Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Language Camp



Just got back Sunday from Language Camp. Although most of us were home sick from our host families for the first few days everyone became sort of a mixed up family in the end (a family of 60). We had classes from 8:15 - 12:00 everyday then an hour after lunch. Most of my free time was spent eating ice cream or hanging out at the Potter Festival in the neighbouring town. Saturday was the big hike. To give some sort of reference point it was probably the same as hiking up Knox Mountain from the very bottom (just a little longer). Sunday we visited Hallstatt and saw the famous Salt Mine and the little town which was so adorable! The second week continued with much swimming in the lake below the school we were staying in and more ice cream (of course). Then I visited the pottery festival Friday and Saturday. Very cool work by lots of ceramists. Being the daughter of a potter myself I actually noticed more similarities in their work (as compared to ours in Canada) then differences. After a few cheery goodbyes (I will see everyone again at the hiking weekend) we parted with well wishes for our first days of school! I’m super nervous but also excited. School for me begins the 5th of September. But at the present time host sisters are taking me to Vienna for a few days to see the Zoo and go shopping and much more of course!

Friday, 12 August 2011

Willkommen in Österreich

August 11th
First day in Austria. 
I get off the flight groggy and tired and I see first my family and then the sign they made to welcome me from Canada. All of them were there! There were also two members of Rotary who greeted me. I was given a bouquet of flowers from my host mom that is now in my room and chocolates with Mozart’s face on it by the Rotary members. My whole first experience was overwhelming to say the least. I don’t know why but I expected people to all be speaking more english then German...(probably a common misconception after watching the Sound of Music). It’s safe to say that most of the time I don’t understand what they are saying. We left the airport to what the family considers a “big car” which was a smart car version of a van (if that gives you a good visual). We loaded in and began our one hour journey to Oberpullendorf, my small town of only a few hundred people (it is actually only a few streets big!). I got to see the beautiful countryside during the drive and we discussed differences of Canada and Austria and the States since Sandra (the youngest daughter) had just arrived home form her exchange Saturday. All of her American friends joked about her “lumberjack from Canada,” a.k.a me. No one else in the family knew what a lumberjack was. We arrived home and all had glasses of sweet sparking wine. I went up to my room (which is really big) to unpack/take a nap/have a shower and ended up mostly unpacked and sound asleep on the bed. I think it was Petra and Lisa (the two older daughters) that woke me up at 6:00 for dinner. 
We had a huge dinner and “grilled cheese” which is actually just squeaky cheese that had been grilled, (contrary to the North American version) very yummy though. We also had beans wrapped in I think prosciutto, potatoes, and cutlets. All was very yummy and healthy! I love the cooking here. After dinner was a traditional Austrian chocolate cake (there is an Austrian word for it) with the flag pipped on it.
After this I gave the family my presents, which I think they liked. A bottle of ice wine, a piece of my mom’s pottery and some Canadian clothes (from the bay). 
I went on a walk with Petra and Lisa around the small town. This was probably the highlight of my day. It was twilight and the sun lit up the trees and the flowers. We went to go feed their grandmother’s cat Lily and walked along the barren streets (no one goes out after 8pm and the shops are closed at 7pm!).
After the walk we watched a movie in english with german subtitles (they watch mostly movies in the original language they were made). We couldn’t finish the movie because we were all very tired (especially me) and went to bed where I got to sleep almost instantly.
Today I am off to see a castle in the neighbouring town. I will also set up my bank and take lots of pictures!

Thursday, 4 August 2011

I Have Confidence In Sunshine!

Soon similar to the tune of Julie Andrews I will be on the doorstep of my new Austrian Family. A few moments ago few would have recognized the bubbly smiley girl they all knew weeks before as the one looking forlornly around her house at miscellaneous objects in reverence. Yes, the "homesickness" has already kicked in, in fact,  at home. Sensing the claustrophobic presence of elapsing time I already feel myself gasping for last-glimpses of friends and family. Perhaps this feeling was emphasized by the last minute change in my itinerary... what was once a departure on the 11th has taken two steps back to the 9th! What a difference two days can make. What I can look forward to however are my last days at my pizza job.  Friday I will be sent off with a second-to-last check from the Roman Republic of Little Caesars. I will look at the coming times and fear not! My years are young and my disposition enthused. I will remember Canada as fondly as Maximus remembered his home, "Pink stones that warm in the sun. A kitchen garden that smells of herbs in the day...jasmine in the evening." 
If this is any indication of the blogs to come perhaps I should cite my sources because a reference to the Sound of Music and Gladiator would confuse most. But if you are entertained, in the words of Stephane from SNL, "look no further."