Dear loyal fans and readers,
I am most sorry for the delay in updating all of you with my life stories. I have no real excuse for my lateness and I can only hope that those of you eagerly waiting for a post were able to somehow find some other reading material with which to pass the time. But your patience has paid off! Here is the story of my life in the last month.
I have continued to play and coach basketball in the area, and that has gone relatively smoothly. Unfortunately for me, the first basketball game that I coached resulted in a loss by over a 100 point margin. We had only five players who were far outmatched in athleticism by the opposing team, and after two of them fouled out, it was tough to keep up playing 5 against 3. Nevertheless, as one not accustomed to losing, that was rough. It has been tough coaching sometimes, since I am only an assistant coach and the main coach knows a ton more about how to run a practice than I do. Therefore, I often find myself standing around doing nothing, and it can be frustrating not feeling that helpful. I tend to enjoy Friday practices a lot more, when we split up the team and I take half of them on my own, and thus feel much more effective as a coach. As far as playing basketball goes, I got off to a slow start and only scored 2 points in our first victory. But I dished out 7 assists with 0 turnovers so still not a bad stat line. However, in my most recent game, I finally came out playing with more confidence and came into the game with our team down 12 in the second half. By the time I left, we were only down 2. I had 11 points, 5 assists, and 2 steals, so I'm not at all upset about that. We did lose by 1 however. My next game won't be until the 11th. Basketball continues to be a highlight of my week however, and it's great bonding with a bunch of the guys on the team. There are several guys around my age and we usually chill together during practice. One of them lives near me and he is nice enough to give me rides home when I need them. He also wants to watch some American sports with me in the near future so that will be nice. I may actually have a Super Bowl party after all!
Teaching is going well for the most part. I suppose the low point is my ninth grade class. I'm not sure if it is that age, that particular class, or me as a teacher, but we just don't seem to be gelling that well. They don't seem quite interested in me or my class, and I'm not having that much fun teaching them sometimes. However, I plan to continue to make an effort with them and things should go uphill. It just seems to be a tricky age, when those kids start to really get attitudes and think they're cool, yet are not mature enough yet to really be reasoned with. My 11th grade class is going great, however, as is my conversation class. I had a class meeting with my 11th graders, which basically means going out to a restaurant with them, and it was great to get to know several of them outside of class as well. They are good students, and come to class interested, hence boosting my enthusiasm and leading to good classes. Meanwhile, some of my conversation class students came up to me and told me they were excited to have me on their bus as we go to Berlin in a week, so that was good to hear. The main tough part about teaching comes from doing a job that I wasn't really educated to perform. It's really tough to have confidence in your work, when you don't always know what you are doing, but I am doing my best to welcome this as a challenge to really grow as a person.
Other updates from the last month include my dad visiting and my fall break. Two weeks before my fall break my dad visited from Texas. I lucked out on his visit because Wednesday was a national holiday, I had no class Tuesday, I cancelled my conversation class on Thursday, got a sub for Friday, and Monday's class was really early. Thus my dad and I were basically free to travel the entire week. We went to Copenhagen, Denmark, and Malmo, Sweden for a couple days and played several rounds of disc golf. Some people may like to get to know a country by seeing the sights, but I find little better than getting your hands dirty while throwing around a frisbee in a park. We had some great seafood in Copenhagen which ended up costing a ton, but my dad was nice enough to pay! We also drove to Munich, and enjoyed a Friday evening of Oktoberfest fun in a big tent! The beer was incredible and the atmosphere was like nothing I've ever really experienced before. Loud music, people sitting on benches, thousands of people packed into a tent, people standing on tables and singing, a million cheers throughout the night, and many new friends. I need to go back someday. It was also great just to show my dad around Rimbach, and have him see where I'm living. We went to what is quickly becoming my favorite restaurant in the area, and had the local specialty: Kochkäseschnitzel. Basically it's like breaded veal, covered in grilled onions, covered in melted cheese. It is amazing. My dad was also able to come to a couple of my basketball games for the first time since I was in middle school. His visit seemed to blow by, but it was great having him here.
Only a week later, fall break arrived and I flew to Venice for only 12 euros!! Ah, the beauty of cheap airlines! American needs some of those! Once in Venice, I met up with my cousins Garrett and Stacy, and my spirits were probably as high as they have been all fall. It was great to see them, and romp the streets of Europe, getting lost among the alleyways as I made many gut instinct calls on how to get back to our hostel. Garrett and I were adventurous enough to try the local Venetian cuisine: noodles dyed in squid ink, and they did not disappoint. We next took a train to Bologna, a highlight of which included a girl asking us to take a picture of her with a boy. They were hugging, holding hands, and kissing, so clearly together. We then asked her to take a picture of the three of us. They boy was inadvertently standing in the way, and she needed to get him to move. She tried to wave him away with her hands, and then called out to him: "Hey..hey...uh....oh what's his name....move!" Garrett and I were both in shock. The entire day went by with us wondering how this girl could be with this guy and somehow not know his name. Then by sheer luck we saw her hours later in the day and we got the chance to ask her! Turns out, they are dating, and she just momentarily forgot the name.... All the luck in the world to that couple. After Bologna was Florence, which was probably my favorite of our Italian cities. It was beautiful and artsy, but with enough of a local and young feel to not feel overwhelming. We saw the David for 11 euros, which to me was a little expensive, but it was spectacular nonetheless. We also found our two favorite restaurants of the trip. The first was supposed to be a great restaurant, and I ordered a traditional Florentine steak. It was great. Stacy, however, ordered tripe, unaware that that is a cow's stomach, and upon seeing what she was brought almost threw up on the waitress before swearing off meat forever. Garrett ordered ravioli, and enjoyed his 8 pieces of ravioli at the price of about 1 euro per piece. When I got the bill, I almost died at how much my steak cost. Basically, that restaurant was our favorite because of how absurd the night was. The second restaurant we found was in a less touristy area of Florence, and was a nice pizzeria with a brick oven. The pizza was amazing, and we ate there two days in a row. I was able to eat a delicious seafood pizza, and the staff was nice enough to round down the bill! Our last meal there cost 33,50, and they charged only 30! Someday, I will return. Our last stop was Rome, where we stayed in a great hostel and were able to meet some cool people. We spent our first night there going to a Lazio vs. AC Milan soccer game at the Stadio Olimpico. It was amazing, Lazio won 3-2, and we became Lazio fans for life. The second day was spent walking around the coliseum and just hanging out. The next morning, I left at 5:30am to fly back to Germany. It was amazing to see my cousins, and I am extremely lucky to have two cousins who I can consider as close to me as anyone I have in my life.
The rest of my break was spent in a rather quiet fashion, which was needed, and I have begun looking for and applying for management consultant positions back in the US, for when I return. This past weekend, I welcomed a visit from Thomas Zürn, whom I met while he studied in Austin at my high school for a year! He lives about 2 hours away from me, and he came and stayed all weekend. It was a great visit. We caught up on all sorts of stories from our lives and enjoyed the best that Rimbach has to offer. Meanwhile, we found tortillas in Rimbach, and made breakfast tacos that we will remember forever! Gosh, that was a needed meal. Note to mom and dad: Thank you so much for the salsa.
Rimbach received it's first snow this weekend, though it quickly melted, however the hills within view of my house are still frosted white. I have another week of classes upon me, before I join the 11th graders in a school trip to Berlin. I will also welcome the Peckham's to Rimbach on Sunday night for a nice dinner, which I am looking forward to. That's all for now dear friends, thanks for reading, and I'll try to make this a little more regular, hence keeping the entries shorter!