February has almost come to an end, so I feel like it's time that I drop a quick line. Last Monday, MaryBeth and I returned safe and sound to Linz after a wonderfully unforgettable trip to Turkey, more specifically to Istanbul, Pamukkale, and Antalya. I have 2,500+ photos to make my way through before I can finalize a post about our trip, which we appropriately titled "Operation Thanksgiving." I have needed a few days to recover from such a on-the-go trip and to fall back into the old work rhythm. Part of that old rhythm involves the pesky, yet insatiable travel bug that gets my mind racing about where I could journey next. With Easter break only four weeks away, it seemed necessary to start making a plan of action...please keep reading to the end for that update.
Today, I started a new position as an English assistant at an elementary and middle school for a deaf and hard-of-hearing school in Linz. Nothing has changed with my other two schools; till the end of April, I will be at this third school every Friday. I had the opportunity to work with three highly-enthusiastic classes with students ranging from 9 to 15. Their energy levels were much higher than I'm used to working with from my typical students, aged 16 to 20. Some students called me Mr. American, which made me smile for sure. Their curiosity was heartwarming as they asked a variety of questions, ranging from about my relationship status to life in New Jersey and why do we have big yellow school buses in the States. Overall, students and teachers alike seemed excited to realize that the English they are learning can be used to speak with people who do not know German. The morning left me with a great first impression, and I'm looking forward to meeting some other classes next week...and wearing a microphone again.
With my adrenaline still pumping, I opted to cross a few things off my Linz Bucket List. I set the goal back in October that I wanted to at some point take each tram line in Linz to the last station. Starting from the center of Linz, I did that today for all three tram lines. Yes, I stopped at every tram stop (on lines 1, 2, & 3) in Linz today. It may not sound like everyone's cup of tea, but it was a wonderful chance to people watch and see other parts of Linz. Plus, it didn't cost me anything with my monthly bus ticket. It was a beautiful, clear and sunny day to uncover a few new, mostly residential corners of Linz. But unfortunately in each tram, I was surprised to see how many people had buried their faces in their phones. I know I have been guilty of this, but such a warm, sunny day does not come around all the time in Linz.
SolarCity is at the end of the No. 2 tram line. Like the name suggests, this is a
community in Linz that focuses strongly on then environment.
I kid you not, every house or building had at least one solar panel.
My tram joyriding lasted for about 4 hours.
As I switched trams one last time to head back to Katzbach (where I live in Linz), I finally purchased a pastry at Knott Bäckerei (Bakery). It was a sweet treat, especially since my last name shares the same pronunciation [kuh-note]...but I forgot to ask for the family discount.
Now to my final update: my Easter break plans. Turkey was wonderful, but I felt like I was at a disadvantage since Turkish is a language that I do not understand. That language obstacle finally convinced me to pick the final contender for this upcoming destination. Trips to Bulgaria/Romania or Finland/Estonia/Latvia were strong considerations, but I ultimately decided to book a flight to No. 2 on my Country Bucket List: Barcelona, Spain. (If you're curious, Sweden is number one on the list.) My plans are still pretty open, but Barcelona and Madrid are top priorities. I cannot be happier about my decision because I will finally be able to put my Spanish major to the test since graduation...this should be interesting to see how "Germanized" my Spanish has become.
Happy weekend und schönen Februar noch!
LG (Liebe Grüße)