Tag Archives: Family

Just around the corner! – Moving from small village life to Augsburg

It all begins with finally finishing school and being able to really start your own life. After you leave secondary school, your classmates scatter in the most diverse directions. Many are taking a gap year to discover at least a little more of that world that awaits us out there. Others start an apprenticeship and a considerable number enrolls in university. No matter what choice you make to hit off you’re your “new” life – it most certainly always involves changes. A major one that many students undergo is moving out.

How I ended up moving out

After starting university, I realised quickly that commuting to Augsburg every day wasn’t a permanent solution. That’s why, within the first week, I started searching for flats. However, I didn’t give the choice of moving a lot of thought. Neither did I know what it would be like as I grew up in a village. Not having my own car had made it quite difficult getting to the closest train station every day, since it was still 20 km away and the bus system in rural areas is exceptionally obsolete. I wasn’t able to properly get to know my fellow students or take part in any spontaneous hangouts, since mostly I had to catch the train and worry about how I would get home. I’m also fairly sure all of you who moved out are familiar with the process: it takes a little time to hunt down the right flat. However, before I knew it, I got accepted and packed up my stuff a week later.

“You don’t need to move out”

Family and friends didn’t like the thought of me “leaving again” after I had just returned from a year abroad. I got used to comments like “But it’s just around the corner, you can commute easily!” or “Why should you move, you just came back?”. Nevertheless, I started to gather my suitcases, books and an inflatable mattress. On the one hand, the journey to Augsburg takes only about one hour from my little village – depending on how often you get stuck behind tractors or crammed school buses. Not to mention the roadworks you’ll have to bypass on the way. On the other hand, I couldn’t wait to get to know my flatmates, have a new home and an incredibly short journey of 15 minutes to university!

All the things that are so much easier

Of course, I’d known Augsburg before becoming a university student. Over the years I had gone there for shopping trips with friends. I had even been to the university library the odd time for when I had to do research for my term paper back in school. As time passed and I got to spend more and more time exploring the old city’s charm, there were many things I wasn’t familiar with before. The following thought might sound funny to some of you: being able to take a bus or tram without having to wait for hours was merely fascinating to me! Or that I could simply go to the supermarket around the corner if I ran out of milk. I mean, how awesome is going to a bar on Friday night and not having to make it for the last night bus? Those are the things that weren’t imaginable for me to be real at all. You’re baking on a Saturday night and you run out of flour? Too bad, the little dairy is closed, and the next supermarket is 15 minutes away by car. Oh, you missed the school bus in the morning? Unlucky. Your last period on Wednesday afternoon is cancelled? You’ll just have to wait for the next school bus in an hour, no problem.

It’s not worse, just different

Some of those “experiences” might sound abnormal. I’ve even met a considerable number of people that were terrified of being “cut off”.  Humans have an astounding ability to adapt to circumstances, hence going grocery shopping once a week was totally normal for me. Even though I wouldn’t need to buy my food for an entire week all at once now, I still find myself in those habits I grew up with. I surely had to learn a lot about “city life”, even if it were just the simple things like being able to use public transport at any time or going grocery shopping by bike. Although I’m sure there’s many more students that have made similar positive experiences by moving to Augsburg, having grown up in a village was quite an adventure and I’m lucky to call that place my home.

author: Anna Schmitt

Mother Goose

With their sweet melodies and nostalgic associations, nursery rhymes and lullabies seem innocent. But when you really listen to the lyrics, this perception might change…

A nursery rhyme is a short story written in rhymes, often set to rhythmic tunes or music and is designed for young children. The stories have been with us for decades and can be used anywhere and at any time. These rhymes are also part of many cultures and often serve as an oral record of historical and political events and can even preserve archaic forms of language. The most commonly used nursery rhymes in the English language date from the sixteenth centuries.

A learning tool

Typically, a nursery rhyme has a catchy rhyme and simple vocabulary; children quickly learn to sing along. But nursery rhymes have more to offer than entertainment. Not only do they enhance the child´s imagination, introduce the idea of storytelling, promote social skills, boost language development and help phonemic awareness, but they also lay the foundation for reading and spelling. And because they build vocabulary and engagement slowly as a result of their repetitive and funny lyrics, they allow us to memorize basic structures and patterns in the English language, so kids can easily follow the now familiar words, as their parents or teachers slowly read to them.


nursery_shrinkCollections

Nursery rhymes are often collections, such as Mother Goose, which originated in France and is still a popular collection of nursery rhymes. Translations were also published in England and the United States, each with minor revisions, but they have remained true to their rhyming tales. Even though some of these collections use very old rhymes, which might be confusing to some children because of the language of Mother Goose, it provides an interesting insight into how people once spoke.

Hidden meanings

Nursery rhymes can also provide a quick history lesson and therefore connect us to the past and in some cases a nursery rhyme might have dealt with controversial topics and served as a mode of political expression or social commentary with hidden messages. If you dig a little deeper, they reveal shockingly sinister back stories. Gruesome tales of violence, scandal, medieval taxes, religious persecution, unlike our disneyfied modern perceptions; these aren’t exactly the topics that you expect as parent or teacher in poems meant for the nursery. Now, let’s look at some nursery rhymes and get their possible original meaning. Here are some backstories that may have inspired some popular nursery rhymes:

BaaBaaBaa, Baa Black Sheep

Baa, baa black sheep is about the resentment towards the medieval wool tax imposed by King Edward I in England during the thirteenth Century. Under this imposition, a third of the cost of a sack of wool went to King Edward I, another third went to the Church, and the last third went to the farmer. As a result, nothing was left for the poor shepherd boy who lived down the lane.

Humpty Dumpty

Humpty

Humpty Dumpty depicts the fall of Colchester; it was believed to be a large cannon which was used during the English Civil War (1642 – 1649). At the time Colchester was under siege during the English Civil War and was a town with a castle and several churches protected by the city wall. A soldier named Jack Thompson had to take charge of a cannon nicknamed “Humpty Dumpty” on the walls. A shot from a Parliamentary cannon damaged the wall beneath Humpty Dumpty, which caused the cannon to tumble to the ground. The Royalists, or Cavaliers, “all the King’s men” attempted to raise Humpty Dumpty on to another part of the wall. But because of size and the weight of the cannon, they were unable to lift it back up onto the wall. Or it was shattered after the fall so “All the King´s horses and all the King´s men couldn´t put Humpty Dumpty together again!” Consequently Colchester had no choice but to surrender to Parliament.

Rock-a-bye-baby

Rockabyebaby

This song is about the Glorious Revolution, the overthrow of the last ruling Stuart king, James II. The baby in Rock-a-bye-baby was allegedly the son of King James II, but rumor has it, he was the child of another man. The king and his wife were unable to have children of their own, a baby was smuggled into their chamber in order to guarantee a Catholic heir. The ‘cradle’ represents the House of Stuart, while the ‘wind’ that rocked the cradle may be the Protestant forces from the Netherlands. Editors of the 1765 print version, Mother Goose´s Melody commented that the lyric ‘may serve as a warning to the proud and ambitious, who climb too high that they generally fall at last’.

Nursery rhymes have been memorable for generations; you will still overhear parents chanting them to their children or children reciting the quirky content. Whether the rhymes take you for a walk down memory lane, serve as time capsules, giving us insights into the past or into English words, or are just for fun, try them!

Text & Picture: Elisabeth Stützel