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Antwerpen – Altenburg

30.03.2014 - 05.04.2014

 Sunday, March 30, 2014

  We agreed to meet up at the school around 06.45, so that we would be able to leave around 07.00. A pretty risky business, considering all our clocks were to be put forward an hour due to daylights savings. Fortunately everyone made it on time, aside from Fatima and Leonardo. Leonardo had overslept and Fatima had to come by train with a suitcase larger than herself. She arrived huffing and puffing around 08.30... We were set to go! Miss Katleen must have thought: "If I'm awake, everyone has to be". She sounded the school alarm to mark our departure and in doing so woke up half the city of Borgerhout.
   The journey to Alterburg went real smooth: little to no traffic, beautiful weather, about four short stops to grab a bite and visit the restrooms. We arrived at the youth hostel in Windischleuba at 15.15. Where we were kept waiting until 16.15 due to nobody from the hostel being present. When we were finally granted entry and received our room keys, we installed ourselves. Mr. Smit room was a beautiful baroque "spielzimmer". The rest of us had more simple rooms, but we were the only guests of the youth hostel.
    We were served a delicious meal and then finally it was time to relax.
   First off, we played a bit of music in the central square of the castle, then we chatted a bit and when things got chilly we moved to the salon to continue the relaxation. Some students headed to the tv-room. Some moments later it became so quiet, that I decided to take a look. Apparently they were watching a "nature" documentary.
   I would be lying if I said everyone got into bed easy, but the peace did return and our first night sleep at the hostel was imminent.

Monday, March 31, 2014

   06.00 sharp: trumpet sounded!! Everyone awake whether they like it or not, we have to be on time. The entire group arrived fresh and fruity at the breakfast table to enjoy the royal breakfast. Before we headed to the "Erich Kastner schule", we agreed upon some rules for the coming week. We received a warm welcome by the comenius team, the other teachers and a bunch of students. A few official duties followed by exchanging gifts and a "bretzelmand". It was here that the intern spots were divided: the METALBOYS and the WOODBOYS were in the same training facility in Meuselwitz. Hichni and Soaib went to the old student flats nearby the school. Kriti and Abdel worked in a large modern printing office where they mostly printed art books. Charlotte and Fatima had to, each separately, do an internship at a hairdressing parlor.
   After the reception at the school, we each went a separate way to our internships for a meet and greet and our first activities. Besides the wood- and metalboys, everyone ate at school.
   The Meuselwitzers assembled at the school after lunch to play some soccer, a better way of putting it ... they went to show off and the girls tried their best to get the attention of the boys.
   We, the teachers, had some time to socialize with our German colleagues. Afterwards we headed towards Altenburg city, the students were given the freedom to shop, eat a kebab or to fraternize with the German youth.
   Around 18.00 we assembled to eat some pizza, GIGANTIC pizza, really delicious, but more importantly ... we had a great time. Back at the castle there some more time to fraternize while we were given a knitting class. During which some new loops were invented like the windischleuba.

Tuesday April 1, 2014

   "Drum, drum, drum", rise and shine ... drums wake us up! Breakfast and then everyone off to the internships. The Woodboys have started work on a wooden lamp and the Metalboys on a "duftlampe". I couldn't help but feeling they underestimated our students, they worked quite a bit faster than the others. The other workers are a pretty impressive bunch coloured hair, tons of tattoos, piercings,... None the less our students have started to socialize a bit with them.

   We had another delicious lunch... bretzels, afterwards we headed back to the youth hostel. Hichni and Soaib have done some crea-activities for the eastern market in the old students home, the printers are giving their all at the printing office. They are pretty impressed by the machines but manage to hold their own. The hairdressers are a bit hit with their technique, skill and knowledge.
   In the afternoon we headed for the paper factory museum in Fokkendorf with our German colleagues. It was fun, interesting and imposing. We even got the opportunity to create some paper ourselves.

   For diner we went to a restaurant next to the Stausee which was owned by a fiery Dormund fan, a lucky break for our boys. The food was great, but not to everyone's liking. EATING CULTURE?!?! Ye right!! Our tough boys were getting a bit impatient so decided to head back to the youth hostel by foot ... almost 3 KM. We feared they might get lost, but they made it end.
   Mostly thanks to Soaib, who appears to have a build-in GPS.
   Later that evening we ate some Bifi, listened to some music, sang a bit and told a scary stories.. afterwards... time for bed.

Wednesday. April 2, 2014


  06.00 no horn, no drums, this time ....referee whistles! You can bet on it that they were awake.

   During breakfast we made sure to set some things straight concerning all the noise they made at night, then off to the internships. There we managed to show off our best side.



  After lunch we headed towards Leipzig, the girls had booked a blue bus. Boy o boy, may day, aspirin ..."I've loaded up my car with... screaming teenage girls". In Liepzig the students were given some free time until after diner. That way everyone could choose what to eat.

   Back at the youth hostel we a quiet night: the guys watched some soccer and the girls ... It was another long, busy and fun day.

Thursday April 3, 2014

             06.00 and we decided, for a change, to wake up the students gently...the morning ritual took a lot longer. Conclusion ....! Time for the fourth day of interships. They worked hard and fast. The Woodboys have started a LKW, a wooden truck and the metalboys have learned to weld synthetics. In the morning we celebrated some cooking parents from the training centre and because we did that ... they made us some nice dessert for after lunch. Kriti and Abdel changed internship today and had to pack up/finish toy boxes from Carta Mundi. Hichni and Soaib worked in an industrial kitchen/cantina.
   Afterwards we assembled at school to go to Lindenaumuseum for a short tour by Herr Flick. This was followed by a workshop wood engraving. Very fun and everyone tried their best, the results were magnificent. Mister Buylaert went shopping with Mandy to solve his string problem. Next up was a delicious meal in Smulln. We had some Thuringer and Saksische Dumplings. A typical dish from the area that was not all too shabby, which was to be expected considering its price tag. That evening I had to do a "Time-out", but what did I expect.... it's a Thursday. And everything was well. Back at the castle everyone had to clean and pack up their things to be able to leave the next morning.
Another busy and successful day.

Friday April 4, 2014

   06.00 uur: Rise and shine , we pack up, clean and eat our last breakfast here in the castle.
   After we take our group picture, we say goodbye to the kitchen lady and head out for our last day of internship. We finish up our work, take a picture here and there, exchange date and eat lunch. Another picture, shake hands and on to the school to install ourselves for the last night.
   Afterwards we headed for Altenburg city to shop, visit a museum, take a stroll, visit a music store, ... Mister Buylaert bought a beautiful guitar, but the colour is a bit iffy. We were expected at school for dinner and were given a warm welcome by our german colleagues. Also present were the intern mentors. It was fun and interesting. It was a good end to the intern week and a lot of impressions were shared. It is said that hairdressers are gossip girls... it holds true. It is a fact that many hairdressing parlors in Altenburg are interested in our students for internships, the language barriers fade because of their excellent skills. It can be said that this is the case for all of our students. We received nothing but praise about them and we can't help but take a small amount of credit for it. When the weather outside became to cold, we headed for the classroom to continue the pleasantries. The students viewed a movie, conciliated and danced in the hallways of the school. Made some more music, talked, laughed, drank schnapps and beer, but we decided to hit the hay early so we would be able to commence our journey home well rested.

Saterday April 5, 2014

   We awoke a bit later today, the baker only delivered at 0730. We ate breakfast at school and had to pack lunch. Baggage in the bus, group picture, goodbyes and off we were for Antwerp. it was an extremely smooth ride with 3 stops (well 4 if you count "the closed restroom stop") and back at school around 1630, without an alarm this time. We have driven around 1700 km in total during our trip. It were 7 intense, fun, busy, exhausting, interesting, delicious, international, musical, long, wifi-less, stair creaking, haunted, friendly ... days.

For everyone involved: thank you and awesome work!

Did you know?
Mr Buylaert tends to have troubles with his "boutelle".
The students need Bifi to feel well.
Mr Bulaerts, despite his way of driving, was given the go ahead by Soaib to become a taxi driver.
Mr T is a "boemser" and Johan is a "blazer"
Stairs can creak very loud in Germany
Mr Buylaert is very open about his string problem.
Leo likes to be in a wheelchair.
Charlotte has a very flexible tong.
Rovano was very happy to see another black person in Altenburg.
Abdel understands German really well but is extremely shy.
Leo, sometimes, has towel problems.
Soaib has troubles with the POL thing in the bus.