Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Week One in The Land of "Sound of Music"

#1 I fixed the picture link - Check it out! :)

Click on this weeks blog title to connect to a new set of photos!

Friday January 19th, 2010
In the evening we had all of our host family's over to the school for a Welcoming Dinner. It was so interesting to see a school dinner here because every seat in the kitchen had a bottle of beer at it! Lol. Beer was the drink of the night at a school function, and there were plenty stored up in the back for extras for everyone. Bergita, our cook, picked a special beer or "beir" in German, for us the Salzburger Steigl. Obvious the famous Salzburg beer that has been made since the 1400's. Very good beer - I later found out they make Salzburger Steigl Radlers which are beer with lemon, grapefruit or raspberry in them. The raspberry one is definitely my favorite beer in Europe so far. :) Bergita made a beautiful table of food - including something that is like spam or a hot dog in a meat loaf shape with sauerkraut. Can't say I am the biggest fan but I tried it. lol. Then all of the families brought a desert - and oh my goodness they were SO good! We all had food falling off our plates because we wanted to try everything! Our host mom, Bea, made a rum and white cake that was beautifully decorated on top with flowers. Bea may be 70 and a grandma but don't get her wrong - she likes her rum! This thing was packed once again with so much rum you could smell it on your breath after a few bites! Since she couldn't ride her bike carrying the cake to the school she had brought her car so we got a treat by riding home. The drivers are really so different here, so aggressive and quick in their stops and goes. It was a little scary and definitely more complicated to get home than walking.

Saturday January 20th, 2010
Emily, Jane and I went to adventure to one of the only malls in Austria - EuroPark - to get some basic things for living here like shampoo! This was our first independent bus experience that ended well but it cost us 4.20 Euro for a day bus pass - $6. Ugh things are so expensive! On our way to the bus we found a thrift shop where I bought a kids book in German about a tall giraffe. I am going to buy a book in every language of countries I go to for my classroom some day!

We rode the bus forever and watched many strollers come on and off the bus with really cutely bundled up little children or kinderen (children in German - where we get the word Kindergarden). One little boy was even in a lion suit with face paint! lol. We made it to the EuroPark and it was very busy, and anti-climatic. We bought a few things that we needed and went back on the bus to home. I was going to a Mozart Festival concert that night and we were cutting the time short to get me home, changed, and back to the concert to be promptly on time because I am after all in Austria. 

I was SOOO scared to ride the public bus by myself at night that I almost did not go. No really, I was terrified almost shaking the whole ride to the concert. I decided to go because I knew that I would be so upset with myself if I decided not to. At the bus stop I was to get on the #4 bus at I smiled at a old man waiting also. Little did I know what I was getting into! He smiled back and then on the bus he sat across from me and kept smiling and staring at me. I was a little creeped out. After living here for the last week I have figured out why he acted that way - Austrians DONT SMILE and so when I smiled he probably thought something else... lol. 

But all ended well I got off at the right stop walked all by myself to the proper building in the dark, wiggled my way around asking people where my section was and walked in! I had done it! Except then I got to finding my seat and my ticket said Reihe 3 Setzt 3. I knew that was seat 3 and I thought row 3 but that was so far in the front! I kept waiting for an angry Austrian couple to come up and be appaled that I was sitting in their concert seats, but other Salzburg College students trickled in and it was fun from there! We listened to a horribly modern Russian piece that had the choir screeching and whooing like ghosts - I must not have enough music knowledge to have appreciated it. lol. Then we listened to "Requim d-Moll für Soli, Chor und Orchester KV 626" by Mozart. Wow. It was the best performance I have ever been to, NOTHING is even in the same ballpark. You literally came into a trance while listening. Later I found out that the #1 Orchestra the Berlin Orchestra and the #3 Vienna Choir in the world. No wonder it was such an amazing performance and I got the ticket for 15 Euros! I caught the right bus and got home just fine and was so proud of myself! :)

Sunday January 31st, 2010
Bea went skiing with her family. Skiing is so huge here. It is cheap about 29 Euros for a day lift ticket and there are ski resorts every 30 minutes! I got really sick Sunday night so the day was pretty much homework and sleeping. I think that all of the new foods, water, and general environment got to me.

Monday February 1st, 2010
I felt better on Monday - in fact perfectly fine. I went to classes. I have my culture class, Understanding Austria with Dr. Kecht, the academic professor at our school then announcements, delicious lunch made by Bergita (today it was a type of Austrian Mexican dish...interesting...) then Beginning German II and Economics and Politics of the European Union. I love my German teacher Jasmine, who teaches us what we think is important for us to learn and is taking it really slow on us which is great! My economics teacher use to work in the European Union in the agriculture department so he knows what he is talking about and is funny. We had to define an American Identity. Harder than you think when he convinces you that there has to be an answer. We spent an hour and a half trying to figure it out - of course to come to the answer that there is not one identity and that it is a socially constructed term that was used to build nationalism to get people to fight in wars. :) I walked home all by myself in the dark! It was again terrifying because Salzburg is a big city (despite what my host mom says) and I have a hard time walking home the right way in the day! And yes I carried a key in my hand the whole way home...I was so scared, but on a mission to make it home and it worked out great. I think it is actually easier to get home in the dark, just remember to turn right at the Taj Mahal restaurant! :) lol. It really is a walking city because even at night the streets are so well lit.

Tuesday February 2nd, 2010
I stayed home from school (of course the second day of real classes) because I had some stomach bug that kept me up all night. It was horrible! I have a gem of a boyfriend who stayed up with me all night talking to me - into the early morning hours for him! It was so nice tho, because it was really hard being so far away from home and so sick.

Wednesday February 3rd, 2010
I went back to school to tough it out - eating only pretzels, bottled water, and bananas (normal food!). It was such a tease with Bergita's amazing cooking! Wednesdays are great cause I don't have class until after lunch so I show up at noon! I had German and Econ again. 

This time we had good news in our Econ class cause the Euro has dropped. Apparently, Greece is not a favorite of the other EU members and has a lot of financial troubles. In order to be in the EU each member must hold up certain rules about their finances, it turns out that Greece "inputted data incorrectly" or lied as our teacher said about what their fiscal status was and it has greatly hurt the Euro because Greece did not hold up their part! 

We also talked about smiling in Austria. I think this is the hardest culture shock hands down so far. People in Austria don't smile. Apparently, Americans are considered to be giddy and have fake smiles all the time. But it is so hard because walking down the street (which I do a lot of! :) ) nobody smiles at you to acknowledge you, in fact they don't even look you in the eyes. At least for me as a smily person this has been killing me! It honestly puts you in a down mood. And if you do smile they look at you like you are crazy! So to everyone when I get back if I do not smile at you when I see you, I am deeply sorry. I am going through very rigorous training right now to be an expressionless human being. We concluded in class that they don't smile because of the spy filled history and that one must keep to himself. But our whole class' solution to every problem is - "Well if the Austrians would smile..." lol.

Thursday February 4th, 2010
No classes on Thursdays! I walked to the train station to get a train card called the "Vortil Card" which is an amazing deal! For everyone under 26 you get 50% off all trains in Austria and 25% off all trains in the countries bordering Austria for 30 Euros! 

In the afternoon I had my printmaking class make-up time. I absolutely love this professor because he wants us to do our own art and be creative and have fun! (Plus he showed up in cowboy boots! ) lol. We talked in the classroom for a bit then he took us up in an elevator in the mountain my school is partially in, up to the modern art museum, where they have a cafe and one of the best views of Salzburg. He bought us kaffes (coffees) and three Austrian traditional deserts! I got a kaffe latte (which are served in regular class cups here) and was amazing! 

We just sat and chatted about random things. We learned where the best dancing, bars, art and coffee houses were from him! And that one of the deserts - Sachetorte (the famous Vienna desert) has 9 eggs in it! Also that expresso is the healthiest and cleanest type of coffee because it is steamed. We got our individualized homework assignments - mine is to bring in sketches, an Austrian bug, and destructible flat textured material. lol. I love the bug part because I told him my only background in printmaking was in Art for Elementary Teachers where we did prints of bugs! His assignments are so personalized and I am SO excited for this class!

Friday February 5th, 2010
I have one class on Fridays - Beginning German then lunch and I am done! Friday afternoon Emily and I walked home from lunch and chatting with our classmates. We stopped by one of our discount stores Pedgro and bought some art supplies to make Valentines for our boyfriends back in the states. :) Then we stopped by the small grocery store EuroSpar to grab a few beirs for Saturday night and some pretzels. :) This is when I discovered the Radlers! Yum! It is so funny because you can by single beirs at the grocery stores and even in the gas stations! It only cost me 2.25 Euro for three large beirs. We walked back to our house drank a lemon beer ate pretzels and had a big art fest for the whole afternoon while listening to American music! It was super fun! We went to bed early cause we had tobogganing start early the next morning!

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1 comment:

  1. dang girl! its sounds like youre having an amazing time!! and i am seriously so proud of you for going to that concert by yourself! that had to be so hard, i would've been scared out of my mind too, but good job for doing it!
    and the smiling thing would be way hard for me too, but you gotta do what you gotta do! :)
    and im glad youre enjoying the beer ;) you are in austria... :D
    cant wait to hear more! <3