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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Call me paraglider, motorbike owner ... and German teacher!

Wooohaa! This week is so amazing! 

In the last months, I learned better than ever before that some things simply cannot be enforced. Life is full of combinations of bad circumstances. For instance, I had wanted to make a course for gliding ever since I had given it a try with a friend a few years ago. Therefore, I decided to enroll at one of the gliding clubs close by.

However, this didn't turn out to be as easy as I naïve Western-European had expected. First of all, only in one club there was an instructor with whom I could speak in English. Second, recently a new federal agency was founded which is responsible for issuing certificates to clubs, permitting them to educate new pilots. Unfortunately, that happened that recently that by the beginning of the season none of the two clubs had this certificate. 

Later in summer, one of them was finally given the certificate (the one with the non-English speaking instructor), and I thought: Well why not, I'll not crash down immediately, so give it a try in local language, off we go. Ha, but hold on … did you know that gliders need registration too, similar to cars? No? Apparently also people at the club were not that aware of that fact, because once they had the certificate, registration for their only glider expired … too bad.

So, while me being a little bit disappointed, I didn't give up and kept looking for other opportunities to
  • spend some time with or learn something cool I've always wanted to do
  • expose myself to situations where I'm forced to use local language (which is not the case neither at work, where there typically is a translator, nor in my free time, where I'm mostly surrounded by people with whom I can talk English). I live in BiH now already for three quarters of a year, and I even though I made some progress with regard to local language, I know I could do much better.
Several things came to my mind or popped up accidently, fulfilling the aforementioned criteria:
  • Paragliding (there is a paragliding club in Banja Luka, offering really cheap courses)
  • Buying a motorbike
  • Becoming a voluntary German teacher at a local language school
Having learned my lessons from the past, I thought I do my best to get prepared for all of them, and be happy if only one or two of them actually happen and the other ones do not due to facts I cannot influence.

Well, last Friday the stone started rolling … and didn't stop anymore. First, I got a call from the instructor of the paragliding club. All preparations sorted out, weather conditions for the weekend expected to be just fine, we'll start the other day. Similar as for surfing, I had underestimated how exhausting it is (at least until you develop a proper technique). Yet, the few moments where this stubborn glider accepts your will are definitely worth it. Maybe next weekend we'll start flying! (Well, I actually already did, a little bit at least. Didn't want to, though, so instructor had to grab my backpack and push me back to the ground.) Spending a weekend in the Bosnian mountains also pays off, just because of the really nice view. I can't wait the next weekend.

Next, I finally found a motorbike perfectly suiting my needs! Also the search procedure itself was funny … would you expect that, when you call an erotic line, you might actually end up talking to a guy with a high voice? Anyway, my new love … nothing new, nothing fancy, just perfect for me to get started:

Aprilia Pegaso 650 ... engine coming from Rotax, pretty close to the place I grew up. I did not yet manage to register it (turns out it's quite tricky a procedure for foreigners), but I cannot highlight enough how helpful friends were in all regards (cheers Duško). Can't wait to start exploring Bosnian countryside.

And then, there is still the thing with the German classes. Yes, I can see some of you laughing behind your screens now. Me a German teacher, how hilarious is that? Explaining a language which some people claim I'm not really capable of myself IN a language I'm even less capable of – how funny can that be? Today, there will be the first lesson with my small group of students, and once again, I really can't wait it. I guess it's gonna be challenging but awesome either.

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