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!

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