Sunday, March 22, 2009

This morning I went into the city to play touch (rugby). For non-ruggers and simplicity, it's a non contact version of rugby. However, touch is a sport in its own right, played with finesse and fluidity. Today, I played with mostly expats, with the exception of Daniela, one of my club rugby teammates. Since I have not seen D since January, it was nice to catch up for a bit in person. It was great having a run at touch and we played international touch rules! Life is good. I felt incredibly rusty, handling the ball (no finesse here) and running. But I had a blast.


Unfortunately, I had to leave early due to the weekly GSE prep meeting. I left touch in a hurry, running away in a t-shirt and shorts. This attire didn't feel entirely appropriate entering the rectory, that plays hosts to team meetings. I ducked into the bathroom for a quick change before joining the meeting. With each meeting the opportunity before me feels a little more real. We touched upon the itinerary and going to Berlin with the Australian team. Other topics included business cards, gifts & trinkets, weather, and dates to remember. Then Babara, our team leader, suggested taking a break which we haven't done since our first meeting. I had just taken out her camera out of its case to take candid team photos. As she takes the camera she says "you know what to do on three." And I thought to myself, " I do? What do we do on three?" Everyone starts singing "Happy Birthday" to me. I was shocked! She got me good. That explains why there was dessert on the table.

Laughing or Crying. I'm just in shock as team surprises me.

After the the coffee and cake break the meeting resumed. Since the beginning, Thomas Gelfdorf, District #7250 District Governor and his wife, Heidi, have attended weekly team meetings. They've imparted stories on culture as well as Heidi leading our German language class. Today, in particular, as I listened to them talk about customs and growing up in Germany, I become more aware of cultural differences. I realize that I do certain things and behave a certain way, in part from growing up and living in the USA. It's not a question of good or bad. It's just well... interesting.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Itinerary: Take One

Today, I received an email outling our team's itinerary. Although the hosting clubs, vocational and cultural days are laid out on paper, the team has been reminded that this is all subject to change. Reading it makes this opportunity feel more concrete. Our group will travel around District 1850 with visits to Oldenburg, Borkum, Meppen, Cloppenburg-Quakenbrueck, and Bremen. There will also be a short trip to Berlin in conjunction with a visiting Australian GSE team from District 9650, based in New South Wales.

Of what's currently planned, I look forward to going to Borkum, especially the sightseeing flight around the island as well as visiting the Mercedes plant in Bremen.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Back to the Beginning

So after breezing through my German 1 CDs, I was feeling good. I thought, I'm ready for Intermediate German II. Wrong. I realize why it's called Beginner's German. I realize that they speak slower than normal conversation and the speaker's enunciation is exceptional. I am no longer under any illusion that I can speak German. I can understand if one speaks slowly. So it's back to Beginner's German for me. I need to find some German speakers to practice with in Brooklyn.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Snow Falls in Brooklyn

Snow Day

Wir haben a lot a snow. What do you call a cross between German and English. I'm not sure. I tried to write we have a lot of snow. The East Coast was hit with the biggest snow storm of the season. Here' a shot of my street mid morning.