Recently, Christal provided a daily peek into our lives here in Germany. Two weeks of blog-silence passes, and there's a tug, a notion that we really ought to let you know what's been happening. I won't be cynical and assume that you have no desire to hear what's up with us, nor will I be arrogant and assume that you're hunched at your computer, clicking-finger poised over your mouse like a patient predator, the cursor hovering above the refresh button. Twitching. Waiting to refresh. Waiting for fresh meat. One thing I've found interesting about our venture to Germany is the expectation, perhaps unwarranted, to report with fevered frequency our goings-on. I'm speaking candidly, I hope you don't mind. This is coming from someone who hadn't previously written a blog post, and who would disappear from Facebook for months at a time because of too much activity. Too many posts, too many comments. Zuckerberg, our relationship is moving too fast. Time to back this whole thing up.
This isn't to say that I don't want to share. Furthest thing from it. I really do, and even with our efforts, it's quite challenging to maintain relationships in our different spheres. This isn't only due to the distance, though that's a big factor. It's amazing how many of our social interactions can be boiled down to the convenience of coincidental geography. We fed these relationships by crossing paths. Hockey rink, gas station, work; now we have different paths, and new relationships fed by new geographical coincidence. No matter how they're formed, these relationships are no less valuable, and we try to nourish them regardless of the varying degrees of convenience.
One of the ways we do this is by keeping a blog, giving you more insight into our lives than ever before, and perhaps more than you'd care to read. Pro tip: Good thing about blogs is that you can always not read them. I got away with that for years. But even if you read our blog once every couple of weeks, or months, there's another really odd thing about this kind of relationship. As time passes, you stay up on what I'm doing, and I become increasingly disconnected from your life. It's only been a few months, but I don't think I'm being too dramatic. Dramatic, always, but not overly so. It bears to reason that only so many relationships can realistically persist without consuming all of one's time. The remainder, if maintained, are done so via our life-broadcasts, and get the one-sided treatment. We can hope that we'll get updates, but because of all those path-dependent connections in typical relationships, it's not front-of-mind to broadcast your updates to someone outside the normal channels.
All this to say, it's interesting. It's interesting to nurse all these social interactions, especially for one who has always valued the quiet of his evenings. I'd say that's been the biggest shock to my system, and one I hope I'm sorting out. If we were planning on returning to Canada right away, I suppose it wouldn't be so hard, but we don't know what our future holds. In the meantime, we need to connect with our new neighbours, our new co-workers and even our acquaintances. We're meeting some great people, and are really trying to build our German language skills in addition to doing the work we feel we've been called here to do.
I don't know if you'll believe that all of that was just a rabbit-trail for an update that was meant to include all that's happened in the past week, but if I've ever written you a letter, you probably will. I'll give you a moment to stand up, wash your face with cold water, and return to reading, because I actually have some news.
Okay, well, I was inspired to write something because I was encouraged a couple of days ago. Last Monday, I was a guest speaker in an English class, Journalism something-or-another. Yes, I didn't catch the name of the class. Come to think of it, I'm not sure if I was a guest speaker, or just some crazy man who got lost and started telling kids in a room about how things were back in 19-dickety-six. Something happened, though, and I shared a few personal experiences in the world of marketing. In particular, we were talking about ways to increase readership for their school paper, The Chronicle. That's intentionally not hyperlinked, because you can't read it online. Not off-campus, that is. I won't go into the whole story, but it's sufficient to say that getting people to read this publication is tough. I suggested that perhaps they need to just own the problem, and go with a tagline like "If you can find it, read it." Well, you can imagine how pleased my ego was to see those exact words on a poster for The Chronicle outside my office door. It was a moment I haven't had since working directly with undergraduate international students. I'd make a terrible teacher, but it's cool when the door to the cave opens up, my pupils wincing under the weight of natural light, and I can help others develop/show off their skills. The same goes with tennis; the season's over, but a couple of the guys have already asked about playing with me in the off-season so that they can keep up their skills. I'm not sure, logistically, how it will work, since the courts are a few kilometres away from school and even further from home, but hopefully things come together.
Away from school, we shared in a Thanksgiving dinner this last Sunday at HBR, the dorm at which we're subbing/helping. Earlier that day, we enjoyed lunch and an afternoon with new friends in Haltingen, a half-hour bus ride from Kandern. We walked into town to catch the bus, walked back, and then to HBR in the dark, all trips under a canopy of rain. On our way to HBR, Keegan and I came across a flower in full bloom. Cold, raining, and dark, yet there it stood defiantly, reminding me that unfavourable conditions don't preclude our ability to thrive.
Before that we were excited and blessed to host some friends for a few days. Ryan and Van's visit was a really nice break. I think they did more on their way to our home than they did while at our home, but we were refreshed by their presence. It was a bit sad to hear Kee ask Ryan to tell his old hockey team to "try to do well" without him, an innocently arrogant statement drenched in regret that he wasn't playing hockey with his friends from back home.
We've also been doing other things, but I can't remember right now. Oh yeah, Keegan's school participated in a St. Martin's day parade last Monday evening. It seems like a fun tradition; Christal and Keegan walked through the streets of nearby Wollbach by candlelight, and enjoyed some outdoor cooking. Nadia was at the height of her ailment, so she and I stayed in that night. Now, if I don't post this soon, it'll be time to add some more updates. ;)