School Work

OK, my Austen loving friends– reading Jane’s novels 14 times each and watching every possible television and cinematic interpretation of the beloved tomes DOES pay off.

At dinner last night, Ben asked me for help with Pride and Prejudice which he is reading in English right now. Ah, it was like sharing a chocolate cake with him. “Yes, Bingley does go to London but only because Caroline deceived him and Wickham is looking for a rich bride but trust me, Elizabeth is better off without him.”

He admitted that it is a very good book but the characters and plot twists get confusing. I had to agree. That’s why it’s so lovely to read Austen over and over and over…

During dishwashing I turned on that old favorite “YMCA”; it gets the kids dancing. Mary turned to me and said, “This song sounds like it has a disco ball in it!”

Caught up in the nostalgia of old music I searched for a song I hadn’t heard since college. I traveled through Europe and took classes in Vienna from July to December of 1989. It was an amazing time to be in Europe.

We talked to East Germans who thought they’d never get out and then watched the wall fall. I sat on the border of Austria and Hungary and witnessed miles of fencing being dismantled. My history professor became so enthusiastic during lectures that we often went an hour over the scheduled time. He gave me a passion for history both ancient and current that has never left me.

My friends and I made good use of incredibly cheap student tickets(about $1.50) and attended the State Opera, Vienna Symphony, Phantom of the Opera or Les Miserables several times a week. After the performance we’d dance away pent up energy by stopping by Viennese nightclubs for an hour before the last train. As a bunch of innocent Mormon girls we never even thought of drinking alcohol and simply loved being a part of city life.

Inevitably, soon after our arrival to the nightclub, the DJ played “Americanos.” I’m not sure if this song ever became popular in America but at the time the cheerful beat and lyrics that both mocked and praised Americans combined to make the hottest dance song in Europe. It became “our song.”

My kids found the video hilarious; I felt young and free again. And we danced the night away.

April 2, 2008
April 5, 2008



  1. David & Natalie Hansen

    April 4, 2008

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Ken

    April 5, 2008

    Dear Michelle,
    I will always remember your quick phone call in 1989 from a pay phone in Europe asking, “Is it true? Is THE WALL really coming down? It was wonderful to confirm this to you and share your joy, for you understood better than I, what the Eastern Europeans had endured for so long.

  3. Blue

    April 5, 2008

    Darcy & Elizabeth : nights and days at Pemberley by Berdoll, Linda
    Mr. Darcy’s daughters : a novel by Aston, Elizabeth
    The exploits & adventures of Miss Alethea Darcy : a novel by Aston, Elizabeth
    Mr. Darcy takes a wife : Pride and prejudice continues by Berdoll, Linda
    Vanity and vexation : a novel of pride and prejudice by Fenton, Kate

    The above are some of the titles that I requested recently at the library. I love Jane Austen!

    It’s been so fun getting to know you Michelle. You’ve had so many amazing adventures in your life. I enjoy hearing them and reading about them.

    I called home tonight and found out that today Nea took the kitties and ran. Don’t know where they are, but suspect an abandoned boat in the neighbor’s back yard. I’ll keep you posted.

    Long day tomorrow, I’m going to bed now.

  4. Grogal

    April 5, 2008

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  5. twoelves

    April 7, 2008

    Ahhh, reminds me so much of being in Russia — we really took advantage of all the cultural events that were so inexpensive and accessible at the time (folk dancing, bolshoi ballet, art museums, music)- you name it. I miss it!

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