The summer of 1991, I was 20 and halfway through college where I earned a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering and also completed the requirements for a minor in German. The head of the German Department at my school got me a job at an engineering firm in Germany. It was supposed to be a joint German/engineering internship, but the Head of the Engineering Department would not approve it. The reason: me and my big mouth.
I was a student in this professor's Thermodynamics class. Thermodynamics has absolutely nothing to do with civil engineering, but it was a required course for all engineering students. This professor was consistently making me late for...a German class, and I, in front of the entire class, obnoxiously complained about it! Not too bright. It also didn't help that I struggled in this class, and I think earned a D+. In my defense, I had no intention of being a rocket scientist, and I aced all but one of my civil engineering classes, so I'm really not too stupid. I just couldn't calculate how much torque an engine operating at a certain speed with a certain power and at a certain temperature might produce. I also didn't really care.
Anyway, my bad attitude and apparent lack of brain power prevented me from an engineering internship. So, I worked in the sales department. Interestingly enough, I had a career in sales and engineering after college.
In Germany, I lived on the first floor of a home. The owners lived upstairs and they rented the first level - two bedrooms, a bath and kitchen - to international employees of the firm. My roommate was a guy from Brazil. We got along great, although his German was so much better than mine that I don't know how we managed to communicate.
At first, everything about my little home was fine. But then, a few weeks in, I was taking a shower and out of the drain popped two big, furry spiders. I really don't like spiders, especially not the furry kind with huge bodies, long legs and snapping fangs - I swear they were chomping and looking for blood. Okay, I can't be certain about the chomping fangs; I am near-sighted and generally don't take a shower with my glasses on. Spiders, even huge, black, killer spiders, appear as moving, black dots. My near-sightedness makes me feel extra-vulnerable, since I can't tell how aggressive that spider really is. Is he trying to run from me, or is he gauging the best angle of attack? I can't tell, so I assume the worst.
Fortunately, Mr. Brazil was not scared of spiders and happily dispatched them every time they appeared - which was often. I'm just happy that this blubbering and babbling American girl was able to provide him with some amusement.
Now why am I remembering these horrid creatures? This morning, as I was about to step into my shower, I saw a darting black dot. Since neither Mr. Brazil nor my personal knight in shining armor was available, the defense of the home was all on me. I fetched my glasses so I could do battle properly, and washed the thing down the drain with only a few stifled squeals of fright (the kids were sleeping still, I couldn't be too loud). And then I did what any sensible person would do - I closed the drain and showered in ever-deepening water. Those things can cling and crawl even in flooded drains, you know!