Tuesday, December 30, 2008

I went to Hungary on Tuesday!

It seems hard to believe, I even giggle every time I say it, but I went to Hungary for dinner on Tuesday!  It was fun.  There was a group of 9 of us from school.  We went there to get a cheap steak dinner, fellowship, and go to a store called Tesco (it is kind of like a Super Kmart but was described to me as like  a Super Wal-Mart).  Hungary is about 1 hour away from Vienna.  So it certainly wasn't difficult to get there.  The restaurant we ate at was called Papa Joe's (not to be confused with Papa John's which doesn't exist here!)  It was decorated in a western theme so I took some pictures.
The sunset on the way there!  It was beautiful.  It's hard to believe that I took this picture through a car window!

We didn't eat at the bar but I thought the stools were creative.  What do you think?

I thought Trent would like this picture!

I thought this old sewing machine was quite interesting!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Ferocious Lions??

Carrie and I are cat sitting for another teacher while he is in the States for Christmas break.  We are excited to do this but were a bit concerned about what we signed up for when we received the e-mail of instructions.  It was long and it told us many helpful things but I was wondering if we were cat sitting for cats or if were sitting for ferocious lions.  When we went today the picture below is what we found.  We were able to hold these really scared cats and they even ate out of our hands.  They are cute and we will enjoy feeding and petting them but I hope they start to calm down a bit so we can hold them for longer periods of time without them having little kitty heartattacks!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Rescue Service

We walked out of our apartment to find four ambulances, two fire trucks, and one police car blocking the road.  I'm not sure what was going on but I said a prayer for those involved.  It seemed calm but odd that there were so many rescue vehicles involved.  I also thought that the ambulances look interesting so here is a picture of what the ambulances looked like.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas in Germany

Carrie and I went to Germany for Christmas.  Our friend, the Elementary ELL teacher, is from Germany.  Her parents are church planters in Mannheim so they invited some of the other teachers to Germany for Christmas.  It was so much fun to see Mannheim, Rothenburg, and Heidelburg.  We also rested which was a highlight for me!  Thank you for inviting us Leslie.  I had a marvelous time with you and your family!


The castle in Heidelburg

The view from the gardens surrounding the castle in Heidelburg

Carrie, me, and Leslie on our way to Mannheim via the Frankfurt airport

Saturday, December 20, 2008

3rd Grade Gingerbread Houses/Christmas Party

 I'm not a big party person (I know surprise, surprise, right?).  So, I usually try to plan fun activities to do with my students around most holidays.  At Christmas time we make gingerbread houses out of graham crackers.  Since moving to Austria I am always trying to figure out how to do some of the same things here.  I appealed to my student's parents for supplies and they pulled through.  We had a grand time making these houses.  Most of my students had never made a gingerbread house before but they did know what they were because we had been reading about them.  It was interesting to teach my kids how to make something that most stateside kids usually know how to do.  Here are some pictures of their masterpieces. Aren't they absoluetly breathtaking?!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Christmas Markets

It is fun to celebreate Christmas here in Vienna.  Even without the snow you have the cold temperatures and CHRISTMAS MARKETS!!!  These Christmas Markets certainly put you in the Christmas mood.  I love to just walk around them and take it all in!  There is so much to see and smell and a lot of people to simply bump into!  Carrie, Cindi and I went to many of the markets together.  We simply walked around taking them all in.  I don't know if I can choose a favorite one but we did go to seven (if I'm counting right) her in Wien.  Here are some pictures.  I didn't take very many but enjoy the ones that I did take!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A Field trip to the Rathaus

Here are some pictures from the First and Third grade trips to the Rathaus for a Christmas craft.  The first graders made candles and the third graders painted pillowcases.  We had a lot of fun for just 3 Euro!



Monday, December 15, 2008

The little elves are hard at work. . .

I read The Legend of the Christmas Stocking to my kids today. They really enjoyed listening to the story and they fully understood the concept of St. Nicholas! It was a lot of fun. I then had my kids sew fabric together to make their own stockings. I was a bit fearful that I was going to have a mini revolt on my hands with my boys but they loved it as well! We'll finish them tomorrow but here are a few pictures that show the little elves hard at work.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The 12 Days of Christmas

Carrie and I have a tradition with our friend Jennifer; every year at Christmas we give 12 little/thoughtful presents for 12 days before Christmas. This year Carrie and I thought it was not going to happen since we are so far away and we weren't able to plan it out on our end. Well, we were quite surprised to find boxes that were delivered to school and inside were wrapped presents for the 12 days of Christmas! We are so excited! So, here is day one. We laughed pretty hard to open a miniature knitting/crocheting/sewing kit! Thanks Jennifer, Becky, and Bonnie. It was very creative!

Friday, December 12, 2008


So every once in a while our yearly U-bahn pass is checked by U-bahn officials. To date we've been checked for our passes 5 times while walking home. Today we were checked on the actual U-bahn (this is a 1st for us). It was interesting. The man was dressed in all black and showed us his ID and then asked us to see our tickets. Well, he was speaking German so we assumed that he was asking us for our passes. A new adventure everyday here! Let me tell you!

A Map of the U-bahn routes

This is a street you can take after getting off of the U-bahn at the Aderklaaer Straβe U1 stop.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Dr. Pepper

We found Dr. Pepper at a restaurant here in Vienna. I was so excited! This restaurant was kind of like Chipotle or Qdoba (if you know what this is!). Jennifer. . . I'm sure you will be the most excited about this blog post! Here's the picture to prove we found it! Interestingly enough the writing on the bottle is all in English.

Monday, December 8, 2008

A Blizzard

A blizzard of snowflakes occurred today in my classroom. It was so much fun! The High School art and math teacher volunteered to share with the elementary kids (one classroom at a time) how to make a proper 6-pointed/sided snowflake. They started with a PowerPoint that told all about different types of snowflakes and then it discussed two people who are famous for taking photographs of snowflakes. As a class we've been reading through "Snowflake Bentley." It is a book about a man who loves snow and devotes his life to capturing snowflakes with a camera. So it was great for them to hear about the same person we had been discussing!

After the PowerPoint my kids learned how to cut a snowflake. You should have heard the ohh's and ahh's. It was great and my kids were such eager learners! Their thank you notes were even very heartfelt but hilarious! Here are a few pictures of some of their snowflake masterpieces.
They wanted to make it snow.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Elementary Christmas Concert

The Elementary Christmas Concert was this evening. I was nervous for this but knew it would be a grand time. Primary through 2nd grade sang first. They did a wonderful job! I was quite impressed with how well they sang and held their notes. It is always cute to see the little ones. At the beginning of the concert one of the Primary kids decided it was time to stretch before singing. How cute was that!! To top it off he was front row center! My favorite song they sang was Happy Birthday Jesus! It was so precious. There's something about little voices singing that song. It certainly touches your heart.
Then the 3rd through 5th grade had their turn. They also did a wonderful job! I was so proud of my kids. They remembered their verse (Luke 2:1-7) and made me so proud. I smiled from ear to ear! This group also sang four songs. Wow, that is a lot but they handled it with the grace I would expect older children to have. Can I say that I am proud of them again?
Here are a few pictures and a video of the 3rd - 5th graders singing. I'll see if I can get a video of the Primary - 2nd graders singing as well. Enjoy!

Carrie and I have siblings and here is a picture of them in their Christmas best (Indian Style!)

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Our Christmas Tree

We set up our Christmas tree today!! Thank you to our friends Jennifer, Becky, and Bonnie who supplied us with a beautiful tree and all the trimmings! The tree is about 12 inches tall and fits quite nicely on top of our TV! It is a wonderful addition to our home and adds a nice touch of the Christmas spirit! Thank you dear friends!!!

Friday, November 28, 2008

White Sweet Potatoes

Thanksgiving was wonderful! We went to another teacher's house for Thanksgiving. We has a lot of fun eating, fellowshipping, and singing Christmas Carols. Carrie and I contributed Strawberry Apple Pie and Sweet Potatoes. Well, those sound like easy things to contribute but it is a little more difficult here! Sweet Potatoes we the hardest. We finally found some at the open air market. We had to look for the best deal and we finally found a vendor that was selling huge sweet potatoes at a lower/more fair price than the others. We only needed to purchase two since they were so large! When we got home and cut them open to boil them they were white inside. After doing a quick google search we found out that there are white flesh sweet potatoes. They taste just the same as the orange or yellow ones but they are white! What an adventure!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thank you for the Nerds!

So, my kids love American candy. They keep asking me for "the really good sweets." When they say this they are asking for American candy. Well, my sister sent me some American "sweets" for my kiddos. They loved the Nerds and here is a picture to prove it!!!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Parent Teacher Conferences

Parent Teacher Conferences went very well today. I always get nervous for them but then realize that I am doing my job and I am doing it well. It was very reassuring to hear almost everyone tell me that their child looks forward to coming to school each day. They were so encouraging it is kind of hard to describe! Please pray for the few students who are struggling either academically, socially, or both! Thank you for your prayers about conferences. I could tell that many of you were praying and for that I am thankful. Conferences were mostly uneventful and went very smoothly. Thank you, again, for your prayers!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The things I've learned. . .

  • The snow here is like a spring snow in Colorado. It is wet!! The wind doesn't help anything either. If we get enough snow I am hoping to build a snowman as this type of snow is wonderful for that.
  • When you have short legs it always feels like you are running to keep up with others!
  • A bandaid is often called a plaster by my kiddos.
  • An eraser is often referred to as a rubber by some kids.
  • When your destination is the fabric store don't get on the train that comes at 12:35. It will lead you to exactly the wrong place with not very many stops in between! Don't bother to ask the ticket taker either. He will just shake his head at you and walk away! Wait the three minutes and catch the 12:38 train! You will be happier and warmer if you do! You might even find the fabric store and get the fabric you desire!
  • Dressing in layers is the key to keeping warm here!
  • The sun is rising around 7 am and setting around 4 pm. It is strange to leave school when it is pitch black!
  • I have wonderful friends and coworkers here. People who will support me in prayer and simply be my friend!
  • My students call candy, "sweets."
  • My hair does look cute short and it is easy to style! Who would have thought??!
  • Mistletoe is an actual thing! It grows high in trees and it looks like huge nests or balls. I was told that it is a fungus.
  • Chestnuts roasting on an open fire is a real thing here. I bet you thought they were just in a song as well!! I think they are a bit on the gross side but Carrie thinks they are good. Maybe a second try will be better. I don't know, we'll see!
  • This isn't something I've learned but rather remembered . . I am loved by an almighty God who cares so much for me and who supplies for all of my needs. I hope I am making him proud!

This is just a current picture of Carrie and me just to prove that we are still alive and smiling!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

A day in 1st Grade . .

So several things have been happening in 1st Grade these last few weeks. We have been learning a lot and enjoying ourselves immensely. Today we went on a field trip to the UN. We were invited to sing at the Light of the World Children's concert. We sang two songs. Here are a few pictures. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Baby Jesus was in a crate??!

Everyday my kids write in their journals and the other day I asked them to write about their favorite song in Music class. One of my students surprised me with her answers. She wrote that her favorite song is the Christmas song where Jesus is in a crate! Here's the picture of the crate!

Friday, November 14, 2008

More 3rd Grade laughter. . .

So, everyday I have one student or another tell me some interesting or funny thing. I usually forget the funny stories since I do not write them down immediately. Today, however, I am posting them so I do not forget them! I hope it makes you laugh as hard as my students and I laughed!

1. Today in German class (my kid's German class) they were talking about Stephansdom (a really big Gothic looking church here in Vienna). Frau Deisenberger was telling the kids (in German) that there are statues of Jesus and the 12 Disciples around the main entrance (which is interestingly enough called the Giant's door but I'll tell you that story later). One of my students gasped and said, "The 12 Disciples made the church?" We calmly explained that no the church is over 800 years old and the Disciples were not alive when the church was being built so the Disciples did not build the church!

After this was said, this same student asked if the statues were actual photographs. We said no and then another student piped up and said, "Of course they are not photos! They didn't have batteries back then so they couldn't take a picture!" I laughed pretty hard at this and then told him that he's right they could not take a picture but only because they didn't have cameras back then either! He said, "Oh" and then laughed pretty hard!

2. Sometimes I pretend that I have forgotten how to do something solely for the purpose of making my students completely explain how to do it. Today I did that with adding and subtracting four digit numbers. One of my students was explaining to me that I needed to carry the one to the tens column and I asked why I had to do this. We had been working on this one problem for a while since we all were laughing about how hard it was to completely explain (it didn't help that I was being completely silly!). Another student decided to answer this question. He said (very seriously), "Miss Brunker, you have to do it because it makes you beautiful!" He wasn't joking but he wasn't paying attention either! We laughed pretty hard and then finished the problem.

It was a fun day in third grade! You'll have to come visit us sometime and experience it for yourself! I love how much we laugh together!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Ready to slip and slide

So we found out that as part of Austrian law all children in grades Primary (Kindergarten) through 4th grade are required to have five weeks of ice skating. Now you may say, "Gosh, that is a lot of ice skating." Well we only go once a week. The entire Elementary school will load up on the U-bahn and travel to the ice rink where we will spend a lot of time getting ready and then falling on the ice! We will do all of this in February. (Aren't you excited to read about those stories to come!)

I am excited for this as I love to ice skate. Carrie and I decided that if we are going to rent skates every time we go then we are going to waste money. So we've been on the hunt for ice skates recently. Carrie found some in her size and she is so excited. Apparently it is a bit harder to find my small size here. We'll keep our eyes open but at least one of us has their own skates!! Here's what they look like!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Our First European Castle!!!

Since we arrived in August we have been longing to see a castle. Having a castle around the corner seems impossible but it is true and we would like to see as many as possible while we are here! So, here is our first European Castle. . .

The trail leading to the castle and the Alps.