Orienteering and Orientation!

Firstly, I’d like to apologise to everyone for a lack of updates over the past few days, it’s been pretty busy and the past two nights I’ve come home and crashed. Even tonight I’m really tired, but I can’t make that excuse forever! I made the commitment to post every day or so, and I will stick to it. So here’s the goss on the last few days.

As frustrating as it may be, I’m partially glad that my body clock still functions properly over the other side of the world. If I were home in Australia, I would be waking up with the sunrise, at 5:30-6am. Unfortunately, even though the sunrise here is not until after 8am, I have been consistently waking up at 6-6:30am (Stuttgart time though, so it could be worse!). It was a bit of a pain though, as on Sunday the hotel doesn’t serve breakfast until 8:00, so I had to entertain myself for an hour and a half in the morning. It was surprisingly easy.After breakfast and my plans being cancelled for the day, I decided to go explore Stuttgart. I could have easily caught the U-Bahn into town, but I wouldn’t have been able to properly see anything that way! On the way into the centre of Stuttgart I got lost (again), found an awesome fountain thingy which I have no decent photos of, walked up and down too many hills, stumbled across the red light district, and realised that my mission to find a German SIM would not succeed, purely because it was a Sunday and the shops are not open on Sundays.

With aching feet and a healthy appetite, I found a small crepe stall, and successfully made my first purchase, completely in German! My apple crepe was well worth the wait, and with a warmed tummy I made my way back to the hotel. At this point, I was wrecked, so I crashed in bed and napped. Waking a few hours later, I had no idea where I was going to get dinner! Only the expensive cafes and restaurants were open, and I was not willing to spend over 10 Euro on dinner! After a bit of asking around and googling different places, I was relieved when I got a message from my student guide – the same one who had met me at the train station – inviting me for dinner. Well, it was originally for afternoon tea but their whole family was running a bit behind standard schedule, so it ended up being dinner anyway.

Instead of a traditional Swabian/Southern German meal, we had a delicious pasta and bean bake. It is a traditional Northern German meal, and was extremely yummy! To top it off, we had our (much delayed) coffee or tea and cake, which was also very yummy. I was very full, and felt much better than I would have if I had eaten alone. The conversation was good, and it was nice to be in a family setting again after a few days alone.

On Monday morning I was finally able to Skype my family properly, which was fantastic. Even our dog Bonnie was there, though I managed to confuse her into thinking I was at the front door! When it eventually sunk in that I was on the computer, she got so excited, happily sitting up with her tail going a million miles an hour! Seeing my parents and sister was great too, even though Sherrie got some sneaky screenshots in. We spoke for about an hour and a half, after which I decided more exploring was in order.

Returning to the U-Bahn, I located the Universität buildings where we would be having our classes for the Winter University course. It was only a ten-minute trip from my hotel, which made me very happy! With that ticked off my list, I retried my search for a SIM card. I eventually found an ALDI, but it didn’t have any of the SIM cards there, which frustrated me. By that time, I was quite hungry, so I purchased some lunch and went to leave the shopping centre I was in. On my way to the doors, however, I was stopped by a shoe store with a collection of nice black ankle boots out the front. There was a decent variety of options, and as I browsed them I came across a lovely pair in a similar style to ones I had been looking at for a while. As a lover of boots, I’ve been struggling to find a pair to replace my old pair of black boots, and as a shopper with wide feet it isn’t the easiest task. To say that I was elated when not only did they have my size, but the boots fit me perfectly! It only got even better when I saw the price – 15 Euro. I can’t even buy decent boots at home for that price! Suffice to say, I did end up purchasing them.

After my lucky boot find, I had enough time to return to the hotel, drop off my purchase, and make my way to the main Stuttgart Universität campus where our orientation was being held. On arrival, there was already a massive line up of students, which made me feel very sorry for the staff and student assistants working to get us all sorted out. Orientation consisted of a brief talk outlining the expectations, excursions and basic housekeeping. After the talk, we some time to chat with our fellow students, before being escorted to the cafeteria. We then had a welcome dinner, and some of the host families joined us there. It was really nice food, and a fun, enjoyable evening.


I’m going to end this post here, and I’ll update tomorrow on my first two days of study – the placement test and German classes!

Bis Bald x


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