Ruth's Diary


I got some good news this week: I'm getting more money! Yay! I had an email saying the Chancellor has just signed the forms to send us Erasmus students more money. Not very much, considering the first payment was the equivalent of 9 months' worth of €240 payments per month. This time the figure has gone down to €140 and I don't know how many months they'll be counting. Will just have to wait and see I guess.

It was also this week that I had to pick my History modules for next year. The new term at Aberystwyth doesn't even start 'til next week and that's when most students will be registering their options. Now let's compare: the students at Aberystwyth have to pick next year's modules at the beginning of the third term. The students at Heidelberg don't even know their set timetable until the 2nd week of term. I'm not the only one who sees the stupidity right? So imagine how strange this felt for me: the third week has just gone and I finally feel a secure sense of normalcy, especially after having done my Referat (not the best, considering I spoke too fast but dammit I was under time constraints!) and then over the weekend I get an email telling me to pick as soon as possible the modules for next year. Saying that though, the deadline date was given in the email so I didn't have to rush that much.

It was that said weekend by the way when I was at the Frühlingskonferenz organised by the Universitäts-Bibel-Freundschaft (being international its English name is the University Bible Fellowship). The facilities this time around were a lot nicer than at the Herbstkonferenz and actually reminded me of Potshausen. The food was great too. Anyways, Saturday night was entertainment night and I was in a group putting on a play. This play was in 4 parts: the first 3 being acts of Jesus as discussed among 3 of his disciples at one time, the final part being a modern-day student flat. In the fourth part, I played a student who had found Jesus by reading the stories that had been acted out in the first 3 parts (cheesy right?). Now here's the weird thing: the names of the characters in the fourth part are the names of the actresses, so seeing my name when I flicked through the script I thought that was my part. It turned out I was first choice for Matthew in part 2 (that's right, I played a dude). Someone didn't notice this until too late so Prisca (eldest daughter of Grace and Peter-the director) was made to learn my lines, but those were the lines I had been learning before the first rehearsal, so in the confusion I ended up playing 2 characters. Considering my masses of childhood experience learning lines at the Helen O'Grady Drama Academy, I didn't find this much of a problem.

Now of all the parts of this play to go wrong (I was told the next day that a certain man in part 3 had trouble with his lines) the final part pretty much failed. Now about part 3, I was spending too much time off stage going through my own lines to concentrate on what was going on onstage. And calming down my co-stars. The other girls in the scene were played by Jih-ye (pronounced Gee-yeah), a young 'missionary' from South Korea who's been learning German a total of 3 months and Zhen, a Chinese exchange student doing biology in English who, by the way, speaks zero German. So Zhen had trouble memorising her lines in the first place and completely froze. The rest of the part became so awkward that Jih-ye got thrown off (she had less lines) and I think the pair of them were ignoring Prisca, whose job was prompt-reader. Everyone knew this show had gone to pot when Peter had to walk on stage with the script. The entire thing was honestly rather hilarious. At the end Zhen just wanted to run off and I felt awkward 'cos everyone congratulated me for performing so well and Grace said I saved the show. I said this at the time and I still think so now: Zhen and Jih-ye should both get awards for willingly performing a play in a language they don't understand, lines delivered perfectly or not.

Now a little mention of poor young Jih-ye: she is actually a missionary. If you want to be sent out as a missionary on behalf of UBF you just apply. I can't help but be skeptical of how the central board or whatever does things. After applying Jih-ye learned she would be given a wod of money, sent to Heidelberg and there she will learn German and get on-the-job training. Does this seem like efficient practice to anyone? It's only this week she moved into her own flat in Heidelberg, while looking she was sleeping on Grace's sofa. Plus, the young girl's quiet. Even when speaking Korean, she's quiet. At one point during the weekend she secluded herself to a bedroom with another Korean because the amounts of German going on gave her a headache. When I spoke to her at that moment in time, Prisca had to be my interpreter. (Prisca's always around isn't she?) Plus Jih-ye couldn't properly take part in the Bible Study because of her such limited German. I mean, honestly, Jih-ye? Missionary? She's just going to be an addition to the congregation and nothing more. Grace is very active and certainly has a way with words in our Bible study sessions, despite German being her second language, but even she can't see a better way of reaching out to students than standing outside a building and handing out flyers and having seen her technique, I can say she doesn't quite know how to hold a person's attention. Seriously, just asking a person if they're interested in Bible Study or any other Christian session won't cut it, you need to word it in such a way to gage their interest, and that's a missionary's biggest challenge. Grace even said so, numerous times.

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