Monday, October 18, 2010

I ran into an emu today... really.

As of today, I've been in Austria for 3 weeks. Though these weeks have seemed like forever, I am somehow avoiding massive homesickness and really enjoying myself! A routine is developing here in Vienna, and though it's unlike any other routine of my life, I think I can take it... I mean, there are things I miss about home, people (and cats) especially, and I don't think I could live here forever, but for now I'm feeling February-esque and quite positive.

Bratislava's main drag. Happenin!

This weekend was a bit chaotic, to say the least. For two nights we played 'hostel' for 3 out-of-towners, and we dragged them along on some adventures. On Saturday, we went to Bratislava for the day! It started as a typical weekend trip – slow, a bit hungover, wondering what we're doing, but we snagged some cheap tickets and caught the train (1 hour) into Slovakia. It was fascinating, actually. Though it's only one hour away, we could see symbols everywhere of their time behind the Iron Curtain. Huge parks were just deserted, it was so odd! In the picture here you can maybe see how the buildings are just chipping away, and this is on the main tourist street in the old town! Bratislava really has no tourism industry, so we spent more of our time eating some delicious (and CHEAP) food and then walking slowly around te castle on the hill.

Wandering the Alps... or something
On Sunday, we planned an entirely different excursion! With some other friends, Jenni and I went south of Vienna, hoping to go hiking near Semmering. Well, since our train was 5 minutes late, we missed our connecting train (although we rode THROUGH Semmering on the way there...), so we ended up stuck in Mürzzuschlag. Mind you, we know nothing about Mürzzuschlag except that one of Joe's students met a murderer there. Anyway, we wandered around the town and decided to go on a hike anyway, so we walked up the hill and found ourselves first in a neighborhood, then a logging road, then a real trail in the forest!, then a mudslide hill, then a cow pasture. It was... interesting, and fun to be in the real Austrian countryside. I've been constantly shocked how different my view of Austrians is now than when I studied in Salzburg, because we are constantly surrounded by them and I'm really trying to understand them as much as possible! Anyway, as our train passed through Semmering on the way home, it was snowing. So maybe Mürzzuschlag was really a blessing in disguise, since I had no coat.

School is going well. I'm realizing that my job is pretty much a constant comedic routine, in that I just keep the students entertained and if things get boring, make an awkward joke... One of my fallbacks is this great story about the importance of following rules in Austria: One morning, I bought my ticket for like 556 train, and read on the ticket 'Bitte Entwerten' (please validate). Now, if you speak German, you may realize that the word 'entwerfen' (to throw away) looks dangerously similar to 'entwerten'. I'm not an idiot – I decided throwing my ticket away would be a bad choice. However, on the train I was scolded by the ticket checker who repeated 'bitte entwerten! Bitte entwerten!' multiple times before stamping my card like normal and wandering away. Now, what, pray tell, does it matter if I did NOT entwerten!? I have no idea, but I was left confused.
Jenni at the Naschmarkt, excited about her vegetables.
In other news, I might have a favorite class. My very first day they invited me to an Abendessen with them... and it's on Wednesday! I really have no idea what is going on at this dinner other than I should show up at 6 and look nice, and there will be wine (duh, it's Krems). Soo I'm excited. They are also my favorite because they're very nice and interested, and funny! We were talking about stereotypes of America today and one boy had written down that Americans are 'rich, cute, funny, beautiful'.... thank you?
Anyway, in January we have to decide whether or not we want to extend the program for another year. Until recently, I was positive I would only do it for one year... but now I'm not sure. I mean, I really enjoy teaching the kids, I like hanging out in Vienna, and I really don't want to look for a job (the thought makes my stomach bubble – why is that, by the way? Human bodies are so strange!). So really, for what purpose would I be going back? Something to think about... soonish. 

And finally, today, I ran into an emu at Schönbrunn Schloss while running. Yes, an emu. Needless to say I was caught quite off guard.


  1. Ahhh! If you stay for another year, I will DEFINITELY be able to visit you!! Your mom might go into a depression though...

  2. Ah we can't have that! Momma Anne must stay positive. Oh, what a dilemma...

  3. Kate. Stay. I mean, besides you not visiting me at my new dwellings, this experience won't come every year. Plus, more peeps can venture over next year. And, I just want to say, reading these blogs make me laugh out loud by myself a lot. Embarrassing? Yes. Worth it? Yes.

  4. Ha, thanks Paiger! I'm glad you actually read it:). Staying is definitely something to think about, maybe magical heaven life can't always last for two years... Or maybe I'll just end up broke and homeless in Portland kicking myself for not staying and being the coolest kid in their high school. Who knows!