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It’s been awhile since I’ve posted, but that’s only because I’ve been busier than usual!  Last week, one of the other teachers asked me to start helping out with one of her beginning English classes (fifteen-year-olds) on Thursdays, which means I now have at least one class per day four days a week!  Aside from planning lessons, grading papers, and having a goodbye dinner for our supervisor this past week, I also managed to do a bit of traveling.

View from the top of a memorial tower in Wiltz

On Saturday, Megan and I took a quick trip to Wilts, which is in the Northwest part of Luxembourg, and far enough away that it gets more mountainous and you almost feel like you are in a different country.  On Sunday, I did go to another country, as Kayla, Kit, and I made our way to a little town in Germany called Moselkern.  There’s never much open in Europe on Sundays, and especially not in small towns like Moselkern, but our real destination was Burg Eltz, a castle in the countryside beyond Moselkern.

We enjoyed a nice (albeit muddy) hike through the woods and then some fantastic views of the castle.  Unfortunately the castle is closed for the season, but Kit’s research informed us that the same family—the original owners—has lived in the castle for thirty-three generations now.  A friendly and well-informed man outside the castle (it seemed like he was just a fellow hiker/tourist) filled in the rest of the details:

Burg Eltz

Although it has been in several small battles, Burg Eltz has never been taken.  It isn’t built at the highest point, so many people thought they could take the castle from above, but catapults on the outposts stopped attackers from far away and archers from below stopped any that made it past the catapults.  Inhabitants of the castle were also able to sneak out back doors into the valley for food and water without their attackers’ knowledge.  After eating a nice picnic lunch overlooking the castle, we made the journey back to Moselkern and, eventually, Luxembourg.

In class this week I’ve tackled iambic pentameter and Petrarchan Sonnets (Shakespearean planned for Tuesday) with my 3eA class and the Premiere students finished up To Kill a Mockingbird.  I talked to the new class (the beginners) about Thanksgiving, which I think may have taught me more about their culture than they learned about mine.  Turkeys have only recently become popular in Luxembourg, and they don’t ever make the whole bird like we do at Thanksgiving.  They also don’t know what stuffing is, or sweet potatoes, or pumpkin pie!  Learning things like that make me glad to be an American.

Speaking of Thanksgiving, Miami hosted a nice Thanksgiving dinner at the Chateau for all of the students on Wednesday.  The dinner took place this week as opposed to next because the MUDEC students have next week off as a part of their program–it’s a study tour week for them–and won’t be in Luxembourg.  It was definitely worth the trek out to Differdange for some good turkey, cranberry sauce, and mashed potatoes!  (There was corn on the cob and an attempt at pumpkin pie as well–as I said, they don’t really make pie here).

The biggest teaching challenge of the week, though, was probably on Tuesday, when Isabelle and I arrived at school to find that Tony, the man who teaches the English Theater class, was at the hospital with his son, who had had an allergic reaction to something he ate.  As far as we know the son is okay, but Tony’s absence meant that Isabelle and I were in charge of an acting class!  Luckily my time stage managing Theater camp over the summer has given me a few go-to acting games and exercises, so we did our warm up and then jumped in to one of those, but it was a little nerve-wracking at first.  I’ll be interested to see what Tony says next week when we tell him what we did!

Overall, it’s been a successful week.  It’s hard to believe I only have one month left here!  Four months felt like forever when I first arrived, but the weather has gotten colder, a large Christmas tree appeared in front of the train station, and the days continue to fly by, each one filled with its own joys.

Host family update:  One of the rabbits had babies, therefore correcting their misconception that she was a boy.  We’re hoping that the babies make it in this cold weather!