Apr 052012
 
Now is the time in Germany when we graze our Sheep

Longtime readers may recall that early in the schoolyear DH and I attended a parent’s meeting at Hogwarts.  During the course of the meeting, it was brought up that the current 3rd years (DD’s class) were the only class unable to go on a fieldtrip last year.  So, the administration wanted to know if parents would be interested in their offspring attending a ski trip in Spring.  We thought this was a wonderful idea and wholeheartedly conveyed our approval.  But, when the time came for sign-ups, DD let us know that she had ideas of her own.  The trip, she thought, sounded terrible!  The idea of sleeping away for a week in unfamiliar surroundings without a safe place to escape the social pressures and drama of her fellow teens did not appeal to her at all.  Plus, she noted, she doesn’t know how to ski!  We revisited the issue several times- and some of her teachers made the attempt, as well.  But, DD stood firm.  This was not the trip for her!

It turns out that DD was not the only student to eschew the trip for one reason or another.  5 kids from her class stayed back.  The administration arranged for them to attend classes with the students one year older- sort of a preview of next year.  3 of the students chose simply not to show up that week.  But, DD and one other bright classmate had a great time showing off their mad Math and Science skillz with the upper-graders.  DD discovered that Physics is a blast and that Economics (called Economie en francais) was fascinating enough that she didn’t mind that it was taught in French.  Her Math teacher noted that she was more than able to hold her own among the best students of the upper grade.  DD glowed the whole week through.

Monday, the students from the trip returned to school.  Or rather, most of them did.  It seems they had had an eventful week.  From what we can tell, about 60 or so kids went on the trip.  While they were there, there were 10 trips to the hospital!  DD said walking around campus Monday was like a scene from a medical comedy.  There were crutches, casts, stitches- and, a disturbing array of people with bites all up and down their bodies!  There was quite a lot of speculation about what had bitten them- bed bugs?  Fleas?  Something else?  But, even one of the teachers had been seriously attacked.  The worst bitten did not return to school that day.  The teacher was told she would not be able to come back to work until she had been checked at the hospital.  Today, we got the following letter from the school administrator:

Several pupils and teachers who went on the skiing trip show signs of skin trouble. Please check your child carefully and consult your doctor if you see any similar signs.  One of the first cases was diagnosed at the hospital today (dermatology department) as flea bites.

Please keep us informed if your child shows any related symptoms.
Best regards,
Denis Bittmann
Directeur de Hogwarts
I have always found Mr. Bittmann to be congenial and professional, but I must admit, given the content of this letter, his name is a wee bit ironic!  Whatever the case, DD has reiterated her contentment with her decision to stay back.  And honestly now, who could argue?

Other News

This will be one of those Quicky Update blogs because, honestly, No News is largely No News.

DH and I are much better, but still finishing off recovering from the dregs of The Flu.  DD recovered more quickly- BUT, now she seems to be fighting a new head cold.  I wonder if the skiers did have the last laugh bringing home Swiss Germs for her to encounter.  Or perhaps these are just ‘4th Year’ germs with a delayed reaction.

DS is home for Spring Break.  I am busy trying to get up to full speed on my work and other projects.  The new car is wonderful.

DH’s work is busy trying to find a way through their monetary woes.  Please keep good thoughts!  Right now things look promising, but, still insecure.  We have lived through enough of these not to panic, but not to count any chickens, either.  Basically, we are laying contingencies and waiting to see where it all falls out.  Stay Tuned.

Spring has definitely Sprung around here.  Though, that includes some Thunder Showers.  Yesterday as DS and I ran out to the car, the sky opened up and we got drenched faster than I think we ever have in our lives!  I was soaked right through my rain jacket in just the 30 yards or so we had to run to get to the car.  Then, an hour later, it was dry.  An hour after that, it was pouring again.  Repeat.  A tiny little rainbow showed itself on our way home- first of the season.  I was driving, so the camera was not easily used, but I will try to get a picture of the next one.

With DS home to help, I have been trying to get a little freshening done around the apartment.  We have been cleaning, finishing up projects, and, yes, buying some silly little Supermarket Flowers to brighten the place up.  I like my narcissus :-)

Meanwhile, in town they have been doing essentially the same thing.  The day after the Equinox, these flowers appeared all over town.  Sadly, by today about 1/3 of them are already browning!  I think they may not have gotten enough rain early on, so they dried out quicker than expected.  Seems like a huge lot of work to go through planting them all for only a week’s worth of color!

The hill by our apartment- maybe the wood things are to protect the flowers?

EVERY intersection in the city looks like this.

Lizards are very happy to have some warmth to frolic in.

One day suddenly 1/2 the farmers in town were tilling their fields. 
I guess it was Tilling Day.  This is the field outside our apartment.
I am looking forward to seeing the corn grow again!

Amusing addendum to the Marlboro Maybe ads that we have been following.  The last few seemed to be telling some sort of story.  In my last blog I showed the man hopping the fence.  The next ad showed this:

Is he the Maybe or the Not Maybe?

We were rather curious to see what was coming next.  But, one of their competitors seems to have scored a coup!  Instead of the Maybe ad we expected this week- there was an ad for L&M cigarettes in its place.  Whoops!  Maybe Maybe didn’t fly after all!  I know that there was a *lot* of hostility toward the campaign among the ex-pats who posted to the ex-pat blogs.  I wonder how it was received among the German population.  I saw one self-proclaimed ad professional claim it was the best campaign he had ever seen, but Maybe he was wrong?  Whatever the case, I can’t imagine these ads influencing me to take up cigarette smoking- or change my brand.  But, they were relatively entertaining in a What The Heck Are They Doing!? sort of way…

Hopefully we will have more fun stuff to report next week!  Tschuss!

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