|The "sign" for some Magistrate office in Krems. Not. Helpful.|
It's been... a weird week in Austria. Because of holidays and my nice schedule I only had 2 days of classes this week (so, like 8 hours of actual work, ha!) but they ended up being very tiring days... I guess I'm realizing this is 'real', that I really do have to pay 4 months rent (2 months = deposit) before every getting paid, that I really do have to get that legal stuff done to be here (which I can't seem to figure out how/where/when to do, and also costs money), that I really did choose to live over an hour away from my workplace and that that TOO costs money... bleh. All these 'adult' things stress me, basically, and I don't want to deal with them. I don't know how people my age do it, be successful! I think I've spent too much time in laid-back Portland and at the University of Portland with their kind yet excessive handholding.
One of my schools, the business school (HAK), can be very frustrating for me. The students don't really care or want to learn, and it reminds me of American high schools where you only go to school because you have to. But, the nice part is that the teachers don't care at all what iI talk about, which reminds me of language classes in the US! I can remember talking about all sorts of random German things with basically no theme at all. Anyway, I hate to have students blankly looking at me. I had 4 classes with the HAK yesterday and it just kind of wears down my spirit a bit.
Despite my stress, there have been some really positive moments that remin me that being here is most likely worth all my frustration.
Today, I taught in the HLF tourism school, which I certainly like better! I was told to teach a lesson in the way teachers generally say... 'So, talk about __ and then lead a discussion on it!'. Now, I'm no certified teacher, but I do remember that the last few times I've had lectures on subjects I could care less about, I have very nearly fallen asleep. And frankly these kids don't care about immigration, or Seattle, or politics... so I've devised on-topic games and ignored my instructions, and it works quite well! I did that in a classroom today of a teacher I really dig, though I forget her name (I think it's Lizi, but there's 2 of them and I don't know what the difference is). After class she talked to me for 10 minutes about how the kids really like me, and how I should be a German teacher (or, marry an Austrian and teach English, but we agreed there were a lot of problems with that plan). Now, I've definitely thought about that before but know that my German isn't perfect enough to teach, buuut it's nice to hear from someone who I speak German with and I teach English with that she thinks it would be good. So, that was really nice. How awesome would it be to get some kids seriously excited about German!? I could totally do it better than Frau Taylor. I got excited.
And I do think the students like me! Story tiiiime: so, a couple weeks ago a student said hello to me at the train station. Actually, he said 'Hel-Low KAYtie' in that really great Austrian pronunciation. Anyway, our conversation went like this:
Him: Hello Katie!
Me: Hi, how are you?!
Him: I'm Sebastian! I was... in the class....
Me: Oh, uh... no, how are you doing?
Him: I am going home!
Me: Okay, super, where is home?
Him: (somewhere in Austria)
Me: Cool............. bye. (thinking, it's going to be a longggg year...)
Sooo yesterday I was scampering down the hill to the train station fully aware that I had about 2 minutes to make a 5 minute walk AND buy a train ticket, looking like an idiot, when Sebastian says to me in perfect English 'you will never make it!' and from there we had a nice lengthy 2 hour discussion while we waited for the next train. It was cool! I mean, I enjoy my job because I am a teacher, yes, but also I can just be normal with them and talk about whatever I want. Sebastian took me to see the Danube, finally! It was... super pretty. I think I will paint the moment because it was just nice with the sunset and the mountains and the river and a bridge and dogs and bicycles and all of my favorite things. But yes, turns out Sebastian CAN speak English. He told me all about how to get home from Krems at 4am (the trains are unlocked – just climb on and go to sleep), where to ski (helpful? No. English? Yes.), why the school is called HLF (höhere lernen fremdverkehr, or something, which means high learning tourism, but since their school/Austria is stubborn it is hlF not hlT), annnd other fun things (he hates his English teacher and lived in Salzburg this summer!).
I feel kind of crazy being here because I realize how American I am! Austrians are generally very private people, never really asking much about others or talking about themselves, whereas I vomit my life story all over classrooms (30+ so far) and on this blog and whatever! Facebook is totally changing the way we communicate, of course, and now everyone can basically know anything about my day to day life, but even before the internet Americans are always all about that. It's strange. But in my eyes it makes it easier to get to know me/us because you don't have to worry about what questions to ask or whatever, it's already been said! When I don't speak my thoughts, it's probably a sign of something wrong (again, look at me unearthing all of myself publically). Anyway, it can be difficult to chat with some of the teachers because they don't much like to talk about themselves, but luckily most of them are kind enough to keep talking to me and turn the conversation back to me, or something. Sellllfcentered. I have been told that I wear my heart on my sleeve (thanks Fr. Art) and I'm realizing too how true that is...
I'm staying in Vienna this weekend, which will be nice. I'm looking forward to sleeping in and then walking about the town on adventures! There are some places I've been wanting to see in the city but haven't had time to go to after school, so hopefully I can fit those in on this 5 day weekend.
Did I mention I accidentally bought black licorice flavored toothpaste? I constantly smell like a European...