Monday, November 29, 2010

I was told there would be bunnies.

Today I had an interesting experience in one of my classes. I was asked to talk about immigration, and decided that the Portland Bomb Plot that happened this last weekend might be kind of interesting to talk about. So, I brought the article to class. The students were actually decently into the article and volunteered to read the whole time, which was a first in this particular class. Anyway, we then talked about immigration, and some of the students were seriously vehemently against immigration, and Muslims in particular! It was... shocking, I guess. I mean, I know that I've hard about how much many of the Austrians dislike Muslims, but I've talked to people before and it always seems to be at least a little balanced. In the view of some of my students, the Muslims are violent and prone to conflict, and therefore a nuisance. Also, I that recently a Caucasian Austrian man was mowing his lawn near a Mosque, and a man in the mosque complained that it was interrupting their prayers... and the Austrian was forced to pay 8000euro. The teacher told me this to show how the government is going to rather extreme lengths to "keep the Muslims happy" so they don't do anything "radical"... ah! What a tricky situation. Because, yes, a lot of terrorism DOES come from countries with a strong Muslim population, but I don't think that should mean the government should act just to keep the minute threat of terrorists at bay. It was almost embarrassing for me to listen to a couple students yelling about they hate Muslims, because it just seems so uneducated, especially from a teenager. Interestingly enough, the HLF (tourism school) students always complain that they don't like the HAK (business school) because it's full of Muslims, however the conversation I had took place in the HAK...

Anyway, on a more positive note: This weekend, I went to Burgenland! Oberschuetzen, in particular. Our friend Luke teaches there, and we decided that one night was probably all we needed there... ha! We took Taylor's car (woo! roadtrip!) and drove the 1.5 hours (Austria is small - in those 1.5 hours we were in 4 different Bundeslaender) to Oberschuetzen, then took a nice little walk through the fields. It was a picturesque landscape, with a nice Nazi memorial and some manure. On our way back through the town, we came across a group of 200 or so people standing around some wee children who were singing Christmas songs! Turns out, it was the Christmas tree lighting ceremony. It pleased me to see the majority of the town of Oberschuetzen, plus to hear some Kindergarteners sing a little diddy... and to drink the nice gluehwein (mulled wine... necessary when it's 32 degrees outside).

After this nice walk, we hit up a Maturaball, which was the entire purpose of our destination to Burgenland. The Matura is the cumulative test for students, which they take at the end of the last year of school (called the Arbitur in Deutschland), and at some point during "ball season" each school has a Maturaball. These balls are not just like prom, it turns out! It's kind of a homecoming, with parents and alumni and friends all coming together. We had some trouble getting into the ball (Luke didn't have black shoes... seriously, 15euro wasn't enough?) but then discovered around 500 people in a huge room listening to a live band play all those strange American hits like from Grease, Dirty Dancing... etc. After about 30 minutes of wondering if this was all we had, we found the back room with all the students dancing, and basically rocked the dance floor. I'm really beginning to learn some terrible Austrian songs... like Cowboy und Indianer, which is fun mostly because it has dance moves (which aren't at ALL racist....). On that note, American music is sounding better and better. Every single American hit sounds great to me! I think it has something to do with being proud of my homeland... even if it's Katy Perry or Flo Rida or (gasp) Rihanna.

Near Krems, in winter! This is what my life looks like.
Anyway, the snow has begun to fall here in Vienna and I'm afraid it won't stop until March. There's about an inch everywhere in Vienna and Krems, which means that boots are a must. I've officially ticked "running and sliding and looking like an idiot in the snow while running for the train" off my bucket list... thanks Austria! I am keeping my eyes peeled on the ride to Krems every day because I hear there are bunnies hopping around the fields... so far, no bunnies. Just deer and heron and sparrows. Not good enough!

1 comment:

  1. Hey! I really like that picture.. looks gorgeous! I just had a conversation with my housemates about the Wikileaks thing. Also interesting but much less controversial :)