Saturday, January 8, 2011

Back in Business?

My winter break has come to an end, and while I wait for my next How I Met Your Mother episode to load, I thought I'd take a moment to clue in the blog world to what I've been doing the last couple weeks.

The days before break seemed quite long, because I was so excited to leave Austria and get back home. The day before I left, a Tuesday, I was in the school all day. It turned out to be a pretty great day! Teachers were giving me Christmas cards and little gifts (so. much. sugar.) and I was asked about 100 times to please, please come back to Austria. Either it was the schnapps at the 10.25 break or the teachers really like me. Anyway, I was asked to read a poem at the school's Christmas party (actually, I was asked to sing Edelweiss, but declined that several times), so I read "'Twas the Night Before Christmas", in good ol' American English. Interestingly enough, one teacher later complimented me on my "British" accent while reading the poem.

NYE 2010... or is it 2011?
My time in America was, simply put, great. I spent a lot of time talking to people I really enjoy, which is one of the best therapies I know of. My family kept up the all-important tradition of Christmas Eve Chinese food, followed by Christmas Eve sugar high and crash in the midnight church service. I also got the opportunity to visit my grandparents on the Oregon coast, my Portland friends and people I like in Seattle.

Horsetail Falls and an icy tree!
Now, let's talk about Portland. Man, I adore that city. On my first day there, I went for a run in Irvington and got smiled at by two complete strangers! It made me feel giddy, especially in comparison to what happened when I smiled at a stranger here in Vienna. The city is full of complete weirdos, and people who make fun of complete weirdos while actually having a weird side themselves. For example: New Years Day, about 10 AM. I was driving around Lloyd Center (the mall) and spotted 6 people holding anti-war signs. These people were at least 65, and one of them was holding a sign that said "War is a Racket"... and I just couldn't help but wonder, who cares?! I mean, it's Portland; basically everyone here is against war, and besides, isn't the war in Iraq on the decline anyway? Anyway, as I'm staring at these people, a man runs into my field of vision fully dressed in exercise gear, carrying a champagne bottle. Oh, Portland.

I also got to experience the great outdoors in Oregon. As untraveled as I am in America, let alone the world, I have to say that the Pacific Northwest is the most beautiful yet accessible place! We drove for 30 minutes and found an icy waterfall, a gorgeous sunset AND a winery that specializes in risqu├ę wine labels. What more could one ask for?!
The Columbia Gorge(ous)

Anyway, now I'm back in Europe until mid-June. My flights both ways were surprisingly worry-free, though I managed to cause my own problems. On two out of four flights, I sat in the wrong seat! The first time, this caused a nice Indian man to be incorrectly served a meat dish. The second time, I realized my mistake before the other passenger got there and quickly changed seats, only to later discover that I had left my boots under her seat... bah! Austria and I so far have had a rocky start. I keep making nervous mistakes! First of all, I tried to buy a train ticket and forgot my pin number for my Austrian debit card, which I used the day before in America. Then, I said "du" (informal you) to a nice, old Austria man, which is a total faux pas. And then, I ran knowingly in front of a moving car - in my defense, we BOTH had a green light. Confusing! I'm hoping that the arrival of Jenni and Laura will help tame my nerves, because so far I keep cooking up delicious meals for myself, taking two bites and completely losing my appetite... I'm feeling a bit stressed, I guess, and now that I can't keep food down, pretty weak.

To be honest, I'm not really excited to be back. I'm tired of feeling uncomfortable and it felt really great to be in the Northwest, especially in Portland. Knowing places I want to go, seeing familiar faces... these things are important to me! Being out of my element as I am in Vienna turns me into a total homebody, where I only leave the house for the basic necessities: work, grocery shopping and the occasional exercise. Also, I'm a firm believer that January is the sleepiest, saddest month of the year. I am, however, excited to teach on Monday, and hope that I get the chance to have some interesting adventures in the next couple months. Hopefully after a week of adjusting, I'll be ready to get out of the apartment and find my way a bit more in Vienna. Besides, by then it'll almost be February, the best month of the year!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Katie! I am glad to read that you had a great christmas break at home! I know exactly how you feel though now that you are back in Vienna. Nevertheless keep your chin up because you are doing great! And this may not be too motivational, but at least you aren't an au pair! Enjoy Austria while you still can! :-)