Saturday, October 16, 2010

Die Tschechische Republik

Hey guys,

Here I am once again updating you on my life here in Österreich! Last night I was out at a bar with my new American friends Heather and Erin along with Heather's italian boyfriend Paolo and my new austrian friends Marlene and Anna. At some point around 2:30 AM, Heather's boyfriend leans over and tells me that they are going to the Czech Republic and if I would like, I may come along. How can you turn down a free trip to another country?!?!?!!?! Of course I said yes!

At around noon today we all set off in Paolo's Fiat! After a fairly short but beautiful ride through upper Austria and into the Czech Republic we arrived Cesky Krumlov. What an absolutely beautiful town! To be honest we basically just walked around for a while and then got down to the real business at hand: EATING! We searched high and low for the perfect restaurant. Eventually we found a lovely pub near the Moldau. As it was a rather chilly and overcast day, we all opted for a Glühwein which is just a hot spiced wine and was absolutely perfect for the day! Next we had to have Goulash! How absolutely brilliant! It's kind of like a beef stew but served with dumplings.

After lunch we decided to go up to the Castle. PRETTY! Man, why can't I just have my own castle? The castle in Cesky Krumlov is actually interesting because instead of using masonry etc. they took the plastered walls and painted bricks and masonry and even a few fake windows on the facade! Our last venture in this stunning place was to go for a coffee and Palatschinken (don't worry it's just the czech word for crepes.) I also ordered an irish coffee that I'm not sure had any coffee in it...(eek). Well That's about all I know for the moment. Tomorrow I'm off to hear the Kabenchor in St. Florian which is apparently the second best boys choir in Austria after the one in Vienna! I'll be updating my pictures soon!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Wow, Wie kann ich alles sagen, dass ich wirklich sagen würde?

Wow! Sorry that's it's been so long every body! But the last couple days have been stressful, but also incredibly rewarding! I met with Jochen Rauber my Betreuungslehrer on Sunday and we had coffee and talked about my schedule for the coming year. On Monday I went to Enns and reported for duty! It was a fairly stress free day, I had to fill out some paperwork so that I could be paid (always a beautiful thing) and meet with some of the teachers for whom I'd be working the next day. I have to say that the staff in Enns has been really incredible! They're all incredibly helpful and it's even more wonderful that they're willing to put up with my German! I know that they're itching to practice they're English so hopefully we can work something out! More often than not, I speak Germish with them. A sentence in German here and a phrase in English there. I went home on Monday ready to prepare my first lesson and talk about myself, which as you all know, is one of my favorite past times!
       The presentation took a surprisingly long time to put together! It was strangely hard to sift through my family's and my Facebook pages to find the pictures that I thought best described me. I eventually decided that I would show them family pictures and of course on of our little wiener dog, Roxie. After my whole presentation or "spiel" was put together, I went out to have a beer with the other TA's and discuss our exciting new jobs.
      Tuesday was my first day of "real" work. It was definitely an "out of the frying pan and into the fire" moment! I honestly had no real reason to be afraid. More often than not, I had to coax the students into talking. I understand that I'm intimidating though (yeah right!). Although, my performance background comes in SO handy in this situation. Not only is teaching in front of a classroom truly a performance art, but you have to be able to present the same information multiple times without getting bored. We've also been talking about some american stereotypes and I think they're absolutely fascinating. The truth is they're the one's we've probably all heard before. But, it's still interesting to see why they think we eat McDonald's everyday! We also talked about Austrian stereotypes and they're generally astounded when I tell them that most of the world thinks of them like the Von Trapps in "The Sound of Music." Did you know that most Austrians have never seen the movie and rarely even know who Julie Andrews is! This is something that must be rectified in the coming year!
     Today (Wednesday) was another really wonderful day at school. After my classes, I had to go to Baumgartenberg, my other school, to meet with my main teacher there and clarify what they expect from me in the other school. They were also really incredible. They gave me coffee and we talked forever and ever about opera and where it's relevant in the modern world and how we can talk about the racism in movies like "Gone with the Wind." I also mentioned that it was going to be very expensive for me to travel from Linz to Baumgartenberg and back and they said that many of the teachers come from Linz every day and that I can carpool! After my wonderful meeting in my second school, I met with my austrian Aunt, Hermine! Hermine is the mystery woman from the very first post and we have since become pretty fast friends! She took me to coffee on a mountain overlooking the city! What a beautiful view! Then we decided that we should go to a concert at the local concert house on the 5th of November. The famous conductor Ricardo Mutti will be waving the baton and I hope that there's standing room left! She ended the day by giving me a edler Butter-Stollen from her recent trip to Dresden and some apples from her garden. I'm telling you, the hills really are alive with music.

Mit lieben Grüßen,