[09.17.2010 2:48PM] In which I try to start a good day, fail, get lost and already miss the Austrian bakeries
I woke up this morning and I said “today is going to be a good day!” and I meant it! It rained, I nearly missed my bus, some other things happen that I can’t remember and then just now I spent an hour and a half walking around an unfamiliar part of the city because I wasn’t paying attention, got on the wrong bus and just kinda phased out for like 20 minutes (the time it usually takes to get to my stop) and… Well… I couldn’t tell which mountain was the Schlossberg really because from where I was, one of the background mountains looked like it could possibly be the Schlossberg… I couldn’t find the Mur, the big river that bisects Graz… I couldn’t find anything, and I was in a slightly sketchy side of town so asking hte scary looking Austrians was out of the question…
Suffice it to say, I’m glad to be back home… Off my feet… My left foot is still screwed up… Not too badly, but its annoying enough and lasted long enough that once my GKK (Austrian insurance) gets finished processing, if it’s still bothering me I’m gonna go… But austrian doctors… They gave us a list of doctors that speak english… But I’m still unsure…
Oh, and I’ve realized already something I’ll miss once I’m back in Kentucky… THERE ARE BAKERIES EVERYWHERE HERE… I just walk in, look for something cheap but good looking and buy it… Always fresh, always delicious… I’m going to miss the convenience of them being on almost every block (sometimes a few in a row!).
Also… I’m getting too used to the “less is more” mentality of austria towards sugar… When I get back to the states, all my sweets are going to taste so funny because of it… Did I mention how awesome it is to have bakeries everywhere?! Cheap, delicious fresh pastries and breads…….. I MISS IT ALREADY!
[09.14.2010 9:39PM] In which I spend hundreds of dollars, feel stupid, meet my mysterious other roommate and then drink pure acid...
I’ve made the first big mistake as a student abroad, and I’m going to pay heavily for it. I’ve called home like 6 or 7 times and it was only today I thought to see just how expensive it was. I knew it was going to be outrageously expensive, probably several dollars a minute, but still, it would have been worth it to be able to call home and here my parents’ voice…
Turns out for each call, the first minute was 42 dollars and every minute after that was 4 dollars. 42… FORTY-TWO… That’s not even outrageous, that’s laughable! At first I thought it was just a glitch, until I looked online at my bank account and saw several sets of 40 and 50 dollars taken out. In fact, the 3 second call to figure out the rate cost me 98 cents… Like some final laugh at my expense.
So now I’m out around 300 dollars for a few minutes talk time with my parents. Where I only THOUGHT about trying to get another loan before, now it’s definite. I was budgeting REALLY closely before, REALLLLLY closely… And 300 dollars gone is just too much to not be concerned about. I’ve got to get my internet set up in my room so I can get all of this taken care of…
It kind of ruined my whole afternoon/week when I found this out earlier today.
On the other hand, I finally got to meet my other roommate the other day. She’s pretty cool and speaks much better english than her brother (though he and I were speaking earlier and even he can already tell a difference in my german since the first day I moved in!). She also tried to poison me, on accident though! I know my mother will freak out when she reads this… buuuuut…
She (Edita) was cleaning out the little pot that heats up water… And I did not know this and I made tea using the cleaning water. WELL! That tea was SO sour! I only sipped it and I thought it was just that the tea I had gotten wasn’t going to be my favorite. So I tried adding more sugar and tried a little sip again. Well by this time my lip was burning a bit and she came out and saw that I’d made tea and was like “NO NO! THIS WATER NO GOOD! YOU DIDN’T DRINK IT DID YOU?” And I started a little freak out session myself. She explained she had been cleaning it with “Citronensaeure” which thank HEAVENS I knew what it was (because I’ve taken to looking at the ingredients to everything I drink just in comparison.) So I had just sipped basically pure Citric Acid. I calmed down a little bit, started chugging water and ate some bread…. Other than a little heartburn, I was fine… But yeah… I met her and then within like 30 minutes she tried to kill me… Heh.
[09.10.2010 1:02PM] In which I over-do it, go to an Irish concert, drink my first European beer and fall in love with Milka...
So I screwed up my foot, walking too much ya know, and now I have to limp everywhere which is making it WORSE! I went to an Irish concert last night with Mosi and his family, his parents are pretty cool and I had a blast at the concert. Hearing a bunch of old Irishmen speaking German was kinda funny. There were a couple of times when they played a few songs that had no words and almost as one the entire concert laughed as one, this didn’t take me very many seconds at all to figure out they were all Austrian inside-jokes: they were exceedingly traditional sounding austrian country-side tunes!
There were a few of the Irish songs I actually recognized and I could start off singing with two or three just from memory! There were several others that were really simple to learn and soon the entire audience was singing along, fairly accented, as I’m sure more than half of the audience only had a rudimentary grasp of english… But they weren’t bad singers!
And what would an Irish concert in Austria be without beer? It was amazing seeing some people rushing back and forth with a beer in there hand when they looked a bit younger than myself! But of course, the drinking age here is much more relaxed. My first beer so far here was a Guinness, I know, not very Austrian, but I’ve still got 5 months, right? I look at beer as another aspect of the Austrian culture, they are, after all, the second highest consumers of beer in the world (the first being the Czechs, the third being Germany…. Where’s Ireland on this list anyways?!).
Well, the last thing I’ll say is that while in the U.S. I’ve never been crazy over chocolate… And that’s because I’d never tasted chocolate before I came to Austria! Hershey’s can jump off a cliff, Milka is where it’s AT!
P.S. Note to self, “Bio-Mais-Chips”, as much as I wished, do NOT taste or feel like Fritos… They taste, in fact, like lightly salted Corn Puffs cereal (or whatever it’s called.) For the rest of my life, I will facepalm anytime I look at Fritos…
P.P.S. Merci chocolate isn’t anything to laugh at either!
[09.07.2010 4:11PM] In which I am still sick but figure out why and realize I am horrible with names...
Begh, still a little sick, but I figured out it was from yesterday when I walked around in the rain and chilly weather for an hour after just having taken a shower. Well, I treat myself in a very laissez-faire kind of way, apparently. Today was pretty cool though, met a lot of people and most importantly people who live around me! A serbian named Ada, a guy from St. Louis named shane (Like train, or cane, he said to the serbian), a canadian chick I refer to as “Hey, that canadian chick!”, a couple of other americans and random people from random countries. Even though I’m sick, I’m still really already enjoying myself here. It’ll be much better when I have internet though, god, I’m deprived!
[09.07.2010 6:13AM] In which I am miserable... And well... Just miserable...
I’m sick, and it sucks muchly. I’m sneezing, coughing, my throat is sore… Eeeegh! I’m going to search for some Benadryl/Ibuprofen or whatever the analog over here is today and hopefully that’ll help. Or maybe some mint tea or something, I don’t know… But I still have a day left until Mosi gets back where I can ask him about where to FIND medicine… So yeah.
Still don’t have internet either, but there’s a session today at the University where we set up our University accounts so I’ll be able to get on then, thank GOD! Well, I need to go get ready for the day since I can’t sleep…
[09.05.2010 5:07PM] In which I speak gratuitous German, meet a Bosnian for the first time, explore the city and walk up a "hill"...
Heute, ich-… Already I’ve been speaking a lot of german and the first thing I tried to start to write was in german. Today was the first day Mosi spoke only in german to me (well, it was a lot of german, but we tended to go off in english most of the time). I spoke much, much better (in my mind while I was writing that I was thinking “viel, viel besser” in perfect time as if that’s what I really was writing) but my listening comprehension is going to take a lot of adjusting.
Something I didn’t mention yesterday, my flatmate (well, both of them, it’s a brother and a sister living in the room next to mine) are both Bosnian and their german has quite a bit of an accent, so communicating with them is going to take…adjustments… (As far as I know, I haven’t met the sister yet so I don’t know if I’ll be able to understand her, haha.)
Mosi took me around town today, I did lots of walking which my legs are screaming at me about. Thankfully, Graz is fairly small and everything is very close together so we did get to see a lot. We walked up the Schlossberg (meaning Castle Mountain) which is a nice little mountain in the center of the city. I forgot my camera, but I’ll go up there again sometime and take pictures. The view was amazing, I could see all the way to the plains to the south (Mosi said we might actually be seeing Slovenia on the very far horizon) and I could see EVERYTHING in the city. We spent some time pointing out the places we had visited, it was fun. We stopped at a little cafe on the side of the mountain and met his friend Alex there. The whole day has been pretty fun.
After we got back to the Hauptplatz (the main square basically) Mosi made me lead us back to my apartment and luckily I was fairly adept at it! No problems! So, I’m sitting here, my feet hurt, I’m slightly worried because the extent to which I’ve conversed with my flatmate has pretty much been “Hallo… Tchus… Oh, ja, ich heisse Corrie… Tchus…. Hallo…” … So yeah, I really wish my german was better so I could understand him better and we could actually converse, because we’re going to be spending five months living together!
[09.04.2010 9:53PM] In which I explore, fail at international debiting, and sit in an Irish pub... Also, Nutella, that is all...
Had a looong day! Mosi showed me a little around Graz and I found out there actually ARE places where my debit card won’t work because it requires this little chip thing. Went and hung out at an Irish bar and listen to drunk irishmen singing about who knows what… And now I just finished unpacking, I’m back in my room, the room is spinning from no sleep… But I still need to brush my teeth and junk… But oooooh…. Roberto brand Tutto Il Buono Del Pane and Vanilla Creme Butter Croissants dipped in Nutella is godly… But then again, Nutella does that to stuff, ya know?
[09.04.2010 3:52AM] Heathrow is large, in charge, expensive and made me hunger...
Here I am in Heathrow, this place is HUGE! It’s at least three times bigger than the whole downtown city-block area of Paducah, and it’s JUST an airport! Oh my god! I’m also convinced that England is summarily populated by extremely tall white men and gaggles of muslim women and child… With the occasional east asian thrown in for variety’s sake.
It’s almost time for my Vienna flight, or at least going to the gate for it, which is nice. I’m done with planes, I disliked the first one, liked the second… But I’m ready to be done with security check points and pulling my carry-on everywhere. I’m also ready to stop seeing 2 pound items and immediately mentally transforming that into $4 and wincing… Then remembering the Euro is much kinder to the dollar, last time I checked.
The food court at Heathrow is amazing, is puts most mall food courts to shame. There’s a sushi place to my immediate right that has a revolving sushi tread, theres a starbucks across from me (of course), but then.. Heathrow has things that I just kind of boggle at… Like a Versace store, duty free, guaranteed 20.20 pounds off retail… And that still gives me that gut feeling of “Oh my god, so much money!”
Well, it’s time to go hike to my gate, which a sign says to allot 10-20 minutes to walk to…. Oh joy.
[09.03.2010 9:30PM] In which I sit, observe, get nervous, get annoyed to no end, realize how cold it is at 36,000ft and pass through Newfoundland in less than an hour...
So I was sitting in the terminal, waiting for my flight and I look out and see people on the ground, three of them, standing in a triangle under the wing of my plane. I saw their hands moving and it took a second to figure out what they were doing: Rock, Paper, Scissors! CAn you believe it? I don’t know what they were trying to decide, but they best 2 of 3’d and I saw two of the men laugh and pt the third on the shoulders, clearly he had lost.
That makes me think about earlier in the day actually, thinking about being in the terminal. See, previously, I had come up to Louisville on Thursday morning and was going to leave that afternoon (don’t get me started on THAT trip, though I did mostly just sleep the whole way.) Well, I checked in and everything and waited by the security point with my parents, we were about 3 hours early. After a little bit, as anal as my family and I are about details, we checked the flight status. Turns out that it was running an hour behind. Well, I only had an hour in between my flight to chicago and my flight to the U.K.! This made us all three panic (my mother, father and I) so we booked it back to the ticket counter and expressed our concerns.
"You leave at 4:30, you’ll get there at 4:30."
That’s all we were told by the woman. It didn’t make sense to us in the least, and she wouldn’t elaborate, expecting us to somehow get some hidden meaning in there or something! Well, she didn’t seem concerned and assured us that I’d make my second flight, so, uneasy at the situation, we returned to the “food area” (A pizza Hut Express, a Burger King and a Starbucks, WOAH BOY!). I got a coffee and my mother kept bugging me about getting up and standing in line, as even though it was 2 hours before my flight “You don’t know how long the security will take!” After rolling my eyes many times and finishing my coffee, we stood and began our goodbyes. It’s the first time I’m going to be so far from home and mom was taking it hard, a bit unwilling to release me from her hug.
WELL! At about that time, right as we were parting, my phone rang. I told them to hang on and I picked up. Turns out it was Orbitz, telling me my flight had been delayed by another hour! Well this, we were sure, WOULD interrupt my flight (I didn’t mention it earlier, but the first ticket woman was taking into account the time difference between Louisville and Chicago, hence “You leave at 4:30, you arrive at 4:30.. Would have been nice to have it explained better… But oh well.)
We made our way up to the ticket counter and discovered (with the help of a much more friendly and helpful ticket woman) that it would destroy my flight plans. This is getting a little long so I’ll give a brief overview of the following several hours. The woman rescheduled me for a flight on Friday, the next day, that left earlier in the morning, but from chicago on would follow the same schedule. I had to email my friend in Austria who is picking me up in Vienna and hope he got the news. I stayed over night with my friend David and got to see lots of people! I found out a lot more people were sad to see me go than I had originally thought! Yay/Aw!
Well, I’m on the plane right now, we’re passing over Newfoundland (Oh wow! Already loooooooong way from home!) and I was looking at the flight info (which is conviently a channel on the little tv in the back of the persons seat in front of me, cool!) and I glanced at the temperature outside. -56 degree fahrenheit! OH my god! That took me by such a shock, I mean, we’re at 36,000 feet, so of course it’s going to be cooler… But my god, I didn’t think it would be that freezing! Well, errr, that BELOW freezing!
I’m also much more at ease on this flight, being my second, and more importantly, a bigger plane. This plane doesn’t feel every little bump and wiggle in the wind like the smaller one (16 rows of 3 people each, so max 48, though not all seats were full.) thank god! And I think a bigger contribution to my at ease was the fact that I do not have a window seat on this flight, I’m on the outside column, so I don’t (or can’t, sadly) see the sights below me. I would have liked to have taken some pictures to go along with this post, but at the same time, that would’ve made me think about how high I was! Dear lord!
We should arive in a few hours, I just got done watching the latest Shrek movie and now I’m torn between watching the new Karate Kid or Ironman 2 (Ironman wins of course, but I’m sad they come on at the same time!)
Well, that’s all that was on my mind at the time, this post will be time stamped with the time and date that I wrote this, not necessarily at the time it was posted!
So I went ahead and set up a travel blog just for fun. I leave in about three weeks and in the past few days I’ve gotten stressed about it. Not that I’m having second thoughts, which I’ve had to express to my parents several times while venting, but it’s just such a big thing to me. The furthest I’ve ever been away from home was New Orleans and that was only for a weekend-ish deal.
I’m not nervous about going over there, I’m just uneasy about how I’ll handle things. I get stressed out easy and I just don’t want to get over my head. Combine that with having to work out the details of my financial aid (which seems to get more difficult every year) and the fact that I’m anxiously waiting to see if I have to mail anything more in for my visa (it seems anytime I mail something important in like my passport and such I ALWAYS have to mail secondary items in x.x).
Well, this will be my blog. I’ll try to update it frequently and upload pics whenever I take them. If you’re reading this, well, thanks, and I hope over the next few months you’ll find my experiences and thoughts thereon interesting, entertaining and/or thought-provoking.