2 Taking the Hobit to Isengard

Teaching is a lot of fun. I only have two classes, and 6 periods. So I see each class 3 times. I share my classes with another (more experienced) teacher called Emily. I have one quiet and lovely class and another class with personality i.e. they are bug nutty batshit crazy. Also, it’s the Monday after the Sunday we woke up at 3am, got lost, lost a person, changed planes and had a disappointing breakfast; I am tired. Introductions is my first lesson, and that’s easy; “My name is…” and then introduce them to the concept of Interesting Facts about themselves. “I have 8 grandparents, and I am the oldest of 7 siblings” was my example. They weren’t impressed by that. My class is “the heir to the throne”, “the next James Bond, but they’re changing the name to James Dumb”, “from the moon” and “actually a man” (I went to Thailand; I am not impressed by your gender!)

And then I ate garlic pasta. It was meant to be a Napoli pasta dish, but it was definitely garlic. And then I slept. And then Tuesday’s lessons happened, and today my students had decided short skirts and low-cut tops are a good idea. 14-year-olds are weird.

The school I work for, and shall for another week, decided to take all the new teachers out to a meal on the school budget (which is seemingly bottomless, as I had—as I was encouraged to—two main courses and two deserts. This restaurant doesn’t serve mostly-garlic masquerading as traditional cuisine. I am going to get fat here). The school budget stretched as far as carafes of wine in unlimited numbers. Taking advantage of that isn’t wise, because tomorrow is Wednesday, and in Austria (as with everywhere else) school is open on a Wednesday. I had a share of wine, the taxi arrived, and I went to the hotel with Ben. Ben was sat next to someone who accused him, repeatedly, of being Northern. He is Northern. He was then accused of being a typical Northerner because he wasn’t a royalist. Sounds like nonsense to me, I’m a Southerner and I’m not a royalist either and we shared the taxi with two lovely girls—Abi and Ruth—who are both Northern and are royalists.

The accuser was the lost boy. He’d had just a little too much to drink. That is not a wise mid-week decision, but it was his and we ignored it. The four of us sat in the lobby, discussed the pros and the cons of the queen and found that we agree on all the points but we simply weighted them differently which is why we have different opinions. Ben and I are utilitarian and we find that the queen doesn’t actually do much, and we feel that the idea of such an exaggerated birth right is hypocritical (as she is the head of a Church—All men created equal). The girls agreed, but the symbol and the tradition of the royal family (plus the financial benefits of tourism) outweighed that. The conversation eventually lightened, and we realised that Abi was particularly short and we lived in a place that sounded like Isengard (the place that they take the hobbits in the Lord of the Rings).

This was all the incentive we needed to immediately set out on a quest to find a sign for Eisenstadt, then take a picture of Abi riding me (piggy back style, don’t be so rude!) near the sign and then caption is “Taking the Hobbit to Eisenstadt”. She grabbed a camera, I put on some shoes, and as four we headed out.

We made it as far as the lobby before we were interrupted…

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