This week was my first week of official classes. My program is structured with block modules. Classes are 1-3 weeks long each, from 9:30-5:30 everyday. Except Wednesday, when we have to afternoon off for language classes.
It’s been intense, but luckily everyone is in the same boat. We take breaks, lunch is an hour long, and the whole-class work is broken up with group work.
Monday, we went on a bike excursion to the nearby city of Bernau. We looked at the various ecosystems present, from the urban city square, to the river, to the forest, to the suburbs, to the agricultural land. After weeks are rain, the weather was prefect for spending the day outside. A little chilly, but sunny.
The rest of the week we’ve been using our observations and outside knowledge to discuss the various stresses and threats for these ecosystems. In groups of 6, we will eventually have to turn in a “small” 12-20 page report about what we’ve done this week!
This module, Ecosystem Diagnotics Analysis, is only 1 week long, and it used to take place in the second semester. They moved it to the beginning of the first semester at the recommendation of previous students. I have definitely enjoyed it as an introduction to the program. It gives a good overview of what we will be doing for the next year.
Meanwhile, William is stay-at-home-dadding it. Herbert is back to loving kindergarten. He repeats German words after the teachers, and apparently the first word he produced on his own was “Kastanie” (chestnut). Yesterday, a girl from my class was helping us move our new kitchen cupboard in, and he wouldn’t say “bye-bye” to her, but he would say “Tschüss.”
This week William took Herbert to pick out a toy at the “kid shop” – a road puzzle. Then Wednesday, he picked up a huge bin of train track pieces and accessories. We only gave Herbert a small portion of them (the rest we are saving for gifts), but he hasn’t left them alone since.
While Herbert is at kindergarten, William runs errands, getting things we need for the apartment. On Tuesday he stopped into the Ausländerbehörde. Unfortunately we didn’t get the information we wanted, so we have to work on an email to them, asking our questions *again*. I do at least have an appointment scheduled in November to process my residence permit application.
We still have a long way to go until we are fully settled, but we are starting to get into a routine. This weekend we are planning to go into Berlin for the first time since we arrived, which should be a fun experiment. We are close enough to Berlin that many people in my class live there. But I am curious to get a feel for how feasible it will be for our family to go shopping or to Latin Mass in Berlin.