr Ryan) the group departs for Stansted with a sing song or two along the way. Though one of the repertoire of songs are ‘it’s a long way to Tipperary’ we are in fact heading to Weingarten, Germany.
Following an unusually speedy security check, we glide through to the departure lounge with the learners in awe of the hustle and bustle of a very busy and exciting airport. Boarding passes checked for the third time and a good old British queue at the gate leads us onto the airplane. With a group of intrepid explorers we take to the sky wishing all of our family and friends a heart felt goodbye.
Celebrations continue and not only for the start of our journey to Germany but for the Birthday of Luke who receives a special birthday announcement from the Captain of our Ryanair flight! Rosie cheeked and with a spring in his step, Luke leaves his birthday flight along with the rest of the GANF crew to be greeted by a familiar and friendly Burkhard, the lead exchange teacher from KBZO.
Following our lunch fit for a King (or Queen as Mr Ryan pointed out) we unpack our luggage, enjoy forty winks then head into the locality to explore the sights, sounds and flavours of Weingarten. Mr Ryan insists on a visit to the ice cream parlour (a suggestion keenly supported by all in attendance) Richard manages to demolish his considerable ice cream at a lightening pace whilst Chris scans every billboard, poster and sign in the hope that he finds Wifi! Despite the lack of Wifi the group enjoy a brilliant evening of games both indoor and out, and with supper filled tummies the group head off to bed to enjoy valuable rest before a day of learning; German style!
‘B‐o‐m‐b‐a’ booms along the corridor as Mr Ryan reveals the wake up theme for the Exchange Group 2015. Whilst the somewhat raucous melody (courtesy of King Africa) is effective at rousing most of the learners from their sleep it becomes apparent that Nathan and Bradley are able to sleep through practically anything! With some gentle persuasion the boys and girls are awake, showered, full from breakfast and packed up for their first ever lesson in Germany.
There is excitement and a few nerves here and there but overall the mood is high, very high! After a short tour of a part of the schoolhouse (which coincidently is able to school 5 X GANF in population) the learners separate into Food Studies, Life Skills and an Anglo German lesson!
With learners experiencing independent life skills provision in KBZO and others enjoying the energetic and exciting approach of the exuberant German teachers, Bertie (The Bear) is busy trying to find Wi-fi as Chris was unsuccessful (and as far as Chris is aware, Bertie too was unsuccessful; shush!).
Following the brilliant start to a day at school, we head up to one of the sports facilities at KBZO. Luke takes the opportunity to talk clutches with the driver as Josh discovers a love of Bugle crisps! At the sports hall the learners played many team sports with their German friends including ‘OUT MOUSE’, Dodgeball and of course Football but the classic England v Germany match is reserved for the last day of the exchange (which is just as well as our game was a little off!)
A shower and tummy full of food later enables us to step out in style on a tour of Weingarten. We arrive at the most impressive fountain for a photo opportunity before scaling the most daunting set of steps leading to an even more impressive structure aged over 250 years old; The Basilica! Burkhard delivers a very detailed history of the beautiful structure followed by a team challenge designed to test our observation skills. The learners were awestruck by the beauty of the ceiling art, intricate detail of the carvings and religious figures as well as the melodious tones of the organ! So much so that the question ‘can we go for ice cream’ took 40 minutes to surface (a GANF record!).
With a short stay at a play park before ice cream and a spot of shopping, Mr Ryan raises a very urgent concern ‘Where is Bertie?’ Short of calling international rescue they began to panic!!! Thinking of the steps stepped and ways walked they finally recalled their last sighting of me; up a tree! So, with apologies made and bribe money paid, Bertie agrees to continue work at GANF and re‐joins the sometimes ‘distracted’ learners!
As is now becoming a regular indulgence the group once again sit down to a table packed with German food delights and as Racheal raves about the red peppers and Jordan makes a dent in the olives we all share highlights of the day and moments that we are proud of.
Soon after the final energy burn, Mr Walker and Mrs Mackinnon follow the learners in after shooting a few hoops and burning rubber on the go carts! With a final shower and a goodnight from Bertie, they are in bed and asleep before the clock strikes 10. Good night.