Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Out of Shape

I just got back a bit ago from playing soccer with some teachers from around the area, and while I did all right (though I missed a TON of shots that should have been sure things. I blame playing in tennis shoes :-p haha), it has definitely been too long since I've run that much.

I had originally written something about how I was clearly less fit than the other players, but in retrospect, I really didn't do that badly. I mean, I didn't play as well as they did, but my ball control has always been sub-par, and I've never been able to look around and be as aware of the field as I should be when I have the ball. That being said, though, I did have a couple of good plays, two assists and two goals, out of the 14 or so that we scored. The main difference that showed was in strategy; I'm not used to playing on that small a field, and I've never really learned how to, except through trial by fire. You learn a lot that way, but it helps to actually be taught, too. It was a lot of fun, though.

This year is turning into practically a St. Olaf experience: if I keep on the way I'm going, I'll have a foot in everything that happens at MLS. I've been invited to sing with the Voice Boys (the school A capella group), I play in the Big Band, I am sort of in the process of organizing two dance extracurriculars, one for students and one for teachers (though I still need to run those ideas past Frau Wilhelm, to make sure that I have the O.K. to do so), and I'm going to be starting another conversation class, possibly two. When Center Stage (the English theater company at the school) gets going, I'll have a proper full schedule. But hey, I'm an Ole; that's how I like it.

Speaking of schedules, there were some major changes made this week due to various reasons, one of them being how late the classes often go, especially for the 11th grade classes. It's not uncommon for them to be in classes till past four in the afternoon, and then if they have an extracurricular afterward, it's past six when they leave. That being said, they also don't always have every class. German schools are organized on a weekly schedule, rather than a daily one, so every day's lessons are different. Anyway, they rescheduled a bunch of things, and changed classes and people around, and the end result is that instead of my previous 24, I now have 31 students in my English class, more than half of whom I have not met before (it was 30, but a student emailed me and begged to be let back into my class; an encouraging experience for me). I still have to arrange the lesson for tomorrow, but we'll see how it goes. My dance class is slightly smaller now, which will make it easier, actually, and by suggestion of another teacher who sat in on it the other day, I'm going to try giving the whole lesson in English, and then get feedback from students on how it went, and how much they understood. It will make teaching easier, since I won't always be grasping for words, and they're an 11th grade class, so they understand English pretty well.

The weekend was great; I DJed a Blues dance in Heidelberg on Friday night to a positive response, so now I can say I'm big in Germany :-P haha Saturday I played games with my hosts, a wonderful couple named Merle and Lorenz, and I taught them how to play Egyptian Rat Screw (ERS for short), and they loved it. Lorenz especially did rather well. For those unaware, it's a simple card game that involves slapping the central pile of cards whenever two like cards are played on top of each other, or with only one other between them (called a sandwich). It's a lot of fun, and it really hones your attention and reflexes. Saturday night I grilled out with some other teachers, and then we went to a Kerwe, what was essentially a city fair. They had fair games, bumper cars, etc, though it was very small. There was also a very large tent/center where one could buy beer and other beverages, and there was a stage there for dancing, with a DJ (who was incredibly irritating). It was all right. I know they're rigged, and mostly a waste of money, but I do enjoy carnival games, on the rare occasions I play them. There was a shooting game there that I gave a try, and won a small prize, but I could really see where my shot was hitting, so I had difficulty figuring out if the gun shot low, or high, etc. But it's a carnival gun, so who knows?
Sunday I had breakfast with my friend Jana, and we went to listen to a band playing in a nearby town. The drummer was a regular at the pub Jana works at (the previously mentioned Sonne), and a pretty cool guy. He and I talked about the Blues for quite some time, when we met in the pub. The band was good, though some of their songs were definitely just playing what the crowd wanted to hear. They definitely have potential for more, but...a band has to make a living, too.

Today....today was an adventure. I had to go to Heppenheim to have my visa and whatnot cleared, and planned on taking the bus. I was foiled, however, in that either the bus ran about seven minutes early, or at least fifteen minutes late. It didn't show up, so I had to try the train, which was kind of a roundabout way of getting there, but I got there about 13 minutes before my appointment. I discovered from a taxi driver that it took about that long to get to the Auslanderburo if you knew where you were going. I did not. So I arrived late for my appointment, much to my chagrin, and was then sent on a merry little chase trying to figure out where I was actually supposed to be. Thankfully everything worked out in the end, but it was a very frustrating morning. The return trip offered a wonderful surprise as well. I got on the bus, and two stops later, was thrilled to find that this bus was going to be the home for the next twenty or so minutes of about thirty children under the age of six. While I appreciated the irony of reading the book American Psycho while in a foreign country surrounded by my least favorite demographic, I was not particularly thrilled at their presence. In truth they were pretty well behaved, all things considered (surprisingly so), but it was still just one more little surprise to add onto the day. Oh well. Such is life.

That's about all (Oh? Is that all? He says after posting a small novel), so I'm going to end this here. I hope all is well.

Oh, on a personal note, I would like to congratulate my friends Llama and Dan, who just got married this past weekend, and my friends Tom and Megan, who are now engaged (and became so in a wonderfully nerdy, creative way). And while we're on the topic of congratulations, my parents recently celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary, which I think is spectacular. All my love!

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