Sunday, March 8, 2015

Musik im März

March has already been a busy month here in Linz. February concluded with a day at a thermal bath (Austrian spa) in Bad Hall. From indoor and outdoor pools to saunas and steam-rooms, it was a rejuvenating day. I know, life seems unbearably tough in Austria...

 Outdoor pools in Bad Hall

First of all, the weather has fortunately taken a turn towards spring. I can't put away my winter jacket just yet, but a sunny day can always be recipe for a wonderful day. I had my normal things to do, such as Swedish, tandem, and of course, teach the kids a more Americanized (vs. German/Austrianized) English, but there were also some new endeavors that I think are worth sharing.

Linz Center - it's starting to feel like spring!
Hauptplatz

On Thursday, my colleague, Helga, invited me to a classical concert at Brucknerhaus Concert Hall. The evening was titled: "Africa sings: a Selection from Afro-American Lyrics." It included works from the Harlem Renaissance. The concert got off to a slow start as the orchestra played so beautifully, it felt like a bedtime lullaby. The guest singer who came on after the intermission vocally carried the audience to a faraway African tribal concert. She was simply extraordinary the way she captivated the room. It felt like she sang forever, but then it seemed as though the performance had been five minutes long. Need I mention that she gave two encores?

Off to the Concert!
Brucknerhaus

On Friday, I was given an invitation to serve on the English jury for the Austrian National Language Competition. This is an exciting honor to observe and help judge some of the best language students from all over Austria. Tomorrow (Monday, March 9) I will be on the jury for the Upper Austrian Language Competition. These competitions are spread out over two days: day 1 is the Switch Competition, in which students prepare an article in German and subsequently discuss the article with two native speakers (English and either Spanish, Italian, French, or Russian). Day 2 is the traditional single language competition with several elimination rounds. I am the moderator for the English finale this Tuesday...I'm both excited and anxious to see how things go - it will be intense, I'm sure.

This weekend I stayed in Linz. On Saturday, I had breakfast with my colleague, Gerhard, and his family. Their home was as lovely as them, and we enjoyed an adventurous, off-road stroll after the lavish meal with numerous spread and every form of bread possible. It was so welcoming, it was great to hang out with a family again.
Stroll in a Linz suburb

On Sunday (today), we had a "Brunch with the Oscars" with the Austro-American Society of Upper Austria. We had a full-spread brunch and then watch The Theory of Everything, the life story of Stephen Hawking. It was a fascinating film, and I, along with the two other teaching assistants, led the post-movie discussion.

Sunday was International Women's Day, so some people decorated the Pestsäule accordingly.

Sunday's sunset from St. Magdalena Church

Have a great week!
Mit freundlichen Grüßen
Matt