Thursday, November 16, 2006

Respect

I wish I was talking about Otis Redding when I think of "Respect" but in this case it was some kids in a tram at 7.30am. Actually, it was one kid, about 5-6 years old acting fairly obnoxious, trying to draw on each other with hilighter pens. Now I'm not usually to get annoyed at this stuff but it was early. After one tram stop, I told him that he should calm down just a smidge.
Then his sister or older girl next to him, in a different way, calm down. Oh, I'm calming down, he said. He said something to me in what I thought might have been Arabic and then I said in English, "Whadju say?" He repeated me but only as a parrot would. Yeah, I told him in German, let's keep this in German. This was a 6 year old kid I'm talking about. Anyway, he says something like A' salam malekim which is Arabic for something like "May god be with you, good day type of shit" and I answered him back the same, that being the only Arabic I know. Then, as he was getting off the tram at about 7.35am, young kids and adults pouring out of the trams to go to school, work, buying bread, who knows, he said to me, if you could picture like a young rapper saying to the camera, "The party is going off, dude!" and then was gone into the morning. That was two days ago.

I learned today from a student that I am in a magazine. I had done an interview for Accents Magazine, the English language magazine for Baden-Wuertemberg, which is the name of the German state I live in, like California or something. It is about my work permit problems and is about a half page. I am happy to be getting my story out there, it needs to be told, without a doubt.

Our flights to Morocco in February were cancelled today. It had something to do with an Open Skies treaty between the EU and Morocco to have these cheaper airlines fly there and it wasn't agreed to on time and so now 13 days in late February have just been thrown in the air. What should we do?

1)Turkey, like Anatalya to Izmir
2)Ljubjlana, Slovenia and Zagreb, Croatia
3)a ski holiday in Austria
4)Northern Spain
5)???

you see where this is going? I have good problems.

Here is a letter I wrote to my boss at the university today, explaining my idea about how students in a class of mine will give a presentation about which charity is the most deserving at this time. We will hear 5 presentations and then vote, me getting one vote as well. The charity that gets the most votes, I will send 100euro to that charity. It is starting to spiral, check it out:

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hi boss,

I was inspired by my journey in South Americathis summer. It was an eye-opening trip and sort of another view of the earth. I saw a lot of poverty there, more than you can imagine at times and it was disturbing. I went on a mine tour in the mountain in Bolivia that paid for the Spanish Crown's power in the second half of the 16th century. The silver is gone and now people mine for tin or some other inconsequential mineral. Long story short, it got me thinking about wanting to donate money to a charity. I've never done this before and already started enjoying the feeling.

Then two weeks before the semester started, after initial searches about where 100euro of my money my do the most good, I had an epiphany. Reading and Discussion Course (I teach)!They have to give presentations. The last two semesters I have let them present on whatever they wanted. This semester I'm having them do group presentations about which CHARITY should receive 100euro at this time. After all of the presentations, we will then vote as a class, with me getting one vote as well, and whichever charity gets the most votes will get my 100euro!Needless to say, after I'd shown them 100euro was valuable to all of them, I presented the idea. On the first class, I told them that there was the possibility other people in Freiburg, companies and private individuals, might be interested in the idea that a University class is to do a set of presentations and determine to the best of their knowledge, a certain charity is the most deserving at this time. So many people live off the university,they might want to support the university in its endeavours, like in a research situation. Anyway, I brought up the topic again today and then we started discussing who and how we would try to show people what we are doing and that they should take part in it, i.e., donating money of their own. These are some of Germany's best and brightest, in a foreign language class, trying to find out who needs their help the most in this world. We talked about the following things:

**making fliers
**press release or article in the BZ
**writing a few letters or visiting some companies
**a small webpage/blog with updates and info
**Rotary/Lion's Clubs
**and getting a bank account so everything is on theup and up.


Here's where it gets good. They raised the idea of whether it was legal for us to accept money and send it somewhere or what kind of receipt we could give so that companies and such would have a legally binding receipt. Then one of the students said the following extremely German word:

Spendebescheinigung (donation certificate kind of)

I'm not sure if I spelled it right but it's prettyclear what it is.
Anyway, they asked me if the Uni or Englisches Seminar had one of these stamps or letterhead of that they would "back what we're doing"with a stamp. What is great is that they have already given more thought to my course than I have! All right, I think I've used up enough of your peaceful morning time, I guess the odd request in the subject line is if you had some sort of stamp and authority to tell me that what I'm doing is okay andnot going to get people's feathers in a ruffle. I'm normally totally against giving other people more work but do you think you could check for me so that"alles ist en Ordnung, weissh?"

cheersJason

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