Wednesday, February 22

The F word (future!)

Guess where I am?

Right, at school.

Guess what I'm doing?

Did you say nothing? Right again!

This is the stupidest job ever. Once again I was signed up to go to a class today and cover for my advisor who isn't here, but I guess he forgot to tell his class or the administration this because no class showed up. grr. I may or may not have one class to go to in another couple hours. If she doesn't needs me and I came all the way here (it takes about an hour to get here) and sat here all morning when I could have just stayed home... grrrrrr. I suppose I have no right to be annoyed since I don't actually have anything else to be doing and I am getting paid for this. But really. I feel so useless. I need to find a useful job for next year. I've been thinking a lot lately about my not so distant future...

Hey, what the heck am I doing after this gig is over? You may be asking yourselves. I wish i knew. I'll be back home in MN in July and will spend the summer and fall there happily living with my parents, hopefully working somewhere. Nannying, or looking for an internship or volunteering or something (Ideas anyone?). Beyond that I have to wait and see. Eric is currently working on a congressional campain in VA Beach. Should they win in November then he may have a job in DC, in which case I would go along and look for a job there and eventually for a grad school- maybe. If not then I will somehow lure Eric up to Minneapolis. My plan is to get him to visit in the summer so that he thinks it's a nice warm pretty place. He wont realize until much later what he's gotten himself into. I would be quite happy either way. DC is a cool city and it would be fun to live there (and Shannon may be there too!). Minniapolis is also cool and I would really like to live near my family and friends for an extended period of time again.

Anyway, probably most of you already knew this, just thought I'd fill the rest of you in in case you were wondering. Most important is that I will be home in July and there will be much rejoicing and party throwing and swimming in lakes and boating and driving my car and waving american flags around while singing patriotic songs, eating apple pie, and playing baseball.

It's official... just talked to another teacher... no one needs me today. Sigh. At least I can go home and take a nap.

Tuesday, February 21

I guess I'm not the only one who's noticed the problems in Germany's school system...

UN condemns German school system

Last weekend I went to a comedy night at an Irish pub with Peter, I think the Irish comedians may have been a bit difficult for him to understand, but it was fun. Sunday I helped Uta move, well, actually I was a bit late and she had a bunch of other friends also also so I didn't actually do much moving, but I did eat a Weisswurst breakfast with them. yum. Sunday I went ice skating with Diana and other assorted people.

Now I'm counting down the days until break this weekend... can't wait to get out of here, this room is starting to close in on me!

Thursday, February 16

sniff sniff

I just watched Tatanic on TV. Great movie. The string quartet playing on the deck at the end always gets me. Kate Winslet is fantastic. I want to be her. When she goes and gets the ax and then goes back through the flooded halway hanging from the pipes above to save Jack...what a heroin. I definitely like her better than Mr. Leo. I'm pretty sure I hadn't watched Titanic since nineth grade when I saw it at least three times in theaters with Chelsea. I miss Chelsea :( Can we have a costume party this summer guys? pleeeease? We can have it at my house... ooh, at the lake house. Another Tatanic party... on the pontoon boat! hahahaha, oh, I kill myself... seriously though. There will be a themed party of some variety this summer.

Summer... mmm... that sounds... far away. Although it's been getting pretty warm around here. And all that ice and snow I was complaining about? well it's turning all of Bavaria into a giant slushy right now now, if only I had a giant bottle of cherry flavored syrup. It's pretty messy out there. On the one hand I'm happy that it's raining instead of snowing, but I'm not too optimistic that this is the end of winter just yet.

It was a boring week at school with not very much to do... hopefully the weekend will be more eventful. Tomorrow I'm tutoring a little boy. I haven't met him yet, his mom hung a flyer on my building, looking for an english tutor with good pronunciation. She was a little leary when i called because I'm american and of course they teach british english. but I assured her that it would be fine. I'm pretty sure if he goes into school with a perfect american accent they won't mind. Stupid British English. Seriously. If this whole experience has made me think differently about anything it's that I now loath British English. Have you got a pencil? No, I haven't got a pencil, I've got a pen. Arg, who talks like that? and stupid "can" and "caaaaaahhhn't". I don't care if it confuses the fifth graders, I can't say caaahhhn't. It would unpatriotic :-P And we read a text last week called, "Can you fetch us Mum?" fetch us? is Mum a dog? because otherwise I don't see how she could fetch you. And everyone, EVERYONE sounds rediculous when they say trousers. and jumper. I had a ten minute discussion last week with a teacher over whether of not americans really pronouce missile like mistle. yes, yes we do, don't you think I would probably know possibly better than you would?

whew, glad I got that off my chest ;) sorry if I offended any Brits out there.

time for bed I think. night night.

Tuesday, February 14

Pink, Hearts, Chocolates, and Roses

Happy V-day! I miss seeing the Vaginia Monologues at UR... they must be going on sometime this week. Good show, you should see it. I saw it three times and it was just as powerful, funny, enlightening every time.

I also miss my Valentine date :( He got up early to call me on my cell this afternoon, so that was sweet. But now I'm home alone watching an old episode of Home Improvement in German... woo hoo. The show, by the way, is called "Listen to who is hammering" in German, roughly translated. It's stupid. Oh well. The clerk in the super market was giving out a rose to every costomer today, and he gave me TWO, so at least I have roses!

Anyway... Last weekend was good... Saturday night I went out with Uta, the student teacher, and her boyfriend and a couple friends. We went to a bar and then to a club. Turned out the club was having a 60s night, only it was more like every song you've never heard from the 60s. Gag. It was pretty terrible... But the germans were dancing to it all the same. They're so cute... they each have their own little step. Left together right... or forword and back.. and they just keep doing it over and over and over regardless of the music. Germans. Uta and the other students teachers are all leaving after this week, which is the end of the semester. Which means that all the young nice teachers who actually talk to me are leaving. boo.

Just a week and a half before break!!! yay!!! I can't stop looking at my calendar over and over... Karnival, Berlin conference, then Jackie is visiting in March, then spring break in Greece in April, then Elena is coming, then Shannon, then in May my Mommy and then it's June already!! fun things.

Hope you all had a love and chocolate filled day.

Friday, February 10

Passion Lives here

I swear I wrote about the German eduaction system and tracking in here somewhere, but I can't find it and it bears repeating. German students are tracked into three different types of schools when they go into fifth grade. Realschule, the lowest, a few years shorter and sometimes leading to an aprenticeship or something in some sort of handwork trade, or more likely unemployment at the moment. Haubtschule, in the middle, also shorter and often leading to aprenticeships but often in more technical trades I think, or maybe other bluecollar jobs or basic secritarial administrative stuff. Not entirely sure. And then Gymnasiums, like the schools I teach at, goes through 13th grade and nearly all students go on to University. The students are tracked based on test scores and performance in school so far, but the school and teachers actually can only make recomendations, the ultimate decision in up to the parents. Of course after a year or two in Gymnasium a student can be moved down, or, less often, a Haubtschule student can move up. Of course the system is biased. The class that I mentioned was all boys was actually an advanced class within the Gymnasium. Other than that there seem to be an eaqual number of boys as girls in the Gymnasiums. There is a more recognizable bias when it comes to immigrants. One of the biggest reasons being that they don't have any kind of "German as a second language" programs for young students, so obviously those kids who don't learn German at home stuggle more in school and tend to be held back and placed lower. Immigrant students and families may also have different priorities and sending their kids to university may not be as high on the list. Economic class can also play a role, but it's not so outright, since the parents decide. If the kids parents are lawyer or doctors then of course they're going to think their kid should be in a Gymnasium, where as the child of electicians or janitors is less likely to be pushed into the college track. The same thing happens in the US. I don't know that the German system is more or less fair. At least funding is evenly spread out among the schools so that in theory everyone has the same oportunities regardless of where they live, small town or big city. One thing that is certainly less fair is that their programs for students with learning disorders are barely existent and someone with say, dislexia, is not likely to make it to the college track.
Hope that helps :)

And now on a completely different topic: STOP SNOWING!!!! enough already, seriously. It was blizzard conditions most of the day yesturday and continued all day today as it has been all week. I never want to leave my room. ever. Right now I'm staying in and watching the Opening ceremonies of the Olympics. yay Olympics! They're so close to me this year. If it had been the summer games I would have gone in a heartbeat. But winter sports aren't quite enough for me to spend the money and fight the crowds. Someday I'll go to a summer Olympics.... I'm afraid I have to give up my dream of actually being in them now, I'm too old :( and synchro is way too hard :-P But I can at least go see it! I've stopped going to synchro here... it was just too awkward. I can't actually compete with them. and all the girls were like 18. And they were nice... but not really friendly or eager to make friends with me... so yeah. no synchro this year. I'll join a masters team when I get home and it's in english again :)

Ok... time for bed...

PS. Thanks for the package Shannon! It came at just the right time... I was bored and stuck in my room not wanting to go out in the snow storm. I miss Oprah...

Wednesday, February 8


Hi. Have I really only posted three times since christmas break? I seems like it's been an eternity and a half since then. I am once again at school with nothing to do because a teacher signed up to have me come in, but then forgot and doesn't actually need me so I've got three hours of down time... if only it didn't take me a full hour to get home. Oh well, I'm not quite so upset this time because it was the fourth hour rather than the second and I got plenty of sleep last night. So So So... how was my week?

I don't really remember the rest of classes last week, so I guess they weren't exciting. Friday I had the most frustrating afternoon ever trying to straiten out a ticket I got because my transport was was expired... missing my S-bahn to baby sit, taking the next train which only went to the stop one before mine, taking the next train from there which mysteriously decided to skip the next two stops and go to the end stations, waiting in Holzkirchen in the middle of nowhere at the end of the S-bahn line for 40 min, finally getting a train back to my stop only to find that the family had already left and taken the kids with them. God I miss my car. After that I went over to Jen's apartment. She's the other American TA here in Munich and I hadn't seen her since like October, so it was nice to catch up a little and see what her life here is like.

Saturday I got up at the crack of dawn to go to the train station and head out to the mountains for some cross country skiing! woo hoo! I met Diana and a couple woment we got in contact with on the Toytown site. Katie decided she also wanted to come along, though I hope she didn't end up regretting it. She had never been any kind of skiing before and isn't exactly the athletic type. I thought that cross country would be fairly easy to start with. I was apparently wrong. I really didn't think a person could possibly fall so many times on flat ski tracks. Poor Katie. She ended up waiting in the lodge for us while we went out a second time. It was a really really gorgeous trail and a lot of fun to get out there and ski around. I wish I had my skis with me because I want to go again and again and again. I think I'll try a closer place this weekend.

School has been good this week. I did another creative writing kind of lesson with a class on monday. Yesturday I tought a lesson on cowboy which was great. They had a lot of ideas that I had to straiten out a bit. Some seemed to think that there weren't really cowboys, that it's all a myth, others think a cowboy was just anyone walking around the american west with a hat on. oiy. We read some old cowboy poetry, it was fun. I also found out yesturday that the lower grades each have a special advanced group separated based on intelligence tests. And in most cases it's all boys. Hmm. Something smells fishy. The teacher said boys are just pushed more and that girls prefer to stay in the regular class with their friends which boys are more excited to be in an advanced class. I don't know....

It's been snowing a lot this week and things are all messy and slushy. Yesturday morning I had a bit of a scare when my bus was in an accident. It wasn't too bad, but one woman fell out of her seat and was hurt, I'm not sure how badly. Everyone just got off the bus and walked away right away. It seemed like we should have had to wait for the police or something... but I guess not. Anyway, I missed my first class but am otherwise quite alright, I'm glad it wasn't worse. I guess that's the advantage of not driving a car, I don't have to drive in snow or deal with all the repercussions of accidents. It seems weird to just walk away and not have to worry about insurance and accident reports and everything. The inpact of the crash would have been a whole lot worse on a little car as well.

That's all at the moment... nothing particularily intelligent to say... maybe next time ;-) ciao