i taught a class of jobless young people in the morning – the Kraut Job Centre forces them to attend for 8 hours a day but they are surprisingly remarkably motivated and friendly. My class includes a woman who studied Architecture for 7 years, an ex-engineer, ex-estate agent/soldier, and a practitioner of Mixed Martial Arts. Many are married and say they enjoy playing with their children – not what i’d expected – in England they would be grey-faced junkies with 10 (abused) children they never see, by 10 different partners, and their career history would consist of signing on once a fortnight, with occasional spells in McDonalds and prison. They would be covered in tattoos. They would lack foreheads. Very different in Germany – lots of foreheads, no tattoos.

Yesterday, walking through the park near my flat (the park has a pond and ducks), i passed the remains of a German drinking session – a dozen empty beer bottles neatly stacked by a park bench. Some things are eternal – booze; some things are very different (in England, the bench and path would be strewn with broken glass and vomit).

On the subject of booze i discovered a bottle of good cheap red wine for under 2 Euros, got sozzled at lunch, then staggered back into the school to teach the jobless people for another couple of hours. i managed to introduce the expression “i like drinking cheap wine” into the class – a nice bit of ‘realia’ there. To my delight there was a new student, a demure blonde MILF, quite lovely. i had to restrain myself from leering too horribly, though i prompted her to ask one of the rakier students: “You’re a sex, drugs, and rock & roller, aren’t you?”, to which he replied coolly, “I am indeed.”

And now i must lesson plan.

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