I've done no blogging since spring break but have had lots of fun. If you are friends with me on Facebook, you've probably seen some of these pictures but for my non-FB people, I was encouraged by my friend Kir (who IS a FB person now!) to not let my blog go!
So, here's a little slice of life from The Traveling Teacher....
|My cousins from Denmark, The Lauritzen Family, came to visit me at the end of April.|
We spent a day at the Cologne cathedral...the Kölner Dom...
|The short American-Dane mut (and Irish, German, & Welsh) with the purebred tall Danes!|
For three days, I attended a conference entitled "Making Thinking Visible" at the International School of Amsterdam through Harvard's Project Zero. It fed my love of teacher-geekiness and renewed me. I've really missed my professional development network through PEBC since I left Colorado so it was great to feel some of that here...and...there was a PEBC staff developer from Denver there so that was really really exciting!
|The whole conference!|
|Auermühle. Another reason to enjoy Deutschland!|
My school hosts an international festival every spring. The parents organize the whole thing and it is a large community event. It is a fundraiser and a celebration of the fact that we have over 40 countries represented at our school. Each country (or region as is the case for Scandinavia) has their own booth with tradition food and drink. There is also a full day of traditional (and not so traditional) performances by the kids, parents, and even some teachers.
At the Scandinavian station, one could order meatballs, herring, schnapps, or schnapps with a song! My friend Nina and I chose "schnapps with a song" and they plunked down two Viking helmets on us! Then, they proceeded to pour all of the parents (Swedish mostly) in the vicinity a shot of Aquavit and then sang us a Swedish drinking song wherein we all took a shot together! This was an amazing day (and not just because of the food and drinks) but because it really is a unique experience to be part of an international community. I got veklempt at the parade of flags!
We had a three day weekend (same weekend as Memorial Day in the US but for a Catholic holiday...don't know which one) a few weekends ago and so a few of us did a day long bike ride down the Rhein River. Our first stop was at Benrather Schloss which just means Benrath Castle. It was a lovely day weather-wise and company-wise with lots of laughs and some very sore butts the next day as we were on bikes for about 7 or so hours that day. We got lost a few times and following the river takes quite a bit longer than riding directly to somewhere!
|Taking the bike ferry to Zons, a cute medieval town.|
|Riding along the Rhein.|
Another weekend The Brydens rented a car and we went to a castle called Schloss Burg. It is in the Wupper River Valley...or Wupperthal. It was another gorgeous day and there was a chairlift that went up and down the mountain from the town to the castle.
|Hugh in his typically orange apparel. Pretty sure he was Dutch in a past life.|
|Barbara and I are just chilling on the chairlift bench.|
Düsseldorf is SO flat because it is on the Rhein floodplain and
so whenever you leave the immediate area, it is shocking to see all the hills again!
One of the hardest parts (besides living so far away from home) about teaching abroad is the high turnover rate of staff. You make friends and then they move on or you move on. The upside is that you get to make lots of new friends and have lots of coming/going parties! This year's leaving staff organized a Segway tour around Düsseldorf. This was one of the most fun things I have ever done and it is going to require a great deal of restraint to not take a Segway tour every time I go somewhere now.
|Segway tours are my new boat cruises.|
|Just chillin' on my Seg...|
So, that's that. A quick update on my happenings for the last 7 or so weeks. I have a week and a half of school left and then I fly to Nice, France with Lauren to meet my friend Maura (from South Kakalaki) and her friend (soon to be my friend too, I hope!) Lisa. Then, Lisa, Maura, and I will fly to Münich and tour the Bavarian Alps. Most importantly, we're going to Salzburg, Austria to do the Sound of Music tour! WAHOO!!!
I am ready for the school year to be over but the speed with which this year flew by is a very positive sign. I have had a great year (if I can just get through this last round of report cards!) and am looking forward to another great year at my new school. It will be nice to NOT be a new person for the first time in two years. AND, I am moving to a new apartment next week which is much closer to actual commerce and no longer in a retirement village! Hopefully, that will be my last house move for a bit. I've moved every year for the last three. At least I don't have to deal with furniture this time since I am taking only clothes and personal items and selling all my furniture to the new occupant of my current place.
So, off to bed to prepare for another day of report card writing. These narrative report cards are a killer.
Ciao, mes amis!