Every excursion is an opportunity to feed the eyes, to get the brain jogging, then running and to keep awake- Lebogang Mokoena
It was barely so much hours that I was here to be known to my new family. I had to travel to the North West region of Germany called Hamburg for a welcome seminar.
Although I only had one day since my arrival at the Schad household, I was keen packing for 3 days, going some 4 hours by bus to another place I did not know, seeing new things and meeting new people.
But, was it worth it? In not much that I can express my joy, it was.
And some of the most interesting things I did or encountered include:
1. Travelling with a Spanish native who understands and speaks a little bit of English and German.
His name is Alejandro. He is my colleague and new friend. He is from Colombia and is also pursuing an exchange program. One perplexing thing is that we really do not speak the same language and neither understand each other so well, but at least and maybe to some exten a few things. This for me at the same time is amazing. It made me understand that communication can be negotiated if communicators involved get to some kind of agreement.
So how do we communicate? We either try speaking in our basic German skills. When traveling to Hamburg we basically used our hands to illustrate and more interesting, we drew . Some of our conversations are in drawings and this became a really health joke to some of our new friends at the seminar. I am happy that we cracked this joke and, I am happy to have met Alejandro. Dispite our differences, we have found a common ground. And that is drawing.
I meet more than 30 amazing young people at the seminar. I am happy to have been in endless conversations about South Africa, learning the German language, and spending the year here. Sharing our stories was great.
3. City Rally
As part of the seminar we were given an activity to explore Hamburg in groups of 5’s through a city rally. Something like the Amazing race in the United States or elsewhere. We have a starting point, regulations, tasks to complete like taking pictures of certain specific things, finding out who the name of secretary’s name in Hamburg’s biggest hotel is, buying an egg, going to a bar and taking a picture there, creating videos and audios of specific content, etcetera. Once done the first group to arrive at the starting point is the winner. Unfortunately my group did not win but I loved every minute of it especially going up and down using the bus and train with a group card. I really enjoyed moving around and checking out all sorts of things.
3. The convenience of public transport
So on Saturday our exchange program organisation, World Horizon initiated that we go out at 20:45 for drinks. We travelled with an underground train (U-Bahn as commonly known here) which to my surprise was full at that time. People were travelling as though its broad dY light. The night was young, I just silently thought to myself. Coming back again at about 2 a.m. the train was still full of people. I know I barely back at home probably trying to cover some academic or newsroom deadlines but this was eye opening. I really found it convenient for people to be travelling at that time of the day without hassles of how how they are going to get home. This is really super cool.
For my first excursion here, I must say, my eyes are feed. But, this is only the beginning of it all.