the benefits of multiple languages... teachers weren't kidding
12.05.2011 - 14.05.2011 68 °F
I am finally here in Luxembourg after a long journey of angry French flyers and a customs officer that was having a power surge with the amount of questions he would ask each individual person in line, equally out to a very long wait.
At the end of the long journey as we exited the airport we were met by one of our professors for the summer and what a pleasure it was to see a familiar face! As soon as the whole group had arrived and we have indulged our selves into the homeland food (well airport food) we were shoved on to a bus for an additional 3-hour journey to Luxembourg. Luxembourg compared to England I figured wouldn’t be to much of a difference but being here there is something different about the look of it, I cant put my finger exactly on it yet but I can tell this place is not England, maybe it’s the lack of shrubs everywhere or the cloudless sky. When we arrived at the château one by one the “host families” would arrive to pick up their adopted child for the next few weeks. As each family approached we would either get extremely nervous and try to avoid eye contact in hopes of not having the family or we would all secretly wish that the family was ours with their laid back attitude and English sounding responses. Well I was not one of the fortune ones. A woman with dyed purple hair and a shirt that I believe should have an undershirt on or I am missing the new fashion that seeing some ones undergarments clearly is the new “in”, approached our coordinator and spoke my name. Shortly after a short, obese Italian looking man followed; Meet Silvio and Maria. Their first question to me was something like “ bonjour j’ma francisa?” my response “ uhh no”, instantly their faces sunk. SO I am in a house with people that speak only French… or Italian.
When we reached my new home, conveniently around the corner from the chateau, myself and Maria began to try and communicate with her offering me some pudding. With, just this simple task I have learned that when she pats her tummy it does not mean “ are you hungry” because no matter what I say I am being fed, it is “ how much do you want” and I mistakenly nodded very big apparently because I ended up with half the pudding on my plate and as my mom has instilled in my mind, I had to finish it ALL up. My second mistake is trying to make small talk with the big Old Italian man. All I could come up with to say with my limited choice of ideas in motions to describe my thoughts was that the “weather was nice outside”. So I pointed out side and attempted to imitate warm weather. Apparently I am a terrible actress because he got a huge smile on his face, hustled me out side with his mumbling Italian words and I believed he was going to show me his small garden but instead he pulled out ONE of pack of cigarettes offering them thinking he had found a smoking buddy! SORRY BUD. After an hour and a half of slow communication I am now up in my room waiting for their kids to arrive home from school. Apparently the kids speak English (well hopefully that’s what Maria meant other wise this is going to be a long 3 weeks) and they will be able to translate and allow this whole “ getting to know each other” process much smoother.
Tomorrow is going to start early as well with all of us meeting at the Château at 8:45 and being there all day for “bonding” and exploring activities which should be fun!
Additional fun fact: they have a rooster that obviously sucks at his one and only job in live since he’s “ cacka-doodling” every 20 minutes.
Today was a very LONG day but yet a very success day at that. We all woke up at an early 8 o’clock alarm with jet lag still attacking us as we ventured to the château for our “ integration class”. Once I got there we had a speech From the Dean of the chateau and a fellow teacher for the Luxembourg Program( I am in the Lux- Spain not Lux) about what we will be doing the next few weeks and the experiences we should be getting from being in Europe. The Dean his self seemed like a very nice guy with jokes and what not but the other fellow was very stern with his words and his speech went over by an hour… needless to say most of it were obvious suggestions that we knew already from common sense but I guess he meant well.
After this meeting we were off for our “integration” period by traveling the country of Luxembourg, and we were able to do it in just 13 hours since Luxembourg is THAT SMALL!
We first witnessed two cemeteries from WWII, each across the street from each other and one was for the Americans and the other, the Germans. It was visually obvious that the Americans were awed and loved by the Luxembourg’s at that time with the way their cemetery was laid out. Beautiful while stone crosses, perfectly cut grass, and huge monuments covering the area. While across the street the Germans got a less then nice burial area with 4 to a grave and un-kept graves.
These stops were quick ones and we were off again to visit a castle, and for most people this was quiet the excitement! Naturally Harry Potter came in to conversation as soon as everyone saw the castle, and I must admit that it does resemble Hogwarts quiet accurately. Placed at the top of the hill over looking the valley of houses below in the town of Vienna. As we exited the buses we discovered that our access to the castle was provided by a tall, steep, sky lift that of course had to go over a river, and with my luck it STOPPED over the dark river (I hate dark water). Once reaching the castle I was somewhat disappointed not for myself but for the first timers when we finally reached the castle since most of it had been redone and updated and they were even adding additions to it!( can you add additions to a castle??) but it was beautiful and allowed us to have a beautiful view across miles of land with the lucky warm weather we had.
After our adventurous days with other many random stops to see some sites here and there we had a “BBQ” waiting for us at the vineyard on the top of a hill side. It was barely what I would imagine as a BBQ, and In a good way! We sat in a beautiful glass room and the chefs cooked every type of meat you could imagine and then had a huge gourmet salad bar with amazing fruits and options! It was delicious needless to say!
Tonight there is the opening for this two week festival that all of Luxembourg celebrates and they have been setting up for the past few days! All I can gather is that there is going to be bands and loud music ( not sure how that celebrates a national old holiday) but the group of us will be checking that out!