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!