Okay, so today I got seriously yanked back to the past by a German YouTube video maker by the name of 31stCenturyJan. Vielen Dank!
But first, a little background. Back when I was in high school, a group of students from my county went to Germany as part of a Fulbright student exchange program. When we got to Germany, the group split into two parts. One group stayed in Cologne with their host students, while the other group traveled north to a town called Viersen to stay with host students there.
I was part of the Viersen group and I went to classes with my host student, T. It was a good way to improve my German. I went to a German Gymnasium (not a fitness center, but roughly equivalent to an American high school) which was called “Gymnasium an der Loh” according to a sign I saw.
It was a fun experience. But there are two things that stick out in my mind the most. One was meeting my British friend, H. H’s host student and my host student were in some of the same classes, so H and I got to talking because we were the only two in the room who could speak fluent English. (!) And we’ve been friends ever since.
The second was the huge prank played by some senior students after the Abitur. The Abitur is a final exam that German students take which tests what they’ve learned over the past 12 or 13 years. It’s a major exam: You need it to get into a German university.
So a group of students apparently decided to play a prank in order to relax after the Abitur. And so they did. With water. They put cups of water over all the stairs to the second floor so that you had to dodge all the cups in order to get to your classes.
The school’s second floor also had these open sections so that you can look down onto the ground floor. Each opening has a wall around it for safety and the top of each wall got the water-cup treatment as well. I remember hearing a few astonished yelps as somebody tipped over some water cups and the person unlucky enough to be walking across the floor at the time got dowsed.
So a couple of years ago, I went hunting for the school, which is now called “Erasmus of Rotterdam” Gymnasium, and read their website. Luckily, my browser translated most of the text into English.
But for some reason, it didn’t occur to me until today to see if anybody from the school had put up videos on YouTube. So I looked and there it was — a great little music video produced by 31stCenturyJan. The Gymnasium still looks much the same as when H and I went there. Nice to know some things stay the same.
Here’s the school video so you can see for yourself where I was. But I’m a bit puzzled by why they’re having a water fight at the end of the video. What IS it with this school and water??!! Just kidding, guys.