Saturday, August 18, 2012

1st Week Adventures

As promised, I will gradually share more about our first weeks adventures.  This was really cool!  We attended a free outdoor film festival that is going on through the month August.  It was quite impressive as you will see below.  There is a HUGE screen in front of the Rathaus (Vienna City Hall) where they show the films.  Also there are booths set up selling international foods.  We enjoyed a delicious dinner in the park and then watched part of the opera, Paganini.  When it became apparent that the opera was not kid friendly (everyone cover you eyes!!!), we decided it was best to leave early.  We did return on another evening and enjoyed the Nutcracker and are looking forward to seeing Alice in Wonderland, the ballet next Friday night!  

Back side of the Rathaus


Lydia and Emilie getting ready to watch the Nutcracker!

Stay tuned, more adventures to come!
Ada (aka "Miss" Clair)

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Random thought from Ada

Overlooking Vienna

Philippians 4:19 - And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

We have had lots going on since we arrived in Vienna!!

  • Orientation to Vienna
  • Applying for Visas
  • Getting phones
  • Getting renter's insurance
  • Learning to buy groceries
  • Shopping for household goods
  • Trying to figure out what we need, if it exist here, and then where to purchase
  • Learning to travel by public transportation
  • Learning to use the washing machine and dishwasher
  • Unpacking and organizing everything we brought
  • Preparing to teach
  • Visiting churches
  • Understanding cultural differences
  • New Staff Orientation

Out to dinner with some of the new and returning ICSV staff, there were about 40 of us all together!

Thankfully we are not in this alone!  God has graciously placed us at a school with a staff who greeted us with open arms.  They have all been in our place and are eager to help us in whatever way possible to transition to our new home!  We also have our special friends the Hooks, from our home church in Middlburg, who have been helping us too.  During our orientation time last week we were able to visit various places throughout the city.  Sometimes for fun, other times to accomplish a specific task (visa, purchasing household goods), and other times both.  We had several shopping days last week which was very helpful because someone drove the school van and helped us transport our goods home.  Imagine going to the store and only being able to purchase whatever will fit in your pull cart.  It makes for interesting shopping.

Our new pull cart thanks to IKEA!

Our apartment is starting to feel more like home.

I'm learning to cook here and my family is very grateful.  After the first week, Mitchell told his Grandmother that I could only cook two things: grilled cheese sandwiches and spaghetti.  I have added shrimp and pasta and chicken and rice to the list.  I'm hoping to make tacos and crock-pot chicken cordon blue later this week.  Having to stock the kitchen from ground zero is quite challenging.  I'm really glad I shipped a few of our favorite spices (Lawry's garlic salt, cumin, Italian seasoning) from home!   I've also successfully washed and dried clothes without a dryer (we gave ours to a family who had a greater need for an electric dryer).  It only take about 2 hours for things to dry hanging in the apartment!  Amazing, it would have taken days back home hanging stuff indoors.

Preparing to cook grilled cheese sandwiches!

Technically the clothes dryer is still in the living room. LOL

Many of you have asked what I will be doing at the school.  Prior to our arrival, this was not clear.  I had been asked to teach Health, but had not committed to anything.  You may or may not know that I have a Master's Degree in Health Science from UNF.  After we arrived, I was again approached by the secondary principal and asked to please teach Health.  I have agreed, trusting that God is in control and He will equip me to do what He has called me to do.

This week we had a short New Staff Orientation on Monday.  The Director and Principals commissioned us at the end of the day.  We were then given to rest of the week to begin preparing to teach and set up classrooms as needed. Next week will be full with all staff orientation and then school starting the following week.  Below are several thoughts from our New Staff Orientation which remind us of why we are here.
"What we are all about here is the gospel of Jesus."  "ICSV is all about Jesus." - James Devinish, Director of ICSV
"The mission field crosses the threshold and walks the hallways at ICSV" - Tom Mason, ICSV Bible staff
Luke 19:10 - For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save the lost.
Thank you for continuing to pray for our family as we transition to Vienna and ICSV!!   I look forward to sharing more details of our first few weeks here along with new adventures to come.

Love to you all,
Ada (aka "Miss" Clair)

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Random thoughts at the keyboard:
  • First, I love not having a car.  Really.  I know that those that knew me back home might be surprised, I did like my Avalanche but I mean it.  I’ll explain why as I continue…
  • We walk everywhere.  Well, that is mostly true, we use public transportation but other than that we walk and walk.  I love it.  It is good exercise and you have time to think on the U-Bahn.  For those that are not familiar with local terms, the U-Bahn is the subway system in Vienna.
  • Walking is mostly why I enjoy not having a car.  There is of course not having to buy gas.  That is really cool.
  • I wonder if I’ll enjoy walking in the winter.  Fortunately, much of the time will be in the U-Bahn but it will likely not be as nice.  Just sayin.
  • I haven’t met the entire staff but I really like the people I’ve met so far.  All the way up to the principals and director of the school.  This is a good group that love the Lord and care about the kids.  I am thankful to be working with them.
  • I can’t wait to get started.  I am looking forward to meeting my classes and getting to know the kids.  I enjoy both subject areas I am teaching but mostly, I really want these kids to know Jesus Christ.  To have them see them in me, day by day and to come to know Him or come to be closer to Him themselves.
  • I love it here but simple things are no longer simple.  For instance, go to the store, one you are not familiar with, and try to find batteries.  Try to ask for help, remember, most don’t speak English.  Oddly, I like the challenge but it is kind of like running in soft sand.
  • Vienna is an amazing city and I love it here.  That sounds obvious but not less true because of it.  The history here is stunning and evidence of that history, both good and bad, is everywhere.  Those so inclined really must come and visit.  Very much worth the effort.  
  • Closing thought, I have an amazing wife.  Not to state the obvious, I know most of you who know her will be thinking, what is your point?  That said, imagine taking your house and selling it and most everything in it.  Then go to another country and live in a furnished apartment with donated pots, pans, plates, silverware, other utensils, etc.  You have a refrigerator about 1/3 the size of your old one along with limited space for storing groceries.  There is no Wal-Mart in Vienna but even if there was, how would you get everything home and then where would you put it?  Reference, no car comment above.  Anyway, from all of this she makes a home.  Babe, you rock!
Blessing, Billy

Saturday, August 4, 2012

We are here!!!!

Atlanta airport with all 16 bags!

Our apartment in chaos (yes that is a dryer in the living room).

Deuteronomy 31:6 - Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the LORD your God is the one who goes with you.  He will not fail you or forsake you.

We arrived safe and sound Thursday night, 10:00pm Vienna time.  We were so thankful for Michael Johnstone who met us at the airport and helped us transport all 16 bags to our apartment!  Friday started out fairly early to Starbucks and then a government office to begin the process of getting our visas.  We later enjoyed the Friday staff lunch at the school where they sang "Happy Birthday" to Lydia and several others who are celebrating birthdays this week.  It was nice to see some familiar faces and meet some new ones too.

We then transported 20 shipped boxes to our apartment via the school van and began the unpacking process.  Needless to say things are a mess right now, but we have emptied lots of boxes already!  Our sweet friends Kellye and Hannah Hooks stopped by to visit and brought beautiful flowers.  With their help we made a trip to the mall/grocery store (yes there is a grocery store at the mall) to buy some essentials.  Following dinner at KFC at the mall, we headed home.  We were all so tired, but had difficulty sleeping, so at midnight I was unpacking boxes.  That may be the theme for the next few days or weeks :)

Today we slept in and unpacked more.  We were invited to the Hooks to celebrate Kellye's and Lydia's birthdays!  We enjoyed sweet fellowship with our Middleburg friends along with a trip to their neighborhood ice cream store, yum!!

Thank you all for praying!  Please pray that we are able to get our visas, especially Mitchell, on Monday without any difficulty! Will continue to update you as we progress.

Love to all!!

Ada (aka "Miss" Clair)