So, I just returned from Herbst Ferien (Fall holidays, for the English-speaking crowd), a week of which I spent hanging out in the area of Munich, spending time with a friend I met in Brazil. She and I met on a bus tour around the Northeast of Brazil five years ago, and this is the first time we've seen each other since. It was a blast, though. She plays on a Regional League volleyball team, one step under the Bundesliga, or national level. Her team hopes to move up to the Bundesliga, and I went and watched one of their games an one of their practices. They have some hardcore drills. For example, there is a player on the team who is a specified defensive player; she doesn't have to serve, and she can come into the rotation at different times. One exercise involved her standing on a narrow beam while the other players took turns spiking balls at her, which she then tried to return. Her balance and coordination under the circumstances were very impressive. I'd have been falling all over the place.
We also went hiking in the mountains, and then went to see Schloss Linderhof, which in this case would most accurately be translated as Manor House Linderhof, since it is rather small, and shares very little with castles like Neuschwanstein. It's a beautiful area, though, and I learned some rather interesting things about Ludwig II, such as the fact that he preferred to sleep during the day and work during the night, and that on the rare occurrences where he gave audiences, he made them come to see him in the evening hours, rather than getting up for them. I'd been there once before, actually, seven years ago, but it was neat to go again, especially at a point where I appreciate such things a little more.
I also caught up with a fellow Ole in Munich, Chenoa Albertson. She's a dancer, and is working as an au pair here for a year. Another highlight was meeting my friend Franziska and her boyfriend for dinner. Franziska and I met only once, seven years ago, on almost the very last night I was in Germany. I went out to a bar with my friend Chrissy Hiller, whose family I was staying with, and Franziska was one of her friends, and we've kept in touch on and off since then. It's always wonderful to me that we can make and keep such connections, despite long absences, or not seeing each other often.
The only other major thing that has been occupying my time is correcting Klausuren, which has taken me significantly longer than I expected. Partially because of the work itself, but partially also because I'm dragging my feet a little at doing them. Some of the scores are rather lower than I'd hoped, and I feel bad giving back such grades; I like my students, and I'm anticipating some poor reactions to their grades, for some of them. :-/ But such is the role of a teacher, I suppose. I hope it will motivate them to work a little harder. Some of the mistakes I'm seeing are things they should really be past, though we have been doing some grammar and language review, of course. And most of the grades aren't bad, else I would need to seriously reexamine my test, etc. That's one thing for which I will always be grateful to my experience at Explo: the simple lesson that my teaching and my curriculum is not always good, and even when it is, it is always open for reflection and improvement.
Next week is the Berlin trip, which I'm looking forward to. You can probably expect another blog right after it, telling you all about it.
I also had my first bike-related injury in Munich. Well, in Iffeldorf, actually. I fell and scraped my up hand pretty good, though nothing to cause a fuss over. I'm lucky I didn't do anything worse, since I also hit my cheekbone on the pavement and bent my glasses a bit. They bent back easily and don't look any the worse for wear, and thankfully my cheekbone also shows no marks. It wouldn't be fun to come back and teach with a scraped up face. :-P
All the best to you all.