It was the last day of class, and Lydia organised a thoughtful and fun day, starting it off with a ceremony to award us our certificates and reports. Nancy and Alec had the brilliant and hilarious brainwave of playing “Pomp and Circumstance” on YouTube to create that perfect sense of ceremony, and we all swayed to the music as Lydia uttered solemn words of praise to the relevant recipient, and that person grasped their certificate with both hands, looked around at the thunderously applauding audience, and beamed. We played games, crunched through chocolate which Lydia and Jeremy provided, and whooped into Hyperactive City as Lydia announced our final challenge:
“I have a set of clues. They relate to a particular monument in the city. You must find it, and take a picture to prove you were there. You can ask members of the public for help. The first team to find all of these monuments, answer all the questions and get back at St Augustine’s place, wins”.
Jeremy, Jorge and I pelted down the pavement and accosted a man in a book shop; and while congenial and lovely, we didn’t get anything too helpful from him. We headed to Münster Platz because we figured everything would be around there, and Jorge and Jeremy kept telling me to “hurry up, this is a race!!” because I kept forgetting and wanting to scope out a stall: “Aww, I really wanna look at the flowers and necklaces!!”, I’d call out to no one in particular– they were already 200 metres away.
Eventually, we found an information desk in the Münster Turm, proceeded to obtain all the answers, and beat Jose, Nancy and Alec by the skin of our teeth– to the victor goes the spoils, and we danced on the cobble stones: winners will be grinners.
Afterwards, we had a delightful lunch in a nearby beer garden where Yu-Xin and I accidentally chose the world’s strangest radish salad. It comprised solely of raw radish and a couple of chives, and Yu-Xin valiantly pushed on, chowing down on some bread instead. We all slowly drifted off as the afternoon wore on: Jeremy and Jorge left to return Jeremy’s bike, Yu-Xin went to buy some shoes, Alec went to another barbecue with his uni, Alex went to work, José and Nancy went to return their Mensa Card, and I wandered back towards the Goethe Institut with our teacher, Lydia.
Lydia is a freaking genius. She went on to tell me that while she is fluent in four languages, she can read and understand SEVENTEEN languages, including Gaelic, Old Greek, Latin and Sanskrit. She’s without a doubt, the best teacher I’ve ever had– most of all because she pushes a lot of information into our brains, without destroying our confidence. Forever patient, always smiling and clearly committed and hard-working, you can see that she puts in a lot of time creating interesting exercises, excursions and funny exams which often include stories about things that happened previously during our lessons. Our class was enthusiastic, light and motivated as a result, and I loved learning from her a lot. She deserves a gold medal.
A few hours later, Jorge, Jeremy, Gabo, Celine, and I found ourselves in the Erste Stock Küche (ie first floor kitchen, where anything important happens) and hung out– waiting for 4:30 pm, which is when Jeremy would catch his ride back to Switzerland. Celine stole Gabo’s permanent texta and looked up at him with those “butter wouldn’t melt in her mouth” blue eyes and put forward a request to Gabo: “Can I draw a tattoo on your arm??”
Gabo regarded her warily with a half-grin, before Celine pounced and drew a heart with an arrow through it on Gabo’s right bicep: “Ooo!! Write “MUM” in the heart!” Gabo said.
Celine stretched his bicep skin out tight, steadied her writing hand, and then proceeded to write:
We just about died laughing, and Celine tried to make amends: “I can fix it, I can fix it!!!” She tried to add the extra curves, but her “MUM” still looked like “NUN”, and Gabo had to walk around for the rest of the day, professing his undying love for “NUN”.
After we had bid farewell to our dear, favourite Jeremy, we sat out in the kitchen munching through gummi bears and sipping on tea. Gabo played heaps of cool songs, and we just laughed and talked and talked and talked. Every so often, Jorge would pitch an awesome idea for our final night in Freiburg, while his best friend, Ernie would just chill, scroll through some stories on his iPhone and listen as Jorge pumped out the ideas with his usual comic timing. They were all pretty brilliant, but eventually, when Aubrey arrived, we all agreed that there was really only one way to see our final night out: to climb the bridge and sit at its highest point– all together one last time.
This is the bridge we passed everyday on the way to school. It’s bright blue, about 3 metres high, and kids, lovers and adults all scale it (either like a tightrope walker if you’re skilled, or like a Bambi, on all fours if you’re like me). You sit at the highest point with your friends with the sun going down, the wind in your hair, and it’s just the best feeling of freedom you’ve ever felt.
Tonight, at 11:20 pm, Celine, Ernie, Aubrey, Jorge, Gabo and I sat up there one last time, telling stories, taking pictures, laughing uproariously at the Freiburgian lady with the distinct Freiburgian accent (which is all a bit all up and down like when a yodeller yodels) who threw a stick of chewing gum up to us to assist our cause– and just really had the best time ever (refer below to centre pic).
It was a perfect end– I am going to miss these people so much. Fact.
Word of the day: das Ende, meaning “the end”, because it’s the end of a month which was all things amazing, and then some.