They’re all the same . . .

Gottingen The German exchange continues.  We haven't swopped a German you understand, we've gained one from Gottingen (civic heraldry shown left) which became a city in the early 13th Century. 

Having enjoyed Tom 's company over the last 24-hours, I notice he displays exactly the same tendencies as our own 15-year old!  Take the PE kit, for example.  Son is heavily into fitness and suggested to Continental friend he might like to visit the school gym at the end of the day yesterday.  Tom was very keen as at home they're not permitted to use a gym until the age of 16.  He


rushes upstairs two at a time (how do they do that?) and came back with a material ball which is then stuffed into school bag.  I'm sure screwed up sphere was freshly laundered before leaving the Motherland.  Realise son is obviously congenitally programmed to thrust neatly folded kit into bag at this age.

Collected lads at 4.30pm, happy and chatty after workout (why don't they have that affect upon me – workouts that is?) and asked if first day was enjoyable.  The 'town walk' was . . . wait for it all teenage carers . . . 'boring' but time at school was great.  In the afternoon the boys accompanied their English partners to lessons.  Guess what son had?  Yep, German!  Could be a trifle embarrassing for their teacher?

Have to say I developed a healthy respect for our foreign visitors (although didn't acknowledge same publically) upon learning that,to save trailing around town seeking info for a questionnaire, after an initial flurry of interest, they simply went into the Tourist Office and asked questions of the unsuspecting and most obliging staff, thus completing task in record time.  The remainder of the morning was enjoyed meandering and soaking up the atmosphere.

Meal We've had a couple of hilarious moments.  We're dining out this evening – kitchen avoidance technique – and asked Tom what cuisine he favoured.  Chinese.  OK, 'Angel Chef' it is then.  Son, daughter and I explain in pigeon German that it's a place where they sereve every dish imaginable and it will be a dining experience.  He floored us by saying "In Germany we call this a buffet".  Oops, sorry, my mistake!

This morning, as 'the perfect hostess', I enquired whether Tom had any washing (as per instruction sheet supplied in advance of trip but would have done it anyway).  He rushed upstairs and failed to return.  Ask daughter what's occurin'.  She said visitor in the bathroom brushing his teeth – well, I suppose they wouldn't be anyone else's, would they?  Pathetic, I know!  Mental alarm bells sound.  I know this task was completed at Housewife07.47hrs.  Panic sets in as I realise he may have thought I was sending him upstairs to wash!  Son despatched to ascertain current status.  Tom appeared with M & S bag containing screwed up clothing.  Ah, great, he didn't feel I was casting doubt upon his personal hygiene.  Recognised aforementioned PE kit which is needed again for games this afternoon.  Reiterate question about washing.  Don't feel I'm connecting.  Gesture to him to follow me to washing maching.  Make loading movements.  He responds "at the weekend, I only have 2 . . . you say a couple . . . of socks?"  Affirmative.  He says "I only have two couples of socks".  Decide to leave further explanation.

The machine stands idle and we return to the hall where daughter is thumbing through German dictionary.  There's nothing under washing, so we wait in an increasing state of tension as she investigates the word 'laundry'.  Translation achieved, she asks Tom, in German, if he has any washing.  Phew, am exhausted already.  Just trying to maintain the entente cordiale.  Imagine how daft we (daughter still clutching dictionary) feel as Tom says "We just say dirty clothes".  [Note to self: Don't over-complicate matters.]

They're off to meet the Mayor (boring??)today then back to school for Games.  Apparently, in Germany they have far less curriculum time for sport.  School starts at 07.50hrs and they have a mix of long and short days and lots of religious days off.

We've been very lucky as Tom's a thoroughly pleasant, happy and confident young man and a real credit to his Father, a cabinet maker.  Mum died when he was little.  I hope she knows what a great lad she gave to the world . . . and I hope he doesn't think I'm nosey!

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