Thursday, 16 December 2010

♪ This Means Nothing to Me.... Oh, Vienna! ♫

Last weekend, I ventured to the capital of Austria, Vienna. Anne, one of the main people involved in TEA (Teachers of English in Austria, not just a group that really, REALLY likes a cup of Earl Grey) had sent an email round the Salzburg Teaching assistants inviting us to join her for a party in Vienna. I'd kinda forgotten about this email as it had been sent in October (I think.. Or i might just be very forgetful!) but Ali reminded me and was so glad she did because I ended up having a really fun weekend!

Organized to get the train from Salzburg with Ali and we got on the big international train which travels from Munich to Budapest. Unfortunately because it was the big international train, it was packed and so we traipsed up and down the aisles for AGES before eventually deciding to split up and find our own seats. Typical! The one time I go somewhere with someone, we can't sit together! Luckily Ali found us both seats pretty near each other and the person next to her got off at Linz, so I joined her for the rest of the journey. It took around 5 hours altogether to get from home to Vienna.

FIRST IMPRESSION: Vienna = proper city! Immediately outside the train station, there's big billboards, large roads with traffic lights, tram stops and pedestrian crossing and plenty of global, well-known brand shops.

Ali and I were hungry and we saw the yellow 'M' of the Mecca of fast food. Was so tasty as I hadn't eaten for such a long time!

We went back to the train station after to meet up with the 'Tirolians': Elina, Sam, Kerry, Betsy and Suzy then we went our separate ways... Ali and Suzy were having a St Andrews get-together and I joined the other to go to Anne's house. However, as they hadn't eaten yet, I somehow ended up in the second restaurant of the evening! As I didn't REALLY feel like a second meal, I had a 'Wiener-Mädl torte' instead. White chocolate, sponge cake and vanilla creme.... HEAVEN!!!

FIRST IMPRESSION OF ANNE'S HOUSE: Amazingly massive and grand! Anne was so nice and welcoming, the first thing she said was: 'I Have one rule: Make yourself at home!'.

Met Rachel and Pavel (a Polish assistant, teaching English in Rachel's town) in the kitchen and for the rest of the night, waited for the others to arrive. Pam, Karen, Walter and ... someone who's name I've forgotten :S all arrived throughout the evening and we spent time catching up and hearing about each others experiences.

Woke early - lot of time to explore! We split into groups because everyone wanted to do different things and so walked towards Hofburg with the Tirolians. We passed the Rathaus, where a large but very tourist-y Christmas market was but we didn't have time to look around.

At Hofburg, we went round the Porcelain Museum and the Sisi Museum. Porcelain was pretty boring. Some facts were interesting, but after seeing one set of plates, you don't really need to see 700 other sets! :S

The Sisi museum on the other hand, was really interesting! It was amazing to walk around the living quarters of this iconic Queen and learn about her troubled history. One of my favourite items on exhibition was the syringe filled with cocaine which was used to 'cure' menstrual pains! LOL!

After this, we walked back into the town centre where we had some pizza and saw a really talented artist spray painting amazing sci-fi landscapes! His name is Joel Chavez so check him out!

After marvelling at the artists skills for half an hour while he created another work of art, we went to the Sacher Cafe. This is the place where the world famous Sachertorte was created. It's probably the poshest cafe I have EVER been in, with a cloakroom and the most polite waiters/waitresses in the world (and there was a 30 min queue outside)! The Sacher torte was delicious - I'd defo recommend a visit here.

Mmmmmmm Sachertorte!!!

On the way back to Anne's, we went round two other Chrismtas Markets - One at the Museumsquartier (Maria Theresien-Platz) and one at Spittelberg. Viele Geschenke were bought here!!!

We got back at 7 and more people arrived: lots of TEA members from all over Austria and a few second year TAs, all of whom I'd never met before. We were joined by more 1st years as well: Ali, Suzy, Emily, Nora and Lars from Salzburg. Had a few drinks, sang Christmas carols and ate food together. Really enjoyed it! Met a few cool new people and had some interesting chats! :D

SECOND IMPRESSION: Anne is THE BEST! She gave us a buffet and wine/beer, put 15 of us up for the night and made sure we were really well accommodated in general! Definitely one of the most generous people I know, especially as she didn't really know us before that weekend.

JOURNEY HOME: Got the 1.15 train with Ali. Managed to get a comfy seat across the aisle from Ali, but think we were both too knackered/hung over to talk! I know I was knackered at least!
At Salzburg, we got on a train that went through Hallein. The trains were running slow anyway, but this train stopped at EVERY station along the line, so I ended up missing my connection at Schwarzach! I waited for 30 mins, got on the train and was soon in Saalfelden. The majority of passengers got off here (I guess coz they were school kids and probs go to the schools I teach in!) so took the taxis waiting outside. How annoying! I was going to walk all the way home, but it was soooooo cold I rang a taxi.

All in all the journey took 7 HOURS from door to door! HOW RIDICULOUS! Too long for me!

As a final note, here is a children's shop in Vienna:

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

My Weekend In Innsbruck

On the 27th, I went to Innsbruck for Sam's 21st Birthday Gathering. Was really good and had a fun time as I hadn't seen any of the assistants (apart from Kieran) since the induction course and I was reminded that everyone is SO nice and friendly! Elina was kind enough to put me up for the night, along with Melissa and Abi, and they were all really chatty - felt like I hadn't missed out on that much (which i thought i might have, given my lack of doing many social things!). Interesting to hear about their teaching experiences, though and how they're settling in to other parts of Austria - think we're all in a similar situation, having different styles of classes but also different outside of the school.

We went to the Christmas market and had some Glühwein - kept my cup as a souvenier! :D - then met up with Ross and Chris and went back to Elina's to get ready. Had a bit of an adventure getting to the place we were going! Chris left early to meet Sam and the others at the train station and he took them to the Hofgarten. We went with Elina there but she'd never been to the tent/bar place there! So we spent around 20 mins walking round, shouting 'SAM!!!!???' before we eventually found the right way to go. Part of that story may have been a little exaggerated... So we sat inside the tent bit of the bar for a while, freezing and eventually decided to go inside the actual building. Sam had to leave early for her train home, which was a shame, but enjoyed catching up with the other TA's Helen, Betsy, Hayley and Kerry and the other new people I'd never met before Chris and Nathan.

All in all, it was an amazing weekend and will definitely visit these people more often! I hadn't laughed so much in a long time!

A Tribute to Leslie Nielsen

On the 29th November, I heard that Leslie Nielsen had died (aged 84). This upset me tremendously. He was an utter LEGEND and his spoof films are so funny, they have determined my own sense of humour. The Naked Gun (and the original Police Squad series) made fun of American cop dramas and Nielsen's serious portrayal as the bumbling Frank Drebin made the whole thing much funnier than if he had been played in a slapstick manner. Airplane! is another classic film and although Nielsen is not the main character, his lines are probably the most memorable parts of the film. His more recent movies were a little bit of a sell-out (Spanish Movie - he has 2/3 minutes on screen) but who cares? He's AMAZING and deserves any role he wants! The comedy world will 'shirley' miss Leslie Nielsen, as will I...

My Quotes:
Stewardess: Surely you can't be serious?!
Doctor (Nielsen): I am serious. And don't call me Shirley

Doctor: We need to get these passengers to a hospital.
Stewardess: What is it?
Doctor: A big white building with patients inside. But that's not important right now.

Doctor: I just wanna say, Good Luck! We're all counting on you.

Naked Gun
Frank Drebin (Nielsen): Nice beaver!
Jane: Thanks! I just had it stuffed.

Frank's inner monologue: Who was this character in the hospital? And why was he trying to kill Nordberg? Did Ludwig lie to me? I didn't have any proof, but somehow, I didn't entirely trust him either. Why was the 'I Luv You' not listed in Ludwig's records? And if it was, did he know about it? And if he didn't, who did? And where the hell was I?

Police Squad!
Det. Frank Drebin (Nielsen): [running gag] Cigarette?
Various: Yes, I know.

Superhero Movie
Uncle Albert (Nielsen): Remember, with great power comes...
Rick Riker: Great responsibility?
Uncle Albert: Well, I was gonna say bitches, but if you want to be a virgin for the rest of your life...

Scary Movie 3
Agent Thompson: Sir! Step away from the window!
President Harris (Nielsen): What? Did I forget to put my pants on again?

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

A Realisation

There are numerous times when I really want an Xbox or a Playstation. I see the adverts for the latest games and accessories and I get a little jealous – they look so much fun!

But today I realised that not having a games console is a good thing. I was talking to Chris, and was telling him about the pianos in basement of the boarding house I live in. I’ve been there a couple of times to have a bit of a play and at the weekend, tried to teach myself Fireflies by Owl City (which is coming along quite nicely!). I enjoy doing things like this as I love music and enjoy trying to learn such an artistic, respectable skill. It was only after Chris said that I enjoy learning whereas he enjoys playing his Xbox that it hit me how great it is not to have a games console.

If I had an Xbox or a Playstation (they are the only consoles I’d want), I would ALWAYS spend my time on them! They are a great way of relaxing and keeping you entertained but at the same time, it’s a way of wasting time; you don’t gain any transferable skills from them, you don’t learn anything that can bring happiness to others and it’s scary how much time you actually spend on them without realising it. Basically, people are becoming zombies because of an addiction to simple pleasure.
Learning to play a song on the piano in comparison, takes time and practice but in return you gain a massive feeling of satisfaction and success. So if learning an art is the alternative to becoming a slave to the game, then I guess I will continue to take advantage of the pianos on offer here and stop complaining that I don’t have a console.

Fun Sunday!!

Had an extremely productive Sunday yesterday. I retuned my radio to all the fabulous Austrian pop music stations I could find, tried to play the piano for about an hour, went on a walk up the hill where I live and fixed my hard drive! Well good!
On the first day here, Gerhard told me there was a nice walk up the hill to a hermitage and I presumed he meant along a road but I deiscovered yesterday, there’s a whole hive of paths up there! All of them are scenic, woodland-y routes along earth paths and there was even a notice board with all the information about these paths on it in German and English. I followed the most obvious looking path and managed to get to the big building halfway up the mountain you can see from the centre of town. This is Schloss Lichtenberg. I would’ve carried on to the hermitage but I left the start time of my walk a little late and I wanted to watch the Arsenal-Everton match online (we luckily held onto a 2-1 lead!) so I turned round after reaching here and returned to my house.

My portable hard drive decided to break the other night. Every time I plugged it in, Autoplay wouldn’t load up and the drive didn’t appear in ‘My Computer’, only in Device Management so it was impossible to load the files stored on it. This frustrated me so much! I checked online and tried various solutions, but none of them worked. After a day or so of getting angry, throwing it against the wall etc. I had a look in the box it came in (which I’d forgotten I’d brought with me). In it was a disk and a screwdriver. Dad recommended reinstalling driver software but when I loaded disc up, there were too many file names and paths for me to know exactly which one I’d want so I did nothing. I thought I might as well have a look inside, in case there were any obvious flaws. So I unscrewed the end and pulled it out. The actual disc part was still inside. I couldn’t see anything wrong with the end bit so pushed it back in, trying to be careful not to damage anything. But when I plugged the HDD into my laptop again, the light didn’t even come on…. OOPS! :S so I unscrewed it again, pulled the end out and slid the disc bit out as well. This time I reconnected the ‘teeth’ of the disc into the slots of the end bit, plugged it all back in and it worked. Amazingly Autoplay ran straight away, ‘Panda!Panda! (G:)’ came up and I was so happy!!! Have no real idea how I fixed it, but if anyone wants me to look at their technical equipment, you know where to come in future!

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Chris' Visit

Chris visited me for a whole 9 days. 9 days. THAT’S AMAZING!!! Was so happy to see him and spend time with him. The first couple of nights we stayed in my room at the HIB but as it’s a girl’s house, I felt it was a bit inappropriate for him to stay once the girls had all returned (and the teachers who live here might disagree with this… :S). Annoyingly, the internet decided to not work whilst Chris was here, so ended up watching films from the hard drive and from DVD to pass the time.
We rented an apartment in Kehlbach for the next few days. This was so nice – really wish I lived there now! The bed was hidden in a wall compartment thing and folded down on top of the sofa (HOW COOL!?)

and there was free WIFI, Austrian TV, a kitchen with proper cutlery, crockery, a MICROWAVE OVEN GRILL combi! :D and was only around 30 euros a night FOR THE WHOLE APARTMENT! I loved it! Haus Mitteregger Kehlbach

I enjoyed watching my new DVD of Coupling at the apartment , as I couldn’t really remember the episodes and they’re all really cleverly written and most of all, I enjoyed having a microwave oven. We had the best baguettes ever and could melt cheese into them coz of the microwave… fantastisch!

Throughout Chris’ stay, I learnt a lot about where I live. For example, I now know the city bus is cheaper than a numbered bus at only 80 cents a trip, I know how to get to the airport for whenever I need to come home and I finally explored the rooms to the boarding house and saw the table tennis room, the piano room (AMAZING!) and the common room, where there’s a free table football game and a pool table, which didn’t have it’s balls with it. I could not think of a good way of phrasing that end bit…

Thanks to Chris as well, I watched lots of films! We watched X Men, Dark House, Orphan, House Of Wax and House on Haunted Hill within the week, all of which I really enjoyed. I’ll probably give them (defo Orphan) a review on my other blog, so check that out. Also got Chris back into Supernatural! Well happy coz I’ve just got back into it and want to keep watching it. Still only on series two though…

Our last weekend together til Christmas was as follows: spent Friday back at mine and went to Salzburg on the Sat. Stayed at Turnerwirt again (slightly nicer room this time) and went to Shamrock in the evening again. We managed to bump into two really nice British people, Martin and Lil (I think that was their names), who joined our table and were good to talk to. They were only in Salzburg on a weekend break but they seem to have enjoyed it immensely. Adela and Manuel turned up later and joined us for a drink, but by this time it was time to head back to the hotel as Chris’ flight was early in the morning.
It was very upsetting leaving Chris and we were both emotional sheep, bleating like there’s no grass left in the world. But it won’t be long before I see him again…

Monday, 15 November 2010

My Birthday weekend!

So I turned 21 on Saturday the 30th this year. Slightly gutted I spent it abroad and not with the fabulously outrageous drunken party-goers at home but I still had a very nice night out, albeit a slightly more respectable one than my last couple of birthdays.

Chris came to visit for the week and he flew to Salzburg on Fri 29th, so I decided to meet him and we'd spend the night in a hotel somewhere. We stayed at 'Hotel Turnerwirt' - was comfortable and cosy, with free wifi and a computer and wasn't too expensive (around €55 for a double room) but was a bit far from the town centre, so had to get a bus in (although buses were from right outside every 5/10 minutes!).

We went to Shamrock and was so happy to see Nick, Mary and Rachel there! Had a really good catch up with them all whilst drinking mucho Bacardi und Cola and doing shots! As it was near Halloween, they had a lot of spooooky shots on offer so me, Chris and Nick did quite a few between us, with Rachel also having a few. She was an honorary Brit for the night! A couple of Mary's friends appeared, Adela and Manuel, who both seemed really nice and somehow got the bar to sing 'Happy Birthday!' Overall, I had a really good night and we had a hot dog from an Imbiss on the way back and then got in a taxi!

Here's a couple of pics:

On my actual birthday, I realised quite how much i'd spent in the bar... €60! :O can't believe it! But it was my birthday night out so I don't really care. Went for a walk round Salzburg. I found a 'Pound Shop' ('Euro' shop doesn't have the same ring to it) where I bought a spare mug, some forks and a pair of scissors! ESSENTIALS! So I was happy, although Chris looked in disgust at my cheapo side! Went to McDonalds for lunch (v. Austrian, I know) and then made way back to hotel. Think Chris wanted to listen to Chesterfield game on the hotel’s computer so I watched some Austrian TV and learned that The Simpsons voiced by Germans is WRONG.

Went out for a Chinese in the evening, where I got a free bottle of wine! Well impressed! :) We were gonna go to Rockhouse for the night (a gig venue/bar place) but I was confused by the entrance price. I was ushered to the people behind the desk by the bouncers and when I asked about going to the bar side they said it would cost 28 – 42 euros! I didn’t understand what was going on and repeated that we only wanted to go to the bar but the guys didn’t seem to understand. WELL RANDOM! So we walked back towards Shamrock...Met Rachel on the way and decided to try somewhere new - O’Malley’s. Would you have guessed that it was also an Irish bar?! AND it was next to Shamrock! Here it was very rowdy and loud but luckily we found a table in the non-smoking section so we weren’t being choked by fumes! Eventually we went home and the next day, me and Chris returned to Saalfelden.

Excellent birthday all in all just can't wait for the celebrations at home!

A Voyage to Bludenz...

These next few posts are going to be seriously outdated, but feel I should keep track of any semi-interesting things that happened whilst on my year abroad! So....

At the start of Autumn half term, I decided to visit Kieran in Bludenz. Luckily, K was also free this weekend (I basically gatecrashed his house for a couple of nights) and we did what we did best - went out drinking! This was such a nice change from my current lack of social life in Saalfelden. The first night, we went out to a couple of bars, one where K had never been but had always looked good and one that he'd been in quite regularly. The first was AMAZING! It played rock/metal music so we were both pretty pleased about it and there wasn't too much smoke around. Drinks weren't too expensive and there was a general nice atmosphere. The second was not as good. We managed to get a table but it was 'w'rickety and it was SOOOOOO smoky I almost lost a lung! :O

But we had a good night and managed to catch an AMAZING German gore/humorous/reunification film by Christoph Schlingensief Das deutsche Kettensägen Massaker. Definitely one to check out!

On the second day we ventured to Dornbirn. There we met up with some other assistants, Mackenzie, Xan, Kiley and Erica and had a drink and a chat in a cafe/restaurant place. I was getting extremely hungry at this point, but felt it would be dodgy if I ordered anything. So I watied... and waited... and waited... until finally we left!
***SHOCK OF THE MONTH*** Dornbirn has a supermarket open on a Sunday!!!!!!!!!! I was GOBSMACKED! So went in and bought a roll - well hungry - and some other bread to keep me full later! GET IN!

Mackenzie and Xan live in Feldkirch and they were having Mike over for the night so me & K decided to stay with them a bit and carry on socialising. Again, this was SO GOOD coz I hadn't had a proper chat or drink in AGES! Went to an irish pub but unfortunately only stayed for one drink and by this time, me and K were thinking about the trip home, so we called it a night and went to the second bar in Bludenz again. Tonight's TV included an American artist (speaking English) who somehow managed to make green splodges of oil paint look amazingly like trees in about 5 brushstrokes...

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Most Productive Day EVER!!!

Thought i'd break the trend of writing these posts late by writing a post on the day it's set! :O SHOCK!

This tale of productivity and general awesomeness begins early on Thursday morning... I wake up, get dressed, remember to pack everything in my bag for once and manage to eat a slice of toast before setting off. Lessons begin at 10.45 today but left the house early, in order to get everything sorted.

TASK 1: Get Franz's signature on the Meldezettel
TASK 2: Tell Frau Liebe I want feeding!

Gerhard took me to meet Franz Holler and Frau Liebe yesterday (the boarding house manager and the head of the canteen). Glad to have finally met the people I should pay for rent and for food! Unfortunately, there wasn't time to have a proper chat to either of them yesterday, so had to sort everything out today. Went up to Franz's office where he signed the Meldezettel sheet immediately. Then went to Frau Liebe's room. She wasn't in her room but as i was about to go, i spotted her through the doors to the kitchen! She was very friendly and helpful and said i could eat there today! AWESOME! Tasks done!

TASK 3: Hand in Meldezettel at Rathaus

Now I had to hand in the registration form. I took the Kaiserallee to town and went immediately to the Rathaus. After being pointed in the right direction by the receptionist, I held my sheet out to the woman behind the desk, and said 'Meldezettel?'. A very silent 10 minutes later, I had got my proof of registration!!! Although apparently I have only been living here since today... :S

TASK 4: Get a stamp for Birmingham Mitigations letter

I thought I'd go back to the place where I bought Chris' postcard and stamp and decided to stock up on stamps whilst i had the chance! I now have 2 spare stamps! :D

Realising it was only 9.25 and I had 1 hour 20 til my first class, I tried to see if the library was open to do my final urgent task. But it didn't open til 10. So....

TASK 5: Find Chris somewhere to stay

... with the Tourist Info being straight in front of me, it seemed like a good idea to check out the local hotels etc. and see if there's somewhere cheap to stay. I managed to find a couple of good hotels and wrote them down in my phone! I will e-mail them later.

TASK 6: Do lessons
Despite trying to waste time by going to Berka, a fashion and toy shop (odd combo!), and looking at the thousands upon thousands of board games, I still managed to arrive early at the HBLA. Read a bit of a free newspaper then it was time for the lesson; this week I had to listen to them all describe the hotels on the sheets they were given last week. I took notes as the teacher asked, but when I went to give them her at the end of the lesson, she'd gone! How rude!?
So went to next class. Thought I'd already introduced myself to all the classes but apparently I hadn't in this one! Hadn't brought my leaflets or laptop so had to draw pics of the Crooked Spire

and then drew a basic map of the UK

The class ended early as there was an assembly for teachers, so I headed home for my first meal at the school.

TASK 6: Before getting to HIB, find a post box

On my way back from the HTL/HBLA, I searched for a post box. I wasn't sure what they would look like, although I presumed they'd be yellow... Luckily, I bumped into a postman and asked him where one was. Although he looked a bit confused and pointed to somewhere very nearby, he said as long as my letters had a stamp on them, he'd put them in his bag. So hopefully they'll make it to England!!! If not, I blame him...

Task 7: Actually go to the canteen to eat

This time, I knew I would have to go to the canteen for food. I was starving and felt like I hadn't eaten any proper food for MONTHS! I wanted to go with Karin, the live-in teacher, as she always seems nice and on the first coupld of days, asked me whether i wanted to go with her. But unfortunately she wasn't in, so i ventured across to the canteen on my own... Frau Liebe was in the main hall and told me to sit on the long table by the kitchen doors. Felt like an outcast as there was noone else there.. Eventually, teachers arrived, including the nice male English teachers Franz and Wolfgang and spoke to a couple of others who seem nice. Phew... Not that scary after all.

Then came the meal. AMAZING! DELICIOUS! FABULOUS! How else could i describe it?! Got served a watery chicken (?) soup with noodles which was really tasty and filled me up quite a lot, had a slice of aniseed flavoured brown bread and THEN had the MAIN COURSE! Soup and bread is one of my main courses normally, so i was quite unprepared for the chicken legs, thighs and breast that appeared, along with flavoured rice. It was so tasty! And it costs less than 5 euros! BARGAIN! Really enjoyed it and can't wait for another meal.

So that's my productive day! Think it's been pretty amazing, don't you? :) Oh and it was snowing this morning.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Second Week of Teaching....

I am writing this blog very late. It is now Wednesday of Week 3 and I am falling behind on updates :S! But nothing that interesting or exciting happened as far as I can remember… Although...some pretty dodgy things happened!

Firstly, I had my worst class so far :( They were completely uninterested in English and spoke in German most of the lesson. A lot of them reminded me of people at home – those people who didn’t do very well for themselves and are now living on benefits – and the teacher wasn’t much help either. She seemed to have no real authority over them and the class seemed to enjoy winding her up (reminded me of Mollie and Charlotte from my class in school! :P). So although I tried to teach the class a little about me and my home town, they didn’t seem that bothered.

Secondly, I somehow got roped into playing guitar and singing for a class! :O HOW THE HELL DID THAT HAPPEN!? I mentioned liking to play guitar and the class pounced on it – all requesting that I sing and play some English songs in the next class. I said I didn’t have a guitar with me, the teacher said she’d find one. I protested I couldn’t play that well, the teacher waved away my complaints. I said I only know one, possibly two songs, the teacher said I could learn another in the lesson. ARGGH! So I’ve gotta get out of that somehow, although feel a bit bad for not emphasising more at the time that I couldn’t play guitar.

Also had my first lesson with 5M of the HTL this week. Eva had told me there were 25 in her class and when there are 26 pupils in a year group, the class splits. This class had always been two groups but one person had left so they had to merge together. I thought “Sure, no problem. 25 people in a class is the same as in England!” I soon realised that it’s a lot more people than in my other classes, so was a bit daunting. The majority were boys (as it’s a HTL class, and more boys study technical things) which was even more daunting because they kept joking around and whispering to each other. Afterwards, I decided they all seemed pretty nice. A few of them played football which I thought was cool and one of them, I’m pretty sure, ended up scoring for FC Pinzgau on Saturday! Will explain more later…

Sigrid’s 3FW class was good as I only had to talk to them about their current topic, accommodation. I enjoyed having some one-to-one time with them all (a bit more relaxed) but the first group couldn’t think of 3 minutes worth of stuff to talk about, so I told them we’d cut it down to 2 mins and they could talk about their last holiday and relate it to accommodation. This didn’t go down too well with Sigrid – felt I may have messed up a bit – but she sent me the second group and I tried to extend the time they spoke by asking them more questions. I think it went ok in the end!

In her other two classes, the 5th classes, I did a presentation about Morris Dancing! Had to take my laptop coz there’s no computer or OHP system in the class, so that was a bit awkward, but think the class basically enjoyed it. They had to answer some questions about the video then I told them a little bit about the history of the tradition and split them into groups to design their own Morris Dancing ‘team’! WAHEY!!! Everyone seemed to like the creativitiy of the task though, so I will probably use it again if needed!

At the weekend, I went to the FC Pinzgau match. Again, I really enjoyed it, even though the quality is pretty low in comparison to Arsenal or Chesterfield, the teams i watch the most. It’s interesting to see how different the quality in football can be, yet you can still really enjoy it! The ‘fan-band’ was as loud as the previous match I’d seen, this time with a horn playing a very familiar tune… Apparently there were around 400 people there, although I still find it weird how different they behave to British football supporters. For example, at Chesterfield matches, they do a ‘oooOOOO’ build up when the rival keeper takes a goal kick, in order to put him off, but here, the drummer bangs a similar 'slow-then-fast' rhythm as one of HIS OWN players takes a free kick or corner! It seems really strange! Surely it puts them off??? The crowd are also a lot quieter when it comes to a good shot/tackle. At Chesterfield, everyone would go ‘Awww’ and applaud a near miss but at Pinzgau, everyone stays silent... I’ve found myself clapping alone on numerous occasions.

FC Pinzgau eventually managed to win 2-1. We scored first, a header by Hannes Ortner (who is in my 5M class!!! It has been confirmed!) from a cross by Bojan Lukic, but soon after gave away a penalty for a bad tackle and they equalised. The second half was tense – the other team had most possession but we had two chances where everyone cheered, thinking the ball had crossed the line, but both times no goal was given. In the 93rd minute of 94, Ortner scored another header! It was phenomenal! Pinzgau are still top of the league as a result and have a remarkably good performance record. Can’t wait to see Hannes on Friday to congratulate him!

After the match I decided to try a sausage... An actual sausage, you dirty minded people :P! Felt like I wasn't truly abroad yet, as sausages are a dominating meat in Austria and I hadn't yet tried one! Had seen people eating them throughout the match and was getting really hungry. I ordered a Frankfurter and Semmel, thinking this was the same as a hot dog (which was also listed) but a Semmel (I should have remembered) is a round roll so got two sausages, a roll and a dollop of mustard on a polystyrene tray! Was a bit disappointed it wasn’t a hot dog but didn’t really care – it was food! Ate it when I got home and it was amazingly quite nice! :) Didn’t touch the mustard though…

On Saturday night, I watched the recent Disney film ‘Enchanted’ and WAS enchanted by it! I loved all the little in jokes and the way Disney gently poked fun at themselves! I spotted a reference to Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty and the Sound Of Music but I’m sure there’s plenty of others in there! The storyline was really interesting – Giselle, a Disney princess, gets thrown into the real world and learns that not everything is a fairly tale and not everyone has happy endings. I liked this idea and the film lived up to expectations. Amy Adams was brilliant as Giselle and although I initially didn’t like Patrick Dempsey, I grew to like him.

So… that was my week – nothing that interesting but at least I've made you read it :D!

Sunday, 10 October 2010

My First Week Of Teaching

Was going to write something about each of my classes every night, but got a bit sidetracked with preparing lessons and then relaxing! So I'm going to write a summary of my first week...

Had my first classes at the HBLA and HTL Saalfelden. Got up early at around 6.50 (I think there's a boarding school alarm that goes off around this time) as I didn't want to be late, and within an hour, was on my way down the little pathway 'Moßhamweg' towards the school. I had to check my map a couple of times but was pretty easy going.
Amazingly I arrived earlier than expected, but met Evelyn Kapeller and Maria Fuchs, two teachers from the HTL, who looked after me and gave me a vague idea of what to expect! I started in Evelyn's class (all boys) and was initially slightly shocked at how laid back and relaxed the class were allowed to be. But it was a good introduction and Evelyn is probably the chattiest and friendliest of the 'new' teachers.
Next was Eva Salzmann's class in the HBLA. This was totally different, as the class (all female) seemed a little bored to be there and were quiet when it came to my introduction and asking me questions. I was quickly disproven when I spoke to them one-to-one, as they all seemed nice and chatty!
Finally Maria Fuchs' first class (mixed). One guy at the front asked lots of questions but others seemed bit shy. I showed some pictures of chesterfield from my Power Point and they seemed to enjoy it.

My first day teaching at the HIB! Met Gerhard first and he introduced me to lots of teachers (nearly all of their names I have forgotten already!) then went to his class. This was a more informal chat than the previous three lessons, so quite enjoyed it, although didn't feel like I could ask people questions directly.
The next class was split in two, so I spent half an hour with Wolfgang Grösslich and half with Josef Grießenauer. Wolfgang reminds me of some of my German teachers - enthusiastic to the point of hilarity (but he knows his stuff). Josef was the opposite in obvious enthusiasm, but he'd been to Chesterfield! AWESOME!
After this class, I went straight to Franz Schachner. He seems like a quiet professor, softly spoken but never without a smile! His class were doing presentations about viruses so I only introduced myself quickly. The virus topics were making me feel really self conscious, as I have a cold fully forming and could feel my throat itching and nose running! :(

At the HIB again but only had one lesson. Meant to have two but Sylvia Haslgruber, who teaches the Elective class at 1.55, said she wouldn't need me at the moment as the class are preparing for exams. Fair enough! Doris Brandtner's class are studying To Kill A Mockingbird, so am really happy to be able to do a presentation about TKAM without too much research! Thanks Bronwen!

Mrs Marehard (feel really bad coz I've forgotten her first name and she's the teacher I have three times a week!)'s class was the three year students, so she warned me they weren't that good and that I'd have to speak slowly to them. They could understand everything!!!
Had another class with Maria today, and these seemed a lot more technical than the last class. Gave a brief intro as the class were doing presentations and the guys who presented talked about an architect (no idea who it was!) and I had to correct them slightly with pronunciation but that was it!

Had Mrs Marehard twice today. Both classes full of girls and both with two or three chatty ones but most of them quiet.
HTL lesson with Eva Rathgöb was off because the school had an assembly but still went to discuss teaching with her. She seems really nice but can imagine her as a hippy when she was a little younger! Has her nose pierced and three earrings in one ear and has long wavy hair! Had a good chat and decided on the best strategies for the kids.

So... that was my first teaching week. In all but around two of my lessons, I had to introduce myself and talk about myself for a whole hour. It got quite boring! Think the real test will be the coming weeks where I actually have to prepare something for the lessons! But i'm enjoying it so far..

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Austria So Far....

So... I haven't had the internet for a while, so decided to keep a diary in Word instead. This is where I got up to:

Day 1 in Austria Wednesday 22nd September 2010

Got up at 5 to leave the holiday inn at Stansted airport and got on plane at 7.30. Plane was however delayed and didn’t take off til 8.40. Didn’t really notice the waiting, probably coz I was so tired! Slept all the way – very uncomfortable and kept waking up with a stiff neck – but woke properly at 10 to 11 when we landed, went quickly through the airport check and baggae claim and went straight to Hertz rent a car. Got a shiny black Fiesta! :D Managed to squeeze 3 big cases, 3 lots of hand luggage and 3 people into the Fiesta, I sat in front to navigate and we managed to drive to saalfelden in just under 2.5 hours. I’ve never seen such windy roads! Though there are amazing views of beautiful green fields with a mountainous backdrop… Makes the peak district look flat and boring!
Parked near a spar when we arrived, to let my dad study the map and find out where our hotel was. Amazed that Saalfelden seems to have lots of free parking places! :D We decided to have a bit of a wander to try and find the hotel and managed to find a couple of big maps pointing the way. First impressions of Haus Hartl, basically an apartment in typically Austrian house are that it’s nice, clean and quite modern looking in the room. We also have a balcony with excellent views but it seems rustic in the sense that there’s no internet :(.
After we dropped luggage off at the room, parked at spar again and had lunch across road at La Piazza pizzeria cafeteria marvellosa (ok, that last bit was added) near the town hall. The pizza (ham and mushroom) was excellent but as it was so hot and sunny, lots of flies gathered round our table which kinda spoilt it. We then had a wander, as my mum says, ‘To wear off the meal’ and found a few banks and some clothes shops. Will have to look at these banks in the next few days as I need to get an account in order to get paid!
Walked back to the car and decided to buy some essentials for the next few days (food!) from the spar. By the time we got home, we were all knackered after a long day of travelling and so went for a ‘nap’ at 6. Strangely, we didn’t get up properly til 8 next day! :S Oops! There’s no excuse but I remember watching German Simpsons when my eyelids felt heavy….

Day 2

It was really foggy when I woke up today. Dad went for a walk early and said he’d found the other important places in town ie the post office and more importantly free internet at the tourist info centre! Went straight there after I got dressed. Had email from Gerhard (the main man in charge of accommodating me) and Johanna (a teacher at the HIB school offering accommodation) so Dad stopped stressing for a bit! Agreed to visit both places over the next couple of days.
Walked to post office after and discovered the bus station was round the corner! The timetables were easy to decipher and decided I would go by bus to Hinterglemm for the induction course on Monday. After reading the times of buses, we went to a huge supermarket ‘Interspar’ across the road. It turned out it was a medium sized Interspar which housed several other little shops, but I got over this outrage and bought some drink as it had gotten very sunny and hot again.
Travelled down the road towards home and found another supermarket Merkur. This is where we decided to have lunch, me and Dad opted for Cordon Bleu mit Butterreis and Mum had Schnitzel vom Schwein mit Pommes Frites. I really enjoyed my meal and the chips (stolen from mum) were amazing! Wandered down to the train station to see how long it’d take and seemed to be a lot further away from the town centre than I thought. Will definitely bus it on Monday. Had a quick look round an antique flea market outside the town hall before going home, but everything looked pretty valuable and ancient so was scared of breaking things or being accused of just being a window shopper, which of course is illegal in Austria.
In the evening, we visited the HIB school. It looks dead nice and quite campus-y! Gerhard came to meet us and showed us round the Haus I will stay in, if I choose to live there. He seems very nice and friendly but he’s so chatty, I couldn’t get a word in edgeways! And, the worst thing is, he has an American twang to his English! Grrr… But aside from minor laughable irritations, he was helpful with all the questions we managed to squeeze in, informing us that I’d have a shower and toilet cubicle in my room, it was easy to get lunch from the canteen and I’d have a set of keys that opened all the school buildings! WOOP! Think parents seemed convinced this was the place for me.
Johanna texted saying the room wasn’t ready yet so we weren’t able to compare the two rooms tonight. Came home to charge phone and I played around on my laptop, putting new photos on it and listening to some music (Brits 25 ftw!). Mum & Dad seemed tired straight away & kinda went to bed, whilst I stayed up a bit playing Bust-a-Move on ZSNES.

Day 3

Dad decided to drive us to Zell am See and Hinterglemm today. Really glad we went now because the Bundesschullandheim Saalbach (where my induction course takes place) was quite confusing to get too. Must remember to remind the organisers to include a map on next year’s induction course plan! Zell am See seemed like the perfect little Austrian town. There were lots of little craft shops, Austrian meat, cheese and alcohol shops and, to top it off, a real live Oompah Band! :O Naturally I took a picture. They may be there everyday of the year but it seemed novel to me. Managed to find an internet café to check my email. After Johanna’s text yesterday, it seemed like I wasn’t meant to visit her and see the room yet, but she’d sent an email saying she was surprised I didn’t go visit. How was I meant to with no address though?! So we rearranged to meet in the evening. As I was leaving the café, I realised I was meant to be paying for my interent usage, so quickly tried to leave without paying extortionate rates but the man spotted me and forced me to hand over 3 euros. OUTRAGEOUS! Took a look at the See, which had marvellous views, and managed to find the bus station, where no doubt I will be coming to very often.
After Zell, we went to Hinterglemm. As mentioned before, it took a while to find where the course was being held, but the afternoon was really enjoyable. Had lunch with my parents at Htoel Ritzenhof. Decided to branch out with pudding and have a ‘Topfenstrüdel’, which basically seemed like a warm egg custard with pastry surrounding it! Although this was nice, I won’t be having it again in a hurry as it was too filling! Unfortunately after all this food, my dad started feeling a bit ill and for the rest of the day, spent his time throwing up…
In the evening, we visited Johanna’s house. I really liked the room – had a nice comfy bed with a duvet, desk and chair, big double wardrobe and a brilliant view of the town – but as we discussed later, it seemed like nothing would ever be finished in her house! She told us that they were constantly redecorating and as my room, the upstairs bathroom and kitchen weren’t yet ready, it seemed like they may never be. Quite a shame as it was a lovely house, and I could’ve borrowed a bike for travel but as the only other real option was the school, it meant I’d only need to travel to one other area, not two.
After texting Gerhard that I’d like to live at the school, he seemed shocked that I wanted to leave my spare luggage somewhere before my parents leave on Monday morning. This caused some tension as no-one knew what I was going to do with it, and it was impossible for me to take three suitcases to Hinterglemm on my own. Eventually, Gerhard said I could leave it at the school (which I thought he had said originally) so everyone could breathe a sigh of relief. Got to sleep soundly at a normal time of 11!

Day 4

Woke up at 9.30 to take spare luggage up to the school. After a hectic text conversation with Gerhard last night, it was a massive weight off everyone’s minds, knowing I’d got somewhere to safely store my case. He was amazingly helpful – it was raining quite constantly heavily and he appeared at the school on his bike! Couldn’t believe how wet he must have felt! But he was as happy and friendly as ever and quickly organised somewhere to store my bag while I’m attending the induction course at Hinterglemm next week.
For the rest of the day, we went to Merkur and Interspar to look at duvet sets and kitchen equipment ie. kettle, microwave, toaster etc. but everything seemed quite expensive for what they were so hopefully won’t need to buy anything. After looking round the supermarkets, we went to the BEST MCDONALDS EVER! Ok, it doesn’t fly or have walls made of solid gold but they offered newspapers to read whilst there AND free wireless internet! Know where I’ll be going anytime I’m bored! Read the Österreich newspaper whilst eating my chicken nuggets. Bought a copy yesterday in Zell but not had chance to read it yet and today’s copy seemed really interesting and fairly easy to read considering it’s in German. Think it’s a fairly new daily newspaper but I like it and will definitely buy it again (or scam a free read at McD’s).
Later in the afternoon, it was all quiet on the roads and in town again (stark contrast to the hustle and bustle of this morning) and most shops seemed to shut earlier than on weekdays. This seems a little strange, as what do people do at weekends? Surely shopping or having lunch at a café, for example, is a fun way to spend your hard earned free time? Anyway, we realised there was a Europa fair on today, with stalls selling European goods and special activities on at the few open cafes and bars, but unfortunately we got there after it had shut! AT 4 O’CLOCK! Managed to find a hidden little road full of bars though, so GOOD TIMES!

Day 5

Sunday – everything (except McDonalds) closed, not much happened.

Day 6 First Day at Induction Course MONDAY 27th September 2010

Mum and Dad had to get up early at 6am for their flight home. Luckily they tidied the apartment before they left, so I only had to do a bit of packing before I did. I went back to sleep after they’d gone, however, so packed my things at 9.30 before I left. Had a strange dream that my heavy rucksack with my laptop in got stolen by a gang of thieves, and cousin Geraint was working for them! Was outraged! Then realised it was a dream…
Checked out of the hotel and made the long arduous walk down to the psot office/main bus station in Saalfelden. This was sort of tricky as I had a heavy rucksack and my red suitcase, full to the brim, travelling over gravely potholes in the road (no pavement!). After sticking out like a sore thumb tourist, I had a quick E-mail check on the tourist info outside computer screen and made my way to bus stop.
Got on the bus fairly easily (although walking down a narrow aisle with 2 big bags was pretty awkward) and managed to get off at Zell Am See bus station with no problems. The next bus was in half an hour. I decided to sit on a bench, away from my stop but still in view. However, as 11.15 came, the bus which I presumed was mine hadn’t changed its sign to the ‘Saalbach-Hinterglemm 680’ that I needed, which was odd considering this was Austria, with transport as efficient as Germany (I think). It suddenly dawned on me, when a bus BEHIND the one I was looking at pulled out. It was the 680. So I had to wait another hour for the next one – what an idiot! Had a tee in the coffe shop across the road and made sure not to miss the next one.
Arrived at the Bundesshullandheim Saalbach at around 1pm. Bumped into 3 american teaching assistants – Aaron, Rachel and Catherine. Didn’t realise Americans would be here (or be able to teach English in Europe)! All seemed very nice though. Had arranged to meet Lucy (the assistant in Zell) when I got here, so took the mericans with me to find her at a café down the road from the school. Had a nice chat with everyone; the four I already mentioned were completed by Callum, Helen and Holly (American) round the table. Returned to Heim and met Kieran on doorstep.
We all ‘checked in’ and were given dorms of 3 or 4 to sleep in. Luckily I got in one with the nice people I’d just met, Lucy and Helen, and we were joined by a girl called Sally. All seem friendly and chatty enough so hopefully, will enjoy the week. Decided to go on a short walk up the hill after but me and Rachel felt a bit tired/lazy so stopped and went back to get ready for tea. Tea was a typical German/Austrian choice of bread rolls, cheese and a selection of cold meats. Was very tasty though! :)
After tea we were separated into our regions and the Salzburg crew had Sally Kowanda, a fun, lively, middle-aged woman who made us feel all at home with introduction games that got us all chatting. Feeling a lot more comfortable, we got called into the dining room again for drinks. YAY!!! They only offered beer and wine (where’s the Bacardi, eh?) so had a beer, and by the end of it decided I was too tired to go out properly so stayed in chatting with Rachel, Pam (another Salzburger)and Elina. All lovely! Went to bed earlyish and felt really bad and un-ravey coz I was the first one back! :S ah well…

Rest of Induction Week

The induction week has been so busy and had lots of fun interesting things to do that I haven’t had time to write about it all! So here’s a quick summary:
• Had a few lectures about teaching – gained lots of good ideas for lesson plans eg. using pictures, games and music to make it more interesting for the kids. Learnt the main thing is to ‘MAKE THEM TALK ENGLISH!’ so will try to do this every lesson.
• Did some teaching – was in a group with Lucy and Rachel so did a lesson about the differences in American and British English. Aaron very kindly lent us his old TEFL sheets with plenty of English differences on, so we used that as a basis and made an AWESOME power point which we referred to as we taught. Went pretty well I think and got some good feedback.
• Went on a hike – One word for going up the hill: knackering. One for the café/bar at the top: musical. One for going down: relieved. Was pretty good overall!
• Spent evenings in pub! – On second night, felt I’d missed out on all the shenanigans of the first one so tried to make up for it by going to Rudi’s, the Biker Bar and Hexenhäusl and drinking lots. Started the night with Kieran, Sally, Holly, Pam, Elina and Rachel but majority of them went home so stayed with K rest of night. Bought the best shots ever – Hexenrammler – which tasted of Marzipan and had dodgy pornographic pictures on. LOL!
Basically, I had a good week, made a few new friends but as it felt so similar to uni, think it’ll be hard to return to living in a German-speaking alpine world. Oh, and I learnt a lot about Americans!

Friday 1st October

Returned home from the course today. Got a free coach ride back to Zell am See, which was handy as it cost €4.80 to get there and after walking to the bus station, managed to hop straight onto a bus that was going to Saalfelden! Good timing, I thought, then realised the bus stopped right outside the train station so could’ve got on it there…
Texted Gerhard to say I’d be in Saalfelden around 11 but he didn’t reply so figured he was teaching and would get back to me soon. I decided to waste time in McDonalds where I could use free wi-fi and read a newspaper. Ordered the cheapest thing available at 10.30 (a McToast ) and sat down, doing the aforementioned things, waiting for a reply. But it never came! Was getting a bit stressed out coz I didn’t really wanna buy any more food or get kicked out for being a complete scrounger so in the end, decided to trek up to the school with my massive red suitcase and a heavy, laptop-laden rucksack. After about 30 minutes puffing and panting, I arrived at the school. Hans the porter greeted me and gave me two keys – one for my room and the other for the school. At first, I couldn’t open the door to the building and had to go back and ask for help. Hans told me I had to go in through the cellar, not the front door! So went back and this time managed to get inside. Took my luggage upstairs, opened my case wearily and exhausted, decided to have a quick nap…
I awoke with a start as someone entered my room! It was the teacher on duty (I’ve forgotten her name, due to the fact I was still half-asleep when she told me… :S) just coming to say hi. Felt really bad for being asleep! She seemed really nice though and had her two playful kids with her. I went to fetch my other yellow case, which was being stored in the main office, and began to unpack everything.
A little later, another teacher Birgit, introduced herself. She was taking over for the night and wanted to know if there was anything I needed. Immediately she asked me about the internet and gave me a cable so I could use it. AWESOME! Except she told me I needed to use the proxy server and before I’d had time to write the name and code down, she’d gone! Not so awesome. She also suggested going for tea at the school at 6 and maybe having a coffee later if I wanted.
Gerhard came over around 5.30 with a MASSIVE box of useful language assistant stuff, left here by Kat and the previous assistant. It was full of teaching stuff, pots and pans, a couple of blankets and travel guides – all really useful stuff. So thank you, Kat! He also brought round a big boom box stereo. Was completely unexpected but I guess it’s cool to listen to every now and again.
He showed me round the school, saw classrooms, staff room, IT rooms etc. and then took me on a little drive to show me how best to get to the HTL/HBLA school. Was really useful and found where I need to go on Monday.
After all this, I’d missed tea at the school so just ate some of the Pom-Bär I’d bought in Hinterglemm. Forgot about having a coffee so stayed in, watched an episode of Doctor Who off Chris’ hard drive and went to sleep.

Saturday 2nd October

Had to go out and buy food and other essential things today. Went to the Interspar down the road (a 15/20 min walk) and bought general food such as cheese, ham, bread, milk and juice as well as an internet cable and a spoon. As I was walking back, I noticed there was a football match on at the pitch halfway up the hill to the school so decided I would go watch it, if only for the second half, as I had nothing better to do. I unpacked all my things at the school and walked back down to the football pitch.
It cost 4 euros to get in but amazingly, the match was just about to kick off! The previous mathc I’d seen on my way up was the under 17 match and the proper senior match of FC Pinzgau vs. Union Henndorf was just beginning. Excellent news!
At first I was stood at the corner of the pitch, as a ground security man ushered me over there, but then I realised I could go sit in the stand. I sat on the first bench available, right in front of the ‘Kop’. I say the ‘Kop’, but the ground is similar to Glapwell’s with three open sides and one main stand. The support was, however, phenomenal! There was constant chanting, a large drum, an air raid siren and some trumpets, sparklers and, at the end of the match, flares! It was so much fun! Considering there was only about 200-300 people there, it felt like there could’ve been 3000! Pinzgau won 3-2 so went home happy, knowing that their fans were happy with the result.
In the evening, Gerhard invited me out with his wife, Birgit, to go to the ‘Honky Tonk’ festival where 13 ‘Lokale’ were putting on live music. Started at the Nexus café, where a fairly jazz-y group, Groove Cafe, took to the stage. They consisted of a female singer, a keyboardist, a saxophonist, a bass player and a drummer and were from Vienna. Really enjoyed all their music, played some really good songs! We were joined by a couple of Gerhard’s friends, so felt a little left out as they were all chatting in German about their lives. This kept happening throughout the night. Gerhard and his wife seemed to know a lot of people (quite a lot of them ex-pupils, as far as I could tell) and then there’d be a brief introduction of me and they’d carry on their conversation. Went to La Piazza (where me and the ‘rents had had a pizza on the first day) where there was a reggae band playing. Here it got a bit better, as I met Gerhard’s eldest son David and his girlfriend Sarah, who were both around my age. They both had dreadlocks and a couple of piercings so fitted in really well with the reggae vibe, in contrast to me! Sarah seemed very nice and chatted to me a bit but eventually they all left so I decided it was time to go home. Gerhard and Birgit walked me to a street I knew how to get back from and I walked 20 minutes home. Was a bit scary in the dark, especially up by the school where there’s lots of shadowy trees and bushes but happily survived! Exhausted for another night, I watched Hustle (courtesy of the lovely, amazing Christopher Panda-face) before falling asleep.

Sunday 3rd Oct

Feel there’s going to be a recurring lack of anything interesting happening on a Sunday… Only thing semi-interesting that happened was that I made a power point about myself, in case I need it to teach tomorrow, and met Karin (?), another of the live-in teachers, who happens to teach English!

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Preparing to leave...

I have finally booked my flight to Austria. After months of putting it to the back of my mind, hopelessly thinking if I put it there, it'll eventually disappear/get sorted for me, encouragement (constant nagging) from my parents persuaded me to check out various websites to find the best flight for me. My flight goes to Salzburg (YAY) but it is from... STANSTED! :( The trek down to London means my parents have decided to come with me to Austria. I don't really understand their logic. The conversation went like this:

Dad: Do you want us to come with you?
Me: I don't mind. Would be good to be able to take extra luggage but it'll probably be expensive, so I really don't mind if you want to stay here. Most other students go abroad on their own.
Dad: Yeah it's looking very expensive at the moment.

Dad: I've booked flights, FOR ALL OF US!

So although it seems to have annoyed my Dad cost-wise, he was pretty adamant that he and my mum should come with me for the few days before the induction course. At least it's a weight off my mind for now.