Update: My brother said he wouldn't go to Austria if I didn't go, so my mother had no choice but to allow me on the trip. We were in first class so it was comfortable and I slept for the entire SF-to-Frankfurt portion. Someone brought me a wheelchair during our layover, which was barely long enough to find the next terminal. I don't remember the flight to Innsbruck.
Our hosts are wealthy. Claudia's father (Claudia was our foreign exchange student) was and is a doctor, but I know for a fact that being a doctor in and of itself doesn't equate with this kind of wealth here or elsewhere. There has to be additional source of income beyond what a doctor earns. Claudia and her husband are doctors. I haven't seen her house yet (it's maybe a quarter-of-a-mile from here, but I haven't been out much) but I'm told it's smaller than this house but still large.
I'm not even sure how large this house is. I just know that there's a fireplace in my bedroom and that a maid checks on me every half hour or anytime I ring a bell. My brother said Claudia's mother wanted to hire a nurse but that my mom convinced her that with the number of doctors around it probably wasn't necessary. I counted the doctors in my head, which is fuzzy so my count may be off. With Jillian's husband, dad, and brothers, there are five. My dad makes it six. Uncle steve makes it seven. Claudia and her dad and husband and brother (who lives next door) make it an uneven eleven.
They all went ice skating and are having dinner downstairs. They even took the babies. My dad and Scott know how to ice skate. Jillian is coordinated enough to pick up almost anything instantly. The rest of them (the Americans, anyway) probably sucked. They're having dinner downstairs. I'm eating broth and jello and bread, which is as much as I can tolerate. We're supposedly playing board games tonight. I will go downstairs and join them. I'll probably just fall asleep. I don't really care.
Neighbors will come carolling and doing all that Austrian traditional bullshit. Everyone goes on different nights because if everyone carolled on the same night, no one would be home to hear anyone else carol. Our night to go is tomorrow. They're practicing tonight. (I don't intend to waste my energy practicing.) They're very excited because Claudia has told them that we have actual singers among us. It would help if any of us spoke German. C'est la vie. Everyone who lives here speaks English anyway. Jillian taught Andrew to sing "Silent Night" in German. He already carries a tune really well even though he's only two.
The family went to the town's traditional Christmas Market and came back with all sorts or nonsense that will have to be mailed home. They ate like pigs and drank like fish, and the kiddies loved it because there was a carousel. They're taking me there tomorrow so I can at least see it.
I have my window cracked just a bit event though it's frigid because there's a brass choir playing from a tower somewhere and I can hear it just a bit.
I don't know if I mentioned it, but it's really cold here.