As I write this post from Czech, visiting Betkaś parents I notice the date of our last post . . . that is terrible, I can´t believe that it has been a month since we wrote last!
So, where to start . . . letś see. The holidays were a great time for us despite not being able to share them with all of our family back in the States. School got out on the 19th of December and we went to Czech to spend Christmas with Betka´s family. Her parents had a full house as we were there as were Betkaś grandparents. Thats a total of 9 people sleeping over in a house with only 3 bedrooms. Betka, Tobi, and I slept in her old room. Babinka, Betka´s grandma slept on the other single bed in her brother Stepan´s room, and Dedo, her grandpa slept on the couch in the living room. It was a crowded house, but the crowdedness of close family that really cared for us ministered to our hearts. It was a great Christmas celebrated by 3 generations present. Holding with Czech tradition we celebrated Christmas with gifts on the evening of the 24th after the Christmas dinner which is usually carp, but this year it was not (Praise the Lord!). This Christmas, Tobi´s first was great for him although I do not believe that he will remember anything about it. he did dress up for the occasion . . . see the pictures that I posted to facebook
New Year´s Eve or Sylvestr as Austrians and Czechs call it was celebrated in Vienna this year, a first for our family. Tobi´s first New year´s was also a memorable one. My mother was with us from December 26th until january 3rd and even she will tell you that on New Year´s Eve the Viennese turn their city into a veritable warzone as it is the tradition for individuals and families to shoot off fireworks to ring in the New Year. The view from our seventh floor balcony facing downtown was AMAZING! I will try to post a video later . . . pictures do not do the pandemonium justice. Try to imagine a city of 1.6 million people shooting professional grade fireworks off from wherever they happen to be at midnight. For us that meant that people were dropping firecrackers from the balconies above us and shooting massive fireworks off of the roof. There was a couple of guys in the apartment building 150 feet off of our balcony shooting from their window. The apartment complexes across the way were amazing, the people were shooting fireworks off of 11th or 12th floor balconies . . . it was incredible. We invited VCs staff to our place for New Year´s so we rang in the New Year with a nice little group of friends, board games, Taboo, and firework displays. Happy New Year Vienna style! :)
On January 7th we started school again. The rest of that week and this past week have been us finishing up the first semester and getting ready for the next one. This next semester I (Brian) will be teaching two more blocks of secondary classes. One is going to be called "Creative Art Media" where I will have 6-8th graders for a mixed media semester where we will study everything from Book art, paper making, to macrame and sculpture. The other class I will be teaching, I will be supervising a senior in his self-study of Photography. I will be much much busier, for example where I used to have all afternoon off on Tuesdays I will now only have an hour and a half off from teaching time. Its a big change but it should be rgeat. I will have a whole hour and a half with the middle school kids in an art class, so that will be cool.
Other than that things are just business as usual. One thing that we do have to announce is that the school will open as usual this coming fall. Our director met earlier this week with our school´s inspector from the Austrian school district who dropped by for a surprise visit. The inspector said that even though our staff´s visa situation is something that needs to be solved soon there is hardly a chance that the offices need to close us down would be able to act quick enough to do so to close our school for next year. So we have one more year, but keep praying for us and our administration that we might somehow find a solution to our current visa problem.
Again thank you so much for our prayers and we will hopefully update again very soon, sorry for such time between posts, its been a very busy ¨month. God bless you all! :)
Blessings and peace from Wien,
Brian, Betka, and Tobi