Monday, September 28, 2009

My Thursday Diary

6:57 am - Alarm goes off.

7:06 am - Alarm goes off again. I get out of bed.

7:32 am - It's time to take the early van in to school. This is for those who want to go in earlier than they would by riding the bus at 8:30. Three have signed up to ride in. We throw the hot box in the back before taking off. The hot box is what we pick up dinner with every evening to bring it back to the dorm and keep it hot. We take it back to school every morning. The three guys ride silently most of the way to school.

7:47 am - I arrive back at HBR.

7:56 am - I depart again, this time on an "ortho run." Different dorms are assigned at different times to provide drivers to take a group of kids to the orthodontist. It's usually on Thursday but not every week. I take Tony, Mark, and Austin with me as we leave HBR.

8:02 am - We pull in at school where four girls from Wittlingen dorm are waiting to jump in the van with us and ride along. "Ready to get our teeth worked on?" I ask. No response.

8:29 am - We pull into the parking lot for the orthodontist in the city of Müllheim.

8:31 am - I give paperwork to the nice lady at the desk, and we all sit in the waiting room and hang out. I always want to grab a book or magazine in the waiting rooms here, but then I remember... I don't know German! So I try reading a little of "A Tale of Two Cities," which I brought with me.

9:03 am - Soyoung, an RA at Blauen dorm, arrives with another vanload of five more students from different dorms.

9:35 am - Falling asleep.

10:04 am - Everyone is finally done so I leave with the seven students I brought to head back to school. After we're in the van for a few minutes, I ask, "Does anyone want to go to McDonald's?"
"YES!!!" from everyone.
"Is anyone opposed to going to McDonald's?"
"YES!!!" from one or two. Frantic whispering in the back: "He said is anyone opposed!" Then "No, no one is opposed!"

10:15 am - They switch from breakfast to lunch at 10:30 so I buy a couple breakfast items. A bunch of the students buy one-euro ice cream sundaes. Nice stop after a visit to the orthodontist, huh? This is almost tradition for any visit out there so don't think I was being an especially cool guy at this point.

10:53 am - We arrive back at the school, and the students sign in at the front desk and start walking to their respective classes. Third period has just started. I go check if I have any mail and then I hunt around for my Bible that I left at church on Sunday. No luck but it turned up later.

11:29 am - I get back to HBR and find Anna downstairs. "Ready to go shopping?" I ask. I wait for the answer, "Actually, they have hired people to deliver our groceries to us now so we never have to shop again!" Instead, all she says is "Yep."

11:38 am - We grab seven large crates to carry groceries in and jump in the van. I would never think to take crates along if I were just shopping for myself, but when you're shopping for a dorm, it's a necessity. We visit two grocery stores on Thursdays. Anna works on the grocery lists and then divides it so that we're looking for different things in the stores. Here is my list:

Brandon's LIST

Ice Tea 12
Milk 5 1.5 cases
Soda 2 Coke 1 Fanta 1 Sprite 1 Apfelschorle
1 case H-milk
1 case Multi-Vitamin
1 case Orange juice
2 cases Apple juice
2 Master Crumble fruit

5 White bread
2 Wheat bread
8 toast bread
1 Bee Pops
1 Fruit Cereals
2 Nougat Bits
4 flats yogurt
12 flour
6 sugar

11:45 am - Our first stop is at a grocery store called Lidl. Lidl is a lot like Aldi - in fact it is Aldi's main competitor worldwide. Look it up! ( I run around and fill my cart with everything on my list. 12 cartons of ice tea. Milk comes in 1.5% fat and 3.5% fat. I pick up five boxes of ten cartons each of the 1.5%. H-milk is a special kind of milk that doesn't need to be refrigerated - the H is an abbreviated German word. We use it mostly for baking although you can drink it as well. It creeps me out. The cases of soda are a six-pack of 1.25 liter bottles. I get 12 cartons of multi-vitamin juice, eight cartons of orange juice, and 16 cartons of apple juice. Master Crumble is a kind of cereal that we get that is actually quite good. After filling my cart with all of these drinks, it's probably almost as high as my shoulders and is probably the heaviest shopping cart I've ever pushed.

12:14 pm - We pay and head out to the van. The driveway down to the parking lot which you drive onto and push your cart down is sloped downward. So when you're pushing the kind of cart that we push, it makes for a really fun experience. When we get down to the van, I think aloud, "I wonder how many liters of liquid are in my cart?" I quickly add up everything in my cart, and the answer is: 161 liters. There are 161 liters of milk, tea, soda, and juice in my cart. And this was only supposed to get us through the weekend. The majority of it would be gone by Monday night. I told Anna, "Have you ever watched those 'World's Strongest Man' competitions on ESPN? I felt like this was one of the events - how fast can you push 160 liters of liquid down a hill and unload it into a van?"

12:20 pm - We arrive at the second grocery store of the day called Penny Markt. I get all of the cereals and breads and decide to get only three flats of yogurt instead of four. Each flat has 20 yogurts on it so that was still 60 yogurts. Again, just to get us through Monday.

1:13 pm - I pull up next to the front door of HBR. Anna and I transfer everything from the van indoors to the pantry. This takes a while.

1:59 pm - Arrange the last item on the shelf and pay a visit to the laundry room. I did laundry on Thursdays last year, and it worked out for me to have Thursday once again. I do the laundry for the seven sophomores in the dorm every Thursday. Because of the busy morning, I hadn't really done much to this point so I just transferred stuff from washers to dryers and put another load in the wash as well.

2:08 pm - I walk upstairs to my room for a brief respite.

2:12 pm - I leave for school again, this time to meet with a friend named Lee. Lee is the middle school chaplain at the school, and he is excellent at asking good questions. His first question to me is, "Are you getting your rest?" Go back to the beginning of this blog post, and start reading all over again, and you'll know what we talked about for the next few minutes.

3:04 pm - I drive over to Palmgarten dorm to hang out with a really special lady named Lizzy.

4:00 pm - I head back to HBR. The bus usually shows up at about ten past four with whoever wanted to come home early that day. It could be four guys or it could be 14.

4:12 pm - Anna made cookies as a snack for the guys who came home. I grab one and head out the door to take Michael to the doctor. Similar to the entry about visiting Palmgarten, there's not a ton you need to know about this trip. Let's move on.

5:57 pm - Normally, I would go pick up dinner at the school at six, but Anna had already left to do so since I was busy at the doctor's office. So I lay down on the couch until she returns and brings turkey stir fry with sesame noodles back with her.

6:15 pm - "It's dinner time! Everybody come downstairs! It's time for dinner!" Made by Anna on our PA system.

6:30 pm - You'd think we starved them by how fast they inhale their dinner. If you've ever eaten with me or seen me eat, then you know I'm not exaggerating when I say I'm the last one sitting and eating at the dinner table every single day.

6:46 pm - Guys are either doing their chores or sitting at a computer or playing outside or are up in their rooms at this point. I find Anna in the kitchen and make sure it's ok that I take a short nap. I climb the stairs to my room and collapse on my couch for a while.

8:03 pm - Study hours start at 8:00 for the juniors and sophomores, and normally I would stay up on their floors to monitor things/help guys study/discourage goofing around. But since I still haven't finished laundry, I walk downstairs to work on that. Thursday is the day off for all dorm parents so Greg and Danielle are not around, but we usually have dorm subs come in on Mondays and Thursdays to help out, and Eric and Viki are here to help preserve the order.

8:05 pm - Doing laundry is a time for quiet reflection in the dorms. Faithful blog readers will bring to mind my laundry blog from the first semester of last year. It takes a while when you're trying to do laundry for seven teenage guys all in one day and end up with it nicely sorted and folded! I pop in a mix cd, and start folding.

8:37 pm - Still folding.

9:14 pm - Still folding.

9:43 pm - I finish folding, and venture back into the world of the living.

9:44 pm - I climb the four flights of stairs up to my room for probably at least the tenth or eleventh time today.

10:00 pm - Toast time! Study hours end at ten, and the guys are allowed to go downstairs and enjoy some toast and milk. When I first heard about the idea of toast time, I wasn't sure what to make of it. Why toast? But now it seems completely and absolutely normal. Toast time!

10:03 pm - Our dorm subs Eric and Viki don't have cars so I leave to drive them home. They both live in Kandern. Good night! Thanks for your help!

10:20 pm - I get back to HBR. Lights out is at 10:30 for the sophomores and juniors so I start hunting around for anyone who looks like they'll want to make trouble tonight and avoid going to bed. This usually isn't a problem, but I like to be ready to practice some Clint Eastwood lines on them anyway. Well, do ya, punk?

10:29 pm - Tonight is a little more frantic than most nights because tomorrow is a spirit day at school. They have these once in a while where there is a random theme to dress up as for the day. Tomorrow students are supposed to dress as their favorite Bible character. This leads to one of my favorite lines of the day.

10:31 pm - On the junior floor, Jay is standing in the hallway and flexing in the mirror. I'm yelling, "Alright, get in your rooms! It's lights out!" Jay is basically ignoring me and eventually proclaims, "I don't know who to go as." He follows that by saying in all seriousness, "I'm thinking of going as Samson." I laugh, and then give him some serious counsel about how he could dress up tomorrow.

10:35 pm - All of the younger guys are in bed. Marco is out in the middle of the senior floor designing a Roman soldier's costume. I stick around and talk to some of the seniors for a while. I'm basically done at this point. It feels especially good tonight because it's my weekend off, and I won't have to be on again until Tuesday morning. Thank you, Lord, for giving me rest! I need it!


Rachel said...

Thanks for such a detailed entry! I love to hear how a day in the life of a dorm staff differs from a day in the life of a teacher. PS: I sub on Thursdays and also "enjoyed" the turkey wasn't a big hit at Maug!

fivegranos said...

Great job describing a day in the life of an RA - thanks for the insights!
We appreciate so much all you do for these guys - they do too, I bet, even though they may not express is that much.

Living Stone said...

Hey Brandon....Steve and I are often praying for you! It's been great to follow your blog....