My EVS in Germany finished three months ago, but it seems like it's been much longer: it apparently takes quite a while to re-adjust to British life after being abroad for such a long time. In fact, I still haven't totally acclimatised, having cycled on the right (wrong) side of the road for 10 minutes last week before noticing the error of my ways... oops!
Since my last blog update, I moved from the students' halls I had been staying in into a small flat, with an Italian girl doing an Erasmus semester in Munich. She had lived in the city before, and the Bavarian winter meant the days were getting shorter and shorter, so our free time was mostly spent experimenting in the kitchen. I thought I knew how to cook pizza and pasta and could identify a Montepulciano d'Abruzzo pretty easily, but apparently I was wrong...
Having said that, the weather was much better than it had been during the washout summer, so I managed to squeeze in trips to Dresden and 'fairytale' Neuschwanstein Castle, as well as seeing a good selection of German Christmas markets. I also met up with some friends from the UK who were on exchange visits in Heidelberg and Munich, who happily had equally positive things to report on their observations of German culture!
There was also the Oktoberfest, when another EVS volunteer from Spain who I'd met on a seminar at the start of the year came to visit for her birthday. It's pretty much how you'd imagine an epic beer festival to be, just a little bit better. (And with even more beer...)
The end of my project was predictably chaotic - all those goodbyes, festive celebrations, evaluations and bulging suitcases squeezed into such a short space of time. Plus, the atrocious weather across Europe in December meant getting home was no easy feat. Luckily, though, I was back home just in time for a Christmas overflowing with mince pies, which I'd sorely missed in the weeks beforehand.
EVS was a great experience for me, and I can only recommend it to anyone thinking of doing something worthwhile while meeting lots of new people.
My warmest thanks to Fiona and Chloe at Concordia and Claire and my colleagues at EMCY for making the year run so smoothly... *most* of the time!