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Trip Start Oct 18, 2012
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Flag of Germany  , Baden-Württemberg,
Thursday, August 8, 2013

Howdy folks,

Well I haven't been doing any travelling or anything exciting lately, but there has been quite a bit on my mind. My friend Simon is flying out of Australia to visit me in under 2 weeks for my birthday which is quite exciting and we have been making some plans about what we would like to do for the month that he is over here in Europe.

We did get to have a slide show night this week with proper old timey slides from the 70s and 80s on an old projector which was pretty cool. I'm thinking of making a lampshade from some of the slides because Steffie wants to get rid of them now they are all digitized. Unfortunately that is the end of the good news.

Paragliding. That is a long story, but basically I quit for this year. I joined FS Hirondelle in May to do a Weekend Course and decided to stick around to get my pilot's licence. What I didn't count on was how much of a hassle that was and how unorganised the people were. From Edingen it is an hour's drive into the Odenwald to a tiny grasshill where I made 17 one minute bunny hops. So basically I didn't learn anything, spend 360€ and it took two months to do that. I went along to a theory session (in German) to learn for the test and the guys wouldn't help me out. I had the opportunity to go and fly in the French Alps for a week, which would have been a great experience, but given that there would have been a dozen people and 2 instructors then perhaps not. My course in Canada was far better and I made a dozen high flights even on my first day.

Weather. It has been hot here, really hot. Summer in Australia hot and we have been having trouble sleeping because the temperature hasn't dropped under 20 degrees overnight. We had a thunderstorm come through on Tuesday while we were in Schwetzingen. In the space of an hour the temperature dropped from 30 degrees to 18 degrees and there was heavy rain, thunder and close lightning strikes. Then a few hours later we had clear skies again like it never happened! Thankfully it cooled off overnight and today is a pleasant 25 degrees.

Jobs. I have been working at Decathlon for 3 months through a working agency with the lure of hope that after this time they would make me a permanent worker. Yesterday they told me that they didn't want to take me on and were quite rude about it. Needless to say I was quite angry about the whole situation because they expect people to come in, do a lot of work and then get paid less than 900€ per month. I've never worked harder than in this job for so little pay. It just sucks and it is only made worthwhile because the other workers are good to talk to.

Apprenticeships. I've been considering doing an apprenticeship and Steffie has been putting a lot of work in to make it happen. Basically if you don't study or do an appreniceship, then you are basically nobody in Germany. The only jobs you can get are factory and cleaning work. Even to be a waiter or front desk agent then you still need to do a 3 year apprenticeship where they pay you less than minimum wage and you go to business school so that you can say that you can do all the menial tasks in a hotel. Given that it takes 3 years and you get paid nothing and you only come out with a few Euros more per hour; it just wasn't worth it.

So that just leaves studying, travelling or going back to Australia! Not the best of options, but it isn't really worth it to work hard for no money if you can't even do anything with it. In Canada I had no money, but lots of outdoor activities and opportunities. In Australia, I had money, but not as many opportunity. Germany just sucks! I guess we will check out a few options and see where we come out...

To end on a positive note, my German is now quite good that I can generally understand people when they are talking (so long as they don't speak slang or have a strong accent) and when I don't understand I can ask for explanations!

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