Well, it's that time of year again, when the holidays are past and work is looming before me again. That means just one thing in these parts: Brain-flail!
Luckily for anyone reading, I find writing about the brain-flail as boring as you must find reading about it, so I will just skip it and move on to documenting life in the slow lane.
John's been spending all his free time (that falls outside of the local quiet hours) carving in the cellar. He's already got 2 panels done for the door of his garden shed/stave church and has been posting pictures like an obsessed person on facebook. Weatherwise, he can't do much up in the garden itself, so this is the next best thing for preparing to build the garden shed in the summer/fall.
Hannah has her school-leaving exams this spring, and every academic assignment this school year has inevitably led to tears at some point. I think it's the same for most of her classmates, though. German schools are notoriously difficult, but the stress has been ratcheted up for Hannah's cohort because the state changed the number of school years but not the graduation requirements right before she started high school, so she and her classmates have had to learn 9 years of material in only 8 years. We had already heard horror stories about kids having nervous breakdowns in their last year, but it could get even worse for the kids in Hannah's group.
Despite the best efforts of my colleagues, I wasn't able to get a new contract in the English department, but I applied for and got a contract in the translation department instead. Now I'm kind of wishing I hadn't. Translating (which I actually feel confident in my ability to do) and teaching translating are two different beasts, and I feel like I am letting everyone in the department down. That being said, I've already realized that it is not totally on me: they dumped 8 courses on me for my first semester, without any materials or curriculum beyond course titles. [FLAIL deleted]
We finally made it to the xmas market in Michelstadt. That is a little town up north of us in the Odenwald, and we had heard good things about it but had never managed to go. We went with another family on the last Sunday, and despite the rain, it was crazy crowded. We ate delicious wild boar sausage and visited a really cool museum while we were there, but the rain and crowds put a bit of a damper on the trip.
Then we were invited over to the same family's for New Year's Eve, which is our tradition. This year we played a dinner murder mystery game (John was the only person to suspect Hannah, that sneaky murderess!) and then stayed the night to avoid driving home in the snow. None of the chicks wanted to go outside in the cold to shoot off fireworks, so we stayed in while the dudes went outside. They didn't stay out long, though; a new roof on your house will make you loathe to play with fire near it, it turns out.
[Here's where we pretend I have managed to pull together these disparate elements into a satisfying conclusion.]
-Nee in Germany