Saturday, February 27, 2010

Monday, March 8, 2010: Aachen, Belgium, and Wiesbaden: Hospital, Bridges, and Home Sweet Home

(Alexander) Karannina was invited to go to Leonie’s school (14 year-old neighbour girl of Tante Karin) grade 8 in the Hauptschule in Wiesbaden. I got up at 6:30 and started school at 8:00. I attended four classes, two were Spanish, one was German and the other was English. In the English class, I was asked by the teacher to sit on the teacher’s desk. Students asked questions in English about how my school system works. Questions included “Do I have a dress code?” Why am I here?” and “Do I know what last name means?”). Their English textbook was all about United States. There was nothing written about Canada.

While Karannina went to school, daddy and I went to Aachen (close to the border of Belgium and Netherlands) to visit a professor of dentistry, Dr. Jerome Rotgans (a.k.a. “Martin Luther” of Europe Dental Education) in university hospital. The huge hospital building looked like a modern factory with tubes all over the top. On the inside it looked like futuristic, just like the movie Star Wars. Metal bars all over the place, the floors were lime green, and each floor was a different bright colour. The hospital was over 30 years old and it was built to provide work for the coal miners because they did not have any more work since the coalmines shut down. I saw posters of how they reformed faces of deformed people by implanting teeth, cutting the facial bones and moving them forward with titanium face braces. I learned that my daddy teaches students how to learn and teaches dental teachers how to teach. Thanks to Tante Karin, we enjoyed three Berliners (filled doughnuts). After Aachen, I wanted to go to Belgium, because it was so close and I wanted to say that I was there. So daddy and I checked the map and I discovered that it was close enough to drive through. We think we saw a nuclear power plant that makes electricity. From Aachen we drove to Spa, to St. Vith and then to Wiesbaden. We drove by the formula one racetrack in Nurmberg. I saw many different bridges while driving. The road signs were the same in Belgium, the only difference was that they were written in French, English, Flemish and German signs (even on in Arabic). We arrived back in Wiesbaden at 20:45 after traveling over 700 kms. Wow was I ever tired.

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