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.


'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?

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