FC: Greetings from Austria
1: January 24th- to New York. Managed the airport alone; actually wasn't very crowded, but it's huge. Took me over an hour to get to the baggage claim, get my bags and take the airtram to the next terminal. January 25th- Flight to Austria. 8 hour plane ride over 6 time zones so at 1:00 in the morning my time we landed in Switzerland at bright and sunny 8:00 am. Then to Wien. Very disappointed because most signs were only in English in both airports (not even English and German). Austrian customs is amazing. We had nothing to declare. We walked right through. No questions. Nothing. AFS orientation kept us up playing pool until 11 or so. Fell asleep instantly having had no sleep in 35 hours. January 27th- Toured Vienna at night. Very, very cold but really, really beautiful. Mozart's 250th b-day so we saw fireworks. Again, kept us up until 11. January 28th- Woke us up at 4:30 (with lack of sleep/jet lag/7 hour time difference I must have been really fun) for the train to our families. Got a tour of Hall. My family is great! Will post a picture when I get one... | Familie Plank Fassergasse 23 Hall in Tirol Austria | From The Beginning... | Feb. 22nd, 2006
2: Jan 29th- drove to Seefeld for the afternoon. Ice sculptures... and some sort of World Cup skiing competition going on. Very interesting. Jan 30th- My host dad took me on a tour of Innsbruck. Wow. It's all so old! The Celts were here, and the Goths. Buildings and churches from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. Maximillian I and his wife are the really important ones. We saw their castle- now a gov't building. A hotel where Mozart and Goethe both stayed. And the Alt Stadt. Lots of old buildings. The statue in the middle is very famous. Unfortunately I don't know much about it.Shops and McDonalds in 17th century buildings. It's like walking through history. | Feb. 22nd, 2006 | A Little More... | Feb 3rd- Went with Lisa to the Coin Museum in an old castle a few minutes walk away. Hall minted coins from 1477 to 1917 or so- very interesting. Climbed the winding staircase to the watch tower. Beautiful view of all of Hall. School party for the end of the first semester. My first time out... probably the typical side of America that I don't see. You don't have to be 16 to buy alcohol... I think 12 would pass quite easily. Same with smoking. Came home reeking of smoke- yuck. Feb 5th- Went Rodeling. Sorta of like sledding. Except down a mountain- like skiing, and it would have been very nice if there had been a lift. We went down once because the 20-30 min walk up is not to be repeated. Very fast. Feet out in front of you breaking constantly. Entire family (host mom's side) came over for dinner. They do so about once a month. Lots of German. Lots of names. All very nice. | Pictured is my house from the front. We live on the top floor. The bottom with the little sign is the Konditorei where my host mom and aunt work- fun little pastry/coffee shop.
5: Week of Feb 11th-19th was Semester break (Ha! I got two!) Feb 11-14th we went up to a Hütte in the mountains. Small little cabin- 4 rooms: divided in half- my hostmom and siblings own one half, the cousins the other. Bottom floor of both sides is a kitchen and top floor is the bedroom (our side sleeps 8 comfortably, could sleep 11). Klo is an outhouse... very cold. You quickly learn to drink as little as possible because it's 20 degrees and there is 3 feet of snow everywhere. Very fun, though. Some people (friends and family) came and went. My hostmom, sister, hostaunt and cousin (9-year-old Peter), a close family friend and her two daughters (15 and 20 something) and I were there the whole time. Very cold the first day too. Got there about 1:00. Heated entirely by the wood stove. 'It'll be warm by morning at the latest,' they say. First night quite cold. Lisa taught me to Snowboard!!! In the Alps! How cool is that! I'm a very fast learner, apparently. It's also apparently 'easier' when one is on a steep slope. Sure. I fell flat on my face and back more times than I can count. My favorite line was Lisa's, 'Good. Now let's try it again without screaming.' Also did a lot of skiing, though walking up that hill with skiboots and skis severely limits the number of times we went down. They couldn't believe I'd only been once in the USA. Played lots of games. Risiko (Risk) 2-4 times a day. Also Cranium! I didn't do too badly... The cabin is a little ways off of a ski slope, so we took the lift up to the top and the others went down by ski/snowboard. Not so with me (for experienced only says the sign). No, I went down by Rodel. Very, very fast when the slope was steep. I learned to try to aim for the deep snow because that was the only way to stop. Christiana, host aunt pulled me on ski when it was too flat to Rodel. Then came the very steep slope. That I slid down on my butt. Actually worked pretty well as slick and steep as it was. Quite entertaining for everyone else I'm sure (such as the ski/snowboarders swerving around me). Wonderful view from the cabin of Innsbruck. The Inn River divides it. Right beyond those mountains is Italy and right behind the mountain we are on is Germany. | Noch Einmal... | Feb. 24th, 2006
6: Happy Faschings Dienstag! | March 2nd, 2006 | Tuesday was Faschings. I asked about ten people if it was at all related to Mardi Gras/Fat Tuesday/Lent/Ash Wednesday and was met by blank stares. Then a nine-year-old assured me it was and after that they all understood. It's a Mardi Gras/Halloween mix. Mostly seems to be concerned with pagan rituals to welcome spring. Everyone young and old dresses up and there's a big parade and Faschings Krapfen (donuts with marmalade) that are sold January 1 through Faschings. My aunt who is the baker of the coffee shop downstairs made 1500 of them for Tuesday (and had to get up at 2 to do so... that happens once a year only). We spent | the day in Innsbruck. I was a flower. My host sister was a devil and her best friend was an angel. It was 15 degrees (F!). Which was fairly ironic because obviously spring is not on its way like we all thought (or hoped...). 15F is pretty darn cold when you're outside for four hours... which we were. But it was interesting none the less. It had been warm here last week... almost all the snow is melted, and we heard the birds singing with they say is a sure sign. Snowed yesterday and supposed to again tomorrow. Bitter cold. No birds. I think they have all frozen or died of bird flu. Ah, yes. Bird flu hit Austria (as of a few weeks ago...) but not Tirol. They did find a dead swan here but it wasn't infected so we are still safe but, regardless, I am not allowed to pick up, play with, or bring home any dead birds I find. Such a disappointment!
7: On the bright side my German continues to be coming along... I am starting to pick up conversations now... that I am not directly involved in. The first three weeks were strictly one or two people directly speaking to me. Then last week was small group (2 or 3) conversation that sort of involved me. Now I'm picking up about half of the teacher's lectures in the classroom (much better than absolutely nothing). I wrote my first essay for German and she was quite impressed. I have another due tomorrow (actually was due today but I hadn't known that and managed to get out of turning it in because I wanted to reread my mistakes on the first one...) Passed my first Physics test! (barely!) and asked him a question on my own today which seems to please him. (the answer was, 'we learned that first semester. Here are the pages for you to read so you can catch up!' just what I need...) I attend Greek (the teacher is our class sponsor) once a week and last time he asked if I would skip one of my extra German classes to join the Greek class again because they were doing mini presentations and he wanted me to join in... so he told me to give a presentation (in German, not Greek!) about an American Indian legend... so I found the legend of the Bluebonnets online and translated it and presented it and it was good. First AFS camp tomorrow- a weekend thing. All for now! | Here are a few pics... My school class on the Einkehr Tag (little retreat thing) Back l to r: Vera, Michael, Michael, Annette, Manu (Manuela), Maria, me. Front l to r: Magdelena, Eva, Terasa (up), Isabella (down), Julia. Not pictured: Clara, Elaine and Andi (Andrea) | The view from my window- (on a clear day, of course) | A Few Photos... | March 6th, 2006
8: Can't believe how fast it flies in passing... and how much more I understand now. We still need to work on the speaking... Anyway, a weekend of first. Friday was my first Schulearbeit in Deutsch... that is my first of two tests. These are big tests only for the important subjects (in this school, math and the languages). Something along the lines of an A.P. writing test actually... fifty minute | class period and you get the topic, write your intro and your essay and turn it in for a grade. Teacher let me choose my own topic (she thinks the ones I've been writing on (death penalty, hitch-hiking etc.) are a little difficult) and I got to take it home to finish. So I chose foreign language in the school- should it be required? (yes) and finished my first draft in class, took it home. My host mom read it but couldn't correct it. Did say it was considerably better than my previous ones though. Anyway, turn it in tomorrow. And... exactly six weeks since I arrived there I went to Vienna again. Just for the weekend- my sister had a cheerleading competition there. (yes, cheerleading for American football. What country did I leave?) They won second place. But anyway, we drove up Friday afternoon and drove through Germany!!! Which added country number three to my European list. Took a little over four hours to get there... was also my first experience on the autobahn but I was disappointed we never went over 140 km/h. Got into Vienna around 8 and took the subway/bus to get to Hannes' | nephew. Spent the night and early the next morning hit the streets of Vienna. Beautiful- the inner city anyway. Saw the St. Stephan's dome which is a huge church in the center of the city. Also the Parlimant and the Rat haus (the equivalent of the White House and city hall), the national library, and lots and lots of beautiful old buildings. Then we had a couple of hours and got to go into the art museum which is the 4th largest in the world! It was amazing. So many pictures! We went to the Rome and Greek art exhibit (lots of statues and pottery) and the Italian/French/Spanish paintings and then the German/Norwegian room. | Six Weeks | March 13t, 2006
9: Then to the cheerleading competition which was a little long... but congrats to Lisa. They worked hard. Rode back on the bus with the cheerleaders because the train left too early. That was a long ride. Buses are not easy to sleep on... Left at 7 and got in at 2 in the morning... stops here are a bit different... noticed both there and back. 45 minute coffee or food stop. That lengthens the trip considerably. Did stop at my first Austrian McDonalds! (difference... they have shrimp, for example. French fries are actually a lot better here... different oil maybe? And they eat them with sweet and sour). | A few pictures of Vienna. -Famous huge statue in about the middle of the city- the Stephan's Dome is the middle and this is the street next to it. -the Stephan's Dome -The remains of an old Roman aqueduct. That was cool. -The opera house -The parliament building | A Few Other Notes | Still cold. Still snowing every two days or so and spring could be a ways away despite the fact that they keep promising it will come. AFS retreat was quite fun! Lots of snow there as well... in fact snowed 48 hours straight which resulted in a foot or so that we had to trudge through. Had my first Austrian snowball fight and built several snowmen. Spoke way too much English the whole weekend which I figured probably set me back two weeks or so in my German. It's coming along, though, as always, which is a big relief. The more I learn the easier school is going to get... I hate not being able to understand everything but I realized I'm kind of getting used to it now. It was a clear ski today, which shows the mountains at their best. Once again, from my window...
11: Yeah, winter. Now they're saying it'll be cold through the end of April. Haven't had snow on the ground this long since 1954 or something. I picked a good year. Today was warm though and so was two days ago (with snow expected this weekend). And by warm, of course, I mean if you're wearing a sweatshirt and a blanket you can sit outside without a winter coat. It was probably 48F or so both days. The first day Lisa and I sat out in the sun and fresh air. That was fun. More news... I got my hair cut. Lisa and her friend invited me to go with them to Innsbruck to buy a b-day present for another friend- which was kind of weird. Then I found out why. There's a cheap hair dresser in the same mall. The afternoon resulted in yet another example of why when you don't understand you never, ever say yes! In all honesty, I quite like it though. | My English teacher handed back my paper and his only comment was that 'It's perfect but it could have been shorter'. That's called an Honors English student taking English as a foreign language. Ha! My one easy class. My first Math Schularbeit is on Friday. Which wouldn't be a problem except they're being tested over the first semester too which I didn't learn and they have a very weird quadratic formula. So I have to make sure I know it all. My Physics teacher is going to kill me. It wasn't enough that I could explain what it represented or that I knew it in English. I had to know the exact German word. And I didn't know the Greek letter PHI from last class so for the rest of the day he kept saying, 'And look Kelsey! A new Greek letter! This one is called, ****' And would make sure to write it nice and big and then make sure that I wrote it down. The class was about ready to kill him too. Meeting a friend in Hall tomorrow afternoon and Sunday if the weather's nice (and by that I just mean no rain or snow. Nice is completely relative because nice would be 50 at least) we're going skiing again. | Should get my first German Schularbeit (test) back Tuesday. It's graded and she said it was quite good- there are several things I need to work on but it was good. (I heard this through the supplementary German teacher I had in the younger class today). My teacher wrote 'gut' on it, not 'sehr gut' because I've only had four years of writing German, but 'gut' is very good for only four years... and so on. This lady really wanted to emphasize her point. | March 17th, 2006 | So...
12: Welcome Spring! | So I realize there's no right and left once I actually post them so I'll leave it to you all to figure it out. Here's my host mom working on the Easter eggs. All hand made- a chocolate shell filled with bonbons of various sorts- and carefully wrapped. It takes a good long time. She's been working on them for a month now and Easter's still a month away. And a picture of the mountains at sunset. I like the haziness... | I got my Deutsch Schularbeit back! I got a 2!!! (grades go 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 with 5 failing). Yeah!!! And there was considerably less red than in my first two papers! And yes, I am satisfied with the equivalent of a B (my hostmom wanted to be sure). Math Schularbeit is Thursday. I know it all (even though I missed the first semester stuff) but word problems will be a bear. Skiing was amazing. Definitely going very fast by the end and was working on true courses, not just the short beginner slopes. Beautiful weather. Lot more confident and capable and everybody noticed. Man, skiing in the Alps... IT'S WARM!!! We're hoping the weathermen lied. Sunday was sunny and around fifty or so. Monday was sunny and amazing. The best day so far. Sat outside to do my homework for a couple of hours- probably 60 with warm sun, deep blue cloudless sky and snow capped mountains. That made this entire exchange worth it. Today even warmer- didn't even need a jacket at all- maybe 65 but cloudy. And this evening it dropped down to 40 or so... so that could be a bad sign. I know you all care about the weather. | Just a Few More Pics | I Got a 2!!! | March 21st, 2006
13: Happy to say it looks like the weathermen were wrong! It's been beautiful all week... meaning no more winter jacket! Yeah! Aaaand.... new baby cousin here! Flora was born yesterday at 10:09. Here's me holding the four hour old baby. Lots of dark hair! Math went fine. Understood almost everything (word problems in German!) but asked on a couple anyway. No more big tests until after Easter so I should be fine. UNDERSTOOD EVERYTHING IN PHYSICS!!! Was sooooo excited! Actually understood everything he said and the concepts (angular velocity... one of my least favorite units in math. blah) Actually had two days this week where I actually understood almost everything the teachers said. That's a good feeling. As far as it goes, I am completely on top of History, Math and Physics. I halfway understand Biology. Geography has a ways to go, as does German (Middle High Deutsch literature... as in the equivalent of old English). And those are the only big classes. | That's the best picture I have of my hair... You can't really see it... I have bangs in front and it curves around my face and then the back is slightly layered. Because I've been keeping a list... a few of the more amusing differences between Austria and the US. -cars stop at crosswalks! Seriously! There's a huge penalty fine if the police catch you not. You can be five feet away and the car will still stop. I had a bus stop for me... I've explained to four or five people that that isn't the case with us. | -Whole milk or skim milk... and mostly whole. Anything in between is often hard to find. -No tissue boxes... just little pocket packs -Stoplight! I love this! It's green... then it starts blinking green. Then in turns yellow, then it turns red... then it turns yellow again (while it's still red, both lights at once) and then green. That's kind of fun... except all the cars start to go when it's yellow and red... they don't wait for the green. -Catholic or Protestant. Protestant doesn't have a million denominations. And very few Protestants. Mostly all Catholic. -No sheets. Comforter wrapped in a pillowcase like sheet that is then washed. -Almost no nutrition facts on anything. And when they do it's always per 100 grams... because everyone knows who much 100 grams of bread or milk or a chocolate is... -no white socks! They're all colored or decorated or striped. -Very few clocks... I think I have a clock in one classroom. One in the living room and then an alarm clock and one on the oven. Otherwise I rely solely on my watch. Anyway, more for later. | March 24th, 2006
14: On the verge of a little too warm today... skipping spring and moving straight to summer. So, Saturday I went on a bike ride through the country with my host dad. Quite nice. Beautiful day. Hour ride... and that for most people is quite short. As of about a week ago the entire population of Austria is now riding bikes, scooters or Mopeds everywhere. They suddenly appeared and now clog the streets. Went to the castle in Innsbruck. Pretty neat... took a tour but the guy was talking really fast in German and was not too friendly... so I didn't catch much. But it was built in 1000, burned in 1100 and rebuilt in 1300. Connected is one of the oldest museums in Europe... it was built solely for the purpose of holding the king's collection of art and artifacts in 1500 or so. Math Schularbeit back today! I got a 1! 50 out of 48 points... quite pleased. Math is math (and as the teacher asked me several times, I learned it all last year...) I did learn, however, that many symbols are different. For example, points on a coordinate system are (2/4) instead of (2, 4) and the 0 with a slash through it does not mean undefined here. Because that's where I lost a point (total possible was 52). He crossed out my 0 with the / and wrote 'nicht defineiert' which I would have put but I didn't know how when said it in German. Wasn't about to argue my one point through because I had a 1. Got prüfed in History today (the rest of the class had just had two hours of Latein S.A. and I had been sitting in the hall reading Harry Potter (I'm on the third book now!!!) but he was quite supportive. | 'Explain what you can in German and when words fail you, in English.' So I did and he helped me out 'Checks and Balances' in German??? And later said my German was very much improved and he was glad. And then I blanked on the three branches of government. I got Executive and Judicial but Legislative would not come to mind. Slightly embarrassing. And then he put me on the spot and asked me to name the original 13 colonies... I got 7. Then the bell rang. Oops. We're studying the American Revolution now, by the way. Anyway... | And a 1!!! | March 27th, 2006
15: With a pictures of a kangaroo with a slash through it... saw several such t-shirts today walking through Innsbruck and found it quite funny. Spent the afternoon with a friend shopping in Innsbruck. Very, very enjoyable because it was a beautiful warm, blue sky day. Also had quite a bit of fun explaining the following: meatloaf, pie, (pie, as in p-i-e, like American Pie? The movie/song?... um... yeah...), brownies, chocolate chip cookies, and pancakes. None of them went too well. Since there's no real equivalent here it's kind of hard to describe those in German. I am now surfing the internet for pictures for Monday... So... my Geographie teacher is going to test me on Europe's countries/mountains/rivers a bit later in the semester. He's giving me more time... but we have a test after the break so I don't know if he expects me to write along or now (over the GUS states, the EU and other such fun politics). | Made the stupid mistake of approaching my Bio teacher today to ask what he wants me to do as far as grades go/testing (wanted to make sure he knew he had to give me grades because he's so far kind of ignored me). So next week sometime (Tues or Fri) he's going to test me on the Hormone System and Blood Sugar Regulation to see how I do and then figure out how to grade me. So, my weekend is now divided between those two subjects. Plus Physics who is still quite determined that I am not studying Physics at home, am here on my own free will and need to learn German (or more importantly, the words for angular velocity, angular momentum, impulse, inertia etc. in German. Very important for every day conversation). | I went to a play yesterday night with a couple school friends. Novecento... about a boy abandoned by his parents on a ship who became an amazing piano player... problem was there was no real acting. There was seven actors and one (kept switching) was always telling the story while the others were dancing or moving somehow together in the background. A bit hard to understand. Other than that... one more week before Easter Ferien!!! That means three days in Salzburg! | I'm doing a 10 min presentation on St. Louis in English on Wednesday (studying Route 66). I have to write an essay about someone famous I admire for English... hmmm... any ideas anyone? I'm really at a loss. | Andrea's family (cousins, aunts and uncles) are coming over Sunday evening to celebrate a cousin's birthday... | "There Are No Kangaroos in Austria" | March 31st, 2006
16: So apparently April weather here is March weather for us (or most of winter for those in St. Louis). My host mom sang me the song. Something along the lines of, 'beautiful, warm and sunny today 25!' and 'tomorrow 5 and snow!' Experienced this yesterday when we ran home from school in the cold rain, very cloudy sky- figured it'd rain through the afternoon which was unfortunate because I'd wanted to go into Hall. Twenty minutes later I had just finished lunch and the sun was shining, a few fluffy white clouds in a blue sky. Sunday we went for a walk about thirty minutes away. Not in the mountains because there's still snow, but on a plateau (was still a bit of snow). Beautiful day and amazing mountains. About a ninety minute walk/hike. Then went with Lisa and her friend to lay on the 'beach' of the Inn River, which as it is is quite short and will only last a few more weeks until the snow in the mountains melts and Austria experiences flooding in all the rivers. Then the whole family came for the evening to celebrate a cousin's 20th birthday. Did a presentation on St. Louis today. Went fairly well... I think they understood me... it was English and apparently I'm actually harder to understand in English than German. (I have attempted to assure them that the Midwest has no accent. But they don't believe me...) Still, was fun. I think they were glad not to have to do anything for class while I talked. Anyone know when we can drive in other countries with our license? (probably a Missouri question... is it 15, 16 or 18?) A few misconceptions Austrians in general seem to have (as in, I've gotten this from quite a few people). 1. Missouri is in the South. 2. I speak with a Southern accent (NO!) I did figure this one out. I say Mississippi River and for some reason they think Missouri is the state of Mississippi. Or something like that. 3. There are six continents. South America and North America are taught in Europe as only one continent. They thought I was nuts when I said there were seven. 4. Apparently the drinking age is different in every state. Am I missing out on something here? I thought it was 21. I've had three or four people tell me it's 18 someplaces and other places something else... can someone explain this? | 10 Weeks | Anyway, wrote my essay on Albert Pujols. Not completely sure why... the example in our book was Michael Jordan and the first paragraph had to be on their great career and the second why you respect their personality. (Sorry, Amy- Greenscape just doesn't cut it for an amazing career). So I was getting a picture of the STL Cardinals for my presentation and figured, what the heck, let's stick with sports. Pujols certainly has enough for a career paragraph and is big with faith/charities. In Physic today we got to go in groups of two to a Catholic thing for a few minutes (if you chose. I chose). I was the first group which meant I missed the testing but got the lesson. Found out when I got there it was confession. Ha! So I told him I was an exchange student from the US. Please speak slowly and clearly so I can understand you. Not quite sure what was up with him. Conversation went something like: 'How do you like it here in the school and with the students?' Me: 'They're all so nice. It's going well.' Him: 'And is there anything that you haven't done right that you want to tell me?' (that was a literal translation. I assumed he was asking me about sin but really don't know.) Me: 'Um... sometimes I feel I don't put enough effort into what I'm doing here... that I should do more for my family, or my German or school but I feel too lazy.' Him: 'Ah. And how do you like Austria?' Me: confused. 'I love it here.' Him: 'Good, good. God bless you. Let's read this prayer aloud together. Good luck with your year.' So maybe my German isn't quite up to par yet because I obviously missed something there. But anyway, two more days before Easter break and then I'm already at 50% of my time here. And now on to my German essay! | April 5th, 2006
17: I got on 1- on my last Deutsch essay!!! Was absolutely thrilled! That's a sehr gut! I got a 4 today in Physics. He called on me after another student had pretty much explained everything I could have (I thought I was prepared but apparently there was a whole lot more to know...) as in I had to explain every example we had seen in class the previous day. I got three. One with prodding from him. Then I completely blanked. Apparently there was one more. Then he yelled at me because I hadn't written two words down. One was 'geoid' which is what the earth really is. Not enough that I say it's not a 'Kugel' (sphere) because central force from spinning flattens it slightly. No, I'm not learning German then! (though I personally think being able to explain that is learning a lot more than one word. And was personally not under the impression that Geoid had much to do with physics. Astronomy or geometry maybe, but not physics). And then I didn't know the real life purpose for two of the examples either. Should have written those down he says. I am totally baffled that he thinks I can take dictated notes from him in class and pay attention at the same time. Especially when he speaks with such a strong dialect. It's not that I chose not to write it down, it's that I probably had no idea what he said or that he was telling us the use. And if the person next to me isn't writing (she wasn't) then I don't think we're supposed to be taking notes. So he gave me a 4. (D). So now I'm really upset with him and he continues to think I'm not really trying. On the other side, a bunch of us were talking together in the Pause (well, I was listening) and Physics teacher comes over and asks if I understand everything. I say, not everything. And Physics teacher says, in English, to the guy talking, 'You need to speak slowly and clearly.' And then walks away with a big grin on his face. I understood the guy talking to me much better than I understand Physics teacher. He needs to take his own advice. But enough ranting about him. I'm sorry for those of you who don't care. (Or for Grandmother who likes him...) | it. Two of my classmates thought he was so unfair to me that they went directly to the Direktor (principal) to complain and we held a little 'let's talk this over and discuss our differences' session today with three three of us students, the Physics teacher and the Director. My, was that fun! Bottom line is that after the break we're going to try giving me a written test (woohoo!) for me to take my time to answer the questions best I can- grammar and spelling unimportant and English if all else fails. We'll see how that works out. Can't tell you how fun it will be to go back to Physics after that conversation. But it was cool that my classmates did that for me. Have some fun pictures but my camera is deciding not to show up on the computer so those might wait until after Salzburg (when I'll have even more fun pictures!) Salzburg is Palm Sunday afternoon to Tuesday evening. Lisa and I are taking the train and staying with a family friend. (friend asked if we wanted to see 'Sound of Music'. I say, 'oh!' Lisa says, 'What's 'Sound of Music?''... I turn to look at her. 'Austria is famous for the Sound of Music'. Lisa, 'And what is it exactly?') | Finally! Off school until Easter Wednesday... if that exists. Biology- he asked me such a simple question to draw and explain. I was prepared to do so much more (I'd been studying my notes an hour every night...). A little disappointed but he said it was exactly right so that's satisfying enough. I realize that was a very long rant about Physics. To clear it up, I wasn't really over dramatizing | School... | April 6th, 2006 | Oster Ferien!!! | April 7th, 2006
18: Lisa's comment after watching it: 'I don't know what is more pathetic. That this is Austrian or that Americans watch this.' She ended up deciding the latter because the Americans choose to watch it. I did mention that the songs are definitely better in English. The translations are a little off and that takes a lot away. But they thought it was 'nett' (nice). Salzburg was beautiful- and cold. Lisa and I went out Monday morning and found Mozart's birthplace the second time down the street (walked right past the first time), saw a lot of buildings that looked important. (Lisa asked someone about one of them... oh! That's the Salzburg Dom- only slightly important. I probably should of been the one to ask about that because with Hoch Deutsch (from Germany) or English it would have been understandable but an Austrian asking?). Saw the house from the Sound of Music, the cemetery where they hid (also a famous church- Saint Peter's), the pavilion where they danced... in the afternoon went to a huge museum of Nature and Science... very Science Center like but not so much hands on. Five floors or so took three hours and included a lot of stuff about animals, (including an aquarium and reptile zoo), humans, space and weather. Saw Ice Age II! And understood almost everything! Was great! Drove to Mond See twenty minutes away (the church where they get married in SoM)... also a pretty lake but it was foggy and cold. Also stopped at a chocolate factory- think Outlet store! I have Mozart Kugel now... very famous in Salzburg (especially this year). They are everywhere- and quite good. Chocolate, pistachio, nougat... and a few more layers. | April 12th, 2006
19: Because the other one was getting too long. 1. Me with a little gnome thing... there are thirteen of them in a circle in the gardens. This was entertainment a thousand years ago. They made the nobles laugh... 2. The house from the fiming of Sound of Music! 3. The pavilion Lisel (?) and Ralf danced in in Sound of Music. Unfortunately locked :-( 4. Schloss Hellbrunn. An entirely yellow castle that apparently has really nice tours... but better in summer. 35 degrees and rainy is 'take the picture and come back someday when it's warm...' 5. The church where Maria marries the Captain in Sound of Music- on Mond See. Also yellow. Seems to be a theme. | Okay, some of the pics... 1. top: a view of Salzburg from the top. Famous castle, Hohensalzburg and lots of churches. 2. Fountain with Lisa- in front of an important building... I think it had something to do with the Sound of Music but quite a bit did. Anyway, pretty. 3. Inside of one of the two most impressive churches in Salzburg. Saint Peter's I think but it could have been the other one. 4. The house where Mozart was born... 5. Lisa, Hemma (the daughter from the family we were staying with) and I at Mond See, a beautiful lake when it's not cloudy and cold. | The Hills are Alive with the Sound of Music | A Few More Blinks of Salzburg
20: every hillside. Perfect day, perfect weather (except for the two rain showers). Easter in Austria... really big holiday (Easter Monday is a no work, no school holiday). Not only chocolate eggs/ rabbits are hidden but also a gift or two. I got a big book with lots of pictures of Tirol (Area of Austria where I am... the one truly in the Alps) with everything in both German and English. Today was an all day brunch with the whole family. Amusing at times if nothing else. Tomorrow is the last day of break and then back to school and tests. But to tell the truth I was fairly bored for a good portion of the time... Ah, yes! Last Wednesday two of Lisa's friends (both quite thin let me say) to bake American chocolate chip cookies. I was totally excited because the dough tasted right (even though we were using a raw brown sugar which was considerably sweeter than it should have been so we had to mess with amounts... already fun when you're estimating how much a 'cup of sugar' is) (they have all grams and mL). And... sure enough! Real chocolate chip cookies! During the process all I was getting was, 'yup, this is American. Ingredients: butter (and a lot of it), sugar, more sugar, white flour, egg, chocolate. What, exactly, there is healthy?' Then out come the cookies... an entire batch- some thirty something. Four girls (I had three! Hostdad had two and I took two down to Hostmom and aunt). The other three ate the entire batch in a matter of two hours. Now they understand. | Which I spent in Italy... It was absolutely beautiful. After Easter breakfast we drove to Süd Tirol (was Austria up until the end of the first World War and is now Italy...) where absolutely everything is (by law) written in both Italian and German. That's really cool. Saw a huge church in Brixens (?) with some of the oldest and best preserved relics in Europe. Then drove up to the a mountain trail and walked it... an hour or so to lunch at a little hillside place and then another hour or so down the rest of the way. Absolutely gorgeous- little houses, monasteries, churches and castles on almost | Frohe Ostern! | April 17th, 2006
21: Here are a few pics... the first I have about ten different versions of because I fell in love with those mountains. The second is the Kloster (monastery) up on the hill. Those are everywhere. And the third is the river and the town with the hills/mountains surrounding it. (view from the Kloster). And finally, the second largest Easter egg in the world- which was in the town at the base of the mountain. | me to). Sigh. Some people I will never understand. *Edit* Now I really don't understand. My host mom just got back from a lovely conversation with him. He promises he has nothing against me. His children were exchange students (and I know why... though it did frighten me to learn he has children). I told him I had one semester of Physics and now he is certain that I just don't know Physics. And that's the end of that. He didn't want to have to give me grades and the only way he knows how to (or will) is exactly the same as the other students who speak German as a first language and have had two or three years of Physics... great. The good news is that I am passing right now with a 4 and I will surely pass in the end because my host mom something short of threatened him if he failed me (she's an outstanding student at home, wrote a 'sehr gut' (1) in Math, is doing amazing according to her German teacher and just got a 1 in Biology. She can't be that bad). And since a 4 is all I need I'm going to do the best I can and otherwise, screw him. I tried. Next chapter is gravity- at the end I get a written test over the entire chapter. Viel Spass. Umm... not much else new. My host sister got her confirmation. She is going to Australia for a semester- they also got the date- somewhere around August 2 or 3. My host mom is a little depressed. Beautiful warm day. And already a weekend. | Tuesday was exactly half... now we're climbing down the mountain instead of up. I have two tests each in each of the next two weeks... that should prove exciting. My Religion teacher was great. I ask him what he wants me exactly to do (a lot of it is on Catholic Mass and the order- they obviously have the advantage have grown up going to it where I've now been to three services, none of which were normal). His answer, when he discovered I was Protestant, 'I can't grade you!' Great! I need grades in his class and he doesn't feel he can grade me on Catholic stuff... so we'll see how it goes. Today is the equivalent of Parent Teacher Conferences. According to our class sponsor teacher (he talked to my host mom) all my teachers are amazed and satisfied with me... even Raider (Physics). He apparently said he was quite satisfied with me and is astonished at how good my German is. Here I interrupt with, 'Excuse me?' So this means he either finds it fun to play with me or he thinks I really can say everything in German and am just hiding behind that excuse (which I admit I am in a few classes... but only because they seem to want | 50% and Counting | April 21st, 2006
22: Went to the Alpen Zoo... lots of animals to see. The German word for moose is 'Elch' but they have no word for Elk... or it's also 'Elch'... Hmm... Religion Catholic test yesterday. I studied, studied, studied. And did great! Well, I forgot one part of the Wortgottesdient in the Holy Mass and I messed up one other question but I wrote a paragraph in German over the death penalty when he told me first to skip it and then to write in English... I don't think he knew I really spoke German... Rode with my host dad (on bikes) into Innsbruck to Andrea's shop there yesterday. Got to meet the wonderful lady who spent two hours explaining to Andrea what kind of ribbon she wanted on her Easter egg. She's an English and French teacher. Proceeded to speak to me in English. I proceeded to answer in German. Eventually she gave up. I got a lecture about how hot and dry England is. Six times did she tell me this. Yes, St. Louis gets hot, too. But obviously not hotter than England despite the fact that England is quite north... Physics teacher not talking to me (go figure) but I'm participating in a good many of my classes now. Deutsch Schularbeit today- second and last. Not to bad. Topic was if I thought adults had a false picture/stereotype of today's youth. I had fun with that. Get to look it over again and turn it in Friday. Next week: Tuesday is Geography (Asia/Europe- good luck to me!), Wednesday is Music- jazz: African American, blues, ragtime, boogie-woogie, etc. And Friday is first and only English Schularbeit. Then the next week my class (minus four others) leaves for France and my sister Lisa and her class leaves for Croatia for the week. So I'll be having to find something to do... Ah! We grilled on Saturday! And it was a right American meal with corn on the cob! And garlic bread! (instead of Schwarz 'black' bread). Umm... | I did it! I achieved Physics! He tested me on Jupiter today and I spilled out all the random information he wanted (was quite pleased by the surprised look on his face with each new detail...) all except for naming the four moons listed in the book. I knew there were sixteen but didn't know the four names. Oh, well. Got a 33 out of 30 on the Religion test. He was quite impressed. Tomorrow's a 'Project Tag' which means not normal classes... whole day for Music and Latin... singing Latin church songs. Should be interesting at least. Monday is one of two State Holidays (Labor Day, basically) and Saturday is the big radish festival in Hall. ??? Very big deal... typical Tirol music. Will take pictures of that. The pics are from a Sunday walk a few weeks ago. (not the Italy one). Beautiful day. | Monday, Monday... | April 24th, 2006 | Haha! | April 27th, 2006
23: Saturday was the 'Radish Fest' in Hall, which is basically a big excuse to hold a festival. The radishes were ripe... that meant lots of people in the Alt Stadt, typical Lederhosen and Drindle (type of dress...), lots of slap dancing, Tirol music and beer. Today was the May Day celebration in a town about three minutes away by bike. Basically the same thing. Big May Tree some 20 meters high for adults to try to climb and retrieve the wreath at the top. According to my host dad the smaller towns (like this one) have such fests 3 or 4 times a year and that finances the town for the year. | No school today... Geography test tomorrow. Friday was the Project Day. We sang the songs in Latin and did a little bit of church/Latin/ music history in between. Sunday my host mom and I went to the Schwaz Silberwerkberg- an old silver mine about ten minutes away. some 85% of the silver mined for Europe during the Middle Ages came from this mountain and they mined silver there for over 500 years. We got to take a little train through a three foot wide, five foot tall, five minute long dark tunnel and then toured the inside of the mountain, so that was neat. Nice day again today. The computer just decided to shut disconnect with my camera in the process of uploading pictures so I'll have to work on that. Okay- pictures. -Typical Tirol dancing... Lederhosen and Drindel- well, typical would be with a beer, but these are children -The May tree which people climb to the top of to retrieve the wreath | May Day! | May 1st, 2006
24: As of the 3rd. Makes it seem like it's almost gone. So, this should be an interesting week. My sister and her class are in Croatia for a Biology project this whole week (left early this morning and come back late next Saturday night). And all but the four kids in Greek in my class are in France for the week. That means a ton of teachers are gone too so this next week is basically going to be five of us sitting in our room doing nothing... we just have to be there. And then they have Greek class some 6 times in the week instead of 3. But otherwise... hoping to keep busy. Raiders Football game was Friday night. It was an awesome game (coming from someone who doesn't watch Football in the USA...). They beat one of the best teams 40-13. Fifteen seconds after Halftime ended one of the players (an American) had already scored a touchdown by running across the entire field. The cheerleaders hadn't even all gotten on the field yet. This was the second week of my dance course. First week 5 showed up. This time there were 8 of us... but the official teacher was there. Hoping more show up because otherwise they'll probably cancel it and I'm excited about it. Everyone here takes a dance course. But anyway, we learned disco and some Latin American stuff. We made pancakes. First ingredient, white flour. Second ingredient, sugar. And then you put butter and syrup on them? My host mom got out the applesauce. They tasted good though. Geography test less than satisfying. Must have been a communication error- either that or he ran out of time or forgot. I thought he would be giving me a map of Europe and Asia to fill in (he told me I just had to know the map of Europe and Asia) so I memorized every single country and capital in Europe and all the GUS states of Asia, along with a good 20 rivers and 10 or so lakes/sees. Didn't bother looking over anything else. He hands out the tests and tells me to try it. On the back is a map. There are 9 questions for locations. I have learned over 100 things. And worse, on the questions on the front were things that weren't too complicated. If I had studied the notes I have I could have answered them. But I hadn't because I'd been concentrating so hard on the map. So I couldn't do much of anything. That was really disappointing. English went well though. I freaked out ahead of time because there were some 50 vocab I thought I needed to learn (he told us he'd give it in German or English and we had to supply the other language). So obviously, I needed to know them too, in German. They were all in English and we had to give the English definition. And then there was a creative writing section. Just watched Pirates of the Caribbean on German (Flucht der Karibik- Curse of the Caribbean). Some of the classic lines got lost in the translation but it was good. More pictures... -The famous castle/coin minting museum tower. I finally found the perfect angle. -We can never complain about dandelions again (Lwezhne here- lions' teeth). The fields are completely covered and it's really pretty. | May 7th, 2006 | 100 Days...
25: Aha! I forgot to say- I got my second Deutsch Schularbeit back! I kind of knew it wasn't as good as it could have been because I played around with some new sentence structures I hadn't used before... but anyway, I got a 2+ again! So I'll probably be ending up with a 2 in Deutsch this semester! We're having a lot of fun in class this week. Painting t-shirts everyday for the play the drama kids are putting on in two weeks, 'Columbus: the Discovery of America'. Brought in breakfast yesterday and had a big brunch with our religion teacher. Doing it again tomorrow. | May 10th, 2006 | Yesterday I went with a classmate to the Kristallwerk Museum- Swarovski if anyone knows it (I didn't...). It is, apparently, world famous crystal for the way it is cut just perfectly to sparkle in the light... There's a big factory there and then a museum. Some third of the stuff in the museum (or maybe more like half...) has nothing to do with the crystals at all but there were a few neat exhibits and they had this weird music playing the whole time. Not quite what I expected but interesting. And such adorable little sculptured animals! And so expensive! We asked ourselves who in their right mind would pay 5000 for a glass duck? Pictures- Here's the famous... um... thing outside the Kristallwerk Museum... The mountains... some are completely free of snow, and some still get snowfall on the cold mornings. Nice contrast. That is, however, my absolute favorite view- right at the corner of the street on the way to school. | Swarovski Kristallwerk
26: Wow!!! Too fast! Last week was great without teachers. We had a second breakfast with two more teachers, one of which was my Geography teacher who had given me that stupid test with the map. Accidentally let it slip to him that I was doing almost the same as everyone else in all my other classes (he had thought he had to be easy with me) so now I'm learning EU politics (actually tourism now...) with the rest of them. Got my test back too. Hmm... major problems there. He flunked me... yes, I got a 5. One of the other kids started complaining before I had a chance to- 'but you told her she only needed to know the map!' Yes, he knows. That's all he expected of me. We're going to try again at the end. Great. So that turned into a mess. Oh well. Dance Course is unfortunately finished. No one showed up and they can't do it with so few. I'm really really disappointed. Met with all the AFS kids (well, the Americans- Kelly from CA and Erin from AZ) and hung out in Innsbruck for the day. Sat on a bench talking and we hear the guy next to us make a comment about English. We look at each other and start talking about whether or not he's talking about us. I guess he knew we had caught on because he says, not directed at us or anything but so that if we understood we could hear him, 'Sprechen sie Deutsch?' All three of us turn around, 'Ja!' He was a little surprised, 'Oh. Shoot'. Mother's Day- made breakfast for hostmom (as in, put the bread and the tea and the jam and Nutella on the table. A little easier than French Toast). That afternoon we went to this park kind of thing with a bunch of really old originally styled Tirol houses that had been picked up and replanted. (sort of like an outdoor museum of log cabins...) Interesting. Monday after school Kelly, Erin and I got together again at Kelly's house and made Mexican! Chicken quesadillas! Oh, I have missed those! They were really, really good. Tuesday was 2/3 and Wednesday was 8 weeks before I'm ín my own bed. Wow. Oh, yeah. Music test yesterday was considerably easier than I'd thought considering I'd spent some five hours or so in the span of a week memorizing 7 pages front and back word for word information (as I was told I had to). That was slightly aggravating. Physic going well. He was actually really nice to me yesterday and today... hmm... All for now. Camera cord broke so pictures are on hold. | It's been a very busy week. Will continue to be for the next few weeks. Weekends, anyway, are going to go fast. Physics test next Monday probably. That's going to suck. He's back to hating the class again. Must have been a one day fluke. I really messed up with Geography and now I have two chapters to learn for an oral test sometime in the next few weeks. I get to decide at least. This week we have Thurs and Fri off for some holiday. Thursday we're going to a castle somewhere in south Germany. Saturday is the Baptism of the newest cousin, Flora. Then that full week of school. Friday we leave early afternoon for Italy- right on the coast by Venice. We're staying through Tuesday evening (once again, Mon and Tues off for some holiday). Then that week comes the last Math Schularbeit and after that I should be done with tests. Then that Friday I leave school early for the next AFS camp and the weekend after is yet another four day weekend. The week after that is the end of the grading. Then we have to weeks in July and I'm back. Meanwhile, it was a beautiful warm day today- in the 80s. I wanted to go for a walk but the wind is blowing so hard I'm afraid I'll be blown away... | 8 Weeks Left... May 18th 2006 | The Next 7 Weeks... | May 22nd, 2006
27: Schloss Neuschwanstein was amazing. Exactly a fairy tale castle. And Germany was fun too. We passed 900 motorcycles in an hour driving there... apparently a very popular route through the mountains. Anyway, it was a really fun day and the castle was really beautiful. Poor Ludwig II spent a grand total of a half a year there. He was murdered (probably) and found drowned in a lake at another of his castles. Spent way too much money on castles and the people weren't too happy... Unfortunately cold and cloudy weather here- I miss the sun and the mountains! | Today's the baptism of the newest little one in the family. Saturday afternoon... apparently normal here. Last Tuesday went to see the play the drama kids in my class and the class above us put on. Columbus: the Discovery of America. Besides being extremely politically incorrect (with the behavior of the Indians...) it was really good. Then the end all the Indians (which Columbus's men had killed) pulled off their t.shirts to display the 'I (heart) NY' shirts and then we had a 2 minute epilogue completely making fun of Americans. Fun to be sitting in the front row for that one. Satire, would probably be the word for it. A couple came over and apologized to me afterwards- ha. Monday Physics test... I hope I'm ready. And Friday we leave for Italy- very excited for that. Praying for beautiful weather. Who would have thought the end of May would be cold! | May 27th, 2006 | The Castle
28: 1st of June and new snow on the mountains. Been in the 40s, 50s and low 60s the last few weeks and always with clouds, fog and lots of rain. Yuck. Apparently after living through the coldest and longest winter in 100 years I am now living through the coldest spring in 30 years. What a year I picked. 1st of June (even in Austria) should not have a fire burning in the house and me digging into my sweatshirts that I had packed to send home. We're really, really hoping Jesolo (Italy) is warm and sunny! | June 1st, 2006 | One day (the one day that we will allow not so beautiful to be) we're heading to Venice for the day. Otherwise, warm beach. Hopefully... Meanwhile, the physics test did not happen. Was postponed until the 14th. So I can learn it all over again. My Geography test is next Friday. The three times I have asked what I should learn he has told me three different things so that should be fun (considering the reason I really need this grade is because he told me to learn something different than what I needed to the first time...). Apparently I had told me History teacher that I wanted him to test me over Napoleon (don't remember ever doing this) so he did today. Which was good because I'd learned it all and ended up trying to tell him more details than he wanted which ended with him rushing me. | Ah, yeah- how completely random is this. We were at the Baptism of Flora, the new cousin here. Baptisms here are just the family on Saturday afternoons. The priest who baptized her, is, next January, moving to St. Louis, MO and taking a job teaching Theology at St. Louis University. How random! Apparently he's really from Boston, came to Austria for his seminary and Micaela, little Flora's mother, who teaches German as a foreign language, taught him German. He is now in England but will be in St. Louis as of January. He was quite surprised to meet me too! Anyway, more after Italy- and hopefully lots of pictures! | June...
29: Was beautiful. Absolutely amazing. Left Innsbruck at noon Friday with 4c (39F). Mountains covered with white and it was snowing as we crossed into Italy. Then we watched the temp rise... 10!!! 12!!! 20!!! 22!!! And SUN!!! Got in at 6 or so... spent a good hour going the last 14 km. Holiday in Italy so everyone was heading to Jesolo. Ate dinner at a (gasp!) Italian place every night- they've been going there for all of the 12 years they've been staying at this place. Owner knows them all by name. Jesolo is home to the longest straight shopping street in Europe- 14 km long. We walked the first km or so of it every night. Saturday morning was cool and cloudy so a group drove to Venice (or rather, drove 45 min when it's 15 min by car away- the bikers were going faster than us). Took the ferry across to St. Marcus Square and spent the next two hours walking up and down the streets of Venice. What an absolutely gorgeous city. It was amazing. Took pictures of the canals and gondolas b/c it's unbelievably expensive to rent one. Lots of bridges, lots of water, lots of small, thin houses and shops, lots of people and pigeons (they attacked my host cousin when he bought the food to feed them but when he gave me a few pieces they all ignored me and flew away.) | Apparently bird flu is not an issue here. Then took the boat to Murano- an hour long ride that showed us a good deal of coast and small towns. Here we found out that Lisa gets seasick. She spent the duration sleeping in the cabin. Murano is a small town with it's own glass blowing. We got to watch the guy make a little horse and a vase in the period of about 10 minutes. Was very cool. Got back late that night because of long boat ride and traffic. Spent the rest of the weekend (Sunday through Tuesday) on the beach! Warm (relatively anyway) and sunny. BEAUTIFUL! Swam in the sea, built sand castles, studied for my math test on the beach. Was a wonderful weekend. Then we drove home Tuesday afternoon and watched the temperature fall and saw the snow on the mountains and were sad. On the other hand, my German has obviously reached a breaking point. In Italy they speak Italian and English. I was supposed to speak English. In spite of that, guess who orders her dinner in German and the Austrians around her have to translate into English. That was a little embarrassing! | Italien! | June 26th, 2006
31: And I'm home. AFS camp was last weekend with all the kids here (in Tirol and Voralberg) and all the kids leaving- that meant Lisa was there with me which was fun and a little weird at the same time. They had us write out a list of all we still wanted to do so that we could do as much as possible and that's when I realized I'm going to have to one thing from the list every day to pull this off. Or double up... they should have had the camp a while ago... It was a lot of fun though- really fun to talk to the kids who have been here for the semester and for the year. It was pretty much decided that though we're going to miss it a lot here, we're more or less ready to go home. We did a lot of talking about what we're going to miss, how we've changed and how that will fit into going back, what we won't miss, the picture we have of 'typical Austria' (which we presented to the Austrians who were leaving... some of them weren't exactly pleased), made a list of tips for those going away... lots of kids going to the US- all for a year and all have families already. One to Tulsa, OK (and all the Americans laughed), one to Nevada, one to Arkansas, one to Pittsburgh, one to somewhere else in New England and one who I didn't end up talking to. Then there are two going to Australia, one to Belgium, one to France, one to Japan for a year (who doesn't speak a word of Japanese) and one to Iceland for a year. Found that interesting. Today we got our Math Scularbeit back. I got a perfect score- so a 1. Messed up one of the problems quite badly because I didn't understand what it was asking for, but managed the extra credit. So I have my 1 in math. Physics Test is Wed. Went to a friend's after school today and we studied together. Hope it goes okay but really don't care so much at this point... seven school days until the end of the grades- and then it's pretty much over. Days are filling up again so I'm going to be busy, busy, busy. And I found out I can take two check on bags back to the US (only was allowed one coming over) so fitting everything back into my suitcases shouldn't be a problem. Oh! And it was warm, warm, warm today! Hot, was the word they were using. Summer is finally here for good they said. I think it was 80. | A Month from Today... | June 12th, 2006
32: Yesterday in Innsbruck it hit 30 (86F). That was a heat record. Today is just as warm. The entire population of Hall spent yesterday at the swimming pool (I had afternoon classes so I was just hot) and 40% of the population is wearing a skirt and sandals today (50% of the remaining being male. Skirts are really, really popular). I've despite the fact that this is a huge heat wave (my host dad says, "so you can tell them at home: today and yesterday was summer. This year Austria had summer for two days!" Does that mean it's not going to last?), the overall lack of AC can make it a little miserable in the attic of the school building. Physics! Well, it's over. I still hate the guy. At the beginning he came over and asked really nicely if I understood everything. I said yes and started working right away. Didn't waste any time answering three of the four problems. Glanced at the last one, worked it, thought it was a little off because the number was weird. "5 minutes left" he says. That's when I realized there was no way I was going to finish because the last problem had three parts. And I didn't finish. Worked the second part and my mind was blank on the formula I needed for the last part. Didn't help that he was grabbing the paper out of my hands. He reads over my answers and points to one- I had written 5000 days for my answer. "Is that the scientific measurement for time?" he asks. "Ah, no! Seconds!" I tried to grab the paper back but he just grins and pulls it away. If you're not going to let someone fix a stupid mistake you don't point it out to them. That's just mean. Turns out almost no one knew the answer to that last formula- there were no examples in the book- we had written it on the board in the last five minutes of a class period. So, in short- I didn't have near enough time (so much for, "written test with as much time as you need") and I really messed up one of the four but the other three I'm pretty certain were all completely right so hopefully that works out. Turns out I'm not finished though. Musik teacher called on me to test over Concerts. I explained that I didn't know much of anything about it because of the physics test but if he wanted I could attempt it... he called on someone else. But as next week is the last week where we can get grades, I'm almost certainly going to be tested. Then I'm finished. Four day weekend. Tomorrow is some Catholic holiday to bless the city... big procession- will probably go into the Altstadt but it starts at 8:00 am so we'll see. | Summer! June 14th, 2006
33: With three weeks today left in Hall life just really sped up. Not to mention that fact that Austria seemed to skip right from Winter to Summer and I'm wondering where my spring went... So, four days until the end of grades, nine days of classes and 14 days of school... end of the year here is a little strange. As far as I'm concerned, I'm already done. I'm passing everything and it really doesn't matter what those numbers are anymore... Got the Physics test back. I'm not really satisfied with the grade but I guess I should be. 3+. I missed a 2 by one point. The reason I should be satisfied- I had the second best test in the class. About half the class failed. Still not pleased with him- he took off for reasons I still don't know... actually I think it was just unclearly worded (as in, my German) and he decided it wasn't completely right. But oh, well. That's done. Thursday was spent up in the little cabin on the mountain again. Looks very different without 3-4 feet of snow everywhere. Was beautiful and fun. Friday afternoon was spent at the pool- going to the pool here really means going to a huge grassy park and lying in the sun, then getting up to jump in the water for 5 minutes and then lying back in the sun. Wasn't my idea of 'going swimming'. Saturday I went to my liaison's house and we made home made pizza (Austria/Italian style...) and then something similar to a Topfen Strudel which was amazingly good. Then we went to the American football game- they won, yeah. Sunday the family drove to Achen See, which is apparently the largest lake in Tirol. About an hour or so away, a little less. Hour long walk to a beach where we ate a picnic lunch and hung out in the sun (after a 5 month winter, Austrians worship the sun. First ray and they're lying out in bikinis.) and then took a ship back because we were feeling lazy. | In other news, Europe is soccer crazy. The TV programs are messed up for the remainder of my stay here to cover the three games a day and every single commercial has something to do with the WM. And no, Austria didn't qualify. Then there's Bruno. Bruno is a bear that has been wandering all over Tirol for a little over a month now and making the news everywhere. Bruno is a very, very smart bear and people are a little worried. He has attacked and killed quite a few sheep at five or six locations, just for the kill, not for food and the trackers think he will attack people too. He was in the area of Innsbruck a couple of weeks ago but despite a lot of tracking they can't seem to catch him. He never returns to the same village and last week was hit by a car as he was walking through the streets of a town, but still managed to escape. I'm now off to run some errands- trying to cross stuff off my 'to-do in the next 25 days!!!' list. Pictures will come eventually... I have to get over to my host aunts house some time this week... | June 19th, 2006 | AHHH!!!
34: And I stopped yesterday... after spending two or three hours studying for the Music that didn't happen because we had a group come in and play for us instead. And was instead tested in Physics which I wasn't at all prepared for. And that's when I realized I really didn't care anymore. I know a couple of grades now but still waiting on the rest. Anyway, making progress in finishing up last minute things. This weekend should be good, too. Tomorrow AFS is meeting in Innsbruck for a last get-together/talk about your year. Evening is the school end party. Saturday I have a drawing course up in the castle in Innsbruck- which reminds me I need to get supplies for that sometime... not sure when I'm going to manage that... then is the last Football game. Sunday AFS kids (organized by Lisa and I) are going to go to Wolfsklamm in Stans, which is a hike down to a waterfall something. Apparently really cool. | One More Day Till Grading Ends! | June 22nd, 2006 | Monday two classmates are coming over to bake American- chocolate chip cookies and apple pie I think we're going to make. Tuesday and Wednesday are the last afternoon school (Tuesday anyway is something of a party) and Thursday I'm going with another AFSer to the Landesmuseum (art) in Innsbruck. Saturday should be the Saltmining museum in Hall. Last week- Monday is sport day, Tuesday and Wednesday the class is going on another little retreat up in a cabin- except this time we cook ourselves... that Sunday (right before I leave) we head to Munich and then Wednesday I'm home. Not too many free days left.
35: Then a worthless week at the end. And then it's over. Wow. Saturday I had a painting course up in Schloss Ambros, Innsbruck's Castle- was really cool. Then I walked to the football game (at the foot of the mountain) and watched the Raiders win... actually, Nina, my liaison showed up and we really didn't watch much of the game but in spite of that they won. It was the celebration for summer (which was Tuesday? or Wednesday?) which means they light fires up in the mountains. Unfortunately it was cloudy and rainy so the full thing didn't happen (sometimes there are pictures- hearty and letters and stuff spelled out with the little fires) but we did get to see some of them. We walked into the AltStadt where there was a celebration going on and then went to the After-game party. | We left at 9:00. Then Lisa had to run back to get her earrings. I wasn't pleased. We're walking down the street. A car stops and someone calls, 'Kelsey!' I'm thinking, I don't really know that many people in Hall... this is strange. Then someone steps out. It's Veronica. I seriously do not believe she is real until I hug her. Wow. They're driving right through Innsbruck and thought they'd stop to say hi... and maybe find a Hotel in Hall for the night. And if Lisa hadn't forgotten her earrings we would have been at the party and I would have completely missed her. Veronica came with me to school while her parents searched for hotels- I introduced her to friends and showed her the Alt Stadt of Hall. Unfortunately there were no openings in Hall so they had to driving on to Innsbruck for the night. I'm honestly still in shock... that was the biggest surprise of the year. School party fun! By the way, NOTEN SCHLUSS!!! (grade closure)- next week still normal lessons (like anyone's going to do anything when they can't be tested or given homework anymore...). | Sunday we woke up a little late and had a stressful time making it to the train- Lisa and I had organized for the AFS kids a day in Wolfsklamm- which is a hike up a mountain through lots of waterfalls to a Church and monastery at the top. Was a little demanding of bodily strength but we managed it (with a 2 hour lunch break in the sun) and had a lot of fun- there were 5 of us- Lisa (going to Australia), Sabine (going to Tulsa, OK), Kelly (from CA), Natalie (from Chilie) and me. | I saw Veronica on Friday. Veronica is a good friend of mine who goes to my school in the US and lives in St. Louis. I was a little surprised too. I knew she was in Poland visiting family and I knew at some point she was driving down through Austria to Italy but I definitely did not expect to see her as we went to the school party. We were late. I had wanted to go at 7:45 or so (officially started at 7:00) but held off till 8:15 to eat and then Lisa said she was going at 8:30. Lisa was late. | Das Gibt's Nicht! | June 25th, 2006
36: They killed JJ! The bear that was running around here- they gave out permission to shoot and the Germans did. I'd say around 70% of people here were fans of his. We're a little upset. German vs. Argentina playing Friday(?). Entire Austria is rooting for Argentina... just a little rivalry there... but Austria didn't even make it to the WM so they don't have much going for them... No school today. Found that out Tuesday. Nice surprise. Had so much planned... then got sick yesterday and couldn't go to school so that kind of messed up my day a little... I've been healthy this whole time and then yesterday when I had plans with a friend, the last day of my Informatik class (wanted to say goodbye at least!) and was going to a movie with another friend I have to go and get sick and spend 17 hours sitting in the house in pain doing nothing. Not so much fun with only 14 days left... But I'm better today. Going to the Art museum in Innsbruck. Looks like we're going to Munich on Saturday. Hopefully at least! | Wow. It doesn't go so fast until you realize you're going to be home in two weeks- as in this is the remaining length of a normal vacation- and then you realize you've been here for half a year and it's not real! So- my next week... Sunday- Munich Monday- Sport day. We choose between three sports (my entire class chose soccer) and play the whole morning. Hope it's not hot... Tuesday and Wednesday- retreat with the class. One room building with 17 people- except I think the two boys in the class are refusing to go... they don't seem so excited about spending 48 hours in one room with 14 girls... hmm... we're cooking everything ourselves too. Should be fun. Thursday- going to school at 10:00 for a end of the year church service. Evening, going to the Silber Mond (A GERMAN BAND!!! AND THEY SING IN GERMAN!!!) in Kufstein with Lisa, host mom and a friend. Friday- go to school at 8:00 to pick up report card, then go out to a Cafe with class... Saturday? Sunday? Last family dinner to say goodbye to me... Monday? Tuesday- 9:00 train to Wien Wednesday- Flight to NY- I'm in St. Louis at 7:51 pm... Germany won last night. Should be fun in Munich tomorrow.... | June 29th, 2006 | Thirteen Days! The Countdown Begins.. | July 1st, 2006 | 11... | Yeah- short update. Moving way too fast...
37: Wow. Sport day wiped me out today. We played soccer. We were an all girl team because the two boys in our class didn't play- one has a sprained foot and the other went to the other class... traitor! The teachers were making complete fun of us because we were all girls trying to play soccer... didn't think that was too fair. Unfortunately we completely failed at trying to prove that we could play soccer... we got 4th place from 5 teams. We did win one game. 1-0. That was because we had a really tall good soccer player guy who had graduated already come and play goalie for us. He shot a goal. Yeah! But it was really, really hot and we were in the sun all morning... Learned to bake a Sachertorte (famous Austrian cake), Salzburg Nocherln (or something that sounds remotely similar... mom, this is the souflee/meringue thing you were talking about) and palachinken- more or less crepes. And I do realize my spelling needs some work. Munich was also amazing. We took the sightseeing bus around the city. Then went to the Altstadt and ate lunch, then went to the Neue Pinakothek (art) and then to the English Garten which is the largest innercity park in the world and is absolutely huge. We watched guys in Lederhosen playing Bavarian music in the Chinese dome (and found it quite amusing) and watched a bunch of surfers riding a wave in the river that flows through the park (along with some 40 other onlookers and a few park patrollers walking by) directly in front of the sign 'strictly forbidden surfer- Life danger!' Found this also funny. Then came home. Tomorrow we leave morning and come back Wednesday afternoon from the class retreat. And yes, packing is going to fit in somewhere... | 9... | July 3rd, 2006
38: A week from today... So yesterday was the 4th. Absolutely no one had any clue. But that's okay I guess... ironically though we did have a conversation about the US national anthem. A classmate asked another classmate how it went. I was sitting in between them. I found that quite humorous. Of course no one would think to ask me... Then we also made s'mores... Back up. Hiked up another mountain. Man is that straining. Especially when the teacher keeps deciding it would be fun to go off the trail through the almost completely vertical slope of woods rather than the winding, not so steep nicely paved trail. But we did finally make it there. There are a lot of cows wandering around in the mountains by the way. A couple followed us to the cabin and proceeded to jump over the fence (breaking it) to try to get to the grassy field on our side. We practiced herding cattle away... It was a little boring seeing as no one has planned anything but in spite of that nice. And then- they had found marshmallows. I don't know where- but Clara had found Rocky Mountain White marshmallows and another girl had a pack of fruit flavored ones (yuck!) so I had brought along the remaining Hershey's kisses (because with Milka chocolate it wouldn't quite be the same) and then had bought some full corn crackers which actually taste really similar to graham crackers. We grilled hotdogs (well, Germanly put, "frankfurters"), potatoes and then I showed them the concept of a s'more. And the entire box of crackers, kisses and marshmallows were gone in about 5 minutes. S'mores are a hit. | Then we stayed up till 1:00 to hear the final results of the soccer game. We had two people for Germany in our group. One is from Germany (and moved here at the beginning of the year) and the other was strongly against Italian. We had no TV. We had a cell phone consultant calling every 5 minutes to update the 0-0 score... and then the last two minutes about half of the class had already gone to bed when every cell phone in the room starts ringing and everybody downstairs starts screaming and that's when it became obvious that Germany had won. We came down today- it's just as demanding to climb down a mountain with "short cuts" through the woods (actually became "sliding down the mountain" because we were in a rush to catch a bus that turns out didn't come for another 90 minutes... so we called parents and got picked up. And that was the result of our little class retreat. | July 5th, 2006 | 7???
39: Physics explains itself and I knew I deserved the 2 in Biologie but I was expecting a 2 in Geography and German. Completely satisfied however. Concert last night (Silber Mond) was really, really fun. Despite the fact that I didn't know any lyrics... they were in German. School's out- my class made a little book for me where they all wrote a page. I got descriptions of each class (and an assessment of my work!) from all the teachers which were sometimes quite amusing to read. Now I'm going to finish up last minute gifts for family and take last minute pictures... Oh yeah. 5... | First a comment on the comments- funny how it's only when I make a mistake that I actually get comments. Thanks guys. Yes, obviously Germany lost. Then Portugal lost- No one's really excited about either Italy or France. Oh well. And... Wow! Much, much better than I expected. Don't think I honestly really deserve them all- but my host mom said if I wasn't satisfied she was going to have to yell at me. Physics- 3 Biologie- 2 Everything else- 1 | July 7th, 2006 | YES!
41: I'm home! Safe and sound and recovering from jet lag. And my mother is extremely glad (my dad too apparently but it's my mom mentioning that right now). Flights through to NY were without problem (though long... especially as the flight across the ocean had no movie worth seeing... makes for a long 8.5 hours...) but NY had major weather issues which led to a broken PA system (what moron left the door of the plane open so the PA box got wet???) and then twenty or so flights waiting in front of us for take off... so a half hour after I was supposed to be home I was still sitting on the run way where I'd been for the last two hours after an hour waiting in the airport for the lightning to stop so I could even board the plane. And this after the longest day of my life... first the addition of 7 hours... (wait... we left Switzerland at 10:00... I've been sitting on a plane for over 8 hours... and it's still noon here... this isn't fair!) and because the lucky American kids got to get up at 3:00 to get to the airport to catch their plane in Vienna and as it was almost 1:00 when the first kids were finally able to get to bed we figured two hours of sleep might be more deadly than none- we all made records on going without sleep... 50 hours. Good to be back... with the exception of the wonderful heat wave that struck STL the day after I arrived. Welcome home. Austria looks pretty darn good right now. English is coming back fairly quickly though the first 36 hours were a mixture of German and English that us exchange students understood perfectly but kind of threw the airport security/workers and our plane seatmates a little off... Anyway, thanks for reading! | The day after tomorrow... I'll be in St. Louis. Amazing how fast the last three months have flown by. And I have managed to fit everything into my suitcases with several times repacking and a lot of help from Lisa- we forced it in. I also managed to get a really really bad sunburn on my back yesterday despite the fact that it was cloudy the entire day and I had used sunscreen there... should make a 10 hour flight and carrying a 20 pound backpack around for the next 48 hours real fun. Anyway, this is goodbye. Goodbye to the mountains, to German, to Knoedel, my Familie and Freunde... honestly I'd gladly stay another month... but as my host mom said yesterday- think about everyone waiting at home for you to get back- think of your poor mother who is counting the hours (I think she's already feeling Lisa's departure in 2.5 weeks). | July 10th, 2006 | Tomorrow. | July 16th, 2006 | Home! | So- I did everything I wanted to do and I saw a lot. Salzburg, Vienna, Venice, Italy, South Tirol, Innsbruck, Munich, and a lot of Tirol and the mountains. I learned to ski and to snowboard, when hiking in the mountains, managed the equivalent of highest honors on a report card, managed not to fail Physics, became conversationally fluent (minus accent and grammar and failing vocab...) in German, fell in love with a new family and made a few strong friendships that hopefully will survive through penpals. And now I'm leaving. I'll see you all soon... 2...