Well, it's been eventful here. I've started doing a little bit in the classes - not much, just introducing myself and trying to prod them into speaking English. It's really hard, but I can understand it. When the German TAs came to my German classes, we were always reluctant to speak German too. Anyway, I've worked with two classes so far - the 12 graders and the third-year brewers. They're both nice enough, but I like the brewers better. They're much more talkative. It's kind of amusing. Both classes have asked me my opinion on President Bush, and both in the exact same way.
See, it goes like this: They all sit around looking nervous and awkwardly asking how old I am, if I have any brothers or sisters, where the heck Pennsylvania is... Then one brave soul will take a deep breath and go, "Vat dooo yoooo tink ov President Booosh?" And the rest look all shocked by his daring, yet expectant, until I answer.
It's really funny how the classes have similar reactions, too. I have to be sure to speak really slowly, or else it goes like so: Everyone has an identical blank look. Then they nervously peek at each other to make sure they're not the only one who didn't catch that, and as realization sets, they start laughing (nervously, for the 12 class, or raucously, for the brewers). They find it hilarious when they don't have a clue what I'm saying. Not sure why, but their reaction is funny.
The brewers are the best. They're a bunch of 20-30 year old men (all male - Enrico tells me there's one woman in one of the other brewing classes, but that's it) who are obsessed with beer. Apparently they all keep their own beer (that they make themselves in the breweries they're apprenticed at) in their cars for school use. They volunteered this information when I asked them what kind of beer I should try while I'm over here. One guy was bragging that he has thirty liters in his car.
So, anyway, that's what I've been up to. Just getting to know these people a bit. They're very nice, if sometimes reluctant to talk, so I think the year will be pretty good.