Monday, January 17, 2011

Dustin' off books and my dancing shoes

Getting back in the normal system here took some time. I spent most of my first week holed up in the apartment, and when I did have to go out into society I numbed myself with a book and/or headphones. There's something about having a book to read that really distracts me, and I think many others from loneliness. On Friday night, I was riding the underground at around midnight and was surprised to see two people reading books! Upon further investigation, however, I discovered that both of them were reading books in English, and both looked pretty American (the shoes are a dead giveaway!). My guess is that they're people like me who are reading so as to not be overwhelmed, which can happen pretty easily if you're constantly struggling to understand people around you. Anyway, if anyone wants to shoot some book recommendations my way, I'd love it. I've managed to read 15 different books since arriving in Vienna, which I'm pretty proud of... though as to how I'm going to carry all these books back to America, I haven't got a clue.

Vienna's city hall
I've found myself in denial that this is a German-speaking country, because it seems like everyone I speak German with also understands me if I speak in English, or in somewhat bad German. Unfortunately this is not always the case. Yesterday on a run, a man scared me when he appeared next to me, and I said (in English) "ah! Oh, you scared me, I didn't see you there, sorry!"... all of which were probably not understandable to him, especially since I said them so quickly. My bad. However, it seems that I've gotten more comfortable with rambling in German, and I just assume and hope people around me can understand what I'm saying.

In the Volksgarten, look at the heron!
Anyway, we've been lucky enough to have some seriously nice weather here, around 50 degrees Fahrenheit for the last week! It's a great change compared to the miserable cold we had before Christmas, though it is back to about 35 degrees today, so we'll see how long it is until we get snow. Anyway, on Saturday Jenni, Laura and I took a nice walk around town to take advantage of our great weather. Over the last week I've acquired a good sense of direction through all of the Inner City of Vienna, which is actually quite small! I love the feeling of knowing my way around a place and being able to do that in Vienna helps a lot.

I was given the opportunity to go to a pretty interesting concert on Friday. It was called "Ewig dein Mozart" (eternally, your Mozart) and was in the Brahms Hall of the Musikverein in Vienna, which is a beautiful place. Anyway, in the concert a man would read a letter from Mozart and then would play a piece that coordinated with the mood of the letter. So, for example, when his mother died, his songs were pretty depressing. Or, when he wrote this letter (in German) he was in a somewhat comical mood, and so the song was pretty positive. It's kind of interesting to both learn something about a composer and hear music at the same time, though it did kind of remind me of Gundi's English classes from Salzburg...

This container holds gravel,
which they scatter over the snow
 then put back in the container!
One of the strange things about being here is that people are just naturally interested in me. That sounds rather vain, but I mean that people I work with, my students, people I randomly meet on the subway all seem to want to give me a real cultural experience (though I don't usually take subway people up on their invitations, thankyouverymuch). For a person like me who is rather antisocial by nature, this can be a bit disarming.... but I've been trying to get used to constantly doing things, though sometimes that "thing" I'm doing needs to be simply relaxing and having some serious Katie-time.

Anyway, now that the Christmas markets are closed, ball season has begun! Yes, Austria has balls, like Cinderella... though many of these balls are called "Maturaballs" and are held for the students in the oldest class (who take the Matura exams). I actually missed my own school's maturaball this weekend since I forgot to buy tickets (oops), but have plans to go to at least two more before the end of January. For a dancing fool like myself, this season looks like it's going to be pretty great.

Found this on my camera... look how cute Pudding is!

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