Exchange Student Day looks a lot like Christmas.
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Occasionally a patron asking for help is hearing impaired & most of the time they have a hearing person with them who translates for me into sign language. I know a tiny bit of sign language that mostly boils down to “help” & “thank you.” In the few years I’ve worked at the Beaverton City Library I can only remember two times where the deaf person was on their own. This note is from one of those times.
This slip of paper is from an older woman who looked tired & frustrated & once I read her note I realized why. Often people come into the Library asking for directions, so I’ve become even more familiar with my city (& Google Maps). With this request though it took both Tim (my coworker) & myself to figure out where she was trying to go. The directions I scribbled down on another scrap of bluish paper went with her, but I held onto the one she wrote to me.
Working at the library interesting things are bound to happen.
So tired! When we were in Germany I didn’t give myself enough jet-lag credit & I kept wondering why in the heck I was always so tired & hungry. Jet-lag people. JET-LAG!
After finding my tribe in the Stadtbibliothek (City Library to me & you), I took the 14 subway train right back to Berlinner Platz Liederhalle (concert hall & convention center). I found out which train to take using what little cell service I had & Google maps, it was SO handy. No combing through the long, confusing lists of trains & stops posted on the wall for me! That was how I could blend in looking like a completely normal Stuttguardian “bored” on my cell phone. I set foot off the train as the sun was setting & I decided to take a shortcut through the plaza under glass. I stared way too long at those glass arches. It made me realize how awesome it would be to have the plazas in rainy Oregon covered like this. It still lets in whatever sunlight there is, but not all the rain & in Stuttgart’s case, snow. The red light in front of the people in the picture is coming from an open area below the plaza, part of it leads to the little market we visited on our first evening in Germany. Another part must lead to a nightclub, or something, at least that is what the music & flashing lights would indicate. Maybe these three are headed from work right into that club.
People do that on Wednesday nights right?
On the other side of the glass-covered plaza was the brick building where all the nerds had gathered: Alte Stuttgarter Reithalle, which is right next to our hotel. I looked up into the window & saw my Romeo. “Aaron! Aer!” It took me several minutes, but I did finally get him to come to the window. He was so shocked & delighted to see me calling him to the window. Aaron met me at the door of the Reithalle & past all the nerds packing up after the conference straight to the food table, where I again scavenged the delicious leftovers to feed my insatiable jet-lag. This time around I had french bread-type slices with thin sliced meat cheese & tomato with some rosemary potatoes on the side. They’d had skewers of meat & other popular food, of which there were none left, but I was more than happy with what I had. I loved that chandelier behind me, it was absolutely huge & I insisted Aaron get it in the shot with me. After I had finished off my food Aaron showed me the Jaguar Land Rover booth & the projects he worked on for the show.Next to me on the table, while I was eating, were these adorable purple & green M&M’s with nerd glasses printed on them. I made a comment to Aaron about how even the snacks were nerdy & he said that they weren’t glasses, it was the logo for Collabora. On the website their logo is in the top left corner, once I saw that I realized my mistake, but seriously they look exactly like the nerdy glasses that are so popular now. I left Aaron packing up the Super Secret Nerd Case & went back to our room for a quick nap before he invited me out to a late, late dinner (8:30ish PM) with the conference nerds. We met in the hotel lobby & the 9 nerds & I walked to a nearby Italian restaurant Vinum im Literaturhaus.
Bottom picture above starting on the left the two guys in black shirts with arms folded shall forever & always remain nameless, but they do work for the nerdy M&M’s company Collabora. Next is Gunnar, Swedish (if I’m remembering correctly) in orange he works for Volvo. Down from Gunnar is the first Paul W. he is British, works for Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) & is Aaron’s supervisor. Far left corner of the table is Rudy, he is German & is contracting with JLR. Across from Rudy is the second Paul W. who is also British & works for JLR, but is not Aaron’s supervisor. Guy (pronounced Gee) in blue, works for Collabora & lived in Provo, Utah for some time (more on that later). Aaron, true blue Captain America, works for JLR & is married to the beautiful redhead taking the picture. Bottom right corner is Ken, (American) who flew out with us & shared a Mercedes taxi with us to the hotel, also works for JLR. Tons of good food to choose from. I picked the wildest thing I could find, which turned out to be Caprese salad with Buffalo Mozzarella. (It did end up tasting just a tiny bit wild, but it was delicious.)
With such a large group we had plenty of time to talk about everything before our orders arrived, sadly I ended up at the incredibly quiet end of the table. Ken speaks very softly & not often (especially when he’s had a beer) & the two guys across from me were totally content to sit quietly the whole time. The other end of the table was very chatty & hilarious, but I was too far down to get into the conversation. I did my duty with the quiet guys & told them all about the pig museum, forcing them to stare at the scary pig pictures when they didn’t believe me. I then went on to tell them about my adventure just a few hours earlier signing up for a Library card for the Stuttgart City Library. That somehow got the attention of the entire table, & none of them (besides Aaron) believed that I had done it. I pulled out my newly minted Library card, which then prompted Gunnar to ask me if I’d gotten it so I could steal all the books I wanted & take them home. Seriously! That seemed to be the first response everyone has given, in Germany or the US, when I share that story. Just for the record no I didn’t steal any books from the Stuttgart Library. It was a souvenir!
During dinner Guy asked Aaron how we’d met. That question led Aaron to say that he’d served a mission in Utah, which is when Guy responded that he’d lived in Provo for some time & loved it. He just LOVED LDS people! Guy said they were always inviting his family to all the neighborhood & church activities, that they lived right next to the Bishop & whenever he’d had to go out of town someone always mowed their lawn for them. Provo is certainly not my favorite place, but I was glad Guy had had such a good experience. To be honest I don’t know that Guy is the type of person to have terrible experiences he is SO friendly & knows heaps about everything.
We all stayed sitting at the table talking for quite some time (comparing cell phones, I think I need a one plus) after we’d all finished eating, & near the end is when we noticed the waiter getting huffy. I think we were the last group in the restaurant & it became obvious our server was ready for us to leave. In Germany we found that the servers generally leave you entirely on your own for as long as you like & you have to flag them down if you want something, because they aren’t checking back on you. The thing that stands out to me was when he loudly blew out the decorative candles next to our table. It was much more hilarious than off-putting, such a silly thing couldn’t stop me from fully enjoying my Night Out with the International Nerds.