Friday, 19 September 2014

Settling in

Gail has now survived the first two weeks of school. She reports that it's been hard.  Not only is the German class one for native speakers, but every other class is conducted in German as well, meaning that she's writing up physics papers in German and learning French in German. She takes the city bus to school. She catches it near our apartment, changes after a couple of stops, and then continues on to a stop near her school. In the mornings and afternoons the buses are full of school kids. The other day I noticed kids about six years old taking the city bus home by themselves. No one bats an eye at that here.

This week I started my intensive German class. It's 15 hours per week and I really like it. My classmates are from all over the world. Several young men came from Syria and I'm sure they have stories to tell. I can't help but feel a little sad for them as I doubt they're here entirely by choice. Other students are from Pakistan, South Korea, China, Kenya, Bulgaria, Poland, Hungary, Italy, Israel, Slovakia, France, Russia, Brazil, and Equador. The nice thing about this class is that we all speak enough German that we can actually talk to each other during breaks. It's the fourth class in the series of intensive German classes offered at the adult education center. Almost everyone in the class is in their early 20s. The Brazilian woman and I are the only ones of a certain age!

So we are settling in to our life here. We're gradually adding furniture. I found a desk for Wayne on the street earlier this week J.

A few random thoughts:
The weather has been incredible, and the sidewalk cafes are full. Germans do not let nice days in September go to waste! One of my favorite things here is to sit at a café and people watch.

I'm always amused to see the number of people standing around the Saturday morning market drinking wine and beer. In my continued exploration of the market I've been very pleased to find a spice merchant, so finally I can buy cumin and fresh cilantro, and other necessities of life. The stores now sell tortillas, which I don't remember being as easy to find seven years ago. The market is open on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, with Saturdays being, by far, the biggest.

The radio station we keep on most of the time must be the only station on earth that has "Achy Breaky Heart" in regular rotation. Most of the music is American oldies, which I like, and they do the news slowly enough that I can get the gist of it, but that song may push me down the dial.

We just bought a book of 111 things to see in Mainz. Potential visitors be warned.

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