Thursday, September 28, 2006

Meckesheim and then back to life in Altes Lager

Well Mechesheim was pretty much a blast. Keith and I did not make our first train so we ended up buying a new ticket. It really was not all that pleasent of an experience but the train ride through Bavaria almost made up for it.

I have to say that southern Germany is much more....awesome than the north. Don't get me wrong, I love being in the North and being an East side boy, but it gets a little lonely out here! The green hills and awesome people in the south seemed to suit me just as good though!

We got to the conference in one piece and then we met some new committee members from Switzerland, like Debbie, and some old ones from Germany, like Dora and Corola. It was awesome getting to see everyone again and have some fairly deep english conversations. We played some games and swapped stories about our first couple weeks in Europa.

The next day we went to Heidelberg, which was a-freaking-mazing. I will never forget it. We went to the castle and then to the old town. It was very 'cute'. I hate that word, but it fits well in this situation.

All in all, a good time was had by everyone. I'm already looking forward to the end of next month when everyone is coming from Swizerland, the Netherlands, and Germany. Should be awesome.

Today in kindergarten, I was the hero because I found a sleeping hedgehog on our walk around the village. We also looked at baby cows and horses and learned the different types of fruit in English. I love days like today.

Once I got home I took a nice 3 hour hike through the forest and then had a 4 hour nap. Just plain cool.

Meckesheim and then back to life in Altes Lager

Well Mechesheim was pretty much a blast. Keith and I did not make our first train so we ended up buying a new ticket. It really was not all that pleasent of an experience but the train ride through Bavaria almost made up for it.

I have to say that southern Germany is much more....awesome than the north. Don't get me wrong, I love being in the North and being an East side boy, but it gets a little lonely out here! The green hills and awesome people in the south seemed to suit me just as good though!

We got to the conference in one piece and then we met some new committee members from Switzerland, like Debbie, and some old ones from Germany, like Dora and Corola. It was awesome getting to see everyone again and have some fairly deep english conversations. We played some games and swapped stories about our first couple weeks in Europa.

The next day we went to Heidelberg, which was a-freaking-mazing. I will never forget it. We went to the castle and then to the old town. It was very 'cute'. I hate that word, but it fits well in this situation.

All in all, a good time was had by everyone. I'm already looking forward to the end of next month when everyone is coming from Swizerland, the Netherlands, and Germany. Should be awesome.

Today in kindergarten, I was the hero because I found a sleeping hedgehog on our walk around the village. We also looked at baby cows and horses and learned the different types of fruit in English. I love days like today.

Once I got home I took a nice 3 hour hike through the forest and then had a 4 hour nap. Just plain cool.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Meckesheim

Tomorrow is my first real trip to West Germany. I'm not going to lie, I've drank a lot tonight, and I am a bit as we say in Canada, hamtangeled.

I'm excited for tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

I'll stop my rambling...

The second post in one day. Very unusual, thats for sure. Sometimes you just need a little bit of extra emtional release I guess.

Where to even begin to describe how I feel at his moment? I million things are running through my head. Different people, places, what will happen tomorrow, this weekend, a year from now, etc. There is certainly a lot to mull over and if there is one thing that I have plenty of here in Altes Lager, its free time.

I'm thinking about things that have happened in the past. There is still so much I have to come to terms with from back home. A whole life I just left behind. This is by far the oddest feeling ever. At this moment, there is nothing I wouldn't give to be back at home in Stouffville. Weird, eh? During my childhood right up to highschool, I don't think there was a place I hated more in the entire world. I could do with a nice campfire and my own bed for a night though. Things to look forward to I guess.

Its frustrating because it seems that there is so much I want to do back in Canada. There are things I want to start and people that I want to be with. Fall was always the best time of life in Canada.

On the other hand, I think there is a mountain of things here in Deutschland that still need to be resolved. It harder than I ever thought it would be. Actually, I knew how hard it was going to be, but I chose to ignore it. Its hard, but I'm still at the point that I'm enjoying myself. However, I am looking forward to going to Meckesheim this weekend so Keith and I will be able to interact with normal (?) people.

I just miss the things that made life normal and convient. Like normal food, places being open past 6pm, my beautiful music collection, and even my lovely computer. I miss my friends and even that stupid bakery and the freaking Italians. Its only natural to miss these things though.

There is a feeling I get here, that I don't get elsewhere. Its an old feeling, odd to describe unless you've been to Europe.

The beginning of a very ridged trip

Okay, time to finally put the beginning of my trip onto this here blog. This is going to be a doozie.

So there I was at home in little ol’ Stouffville when it finally came time to get in the car and drive to the airport. I said my goodbyes to my brother Tim, who would also be leaving on his own Eurotrip to Norway about 7 hours after my flight got there. It was oddly hard to leave behind that little blue house that I call home.

I was excited to leave but I had this awful stomach ache. I felt fine mentally but I have a feeling that it was my body being nervous that caused me so much pain. I felt like I was going to throw up the entire way to the airport. Fortunately, I didn’t and with less than an hour I had checked my luggage and got my plane ticket from Martinair, a sketchy unknown Dutch airline.
I walked around with my mom and my step-dad for a while and then finally I decided to make for the gate checkpoint. The goodbye was not nearly as emotional as the whole Ecuador one, but it was sad to see them go. That would be the last time I would see them this year.

Everything at the checkpoint was fine so I walked down the corridor to find my gate. I found it and sat down, trying now to decipher who was in the Intermenno program. I eventually asked the girl beside me and then before I knew it I was with 16 other people. Most of them seemed like kids fresh out of high school, first time on their own and all that spiel. It made me laugh on the inside.

The flight was horrible. I spilled hot tea all over my crotch and shirt and effectively made myself look like a dumbass in front of 150 people. All the food was not good and the cartoons were all in Dutch.

Once we finally got to Amsterdam, everyone was excited but tired at the same time. We meet some of the Intermenno committee members and then we were off on a bus towards the small Dutch town of Elspeet. In Elspeet we would stay at a Mennonite retreat centre called Mennorode. It was way out in the country so after a few days of morning walks I saw not only deer but wild boars. Wild freaking boars! I can now die a happy person.

Mennorode was awesome. We learned about the program, about our placements, German and Dutch culture and, of course, the many types of European beers. All nights were spent by everyone in the bar. I was freaking out that everyone was being so loud around all of the old people in the bar. I think everyone thought that I was really strict. I guess it goes to show you that culture does have an impact on our behaviour! Me strict? Ha!

It was nice getting to know everyone and then before we knew it all of the German-Swiss trainees were off to the train station in Niemejin. We all boarded the same train and then got off at different points. Keith (my partner....mate...thing?) and I were the only trainees stationed in East Germany.

We got off at the second stop and then proceeded to take a very long 6 hour train ride. It was enjoyable though, and Keith and I talked about a lot of stuff and got to know each other better. For me the best part of the trip was arriving for the first time in Berlin. Going in to the Hauptsbanhof was amazing. The Berlin BHF is the largest train station in Europe and is made mostly of glass.

When we arrived at our platform I was looking out the window and then I saw her. Hannah was sitting at the platform waiting for me. Actually, now that I think about it, that was the best part of the trip. This would be the first time in a year I’d seen my best friend (and sadly only the first of three days in which I would see her for another year). Well, I think I’ll leaver her out of the rest of this story and leave you with your imaginations. It was nice to see her.

We walked downstairs and then found our train going to J├╝terbog. It was a short 40 minute ride until we arrived to a host of welcoming Germans. It was very intimidating at first, but to say the least I was happy for after a week of travelling I had finally made it to my destination of Germany.

That seems like enough for today, peace out.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Another week done...

Man, I am tired! Another week gone by and many more things accomplished. This week's colours lessons went okay but I think I need something more interactive. This weeks lessons will be none other than: Farm Animals! Woohoo!
Yesterday Keith and I had to work with the Jungendmobile in Berlin for the day. It was at this large church on a really nice day. I also found a shop that sells Absinth....we'll see how that works out.
As for today, I just drove my old people to church and back. I also finally got those kids who were ringing my doorbell. Stupid kids.
I need a nap. Peace out

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Ahh...Berlin

Well yesterday was pretty cool. I spent the last half of the day with Keith and Olaf in Berlin. I really like Berlin its a kicking city. We went to this one area called Lichterfelde, which oddly enough is also the name of the village I got questioned by some very angry police officers, but thats a different story.

We ended up going to this Mennonite hostel called Mennoheim. It looks pretty awesome! I'll be helping to lead a young adults group from there sometime soon. Maybe in October. Paid trips to Berlin with people my own age? Heck yes!

I talked to Hannah yesterday it was nice to hear from her. I also tried to phone home to no avail. I friggen tried to use the phones for a week and I finally discovered that I must first press 0 to actually get out of the 'Office' phone mode.

Other than that this week has been moderatly uneventful. All of my teaching has been doing okay, colours is not the best thing to teach, kids lose the interest quickly. I need to think of some better games! Maybe something involving soccer? I miss Canadian kids, they're so much better behavied!

There is so much to cover and I am not looking forward to writing it down here. I'll get it done eventually. Meh, until then kiddos.
Peace out

Monday, September 11, 2006

Blogging: Take 2

Well look here, its Gary and he's back in action. I've decided that it is time to offically start up the old blog again. I need to start to chronical all of these crazy times I've been happening. Also it gives me something to do when the times are not so crazy and I become really bored.
Hmm, it would seem that there is a lot to recap. So I'll make it as short at possible now and then try to make things a tad bit longer once I get some more time. So here we go:
My name is Gary. I am 19. I am currently living in the small town of Altes Lager, Brandenburg, Germany. I am on a one year program with a Mennonite (yes, those crazy mennos...) group called Intermenno. Although I am enjoying myself here, I call real home Stouffville, Ontario, Canada.

Currently I am working as an English teacher in about 5 kindergartens, 2 sports halls and at least 2 cities. Most likely that list will grow with time. Right now I play lots of soccer, sing songs, and generally play and colour with 5 year olds. I love it.

Why, am I here? I have no idea. As for now, I'll take the easy road out and say that I'm here to 'find myself'. Most likely I am here to avoid starting my life in the real world, but thats an issue I'm sure I'll have plenty of time to deal with as the year presses on.
I have seen a lot, and done much in my short time here. I've seen the Wall, wild boars, lots of Europeans and much, much more. So far my crazy Euro-trip has been only in Holland and Germany. I'm sure that will grow in time. I'm getting ahead of myself though.

Personally, I have always found the act of 'blogging' to be very satisfying. I try to be as honest and interesting as possible. I used to have an old blog but I found it to be going in a very negative direction so I wanted a fresh start for a fresh country. You can find it here at www.truthinillusion.blogspot.com. But be forwarned that its not all that great and I think it no longer will provide you with an accurate discription of yours truely. I'd like to say that I've grown a lot but who are we kidding? Those of you that know me, know that I don't grow (save sideways). I mature at a shockingly slow pace. What can I say? I'm awesome, maybe.

And with that I'll end today's blog and be back tomorrow to retell the start of my journy from Toronto, Canada to Berlin, Germany via the lovely city of Amsterdam.
Peace out

p.s. - Swedish Chef anyone? Heck yes!