I'm pretty sure meeting our host family was one of the most exciting and nerve-wracking experiences I've ever had overseas. We arrived at the Austro-American Institute of Education in Vienna on Friday around 2pm, and had one hour to walk around and explore before our host families came to meet us.
After walking around the block a few times, Caitlin, Sarah, and I returned to the Institute to find a man there waiting for us. My first thought about Herr Hartmann (Helmut)--not what I had expected! I expected him to be big with reddish hair and a large mustache, dressed in suspenders and checkered pants. Instead, he was wearing a yellow polo shirt and jeans, sunglasses, and had buzzed gray hair (no mustache). The only thing that met my expectations was his size--he loves to eat chocolate, which I have learned by experience. :)
At first he was quieter with us, but he opened up quickly once we reached the car. He drove us all around the city on the way home, and told us about each monument he drove us by. His English is great, which helps us out a lot.
When we got to his house in the 23rd district, we met his wife Edith (ee-dit). She immediately spoke English to us, and invited us for drinks on their roof porch. There we had spritzers (half white wine, half sparkling water) and got to know each other. It was wonderful! We then moved into our rooms (we all have our own), and left to go on a driving tour of the city. Helmut and Edith took us to the Castle of Liechtenstein, which was very interesting, and then to a couple of gothic churches in the country. It was a lot of fun to drive around with them--they were wonderful tour guides and great hikers.
The Castle of Liechtenstein (Helmut in foreground).
A statue of one of the saints in a nearby town.
A great view of a couple disconnected buildings.
One of the gothic churches.
When we returned home from our excursion later that night, Edith fixed us wiener schnitzel and fried rice. She made it "Parisian" style, using turkey breast filets rather than the traditional veal. It was good, but very heavy. She then brought out homemade berry cake--delicious. We can all say after this afternoon & evening that it is clear Helmut and Edith are going to spoil us. :)