Medieval Battles in Luxenberg!
Life here in Austria is somewhat routine, though there always seems to be something crazy being thrown into the schedule each week. We are trying to go to 5 masses/week as a family and 7 for Kenton. Plus, adoration 2/week for Kenton and Becca and once for the kids. Yet, try as we might, things keep popping up. This is ok as we finally moved into our permanent flat on the top floor (3rd floor) of the complex. We can now unpack all the suitcases and the Institute provided dressers and wardrobes and took us for a ride to IKEA to pick up kitchen supplies. Yeah! We now have a chopping knife and big bowl to put popcorn into (we were using a strainer prior). Little things like this make a big difference. We even were able to get rid of the two scratched up, teflon frying pans and buy a cast iron one. Boy, was Becca happy! Once we get the flat (about 800 sq. feet) organized we'll take a video and give you a tour.
One thing I've noticed is that living in 800 sq/ft with 6 of us isn't an issue. We get so used to have such big spaces in N. America and accumulating so much stuff that we need a big place to put it all. When you don't have much, 800 sq/ft is lots of room. We feel quite blessed as we were told we would get a 532 sq/ft flat, but the family here moved away and were the next biggest family so we received the flat and will get to stay here till I graduate. Excellento! And yes, there is room for growth with more kids. We can easily fit 2 more kids in this flat and more (but I'd have to give up my office space).
We are slowly getting to know more people. We were invited out to dinner once and Becca was astute enough to look up Austrian etiquette. That night we brought over a bottle wine and a small gift as is the custom when visiting for dinner.
The kids are on an every day adventure high. There are so many kids here that we don't see them all afternoon as they are running from home to home and playing and adventurizing. What a place to grow up! The greatest thing is that every family has the same values we do - they are all passionate Catholics, who take all their kids to daily mass and there is not one video game on campus! Wunderbar!
Here is a picture of Kate in the new cupboard shelf we received when we moved.
Here is Winter's girly girl birthday party on the Monday. Nail painting. Very exciting. Here we have Theresea, Antonia, Magdelina.
Ahhh... the nails are painted. Anna, Magda, Amelia and Wintera.
And, a couple presents. Presents here are kind of neat. The families here are all on a budget, but they still find something in their home to give. It makes it very special.
We took the past weekend to go to Luxenburg (2 towns away) for a Medieval festival. The grounds you'll see are the grounds of the Schloss in Luxenburg (Schloss is Castle). It is now a beautiful park. It was pretty neat seeing the knights in a place where there actually used to be knights!
We went with our friends Ryan and Vidia and their kids Eli and Anne. Note the chairs. The chairs are set up around the playground for parents to sit on whilst their kids play. Nice!
The entry into the Medieval festival area.
Inside the grounds. Lots of little tents selling lager and mead and roasting pigs and selling swords and weapons and ... it was a boys dream!
Winter bought this princess dress with her birthday money from Uncle Alan and Auntie Susan.
Tristan and Benedict each bought a sword and shield with their birthday money from Uncle Alan and Auntie Susan. Oh.. this made their whole week!!!
Then a lady actor saw Winter and asked her to be in the show because of her dress. So Winter was able to debut in her second show holding the Princess's veil.
Here Tristan is watching intently the amazing knights blasting each other with their steel swords. It was in German of course, but we easily got the story line.
Happy Birthday to Winter as she focuses on her dessert!
Winter's debut in a German show!
Every boy here after seeing the battles rushed to the weapons tents and begged their parents for weapons. It was a great moment for what it means to be a young warrior. I love moments like this!
Cool Story: (Sorry, no photos)
I was hired to pick grapes at 7 Euro/hour for 2 days for a wine maker. The vineyards were 800 years old and the old Roman Road went through the vineyard. I anticipated a few breaks like a normal job in Canada, but oh was I mistaken. On Friday I worked 7 hours with no break and one drink of water. On Saturday I worked 12 hours with one 20 min. lunch. Crazy! Then they offered to pay in wine after. No way! Just give me the money please! It took two hours to get paid as we had to have a glass of wine and another one, discuss history and geography and finally get our money. What an experience and after 2 full days all I made was 133 Euros. Still, it was a 133 Euros I didn't have before so I was thankful for the money and the experience. A good time to get to know some of the other immigrants like me, to pray and offer up my suffering.
Kenton's Schooling Update:
OK - first of all learning two new languages at once is crazy. Second, we are grammatically deficient in Canada. These European's are brilliant with grammar. I have to learn the grammar plus the language. This is an area that Canadian education can improve on. Most students in Europe learn 4 languages in their schools. In Austria the students can take Greek and Latin for up to 6 years! Awesome - this is part of kids classical education right in the schools!
I'm continuing to practice my German everywhere I can. I can bike to the local farmer and order my milk, eggs, veggies and fruit all in German and count out the money and change in German. Latin - well - it is difficult. There are 7 noun declensions in Latin and only 4 declensions in German. Thus German seems to be a bit easier. However, I'm learning tons about the origin of my English language. I pray the rosary in Latin and am starting to pray the rosary in German as well.
Philosophy: we are continuing to read tons of Plato, the Pre-socratics, and will jumping into Aristotle here in two weeks. I'm loving my Logic course the best of them all.
Theology: we are reading through the entire Catechism as a class and discussing it. This is a great exercise. And we read through all three Gospels and are now discussing the so-called 'Synoptic Problem' in regards to the agreement and variations in the Matthew, Mark and Luke.
Thesis: I've decided already on my thesis for both my Masters and Licentiate (I'm going to try and finish both in 5 years): Fatherhood. Why we need fathers, the Eternal Fatherhood of God, the nature of Fatherhood.
Biffert Sermon from the Mount:
There is so much to learn from Plato. The one thing that has been hitting home and is completely counter culture is this virtue called obedience. Socrates was tried and condemned to death for 'corrupting the youth and not believing in the gods'. The trial was unjust. Socrates didn't try to persuade as a sophist might with pretty words and great rhetoric, but simply told the truth. The truth was uncomfortable for the jury to hear so he was judged guilty. In prison, as seen in Crito he had the chance to break free and run off. He chose not to. Why not? His condemnation was unjust. I thought he should've grabbed the chance to run. Plus he had 3 kids and wife to look after. He chose to stay. His reasoning? He chose to be obedient to the law of the society he chose to live under. If he ran away with his disciples an uprising may have started and innocents would get hurt. It was better for society that he die. He upheld the law and suffered the injustice though never committing an injustice. Wow. Obedience shows a real humility. A depth of spirit. A poverty of spirit. God has given us his Holy Catholic Church as our authority. Sometimes we like kids want to 'buck the system', define our own rules, be our own man... but it is in the obedience where humility is found. I want this humility.
Tristan, Kate and Benedict eating their green/purple smoothies. Becca is always keeping us healthy!
This is Benedict's best friend Therese. Benedict and her have a lot of fun together and he enjoys sharing his bike with her.
Our Grand Chancellor: His Eminence Cardinal Christof Schonborn. He said a mass for ITI on the Feast of St. Theresa of the Child Jesus (ITI's patron saint).
After mass we had an agape meal. We all headed into the Russian Cinema at the Schloss. It was named the Russian Cinema because during the time that the Russians occupied Austria and this Schloss, this area was used as a cinema for the soldiers. Now it hosts banquets.
In the Russian Cinema while we are eating: but it is sideways and I can't figure out how to turn it around...
The Cardinal wanted to meet all the new students. We kissed his ring and shook his hand and he commended us on our courage in coming here with our kids and selling everything to do so.
Here is a funny picture of me responding or talking or something. It horribly looks like I"m mocking him, but I'm not of course.
That's all folks. Don't be afraid to leave us a note at the bottom so we know we can can connect with you! Tchuss!
Our mailing address is:
International Theological Institute
2521 Trumau, Austria
Love, Kenton, Becca, Winter, Tristan, Benedict, and Kate!