Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Arrival and First Days

Well, I arrived Sunday evening after a trip from Chicago to Frankfurt, via Dublin, and am glad to be on the ground. Romy Schuster picked me up at the airport and brought me back to Rimbach, due to the lateness of my arrival; the trains to Rimbach don't run very late.

The first day was pretty busy, arranging all the things I needed to get started here; Romy was once again a great help, driving me around and helping me register with the government, make arrangements for my health insurance when my job starts, sign the contract for the apartment and get me a bank account. It was slightly overwhelming, all the information coming my way. We also signed for my keys to the school, and had a quick tour through parts of the school. The rest of the day I mostly spent getting used to my apartment, and also the town. I cooked my first meal here, and thankfully it was successful. This is my first time living completely on my own, so I was a little anxious as to how I was going to do with such things. But there's a supermarket very near my apartment, and my neighbors are very nice, so I think all will be well.

Today was a little bit more of an adventure. I had skipped the first day of my language course yesterday, and unfortunate necessity so that Romy and I could get everything done that first day, and so today was my first time taking the trains to Heidelberg. It was interesting, to say the least.
When I first went to buy my ticket this morning, the machine told me that I couldn't buy the ticket I wanted, because the trains didn't run to that location, so by the time I had figured out the ticket I actually wanted, the train I needed to take was just starting to pull away from the station. That was rather frustrating, but thankfully my neighbor saw me and stopped by on her way out, and we talked briefly, and she explained that I could use my ticket on the next train. I thanked her, and waited, and got on. I had to switch trains in Weinheim, and there I discovered, much to my chagrin, that the train I needed to switch to was 35 minutes late. Keep in mind, I was already late to begin with.
So the train finally arrived, and while there was some little confusion at the Academy, I managed to get into my class with little enough trouble. It went very well, and my teacher complimented me on my German, which was a little surprising, since it feels like I've forgotten so much. I got plenty of opportunity to practice later, though. The class itself is mostly teens, though evidently one guy is about 22, and we have one woman who I think is in her fifties, maybe even older. Some are from Switzerland, which I find a little amusing, and some from Slovakia, Russia, Spain, and Georgia. It's an interesting group.
The trip home was more trying than the first. While approaching Weinheim, our train stopped as usual at Heddesheim, but there we were told the train wouldn't go any further, and that we were to disembark and take a bus. We got off, but the bus never came, at least any bus bound for a location near Weinheim. We waited for about two hours, some people getting taxis or calling friends, until finally another train came by; evidently things had cleared up in Weinheim. I don't know exactly what happened, just that there was some kind of accident. One person said someone had jumped in front of a train, but I don't know. While we were waiting, it started to rain lightly, and thankfully I had my umbrella with me (For those of you who haven't seen it, it has a sword-handle instead of a normal umbrella handle; my class got a kick out of it). I was standing next to a girl who had none, so I moved a bit to let her shelter under my umbrella somewhat, and introduced myself after a few minutes. Turns out she graduated from Martin-Luther Schule in 2009, and had Kate Olson as a teacher, and had also met Devin Horne; I can only assume she also knew Laura Schaefer, as well. We chatted a little bit, which gave me a much needed opportunity to brush up on German small talk, and parted ways two hours later in Weinheim.

I am told by many that the German trains are usually not so bad, and I have faith that they aren't, but it has been a crazy introduction to the Deutsche Bahn.

1 comment:

  1. Hi, Ian: Sounds as if your first few days have not been uneventful (tardy trains, accidents outside the window, etc.) but I've always thought that 'routine' is over-rated.
    Have fun and stay well. --- Louise Griffin