Monday, October 23, 2006

The Real Deer Cleaver

Back home my brother and I drive the crappiest little red Honda Civic. It was made in 1986, the same year that I was born. Now despite all of its downsides its been with my siblings through some pretty freaking good times.

My brother calls it the 'Deer Cleaver'. One night he was driving with a man I'll call Matt Jones. They were cuising along when Tim runs over something. Tim swears that it was a deer and that the car cut right through it. Jones claims that it was a clump of dirt.


The reason I mentioned this is that I have now moved on to a new red car in Altes Lager. Tonight I almost cleaved through, not one, but two deer. For real. Keith and I were coming back from our English teaching for adults lesson, when we almost smoked this one deer in the face and then almost hit another. It was awesome.

We ate dinner tonight at Jake and Dorothy's and then played Settlers. I thought I had the game in the bag and then Keith came out of nowhere and destroyed me. It was humiliating. I'll get my chance for revenge soon enough.

This weekend is Intermenno Trainees Altes Lager All Around Family Fun Time. So unbelievebly excited. I might not sleep until then.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Fridays

So its Friday. Tonight I enjoyed a premium bottle of dry Italian white wine. Its was delicious. I have been trying to learn a little bit more about wine and such. Its a tad bit healthier that beer and not nearly as calorie heavy.

Today I took Keith to the ruins of the Russian base and we saw some interesting, yet slightly spooky, paintings of Soviet Russia. I took a piece of Stalins face of one of them. I have a little piece of history to take home now.

Other than that today was pretty simple and I am in a much better mood than yesterday. I got to talk to a lot of people from home today which was also nice. On the down side though, I found out that my grandpa has colon cancer. Thats not too good.

Well until next time. Peace out.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

I only come in one flavour

So today was a good day and a horrible day all mixed into one. Makes me almost not want to be here anymore. This is a lot harder than I expected. I suppose they can't all be good days, but the language barrier is really hurting me here.

So Sarah Jones and her friend Mark came to visit yesterday and we had a lot of fun walking around Berlin and seeing the sights and sounds. We did so much freaking walking! We certainly got a work out. It was really nice to see Sarah. She lives around the corner from me back in Stouffville. I guess you could say we grew up together.

We came back to Altes Lager and went out for a döner and a beer. We talked for a good while about things back home, things happenning in the world, people we know and people we knew. After the meal we slowly paced home and proptly went to bed. I was exhausted after all of the walking.

This morning came rather early and I decided instead of taking a shower that I should sleep in...until 7:40 (work starts at 8am). Needless to say, I ran out in yesterday's clothes and drove as fast as I could to Langenlispdorf. I was still about 10 minutes late, not that it mattered as this particular kindergarten is well liked and the people there were just happy that I came at all.

We had a good English lesson and then a coffee brake. I was told to leave early so that I could go back and see Sarah and Mark. I took them up on their generous offer. Later, people from the Diakonie would phone for me while I wasn't there. I got in a fair amount of trouble from Frau Förster. Really I can only think of one word : bullshit. They told me to leave and I get in trouble? People here can be so unbelievably unflexable. If anything doesn't go according to plan or if something changes they flip out and don't know what to do.

Olaf is apparently 'sehr sauer' because I didn't go to the Mennonitengemiende with him. The guy says to come when I want and that I don't need to come. I never made any plans to go with him this week and then because he can't phone me (my cellphone is broken and no one will help us fix it), he flips out. He waited for me to come at the train station, even though we never made contact in the past week and a half. He's really a nice guy, but again, does not have an ounce of flexability. I mean, the guy acts like I hit him in the face with a hammer everytime I phone a day late.

Exp.

'Gary! Why didn't you phone me yesterday?'
' Sorry, I forgot'
' But you said that you would phone me yesterday!'
' I know, but I forgot. Sorry.'
'I don't understand!' (Head explodes)

I don't know, I suppose there is a large part of the blame to be put on myself. I don't exactly say what I am going to do. I guess this is the real world now, no one to make excuses for you. Just you, your actions and your resposibilities. Its hard because I really am such a layed back person. If someone doesn't phone me about something important or critical, like directions to my workplace, I would get upset like any other guy. However, if someone didn't phone me to ask directions to youth group, I'd just as soon think that they're not coming and move on. When I say that I'll talk to someone about a subject here, they think in the next 24 hours. I mean in the next week, as thats what I'm used to in Canada. Understanding different cultures through trial and error is not exactly how I wanted to learn.

I guess at the end of all this ranting I have figured out at least one thing: something is going to need to change. Be that myself or my current lifestyle, because at the rate I'm going I'm going to run out of steam long before my 9 months of Germany is finished. I'm leanning towards myself becoming a little more organized, but that really won't change the everyday boredoms. It will certainly help things to run a little more smoothly though. I'm still going through major culture shock right now.

On a lighter note, I made a decision with a friend that we are going to buy both a chocolate lab and a golden retreaver. I'm thinking that I might replace the later with something with a bit more, shall we say, awesomeness? I'm thinking maybe something with teeth or good hearing. You know, something that will be useful. So that way I can impress people with my amazing dog that does neat things other that be 'nice'.

ps. If any other trainees ever find this, what did you do to pass the time?

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Boars, Yaks and Ostriches

So today Keith and I went to go visit a co-worker, Ina Albers, and her family. I have to say it was the most interesting think that I've done in a while. Her husband was really nice and they live in a small village called Meckezdorf.

We went on a walk with their small children and on the way we went to a small farm with wild boars. Now I have lately become, shall we say, completely and udderly obsessed by these wonder beats. I walk in the woods everyday in hopes of seeing one. I've seen lots of deer so far, but who the hell wants to see deer? The answer? No one. The eat grass, run fast and are generally not all that awe inspiring. Sometimes they have cool horns. Boars have tusks, how could you ever really compete with that?

After that wonderful moment that only fulled by boar lust, we went to an osterich farm. Also awesome. I suggest looking here at http://www.ostriches.org/ if you want to learn more about these truely amazing animals. Who knew that Germany was such an amazingly diverse place? They also had yaks and pot-bellied pigs. Now, I think that I'm man enough to say when something is 'cute' and I got to say, those pigs were damn cute.

I find that each day in Germany brings me a little closer to feeling at home here. I really like the area I live in, that being Neidergörsdorf, but I find that Altes Lager is just so rediculously depressing. There is something about this place that just sucks creativity and happiness out of you. And people wonder why no one wants to live here! Hello! Its a freaking military bunker! How much more depressing to you want it? Every other village here is small, happy looking, and actually has at least some degree of community bonding. If it were a choice between living in a small dorf, Berlin or Altes Lager, I wouldn't even give it a second thought.

All that being said, I still like it here but I wish now that I had something more. There is nothing to get involved with here except for the Church-which is good, but I have a good church group back home. I wanted more of a real German community to try and fit into. Guess I'll have to look a little harder, or perhaps a little deeper.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Sitting with the Russians

So I'm sitting here right now with a bunch of russian guys. They all seem like moderatly nice people. They like to sing about Keith and I. I'm currently showing them a map about Canada. We went to this pretty amazing simming pool last night close to the Polish border. It took forever to get there. I do have to say though that it was pretty freaking awesome, German pools are very high-tech and modern with waterfalls, wavepools and the hold deal. Beats our typical pools: cold and square.
I got the day off today which is pretty nice. I used it to clean up the place a bit in anticipation of my friends who are coming to visit on monday. I am definitly looking forward to that. Should be a good time.
October is still running by and things are seeming to get into a pretty sonsistant grove now. I feel like Altes Lager is become a little more like home. Except I don't have nearly enough cool things to do or english books to read.
Peace out for now, I smell cake.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Steve Irwin

Okay, so I've been out of the loop for a while. I cannot full understand German media at this point, so it was relatively recent that I learned of the death of Steve Irwin.

I don't think I've been this sad to see a celebrity die since Princess Diana. Its just plain horrible. He seem to be a man full of moral fibre and good standing. He wasn't an academic or perfect, just a person who wanted to share his views with the rest of the world.

I still remember watching some of this shows and thinking how awesome they where. He lived a life for a cause and that I can respect. Stabbed by a Stingray is a horrible way to go, but it seems almost fitting in a way.

R.I.P Steve
1962-2006

Friday, October 06, 2006

October

Well friends, we see that we have once again found ourselves in the month of October. This being the best month of the year I am quite happy. Its Fall and when its not raining the weather is close to perfect. The best time to be in Germany I think.

This past little while has been pretty busy, yet relaxing enough. On the 3rd of October it was Germany's Reunification Day. A good day to say the least. The stories I could tell about life before the Wall came down, they could fill a whole other blog! The secret police, the life, the Wall...there is a lot of pain still very evident in East Germany. Its not something that people easily forget.

Keith and I went to Berlin with the youth group too. It was pretty fun, we got a paid trip to Berlin and a free McDonalds lunch out of it, so it was okay (even if it was raining the whole time). It was pretty neat to hang out with people roughly my own age, even if they are crazy Russian kids.

Two things I am excited for:

1) My friend and neighbour from Stouffville, Sarah Jones is coming to visit me in 10 days! Woohoo! I miss Canadian friends. There is so much here that all of my friends from back home would love. Some times I wish they were here, then Altes Lager would be a bit more interesting I think. Sarah and her friend are coming and it looks like its going to be an awesome time.

2) I phoned my brother Tim today. That was wicked, he's studying Human rights in Norway. We're planning a trip this Christmas to Switzerland, Poland, Chek Rep. (spl?), and of course, Ukraine. It looks to be a most premium trip!



Prost,
Gary

Monday, October 02, 2006

Urlaub! Huzzah!

So today is part of the long weekend. Tomorrow is Germany's Reunification Day, which is when East and West Germany offically reunited back in the 90's. Fun stuff indead! Most of this weekend has been spent chilling an relaxing.

On Saturday, Keith and I had to work with the Jugendmobile at this kids fair. It would have been a total waste of time had there not been an archry tent set up. I've been wanting to shoot a bow so badly for some reason. I got my wish and it was very satisfying.

Today, I thought that I was supposed to work but I guess I wasn't as no one was at both of the kindergartens. So I went grocery shopping instead. I got a nice little supply of apple juice that should last me for some time. I also bought some figs as I was having a conversation with someone yesterday about this odd little fruit when I realized that I had never tried one. I did and I have to say that it was about a 7/10. Not amazing, but I can see how people would like it. Lots of seeds.

After that I went for a very long bike ride with Keith. We ended up going at least 30k which was very tiring to say the least. We stopped on the way home for some good ol' fashioned curry wurst mit pommes, and a nice cold one. It hit all sorts of spots. After that we pretty much have spent the rest of the day watching odd German music videos. I seem to be developing a strong addiction to walking deutsch MTV...its very disturbing.

Its nice to get a little time off. I've been enjoying the excellent Fall weather here and the hilarious Oktoberfest celebrations. Pretty much just a beer tent with odd food stands and dangerous German carnies. Lots of interesting vendors too.

Here is a picture of some figs: