I have been extremely fortunate that over the past semester the vast majority of the adventures that have been filling the pages of this blog have been viel Spaß (much fun). However, there have been a few downers along the way as well (having my apartment broken into as I was recovering from a concussion comes immediately to mind), and these have served as a (sometimes all too potent) reminder that adventures and formative experiences aren't always (and often aren't) especially enjoyable. The past week or so at the Goethe Institut has been another such reminder.
Overall, I am still having a very good time here; I really am. My German has improved immensely since I arrived, and I hope that the trend will continue in the coming weeks. However, I have been spending rather more time than I was expecting in German Kankenhäuser. Yes, that's right. Hospitals. One hospital, in particular.
I'll start at the beginning (after first reassuring everyone that I am, and intend to remain, perfectly healthy). One of my very good friends here, Joe (you may remember him from previous entries), has been laid low the last few weeks with a horrible (and persistent) sinus infection. I have therefore spent the past few weeks making tea and dinner and trying (without success) to be a healing influence. This Ziel (goal) of mine has led me to accompany Joe on two of his recent trips to the doctor. These were learning experiences. Here are some things that I learned:
1). Pretty much anything health-care-related in Germany is free. (Wooo, Socialism!)
2). A yellow and brown color scheme does not create a comforting atmosphere.
3). Children's puzzles in waiting rooms can sometimes be difficult.
4). Cosmopolitan is even funnier in German.
4a). Especially the horoscopes.
5). Sinus infections can be much worse and more prolonged than I ever imagined.
6). Many older German doctors do not speak much English.
6a). Medical German is difficult and not taught in university classes.
7). Never trust automatic hot drink machines. They promise tea, they deliver hot Kool-Aid. Something like that anyway.
8). Hospitals are cold.
9). Hospital visits take a long time.
So other than hospital-visiting and tea-making, I haven't been up to too much other than class these days. I have afternoon class these two weeks (13:30-18), so that doesn't leave time for much else. Hopefully I'll have more to report soon!