For me, that day was yesterday.
I ride to school every day now with a girl named Melanie who is another English teacher at school. She is 26, cute, tiny and looks just like a brunette version of Meg Ryan in You’ve Got Mail. She is the only other person under the age of 40 who lives in Uttenreuth (most likely). She actually lives in an apartment above Rewe (the only supermarket in Uttenreuth), which I think is a great location, since Rewe is pretty much the hot spot in town (sidenote: when Katherine came to visit me, we purposely spent over an hour in the supermarket just because we had nothing else to do…it’s more fun than one would think). Anyway, I walk 10 minutes to the supermarket in the mornings to meet Melaine there and she then drives me the 20 minutes to school. So, riding with her to school yesterday morning (despite the near-freezing temperatures and the pouring rain) was a nice start to the day.
I taught from 8:05-3:15 today with 2 two-hour breaks. A common factor amongst my students is that everyone wants to hear what a Southern accent sounds like. I hate doing this because I feel like I sound like a hillbilly, but they don’t even know that connotation. To them, it’s very interesting and they love hearing it. When imitating this accent, I usually either channel George W. Bush, Brad Pitt in Inglorious Basterds or my dad. Another comment I received today was: “I thought all Americans were fat, but you’re not obese at all!” My reply: “Thanks.” Another remark: “I can’t believe you speak 2 foreign languages when the rest of your country is too lazy to learn even 1!” The funny thing is that the students don’t mean these to be insulting in any way possible. Actually, one did purposely attack the U.S., now that I think about it. The teacher I was assisting was brainstorming on the chalkboard and she said, “What do you think of when you think of Americans?” and the teenage boy said something derogatory (in German…cowardly move) and it took all that I had within me to not say, “That’s funny, do you know what Americans think of when they think of Germans? Take a look into your history, oh, 6 decades back.” But I just smiled and recited to myself in my head, “I have to keep my job, I have to keep my job”.
Anyway, I am loving teaching and all of my colleagues are so incredibly nice. I don’t know why I’m so surprised by that. I think because they have a Fulbright student every year so I would imagine they’d tire of being so hospitable. But they’re great. One thing that gets annoying is everyone (and I mean everyone’s) preference of British English. Basically, if you speak American English, you’re a less educated version of the proper English speakers and you spell words incorrectly, too (British spelling: favourite, colour, practise, the list goes on). This is frustrating. But, moving on….
After school, I had Melanie drop me off at the bank, where I realized that my paycheck finally came! I then walked home to find 2 of my birthday packages from my mom (1 which I opened today, 1 which I am saving for my actual birthday!) and then I took the bus to Erlangen (remember – the city I want to move to but just can’t seem to find a way) and went to my favorite coffee shop. I ordered an apple juice (I have been obsessed with these lately) and a couple of hours later, the guy behind the counter walked over to my table. He said something really quickly and for the life of me, I had no idea what he was saying. I stared at him blankly and he just kept talking. I assumed he was telling me that his shift was ending and he needed me to pay him for the apple juice so I got out my money and he started shaking his head and telling me to put my money away. Then he said, “Sie müssen entscheiden” which means “You have to decide” and I said, “Was muss ich entscheiden?!?!?” which means “What am I deciding?!?!?” He told me to decide what I wanted to eat and that it was on him. I said, “Ohhhh ich habe keine Ahnung gehabt was Sie gerade mir gesagt haben.” Aka “Ohhh I had absolutely no idea what you were saying to me just now” and then asked him what my choices were….he brought me a meal for free…..what the heck? Oh well! My friend Andy met me at the coffee shop (he lives in Erlangen) and then I took the 8:22 bus back to Uttenreuth and walked home, slightly in shock that my day wasn’t horrible! Hopefully this is only the beginning of a series of good days, to combat the series of bad days…only time will tell.