Sunday, November 28, 2010


First, last weekend's second adventure was Ikea! It was raining, so we passed on the chance to go back to Slovenia. Ikea is quite the place- a sort of Disneyland of home goods. There's people and stuff everywhere; there's even a map of the store. We finally got a mirror for our apartment, as well as lamps for our bedrooms and throw pillows for our bright yellow couch. We chose green and black pillows, so we now have a Packers half and a Steelers half of the couch.

This week was crazy busy, with a chocolate themed birthday party on Tuesday, conference night on Wednesday, a field trip on Thursday, and then a crazy day Friday with Thanksgiving dinner to cap off the week.

Friday was scheduled to be an in-service day, which means the kids leave at noon and we have professional development all afternoon. For the morning, we finished a movie we had started after the field trip the day before, then I talked about Thanksgiving as a World Cultures lesson, then we ate lunch and sent them on their way, through the SNOW! Between the two groups for the Thanksgiving lesson, it had started to snow a bit, mostly just flurries, but we closed the curtains to keep the distractions to a minimum. Our curtains don't close all the way, though, and from where I was standing near the computer, I had a perfect view through a gap to watch the flakes getting bigger and bigger, and the beginnings of accumulation. By the time we sat down to lunch in our spot next to a wall of windows, the full-on snow storm meant that the third grade ate very slowly as they all turned around to stare out of the window. I couldn't really blame them, and after they left, I wandered around looking for someone to go play outside with me. My southern CA friend was up for it, and we slid around in our not-appropriate-for-snow shoes for a few moments before heading back inside for professional development.

Four hours later, and we we off to very carefully walk to the first grade teacher's house for Thanksgiving dinner. The turkey had been cooking all day and everyone brought their favorite parts of the meal. We learned that Italian homes are allotted a certain amount of electricity at a time, and when you go over it, your power goes off. To turn it back on, you just have to hit the circuit breaker. Simple, when your circuit box is on the inside of your tall, electric-operated gate. That is not the case at this house. At this house, M runs and vaults over the gate to get to the box. The first time the power went out, we were confused. The second to fifth times, we were amused. The last two times, we were just tired of it!

We had so much food- turkey, potatoes with nuts (without the nuts), green bean casserole (without the topping), home-made stuffing, gravy (made by the science club leaders!), cornbread, macaroni and cheese, other mashed potatoes, broccoli casserole, eggplant, Indian chicken, stuffed squash, Spanish omelette, apple pie, apple cobbler, pumpkin pie, cake, and that't not even touching on the appetizers! We finally got all of the food warm at once (Congrats, Mel!) and ate around the fire and recorded football game. I inhaled my food, but I think it was all delicious. We sat around and talked and drank wine for several hours, then had a dance party in the basement before finally heading home around 3 am. Quite a Thanksgiving, I must say.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

When do you go to another country to see a movie?

When it's the first half of the last Harry Potter, of course, and it's showing in English. After downloading some of the earlier movies to re-watch during the week, we set off this morning for Koper (Capodistria) in Slovenia. We had chosen not to go with the group that went on Thursday night, because we didn't want to be out that late on a school night. We're so boring. (Yes, my friends saw it before you, if you're in the States, as they were home just before midnight, and we're six hours ahead.)

Anyway, my roommate and I met up with another teacher this morning, rented a car, and drove to the mall in Koper. It's only about a half hour drive, so it's really not that crazy, but it was a fun adventure. The movie was really good, though I won't say anything about it as to not ruin it.

After the movie, we wandered around the mall for a little while looking at art supplies and clothes, then got some food at a decent-for-Europe Mexican restaurant and just generally enjoyed the company.

We still have the car tomorrow (and the pass to get into Slovenia), so we'll see what sort of adventure transpires... I'm sure it will be something!

P.S. Post about my trips to Florence and Strasbourg will probably get written at some point...

Thursday, November 11, 2010


After carving all those pumpkins, I was ready for the Halloween party at school. I was planning to dress up as a ballerina, as usual, since it's an easy costume, but my students didn't like that. Here, Halloween is strictly spooky; all my kids were vampires and witches and zombies and a mummy. When they heard my plan, they were clearly dismayed, though my suggestion to find a witch hat was also met with little enthusiasm. One child sadly told me, "well, that won't win the costume contest." I heard that all of the fifth graders were going as more normal things, like a soccer player, "but dead." I decided to embrace this philosophy and went as a dead ballerina, which was basically a simple ballerina costume with dead/zombie makeup.

We had quite a party, starting with academic stations, then a costume contest, and then dancing and snacks and games. We tried to watch the Halloween Charlie Brown to settle everyone down at the end, but we couldn't really hear it.

After we got everyone packed up with all the parts of their costumes and ready for break, all the teachers took a deep breath and went out for drinks.