This week was my first official week of teaching. Rob has been in Deutschland for just over 3 weeks. Life has moved quickly!
Nerves and worries kept me from sleeping soundly the night before my first day, but the adrenaline rush of teaching all day kept me from falling asleep standing up. However, first, we should go back a few weeks. Rob has been having new Deutsch adventures and learning new things for 3 weeks now! Here are a few things that happened over the last weeks.
Greetings from Deutschland all!
Meg, Hazel and I have had a fun (and fast) 3 weeks since my arrival, but let’s start at the beginning.
Snow is beautiful in the right setting, but not that morning. Mom, Dad and I ventured out slowly and made it to the Minneapolis airport with enough time to figure out that my original flight to Chicago was cancelled. This was no problem because another flight was leaving early enough that I could get back on track in Chicago. With a good bye that was a little faster than I expected I waved to mom and dad and took off my shoes for our lovely TSA. Technically I made it to Chicago. The plane flew around the airport a few times and then back to Minneapolis. Now it gets interesting.
We all get off the plane and form a line to talk to agents at the desk willing to help us find connecting flights to our final destinations. I was in line early and only waited for about 30 minutes. In this time, a woman began screaming at the top of her lungs and running around the gate area. This was the day of the Superbowl and she was supposed to meet her family. it took her ALL of 30 minutes wandering around Minneapolis to realize that she wasn’t in Chicago. “OH LORDY ME,” “OH NOOOO,” and “SOMEONE HELP ME I CAN’T HEAR SO GOOD!” was shouted for near 10 minutes. I felt bad until she budged in front of nearly 100 people right behind me. Luckily, the man helping me found a solution about 10 seconds after that. He took me 3 gates down and got me the last seat on a flight to Huston! From here it was smooth sailing (flying) even though I had to find a new flight at each stop. Houston–>London–> Stuttgart. Easy! I arrived a mere 9 hours after my original set time. Meg and our friend Fabi met me at the baggage claim and then he drove us home where I went to sleep right away. 38 hours of travel is enough.
After a day of resting, putting away clothes and Meg teaching me where things are (in the house and in town) Meg started her first day of training. We were in Esslingen that morning to get me registered to live here. Now it was time for me to strike out on my own with the bus. I got on and off in the correct spot, but I didn’t know to turn right NOT left. Guess which way I went. For the next 45 minutes I walked around our neighborhood and was even within a block of our house…3 TIMES. Eventually I broke down and asked for directions. Neither of us spoke the others language, but I was home within 5 minutes. Fear #1: interacting in that fashion was vanquished. Every time I have spoken with someone here I have been met with kindness. I have only seen one mad person since my arrival. 3 weeks of nice. Thank you Germany!
Next was learning to be a Hausmann which didn’t take too long. Megan loves to introduce me as that. 🙂 Vacuuming, Hazel walking, dishes, and some cooking is within the job description. The other thing is doing research for possible jobs and/or classes for learning to speak Deutsch.
For our first Friday together, Meg and I agreed to meet at a fountain so she can show me our favorite townie bar. It is right on the Marktplatz (main square) and we visit there pretty often. We met a few of Fabi’s friends, learned a new card game and decided to go to another bar. Megan told me not to, but I am “casting reason aside,” in this situation. I spotted a drink called a Laterne which consists of a half liter glass with a Champagne glass inside. the champagne glass is filled with a red vodka and the rest of the half liter is filled with white wine. Um… I really don’t recommend it. While it is tasty, that was the last one for me and Meg took me home around 22:00. She recounts that I nearly fell asleep on the bus and was really interested with how hard it was to walk up the hill to our house in a straight line. Then I “passed
the fuck out” on our comfy leather chair. Worth it.
Meg, Hazel and I spent the weekend hiking around the trails above our house, going to the produce market on the Markplatz, and eating a bunch of the obligatory German foods. It was just a mini vacation for the weekend. I think that I hadn’t quite caught up on sleep yet as by Monday morning I was fairly sick. It continued through Wednesday and I probably passed it to Megan. She was a little woozy on Wednesday too. Thursday (12.02.15) was Megan’s last day of classes and we agreed to meet at our bar for a little celebration. Meg called me and said she would be there at 16:10… I should let her tell this part of the story. Here’s Meg:
So, it was my last day of 2 weeks of training and my fellow teachers in training (teachers now!) decided we would grab a very late lunch and some drinks. Had I left earlier, I might have caught a train to Esslingen. But, alas, I enjoyed myself and did not leave earlier. So, around 3:30 we all started walking to the Hauptbahnhof…I decided to get a regional train instead of the S-bahn… because these are usually faster (they don’t make as many stops). I texted Rob when my train was leaving and I waited with a new teacher friend until her train left.
Ten minutes before my train was scheduled to leave, it suddenly popped up on the departures board with the words “train not running today”. Of course, I was all “WTF?!” I decided to head below and grab an S-bahn instead. I was met with a bit of a crisis down there too….the departures screen kept flashing something about Esslingen, but I wasn’t entirely sure what was going on. At any rate, I figured I would ride the train as close as I could get and grab a bus the rest of the way…if that was the problem. I hopped on the next S1 and rode one stop, then the conductor said that the train would not continue on after the next stop. I was still very far from my destination and completely unsure what to do– so I got off with the idea of asking the people with DB Information.
It turns out I wasn’t the only one with that idea….and I overheard that no buses or trains would be taking our sorry
asses butts to Esslingen. I asked a very nice couple if that was true, if I heard that right, and…sadly… I did. BUT! All was not yet lost, they asked if I wanted to split a cab because they were going to Esslingen as well! So, split a cab we did! The gal was from Norway and the guy was from Poland, so English was our common language. Ten euros and two hours later, I was in Esslingen and walking as quickly as I could to the bar to meet Rob! So, back to Rob’s story:
We met at the bar, two hours later than planned. It wasn’t a problem because I was able to talk with a nice guy that knew Meg– Stephan. We decided that if Meg had not shown up after my second beer I would go home. But, she showed up! We met up with Alex and Fabi and partied hard to celebrate the end of Meg’s training.
If you were to walk towards our house and pass it by a block it is immediately forest. Being it a nice night, I walked to the end to see what you could see for stars. Esslingen has nearly 60 thousand people spread across a few hills and valleys. All stars were accounted for. Maybe not quite as good as the corner of Quail Avenue and 160th street, (a mile from my parent’s house) but so close. I should have brought my binoculars…
The 20th – 23rd were similar to last weekend. This was our last chance to “vacation” as Megan was to start teaching on Tuesday the 24th. Sunday was the highlight of the weekend. The three of us went on a 7 mile hike through the forests again and found some new trails and some splendid views. Hazel was content to be a naughty girl and jumped into mud that was about a foot and a half deep. Naughty Hazel! It took a few miles for her to clean up as she bounded through the last of the snow in our area. Luckily, Germany is so tolerant of doggies, because our last stop of the day was Jägerhaus for a late lunch. Meg and I had a fantastic lunch. Meg ordered potato and leek soup and I had a deer goulash with spätzle which is an egg noodle that comes on the side. Guess where Jägerhouse, which translates to ‘hunting lodge’ got the deer? The woods we just hiked through! How cool is that!?!
Over the last week, I have been shopping on my own which will make things quite easy for Megan as her teaching continues. It is quite fun for me. every time I go down to Esslingen I try to get a little further off the beaten path so I know the city well. There’s one big attraction that I haven’t been to yet and that is the castle Megan climbed up to in her first week here, Dickerturm.
Meg here. It was my first week officially teaching, and boy was it something!
I started my first day by showing up at the wrong learning center. Luckily, the right learning center is only up the block 5 minutes =). I am still fine tuning exactly how much prep time I need for classes, but I think I have a pretty good idea by now. I had many firsts this week:
- first Arbeitsamt (unemployed people becoming more “employable”/earning their arbeitsgeld– unemployment money) class
- first student that loves to talk and sometimes tries to teach….
- first 8 hour day teaching the same people the whole time
- first time teaching present/past simple vs present/past progressive…and getting the class thoroughly confused before they finally got it
- first time substituting without knowing the content of the lesson
- first time substituting while slightly hungover (sorry mom and dad)
So, eventful week to say the least! Take home message: teaching is hard, but really really rewarding when you can see the student understanding what you’re trying to teach them!
Sorry for the long post and the large gap between posts! We will try to not let it happen again =)
PROST! (and here are some pictures…)