Sunday, December 26, 2010
And SANTA DID VISIT US!!!! He left part of his beard in the cookie....and he didn't finish the cookie or milk, which I think was very wasteful of him.
But he left a note which was sweet of him. I didn't think Keith would wake up before noon, which was fine with me...I was wrong. Not only did he wake me up at 4:30 in the morning, he took video of the entire thing. The best part of the video clip is the very end.
We did finally get up around 8:30 and made a lovely breakfast for each other and opened gifts. There were a couple of things missing in the packages from our parents, which was kind of a let down--I don't care about getting gifts. I hope the person who took them is enjoying the gifts very much.
Keith did an excellent job with my gifts....colored pencils that look like tree branches, purple and green nail polish, a hat, earrings, and an appointment for a massage...excellent job. :-)
I think I did equally as well with Keith's gifts....I got him a hat like all of the old Hungarian men wear, two ties, and a toy gun. He immediately shot everything in the flat...including the angel off the Christmas tree...
So our first Christmas away from family was a lovely...as lovely as it could be being away from family. It was quiet and mellow (when Keith wasn't chasing me with his new gun). We didn't know that EVERYTHING is closed on December 24, 25, and 26...so we only had cookies and alcohol in our flat. It was rather funny. :-)
Friday, December 24, 2010
My Beszti Eszti organized the trip. The bus was to leave at 3am and get us to Vienna by 9am....however there was a massive snow storm and we didn't get to Vienna until shortly after noon.
In the parking lot of Tesco for a potty break......
I don't think I know anyone who loves snow more than Eszti
Schönbrunn Palace together with its ancillary buildings and extensive park is of the most important cultural monuments in Austria. Scheduled as a listed monument, the whole ensemble, including the palace, the park with its numerous architectural features, fountains and statues and not least the zoo – the oldest of its kind in the world – was placed on the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List in 1996.
I would love to see the palace gardens in the summer...but Eszti pretending she is some sort of garden creature was equally as awesome.
After I was about to have the kids help me decorate the tree, I learned that the kids don't see the tree until it is decorated it. The angels bring and decorate the Christmas tree...the kids usually don't see it until Christmas Eve. So basically, I almost ruined Christmas for them....oops.
I baked over 100 sugar cookies and made frosting so we could decorate cookies as a class. It was so cute.
Zozó is really good with drawing details...he outlined each one of his cookies.
It was really cute.
In the evening of December 24th (or in the case of our party, December 17th), someone rings a bell to let everyone know we can see what the angels brought. People enter the room singing the song you hear in the video clip...sparklers on the tree are also traditional (I thought the school was going to burn to the ground). At the end of the video clip, my students are singing "Jingle Bells" while Keith plays guitar.
Monday, December 6, 2010
St. Mikulás also has a sinister elf friend, Krampusz. In Hungary's neighboring countries, like Croatia, Krampusz is portrayed as a devil figure...in Hungary, Krampusz is portrayed as mischievous rather than evil devil, wearing a black suit, a long red tongue, with a tail and little red horns. The Krampusz wields a Virgács, bunch of golden coloured twigs bound together. Hungarian parents often frighten children with getting a Virgács instead of presents, if they do not behave. By the end of November, you can buy all kinds of Virgács on the streets, usually painted gold, bound by a red ribbon. Getting a Virgács is rather more fun than frightening, and is usually given to all children, along with presents to make them behave.
Anyways, prior to really knowing this story, I received virgács and a chocolate Santa from my boss. I thought, "Oh, what pretty golden twigs...why did Eszter give this to me?" I took a closer look at this chocolate santa and saw that it looked more like a devil, and was then informed of sir Krampusz and the switch he gives to bad little girls....or more so now, as jokes....especially to people who don't believe/don't know the cultural tradition.......
Thursday, November 25, 2010
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
As part of teaching kindergartners, I get to indulge my creative side. Here are a few of my creations. :-)
This week (and part of last week), I've been sick. The tough part is...at the moment, I'm feeling a bit better...but about two hours after taking my antibiotics, I regurgitate them (vomacillin). So, I decided today was a good day to start decorating the flat for Christmas.
This is the window to our porch...if I took a head on photo, you would #1. see the reflection of the flash, #2. see me in my pjs and #3. see our laundry drying on the porch.
Family Fun magazine/website has some great homemade ideas too. In between naps, I was brainstorming crafts to do with my students. I think they could handle this one.
We made one of those "helping hands" wreaths when I was there for .5 seconds (aka a full day yesterday)
We will NOT be making this star. It wasn't easy...or fun...or family friendly
I'm also trying to figure out what to give my students for Christmas. I'm thinking an ornament like this would be good...but I think I need a bigger ornament. Since the school is called, Ladybird, I thought it would be cute to draw a ladybird (aka ladybug for American-English speakers--people speak British-English here) and write the year or something.
Any craft suggestions??
Monday, November 22, 2010
I choose option B:
When we returned to the bottom of the mountain, we poked about the town while we awaited our train to return to Luzern.
There was nothing in the town, except a cyclist,
some granny-panties blowing in the wind
and beautiful fall foliage
Really, the fall foliage was as beautiful as the snowy mountains. Everywhere I looked in Switzerland was ridiculously beautiful. Again--I was kind of expecting random animals to come up to us and sit on our shoulders while we sang. Switzerland is a fairy tale setting.
Keith waiting for the train to return to Luzern
Sunday, November 21, 2010
So basically, a flying dragon with healing powers and the ghost of Pontius Pilate live atop the mountain. Unfortunately, Keith and I didn't see either of these creatures, but we did get to ride on the world's steepest cog wheel train and see some pretty fabulous views of the Alps.
Keith's blog will probably talk about the dragons and other legends...so you can read about it there...
View from the train
I didn't take any video of the ride up because I was too busy trying to pop my ears so I could hear Keith's commentary.
Also, perhaps because I was a bit scared.
On the way down, I stopped caring. The view was incredible. Because of the grade of the decent, it seems like we're going much faster than the 9km/hour the train travels
On a clear day, supposedly you can see Zurich from here.
The view is best captured with the video we took.
Keith tried to do a Vlog entry atop the mountain, but I was too busy trying to eat my sandwich to really want to participate...you can see my mouth full of food, then a "friend" tried to join in on the fun.
#1: When the bird landed on my head, it felt like it lasted a LOT longer than what it looks like in the video clip--it was traumatic
#2: I like the confusion with the camera at the beginning, so I didn't edit it out.
After some running around, we discovered the cave/tunnels with various lookouts. It was awesome.
awww...we're so cute!