Tuesday, July 21, 2009

a cold overruns all else

Wednesday morning, July 22nd, 2009

The time is flying. The time till we leave Berlin and fly home to Bloomington (on August 2nd) cannot be counted in weeks anymore, really, unless you're good at counting things like 1 1/2 - the more useful unit now is days, as in 11 days.

Did I never report on Felix's 6th-grade graduation last week? I think I didn't. It was Tuesday morning - we went to the school and the three different sixth-grade classes had a little joint performance/ceremony. At 8:30 a.m. It reminded me and hubby of nothing so much as the Holiday Follies at Harmony School in Bloomington every December - (although with higher production values, as hubby pointed out) - but anyway it was sweet, and though it started out ragged and long-going-on, it ended, shockingly, within the hour, as Felix's white-bearded guitar-playing hippie teacher had confidently predicted. Then we went into the individual classrooms to see the kids get their report cards handed to them individually, in ascending order by grade point average.

There were, at the end, 19 or 20 kids in Felix's class; much was made of the fact that Felix ended up 2nd in the class after going in at the beginning of the year with rather imperfect German. The boy had a good year. Frankly, we kind of expected he'd do fine academically. What was less easy to predict and much more satisfying was that he truly did also integrate in socially with the kids (even though after school he preferred the company of the English-speaking gang that lived in our institute-run villa with us). 

Felix is madly connecting via Facebook with his friends back in Bloomington, even while prowling Berlin with his buddies here. The day-before-yesterday he called from his cellphone to say he and his friend Peter, after eating downtown at McDonald's, had ducked through an U-Bahn station to get out of the drizzle on their way to the sports store to ride the scooters as they like to do, and on a whim decided to hop on a U-Bahn train and see where it took them (they have monthly passes that can take them anywhere in Berlin so that's no problem). They ended up at Potsdamer Platz, which is where we  go to see English-language movies in the original, and Felix was calling to see if it was OK if they went to the movies.

Sounded like a lark to me and I said sure and they had a great time.

Anyway, I kind of think Felix's reentry in Bloomington will be smoother than anyone's, but he'll surely miss the ability to roam free and wild. And we'll miss him having it.

A cold I said. Yes. Last Friday night Felix, hubby, and I were deeply involved in planning and running various aspects of the big institute good-bye party. Felix had made the dance playlist, spending hours and having a grand time; he worked on the welcome banners, and at the last minute was recruited to go around among the crowd (there were I think 150 people or so there though I'm not sure) taking drink orders and then bringing the drinks (a few other kids were making the actual drinks - Sangria and suchlike - generally not a task given to twelve-year-olds or ten-year-olds in the States but this is not the States). I, meanwhile, had been in charge of the entertainment committee but had also organized one of the huge successes of the evening - I actually merely channeled it. The thing was this was a party organized by the institute fellows for the staff, so everything was opposite - they usually serve us, now we served them, and part of the deal was a good-bye thank you gift from us to them. 40 fellows (plus lots of partners, like me, and family, but still) and get this: SIXTY-FIVE staff members. We never realized all year that there were so many of them, many shadowily behind the scenes (of course also plenty in front of the scenes, at the reception desk, serving us meals, running the library, answering organizational questions, fixing our plumbing, running academic exchanges . . .) - anyway long story short I had been on the phone with sister-in-law #1 asking her for suggestions of where to shop in Berlin for nice soaps (for some reason I had gotten fixated on soaps as gifts, thinking chocolate and wine was BOring by now) and she said what about plants? And a plan was born, and her partner the florist was asked to provide 65 plants as gifts from us to each of the staff (no, not 65 plants for each staff member - you know what I mean) - and he did a glorious job, there were banana plants and little trees and big bushes and flowering things and the 65 of them together looked fabulous as one came in, and everyone was very pleased.

So that was great, and the entertainment program went off quite well, and dancing was intense, I don't think I've ever been at a party where dance participation was so high, but then Felix was sent home at 2 with his father to go to bed leaving me watching his iPod like a hawk for him (OK, Felix, I confess I was dancing more than watching the iPod) - anyway, I was in the room with it and tending the playlist (we went off-list and ended up with about 20 minutes of Balkan Beat Box), and so I stayed till 3 which is somehow the time I'd gotten the sense I had to stay till, and helped a couple other people close up. Went home, slept till 2 p.m. the next day, and woke up with a terrible sore throat I've had ever since, and yesterday (Tuesday) I didn't even go to Weight Watchers or meet my walking friends.

Sunday I did go for a long (hour and a half) jog plus half-hour swim but I think now I've figured out I am actually under the weather and can't do this. So no, I don't think I'm doing 10K on August 1st the night before we leave, either. Sadly.

Good things and plans:

our 18-year-old friend Johanna from Berkeley arrives today

our friends Kim and Christian (Kim is this blog's absolutely faithfullest reader) arrive tomorrow from Hamburg for a couple of days

Sis-in-law #1's birthday is Friday, we're having a family party Sunday, madre-in-law will be in town and nephews coming in from Darmstadt

8 boxes have already been sent off to the States


Gotta start waking up family members. They all seem to need several wakings each time.

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