So I promised you some slightly more interesting news than our plumbing adventures, and on Monday I was provided with it.

Around the end of my carpentry training we found that I have mild Asthma, and after some visits to various specialists I was solemnly informed that I would have to retrain*. To be honest, this was not a great disappointment, but it raised the question of what I could be trained to do.

At first the Job Centre suggested a business studies qualification.

Stop laughing.

Next on the list was ‘technical designer’ which sounded better but means sitting in front of a computer for eight hours a day designing disposable furniture…

Besides, our long-term goal involves moving towards a simpler, more sustainable way of life as independent of the ‘normal’ economy and system as possible. Becoming more connected with the same consumer economy seems to be the opposite of what we are aiming for.

Unfortunately you can’t explain this sort of thing to the job centre. Worse, because I’m a carpenter everyone assumed I was good at maths.

I said, stop laughing.

Finally, a friend who actually knows me suggested I learn to be an ‘Arbeitserzieher’, a qualification that doesn’t exist outside of the state, let alone Germany. The nearest translation is a work therapist (‘Arbeit’ means work and ‘Erziehen’ is to nurture and educate). I could work in anything from protected workshops to city farms, theatres, or therapy centres, with anyone from children to vulnerable adults or people with disabilities, using things like woodwork, lino printing, bike repair, cooking, or animals. I would dream up creative ideas that I could do with clients to help them.

Put another way, I get to keep playing doing the same job as the last seven months, every day. And getting the perfect training to realise our future goals.

The only problem would be that I’ll have to go to a college slap bang in the centre of Stuttgart every day for two years without getting hives. Assuming I manage that, I’ll then have another year doing the job with regular evaluations, and an exam at the end. Oh, yes, I also had to convince the Job Centre that they should fund this.

On Monday they finally agreed and signed the contract.

The course starts on April the 21st, and right now I feel like a kid in a sweet shop.

*Honestly, I’m not trying to be a perpetual student, although I appreciate it may seem that way sometimes.