. Me being the outsider and not being able to speak german, made for a challenge on its own. I have had plenty of experience with children on this trip so far, so I had a few tricks up my sleeves to try and win them over. I have a water proof camera that came in quite handy. They were easily impressed when I showed them pictures of themselves underwater. There was also a pool area that extended outside into the cold and snowy german winter. We had a few snow ball fights, and even got a few of the children riding my back to help them gain some confidence in the pool. For something that I thought was going to be a little bit of a awkward situation....it ended up being quite the special moment. After the swim day was finished, we went back to the school where the children were getting ready for lunch, and I somehow got invited to the free luncheon. I sat at a table with a few of the teachers assistance, along with a few of the children. One student that I will never forget, was a boy by the name of Jan Henry. With his crossed eyes and glasses, he was one of the happiest people I have ever met. He came and spoke to me in German immediately. I smile and nodded at everything he told me. One of the teachers assistance, Christian, was laughing at the fact that I had no idea how to respond. He explained to Jan Henry that I only spoke english and that I was from Canada. Well instead of shying away, this made Jan Henry even more intrigued to speak with me. He threw his arm around my neck like we had been buddies our whole lives, and off to the cafeteria we went
. I could hear Jan Henry telling other students that I was from Canada. He immediately wanted to sit with me, and I gladly obliged. Jan Henry asked me where I was going to be traveling next, and when I was coming back to him and the other students. As I would find out later, he remembered every detail that I told him. Ester was telling me that he was telling the other students when I was gone that I was in Berlin, and that I would be back in a few weeks. Smart kid I tell ya. To finish off the afternoon, the kids did a dance rehearsal because it was the german day of the handicap. The class was to perform at the rathaus (city hall, appropriately named I think, We should call our city halls rat house). I joined them in helping the students get dressed into their costumes, and even spiked the hair of a few of the boys. It was funny, even though I was only with these kids for a day, I already felt a connection to the class. They all seem to feel comfortable around me and would joke around. It was a feeling that I can't describe. I can see why Ester enjoys working with these children so much. And with some of the things that they say or do...you really never have a dull moment. Who needs TV with this stuff!! My other two days that I spent in Ahausen before heading off to the big port/party city of Hamburg, I tried to get into german mode. I would go for long walks with Ester showing me around this quiet little town. It really was a true taste of the German country side. The fields had sheep in them, Ester had her horses down the road, I loved it
. Katharina and I went on an adventure to try and start an older volvo that she had been left by a friend. After continious efforts, we finally got ol faithful running. But there was a small problem...we couldn't figure out how to get it to go into reverse!! I tried pushing down on the gear shifter, pushing down on the small button, thinking it may have been frozen due to the cold weather, but no luck. We eventually ended up pushing it out its snowy parking space and drove it for the first few days with some strategic parking. It just adds some character to the vehicle. But infact, the only thing we were doing wrong was the fact that we were actually supposed to lift the lever, instead of pushing it down. Friggen weird sweedish cars for ya. It just so happened that on the friday that I was in town, there was a once a month party that took place in a barn....yes that right...a barn. Ester, her friend Yokki, and myself piled into the VW bus and off we headed to this barn that was literally in the middle of nowhere. But parties like this are usually where you end up having some of the best times, and this one was exactly that. From what I understood before I arrived, I thought it was going to be like a private party thing, so I brought a couple beers because I didnt want to have ask for any. But when we were walking into the place, Yokki told me that it was really a bar atmosphere, and that I wasn't supposed to bring it in. So was we walked in past the first few set of doors, I left the beer in plain sight because I didn't want to cause any trouble
. When we walked in, there was loud but good music playing. They usually have live music playing, but because it was so close to chirstmas time, I think it was a quiet friday compared to most. In the corner, there was an old school pinball machine, a beaten up fooseball table and the DJ was playing strictly only records. It had a really cool old school vibe feel to it. I was wondering what type of characters were to be showing up. Over the next hour or so, the people began to pile in. People of all ages and types. An older man in his 50's came over to me and began to chat me up. When I explained to him that I had been traveling the world for the past 9 months, and began to tell him the list of all the countries I had been to, he was mighty impressed. He went over and bought me a beer or three. I am not sure which he was more impressed by...the fact that I had been traveling so long, or the fact that I ended up in this little town in the middle of nowhere. The whole atmosphere at the bar was super chilled. You could go behind the counter and grab a beer by yourself, and just toss the money in the register. Everyone was very trustworthy there. I even became friends with the fellow who was living there. Some fellow named Malta. I was making friend after friend. I even became friends with the DJ and became DJ assistant by the end of the night, going through the milk crates of records chosing song after song. At one point, I was tripping out a bit. I think it was somewhere around beer 6-7
. Someone put on some old school swing music. I was standing beside myself thinking.....I am in Germany...in a barn...listening to swing music. It felt like it was just after the second world war. It was a really great night, and one that I will never forget. Thanks for that Ester ..... And funny enough, when we left the barn at the end of the night, the beer that I had put on a small table when you walk right in...was still there. I don't think that would have happened in Canada. Someone would have grabbed that baby up a long time ago. Those Germans are super trust worthy people I tell ya. Waking up early in the morning, I said my good byes to Katharina and Ester as I was dropped off at the local train station to head to Hamburg for a weekend of christmas markets, Reeperbahn, and Ghluwien and meet up with some friends. All aboard!!!!
So....I finally arrived in Ahausen after my long snowy roadside adventure. But all the hard times were well worth it. Ester is a teacher for children with special needs, and that friday was my frist day in town, was to be the weekly swimming day with her students. She had invited me to join in. I thought it would be a little on the different side, but I seem to excel in different situations. Why not. She gave me directions on how to get to the local swimming pool, and left me the keys to her massive VW bus. I woke up a little on the late side, but grabbed my swimming trunks, hopped in the massive boat of a vehicle and made my way to Rotenburg. After getting lost on a series one way streets, I ended up at the pool just in the nick of time. I also got to meet one of my saviors from the previous day, Dirk who is a work companion of Esters'. We got the students changed into their swimming suits and headed off to the pool. The children, a group of roughly 8, ranged from being barely verbal, to some that you would hardly notice as ones with special needs