Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Germany - Day 12: 2/11 (Meetin' the Mayor o' Moers)

Hard to Believe, But Today is the Halfway Point of the Exchange.

Only 12 More Days Until Wed Bid Goodbye!

Today proved to be an interesting day. After a morning at GSG, we were heading to a Mores Castle, where we would be greeted by the Mayor of Moers and Casey would give a speech in honor of the P.E.A.C.E. Exchange program (I still don’t know what that stands for) in German. Hendrick picked me up at 7:20 and we headed to GSG to get the day started. The study block went well. After D.J. was moved to his own island, he managed to get working and the rest of the room did as well, as I struggled to help Bekah and Shannon with Math B. And when did that change, by the way? What happened to good ol’ Courses 1, 2, & 3? Although I never understood why they did that and then did Pre-Calc and Calc. Why not Course 4 & 5? Lest I digress further, I shall move on.

Following the study session, we had a little discussion on the difficulties of being in the exchange and the advantages of it. I really hoped it went well and was well received. My exchange to China was one of the most important experiences in my life and taught me so much about other people and tolerance. It taught me about acceptance of different cultures, which at times made no sense, and it also taught me about myself and what was truly important to me. Granted that I was gone for three months and these students will be gone for three weeks, but I want them to get something out of it like I did because I think international travel can be one of the greatest learning experiences of your life.

After period three was done, the students went off to their classes for the next 45 minutes and Frau Canavan, Casey, and I went to the cafeteria to get coffee and so Casey could practice his speech. At 11:30, we caught the bus Moers Castle and were promptly ushered upstairs where speeches were given by the mayor (a German intro and then in English), Casey (in German) and Gloria (in English). It was interesting for me to see that the Mayor’s hands were trembling because she was nervous. It made what Casey was able to do all the more impressive. Even if he did get some of the pronouciations not quite right (by his admission; I wouldn’t know), he was the most relaxed and seemingly prepared of the three and I thought he should have been proud of his performance. If you would like to listen to it, I uploaded the audio here. The video was too big to fit onto youtube.com (300 MB) and I don’t have video editing software here to make the necessary changes. Gloria, a German student from GSG, gave her speech in English. It can be found, here.

Once that was done, there was a presentation done on the evolution of the castle, which was pretty cool, even though it was done with mostly blocks in the shape of castle structures. I found it interesting and informative. It was also interactive, which provided some humor. We then chit chatted, dined on cookies and beverages, and looked around the castle. Students had fun dressing up and battling each other with medieval weapons and being that the castle was supposedly haunted, I took the opportunity of hiding in one of the rooms and using Casey, Colleen, and Frau Canavan as helpers, scare the daylights out of Janina, Sandra, and Bekah. Good times.

After that we took a picture of the group in front of Moers Castle and disbanded for an hour or two into Moers, each depending on his or her schedule. I went with a mass of people, led by Sandman, to Centro Doerner for my first post-Berlin Doerner. Hagan seemed to have a good pulse on things, so I asked him to order me up a Hagan’s Special. It was a chicken based doerner with two different sauces, some cheese and veggies, and a side order of pommes (really good French fries – and Kim had a ball when she saw me with them – note: non fast food fries of okay in Mody’s Rules of International Travel and Exchange). After that I just had time to charge up my phone card before Hendrick showed up for my lift home.

It has been mildly difficult for me to get use to relying on other people to get places. Firstly, I always feel like people need to plan their schedule around me, which makes me feel really guilty, and secondly, I like to believe that I have a great level of self-reliance. I own my truck and if I need to go somewhere, I can go. No one is put out, except the occasional instance where my wife is home and I am not there when I am supposed the be (and that can get ugly, gents, believe you me). All in all, I was really beat when I made it home, so I decided to nap for a little while after responding to a flood of e-mails. Instead of taking what I thought would be a two hour power nap, I ended up digging in until 11:30 P.M., when I heard Beatrix get home from Spain. I got up, did some blog update work until about 3 A.M. and then went back to bed until six. I am never going to be able to get my sleeping straightened out at this rate!

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