A Good Day
Earlier this morning I told Kathy I thought today was going to be a good day. And oh, how right I was!
The first thing I did was meet Kathy in the city center, then go around the market buying ingredients for homemade salsa and guacamole. Again, I am surprised at how much one can buy with so little – when it comes to food. For one lemon, one bulb of garlic, two chile peppers, two avocadoes, and four tomatoes I paid less than €5. Six eggs cost me €1,20. A jar of the best, and strongest, Dijon mustard from France cost me less than €1. If I had a cold coming on, I don’t anymore; my sinuses are clean as it gets.
I’ll reiterate from previous posts: eating (healthy) here is so cheap it should be illegal. Plus, the vegetables are always good quality, and unless it’s at the Mini Markt-mall, shoppers aren’t allowed to poke and prod the produce. You tell the shopkeeper what you need/want, and they take care of it for you. At first it seems kind of awkward because it almost feels like you’re ordering them around, but it makes sense after a while. You’re being personally taken care of; if it’s a busier time and there are several people, the shop workers still know who came in first. It’s a nice feeling.
So, shopping in the market was fun. On the way back up to campus for lunch we ran into Sonia (my Italian neighbor), then also ran into Sebastian, who was one of the students on exchange to Coe last year. Further up the road to the inner part of campus, a woman in a van stopped us (no, John, we didn’t get a ride from her...) and asked Sonia to tape up a “help wanted” notice to the board in the atrium of campus, because there are no more spots left in the parking lot. Sonia takes the sheet and some tape, and then we kept going. I look at the sheet, and it’s a notice asking for a tutor/helper for a 5th grade student in English. I immediately rip off a tag with the phone number, and we decide Sonia will put the notice up only tomorrow, after I’ve called. The prospect of a job, even if it’s a part-part-time job, is exciting.
Kathy and I moved on to lunch at the Mensa, which now has moved up from the one lunch line to three: the main meal line, the vegetarian main meal line, and a salad bar line, where you pay €0,12 for each 100g of food. Vegetarian line was shorter (as usual), so we took that, and it was good. I found a piece of feta cheese in my salad. Lunch was a good time :)
Our class wasn’t for a few hours yet, so we hung around the library for a bit, then met up with Ula (one of the Polish ERASMUS students), then walked down to the center again, where our class would be. As Kathy and I are sitting in the Rote Kaserne (English and other dept. building), pleased that we are 30-35 minutes early for the course, Kathy takes out her book to see which classroom the course meets, and I look up to see the professor of said class, Herr Wagner (also our contact prof. here in Landau) walk by us – ON HIS WAY TO CLASS. Class actually met on campus, so all we did was get some more exercise in. We run out of the R.K., pass up Prof. Wagner as he’s checking out the menu for a local bistro, Leo’s, and make it to the intersection as the walk signal turns red. Wagner ambles up beside us, we turn and say “Hello!”, all “surprised.” “On your way to Literature and Literary Theory, perhaps?” we ask. On the way back to campus we talk with him and find out that even though the cap for the Lit. and Lit. Theory course is 60, about 120 students have signed up – the class now has another section meeting Fridays (which no one wants to do). Luckily, both Kathy and I already have a class at 2 on Fridays, so Wagner told us we could stay in the Tuesday section.
Not only do we now have secret information no one else has, but we also arrive in the classroom to see three other people. Score! We snag seats, and 10 minutes later the people start to pour in. Like I said, the day was going well. We had seats at tables, we were allowed to stay in the course, and Prof. Wagner pointed in our direction any time he mentioned Coe College or the US.
After class I go back home, make guacamole (tastes good, too), take a nap, and wait for 6:30 to roll around. When it finally rolls, I head out for Instrumentalensemble, which only lasted about 15 minutes because all the conductor had us do was fill out an information sheet, tell us who was meeting next week, then sent us off.
When I got home I made salsa – I’ll know how it tastes in two hours or later tomorrow. Then I bucked up and called the number for the tutor request. I wrote down some key phrases like “in Hinsicht” (= in regards to) and “Gesuch” (=request) earlier, and used them *almost* flawlessly when someone picked up the other end of the line. I explained why I was calling, that I was an exchange student from the US, and then was passed on to the woman who had put up the notice. I repeated my explanation, saying that I was an exchange student, so my German isn’t perfect (the woman said it didn’t matter), but that my English is. I also let her know that I’ve only worked with kids as a counselor in a children’s camp, but never as a tutor. The student is 5th grade girl, and although she tries to help her with her studies, the mother suspects that her daughter isn’t convinced she’s being helped correctly. She needs help mostly with grammatical studies. I’m hoping it has nothing to do with prepositional phrases and misplaced modifiers. They didn’t even teach us the finer points of grammar until 9th grade. So... Thursday at 4 the woman is picking me up for a trial run. If that doesn’t work out, Müller is looking for part-timers to stock the perfume section shelves.
Oh, and I don’t have appendicitis. Things are looking good for me.