Friday, April 20, 2007

Jüterbog wird 1000.

It has been, if you haven’t noticed, a long time since I have written one of these things. Like many of people who have seen or even just heard of the South Park movie, I blame Canada. But in the case I have recht. (the right) (or to say the whole sentence in German: In diese teilung habe ich recht.) But now I’m just showing off. Heartfelt apologies. For those of you who know Spanish or another foreign language now is the time to use it in order to curse me under your breath. Or over your breath for that matter as I won’t understand it if it isn’t German. All that aside, I have much to talk about, so I probably won’t get to all of it.

Perhaps you are asking yourself: ‘why is he blaming Canada?’ Well that much is easy, you see, a group of Canadian kids (and by kids I mean, of course, Teenagers) came to Altes Lager for a couple of days on a missions trip. It was a great time. I can say, with Ernst, that Gary and I both enjoyed their visit. It was cool to speak some English with them, but it was even cooler to get to translate for them a little. The leaders from the Canadian kids were cool people also. Two of them had lived in Altes Lager before, so it was neat to hear their perspective on this place, and to see the nostalgia on their faces. It is a feeling I know I will have. It is really a special place. The other two leaders were Science people, which was very cool. Everyone involved with the group was really nice, and it was a lot of fun to just hang out. It was so much fun, in fact, that I didn’t have time to write any blogs for the two weeks they were here.

The matter was made more complicated when I went on vacation a mere week after the Canadians left. I visited 3 countries, and each was cool in its own way. I suppose I should write about those at this point, and then get to the more recent stuff, which really isn’t much.

So, on vacation I visited Gary’s brother, Tim. He is a student in Norway at the moment, so he lives in Oslo. On Norway I have this to say: Everyone should visit Norway at one time or another, especially people who have never visited Scandinavia. This is because you will have your mind blown by currency. When you step off the plane and ask for a train ticket to the city centre, the cashier will ask you for 86 Kroner (Crowns). If you’re like me, you will mentally panic for a second while your brain converts that to something less formidable. 86 Kroner is like $14 US, 11€ or, I think, $16 Canadian. In any case, it is still a lot of currency to disseminate on a train ride that only lasts about 7 stops. It costs me 10€, for example, to ride the train to Berlin and back. So visiting Norway is a rip off as far as money is concerned, but it is a nice looking country. Mind you, Oslo isn’t the prettiest city, but it is right on the ocean, which is a nice sight. There is also part of Oslo that is on a ‘mountain’ which is also very nice. The farming towns outside of the city are rather quant, however, and seem nice and peaceful. My friend Tim described the people of Norway as seemingly cold; it takes a lot of time and effort to get to know them. That is true of most Scandinavians, at least in my experience. This isn’t to say they aren’t nice people, and I know of a couple in Oslo that were very friendly to me, it is just to say that people there are slow to trust you, or so it seems.

From Oslo I flew to Scotland, where I visited a friend I made at a camp I worked at. It was a good visit, namely because my friend ended up paying for just about everything, but it was great to catch up as well. Scotland is a cool place and I saw a lot of it from how to make Tartans, Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh in general, Ayr, the town of William Wallace, who never wore a kilt or blue face paint, to partaking of Haggis, which is quite tasty. I also found it cool to be able to understand everything without conscious effort. (Though the currency was a bit strange at first, I got the hang of it.)
From there it was back to Oslo for a stretch. There I mainly hung out with Tim’s friends and lazed around. Then we drove to Sweden. In Sweden, we stayed in a castle (though in Swedish and German, there is only one word to mean both Palace and Castle, so I can basically say that I stayed in a Castle.) It is used, currently, by a religious community. We were there to visit with this community, and it was interesting. It was a very peaceful and sunny stay. We chilled on balconies, soaking up the sun and playing guitar. We hiked around the grounds. We even found time to play floor hockey with some of the Swedish teenagers there. It was a nice end to a very relaxing and enjoyable vacation.

Since then I have been back in Altes Lager. Not much has really happened. I upset my 5th grade friend, Christina, by grading her paper and, as I didn’t see her name (which was on the back of the paper, apparently) I wrote: ‘Name?’ on it. She took offence to this apparently. Though, as is my habit, I made it worse when her friend, Maria, asked if she got a 1, which is an A, and I said yes, and then, as a joke, said: ‘Christina would have gotten a 1, but she didn’t put her name on her paper.’ I guess it was a bad joke, but not really. Girls act made about jokes sometimes even when they aren’t. Or maybe they really get mad, but eh, she’ll forgive me eventually. If not, she won’t have to see me again after too long. In general the kids were very good this week. They could be tired from the nice weather, which allowed them to play outside a lot and get out their energy. I also had a really strange dream last night. I remember mostly that it was strange, and not so much how it was strange. That is about all the news I have for this edition. Next time it will be a shorter blog.


At 9:34 PM GMT+2, Blogger gary h. said...

there was no comments yet so I decided to be the first one to do so. Here goes:

Keith, I'm happy you're back. I was starting to think that you were going to leave me for my brother, but we're stronger than that. Right?


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