Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The sun is peaking out from behind the mountain...

Well, here I sit in the GRÖDIG INTERNET CAFE...where I figure most if not all of the group's students will come to write home to their families and report their daily going-ons. Elvis (the owner of the cafe) has even kindly offered all the CSA students a discount! All they have to do is show their CSA ID card!! So cool! There are 6 computers here...a coffee machine, a fridge with sodas and juices (and sorry Moms with 'Red Bull' too....what can I tell you, it comes from Salzburg, the owner is from here!!), 3 telephone rooms, and Elvis also sells phone cards! So the group is totally set! I'll have to tell them about the äößü stange keys and the fact that the y and z keys are mixed around...so be warned parents....in case they start writing about SONZA....they mean me....SONYA!!!

I'm so pleased that the weather is improving...slowly... but it is
getting warmer! I keep crossing my fingers that it at least will not rain when our students arrive and have to get their luggage off the bus....Dad's memories of the year the group arrived in a horrible rain storm...back in the 80's are not good ones, so I am hoping!!! We can, of course unload in the Schwab's bus garage if we have to...everyone is always so accommodating here! Yesterday was cold and rainy, but of course inside most shops and restaurants a sort of damp warm-ish feeling (ahhh we Americans are so spoiled with our air conditioning). I have to say, that although somewhat sticky...I do feel better, it's just healthier here...and of course I always indulge in baths....because of three things....
  1. The Untersberg water is the best....top award winning water....fresh and delightful!
  2. The bath tubs in the Hotel Grödig are HUGE...and I can get an amazing full soak in...so relaxing!
  3. I get to also enjoy the mineral 'stuff' my sister got for me from a place near Innsbruck...I don't exactly know what it is but it makes me so relaxed and ready for action the next day! Okay, it does make the bath water BLACK - which is strange to get used to...but once you do, it's so worth it!
I never finished my 'arrival' report (my last entry was so short I didn't have time).....so, we arrived well into Munich and had a wonderful drive into Austria. Of course the first thing we notice is how clean everything is. We made a trip to NYC about a month ago and it was so dirty....garbage and litter everywhere!! Then we get here...wonderful. The next thing we like to check out (Vipin, perhaps more than I, but hey...how can I not notice?) are the various Audis, BMWs, Mercedes, and cars on the autobahn....we watch as they zoom by...I like to drive fast, but I can't keep up with them! There are some real slick ones...always fun. Then...there are the mountains.....cows on the hillsides, huge Austrain farm houses, and the drive by Chiemsee lake...so beautiful...we always have to pinch ourselves. This year, like last, the group will stop for lunch in Chiemsee...with an amazing view of the lake....I just love to see the student's faces & wide eyes!!!! They too have to pinch themselves!!!!

Once we were checked in and settled into our home-away-from-home, Hotel Grödig, (here I am right outside of our room!!) we had some breakfast and went for a short nap. Our goal by arriving a few days prior to the group is to go, go, go before the group arrives, and so we need our rest. Which we were glad we got because we were pretty much non-stop Monday and today. So many things to finalize and get in order... but everything has been going well.

It was nice to meet th
e new school director, Frau Elizabeth Karl...yes, a FRAU Direktor!! She is so gracious, a pleasure to know and be working with. The Grödiger Hauptschule (the building where we have our classes, meetings and functions) is going to undergo a complete transformation ...because it will become a Gymnausium! So exciting...and yes, we have literally been here, summer after summer to see the massive growth of this once sleepy, little village! The school's last day of classes was Friday last week and they have already begun the construction work (of course...so efficient!!). Wolfgang, the school's head Janitor was kind enough to have already moved our books and things from storage into my office! They are always so accommodating...we are so fortunate! I unpacked most things, and my office is ready....the only exception is the CSA Library, which has become quite a treasure, thanks to our Dear 'Dr. D.' (Dr. Marie Donaghay from East Stroudsburg University) who has donated so many fantastic books and travel literature. The CSA Library was never really a 'library' but more of a few books left behind from students of previous years...but it is now a real library...with some real beauties!! Thanks Dr. D.!

Well, it must be after dinner time...the Grödig Internet Cafe is getting a rush of people (there is a man at the next station speaking Greek to his family through a computer headset...little kisses to a little granddaughter perhaps?? So sweet!)....so I think I will sign off for now....time for dinner (off to the Restaurant Rossini for some delicious stone-oven baked pizza!). We depart at 6am for the Munich Airport and the group! I can hardly wait!

By the way....it's raining again!!!


Wanda said...

Welcome Home!! And yes...Salzburg is our family's home away from home! Thinking about you SO MUCH today....I'm only a couple hours away...in Munich...but I know you are busy and this is such a great day.....THE GROUP ARRIVAL. I have always loved to see the faces of the participants as they see their surroundings! And don't worry about the Red Bull...I've lived in Europe for 20 years and only tasted one once..that's when Vipin gave it to me! You don't HAVE to drink that stinky stuff!!! The owner, however, has definitely put Austria on the business map. And he has done so much for the Austrian reputation and economy!

Linda said...

Sonya: This site is AWESOME !! Thank you so much for taking the time to create it ! :) Now that I've been able to read a bit about you, see your pic and learn about your family background I almost feel like we've gone to the next level of friendship....sorta beyond flowers, lol !! Excellent stuff Sonya...thanks again and I hope your time there is everything you want it to be and then some :) Jocelyn LOVES it so far !! Bye for now....Linda Dulanie