Sunday, February 10, 2008

Germany - Day 8: 2/7 - (GSG Day 2)

The Weekend Homework Assignment is Listed Below This Post!

So I finally had to hit the snooze this morning and didn’t get up until 6:15, so its seems as if my body is adjusting to the new time zone, finally. I am now getting tired around 10:30, but that could also be because the days have been so packed. Its like until I get home from school (and then spend a few hours posting my blog (because I am OCD about the formatting), I don’t have a seconds worth of time to myself during the day. The good news is that until I stopped at the grocery today and picked up some items sure to ruin the phenomenon, the belt has needed to be tightened one belt hole since arriving. Such is the life of walking all over the place and eating normal sized portions.

School was pretty straight forward. The study session was pretty much on point after much persistence in getting kids to stay quiet. I had plans to sit on in Herr Fabricius’s 11th Grade English class, but ended up spending 75 of the 90 minutes helping someone avoid an international incident that could have cost GSG a reported 40,000 Euro. The tragedy, however, was avoided. I am not sure if relations between all parties are back to a friendly level, but at least they have returned to functional.

Frau Canavan and I caught the last ten minutes of Herr Fabricius’s class. I thought what he was doing was interesting and I like how he included the American students as if they were part of the class and were totally expected to intermix and participate. I would have liked to have seen more of it, so I think I will swing in and catch some during my next opportunity. I am interested in his 13th grade class, which I am going to see next Friday.

After Fab English, I met up with Heinrich Lemm, who I am going to spend some time with this coming weekend while the Schwichs go to Spain. It appears we are going to Sessen on Saturday and that Kelly is going along as well. Kelly and I hit an Italian Restaurant for lunch and then went to Lidl’s (Lee-dull’s) Grocery so I could get some supplies in the event that I was stupid enough to work through dinner again. After that we headed back to GSG to catch the school bus to a gymnasium and workout facility that has professional looking badminton courts. Waiting for the bus Herr Fabricius wanted my ear to discuss a miscommunication between host and hostee (an apology misinterpreted as an insult – ah, the language barrier!).

I was not going to participate in badminton and just work on my blog instead, but I realized that I needed to calm down on this thing. It was taking up way too much time and it was getting to a point that I was spending more time blogging this week than getting out and experiencing Germany. I figured that that had to be cosmically wrong, so I will try to scale back. Badminton turned out to be much more competitive than volleyball was. The German girls turned out to be pretty solid, particularly Sandra and Cati. As good as they were, though, I teamed up with Jessia, who besides being a master foil fencer as lunatic volleyball player, is a badminton beast, who even knows the legit rules to the game. The result, we were undefeated. I then teamed up with Canavan because Casey wanted to show that he could do more in this world than speak his broken German-English combo language and run fast by schooling us. Sadly, for Casey, even his partner Cati tried to forfeit half way through because it was evident that Canavan and I would not be denied.

I have now decided that the middle finger in Europe must not have the same connotation that it does in the U.S. I see more people giving it to each other than I do in the U.S. and it seems like it does not translate quite as harshly. I noted this because while waiting for the bus, some of the exchange pairs we getting picked up by parents instead of riding back to school. At one point, one of the German girls was walking to the car and flipped her dad the middle finger as she walked by his window. He had little to know reaction. I noted for the students, who also seemed surprised by this, that if I had done that as a teen, my father would have been wearing that finger on a necklace around his neck in about ten seconds and I would be known as the “English Teacher with Nine Fingers”. Canavan noted that someone beaten with a club on the streets of Cleveland for doing something like that. Not really, but I think it adds to the story.

I met up with Beatrix for the ride home and dealt with a mountain of e-mails waiting for me (29 in total). It seems that, unlike China where I only had internet access once per week and didn’t have a job, I cannot also give up my many responsibilities while I am here. Its not that I had intended to, it just makes China that much more special because it was a time in my life that I could devote just to being abroad and not worry about my life as it was on another continent.

I came up late for dinner and found that Beatrix had made me a plate. Hannah’s boyfriend, Kevin, had brought dinner over with him. It was a mix of a noodles in a thick cream sauces, with diced ham and sweet pickles. Not liking sweet pickles, I thought I was in for a tough meal, but I gave it a shot and was pleasantly surprised. Afterwards, I discussed what time we would be leaving for Aachen the following morning and watched some T.V. with Beatrix, mostly the local news and some segments on Obama and Clinton’s paths through politics. I spoke with Hannah briefly about her particular passion for The Simpsons and Harry Potter and then I went to bed.

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