Sunday, February 25, 2007
Friday was my first trip/adventure to Bremen. Bremen is a city but also it is its own state, kind of an odity, it is also Ihab's home. As such, I have heard a lot about Bremen, mostly how nice it is. When I was asked if I would teach in Bremen since the center there was short on english teachers, eager to see Bremen, I agreed. I was told it was pretty. Not a word I would use to describe my first impression. I arrived at 7:45 and since I had been on the train since 5:45 I was happy to be outside now that the sun was up. I exited the train station, following my directions which led me under an autobahn and across a main road which, aside from the initial bombarnment of backeries and other shops that attract train station guests as customers, was eventualy deserted. It was a city larger than Braunschweig and nothing stood out. The day was overcast and fumes from the traffic brought about a general sense of dirty. I found the center and then found out that I had the wrong material as I was told I not would be teaching business when infact I was teaching the class of unemployeed people and needed the book for Level 3. Luckily, the center had one even though it took two tries to locate it. Side note, the government sends unemployed people to learn English for tswo reasons; a) to keep them entertained and b) to make them better prepared for jobs in English speaking countries so they will leave Germany and thus no longer contribute to the high unemployment rate here. This was interesting information for me. My day was off to a not so good start. I met two teachers and promptly refered to each of them by the wrong names. My class went well, aside from the fact that we moved twice as slowly as expected due to their learning curve. They were nice people and aparently they liked me as they invited me back (not like it is their choice). I agreed to return on the 13th of March because the pay is good. I taught 8 units and got paid for 4 travel units. It literaly took 4 hours to get there however and on the way home I had a bit of a disaster. I asked the service point when the next train to BS would leave and was directed to a train leaving in 20 minutes so I bought my ticket and headed toward the platform. I got on the train turned on my ipod, reclined my seat and relaxed. We made a few stops but it was the express and I was expecting to be home in 2 hours like the first train I took in the morning. After out stop at Hannover the conductor announced the next stops and I didn't hear BS so when the ticket checker came around I was sure to show him my ticket again. He looked at it gave itback to me and said okay as he stamped it before. So I asked if BS was the next stop and then he told me that I was ment to get off in Hanover and transfer trains. OMG the next stop was in Gueteguen (SP), 45 minutes from Hanover. The woman next to me was really nice and spoke English and the ticket checker worte me a slip that said I missed my stop but it was excusable since I was an Auslander (foreigner) so I did not need to buy a new ticket, which was really nice. However, I still felt like an idiot and it waas going to take 2 extra hours to get home according to the train times he wrote down for me and I was already exhausted. Somehow I got lucky im Gueteguen and the next train to Hannover was only one platform away and sittign there as I walked up the stairs so I jumped on. When that ticket collector came by, I showed him my note and old ticket and he tried to pair me up with someone getting off at Hannover so I wouldn't get lost. After he asked around and found me a buddy, I'm not joking, I reassured him that I alreaday knew what platform my train was leaving from. I also got an earlier train there and made it home only an hour late, totally exhausted and a bit disapointed in myself but in the end, I just had to laugh at myself! I never admitted to anyone that I lived in BS for the past 3 months. Hopefuly my next trip to Bremen will go much smoother.