Thursday, November 27, 2008

Ich bin dankbar für...

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Ugh. I really wish I could home with my family and friends! I don't think I'm quite ready to come back for good yet, but I want to come home for a week, go back to Vienna for 3, and then go home for good. If only it wouldn't cost me a zillion dollars to do that.

I am getting a Thanksgiving Dinner though! For the low price of 5.50, I get bussed out to Baden (about an hour away) to a 300 year old Heuriger (basically a beergarten) and stuffed with American Thanksgiving style food. Though I am suspicious of any Thanksgiving food made by an Austrian. Atleast I'll be with friends on Thanksgiving!

Anyway, I hope you all have a wonderful holiday and eat a whole bunch of American made Thanksgiving food for me!

Monday, November 24, 2008


Time for my weekly update!

In trampoline class on Wednesday I did my first successful front hand spring! And I have perfected my front flip to the point that I not longer fear that I am going to fall off the trampoline or land on my head every time I do it. My teacher even told me that I am "modestly gifted". Not sure it that's a compliment or not. Whatever. I'll take it. :)

Besides that, my week has been pretty routine. The IES Chicago people came to visit Vienna, so I got to meet with them for breakfast and tell them everything I did and didn't like about the program. And in my Cultural Heritage of Austria class, we took a trip to the Naturhistorische Museum (for those of you whose German is minimal, that's the Natural History Museum). And since the dad of the one of the guys who works for IES is a geologist there, we got to go places you don't normally go. Like we got to go to the roof of the museum, which provides an incredible view of all of Vienna. Super cool!

I spent this weekend in Zürich, Switzerland. Stephen and I went to visit Ben, a former foreign exchange student of mine. It was really neat. We took an overnight train there (the 7th overnight train I've taken in Europe). That Friday, we all sort of just chilled around Zürich and ate a really, really delicious Swiss dinner. On Saturday, we took trains through all of the Italian part of Switzerland. For those unfamiliar with Switzerland, the Swiss have 3 distinct cultures-- German, French, and Italian. It was quite odd, because we were in a "german-speaking" country, but everyone spoke Italian where we were. Anyway, it was absolutely gorgeous. The alps were everywhere, and we got to visit a couple of castles. AND. We got to go to the dam where the James Bond stunt guy bungee jumped in 007 Goldeneye. For those of you who play the video game (Dad!), it's the dam he jumps off of at the end of the first level. It was so cool! We had to take a scary bus up the mountains and hike down a cliff to get there. It was dark by the time we got there. And we missed the last bus down, so we had to hitch a ride with a local to get back to the train station. It was an adventure! On Sunday, we took a really beautiful boat ride through Zürich lake. And we saw "Burn After Reading", which was incredibly weird. And then I took my 8th overnight train of the trip back to Vienna and got in a couple hours ago. And now I'll be in a cafe for a few hours catching up with friends.

For those of you who get Thanksgiving Break (not I!), I would love to Skype with people! Let me know when you have a free afternoon. I'll be gone Friday through Sunday, but before that would be sweet!

To see pictures of Switzerland, click here.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Alphabeat, Balls, and Christkindlmarkts

Gröss Gott!

A few interesting things have happened since I posted last.

First, I'll tell you about my ball experience. Polly, Natalie, and I had grand plans to curl our hair, which were quickly thwarted once we realized how expensive curlers are. So we did our hair in our own way, did our makeup, and put on our fancy dresses. It took us about 4 hours to get ready, though to be fair most of that time was spent dancing around the apartment to Alphabeat (click here), Rihanna, and other pop music. Classic. Anyway, then a couple of other friends came over, we each had a glass of our 2 Euro champagne (classy, I know), and headed off. I think we may be the only people in Vienna who would take the tram to a ball. But hey! we're poor college kids. The ball was located in the Imperial Palace of the Hapsburg Empire. Needless to say, it was absolutely beautiful. And everyone was in their ball gowns and tuxedos. And apparently, everyone in Vienna is born knowing how to waltz. I can't really describe the experience, it's one of those things you just have to experience. If you ever make it to Vienna, go during the ball season (Jan-March) and bring your dancing shoes!

In other news, my three year anniversary with Stephen was on the 13th. Too bad we were too poor to be able to travel to see each other! Oh well.

I also go to go to my first Christkindlmarkt (Literal translation: Christ child market). I went to the one at the Rathaus (translation: city hall) and it was really, really neat. There were little wooden huts set up all over, decorated with light and ornaments and selling everything Christmas-y: ornaments, roasted chestnuts, advent calendars, candles, and their famous nativity scenes. They also sell Glühwein, a delicious hot, spiced wine. The one at the Rathaus is the most commercial of them all, so I look forward to visiting some of the other dozens of more authentic Christkindlmarkts throughout the city. Note: I think most of people's gifts will be coming from these markts.

I'm going to Zürich this weekend to visit Ben. Should be a lot of fun! The weekend after that, Polly, Natalie, and I are going to go on a "Grand Tour of Austria". This is a replacement for Istanbul, because I couldn't afford it. Anyway, we're going to be going to Linz, Salzburg (location of the Sound of Music), and Innsbruck. I'm really, really excited about it!

I had a realization this morning as I was getting on the U Bahn. Vienna is finally feeling like my third home. I could actually imagine myself living here for an extended period of time and really enjoying it. Funny how I start to feel that way a month before I have to leave.

I am way super poor right now. To blame: 1) Me. 2) The Euro. 3) My loan giving me $2000 less than requested. Everyone should hope/pray that I can make it to December 20th on PB&Js! :)

I am missing you all more than you know. I am really looking forward to seeing people again. If you have a couple of extra minutes, shoot me an e-mail letting me know how you are! My e-mail address is

Bis Später!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Of Elections.... and Emily

So it seems to be trendy to tell you all how the elections were from my temporary home. In a nutshell, it was one of the coolest experiences I have ever had! I went to a bar where the Democrats Abroad were hosting a election watching party. It was completely packed with mostly Americans, but a few Austrians thrown in there. We had to stay up all night, since Obama's acceptance speech didn't happen until 7 AM. With the help of a lot of Red Bull (an Austrian company, strangely enough), I actually managed to stay up all night with no problem. For those of you who know me and my sleeping habits, you know how amazing that is! During his acceptance speech, Polly and I cried all over each other. Partly because it was an incredible speech, and partly because we hadn't slept in 24 hours. It was great.

Em is here this weekend! She's been here since Saturday and will be here through Wednesday, which is awesome because it's such a long visit. We've had enough time for her to see all the sights of Vienna AND have enough time to chill and talk, sometimes with my Vienna friends, sometimes alone. It's been great. :)

Next Saturday night, I get to go to a Viennese Ball in the Imperial Palace of the Hapsburg Empire. We've been spending the last week trying to get together the required goods for it (gown, shoes, bag, curling iron, etc.). I am super excited for it! The weekend after that I'm visiting Ben in Zurich.

It's really weird. I leave in less than 6 weeks. I feel like I just got settled in to this city, this language, this way of life. These next few weeks are going to FLY by! I'm very conflicted. On one hand, I am super excited to go home again. I miss so many people so much, and I NEED some American food and some free refills. On the other hand, I really am loving my time here in Vienna. I will miss the city and the food (I'll have to learn to make schnitzel and knödel in the US). More to the point, I have a couple of friends here that it will kill me to leave. Ugh. All in all though, I feel that I will be ready to be home when the time comes. Unfortunately, it is going to take me 4 flights and 3 days to get home.

On a closing note, Christmas is coming to Vienna and it is really cool. They have the Christkindlmarkts (Christmas markets) popping up everywhere and the people are switching from Sturm (unfermented wine) to Glühwein (hot, spiced wine). I am starting to get into the Christmas spirit! :)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Ich bin ein Hamburger

As you know, Stephen and I just got back from Hamburg, Germany. I was there visiting Janne (former foreign exchange student of ours) and Barbara (his mom). Erin and I stayed there for a couple of months in the summer of 2000. It was really a good time. We got to go all over Hamburg (the port, Michaelis Kirche, Reeperbahn, etc.), go on a boat ride, and spend a lot of quality time catching up with old friends. This has made me very excited to go visit Ben in Zurich in 3 weeks.

To see pics from Hamburg, click here.

Let's see. What else can I tell you about this last week that will be minorly entertaining to you? I had midterms this last week. I did well on all but my International Business exam. Hope I atleast passed it. Thank god my grades while abroad don't transfer into my GPA at GW!

Halloween also went down. Me and my friends all got dressed up and went out on the town. It was fun b/c while European have heard of Halloween, they don't actually celebrate it. So we got stared at a lot.

I also did a successful (in that I didn't break my neck) back flip thingy at trampoline class. This week, I'll try a real front flip.

I registered for classes today at GW. The last time I will ever do that. I will be taking German 10, Business German, International Organizations, The New Testament, The History of Two Germanys and the Cold War, and a jogging class.

These next few days should be pretty fun. Tonight, I am going to an all night election party with the Vienna chapter of the "Democrats Abroad". Yay free food and CNN! Em is coming on Saturday and will be here until Wednesday. Yay!

Hope that was at least slightly entertaining...