Sunday, August 15, 2010

Some happenings

Phil Doolittle from the UOR campus was here this week to help the transition process along.  Great to have him here, and we think we’re positioned for a productive but probably a little crazy final week of transition work with Jim and Eva.  We have to-do lists, our assistant Kevin has one, and they should have them too.  So this week will be spent checking things off lists in the hopes of giving us what we need to make it through the term with minimal bumps.  Bumps will come, we know, but we’d like smaller ones.

While we’ve been learning, Teo and Mara have gone feral.  We have a new babysitter, Anjieska, who was a German classmate of ours.  She’s very nice, but speaks no English.  So, we and the kids communicate with her in German.  That doesn’t always work.  Dictionaries are located in each room now, and it turns out that Teo is already translating for Mara and occasionally correcting my German.  Impressive, and insulting, but whatever… we’ll get over it.  Soon we’ll have him negotiating with our employees on our behalf.  Anyway, Anjieska doesn’t play by the same disciplinary handbook we do, so the kids aren’t cleaning up after their activities, aren’t always listening, etc.  And they seem to get really dirty, but we’re not sure how.  We are anxious for Montessori in Salzburg to begin in September, and can only hope that evenings and weekends with us can make up for the mornings with her.  We’d like Kasia back, but she selfishly says that her law school future is more important.    

We’re having a wonderful time getting to know the instructors for the program, Kevin, our program assistant, and also the friends we’ve met here in Salzburg.  Today we went with Brooke/Nathan and family on a beautiful walk in a forest/to a waterfall about a half-hour from Salzburg.  Picnic lunches, a beer break before a pit stop (into a toilet that emptied directly into the river), a park with a great zipcord nearby.  What more could we ask for?  It looks like I’ll be doing a bike ride to Linz with Nathan and some of his friends for a couple of days later this month.  Great!  And a good reason to finally go and buy that bike!  

That was today.  Yesterday, just the family went to explore the Festung, the beautiful fortress on the photo of our blog.  It looks over al Salzburg, and we and the kids had wonderful time seeing the whole areas from on high (our second time this week, since Father Schwarzfischer had invited us over to the monastery while Phil was here).  There were also cannons, instruments of torture, ancient toilets, princess furniture, and everything else a child or adult could want.    

Best to All,

Can't seem to easily/conveniently get photos into this blog, but I (Kim) can get them easily into picasa photos

Sunday, August 8, 2010


My friend Diana told me last week that my blog entries did not all have to be masterpieces.  So, I'm going to work from that!  She wants to know about our normal life, and maybe some amusing tidbits.  She said that perhaps not everyone would be endeared by stories of the amazing dinner we had in France two weekends ago....  You can go to the restaurant too, its in Zimmersheim, a non-descript town outside of Basel.  But the food was gorgeous!  I won't tell you about it.

We have been traveling a lot on the weekends: 1.  St. Gilgan am Wolfgangesee (Lake Wolfgang), 2.  Hallstatt, 3.  Basel, Switzerland, 4.  Murnau, Germany, 5.  Strobl am Wolfgangesee.  This will come to an end soon, but its been nice to explore the immediate surroundings some (granted that Basel is not close). 

But, the bigger news, as Steve alluded, is that we are finally into our apartment.  This has helped a lot!  The dorm room with bunk beds got old really really fast, and a whole month nearly pushed us over the edge.  Steve told me the other day that I needed to be happier.  This has helped :-)  It has also helped the kids, who still fight a lot with each other (and more than "normal), but they have a great new room.
Making a 2 bedroom apartment
Kevin and Eva's handiwork
I'll take some pictures of the kid's room tomorrow, and throw in some of the kitchen and living room.  We've spent some time rearranging furniture, and its beginning to feel like somewhere we live.

We went scootering this morning around the hill too.  Normal life.  Tomorrow a new babysitter arrives.  Since she doesn't speak English...

What else structures our quotodian lives -- mosquitos, rain, snack.  We're finding the real supermarkets!  That's been great.  We are better fed again, although still not on Sundays.

Wolves and other such things

We don't have any wolves on the Mönchsberg.  Cattle yes, and slugs galore, to the kids' glee and Kim's dismay.  But no wolves.  That said, we've been hearing a lot about them this week.  
Kim and the kids went to the Salzburg public library this week with our new friend Kirstin and her kids Lena and Florian.  Kirstin has been wonderful in introducing us to the town from a local's perpsective, and also has helped us settle into the community of the kids' new school, Das Kreativ Kind (where Kim did some service work yesterday and met some other parents).  Teo, Mara and Kim came home from the library with viele viele books, a couple of videos, and, very exciting, library cards for everyone!  White Fang was among them - the kids' version, but the establishment of the pecking order of the wolf pack is, well, not terribly sanitized.  It also came with an audio version, which Teo is listening to now as I write.  Just a precursor to video games where he shoots to kill.
Other wolves: Mara is having nightmares.  Last week, several times, she awoke in the night scared of the wolf that was in their bedroom.  As you know, you can't just tell a kid it's not there.  So we did our best to figure out how to help her.  Solution: Mara is now a big bear, a good big bear.  Apparently bear trumps wolf.  Good to know.
We're involved in a wolfpack of our own here, but are managing to learn our new job responsibilities and get along with our staff, meet new friends and colleagues, and speak some Deutsch too.  German class ended yesterday – a great month, and we’re both happy with our progress.  We’re also happy that Anieska, our Slovak university-student classmate, was planning to be in Salzburg in August working, but has time to babysit for us every morning in August! 
At long last, we are moving into our apartment!  It’s not quite photo-ready yet – you’ve all seen apartments with boxes everywhere, piles of luggage, and the like.  Despite all that, we’re thrilled to have our own kitchen, our own refrigerator, and, mostly, to be sleeping and living on a single, lower floor of the Marketenderschossl.  We’ll have to find a way to fit exercise into our schedule now that we’re not trekking up 56 steps every time we need something.
Bikes will help that.  Today we bought new-used bikes for the kids.  A red one for Teo and a little tiger cruiser for Mara.  Photos of bloodied knees also forthcoming…! 
UPDATE: It’s been a day because I didn’t want to post without photos (which Kim has on her computer).  Struggling for a wolf-thing for continuity’s sake….
Today was a long but good day – off to southern Germany to reconnect with Steve’s friend Gretchen Vogel, from Ames, who now lives in Berlin.  A great but quick visit – cold lake, ice cream, park, and buttered pretzels.  Problem was it’s August 1: everyone in Europe is going to Italy and Croatia on holiday, and our road is the road that will take them there.  Traffic was killer.  Made LA look nice.  I’m sure there’s a wolf allusion in there somewhere.