Thursday, September 28, 2006

A Requimesque Piece to Celebrate/Honour/and Otherwise Remember My First Two Months
If You Wanna Be Famous

Just move to another country and work with children. Not only will they shower you with pieces of paper with or without hearts drawn in magic marker. Not only will they ask you every day to sit next to them on the bus, knowing already that you have to sit in the back with the big kids. Not only will one or two of the mislead young ladies develop odd fascinations with you. Not only will they come by and ring your doorbell. No, more than that, every time they see you they will smile and say something, give you a high five, shake your hand, whatever. And sure, sometimes it’s annoying, sometimes it gets old (the doorbell thing is a good example, as is it an example of them bad part of being famous), but sometimes, when you’ve lost your hope in humanity and some kid comes up all excited to shake your hand, it just makes your day (again, never the doorbell ringing, because my doorbell sounds worse than an alarm clock, which you know I hold to be among the worst sounds in existence.) Now I have my favourites, I know they all say you shouldn’t have them, but everyone always does anyway (and besides, I don’t treat them much different). One of them is this kid Lukas who has really white blonde hair. I think he’s a slow learner, and has a lot of energy, but it’s hard not to smile when he gets all excited and says: ‘My hat is red!’ even though we happen to be talking about furniture. He also likes to shout my name every time he sees me, even if it’s quite often. I also have my not so favourites. Like the kid who cursed me in Russian before flicking me off (kids love their soccer here, and I’d tried to make him sit out for the small act of punching this kid twice). Or maybe the kids who pushed me into another classroom while class was still going on (thankfully it was one of the English teachers, so I could explain what happened). But the point is there are so many solid kids around, that aren’t mean to me, but who just treat me normally, which a lot of times is appreciated as it is sometimes seemingly rare. As I am teaching English I feel that I am living vicariously in London through the eyes of Terry, Emma, Lisa and Sam who are feature in the book we use. Who cares if maybe they aren’t really actual children at a school in London, and MAYBE they are really called Terry Emma Lisa or Sam, but boy do they ever have some adventures at that school of theirs. Like, remember the time when Emma forgot her lunch money so her and Sam had to share sausage and chips? Oh that was quite an adventure indeed! Or when Emma got all boy mad over Jake Howard? Man, her and Lisa didn’t talk for a week.
It’s not just the kids that make you feel good though. I have Frau Förster, who was my host mother, and who pretty much a mother to us now. In fact that is a little nickname me and Gary have for her, she is quite protective and makes sure we always know what is going on. At one boy, just before our excursion to Meckesheim, she even referred to us as ‘Her Boys’. We also have Frau Hampil, who teaches us German, she is very encouraging, and since she only knows German, is a good person to practice German with. The are also the Unrau’s, who consistently have us over for a rousing game of Siedler von Catan (Settler to you USAnians or Canadians) I always lose, but I talk the most trash…so it’s a trade off. There is Ina who knows a little English and always corrects our German, and Johan who taught us Sheep vs. Wolves. I’ve been here two months now and have made a few connections; I feel a little more at home, a little more consistent and a little less like a tourist. I still have lots to learn, mostly German. But all in all it’s been a crazy, hectic, unsettling, but refreshing, amazing two months. And that’s How Lovely my Dwelling Place is. (Sorry that’s an MHC Choral Joke, we sung part of Bram’s Requiem, but now I don’t feel smarter than anyone after explaining it.)


At 3:32 AM GMT+2, Blogger Maria said...

sometimes I feel famous at Americana, but right now I think all the kids hate me....and I really pissed off the Bosnians tonight. Don't ya just miss that place?

At 8:42 PM GMT+2, Blogger gary h. said...

I agree that our first two months in Altes Lager have been something of a new experience.

How can we really sum up our time here so far? Partly awesome, horrible, confusing, and spectacular all rolled up into a small period of time. Its certainly been one heck of a ride so far! I'm sure it can only get more crazy from this point on.

Unicorns forever,


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