Thursday, August 30, 2012

A Few Thoughts

So, Germany is beautiful.  For those who don't know, the area where I am living is called the Odenwald, and even Germans regard it as some of the most beautiful landscapes in Germany.  With rolling hills and thick forests everywhere, it's hard not to be awestruck often.  I have also noticed, that every house in Germany just looks picture perfect.  It took me a while to figure out why, but I've finally put my finger on it.  Gardens.  I don't know what it is about Germans, but they seem to love to have perfect gardens.  I walked down a street in Mannheim the other day, past house after house with small yards in front of their houses.  Every yard was manicured perfectly in its own way.  There are hedges which are cut to perfection lining every yard, instead of fences.  There are patches with herbs and vegetables growing, and beautiful flowers blossoming from flower boxes.  Meanwhile, the grass is cut short and is watered well.  I can't even count the amount of times I have seen people out working in their gardens.  People just seem to have a love of the earth here, and they want their gardens to look beautiful.  Quite frankly, it adds a ton to the attractiveness of towns and neighborhoods too.
Also, I had my first conversation class today.  Basically, in addition to the two regular classes that I am teaching, I am offering a voluntary conversation class to students in grades 8-13.  They can choose to take it to improve their English and learn from a native speaker.  I had 9 people interested the first day and 14 today, so I'm glad to see that interest is increasing.  Most of the kids are in grades 11 or 12, but I have one girl in grade 8.  Anyways, I can already tell that the conversation class is going to be a highlight of my teaching here at Rimbach.  At first, I wasn't too excited about it, why want extra work?  But teaching only 14 students, combined with the fact that these students actually want to be there, provides a really great experience.  I've decided to keep the atmosphere really casual and told them that if they want they can call me Luke.  Meanwhile they are all already really good at English and are really enthusiastic about talking.  Basically we are gonna read or watch anything they want and just have enjoyable discussions about things they find interesting.  At some point, they will be introduced to that pinnacle of art which is Calvin and Hobbes.
In the meantime, I've continued to play basketball in Weinheim, but my money problems have made it difficult to ride the bus or train.  Thus I'm now getting back on the saddle, riding my bike 9 miles there, playing ball for 2 hours, and then riding 9 miles back uphill.  Time to get in shape.

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