Well, after an unintentional two month sabbatical from blogging, I’m back. I should probably start with an apology: I am really sorry I let this slide for so long. There. I’ve said it. I refuse to apologize again.
When I last left a post, I’d only just arrived in Germany and was having a little trouble getting started. Regardless of how ready I was though, things picked up very rapidly from there. I spent the next two weeks seeing Berlin – the Teirgarten, the Bradenburger Tor, the famous bust of Nefertiti in the Neues Museum, the zoo…in short, all of the stuff I’ve only ever read about, which I’ve decided is the biggest reason why I like traveling.
Yup – that’s my reason. I like being a tourist. It’s not anything noble like I like to experience new cultures (honestly, they just sort of scare me) or that I want to meet new people (it’s not that I don’t like it, but it’s kinda tough with a language barrier) or that I want to try new food (though that is a bonus) – I just want to see the stuff I’ve only ever heard about. See – tourist. Judge me if you like, but at least you’ll judge me for what I am.
Anyway, back to the adventure.
After that came the CELTA course. Though I made a ton of new friends (hi guys!) and learned a lot, it can be best described as a month long Stress-Fest. Still, it proved to me that I can, in fact, still mentally work really, really hard. That being said, I’ve learned that I’m not meant to teach English as a foreign language. I was nearly sick with nerves before my lessons and depressed about them after. I’ve discovered I don’t even like learning foreign languages all that much and really have no right to be teaching them. I also cannot explain grammar accurately at all.
With that in mind, I am okay with having failed the course. Yes. There. Said it. I failed. It wasn’t because I didn’t do everything in my power to pass. I did and I still failed. This has gotten me out of ever having to get a job teaching English.
After the course ended I decided to do a little country hopping, because who knows if I’ll ever have another opportunity. So I hopped on a train to Roskilde, Denmark, where I got to ride in a Viking ship, see jellyfish actually in the ocean, instead of in a tank, and generally walk around one of the coolest places I’ve ever been.
From there, I aimed for Amsterdam, which I didn’t arrive at the day I tried to. Turns out you can’t get a ticket from Roskilde to anywhere outside of Denmark, but you can get a ticket to where the ferry is. There you can get to Germany and from Germany you can more or less get where you’re going. I say that, but I ended up spending the night in Bremen, rather than getting all the way to Amsterdam.
I did make it to Amsterdam the next day, without a hotel reservation. Sick of trying to get around when I really only speak English, I decided to make for the UK the day after. Long story really short, I was turned back by the British Border Patrol, who told me that I didn’t have a satisfactory itinerary (I didn’t have one at all). Naturally, they decided to do this only after hearing my life story up to this point. That was a fun couple of hours.
So, finding myself stuck in Flanders, I decided to at least enjoy my time there. Northern France is very pretty. With some finagling and assistance from my brother (thanks Kyle), I managed to get a hotel room for two nights. I promptly caught a terrible cold and didn’t go anywhere but to the grocery store and the drug store. Strike that, I got to see one church and walk around the mall for a couple of hours. A couple of very miserable hours.
Deciding to give Amsterdam another try (and not really having enjoyed France at all), I managed to book a hotel and a train ticket back. I spent four days there, giving the city a thorough exploration – one day, I will devote an entire post to it…I hope. I went to an art museum and the flower market and, yes, took a nighttime walk through the red light district. I also met, purely by chance, a gent from England who turned out to be just as much of a geek as I am. (Hi, Greg!) We hung out for a few hours – it was a bit like hanging out with the Doctor, without the life-threatening situations. ( I would feel silly for saying this, except he’s a huge Doctor Who fan.)
Now I find myself back in Berlin for four days, until I head home on Monday. I’ve learned a lot on this trip – most of it is fairly important. I might go into those in a later post, but among it is this: your life advice doesn’t apply to everyone. People have to come up with life mottos on their own.