Tuesday, January 31

plugging along

You know what's great? I got up at 7am this morning (after going to bed at 3am), ran four blocks to the bus stop because I was late, just to come in to school to sit and watch a fifth grade class like I do every tuesday morning, but then, when I got here, the teacher told me that, he forgot to call me, but they're taking a test so I don't need to come. And my next class to go to is not for four hours. "It's ok, I have a book, blah blah" *grumble grumble smolder smolder* Why don't they put some beds in the teachers lounge? a cott at least... I'm sooooo tired :(

ok... deep breath...rant over...

I haven't posted in a while. I've just been very boring lately and am pretty sure you all don't want to read me whining about the same things day after day. But as for the last week or so.... Last wednesday I tought a fifth grade class all by myself. It went reasonably well, plenty of room for improvement. It's hard to not go too fast with them, I think lots of the poor little ones were lost. I don't think any of my other lessons were too interesting. One of my discussion groups, the one with 9 girls, has decided they want to make a movie in english. I'm quite pleased, I never have to plan anything for them, they just talk and talk and talk. And now they have a project, so it's great. Who knows if the movie will acutally ever be made, as long as they practice a little english along the way. Although it would be a shame to not film it, so far the plot sounds pretty stellar. It involves "Cool Girls" and "Girly Girls" and a high school dance competition, and an action scene where the girly girls use their hand bags to fight against the Cool Girls' switch blades. I smell and Oscar.

Friday I babysat for a little 7 year old girl who I'm going to be watching every friday afternoon. It's a German family but they lived in the US for a while and want her to keep up her english. The problem is that after 4 months back here she already doesn't want to speak any english with me. So it's mostly a lot of her speaking in German and me responding in english. I'll have to come up with some games or something. Friday night Katie and I rented Chicago. I love musicals.

Saturday evening I went out to a few bars with the French TA here and her two friends visiting from Paris plus another TA from Quebec working in a small town north of here. Thank heavens the Austrailian TA came later to rescue me from sitting and listening to French with occasional english translations from the Canadian all night. :-P It was quite fun though.

Sunday... I slept and read and only left my room briefly to go for a run in the cold cold coldness. I wouldn't mind running in the cold so much if only my nose didn't run the whole time. Oh, and also if they would shovel something somewhere so I didn't have to run on snow and ice. At least it was sunny and peaceful. Though there are a suprising number of people out walking around in the woods still in the winter time.

Yesturday I actually had to go to work. That's right, only a three day weekend. boo hoo. I had to go in to school for a whole hour. I know, my life is so stressful you're wondering how I manage... anyway, I tought a fun lesson to some 10th graders involving making them write a poem. hee hee hoo hoo, I'll definitely be doing that again in the future. Yesturday evening I went to see Geisha with yet another French Canadian girl I met a few weeks ago. The movie was ok, of course dissapointing after i loved the book so much, as films so often are. The film felt rushed and too short. I think if you hadn't read the book it might be confusing and you woulnd't understand the charactors motivations most of the time. But it's very pretty and it was fun to see all the Kimonos and things I had been reading about. After the movie Diana (said Canadian) talked me into staying to watch the next showing of Munich because some of her coworkers were coming to meet her. So I did. It was good, certainly entertaining. Some very overly romantisized Spielberg moments and I'm sure the whole political situation was way over simplified and dramatized. But it was good and I think did a fairly good job at not being too confusing and trying to show the motivation behind all the terrorism. Usually movies that involve terrorism confuse me a lot, so I'd say that's and accomplishment. Plus it's super emotional and sappy as well, as expected. Also really quite gory, just to warn you.

I didn't get home until after 1am and then Eric called me! which was a lovely surprise. We don't talk on the phone often, or ever. I don't have a land line so I can't call the US unless I pay out the nose to use my cell phone. (So I hope you havn't been expecting a call from me) We e-mail and chat on IM a lot. I think its something about our english major nature, because sometiems we're better at writing things than speaking. I also have the tendancy to talk very very quietly, you may have noticed, which is not good for phone calls. But it sure is nice to hear his voice from time to time. If anyone else wants to call me, I'll be very happy to hear you!

Still four weeks to go until my next break at the end of Feb. I'll be traveling to Duisburg to stay with Lindsay and go to Karnival (Mardi Gras, Fasching, Fat Tuesday) in Cologne. Then hanging out somewhere up in northern germany, probably visiting Muenster at some point, until our Fulbright conference starts the next week in Berlin.

I'm working on planing spring break in April... planning on meeting a few other fulbrighters in Corfu, Greece. Hopefully Eric can come too, not sure yet. I'm soooooooo excited to go somewhere warm! Have I mentioned that it's cold here??

Tuesday, January 24

You can pick your friends, and you can pick your nose...

But you can't pick your friends' noses.

I was reminded of those great words of wisdom today when the little boy I was babysitting tried to pick my nose. But when I shared my little saying with him he promply responded, "No, mom says we can't pick our nose." The obvious solution being to pick mine instead... kids are weird. At least the little ones are more managable than the older ones....

The seventh grade classes are currently practicing for or have recently taken oral exams and a few teachers have asked me to help by taking half the class into another room to oversee some roleplay excersizes. This is generally the kind of task that I like, one in which everything is pre-planned for me, and I feel useful. But the last class I've worked with the last couple weeks if awful. They know I'm not a real teacher, I can't give them grades, i can't punish them , I can't test them, so why should they listen to me or do anything I say? arg. They can be soooooo obnoxious and horrible and rude. It's unbelievable how inconsiderate seventh graders are. I mean, I fogive them for it, because they are 12 or so and life is rough, but the lengths some of the boys will go to to get attention and show off are rediculous. gah.

That's all for my rant today.

In general life has been pretty slow... hence the blogging has also been slow. I've taken to reading a lot, I nearly forgot how much I enjoyed it. I finished Kafka on the Shore last week, and read Five Quarters of the Orange, now I'm on to Memiors of a Geisha which I plan to finish this week so I can see the film Sunday or Monday. I would be quite content to stay in my room under my warm covers with a stack of books for the next couple months until it gets warm outside again. I know.... I'm a terrible Minnesotan. But really, it's cold. And my bed is warm. I'm going to get into it now.

warm wishes!

Monday, January 16

cold cold cold

dark and cold. is how I'd describe munich at the moment.... most of the northern hemisphere I suppose. sigh... january... blah.

So, this week... school was fine. definitely had trouble adjusting to getting up early, not that I was every really adjusted, it doesn't work when you only have to get up early three days a week. I'm still figuring out which classes I may kind of switch into within the next couple weeks. It's frustrating. I wish more teachers would approach me and ask me to do something, and not "oh, just do anything for 45 min" that's the worst, I wish more of them had specific things for me to do. I don't feel particularily useful most of the time.

Anyway. I haven't done much during my four day weekend... a little shopping, a bit of running out in the cold cold coldness, watching movies on tv. I cleaned my room finally. Yesturday I went to Narnia with Katie (I love it!), met Peter for coffe and the baby sat. Today I got my hair cut finally. It's a bit shorter than I intended, but it works. Also, I wanted to excersize today but couldn't bring myself to go outside in the cold again, so I jump-roped, in my tiny little room. If you could see my room you would realize how rediculous this picture is, but I manged without hitting anything and now I have something to do while I watch Gilmore Girls every day at 4pm! Tonight I went and saw Match Point with Peter and his friends. It was really good, but I'd like to see it again in English next time, I don't mind watching some movies dubbed in German, but this one has Brittish and Irish and American accents and it seems like so much of the charactors is missing without the language. And I think I missed a lot of the humor, it's quite dark at parts and all the germans were lauging and I could see how it could be funny... it's just hard for me to read tone of voice when I'm listening to German.

Tomorrow it's back to school.... three long days....

I've been a bit down this week, I had been looking forward to seeing my family and Eric for so long, and now it's over and I don't have anything to look forward to for a while. My next break is at the end of February when I plan to go visit Lindsay near Cologne to go to Karnival there and then we have the Berlin conference the next week. So all that will be fun. And Munich can be fun too... I just am kind of sick of it I guess, and less anxious to make friends and settle in more because I'll just be leaving again in five months. Five months is plenty of time I know. That's like more than more whole semester abroad. So I can certainly make more friends and continue to make myself more at home here in that amount of time. I miss home! I know I still have a lot left to learn and experience here somehow, I just don't see what it is at the moment. I'm sure I'll figure it out. I'm looking forward to springtime.

Better get to bed... I'm teaching and babysitting tomorrow so it's going to be a long one!

Wednesday, January 11

Winter Break Part Two: Eric!!

snow angels!!
Originally uploaded by annieswims05.

After my parents left I had one day to chill and clean my room before getting up well before dawn to go and pick Eric up from the airport.

I shall try not to be to nausiatingly mushy here, but really it was a magical week together. Walking around Munich, going out to eat, cooking together, seeing firworks on New Years Eve --- which was crazy! I thought there would be like a big city sponsored display and then a few people with sparklers, oh no! Everyone and their mother was out with huge amounts of explosives and alcohole in town shooting off fireworks wherever they pleased all over the city. It was fun and exciting and very terrifying all at the same time. We also went to Salzburg for a couple days which was soooo pretty. They had just had like three feet of snow and it continued to snow the entire time we were there. We hiked around the mountain with the castle on it. It looked like what I imagine Narnia would have looked like to Lucy when she stepped out of the wardrom. Seriously. Gorgeous. We wandered, threw snowballs, made snow angels, went back to town and had some beer and soup. It was great :)

It was very hard to say goodbye saterday morning and I spent all of Saturday sitting in bed holding back tears and watching every movie on television includeing some really bad ones, like 'The Fly'. gross. By Sunday I pulled myself out of it and even went out ice skating with a girl from Toytown and a random guy staying with her through couchsurfing.com, Oh internet... how would people ever make connections without you?

Monday I went to the city to the housing office to try and figure out why they had sent me an eviction letter a couple weeks ago. Did I mention that? yeah. Turns out I didn't give them a copy of the reciept I got when I registered my address with the city, which no one ever told me I was supposed to give them in the first place. Luckily I've learned by now that Germans like paperwork and I managed to find the little flimsy carbon copy slip at the bottom of my drawer. So I have to go back friday and give that to them.

Since then it's been back to teaching! whoopy... I have to go teach now in fact, so I'll continue this later. But it's been nice catching up.

Happy New Year!

Winter Break Part One: Family time

Originally uploaded by photoschwalbe.

This photo is the winner of our family vacation photo contest which my parents ingeniously came up with during their trip here. It kept Scott at least mildly entertained trying to take the best pictures at all the horribly boring (for a 12 year old boy) sites that we visited. Sadly Scott's photos were beat out by the Japanese tourist who snapped this shot for us. Sorry Scott.

I had a great week with my family despite some hectic moments despite being somewhat unprepared for EVERYTHING being closed the 24th-26th. We still managed to get in some shopping, we saw the Nymphenburg Palace and the Deutsches museum, and ate our fair share of Bavarian food. The last couple days we went to Garmish, but stoped on the way to see Neuschwanstein (King Ludwig II's fairy tale castle in the Alps). We did some skiing and walking around the cute little town in Garmish before they had to head back home. I'm happy that they came, but sad that I couldn't go home and see everyone, I miss everone and everything. July seems awfly far away sometimes....

On to part two...