An Englishman’s Feelings about Germany
It’s said that your student years are the best of your life and I was lucky enough to spend one of mine in Germany, as an English Teaching Assistant at the Gymnasium in Sulingen, a small town halfway between Hanover and Bremen. It didn’t start promisingly. I arrived there as a fresh-faced young 20yr-old to be greeted by a young PE teacher who looked at me with sympathy and said “Eins musst Du verstehen – Du bist hier am Arsch der Welt”
But I didn’t find it so. Sure it was a bit quiet for someone born and raised in London but I found the people unfailingly welcoming and generous and yes, despite rumours to the contrary, great fun to be with. They seemed to find me amusing but as a young Englishman in Germany in the early ‘70s I could have recited a passage from the Bible and people would have fallen about laughing, such was their appetite for the celebrated English “Sinn für Humor”
The language was a challenge but once I got used to throwing the verb to the end of the sentence and never using three simple words when you can roll them all into one long one, things got easier.
I made friendships then that have lasted the best part of 50 years and every time I go back there part of me feels like I’m coming home.
So thank you Germany and its people for introducing me to some wonderful friends and for giving me some of the best times of my life.