Monday, November 1, 2010

A bit o' culture

Musikverein, not my photo but gorgeous!
On Thursday, Fabian invited me to go to the symphony with him. Fabs is pretty lucky, since he works at Vienna's sole Musikgymnasium (high school) so he gets hooked up with free tickets to things all the time. So, to the symphony we went – at the Musikverein. The hall is gorgeous! I'm constantly shocked by how much the Viennese spend on creating this music halls or other cultural sights. Not to mention that they've got naturally great accoustics.... anyway, we saw pieces from 5 female composers, and that was essentially the only similiarity. The first piece from someone modern, I believe it was Olga Neuwirth, and it was psycho. Certainly not something... anyone would ever listen to more than once! One instrument was the sound of an ambulance, and all the percussionists were going CRAZY with all their xylophones and gongs and drumsets and triangle bells. It was amusing, definitely, and in contrast to the other more normal pieces, really interesting!! It was a cool experience.

Pumpkin friends at Hundertwasserhaus
We are experiencing another five day weekend (thanks, Catholicism), which is interesting. We had to stock up on food on Friday, since the stores close early on Saturday and won't reopen until Wednesday morning! Luke came from Burgenland to add some spice to the monotony of Katie/Jenni time (kidding, boo) and we adventured on Saturday to the Hundertwasserhaus. This was the first thing I ever saw in Vienna, over 3 years ago! Luke aptly described the house as 'not childish, but playful'... it's just a creative mess of an apartment building. I find it very cool, though not really much a tourist destination since you just walk around the outside. I found out, however, that a building I admire that is near my train station is also from Hundertwasser! He also designed a Ronald McDonald house, which I find appropriate.

Yesterday, as most of the English-speaking world knows, was Halloween! It caught me a bit off-guard, actually. I feel like that is such a strictly American thing that there would be no point in celebrating it here! Anyway, celebrate we did. The three of us carved a pumpkin, and the seeds are currently baking (sidenote: why are normal pumpkin seeds white, however when they come on bread etc they are green?)! A friend knew of this pirate themed party held in a random basement hosted by some awesome Djs, so we went. Austrians DO know how to celebrate Halloween! The music was hot, lots of great Austrian jams that I'll have to get our friend Taylor to teach me (she's got an Austrian man who teaches her the important things in life, like the words to these songs). I also am trying to make homemade pumpkin soup (my absolute favorite Austrian food) for the first time, but so far all I've got is a messy kitchen. We have no butter, milk, creme or onions so I suppose the soup will have to wait until Wednesday.

Austria, I am learning, is a small country! It's quite ridiculous. I just cracked open a new book, The Piano Teacher (thanks, stranger) and saw that the author was from that tiny town I accidentally visited, M├╝rzzuschlag. What are the odds? Apparently relatively high. I suppose it makes sense – Austria is smaller than Washington State, so of course things seem smaller. Some of my colleagues talk about how I will know Austria better than them by the end of this year, because it's so common to remian basically stationary where you are in Austria. We'll see. I don't really imagine myself traveling much of Europe while here... I would rather get REALLY into Austria until I am an official Austria Nerd.

Strange thing about Austria: my Betreuungslehrer (coordinating teacher) just retired! In the middle of October! Apparently, once you turn 60 years old, you have to be done with your job by the end of the month or they start to remove your pension from your paycheck! Strange, but makes it so people make way for the younger generation. Anyway, it works out well for me, since now he'll have plenty of time to take me on a tour of the Wachau wine region.

The best part of Sunday (or in this case Monday) mornings is the new PostSecrets! I find this one encouraging: 

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