Monday, May 10, 2010


I'd never heard of this, it's not really (as in at all) celebrated in Britain, probably due to the innate eurosceptic nature of the brits, but Europatag or 'Europe Day' is, if not celebrated then at least nodded at, here in Germany (and probably throughout the rest of Europe)

It is supposed to be the annual celebration of peace and unity within Europe and is observed on May 9th every year. Today is May 10, I know, and normally the Germans are sticklers for keeping bank holidays on the day on which they fall (so if Christmas day falls on a Saturday there is no carry over of a holiday to the Monday as happens in the UK) consequently I was surprised when I came to research Europe Day to find that it was actually yesterday, May 9, I'd foolishly assumed that it must be May 10 because German's don't move dates...silly me.

So back to my morning, I was roped in to help Ben's class celebrate Europatag, they had taken it upon themselves to provide breakfast for the school, breakfast in the style of various European there were crepes from France, pretzels & bread with ham and cheese from Germany, bread with chocolate sprinkles from Holland, fresh orange juice & tuna frittata from Spain and bacon, beans & scrambled eggs from England....someone needs to talk to these kids about the word 'stereotype'.

Many of the kids had dressed up in the 'national costume' of their country - I saw several dutch clogs walking around, a matador & numerous English bobbies, worryingly there were 2 homemade t-shirts, promoting the idea that English and the bilingual stream of the school are cool - one had the American flag on it (I'd happily argue that they barely speak English in America let alone the fact that they are certainly not part of Europe) and one had the Union Jack, which while representing Britain doesn't represent England, and we were supposed to be offering an 'English breakfast' not a British breakfast...another lesson needed - in the subtle differences between England and Britain...

And then there was the disorganised chaos that is part and parcel of any German school 'do'. I've been spoiled I guess by PTA (parent/teacher association) organised fund raising events in England, where every detail is planned weeks beforehand, everyone knows exactly what they're supposed to be doing and everything runs smoothly and a profit for the benefit of the school is made.
German schools don't have PTA's, and today's shindig was 'organised' by 40 or so 10-12 year olds...the words 'piss up' & 'brewery' spring readily to mind, this disorganisation resulted in 2 groups attempting to provide an English breakfast, one of whom seemed to think that bacon and scrambled eggs were what the English would eat first thing (confusingly they were also offering 'doorstoppers' - which looked to me like the American style 'club sandwich', which is neither English nor breakfast food) and another offering just bacon and baked beans with toast and a cup of tea (the other group seemed to think that iced tea was the first choice of beverage for an English(wo)man - passable only with a splash of vodka....I'm thinking hair of the dog) At least the deocrations were appropriate for our group - last weekend in Enlgand I'd bought a load of bunting and flags all with the English flag on, not a Union Jack in sight (except for on the other group's table that is...) It all left me wanting a slice of hot buttered toast with marmelade, or maybe a nice bowl of cereal.

So my patriotic duty is done, I can pack my flags and my t-shirt (it's got 3 lions on it) away, until the Football World Cup starts anyway...altogether now "here we go, here we go, here we go" & "Inger-lund, Inger-lund"...although I've just found some really good & patriotic chants that I might have to practice!

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