I missed the first eight days of school this year because I went on a vacation with Mr. Gumby! He travels frequently to Germany, but I always have to stay home. In the past, I needed to stay home with our children or, more recently, to care for my Dad when he was ill.
However, this time when Mr. Gumby told me he was going to Germany for a meeting, I jumped at the chance to go! I cleared the time with my principal and off I went!
Mr. Gumby and I had a wonderful time in Europe. He took a week and a half of vacation time and we left early before the meeting. We flew into Munich and spent three days there sightseeing. We saw Mad King Ludwig's castles (Schloss Neuschwanstein and Schloss Linderhof) and visited Oberammergau. We also ate pretzels and drank beer at a beer garden in the English Gardens. We rode the S-bahn and the U-bahn and even went to a holy day Mass at the cathedral and were blessed by a retired Cardinal.
We rode the ICE train from Munich to Frankfurt and soaked up all the scenery as we flew past. (I'm amazed at how comfortable and smooth the trains were in Germany. Absolutely nothing like our Amtrak!)
We rented a car in Frankfurt and spent the rest of the time in Mainz. We visited the Gutenberg Museum and walked all over the old part of the city. Renting a car also allowed us to do day trips from Mainz. We went to Rudesheim, Heidelberg, Frankfurt and Rothenberg. Plus, we took a day cruise down the Rhine River and saw the famous Lorilei rock and oodles of old castles.
The highlight of our trip was meals at the homes of two of Mr. Gumby's German colleagues! One evening we ate bratwurst and a delicious vegetable and cheese casserole. Another evening we had spaetzle and turkey schnitzel. It was so neat to be able to see the homes and we were very honored to be invited.
I flew home Saturday by myself while Mr. Gumby stayed in Germany for a series of meetings.
Of course, Mrs. Pokey made sure everything went fine at school while I was gone. I had an excellent substitute teacher who completed lots of beginning of the school year assessments for me. When I returned to school on Monday, Mrs. Pokey and I could divide up the students according to their needs and figure out our schedules.
But, when I returned to school, I found a very nice note from my substitute AND a bag of Gumby and Pokey gummy candies on my desk!! They are hilarious! My substitute listened my instructions when we met before I left. I showed her the assessments I needed her to complete and told her the story of how "Semper Gumby" (Always Flexible) is the motto of our ESL department.
After 8 days of substituting, I think she understood how you have flexible when you're teaching English Language Learners!