Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Family bikes = independence

Well, it has been over a week now and things are coming together.  We are all finally healthy!  Yeah for us!  We have a bank account now as well.  The fees are a bit much though:  20 Euro/year/person/debit card + .68 cent every time you deposit money and .28 cent every time you use the debit card.  And there is more fees for taking money out... many folks here just make one withdrawal every month with the money they need for the month and just pay with cash everywhere.

We have bikes!
The costs here are outrageous in the stores.  700 Euro for a chariot type contraption brand new.  New bike for Tristan would run around 300 Euro.  Where is Canadian Tire when you need one, eh?  So, on our only day to shop and before we fell into a depression, we prayed for some deal somewhere.  We ended up finding a ToyRUs outside of Vienna and bought Tristan a bike for 130 Euro ($170 - still way too much) and we found a sports store closing out and bought Becca a bike for 200 Euro (regular 350 E) and a bike trailer for 150 E (a very good deal - though we found out after that it doesn't convert into a stroller).  Nonetheless, with a bit of work to an old bike found for me, we were able to go for a family bike ride on the bike paths to the neighbouring town for ice cream and then to a local pond to swim and then to buy groceries.  Yes... the kids were wiped at the end, but it is good training.

I have found out there is a way to bike to the Traiskirchen (the town where we all buy most of our groceries (4km from Trumau) on the paths (as one can't take the hi-way).  I bribed a guy with beer to show me the way tomorrow night.  Then I'll be able to bike there, fill up the bike trailer with groceries and bike home.  Ahhh... life without a car, eh?

To school we must go!
Tomorrow we have to register Winter for school.  We could homeschool her this year, but the Education Minister would then test her at the end of the year on the German curriculum written in the German language. She would most likely fail and then they would force her to be in school the year after anyways.  So, I guess school it is (we are quite disappointed, but excited for her to be immersed in the German language).

*[As a side note for anyone interested, there is a group of homeschooling families here at ITI who are fighting to continue homeschooling their children as the Austrian government has made it increasingly difficult to do so. This group believes as we do that the parents are the primary educators of their children. They are lobbying the Austrian government to let their children be homeschooled and tested in English according to their own curriculum. In spite of the issues that the education system in Alberta faces, I am thankful for how forward-thinking our home province actually is in comparison to Austria. We had no idea how blessed we were in Alberta. Here is their website:
(click "About Us" in the top menu to see pictures of some of the families we are currently living with here in Trumau!)]

Winter will go to school from 7:45am (yeah my mouth hung open too) to 1pm.  We will still do English reading and writing at home in the afternoons. If she is to miss any days at school, we have to get written permission.  For example, if we wanted to leave on Friday to take a long weekend somewhere, we would have to weeks prior write a letter to the Director of Education in a big city nearby and ask permission.  If it is not granted and we go, we are  fined.  I must admit, I'm having a very difficult time with the idea that the Austrian government can decide what is best for my family and children.  Blasted socialist education system!  They make decisions based on what is best for the school system first and child second.  Every rebellious bone in this spry body wants to shove it .... ok... maybe God is teaching me humility and obedience or something...

Rules, Rules, and more Rules

 Here on campus, we are finding out the unwritten rules of communal living. The outsides of all flats are  to be kept spotless (no bikes, toys, etc).  There is an unofficial dress code here on campus and for masses. It's basically that we are expected to dress modestly- women cover shoulders for mass and generally people don't wear tanktops and I haven't yet seen any ladies wearing dress pants to mass. There will be some shopping trips for me coming up real soon! Kenton was informed that no one walks around topless (as he is inclined to do)- although, he was asked to put his shirt back on at the Calgary Zoo, so I think that unwritten rule goes without saying :)

Becca's Nutritarian Kitchen

With all the success I've had in the last couple of months eating a "nutritarian" diet (losing 25 pounds), I decided to continue eating a plant-based, whole food diet in Austria (like I didn't have enough stress in my life already). I knew it would be a challenge at first, seeing as I don't speak much German and food labels are pretty important, but I have been able to make do! First order of business was to locate leafy greens! Well, the Austrian supermarkts only carry butter lettuce and a cabbage/kale hybrid called "kohl" at this time of year but those two greens were calling my name! They are so beautiful - just look at them! The kohl in the first picture below looks like a tree of life with all the veins running through it! I'm a nut, I know :)

First green smoothie in Austria: 1/2 head butter lettuce, 1/2 head Kohl, 3 TBSP ground flax, 6 dates, 1 orange, frozen berry mix- blackberries, raspberries, red currants, black currants, 1/2 pineapple.

                                                                           Beautiful butter lettuce

Bean, avocado, tomato, garlic, bruschetta mixture that I wrapped up in the butter lettuce leaves to make wraps.

                                                               The yummy bean lettuce wraps for tonight's supper.

Coming up...
We will move into our permanent flat this weekend on the third floor with a terrace!
It'll be nice to unpack everything and focus on making a place a home.

Tristan's new bike.

Winter's bike we fixed up.

Benedict and his new stryder.

Sweet Kate eating food of the kitchen floor.

Crossing the river out of Trumau.  Becca's new European lady bike.

Going for ice cream at a cafe in the neighbouring town.

Winter swimming in the pond.  Attention!  Good swimmers only!  Stop! (at least that's the intention of the sign).

Benedict and Tristan watching some ducks.

Becca and an old German guy.

1 comment:

  1. I'm loving these blogs! Keep them coming! We miss you all and continue to keep you in our prayers. Let us know what else is on the care package request list, besides salsa!