Thursday, July 20, 2006

Havin' a Heat Wave

Hamburg is really . . . hot. And I don’t mean in the Paris Hilton hot-means-cool kind of way. I consider myself a good southern gal. I can handle the heat. I got married in Charleston, SC . . . outside . . . in July . . . in a big, white dress. I know what it is like to work in the heat. But this is challenging even me.

I have determined that the problem is the lack of air conditioning. Air conditioning only exists in large department stores, some trains and buses, and the imaginations of crazy ex-pats. Germans are opposed to most things cold, which is why they don’t use ice in their beverages and you should always wear a t-shirt to cover your kidneys.

But I grew up with air conditioning. It never made me sick. In fact, in the summer, they might as well put up a tent over South Carolina and air condition the whole thing.

I really wish that they would realize the beauty of air conditioning. Through no power of my own, I have sweated off a few pounds in the past two weeks. That may seem great, but it has also affected my teaching and my students. By 7:00pm, NO ONE wants to be sitting in a sweltering room, staring at a teacher-in-training.

Last week I fell on my face while teaching, figuratively speaking of course. I did fall on my face once literally, but that is another story. Anyway, last week I had the daunting task of teaching “passive causative constructions,” which is a fancy way of saying “to have something done.” That did not go well. Tomorrow I am teaching simple present questions, such as “Who pays Ron?” I am hoping it will go better this time.

It is going to be about 36 degrees (about 93 F) tomorrow. I wanted to teach in my bathing suit, but I have a feeling that would influence my grade about “professionalism in the classroom.”

4 comments:

Lisa said...

G is a big guy and he'll wear an undershirt, a business shirt, a suit, socks, leather shoes and take a light jacket just in case. Which all means I've heard that kidney excuse, and at that point I'm thinking what in the world have these people's ancestors suffered that would result in cold kidneys?? Ice age lately? Are they still frightened by all those WWII stories of winter in Russia? It boggles but I know I didn't grow up here so... maybe it could happen. I wonder what cold kidneys feel like. I bet I could have cold kidneys and not even know it.

Debbie in Duisburg said...

Yes, ha ha, you may have almost died of Cold Kidney Syndrome and didn't even know it!

Germans seem to have A LOT of these bizarre ideas. I don't think I've ever heard more superstitious crazy snakeoil-ish health ideas in my whole life before coming here. Maybe we should arrange an expat get-together just to drink big cups of ice water while sitting in front of an air conditioner (if we could find one), just to prove to the Germans that our kidneys and other internal organs don't turn blue and leave us with 'circulatory collapse', or some other imaginary state of Germanic illness. Mein Gott! (And I'm an insulin-dependent diabetic and thyroid cancer survivor. I know about REAL medical threats. And air conditioning is not one of them. But ... hmmm... I think my kidneys might be a little too warm for my own good right now... lol)

Dixie said...

Oh I think every nation has its little quirks that make no sense to others. Sort of like the notion that seems to reign in many places in the US that if we talk about condoms in a frank and honest way on TV or show them in public or make them easily available to people of every age we'll have teenagers humping left, right and center.

Germany isn't the only place without air conditioning in Europe. Most of Europe is air conditioning free.

nachtschwester said...

Hamburg is not "the South". You´re not aware it´s famous for the lousiest weather in the country. That´s why regardless of what a few elders elsewhere in Germany may say, Hamburgers open up their convertibles, sit in street cafes, uncover their kidneys whenever the sun comes out, even in mid-winter.
Air-condition for those few warm days - blasphemy! ;-)