Moin Moin ihr Lieben!
Well, there’s not really another way I can put it. I do indeed wish that going back to work today had been the biggest issue these 24 hours could present. But no, dear Reader, for the winner of that title is my creepy neighbour. I’ll come back to him a little later.
Having enjoyed a 2 week break from work, I returned to school full of the proverbial beans. I chatted to the students about their holidays and what they’d been up to; some had been away or visited family and friends, and others had stayed in Hamburg and worked.
The highlight of that session, however, was probably when one of the youngest students referred to the oldest student (who is 49) as ‘the Gandalf of the class’. I found this more hilarious than it actually was, but they humoured me and my incessant chuckling, as they always do.
Chuckling leads me to something which I had, up until this point, actually managed to block out of my mind. That is, dear Reader, that a tramp laughed at me on the train last week.
It is exactly how it sounds.
One of only two people in the carriage, I was standing by the doors as the train pulled in to Jungfernstieg station when I heard a rusty cackle from behind me. There sat this Penner (tramp) who alternated between pointing and laughing at me, looking into the window of the carriage and chuckling further at his reflection, as if there were someone there to cackle with him, and then pointing at me again.
Now. It is a great thing when people find you funny, don’t get me wrong, but this was neither welcome nor especially reassuring, as it left me wondering whether I’d tucked my skirt into my knickers or had done something of that sort. Fortunately I hadn’t, and so I continued on my merry, if slightly perplexed, way.
Speaking of odd encounters, I made the rare decision to go for a run last week. Seeing as I am supposed to be training for a half marathon, this decision should not be so rare, but I’m afraid it still is. I was warming-up when I stopped to adjust my Garmin watch, which had lost signal (the fact it never regained signal will undoubtedly be immortalised in an Amazon review at some stage).
I had headphones in and was listening to music, which was coming from my phone, which was attached to my upper arm. Suddenly a figure blocked out the sun to my right-hand side, and I tore my gaze from my watch and plucked out my earphones to see an older gentleman. This older gentleman just asked if the watch and the iPod were useful, to which I replied that they were. He seemed content and thus continued on his merry way.
This sort of brief, yet puzzling, encounter happens to me on a daily basis.
A little encounter which was actually welcome today, however, was a student approaching me to apologise for having been rude to me a few weeks ago. If you and I, dear Reader, tweet each other, then you may have seen a Twitter rant of mine after this incident before the half term break. I was so angry that I even got on the wrong train after work, which did nothing to ease my rage.
Anyway, he’s now in my good books again, especially so because I was expecting that incident to be swept under the carpet.
Somewhat tenuously, carpets lead me on to the final part of this post, and that is my neighbour. Carpets, because he has just bought some new ones and is still doing up his new flat after he moved out of mine back in August.
I came back from work today and climbed the steps to my flat, only to find various bits of packaging and wood panels blocking my door. I was mid-expletive when said creepy neighbour came out of his flat and apologised, before hastily moving things in front of the third door on our floor. We chatted briefly and he asked if I would, in the next few weeks, be able to look over his covering letter for a job application, as he had to submit it in English as well. I said that I would, and we parted ways.
I marvelled at how quickly I had managed to get myself out of that situation and pottered about my flat for a little bit. How naïve I was to assume that this peace would last.
Now, my dear, dear Reader, I know I am not alone in saying that when I get home after work I like to make myself a little more comfortable. Don’t we all? Well, what I didn’t expect when I was practically only in my underwear sitting at my desk scrolling through my Facebook timeline, was for my neighbour to ring my doorbell. After hastily putting on a dress backwards (it helps to leave clothes all over the floor for when this sort of thing happens) I answered the door, and he said he wanted a female opinion on something.
I grabbed my keys (which are fitted with an ear-splitting personal safety alarm, don’t you worry) and he led me into his flat, through his living room, to the bedroom, where he wanted my thoughts on where he should mount two shelves, and whether two bedside-tables were better than one. I gave my opinion and thought that might be it. Oh no.
At this point he stopped mid-sentence and said, ‘Do you like tea or coffee?’ I stuttered that I preferred tea, and I believe I made some poor joke about being a stereotypical Brit, which fell on deaf ears. Before I knew it I was sitting on his couch, wearing a pair of slippers he’d given me to wear while in the flat, nursing a cup and saucer.
Now, I’d like you to cast your mind way back to one of my first blog posts, when I mentioned that I had a neighbour who had a penchant for flute music and loud sex. That was this neighbour. Only when I was sitting on the couch did it occur to me that this sofa was against the wall which separates our flats. Therefore, this would have been the location of the hour and a half of pure enthusiasm which I unfortunately could not stop my ears from hearing back in September.
I managed to suppress the desire to vomit and scooted as far to the edge of the couch as I could without falling off it. I perched there, sipping my tea and dying inside, as I seem to do often these days (both the tea-sipping and the dying inside).
He pointed out various ornaments and so on which he had positioned in the sitting room, and I even saw his Teddy Bear, (that’s not a euphemism. Stop it.) from when he was very young. Somehow I managed to get myself out of there, having thanked him and let courtesy get in the way of common sense, as I said I looked forward to the next cup of tea sometime.
If you don’t hear from me for a while, it means that he has found this blog. It was nice sharing details of my year abroad with you all while it lasted.