Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Tomorrow is my last day of work and I could not possibly be more excited to get out of Altes Lager. There seems to be a heck of a lot of office politics right now and Keith and I are in the middle. Too many people complaining to me at one time! No problem though, next week I’ll be in FRANCE BABY! Not to mention that Friday night means that I will be reunited with my Intermenno crew. I don’t think I could possibly be happier at this point in time.

Except there was this one small thing that happened today. Well, I was holding a large cabinet and trying to help fix it with the pastor of the church here. I may have not been paying attention and a large piece of board fell and partially stabbed the pastor in the head. It’s okay though, I drove him to the hospital and they stitched his head up really well. He was supposed to take us out for dinner tonight, but he had to cancel. Schade.

Friday, April 20, 2007

another week gone by....

I say, it look’s like it’s time for a little blogging. It’s Friday, and as such I now have a little bit of time to actually do some things that I have been putting off, like making a new post, sorting school out, making my travel arrangements for next week, find a job for next year...

This week went by at the speed of sound. I can hardly believe that it is already the weekend, not that I’m complaining or anything. This past week has been one of, for the most part, BBQ’s and tying up loose ends for my up coming vacation.

Keith is now back from his ‘Northern European Trip 2007’ and by all accounts good times were had by all. He went to visit my brother Tim in Norway for a bit and then went to Scotland to visit another friend there.

It is nice to have Keith home as I was getting a little stir-crazy for some good ol’fashioned English. Those other trainees with no-English placements deserve some praise, as it is no small feat to speak a different language for long periods of time. My German has improved quite a bit I’d say though. When you’re forced to speak, you’d be surprised how much you have subconsciously learned.

To celebrate Keith coming home and the good weather, we had ourselves a proper grillfest. German’s love to BBQ and Dan and Ben were kind enough to have left us a small grill. We had a nice feast of pork, bratwursts, brötchen and we treated ourselves to a Pilsner Urquell (got to love the Czech). The rest of the afternoon we were content to sit and relax and then we took a long walk afterwards. Quite the day and I can see why Dan and Ben were so keen on grilling.

The rest of the week has been doing much of the same, but the weather has been threatening to rain for the longest time now. We finally have the bikes fixed so we are planning on using those this weekend. Other than that I need to make some new lesson plans, so if anyone is reading this and would like to be a good sport and make one up for me, I’d be quite happy.

Schönes Wochenende!

Friday, April 13, 2007

Friday

Well, today can really only be described as fantastic. Outside it is a whopping 25 C and when you count that it is the glorious day know as Friday, one can’t help but be in a good mood. Especially when you get home from a long hard days work (one hour) and you forgot to turn the radio off. One might think that that would be a bad thing, but it’s not if the song it’s currently playing is the Superman’s theme song and you have a cold one in hand.

God bless Friday.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Easter

Today is Easter Monday, and as such I have a lot on my mined to think about. Lately, I’ve been feeling less than amazing when it comes to the ‘spiritual’ department. I often find myself wondering what is more important to me: the people in the church or the church itself. Is community the only thing that is keeping me a Christian?

I find that being part of a community is something that is really important to me. Perhaps that is why I felt such a large pull to start looking into my Mennonite roots. Being part of a community is something that validates some people; one feels like there is a place where to belong to. I really have no idea where my family comes from as it is usually considered a ‘taboo’ subject on both sides of my family. It is no wonder then that I find myself in a Christian community, where everyone can usually find themselves a caring family just by showing up.

The reason this question has suddenly struck me is due to a women in church today. The service this morning was not that great, not saying that the speech the pastor made was good, because it was, but there were very few people there and it was less than boisterous.
One old lady got to the front of the church during the service and took out a book and started to read. Even though she was reading Russian, it was easy to understand that she was reading about the death of Christ. As she was reading she started to cry and I could see that she was very hurt and upset as though a close friend had passed away.

She must have thought of Christ that way, as a close personal friend. All I could think about was how I don’t feel that way at all. Why don’t I have a close relationship with Christ? What is it that is keeping me from really becoming happy and giving everything to him?

I saw a few weeks ago a skit about a man who touched an object, and despite all of his efforts, he couldn’t let go of it. That object turned out to be sin. That is how I feel about my life sometimes, that I am tarnished with sin and that nothing I can do will ever let me be free of it. It seems as though we are doomed to carry these objects through-out the entirety of our lives.

There is nothing in life that promises us that being a Christian will solve our problems. That is something that I have come to accept. My question is this: how do I stoke the coals of Christianity and lead an exciting, fulfilling life? Something to chew on for the next little while.



Here is a picture of me with my hair ‘In Ordnung’ as we like to say here in Altes Lager. I bought the ladies of the Altes Lager hair salon a thank-you card. They laughed.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Well, yesterday I did what I have been threatening to do for a long, long time and cut my hair. It wasn’t so much as a hassle as it was a trial of human endurance. Don’t get me wrong I’m glade it is not over, but it was an ordeal that I will not soon forget.

I was debating my decision all the way to the barber’s shop and even while I was sitting waiting for the inevitable. I think the only reason I went through with the act was the fact that Keith was also getting the deed done. He had been talking about getting an ‘irok’ (Mohawk) for a while now just so he can keep up with his very trendy Euro-lifestyle. His haircut took about 20 minutes and turned out rather well.

My haircut, on the other hand, took closer around 2 ½ hours. For those of you who know me, you know that I tend to grossly exaggerate pretty much everything and that you need to take what I say with around a bag of salt. This time I’m being strait-up.

I feel pretty bad for the poor souls that had to work on my hair. I say souls because there were, at one point, 3 different women brushing the knots out of my hair. One of them had to stop to take a break because her arm got too sore. It took a long time, and a hefty supply of industrial strength conditioner, for those women to work their magic. The out come of all of this is that my hair is now 4-5 inches shorter and, essentially, back to the poofy, curly, uneven state that I really didn’t like in the first place. The one glorious exception would be that my hair has no knots and thus is no longer beginning to breed its horrible knot-offspring and consuming creatures of small manors. I’ll have pictures soon of the whole process.

In other news, Keith is off to visit my brother in Norway and then off to visit a friend in Scotland. This means that I am effectively alone for, what seems like, a long time. I have so far spent today in peaceful solitude, the only interruption being a visit Daniel and Waldimar. They have spring break now and decided to come by to chill for a bit. I still have to work tomorrow but I get Friday and Monday off, which as anyone will tell you is awesome.

I would also like to take this moment to reflect on a good friend of mine. That friend is BCC World Radio. Does radio get better than the excellent British programming that I look forward to every morning, afternoon and evening? God bless the U.K. and their host of well primed journalists, with out whom I would be very unaware of the world around me.

Happy Easter

Monday, April 02, 2007

April

Well, time for another amazing update. I am happy to report that I am in a better mood than my last post. It seems like a lot has happened since then, but I suppose that is just due to the fact that I have been very busy of late.

The Canadian kids are now gone. After dumping lots of sweets and farewells on us, we parted ways early this morning. They were an interesting group and it is sad to see them go as we had lots of fun and they seemed to make things here in Altes Lager that much brighter.

The past weekend I also had a trainee come visit us, Christine that is. I am now happy to report that every Intermenno trainee has been here to see Keith and myself here in Altes Lager. We did the usual tour items, seeing Berlin and Altes Lager. Fun was had by all. Again, it was sad to see her go this afternoon as that means it is now back to just Keith and I.

April is here and that means that I have now been here for 8 months, leaving just 4 short months to go. This is the time where one starts to really think about making arrangements to go back home. It also makes me think about how fast the time has been going. I am not ready to leave yet; things are just finally starting to get really enjoyable here. It seems as if Keith and I are just finally starting to break into the community here, something that has taken a considerable amount of effort. Doesn’t that always seem to be the case though? As soon as you get comfortable in a situation, its time to leave.

Hannah is coming in one month. Very, very, very, excited.