Sláinte!

Hallo!  Yes, yes, it’s been a while and I’m terrible at updating, yadda yadda yadda.  See, this is why I could never write a book.  I’m great at starting projects, it’s just the follow-through that gets me every time (as I glance over to see the half-knit cowl that I haven’t touched in weeks).

Aside from my lack of dedication to arts, crafts, and blogging, I’ve also come to tell you about some things that have happened in the past month or so. Jeez!  It really has been too long.

Munich was a crazy-fun time and our first hostel experience; Elizabeth, Logan, Stephanie and I went all spur-of-the-moment and trained it up there a few weekends ago.  We mostly shopped during the day and saw Europe’s love of H&M in full force (3 H&Ms on one street, srsly).  Of course we made it to the Hofbräuhaus where we truly felt the German spirit.  We had to walk around for about 20 minutes before we could snatch a seat.  Basically it is a giant room with long, skinny tables where everyone comes in and just takes a seat wherever they can find one!  There was a polka band, lots of chanting and prosting going on.  The lowlight of the night was having our first being-scared-by-a-rat-in-an-underground-tunnel moment.  The highlight was when Elizabeth’s German suitor sent her a heart-shaped cookie from across the room!

The next weekend we traveled to Poland with Charmaine and Shellie (another teacher at our school).  Oh, it was beautiful.  We stayed at the Blue Beetroot hotel and had a marvelous time.  The owner of the hotel gave us a nine-page map of all the best places to buy pottery– our #1 reason for going to Poland.  The Polish zloty is much weaker than the dollar and much much weaker than the euro.  For all the prices listed, we could divide the number by 3 and that would give us the price in dollars.  I did a whole lot of souvenir shopping and I think I picked out some pretty good gifts… Elizabeth and I are heading back to Poland in early May; our school is collecting food to give to an orphanage in Poland, so we’re going to help out when they deliver the food.

We finally traveled to a concentration camp in Dachau last weekend– oh, I don’t even think I can talk about it. It was incredibly moving and terrible and just crazy actually being there.  One awesome thing that our tour guide told us is that 40% of the people that go to visit the camp are students.  I remember going to the Holocaust museum in middle school and learning so much– I can’t imagine having the opportunity to go to an actual camp to learn about it.

That evening we traveled to Bamberg to meet up with the girls and Dr. Miner.  Dr. Miner knows a German family that lives in Bamberg so they showed us around town during the day!  We explored a castle and a fortress and saw beautiful German countryside from above.  We also got to see a German school and learn a lot about how the school systems work here.  Sepp and his family took us to their house in the afternoon where his wife had prepared three different cakes for us!  (Obviously I tried all three.)  Three coffees and a lot of cake later, we headed back to the train station.

This is where things get weird.  Elizabeth and I had some sort of bug bite/rash/bumps on our hands, arms and legs that we have named “Europox” (trademarked by Riley).  Long story short, we had to visit a German doctor off post, twice, and got two separate medicinal treatments.  We stayed home from school for three days (one of which Dr. Miner was here; it was pretty funny to play hooky with her) and were finally un-quarantined on Friday.  Whew!  After all that nonsense, I was welcomed back to school with a lot of hugs from my second-graders and a stack full of “get well soon” letters. My kids (and my mentor, for thinking of the idea) are the sweetest.  Here are some snippets from the adorable letters:

I hope you fill deter soon.  ms mcgraw your fun we wont you back now we miss you. youv ben absent for three days!

Dear Ms. McGraw, I hope you fell better because we have love tord you!!  You are my favorite teacher.

Dear Ms. McGraw, How are you doing? Get better soon! Take your mediesen every day.

Hi Ms. McGraw How are you doing? I’m doing good.  I like Dragons do you? And I love to draw. Mrs. Cruz is been teaching us Math. Hard math.  And we learned algrorimth. Just means steps.

Ms. McGraw you can feel better if you het you up some ciken-nooldl soup.

Okay, okay, I’ll stop. But seriously, so cute, right?

Just yesterday we went to Amberg to celebrate St. Patrick’s day!  We went back to Kate’s Pub and found a picture of Elizabeth and I framed on the wall!  The bar owner took our picture randomly when we were there a few weeks ago and I guess he liked it so he put it on the wall, haha.  We got to the bar early because we knew it was going to be packed; we decided to get a bite to eat there first and ended up making friends with the owner of the bar!  He chatted with us for a long time and told us that all Irishmen are alcoholics–I believe it.  We got free t-shirts and a free guinness headband that you can write on with chalk! It was a ton of fun, and lots of the teachers from our school were there.  Just another reason to add to the list of why I’ll be applying for DoDDS… 🙂

We’re thinking of hiking in the Black Forest next weekend, depending on the weather.  I’ve been itching to do some outdoor activities now that it’s not freezing outside, so hiking is next on our list of adventures.  Elizabeth and I are also getting belay certified with ODR in about 2 weeks!  There’s a ton of climbing rocks just outside of Vilseck, but we don’t have the means to get there ourselves, not to mention the gear.  We decided to go ahead and get certified through ODR so we can go on trips with them!  Every other Thursday evening they go out and climb until dark–and you can rent gear from them, so it works out perfectly.

I’ll try to update this bad boy more often.  Life is a lot more fun to just live, though, yeah?  Although now it’s harder to remember all the funny little things that happened along the way since I haven’t been posting immediately after my trips… Conundrum.  Anyway, I’m pretty good at posting pictures right away, so check out the facebook for more current updates on travels.

tschüss!

P.S. Shout out to Lisa for sending Elizabeth and me some killer St. Louis pride!  Love you, lady.

P.P.S. I’m super duper jealous of all you Hunger Games nerds that get to see the movie in a few days!  We have to wait til April…

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I Feel It All

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February 28, 2012 · 8:09 pm

Riding the Rails

Oh my GOD, blogging seems like such a daunting task after having such a wonderful weekend as we did in Verona and Venice, Italy.  I’m going to apologize ahead of time as this will not be a very detailed or personality-filled blogpost.  Heap of photos below.  If you want the (k)nitty gritty deets, skype me fools!

Saturday: Verona, where we stayed both Saturday and Sunday night.  I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves!

Sunday: Venice for Carnivale!  Carnivale is like Mardi Gras, except a lot wilder and a little fancier.  People spend all year designing these really intricate costumes.  It’s quite an affair!  We all bought masks to fit in the with weird crowd.

Ciao!

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decide what to be and go be it

Did you know that Paul Rudd’s original surname was “Rudnitzky”?  Also, he thinks thank-you notes are a must because they are thoughtful and nice.  I got my hands on a Cosmo magazine last night, and while I’m really bad at thank-you notes, I still think it’s adorable that he writes them. You go, Rudnitzky.

Last weekend Elizabeth and I traveled to Eschenbach, which is a little town about 30 minutes away from Grafenwoehr (the town very close to Vilseck, where our sister American post is stationed) with Meredith, Mike, Mike, and Tim.  Their friend Ryan has a house there, so we warmed up a bit before heading to the Fasching parade in the town center.  Eschenbach isn’t very big, but the Germans really really like to come out of hiding for Fasching.  It’s like America’s Mardi Gras, kind of, except way bigger and a little weirder.  These celebrations leading up to Lent go on for weeks ahead of time (although Wikipedia says only the weekend before… wrong, so wrong).  Germans throw every “Catholic value” they hold so near and dear out the window during Fasching.  They have parties where they literally swap spouses for a night!  Quite different from American culture.  Anyway, the parade was great, there were a ton of floats, and lots of people dressed up in crazy costumes.  It’s an interesting balance between German and American culture– Fasching is comparable to our Halloween.  There were lots of people dressed as Smurfs, dead people, nuns, etc.  We even saw a Batman costume with “Bad Ass” written on the front; when he turned around we saw he had an accentuated rear on the costume.  Bruce Wayne would be proud, I think.

Anyway, it’s been frigid here in Germany (well, Europe in general), so the festival was fun for a while until I couldn’t feel my toes.  We hopped inside the closest pub we could find and ordered some gluhwein (duh) to warm up.  There was a loud, drunk German man dressed in blue with a blue wig that went around to each table yelling German things.  He would yell a German town and the entire bar would chant back “HALLO!”–a Fasching tradition.  When he came around to our table, he felt the need to not only yell “America!”  but also go through and shout the states each one of us are from.  We were with lots of folks, so everyone called home different things.  When he came around to Elizabeth and me, we nervously said “Missouri,” and he said, “vut?”  Unsurprised by this reaction, we tried, “Uhh, St. Louis!”  He responded, “Vut tha fück is San Luis?” in his thick German accent.  It was hilarious!  He still yelled “San Luis!” but only a few kind Germans replied with an unenthusiastic “Hallo!”.  (Meaghan: I have to say, California got quite a response!)

Eschenbach parade

my favorite float

Holy Moly

 

Anyway, for dinner we hopped in Mike’s go-go mobile and went to a little restaurant about 30 minutes away (near some incredible hiking trails and climbing, apparently!). The restaurant’s specialty was uncooked meat on a burning hot stone that you cook yourself, right there on the table, so it’s very fresh.  Crazy!  And probably unsettling for Elizabeth.  They also had exotic meats that one of the boys tried, like Crocodile and Kangaroo.  Ick.

 

steak on a stone!

One of our professors was in town this week to do our observations, so Elizabeth and I were crazy busy with planning and stressing out. The visit went great, though.  Not to toot my own horn, but I got mostly positive feedback!  So pleased.  This particular professor observed me 2 years ago in my very first lesson in a classroom back in Kirksville, so it was great that she got to see how much I’ve progressed.

We also went to dinner at Gastof Erlhof, a small but ADORABLE restaurant in, of course, the middle of nowhere.  We drove down windy German roads through giant pine trees in the snow– it was beautiful.  And worth it!  It was my favorite meal I’ve had in Germany so far.  They are also known throughout Europe for their bakery (tour buses visit just to get dessert) so of course I got a piece of cake before leaving.  German desserts are perfect– they’re not nearly as sweet as they are in America.  I got the Black Forrest cake (which of course I’ve forgotten the German name of…) with cherries, chocolate and the most delicious cream.

Last night was Weiberfasching.  Meredith and I went with Mary to Amberg to celebrate. It’s like a giant block party!  Hundreds of Germans drinking delicious beer (out of bottles that you can get 2 euro back for if you return it to recycle it… awesome).  It literally means “women’s fasching.”  The tradition is that women dress as witches and men dress in drag as women.  Why, you ask?  It started as a night for women to go out and go crazy without their men, but the men wanted to go out too. (Ugh, so typical, amiright?)  The men got creative and decided to dress up as women! If you can’t beat em, join em.  Also, that day women cut off men’s ties in the workplace– a couple men who work at school got their ties cut. 🙂  So fun!  While there were lots of witches and also a ton of men in (sometimes really convincing) drag, there were also all different sorts of costumes.  The band playing in the center of town were dressed as the Flinstones.  We saw cows, popes, smurfs, a “women’s” soccer team, Ronald McDonald, etc… I dressed as a construction worker!   Like I said before, it’s really like Germany’s halloween, except a lot wilder.  Seriously, I’ve never seen so many Germans in one place at one time in my life.

I also ate one of the best steak sandwiches I’ve ever had.  And it was handed to me by one of the dirtiest German hands I’ve ever seen.

one of the many crowded streets in the usually somewhat quiet Amberg

facing the stage!

 

Spring Break plans with mom and Meg are underway– it’s looking like Paris for the first half of the week, and then either Rome or Florence. Tomorrow Elizabeth, Logan, Lisa, Stephanie, Haley and I are headed to Verona, Italy (the supposed setting for Romeo and Juliet) and then to Venice on Sunday for Karnival.  Ohhhh, it will be crazyfun.  Updates to come.  In the meantime, keep me posted on your lives!

lovelove,

Kaitlyn

P.S.  Mom & Pop, Meaghan, Kristel, Kevin and Nicole: Hug yourself and pretend it’s me hugging you! (That means you have to hug extra tight because I’m a good hugger).  Thank you for the letters, cards and packages, you sweet sweet people.  Although I didn’t rip your letters to shreds, I am about as happy as this baby when I get mail.

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dees ees Germany

Why did I think eating three giant pancakes for dinner was a good idea?  I am so so full right now, ick.  I guess that’s what I get for skipping lunch and going grocery shopping on an empty stomach, eh?

Well, we didn’t end up going tobogganing this weekend because it is absolutely frigid here.  It’s been below zero degrees several days this past week, and wherever we were planning on going is even colder.  Being covered in snow, outside all day, sledding down a mountain would have been miserable, so they cancelled the trip. I was pretty bummed, BUT…

On Friday, Elizabeth and I went to the movies with Charmaine and her kids to see Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close on post.  (I’ve linked all the things highlighted blue to websites/pictures/videos/descriptions of what I’m referencing in my posts.  Click them! They will give you more information on what I’m talking about).  Being one of my all-time-absolute-top-shelf favorite books, I wasn’t expecting to like the movie very much. (You know how it goes. Directors never interpret books exactly the way you do, so when it’s one of your favorites you gotta lower your expectations for the film version).  The trailer seemed promising, though, and the film itself proved to be Extremely Sad and Incredibly Moving; definitely a must-see. (Becca, you would lovelovelove it I think).

As most sad things do, the movie left me feeling a bit lonely and empty.  The first time I’ve really felt so here in Germany.  It’s incredible how happy I am here in the day-to-day.  I definitely have my mentor teacher, all 19 little 2nd graders, Elizabeth’s calm nature, and Vilseck in general to thank for that.  My life has upturned greatly since this time last year; being surrounded by such a happy, positive environment makes up for Kirksville’s arctic tundra weather following me here (seriously though, why so cold, Germany?).  Anyway, Friday post-movie was a little rough, but nothing a glass of wine, a good skype conversation, and some lesson prep couldn’t cure.  Good as new. :]

We still wanted to do some traveling this weekend, even if we couldn’t make it to the mountains, so Elizabeth, Meredith and I went to Nürnberg Saturday morning.  Meredith met an officer (ooh la la) on the bus on her way to Graff last week, so he and 3 of his friends joined us.  They were all pretty nice guys, and all newbies to Germany as well.  They arrived only a couple weeks ago, so it was fun to explore a town with people who have never been there before.  For lunch we went to Treibhaus, a little artsy cafe we stumbled upon in my guidebook (thanks, Britt!).  I got my fix of Glühwein (yesss) and a salami sandwich; Elizabeth got some nutella crepes and what seemed to be a medium-sized bowl of coffee. 🙂

We did some window shopping around Nürnberg in the afternoon and the boys were on a hunt to find some lederhosen–no luck, although one of them bought a German hat with black, grey and white spots.  Cruella DeVille, Cruella DeVille…

     

We ran into some interesting characters in Nurnberg... check out the tiny dude on the left!

an "interesting" fountain we found in Nurnberg.

Elizabeth and I parted ways from the group around 5:30 and trained it back to Vilseck.  We had a cold walk home from the train station, and then almost immediately left again for Amberg.  Mary (who lives in Amberg) invited us to see some live musik (!!!!!) in an Irish pub called Kate’s, where the motto is “There are no strangers here, only friends who have never met.”  Of course we jumped at the opportunity, as live musik seems hard to come by over here.  She picked us up in Vilseck, we wandered into the pub and were immediately greeted by loud clapping and Irish drinking songs.  It was pretty much shoulder-to-shoulder when we got there, so I wedged myself next to a tall dude by a toasty fireplace (adorable).  All the sudden a loud, happy man with a camera came around and started snapping pictures of everyone!  He looked at me, then said to Mr. Tall, “HEY! I told you not to let anyone take my spot!”  Yikesies.  I started to apologize, laughing nervously, and he gave me a quick smile and said “Oh, that’s alright love, you’re pretty so you can have my spot. Girls, get together and I’ll take your picture!”  To avoid any sort of awkward confrontation and to please this loud-happy man, Elizabeth and I awkwardly cheesed it up for a picture.  He said, “You’ll go on the hall of fame!”  Soon after he walked away, Mary leaned over and said, “Umm, that was the owner of the bar!  He’s never usually out and about, but he is tonight, I think because of the band.  There’s a wall of photos when you first walk into the bar that we passed, that’s what he meant by that!”  Ha!  So, if you’re ever in Amberg, stop by Kate’s Irish Pub and check out the Wall of Fame.  Maybe you’ll see some friendly faces 🙂  For the rest of the night he was laughing, photographing, dancing and singing; so happy!

Sidenote:  He made his way around towards us later on in the night and heard Mary talking to us.

  • Bar Owner: “Well that’s a funny accent you got there, where are you from?”
  • Mary: “Umm, Missouri?”
  • Bar Owner: **shakes her hand vigorously** “Welcome to Dublin!”

The bar atmosphere was fantastic, and the music was even better.  They played a variety of tunes, from drinking songs to slower Irish melodies.  My favorite song was the classic that starts with “In Dublin’s fair city, where the girls are so pretty, I first set my eyes on sweet Molly Malone…”  One of the band members even played the spoons!  The bar had us itching to go to Ireland and visit some pubs there, so we’re planning on heading there in May.  The same band is coming back to Kate’s Pub on St. Patrick’s day, so we’re going back to Amberg to see them again.

the ceiling of the pub had beer steins hanging all over the place.

our table; half germans, half americans, lots of beer

The band! The guy on the left was my favorite, he had the best voice I think. He also was the one who played the spoons. 🙂 The violinist was excellent as well.

Unfortunately the last train back to Vilseck leaves Amberg at 10:22, so we had to call it an early night.  We didn’t want to leave at all, but we had no other way to get back so we walked to the train station around 10pm.  Although it only takes about a half hour to drive back to Vilseck, the trains are much slower.  We had to wait for the train to arrive in Amberg and ride for a few stops (attempted to ride first class, got our tickets checked for the first time in ages, and were booted to coach), then get off in Neukirchen and wait another 45 minutes for a train to Vilseck.  Oh my, it was COLD.  But we made the best of it with drawings of hand turkeys and bald men.  We’re a strange bunch, but we have fun.

hand turkey, with a slight nod to the German train conductor who said "I can't understand English. This is Germany." as he was kicking us out of first class...

last but not least, Elizabeth's beautiful drawing of the man of her dreams.

(WordPress won’t let me rotate the images for some reason, so you’ll just have to turn your heads!)

I slept in today (and oh was it glorious) and then headed to the Internet Cafe on base to get some work done.  I did all of my planning for this week for Reading and Writing which feels great!  Now I gotta figure out Math and Health…

A few shout-outs:

1.  Ode to my MAMA:  You are the best mom in the whole wide world.  Thank you thank you thank you for the wonderful packages from home and the cutesie emails and the support and love you give me every day.  I don’t know if you’ve ever heard Billy Collins’ poem “The Lanyard,” but it’s quite fitting and here it is for you to enjoy:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0EjB7rB3sWc

(you : his mom, this blog post : the lanyard)

“Here is a trip of a lifetime,” she said,

“and support and love and even presents from home.”

“And here is your blog shout-out,” I replied,

“which I made with a little help from WordPress.”

2.  Grant/Aunt Lisa:  Mom sent me the coffee that you gave me for Christmas and it is DELICIOUS!  At first I was drinking this German off-brand coffee that was pretty terrible, but now that I have this Chocolate Fudge Brownie flavored coffee I am happier to wake up at 6:15 every day.  So, THANK YOU!   And I’m sure my students thank you as well (because who can be in a cranky morning mood after drinking basically melted chocolate?).

3. Seester:  Oh, you are the best a girl could ask for.  Are you getting excited to come visit me? Are you?  Are you?! ARE YOU??!!!  🙂

Love love love,

Kaitlyn

P.S.  If any of you (San Diegans OR St. Louisans) want to send me some of your beautiful non-winter weather, I’ll welcome it with open arms. Just sayin’.

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I’ll be honest: WordPress changed its formatting so I’ve been avoiding a weekend update.

But I’m back! And better than before! And WordPress is, too– I’m not sure what I was so afraid of.

Soooo…

Last weekend we traveled to Bamberg! Little Venice, it was. Little idiot, I was, for forgetting to pack my camera. :/  Elizabeth and I went there to visit Logan and Lisa (the other two Truman students teaching in Germany).  My friends David and Lizzi are living there now (David is in the army and Lizzi is his wife) so it was fantastic to be reunited with them.  We all went out to dinner the first night we arrived and realized how silly of a world it is to have 6 Truman State alumni sitting around one table at a restaurant in Germany.

Oh, I finally had Schnitzel!  I was pretty disappointed in myself for eating mostly soups when out at German restaurants (you just can’t beat a 5€ dinner), and once I shared that fact with the table it was deemed necessary that I finally splurge on schnitzel.  It was wonderfully German and way more filling than my usual zwiebelsuppe.

Bamberg is home to the best-known Rauchbier in the world, so that was the drink I ordered first. I chose the Spezial Rauchbier (the lighter smoky flavor), which I know is sort of wimpy but let’s face it: dark beers aren’t my thing, and I really wasn’t sure that smoked beers would be my thing either.  When in Germany, though, any beer is usually good beer. And it was!  Wikipedia defines it as having a “distinctive smoke flavor,” and Wiki tells no lies.  It was definitely distinctive; different than any beer I’ve had before.

Bamberg also has lots of breweries that have all kinds of beer; we went to a few breweries over Friday and Saturday night and each of their beers were delicious. Since Germany pubs don’t have (and probably have never heard of) my usual cheap standbys for drinks, I’ve been exploring my palette.  I’ve grown to love the taste of beer, even with meals– it’s really the least expensive option for a drink.  It’s sometimes cheaper than wasser mit gas (literally meaning “water with gas,” haha. Think club soda, but not sweet.) and I’ve heard asking for stilles wasser (still water/tap water) is borderline inappropriate, so clearly beer is the best choice. 😀

Elizabeth, Logan and I have been collecting coasters wherever we go.  (Unfortunately I have nothing to show that I was in London. No coasters anywhere in the UK!)  We added extensively to our collection over this past weekend, sometimes taking two or three coasters from one place.  We even had the bartenders sign a coaster from the Green Goose (that bar deserves a blog entry of its own)!

Saturday we spent most of the day downtown wich was so so so so so adorable.  Bamberg has a river running through the city and a few bridges that give the town great character.  I went into a ceramics shop and looked around and, ohmygoodness, I wanted to buy everything.  I exercised good self-control (practice what you preach!) and did not buy any pottery, but I did do a lot of looking around.  Charmaine is taking Elizabeth and I to Poland in early March to go pottery shopping, so I keep brainstorming what kind of thing I want to buy.  I’m only going to let myself buy ONE piece of art (be it bowl, cup, platter or plate) since I’m spending money on traveling, not souvenirs.

The weekend in Bamberg was wonderful and it was great to see friendly faces again.  I’m sure pictures will surface on Facebook eventually, so keep an eye out if you’re interested.

Two other pieces of exciting news:

1.  We may be going to a seven-mile toboggan run in Switzerland (or maybe Germany… or maybe Austria? my memory is shot) this weekend! We’re waiting to hear back from Paula, but she might have an open room at the place they are staying.  Cross your fingers! Seven miles downhill in the alps, can you imagine!? The snow, the speed, the windburn–I want it all!

2. Elizabeth, Logan, Lisa, Haley and I just booked our train tickets to Verona, Italy for Carnival!  It’s the same weekend as President’s day weekend, so we have the Monday off of school.  Alex, our patient and thrifty friend who works at our train station, hooked us up with a sweet deal for the weekend.  So pumped!

Hope all is well stateside– keep me updated, people!  Comment, email, write…

tschüss!

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“Loo Bitton hand-bag, very very cheap, my friend”

Hello all, just popping in for a quick update. Hope all is well stateside; Germany is beautiful but a little damp as always.

 

I guess I should talk a little about my research and how teaching is going since, you know, that’s the whole point of me living in Germany, eh?  As far as my research goes, I’m switchin’ it up a little, just to keep it interesting. Ok, not to keep it interesting, but to keep it simple.  To make a long story short, my methodology was lacking some serious thought and the way I was asking questions was unclear and taking waytoolong.  My mentor teacher and I did some brainstorming and decided it would be less time consuming and more practical if I made my questions into a reading log for the students to fill out themselves.  The students do reading logs (worksheets, little projects, activities, etc.) after every “good fit” book they read (a.k.a., a book that falls in their independent level of reading–not too hard, not too easy. “All you need is a light jacket!”).   These reading logs will contribute to my data for assigned reading– although my original plan was to work with students during guided reading, it just got too complicated and took too much time out of teaching them, so my definition of “assigned reading” has changed.  I’ll still be asking questions the old-fashioned way for reading for pleasure, though, and I think I’ll stick to collecting that data only twice a week when they have library and lots of read to self time.

Other than research complications, teaching is great!  I’ve been teaching Math full time for a week now, and I really love it. The kids have warmed up to me and I think view me as a real teacher now.  I’m also still learning so much from my mentor teacher– even with all my experience in the classroom thus far, I had no idea how much there is to think about.  Whew.

Elizabeth and I stayed in town (sort of) this weekend.  On Friday we walked into town with Meredith (another student teacher from Colorado that just arrived last week– she’s in the art room, I’m mildly jealous) and had dinner at Alexander’s.  We learned a little Greek from our waiter and had a staring contest with his 4-5 year old nephew (?).  The walk back was cold, but the food and conversation was good.  Meredith’s going to Vienna for Presidents day, and I’m considering joining her. Although President’s day is Carnival, and I want to go to Koln or Rome with the girls in Bamberg! I also really want to go to Vienna, but I think I could do it in a 2-day weekend since it’s so close.  We’ll see, we’ll see.

On Saturday we went to Cheb, Czech Republic.  It was… interesting?  Think Mexican markets, except with Asian shop owners, all wanting you to “come into shop, my friend” to buy “loo bitton had-bag, real, very cheap.”  Haha, it was a site, that’s for sure.  I passed up what they claimed to be a REAL coach purse for €25, what a steal! I’ll get by.  I did end up getting a scarf from one of the nicer shop owners there who laughed hard when I said “very cool” in response to something.  Also, no one in Europe has ever heard of St. Louis.  I guess I was naive to assume people would immediately recognize Nelly and Chingy’s hometown, but even when I rap the lyrics to “St. Louie,” I get blank stares.  What gives?

Anyway, after our shopping adventures, we wandered into the center of Cheb to see the old church and the open square.  We got a bite to eat at a small cafe/restaurant that was absolutely delicious.

chicken kebab with fries. the heartiest meal i've had in Europe so far!

man and dog. open square in Cheb!

Budweiser in Europe!

the church-- it was locked. :/

 

pretty, quaint town.

 

Elizabeth and I slept like tiny babies in the backseat on the hour long drive back to Germany.  This has somehow become our trademark when we travel with other people in the car; usually it’s the midday beer for lunch that puts me out, but I think I fell asleep out of habit on Saturday. Anyway, before our nap, the woman that organized the trip to Cheb invited us to go to the ballet in Munich in a month!  If she can get extra tickets, she said we could tag along. It’s not too pricey, especially because we’d be driving and splitting gas with a bunch of people, so I’m very excited!

 

When back in Vilseck, we had a few hours to relax, and then we went to Paige’s house for dinner.  Paige and Katie have people over very often for dinner parties, and Saturday it was Italian themed!  Everyone brought a dish, although we were excused from doing so (one benefit of being a student teacher is that everyone knows we’re poor as dirt), and we ate like queens.  There were 30+ people there, eating, drinking and being merry; many of them were teachers from Vilseck while others were friends of Katie and Paige.  We met a German woman who was stationed at Lindenwood at some point, and who had German friends who studied abroad at Truman!  Crazy small world, no?  She also told us some interesting things about Germany.  She is from Northern Germany and just moved to Bavaria (where we are) a year or two ago.  We were chatting about the differences between other parts of Germany and she explained that Bavaria is like Germany’s version of Texas– it wants to do it’s own thing, separate from the rest of the country.  She said something like “Bavaria doesn’t want to be a part of the rest of Germany, Bavaria wants to be it’s OWN country.”  Her dialect is a little different since she grew up in Northern Germany, and she said lots of the Bavarians will hear her German and consider her a “foreigner” since she’s not from the Bavarian region.  So crazy!

After everyone was full, we played some dominoes and chatted with the other teachers at the table.  I haven’t been very vocal with you (friends and family) about my plans when I come back because I’ve been waiting on Teach for America to get back to me– I didn’t end up getting the job, which is a bummer, but also leaves me with endless options.  One of the places I’ve been considering going is North Carolina, and wouldn’t you know, two of the teachers at the table are from NC!  We got to ask them questions about the schools there, what life is like there, and how hard it would be to get a job in NC if we are certified in MO (apparently pretty easy).  I’m also considering applying to Lake Bryn Mawr Camp, which Elizabeth works at every summer.  So many options, it’s a bit overwhelming that the time is finally coming to apply and choose where I want to go for the next few years…

Alright, I’m off to the cafe to get some work done.  I’ll leave you all with this little gem:  http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_zQWCjiqbMqw/TQO7p6KrnII/AAAAAAAAASM/_DJTfD34Vd4/s1600/1291565041534.gif

 

 

Lovelove,

Kaitlyn

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