Here’s the irony: Just the other day, I ran into one of the new foreign teachers coming out of the foreign faculty building longing for a breath of fresh air and getting none as the weather in August usually still is pressing hot! So I told her that she couldn’t expect any relief of this kind of weather when stepping outside for at least another two months (which usually is quite true), but then comes today – rainy (which is a good thing after it’s still been far too dry), and almost somewhat chilly! At least I can walk outside with a sweater and still feel comfortable. Now, I wonder what she (that foreign teacher) might say to that! 😉
It’s the summer break, and that means our campus turns into a construction zone. Shopkeepers change owners, shops get a facelift, so do many corners of our campus, and probably the biggest construction zone around is the new foreign faculty’s flat, which should have been done by now, but as a matter of fact, there’s no end to building in sight. For me, that means happy news, since I don’t yet have to move, which means I can enjoy my time doing other things.
The summer break is in full swing, and that means, our campus is deserted yet again! But take heart, it’s never as empty in the summer break than it is in the winter. The reason: There’s summer camps all over the place. Some for orphans, some for athletes, some for kids who want to learn English, and some for students who just get bored staying at home over the summer. That, by the way, is another reason why the campus doesn’t get as deserted in the summer as it does in the winter: Because quite a number of students stay around for the summer, renting apartments in the vicinity and use the quietude to study (at home, they’d be spending most of their days watching TV, which can get quite boring if you do that for a whole month). Anyways, for me the summer is usually a good time to brush up on my tennis skills, as every late afternoon by 5 pm the tennis court gets frequented by more or less capable players … …
How about I take you on a little trip into downtown, today? There are several ways how we can get there: We could take the more expensive option, the taxi; though compared to western taxi prices, it’s still a sweet deal. We could also take the public bus, which at times can be quite crowded, and usually goes so slow that you can almost walk faster! (Well, let me emphasize the “almost” here!) Or, we could take my favorite means of transportation – a bycicle. Bycicles are very common here, and what I love about them, is the flexibility. Not much walking (which will happen when you take both a bus or a taxi), and you can quickly weave through the traffic, instead of getting stuck in one of those many minor traffic jams, that often only require two vehicles in order to get perfectly stuck! We could also take one of the little three-wheelers, though those are my least favorite option, because they aren’t necessarily cheap, and you’ll have yourself in for a really …
Rain has been rare since last fall, so any kind of precipitation these days is welcome. The good news with rain is that oftentimes after the “bad” weather has passed, usually the air is a lot of cleaner, which means: a day of rain many times is followed by a day of clear skies that sometimes even resemble the color of blue – something I still appreciate even after years of having been in this country! Therefore it is my stance to say: Yay for the rainy days!
Summer is almost here, and what a happy circumstance it is that several months ago a new place in town opened its doors to the public – a mixture between coffee shop, fast food restaurant, and dairy store. Some of us call it the sandwich place, but basically it’s like a nice cafe where you sit and talk, and enjoy a cup of coffee or ice cream. I admit, I love ice cream! So, with the weather getting oh so warm, every once in a while this is a nice place to stop by and get a little treat!
Earlier this year, they began to construct overhead crossings all over town, to make the traffic a little safer. Only a few weeks ago, they completed construction on an overpass right outside one of our school’s main gates. The bridge is meant to keep pedestrians off the road, but since the railings don’t go very far, there are still a lot of people on the other side of the fence. For me, on the other hand, the bridge means that the distance to the little corner store where I usually buy my school supplies has doubled – there is no more running across the street to quickly make an errand. And even though it doesn’t reduce the honking on the street, I guess the overpass is a good thing, since traffic can go a little smoother now. And for all the vendors who gather around the gates, the overhead crossing has turned into a little paradise – offering a lot of shelter!
April is certainly the season for the oilseed rape to be in bloom here. So, some of us love to take our bikes out (or rent bikes), to go for rides into the fields behind the school. Being amidst the bright yellow flowers surely makes me happy, every time a get a chance to get out!
Every year, by mid April, the university sports days take place on a Thursday and Friday. There are no classes these two days, and students get to participate in the competitions or have two days for fun and enjoyment. For the foreign faculty, attending the opening ceremony is mandatory, and usually we are asked to march into the stadium in a grand procession, together with selected representatives from all the different departments of our school. While the marching is quite fine-tuned with everyone else, the foreign teachers always stand out, because We don’t wear uniforms (coordinated clothes), We can’t march. Wearing the same shirt, probably wouldn’t be that big of a challenge. The marching on the other hand is. Not once in all my years, have we achieved the same uniformity as the other groups marching. Fortunately, the opening ceremony isn’t all about the marching, there are speeches, and the different vows by representatives of the referees and athletes; there is the torch run, and the lighting of the “olympic” flame; and last but not …
In the ever increasing hustle and bustle of our growing campus, the campus garden is yet one place to find quiet and relaxation from a very busy day. It’s located in the heart of our campus – an oasis with benches that invite passersby to sit down and rest, to enjoy nature, and maybe take your assignments with you and enjoy some extra fresh air, while doing your work. The garden is maybe one of my most favorite places on campus.