Tuesday, 31 May 2005
Saturday, 28 May 2005
Danke schön! Viel Spass für Eure Wochenende...
Thursday, 26 May 2005
Tuesday, 24 May 2005
I AM MOVING HOUSE AND FAMILY ON SATURDAY, SO PLEASE DO NOT SEND ME ANY MAIL UNTIL YOU HAVE MY NEW ADDRESS (EMAIL ME IF YOU NEED IT, OR ASK THE USUAL SUSPECTS). THANKYOU FOR YOUR COOPERATION.
And also, if you comment, please tell me who you are, so i ahve an idea of who's reading my blog! Thanks! And the funny scoopy thing, from a few episodes ago I think is a ditch digger... HAve my English schularbeit (important exam type test) next week, should be fun, I got some of my prepositions wrong on the homework, but I think I'm right, was just an alternative!
Anyway, my terrible news, I'm going to have to go to Verona, in Italy in my summer holidays... Isn't it a hard luck life? Oh, I don't know what I'm going to do! Basically Bibi informed me today her family has had the trip planned for ages, but I am 'most welcome' to go along too, and they'll be going for 5 days or something in August! And she asked if it was ok! Really! Munich has now also been addded to the list of places we are visiting in the holidays, so that makes Vienna, Salzburg, Graz and Munich! And Verona...!
Visited Mauthausen yesterday, Austria's biggest concentration camp in WW2. The weather was really wrong for it, but very right as well. REally I think it would be best to visit on a horrible day, with lots of rain, or at least dark clouds, but yesterday was beautiful, warm, sunny. It drove away the timage that concentration camps, or Konzentrationslager, were always dark and gloomy and made me realise how sad it was that the birds would stil have been singing beautifully and everything, while all those people were dying. The part with the most impact were the Todesstiege, Death Stairs. These used to be incredibly uneven stairs going down into the quarry (it was used to mine Granite), one 1 metre high, the next only 20cm (now they've been evened though). The prisoners, häftlinge, would go down in their hundreds, crammed ont othe stairs, and the guards at the top would give the rear ones a shove, sending dozens of men to their deaths. Bascially men were sent to the camps to die, but they wanted to get some use out of them first, or at least not have to pay to kill them, so they worked them to death. I wonder how the area will be treated in 100 years, when I reckon all the quarry will be gone, filled in with the (young) trees... Even now there is little trace, just a few bits of metalstuck into the cliffs, some concrete things in the ground and the mined look off the cliffs. Other than that, it could be just a park type area with frogs and ducks in the two pond type things (which I couldn't help but wonder if concealed more bodies, but they may not have been there when the camp was in action.). But I really wish I could see how people treat the area in 100 years, whether the world wars will just become those 'ancient wars' that people choose to know about by choosing ancient history or something, and areas like Mauthausen will just become more derelict, be vandalised and forgotten about, or if people will really see the WWs as learning opportunities, and still study them and make them a 'Never repeat this mistake' to be taught to everyone. Anyway, back to SUnday...
All the actual barracks and cabins and stuff I found a little disappointing, if that's the right word. They were incredibly sterile to me, and there was nothing to really make me think there was truth in the fact that 500 people were squashed in at a time. I know it is true, but they were just like backyrd sheds cleared out for the rat's nest hunt or soemthing. THe Crematorium was slightly creepy, and there was an atmosphere of erkyness there, with plaques saying where a type of noose was etc etc. The Gas chambers however were the worst part. They looked so innocuous, but still had an atmosphere of being built for pain and suffering. I've always been a little cynical of poeple who said they could reallysense the pain that had gone on in a place, but the gas chambers were definately a testament to that. I should have taken a photo of them, but forgot completely. They were just like white tiled shower rooms, with a window somewhere, and pipes over head with openings.
There were also displays of photos of the prisoners and military people, and these were incredible. There were some of the typical (but still emotive) emaciated prisoner shots, but also of the SS men, in their comfortable barracks, of body piles and carts heaped with the dead at the end, when the Americans came and freed them all. What amazed me was that so many of the prisoners looked the same, there were mugshot from when they were brought in, and a lot of them had the square head, short hair etc etc look... There really was a sort of person who was kept there. They all looked the same at the end as well, just like a science room skeleton with skin.
There were also takls by survivors of the war, which were ver interesting, although I would love to have heard from an actual survivor of the camps. There was an old man who'd helped to build the camp, as an apprentice builder, and had been able to see what was going on, but unable to help at all because they were all threatened with being dressed in RUssian uniform, and then killed. I wonder if he's proud of the place as a structure (ignoring the use), it has stood well over the years, looks well built, but thought it was a little tasteless to ask. Magdalena was translating for me anyway! Another person who spoke was a lady who is protrayeyd in a film about her families story of saving 2 Russian prisoners, out of 30 who escaped (the other 28 were recaptured.) Her story was full of miracles, from all five of her 6 brothers who went to war returning fully intact (while they were away, someone had to go to the church everyday and pray for their safety) and perhaps more amzing was the story regarding th Russians. They hid in a hay stack for 3 months in their shed, and not all the family even knew they were there, especially the soldiers sons. One day the SS came to look for them, with dogs, and they searched the shed. The dogs climbed up the hay stacks, and (in the movie, which I think was fairly accurate) practically stepped on the men, but did not find them. No one knows why not. At least one of hte men is still alive today, it was his 90th birthday recently which he celebrated in Austria with the family, and lots of important people came, like the Russian ambassador.
I didnt understnad much of what was happening at times, but when I did, and when Magdalena translated for me, I found it incredible. Combined with actually seeing the places where so many people died made it a very powerful day. There was also a short service type of thing, with music and stuff, and we signed a rock from the quarry.
Will put some photos up at some stage, when I get round to it, in cafe at the mo though, so a little tricky!
Btw, Nicola, guess what film we're watching in music! I still can't remember if I've seen the end, think I have, but still get THAT songstuck in my head! It's in German, which is fun! Is Amadeus for those of you who don't have a clue what I'm talking about (which probably inclued Nicola...!)
Have myde up a new quiz for you, will put it up at some stage! Gotta go now though, think I've written enough, not all of what I did have beofre the computer deleted most of it, but i'll deal with it! Ahhh, man at the desk next to me has just commented that I type very fast! In german, I think he may have expected me to reply with more than just a 'übung' (practice), but can't be bothered with the 'sorry, my germyn isn't good' routine....!
Sunday, 22 May 2005
Magdalena says that normally in this situation, she wouldn't change the student so early, would try to work things all out first, but because there isn't anything to work out here, it's ok... All good vibes really!
Means I just have to meet Bibi's family, yet another public holiday on thursday, so prolly do that then, and Magdalena needs to talk to them, but hopefully I'll be able to go there... Could be tricky at times thoguh, going to school and living i nteh same house as Bibi, but I'm sure I can find ways to get away from her..!! People manage all the time!
Choir concert last night, fun fun fun! Actually I was quite impressed with some of hte solo singers, in many ways it reminded me a little of an Aus. Idol audition, a few REALLY good voices, and some really not so good ones! The most impressive was Mel who I sit next to, who can't read music, but has a fantasic range and is in tune and all that stuff! The concert was kinda fun, alhtough I couldn't feel my bum by the end of it, because we just had ot stay o nteh stage fro the whole time! Was good, Erika and Erika came to watch, as did Magdalena and Reini (her boyfriend)...
Going to a WW2 Memorial thing at Mauthausen with Magdalena and Reini tomorrow, should be good!
Gotta go and stick some clocks on clarrie's webpage now though, she's off to South Africa, has a blog,in my links list.... Look on it!
Friday, 20 May 2005
Finding out about the LInz night life tomorrow! We've got our choir concert, then I'm being taken by 17 year old girls to their 'favourite pubs'... Very funny to hear them sy things like that...! Perfectly normal though!
My bladder is about to burst though, so i must go to the 'klo'...!
Wednesday, 18 May 2005
A thingy whatsit! Not a clue what it is in English, or german come to that matter... Very 'sweet' though... as Bibi said...
Here is SImon, another small relative! They really know how to create cute kids here - he is SOOO happy all te time! Even when he banged his chin on the table quite hard, he was laughing again in iabout 2 minutes!
Went to a zoo today, was lots of fun, and spoke to the wallabies and emus... Yep! i'll stick the phtos up in a minute!
Please pray for me as I go through a tricky patch with my family. I'm thinking I'd maybe like to change host fmilies, have talked to Magdalena, and we're going to talk to the family next week sometime. Variety of reasons, can't really be bothered going into them, but could be a little awkward for a while...
ok, the photos!
Saturday, 14 May 2005
Train drivers here are so funny! (speaking of trains, I FINALLY got a vorteils card yesterday, meaning my tickets are half price, hooray! Will be good for summer holidays travel!) Anyway, the drivers. They walk to the train about 5 minutes before departure, always carrying a briefcase. Don't ask me what train drivers need that requires a briefcase, unless it's to hold all their cigarettes or something, but I think all the ones that go from my station (meaning about 3 differnt drivers... it's a small station!!) carry their briefcases...! I just htink it's funny... Maybe the're doing other work, paper work, while driving or something...
Saw the CUTEST thing a few days ago. Well I thought it was, and it was 7 in the morning, so I was feeling rather not awake, but anyway, each to their own! I can't remmber the name of what it was (names of building machinery have been the first to depart my mind - my grip was already VERY loose!) but it was one of those scoopy things, like they have in sandpits, where you sit on them, and operate the scoop and scoop sand from one place to another... I'm sure you know what I mean... i'll call it a scoopy thing for the moment. Anyway, there was some minor work going on on one side of the road, and the workmen stopped the traffic. The Scoopy THing was escorted across the road by other work men on either side, and it reminded me SOOO much of a lollipop crossing! The Scoopy THing even seemed to have the posture of a reluctant student, drooping 'neck' so it was stooped and kinda plod-rolled across the road! I started laughing, but then couldn't explain to Hans was I was laughing about, because I have no idea for the name of lollipop crossings or anything.. The closest I could come to was to say it was like a student, but I don't think he understood... was just one of those moments, that for no apparent reason, is very cute!
WEell that's my news for the moment, just vacuumed a gazilion stairs, dunno if i was supposed to do the very bottom lot, but the shoes were still n them, while Erika had cleared the other flights, so I didn't... Also missed about three stairs at the top of the hosue because the cord wasn't long enough, and for some odd reason I seriously didn't think of drapping it OVER the hand rail, rather than round the bottom... I don't know why, but now that flight is hlf vacuumed... I suppose I could have gone and done them later, but Michi's friend had already stuck his head out the door once suspiciously (well, I thought it was suspicously, that's all he did - head out, say hallo in a 'aha, that's who it is' tone of voice then disappear again...) So I didn't...!
To the people I've sent letters to this week (and anyone else it applies to, for other weeks), sorry about the non-stamps. I don't know how to get them to give me stamps rather than the printed out labels from the computer! Occassionaly they do, but often they just weigh the letter (a lady weighed a postcard once, I thought that was funny) to check it's a normal weight, then stick on the silly white sticker... Maybe could say soemthing, but I don't know if maybe the letters are just always overweight... Need to call in weight watchers or something!
I feel sorry for the stomachs of Austrians. Good food, but so much chewing gum! I wonder if it started with the smokers, chewing ffor their teeth and breath, but now everone chews! i'm sure they're all going to get stomach ulcers, I know quite a few chain chewers...
Friday, 13 May 2005
I'm going to buy an InterRail train ticket for the summer holidays, and will hjopefully be able to travel all over europe with it (within my visa restricions).. I don't know how it works, but my host father tell me it's very useful... Met up with MAgdlena yesterday, and she also gets the definte impression that my family expects me to do all my own thing, including the tourist things, and won't have any problem if I go off for a week or whatever under my own steam! It's funny, there were rules set by the organisation in Australia, but here they don't seem to be kown - I'm supposed to travel with either school, my fmamily or have an over 25 y.o. in the group, but MAgdalena was encouraging me to go to Vienna for a weekend, by myself or with a couple fo school friends. She's even offered me the use of a flat that she used to live in, that her friend now uses... Very hany indeed!
As usual, there were other things I wanted to tell you about, but really can't remember, all the german just pushes 'unimportant' things out I think...!
Oh yeah, i'm used to feeling I can't speak German, but it isn't often I feel I can't speak English. Yesterday I did, in English. The class was looking at 'common' English idioms, and I had to give an example where you'd use each one. Unfortunatly I hadn't heard of a few, and other I've never used in my life. It's really hard to think of examples that can be understood by non-english speakers... Ended up using chocolate to explain lots... Don't really know if they understood though! Not being able to understand the teacher on occassions doesn't help me feel I can speak English either! Gotta run
Wednesday, 11 May 2005
Just read Hannah's latest report on life with the Salvo's in Melbourne, and there was a bit that summed up just what I think I've thoguth before, but has never eally sunk in. Hope it isn't copywrited Hannah, think it's just easier to copy and paste...
I miss the simple things of home like parents paying for things, my own
room to reside in, brothers, young girls and boys in crèche and Kidzown, a
car and knowing people in the street
Now not all these apply to me, but some do especially the knowing peoplei n
the street! I find myself walking down Landstrasse (the main street) keeping
an eye out for people I know, in an unconscious way. If someone gave me a Euro fo everytime I thought 'Hey it's Gablergh, what on Earth are they in Linz for? Should i say hello?' (and yes I often get that far in the thought process), I would have a lot of money to give the beggars (well maybe buy food and then give that to them, so they dont lose their begging spots. Yes, it does bother me!) It's especially people from home I look out for I think, and of course I'm disappointed because I don't see anyone! Never really realised how much it means to be able to smile or say hello to people who you don't really know, just always share the bus with or whatever, they don't do that here...
Read George Orwell's 1984 today (yep, started it in our non-German lesson, and finished it this eveing, reading almost only in my own time). Been wanting to read it for ages and ages, and it was sitting on Bibi's desk, because they study it in English (the poor poor poppets, it's not easy to read) so I thought no time liek the present...! It was really really good, I couldn't put it down! Reminded me of Fahrenheit 451 in many ways - set in the future where people re controlled through fear, ith no privacy etc etc. Reading it, I have no idea what made people think it was a good idea to make it into a tv series. Saw theend coming, but also had the feeling I remembered thebits of the last part, thinking maybe I've heard bits indrama monologues - it would be good! Anyway, suggest reading it, will be doing so again a few tiem s I reckon! Can't believe it was written at the end of WW2, thought it was kinda funny that hte protaganists name was Winston, wonder if there's some significance with Winston Churchill...
Anyway, love the 'recover post' button.. Michi just succeeded in black outing the house twice (and the second time the power was convinced it wanted to come back on in here, but he did warn me there might be the scond time,although I#d just convinced the computer it did want to start again! No blue scren pf death which i thought was funny...!) He says there won't be another time, but not fully trusint, so going to post this and go to bed! Can you tell i'm now writieen very fast? MY keyboard skills have jsut gone overboar I think! Sorry! MAy come back and correct some day when I'm old and grey...! Taaraa!
Sunday, 8 May 2005
I've discovered the way into the hearts of my fmaily.. no, not really... well I dunno, but they love my butterscotch slice (made into biscuits because of cooking utensil shortage...)... I cooked a batch on Thursday night, and they were all one by Friday afternoon, then cooked another lot yesterday, almost all gone again.. I think I'd better go and grab some for me soon, before they really are all gone! Mmmmm!
Mother's day today, going to see lots of little baby ducklings at Erika's mother's house soon... Must be off.. there was actually something inteligent I had to write, but can't remember what it was, and was just writing in the vain hope it would come back, but so far no luck... Ah well...
Thursday, 5 May 2005
In choir, we're singining What Shall We Do With a Drunken Sailor, and they sing EARLY in the morning, not Er-Lye... although I've converted at least one person... I think it's so much easier to sing er-lye personally, and sounds better, but anyways (as Mr Holz would say...)
I'm getting addicted to terrible tv here, Spongebob Schwammkopf (you work it out) is on everyday, and is actually surprisingly funny... The worst show I've strated to watch is Sex and the City, only because the rest of hte family watches it (well Erika and Erika), and I don't like to appear anit-social in the evenings... After it is Desperate Housewives which is worth the pain...
i'm reading this weird but good book at the mo called Mount Misery, about a first year psychiatric resident doctor. I got so confused reading the reviews stuck all over it, on the cover was one saying it was hilariously funny, and inside another saying it presented a serious and important wake up call to insitutions all over the world... All the reivews sort of contradict easch other! But it is funny, but scary at the same time. Only shoce it because the library I was at only has about 6 English books (the better on was too far away at the time!)... But I'm really enjoying it... Here'sa NY Times review ... Also just bought Hitchikers Guide in German, will start it soon... I think I have to finish this one first though - I can hear it calling me, which is rare for a book that is not crime or thriller....
well yes, must be off, actually just came online to look for some song lyrics, for an art project... *nose tap*.. If anyone wants to gvie me some good movie quotes please do- Suse i'm sure you'll give me some good ones... hint hint nudge nudge wink wink!
And looking at the view from my favourite sunny window (same window as last pic)... Without the flash because that lights up the foreground, and darkens the background, but it was almost this dark over there anyway!
From the verandah, 8:20pm, buckets of rain started moments after - the kind that soaks you when you just step out the front door
Here's some crazy weather phtoos from last night! This was from my bedroom window at about 8:15 last night, with the flash...
Wednesday, 4 May 2005
Rather funny in music yesterday, we've got a concer coming up, and some of the guys were given the job of stiking up posters for it. The teacher wasn't too impressed with the fact they managed to stick one on a wall with wet paint... Ooops...! He then gave the job to a couple of other people, and was asking for tape, but everyone's tape seemed to have disappeared... Can't think why (remember this is the teacher who also teaches english, and doesn't know the difference between less and fewer)... eventually some was rusteld up... was quite funny though... ma have needed to be there....
Lord of the Dance is on next week in Linz... ther's posters advertising 'Michael Flatley's Lord othe Dance'... I thought it had died personally... but apparently not!
My German is getting better at a steady rate now I think, although in class I can't take notes by myself still because I don't know how to contract it to note taking lengths! Instead I just copy whoever I'm sitting next too (althoug htey've all got such silly handwriting this is almost as hard!)... I don't get jokes though, which is one of the hardest thigs - it's very hard when everyone else is laughing, and you have no idea why, is often tempting to just laugh anyway, but then you fel almost as stupid... When it's with people who know I don't understand it's ok, but when its with strangers is terrible - on the bus from train to home the bus driver made some comment about this grumpy old man, which was apparentlyt very funny (eve nteh old man was laughing) and I felt very out of it... I could imagine what he said, but it's hard to laugh at what you imagine people say....!
Now there's only one note left, can't work it out, plus Baby shark, but that'S been answered already (tahnks Kate!) so don't have to ask...! Ahhh... Weasther! The weather here is almost as god as tassie weather at the mo... On Monday it was 30 degrees across the country (I think it got to more than that here, was 28 at 6pm on my way to the train) with lots of blue sky (althoug hte sky isn't as blue here as in tassie - not that really nice deep blue, I think it's pollution....) and today the mximum for the country was predited at 15 or 16, with storms predicte for the next few days... Yesterday there was the first proper rain though -a real downpour, was fnatastic, short but great!
Anyway, now that you know it all... I must be off... Hooroo!
Sunday, 1 May 2005
A random person who I think could be Melanie's brother, but no entirely sure... often comes and talks to us though! Quite funny... Wearing the ominous sunnies!