Saturday, July 29, 2006

Kiel is somewhere

Well my first month of being an acting Director of Studies is almost over and it hasn't gone too badly. This is mainly because I've only been teaching about ten hours a week, which makes it a lot easier to do other things like hire new people, reorganise the library and throw away about four years of accumulated paperwork and dead plants. The two people I interviewed on the phone appear not be axe-murders, drug addicts or maniacs of any other kind. This is hopeful.

It could all go pear-shaped very quickly, however, because the secretary has gone on holidays and I have always suspected she ran the school. Unfortunately she is not being replaced so our customers will have to deal with my boss, who's often teaching, or me, who knows nothing. This is in the fine tradition of temporary staff, who inevitably can't help you with what you need, don't know what you're talking about and will have to refer you to X, who is on holiday.

This weekend I'm in Berlin- as usual I love it, love it, love it- and on the train on the way here I gave myself a treat and bought an English paper. I was enjoying understanding more than headlines and keywords when I came across an article that stopped me in my tracks. It was about a German/Turkish writer who has done very well and was doing a book reading in Berlin. Not so thrilling? But wait. I start reading the article about what it was like for him, being the son of Turkish immigrants in Germany, and how in his home town of Kiel... what?! I almost fell off my plush inter-city train seat. The man is from Kiel? And is now famous? And rich? Hurrah! I left the train with the sense of arriving in one literary capital after leaving another. I knew there was more to Kiel than the suit-wearing, seasonal-vegetable eating, non-jay-walking crowd I know and love.

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