Thursday, October 15, 2009

Day 12: Voyage to Saarbrücken

I have graduated to the phase where I miss trains for reasons not under my control. My first train was late, and with a very short connection time, the train I was supposed to catch was already gone. So I waited an hour and caught the next train. I made the next connection, and took the equivalent of a subway train from one town to the next until I reached Scheidt. My 83 year old grandfather was there to pick me up my bike. I’m really glad I have a backpack for my luggage, my grandfather fit my carry-on into his bike basket, but the luggage is much bigger of a deal and not easily bikeable.

My grandmother made some fusion Chilean-Chinese-German food, which left something to be desired, she hates cooking so it was no surprise. Her apfelkuchen (apple cake) was pretty damn good though. Right as everybody was ready to take a nap, Yvonne, a student staying with my grandparents until her apartment opens up, came home. At first, I was a little sad to learn that I did not have my grandparents undivided attention, until I realized that now, I didn’t have my grandparent’s undivided attention! We talked about stuff, she’s just entering school and does not have great English, so conversing is slow, but much faster than it ever could be if I were speaking German.

We decided to go to downtown Saarbrücken and then her university’s orientation night. As much as I love my grandparents, them being my family and all (also very warm, kind, and generous), I have an extremely difficult time staying upbeat and patient when interacting with them. The outing provided an excellent opportunity for a respite before you’d even think I’d need one.

Downtown, we walked and talked until she found her cell-phone company’s store, and then had to figure out with them how to get an ultra-cheap land line. I watched some punk street musicians in the street, and it was pretty funny. Two old drunks were watching and getting into it, and the pink mohawked dude was sing/yelling in German, throwing in the occasional accented English cover. His friends were super energetic, running around, play-beating each other up, and collecting money from anyone who would stop to watch for a minute. When we finally left, I said, “I’ve been listening too long, I need to pay my dues.” As I dropped 20 euro-cents into the guitar case, I noticed homemade CD’s selling for 3,50. I didn’t feel like buying it, but the guy gave it to me, saying, “For you, it is free.” I think it helps having bumbling German and a bad American accent sometimes. I told him his music would be listened to ten time zones away, he’d be internationally known soon.

The orientation night was what you would expect of a college orientation night, except in a foreign language and with much better food. I was very happy that Yvonne made friends with the other people at our table, but I was pretty left out of the all-German conversation, so I ended up doodling most of the time. Thankfully, her new friends gave us a ride home when we found out that the busses had stopped running to Scheidt hours before.

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