Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A collection of smiles

#1: The buses here are often between two and five minutes late. This is very un-German, and I'm assured that the problem is unique to my city. Very reassuring. Despite (or maybe in response to) the lack of punctuality, German bus drivers have no interest in braking for a couple more seconds while you run onto the bus. Can you tell I have personal experience with this? Today, however, a bus driver waited for me. Thanks, nice bus driver.

#2: Fortunately or unfortunately, the lateness issue is only true of the buses. I've had a few issues with plumbing since moving in to my apartment, so this morning a repairperson was scheduled to come in at 8am. Not my idea, let me assure you. At 7:46am sharp my bell rang and it was the repair guy. This morning I was irritated, but in hindsight, German punctuality really does make my type-A self smile.

#3: Germans are obsessive about environmental cleanliness. Except for the smoking thing. Every trashcan is actually three trash cans: paper, plastic/metal/glass, and real trash, and these are very important - my first day in Germany a homeless man berated me for throwing something in the wrong bin. Sometime soon I'll tell you all the rules governing recycling and garbage for my apartment. It's a serious thing. In fact, most German cities have a dedicated team of people who wander around with bags and those little claw-on-stick tools picking up garbage. These people are dressed head-to-toe in reflective orange or yellow and seem to generally be burly forty-year-old men. Imagine my delight when I passed a toy shop today and saw one of these men happily playing with the "create a path for the marble" toy on display while his cart of garbage-collecting tools waited nearby.

#4: Starting next week I have a new school schedule, since there are more English classes than hours I'm allowed to work every week. This means I had to start saying goodbye (possibly temporary, possibly not) to a couple of my classes. One seventh-grade class greeted my announcement with a collective sad sigh and a round of applause.

#5: My landlady is an amateur DIY-er, even for jobs that maybe shouldn't be done by one's self, like electricity and plumbing. You can imagine, therefore, that prior to calling the repair guy mentioned in #2, she tried to fix my plumbing problems herself. On Saturday I got a knock on my door and she came in to try tightening the washer on my kitchen faucet. When that didn't work she took the whole faucet off the wall and went away to a hardware store to see if she could find a solution while I stood there somewhat dumbfounded. As it turns out, she did indeed fix both my dripping faucet and clogged shower drain. And no, hair in the drain was not the problem. Now I have a bitty plunger I'm only to use on the shower if it backs up again and a new washer on my faucet. Problems solved.

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