Thursday, June 26, 2008


Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Update

Well I don't have much energy to write this but here goes...
  • Back at work and a full schedule is in each day - YAY - (not really)
  • I have my flat at the end of the week and gas and electricty to organise. (blah)
  • Friendships in question, a matter of facing facts or simple house keeping... we will see...
  • Money is too tight to mention - (yeah like the song)
  • Illness management through force of will - forcing doctors to do as I say. I am now an out patient and being treated tomorrow
  • Payday is Friday - (Triple YAY)
  • I have a bank account and all my papers sorted with visas and such
  • Still quite weak and the doctor gave me this week off but I refused. there is too much to do and I was quite worried about one student that didn't like any other teacher but me, she is due to do an exam this weekend and no word from her to school or me...
  • What else? Worried about friends and relationships, decades down the drain if they don't manage it well enough. But hey, it may actually be time....
  • I still can't get back to focusing on school work and preperation - just don't have a clear mind yet.

So there it is kids

drop me a few lines and tell me you are alive... Obi

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Saturday 9.22pm
Day 5 in hospital and so much hurry up and wait has been on the menu, speaking of the menu, the first 3 days they didn’t feed me or give me water because of all the x-rays and procedures and alike. All I really know for sure is that the German medical reality is simply this: One thing per day. I can see that much of what I have and had done over the past 5 daze could have been done in 2, but it is, as I suspect a sure way to drain the insurance company of money, cynical or accurate?
I have been sharing a room with 2 other old men, one has come, gone and been replaced and all have had serious surgery, bags hanging from sticks and bags filled with blood going in and coming out have been my visual delight for the past 5 days. Another highlight is the priviledged sight I have had while eating my meals the last few days, the 80 year old next to me is still wearing an operating gown and he faces away from me when he sits up to eat and all I can see, and which turns me off my food, in an 80 year old bare back and ass, who needs Jenny Craig?
Having to sit in bed all day, being woken at 6.30 by boistrous nurses lacking any calm skills of grace and being poked and prodded and then having my bed changed daily. The sitting without speak and waiting for the next tidbit of info or procedure is the real draining influence.
My head spins with a frenetic whirl of things I should and could be doing, namely work, but more to the point, organising bank accounts and getting gas and electricity connected, worrying about my car left unattended for the better half of a week in a more than unsavoury suburb. Thinking about money and time and things left undone and all the extra work that everyone I work with has had to do, already stretched beyond their limits.
I fret about the the students I have and the course material in my laptop and not in their folders on the shelves at work to make it easier for my colleagues to just take the classes and keep them on track.
On top of all this I feel far too much the pain of loneliness. All self inflicted but nonetheless agonising. Why do I keep finding myself alone and in dire situations, like being couped up in a room and harrassed by nurses with the finese of truckdrivers. Why am I alone?
I have asked, pleaded and almost begged my new colleagues and the closest people to friends I have to help me, and aside from a phone call from one to ask me about school stuff and the broken promise of a visit from another, and still another ‘close friend’, whom I have known for 20 years who lives in a city a few hundred kilometres from here, she smsed me and asked if I had fallen off the earth. I, with the very very little credit I have left on my phone (and no way to replace it in hospital), smsed her and told her I have been in hospital and feeling depressed and lonely and a lot of pain, her sms reply was to say “poor boy” and completely dismiss my plea of a phone call. So this exemplifies my friends status – ZERO.
It is terrible to be in a situation where you cannot trust anyone enough to have them do something for you and those few you do, do nothing but stare like people do at car accidents, the ones that do nothing but the armchair coaching from the sidelines on what should and shouldn’t happen. Well to them I say – I AM A REAL PERSON, with feelings and needs as much as anyone. I have been very generous and done all I can to build bridges with my colleagues, German and non German alike and the result is that I am here and no one gives a shit to call or visit and ask if I need something, my few smses have gone unanswered and I feel quite embarressed that I even asked them in the first place.
I have been throwing myself 200% into work and organising up a storm perhaps to avoid the loneliness which always happens at the start of any new country or job, I know this. But this isn’t right. From any angle.
So why have I brought myself to another stark example of being in a new place where I am completly alone? Why do I do it, what do I have the need to inflict so much unhappiness on myself? – it’s anyones guess.
The funny thing is that the doctor said I have more procedures Monday and Tuesday but I could have gone home this weekend, I told him after much hesitation that I would rather stay in. I have the hateful fleabag hotel to go back to and even more solitude. Here I have a meal and a bed and pretend I have company...
Obi – pressing the red button again for the nurse to bring more pain killers... But it doesnt dull the real ache.
Day 6
I woke up at the ungodly hour of 5 this morning, tho god must have been there, some lovely sunbeams lit up a corner of the room. I wondered at the time why we haven’t figured out why light is both a wave and a partical, but I will leave that for some genius to figure out at 5am
I raised my bed and lay there listening to the nothings of the morning and started to cry. Breakfast had been delivered and so I hope that my roommates had not noticed me crying, I sobbed quietly and turned by head away from them as they continued with their breakfast, I spoke to the nurse and told him of the intense pain in my back radiating down to my legs and in due time the doctor came and asked me a few questions.
I put my tears down to the pain I was feeling, I just didnt tell him it wasn’t a physical pain that was making me cry. I miss so many people, I miss being cared about, I need some human contact other than somone smsing me with ‘Poor Boy’ and alike...
So today – Sunday – another ultrasound and Monday a jolly good go at the stone shattering machine again. The doctor says I can’t go home until Tuesday at the earliest, that will make 7 days in here, with the smells and sights and sounds of all the sickness around me. Anyone figured out that I am not a good patient yet? I have. I was antsy to leave Thursday, but no luck there.
The doctors has stated that they are amazed how dense the stone is and say it will take at least 3 other treatments to get close to the desired effect – which is sand. I won’t even go into the catheter they inserted into my kidney 4 days ago... that is another kettle of fish.
So – I am sorry that my blog isn’t the standard of overcoming challenges and and personal musings, its just that I have no one to talk to and you dear readers, multiplied and diffused throughtout the world are the closest to my heart. This a good quote ruined by me from the pope about 40 years ago, but it is apt for me now...
The thing about being in a foreign country is that you rarely see the big picture, this being from spoken and written information. I seem to be here this week with no end in sight, and generally no idea of when the next procedure is or what it will be. All people work well when they know the outcome or the duration of anything. Take a dvd for example, would you rent it if it didnt have a glossy picture on the cover? Or if there was no blurb on the back describing the story and what will happen, even vaguely. Or the length of the dvd, would you pay a good $5 for a dvd that runs for 20 mins or inversely, would you stil down to watch one that you knew little about and didn’t know when it finished? So too is my life. – this isnt a complaint gentle readers, it is just an observation. I have come to be able to accept this as the norm in my life.
Another thing I don’t do is watch TV, radio or read the news at all, simply because I don’t understand it, but also because it is very liberating not to have a head filled with half news stories from around the world and the chorus of the last song I heard on the radio, my head was built for better things. It has worked quite well. I am more my own person and less the puppet of the media or a receptical for the crap that is fed to us in unrealistic amounts.
Don’t get me wrong, I am all for the world, I love it in fact. I have seen a lot of it and revelled in the joy of it. It is simply that I would like to choose what goes in my head.
Oh – a nurse has come in to the room for the 80 year old, please explain to me why all nurses, who are adults themselves speak to patients like they are children in a one sided dialogues? Can they not manage to be themselves in their jobs and need this mechanism as a tool to better get the job done. I can’t say cart blanc that all nurses are like this, I am just speaking from my limited experiences in hospitals.
No sign of the 80 year olds ass today thank god, he now has his gown off and jim jams on! One thing that does bug me, maybe because I come from a country in the grips of a never ending drought, why – pray tell WHY, when my room mates shave over the sink, why is it that they leave the tap running for 20+ minutes? It is a shocking waste of water. I guess I can’t apply my cultural sensibilities to them, they do live on the banks of the 2 biggest rivers in europe, so water is never an issue. It just annoys me quietly...
I didnt expect to be here this long as you all know, if I had A) I would have brought some work with me to do and prepare for next week. B) I would have brought more than 1 change of jammies. ...And finally, C) I would have brought more money with me. The out of pocket expenses her at the hospital are 10 euros a day. I have just enough for a weeks visit and this total amount I must pay on exit of the hospital.
I wonder if I can beg my colleagues to come and collect me. It will be like asking for a favour after kiiling someones brother and I am sure the task will be passed around the room and made excuses for not doing it. It is quite odd they don’t know this: The unspoken code of English Teacher is to take care of each other, to listen and help and encourage each other. It seems that I have met only 10% of teachers who have a vague notion of this. Take my example in Poland, a jobless homeless teacher I took into my home and fed him and found him a job etc, who then shit in my face afterward. Another in Poland, I sought out because I knew his girlfriend lived in my town and I offered him my job and groomed him for the interview and all I got in reply was a terse bitterness from a drunkard.
Even when I got here, a colleagues laptop crashed and she lost all her photos 6 gig, so I did my best to recover them and I succeeded, not one word of thanks and later that week when I asked her to drive me home in a company car – 3km out of her way, she almost had a hissy fit. You think I would learn. Who said it – ‘do unto others...’ I don’t want this seemingly endless pattern to force me from giving up my kind and generous nature.
Anyone noticed I am rambling now? I am waiting for a nurse to come and give me some super pain killers. I hope I don’t have to wait all day...
2pm – small mercies. I had a visitor! Well he had to come to emergency anyway, he buggered his knee so after he was seen to he smsed and came up to see me. I was quite a moral boost and I am pleased someone came and I got the news from work etc. I was nice to be connected to something or someone again.
6pm – after making a joke of having my temperature taken and telling the nurses about my symptoms I finally showed them that I have an infection. IV antibotics and a horrble night at 39.5 and I sweated out the infection, god I gelt horrible. And, as a reward, I am not allowed breakfast. The procedure today is a repeat of last Thursday. The attempt to shatter the stone. Maybe I should call my week here – romancing the stone –tho I don’t think it will make a good movie.
The parade of doctors has come in and said that because I had such a high fever last night they can’t do the sonic shock therapy. So I am very upste and wasted a weekend in here – tho I did get the care I needed during the fever, so I can’t complain.

Now I am at work , I got here an hour after i forced them to release me today at 4pm to do some catch up work, it is now 11pm - I am a fucking idiot. Obi

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Students Hills & Love

I have a very difficult hill to climb in a one to one intensive course lots to teach and learn in this subject. But not as difficult as the student has it.
She is smart, bright and quick to learn, she is 18 and wants to enter a major University where most of the classes will be in English. She told me a little of herself, it is best to keep that professional distance, but she told me she lives with her boyfriend. The next class she told me her boyfriend is a great cook and that he is ... 35.
Much like religion or politics, the age gap in relationships is a contentious topic and often sets heart beating fast and faces to go red with strong opinions and anger. How old is too old? I am sure while reading that question you clearly see your answer... and this is correct for you.
But what is correct for others? Many people will often say, love is a mystery or come when you least expect it, or it is what is it etc... so why is age so sensitive a factor for many people?
Sure there is the fact that the older person could be seen to be taking advantage of the younger, this can be, but as I have heard first hand from others, it is often not the case.
Deep and sincere love is difficult to find in any case - look at me, I have spent 25 years spinning around the planet and looked high and low, I found it once but it wasn't mine too keep... So I cannot judge someone who happens to find love outside of an age bracket. I can only wish them well and smile wistfully and keep on my own path.
So to my student, I say good luck with the exams and study. My very best wishes for your future, and may true love surround you and embrace you all your life, no matter how old...

Thursday, June 05, 2008

What's new?

Hello all,
I just wanted to write a quick note to say that all is well... I mean weeeell... Let me explain.
I am using my own car to work and just I get paid a little for the time it takes to get there but not the petrol, it is okay i trade off the confusion and ceaseless conversations about ‘who’ can have what company car etc. Save so many green house gasses this way...
The problem is I keep getting parking tickets. No biggy, they aren’t much but it is a pain in the ass when I have to pay them at the post office. I have 5 so far...
Good and Bad students
Sure, like any teacher I have the good and the bad students. I have a sweet sweet girl that looks like a super model in a one to one intensive exam prep class. She is so nice and keen to learn the material. I just want to help her as much as I can, money is not a consideration.
I have bad students, like the snobby finger waggler that comes to class when he feels like it, and if he does cancel within 12 hours I don’t get paid, now this is okay if the class is in the middle of the day but it is at the end, so I have to wait around and so as it stands, 70% of the time I don't get paid for this class. It wouldn't be so bad but he is really intense and creepy, the teachers that have had him before me have all said similar. But I am the last monkey and so I am stuck with him. I am trying to arrange a new class over the top of him so he cancels out. We will see...
The way this school works is my boss arranges the new classes and talks to the new clients initially. I asked him and I discovered that he never suggest a time that a student or new class could come - (to fill in existing holes in a teachers schedule) he just says any time is good and he allots the class to whoever, whether they are business teachers or not or whether they have classes spread eagle across a day, I have ne day when I start at 7.30am - one class and another at noon and a final class at 7.10pm. So what the hell do I do with my day? I hate the place I am living now, the long term hotel, so I don't go home when I can help it.
I have had my car side mirror broken twice because I still have Polish plates. Germans hate Poles and vice versa, and since I have come under attack so to speak I am inclined to agree with the Poles.
What else?
Hmm - I seem to be cracking under the strain a little. I am working 15 hours a day or at work at least, but nothing else is getting done. Washing is difficult to organise coz I need a few hours at the laundromat and I don't often have enough of a break to do it and take my closes home to hang.
I like the work, I really do and i like being in Germany, I just wish all the other stuff, like registering as a resident in the city was easier and getting a bank account, and getting a gas and electricity and internet accounts... there is just too much to do and I don't have that much time. who knows how long I would wait in line to get these things done, and if you can't guarantee a time, then I can't go... you follow my drift?
This saturday night I am off to the city of Bonn, one of my colleagues is performing in a proper play and so to show support and have a night out, a few of us are going up and seeing the play.

Obi cracking and getting teary.... but looking forward to the play and some reilef at the end of June.

I - Obi...