Sunday, January 28, 2007

And now for something completely different

Today started in Berlin. Early. But at the same time, moments too late. Our visitor, Mattias, had to catch an 8AM train from Berlin Hbf, but we woke up in the Mennoheim (our free hostel connection in Berlin) at 7:20 perplexed at why the alarm hadn’t sounded. That remains a mystery. It was an odd wake up, very subtle, as it was just Mattias’ voice saying „We should probably get up now, it’s 7:20.“ We didn’t rush because the subway station was only a 5 minute walk from where we were. As we approached it, we saw a train leaving. It was the subway line we should have taken. The next one came 20 minutes later, so we found a RE train heading to the Hbf at 7:50, which was pushing it, but it was our only option. Unfortunatly Mattias still missed his train, but being himself, just boarded a different one heading to the same place. After that Gary and I spend an hour waiting for the train home in McDonalds, where I drank a pretty week cafe au lait (called Milchkaffee in German) and Gary ate breakfast. I wasn’t eating because my stomach was in a rebellion, and I wasn’t sure McDonalds would end up stamping it out. Upon arriving home, my Handy (I have a cell phone now, but it is a business one) rang. It was our friend Walde (but it can be used for personal calls too) wondering where I was. Walde came over and we went on a mission to get the van from the Garage and then pick up some kids from Altes Lager and take them to a lunch meeting. This is when I started speaking in German, it was 11AM, I stopped speaking German for English around 8PM. The meeting turned out to be short and followed by about 5 hours of playing sports. We played soccer, volleyball, table tennis, basketball and even a little American football. We ate lunch and then played more sports, until finally Gary was ready to pass out. (Though we were both tired from Adventures in Berlin, physical activity and meeting new people tend to wake me up a bit). After that Walde, who recently got his driver’s liscense drove me into Jüterbog. I talked in German and he talked in English, and he was generally excited about driving. He loves it. After that we got Gary and went on an almost surreal mission which involved a delapedated house, some of the sixth graders (who haven’t been making fun of me after all, so I feel like a jerk for thinking that) a crate of beer and of course, Walde driving. It is hard to explain. Basically Walde said, I want to deliver this crate of beer to Altes Lager (which I thought we were in, but we actually live in Flugplatz) but I need someone to help carry it. So we get in the car and drive a little ways, then suddenly stop. Walde says, I’ll be right back, I’m getting help, and he comes back with a band of 6th graders who he says are going to gaurd the beer for him. Then we drive to an beat up old house and climb up 4 flights of dark, rikity stairs, me traging a crate of beer) We finally come upon a room which is obviously used for parties as it has posters on the walls, candles and couches in it. Walde and the kids banter in Russian a bit and then we head out. That was pretty much it. Then as we are heading up to the room, I run into a group of German and Russian men on the porch of my building. One shakes my hand, asks Wie Geht’s then out of no where gives a huge tug on my beard (which hurt) and said „Was ist mit das schieße?“ (What is that crap? Is the clean version, and also what I happened to be thinking at the time). It was weird.

PS On the way to my room, having just typed this, I ran into the guys on the porch again, and we talked in German about how I liked Germany (I think they wanted me to say USA was better, but I didn’t) and then about the few Russian words I have learned. It was pretty fun

Other postscripts: One, to Deutchmaedchen (though I feel compelled to correct to Deutsch) I thank you for reading and enjoying my somewhat random stories, hope you learn something from them.
Two, to Dan: The children, of course, remember you. They ask me if I know you pretty much everyday, and some of them even call me Dan on occaision (which I permit, as the general consensious was that you were pretty dang cool)


At 4:15 AM GMT+1, Blogger dan of becks mills said...

hey man...thanks for the updates and what not. and no worries, i was perpetually called mark for half a year. he was the one whose shoes i filled. but its great to hear about life in altes lager....i do miss it. tell walde i said hi, and that he should email me....its dont have his. and tell other random people hello. jake, dorothy, johann, ina....enjoy your time


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