I remember how much awe and wonder, heck, even tangible excitement that I had when my parents waved good bye to me on
As the trepidation poured over me, I began to root around for the source of it. That is what I do. I sense trepidation or anxiety and I hunt it so as to take it down and mount its carcass on my wall. It’s the only real trophy hunting that I guess I do. I started to admit to myself what had been banging on the periphery on my consciousness for weeks. I was responsible for kids whom I didn’t all know, in a country (despite owing some ethnic background to) I knew very little about, chaperoning a trip in countries where I didn’t know the language or cultural idiosyncrasies on a schedule that was both set by other people and I was in the complete dark about the details of. Consider that until we were heading down to Newark, I thought (didn’t know) that we were flying Continental, but until I received my boarding pass, if you asked me my flight number or time of departure, it would have been as if you were speaking German. And that was another mental issue that surfaced. To some degree, to stay in the loop of what was going on, I was going to have to rely on Ms. Canavan and the 13 students going on the trip. I wouldn’t have all the answers for students as I am so fond of feeling like I do on a day to day basis. It is the first time as an adult that I needed to confront the reality of being in a totally subordinate position in regards to applicable knowledge. As Ms. Canavan so clearly stated as we wended our way to the Northway, the trip would be run based on “German Seniority” with DJ at the top rung (besides Frau Canavan, herself, of course) with the others in German III, followed by students in German II, then Bekah in German I, and then me. In German Zero. There would be jokes. Frau Canavan would laugh. The students would laugh. I would smile because people were enjoying themselves and, like an idiot, sit there having no idea if the true joke was on me. And that was a tough pill to swallow when you are someone who has prided himself on self-reliance, almost to a fault (my wife would argue I am beyond that point, by the way).
I am working on learning my first real German phrase (one that I didn’t learn out of a song): Ich sprecken kein Deutch. I speak no German.
We had our first mild amusement at the Modena Service Stop just north of Newburg,
It was mostly uneventful all the way to
Security became another fun time. First, upon walking through, a gentleman noted that I had dropped my boarding pass behind me. I saw it on the floor, almost beneath the security machine. As I retrieved it, I realized that mine was in my hand. I scanned the name. It belonged to Nicki, who was two people ahead of me and about to go through the metal detector. I asked her for her boarding pass because I needed to check something. The look of non-chalance tuned to absolute horror was priceless. Eyes wide with a look that could only be summed up in the text language of OMG! WTFIMBP???, I handed her the document and her blood pressure apparently was reduced to sub stroke levels.
As I made it through security, Frau Canavan noted that one Herr Parkes was having some extra difficulty getting through security. Identified as a potential member of the always wily, slender Aryan teenage terrorism cell, he was getting an “extra thorough” search by a man that was at least triple his weight. The security man was very thorough, and in my opinion, was quite friendly. It made me wonder, so I asked Frau Canavan if that type of physical closeness usually required dinner and a movie. She indicated that such was usually the custom in most of the more refined parts of
At we boarded the plane, and after some switching of seats, had ourselves situated and ready to go. So of course we sat on the Tarmac until . All the while I was sending out secret missives via illegal text message in order to find out if my New York Mets had officially secured the services of Johan Santana. We also invented a game. If given $2,000, how many inane items could you buy from Sky Mall magazine without going over the mark, yet getting close as possible? The gear had to be either cheesy or fantastical. You could not repeat items. D.J. won after detailing his purchases of 33 items totaling $1,998.25. This came after being initially disgruntled that the flight attendant said that he could not buy only one of a three dollar pair of socks.
At , Frau Canavan led the take off charge getting our whole group to hold their hands over their heads like we were riding a roller coaster at the world famous