The toilet is never in the same room as the shower and the toilets are very different here. For everyone's sake, I won't go into detail.
On the left is Reesa's room.
The view outside my bedroom window...looks a little like the view out the living room window. We can hear everything that happens because everyone's windows are wide open. I can't wait until the neighbor's baby starts sleeping through the night!
Shopping in Austria is a quite an experience. They are "green" here so they don't give you bags you have bring your own. You fill your bags as you go through the store and try to decide...hummm...I would like that but do I want to carry it home? Once your bags are full and your back is breaking you go through the check out. This is also a hoot. They greet you and try to hurry you along by going as fast as they possibly can, piling all your groceries on the other side. They don't have baggers here so you must bag your own...as the woman is piling them on faster than you can put them in your bag. You start to wonder how you got that much in the bag in the first place. Then as you're are frantically bagging the woman is long done and expecting you to pay her. So you stop, quick pull out your money, and in a jiffy she hands you back your change and starts checking out the next person and that persons food comes flying your way. Ahhhhhh, so you start loading your arms with the aquardly packed bags and all the items you couldn't get to fit back in them and head to a place designaged for repacking as the Astrian behind you is laughing at you because they know we aren't from around here. And that's only a third of the battle...now you have to get it home! This was me riding the U-Ban after shopping at Ikea for the last of our house decorations. I have my purse held over my right shoulder, my teacher bag with two teacher edition text books, a large plant and an over filled bag with two pillows some fake flowers, candles, and other decorations. Try hanging on to all that and not topple over as the U-Ban starts and stops!Here I am carrying groceris home. Trust me...they were much more heavy than they look. The camera takes off about 20 pounds. :-) OK we are 2/3 of the way done...
OK, now we are home and the last part is fitting all that into the very small fridge (the freezer is in there, too). Once, it's all unloaded we sit down and think, "Whose gonna cook it for us? We are way to tired!"
Can you pick out the American in this photo? The little girl in the back two from the right was born in America but lived in Hong Kong and Ethiopia. Other than that they are all internationals. I have a couple from Zimbabwe, one from Uganda, one from the Philippines, one from S. Korea, and the others I can't remember. I have one who speaks no English at all. I have twelve students (one I can't picture and the other hasn't come to school yet). I am just loving these kids. They all are very well behaved (though squirrely) and have a great sense of humor. I get love notes and hugs all day long. What more could anyone ask for?
I have never taught first grade before and didn't know what to expect. I thought they would come in not being able to read at all. So, I sat down to see what words they did know by giving them an easy book with only 2 words on each page. The book was called "I Go." I said, "Can you read this to me?" and the little boy says "Benchmark A." Which was written on the top of the book in smaller letters. My mouth dropped open. Some of these students are almost a grade level ahead in reading.
The first day I had the students doing some writing. The project they were working on said I like _______. I thought, "Oh, I hope they can write at least one word." They wrote a paragraph! I told them I have the smartest 1st graders in the world.
We start off each morning with "Community Circle" where we share something about ourselves and then we have prayer time. It is so sweet to hear these little people pray for each other and praise God for each other. Truly amazing!
I will start up with special needs next week. I'm excited to dive into that. I have an hour and a half in the morning that my kids are at specials, German, and Bible. I have three students right now that need my help for sure, one middle schooler and two elementary. Others are going through the process. Please pray for me that I can juggle both positions well and that I'm not cheating my first graders or the special needs students.
Last night, I went to doctor because I needed refills on my prescriptions and it turned out to be the most interesting cultural experiences I’ve ever had. In social medicine its first come first serve. You can’t call ahead and make an appointment. Judie and I got there at ten ‘til 5 and they close the doors at 5. If you are in the door by five the doctor has to see you. So, sometimes Gabbie (my doctor) will stay for hours after closing to see all the people. Then she has to make her house calls to all people who couldn’t make it to the office. Next morning, she wakes up early and does it all again. Well, if you like people watching you would have died to have been a fly on the wall in this waiting room. We had one couple making out (hope she doesn’t catch what he has!), a mother and her baby, one man who was so high on drugs he couldn’t sit up or hold his paper, a mom and her baby, an old woman, a man talking to himself and hoping everyone else would listen to him, and many others. I knew we might be here a while but thinking that each visit should only be 10 minutes like they are in the states I thought we would be out of there in a jiffy. Little did I know, each apt lasts 20-30 minutes. But this left many hours of entertainment for Judie and I…well, until Judie fell asleep. The drug addict starts sweating and falling over and realizes he might not make it to his turn so he starts asking people if he can go before them (in german of course). Well, here in Austria you better follow the rules and no one likes waiting in a line. So the man would argue but no one would let him cut in line. Well the man talking to himself thought this was a great opportunity to strike up a conversation with the man. This was hilarious to watch because the druggie would get annoyed with the man who couldn’t stop talking and roll his eyes and yell at him but the man would keep talking to him even while he was passing out. I don’t think the man ever stopped talking the entire time! Here in Austria, you greet the entire waiting room when you come in and say goodbye when you leave. So it was funny to watch all the madness stop when someone would leave and say “auf Wiedersehn” and everyone would say it back and the madness would all start up again. After four hours it was my turn and I got to see the doctor. Here, seeing your doctor is like going to visit your accountant. You sit behind a desk and talk about sickness then she gives you some options and you pick which one is best for you. At the end of the visit she would not let me pay her because I had to wait so long. So, all in all, it was a good visit, I got what I needed, and saw what seemed like a reality TV show.
YEAH! Today we finally have the internet. I'm so glad because before Reesa and I would have to go over to other teacher's houses to use theirs to call home or check email. Although the teachers were gracious we no longer feel like a burden. When we got here we were told that it would be "about a week." Well what that really meant was that it would be about a week until we would get into our flat. Then another week to meet with our landlord, then anoter week for a guy to come by the flat, then another week for him to send us what we need to hook up. So, I'm sorry for the lack of communication but now you know why! And boy do I have lots of stories to tell...