Saturday, September 7, 2013


The Kartause is beautiful. It is an old monastery that has been converted into a hotel, but it doesn’t have the feel of a hotel. There are old, stone steps and the windows don’t have screens in them. There is an iron gate out front and a little water fountain on the cobblestone path that leads up to the front doors. Inside the lobby there is a bar which isn’t in use except for the fact that our mailboxes are located just behind it. All three floors are filled with student rooms – ground and first floor are guys, second and third floor are girls, and fourth and six track are girls as well. The RA and RD offices along with the priests and nuns offices and the computer lab are attached to second floor which then attaches to the academic buildings. Kolbe classroom is underneath fourth track, but all the other classrooms are a sort of extension of second floor. The professor’s offices are by six track which is at the end of the classrooms. Six track overlooks a courtyard and the part of the Kartause where a lot of old wine is kept. The church is across another courtyard from the classrooms and is attached to the hotel where guests stay (not attached to the “dorms”). The church has a very high ceiling and three chandeliers hanging from the ceiling which is painted with multiple heavenly scenes. Kitty corner to the church and underneath the computer lab is the mensa. Mensa means table in German and it’s is the Gaming version of a cafeteria. The food choices are very limited, but for the most part the food is good. You don’t have to swipe your meal card to get it, but they are only open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner…no cold breakfast, snack time, or late night.
          When we arrived at the Kartause, all the families were here to welcome us and unload our bags. They were all dressed in traditional Austrian clothes (so were the RA’s) and the little girls were giving everyone roses. This one little girl with blond, curly, lopsided pigtails handed me a rose without a rose on top…I basically had a thorny stick. Another little girl saw what she did and gave me a white rose.
          When I finally made it into the Francis Lobby, there was so much luggage everywhere. I was super tired because I was running on hardly any sleep and I had just woken up from a nap. I signed some paper the RA told me to sign and then tried to find my suitcase. It was in the middle of the pile so I decided to take my carry on up to our room. Our room is on second floor and Marissa, Shannon and I each have a desk, lamp, and bed and we share side tables and a bathroom. The view out our window is the side of a hill with countless pine trees and part of an old stone wall. It’s an absolutely gorgeous view to wake up to.
          Over the course of the first few days, we had orientation meeting, upon orientation meeting, upon orientation meeting…wading through all the policies and introductions. Mr. Pipp and Mr. Wolter did a great job of telling funny stories along with the policies to keep us interested and to help us understand why the policies are in place. I was so jet lagged that I could hardly pay attention, but somehow I made it through about 15 hours of meetings.
          One of the best things about the Gaming campus is how relaxed the community living is. Guys and girls can walk through the halls unattended any time of the day and there are open hours every day. The mailboxes are open boxes and it’s basically an honor system that you don’t take anyone’s mail. The Mensa has signs up telling you that can take fruit out with you for later but nothing else, but they don’t have anyone sitting at the door monitoring you. It’s really nice because they just expect us to be adults and follow the rules…they aren’t hen-pecking us and putting a lot of restrictions on us. The funny thing is that when the student’s don’t have endless restrictions, they tend to be more mature because they know what is expected of them and they don’t want to do something that would require another policy to be put in place. They respect and enjoy the freedom that comes with being recognized as a mature adult.  
         The Kartause families are so beautiful. It’s so nice to have kids running around campus and attending Mass everyday…even Saturdays! It’s actually funny to watch the families at Mass because it gives me a glimpse of what our family looked/looks like at Mass. There is the little girl, Miryam Newton who reminds me of Molly except she has straight hair. And then her little sister Hannah-Mary reminds me of a curly haired Brighid. Then there’s Joshua Pipp who reminds me of Sean. Damien Pipp is definitely the cutest though because he’s one and a half and has curly blond hair. He is the fussiest baby I’ve seen though, but his cuteness makes up for it. 

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