(This will be as wearisome to write as it was to live, but here we go anyway. Chins up.)
Here I was, sitting in a comfortable, fast and expensive ICE train (all expenses paid by my sponsors), on the way to Bamberg, where upon reaching I was to take a taxi to Pommersfelden where this Intercultural Communication Seminar was going to be held. For some strange reason, I wanted to decapitate some nice fellow passengers just for the heck of it.
Pommersfelden turned out to be a small Bavarian village of perhaps ten households, with its star attraction being a castle (and we all know how rare castles are in Germany) that just happened to be closed for renovations. Wunderbar.
The other participants seemed harmless enough, but hardly what you’d call an engaging crowd. Hardly surprising with most of them being engineers, hard-core ones at that, the types that eventually work on stuff like sub-atomic bombs.
Fortunately, I sat next this Chinese girl who was currently doing an MBA, so I needn’t have to discuss nuclear physics (which would be fine on any other day, but this was the bloody weekend). Her name was Kelly and so I learned to never underestimate the capacity of my knowledgeable peers to take feverish delight in the similarity of our names.
(Basically they were childish cunts.)
The entire seminar and consequently my weekend just went downhill from there. And from this, some fundamental truths I learned about myself:
1. I am nasty when I am bored.
2. I am even nastier when I do not get enough sleep.
3. I may attempt to strangle someone when the above occur simultaneously.
There were a few good points though, if I force myself to admit them. I did get to speak plenty Mandarin with the Chinese participants. Also, I managed to train a small group myself on the finer points of public presentation (“The first thing you might consider is actually speaking?”) and the progress they made impressed me greatly.
But the highlight was slipping away on the second day when I was supposed to be reading some case study (speed-reading classes are the best investment you’ll ever make, boys and girls!) and just spending an hour in a hot, luxurious bath, then escaping between the bedsheets and the chill of a spring day.
The dreams that don’t come don’t matter.
I cannot honestly say I wasn’t completely euphoric on Sunday afternoon when I waved Pommersfelden good riddance and came back to München. I am a city kid; creatures like me aren’t built to survive in the good, wholesome countryside.
And amen to that, fellow simians.
Copyright © 2002 Kenny Mah Ying Fye.