Saturday, December 22, 2012

Happy End of the World

I am guessing culture is a bit similar in the States, but here there are Axe commercials on TV about building another Noah's ark and their 2012 body spray, jokes about weather forecasts, and lots of talk about whether or not the World will End. Yesterday has come and gone; we are still here. Not sure what the future holds as this does seem to be the end of the age: exponential population growth, climate change, information explosion, technological growth, a declining West, democracy changing from a political vote to a dollar vote, struggling educational systems, the list goes on. There have been plenty of interesting conversations floating around about these topics lately.

The last one we had last night at our staff end of the year party. We went to SnowWorld - an indoor ski hill. Strange. I guess this is what you do when you live in a country without hills or more than a dusting of snow - full of people who like to ski and snowboard. Trips to France and Austria are long and expensive.

The slopes themselves were, of course, small and crowded. Strange snowboarding indoors. I thought our one-hour time limit would be far too short, but then it turned out to be quite enough. I am used to spending a whole day exploring the different runs a real ski hill has to offer. There isn't much exploring to be done at this place, but it was quite enjoyable to ride for awhile. Afterwards we had drinks and Fondue. It was a bad impersonation of the Swiss tradition - everyone smelled like oil afterward.

Earlier this week I made my first trip to a Dutch dentist. I guess we are spoiled in Escanaba. Here they were quite quick and rough. They scraped away the plaque and then spent about 30 seconds polishing most of my teeth, and instead of the standard mouth rinse, I had a cup with a tiny bit of water inside it that I used, to my shock, for spitting out all the bloody chunks left in my mouth. I guess that showed why it hurt so much. At least I didn't have any cavities.

My conversation with the school director also took place this week. We talked (mostly I listened) for about and hour and a half. The outcome was positive: I do need to change a few things about my teaching, but they are not trying to get rid of me. If there is a job available at a different school in the school group, they would support my transfer. Nice to have potential options.

Amazing to finally be on Christmas vacation! We will head to Naomi's mom's house for about a week, and also spend a couple days with friends in Essen, Germany. Maybe after this, if we have energy, we will spend a few days in Paris. The break is much needed - for just about everyone at school.

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