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Archive for March, 2011

Hello everyone! I know it’s been ages since I last updated my blog on here. But I have great news for you! I’m writing from the lovely Vienna, Austria! I’ll be studying abroad at Webster’s campus here for the rest of the semester.
Tuesday March 8th, I got up extra early to pack. I wasn’t very smart and waited until the very last minute. In the future, I won’t pack the morning of my departure when I’m heading overseas. My wonderful boyfriend had come to visit me for the last few days I was in the States to help me pack and move out of my apartment on the St. Louis campus. I was so glad that I could spend time with him before I left! The time difference of seven hours will be a challenge, but I know we can pull through it. He and my mom took me to the airport and we exchanged big hugs and kisses before we said goodbye at the security checkpoint. I met up with R, K, and L at the gate for our departure to Washington D.C. It was a two-hour flight, and I sat next to a really nice man who talked about his own adventures in Austria and Europe when he was younger. We landed in D.C. and had a two and a half-hour layover before our connecting flight to Vienna. We ate our last bit of American food and read magazines and chatted before it was time to board. Our flight left around 5:30pm, and we braced for our eight-hour flight. The flight attendants were dressed in these outfits that were basically red from head to toe, including their tights. It was kind of cute but at the same time over the top. The plane wasn’t too full, and the seat next to me was empty. I had the window seat, which was really cool. I tried my best to sleep, but it didn’t work very well. My earplugs had been left at home, and the noise of the airplane was too distracting. I was able to rest my eyes for a bit at least. There were some noisy Germans across the row that were laughing boisterously. When we finally landed in Vienna, it was 7:30am their time and 12:30am St. Louis time.

 

I exchanged my money and we picked up our baggage. Thankfully, no one lost theirs. We were greeted by a taxi driver holding a sign for Webster University. When we got to the van, he opened the trunk and we just stared at the tiny space that was intended for all of our luggage (there were five of us). It was quite a puzzle to fit everything inside, but we did it. The taxi driver said, “That was epic,” which was extremely hilarious. The drive to where we would be staying was pretty crazy since we weren’t used to the driving habits of Europe. The cars drive so close together, and we were almost in an accident!
We made it in one piece to Donaufelderstrasse where we would be staying for the next eight weeks and waited for someone to meet us and check us in. I wasn’t sure who I would be rooming with, and it turned out to be K, so I was relieved. It’s good that I know my roommate. The dorms weren’t quite what I expected. There’s a lot more room than the two-bed rooms in the dorms in St. Louis and plenty of drawers and shelf space, but that’s about where the better parts stop. The bathroom is tiny, and the shower is even tinier. I hit my elbows against the walls when I shower! The beds are pretty hard and firm and feel more like couches. I am able to sleep pretty well though, and it’s nice to have a roof over my head. 980 Euros is a steep price to pay for it. Way too much, if I must say.
After unpacking a bit, we took short naps and went out to explore. We got a bus pass and some other supplies. Our dorms aren’t in the main part of the city, so not many people speak English. If they do, it isn’t very good. I don’t really speak German at all, but I’m getting pretty good at saying “Danke” all the time. When we were stopped by a woman in a grocery store, we just froze as she spoke to us in a flow of German. The others are getting used to it, and I’m getting accustomed to not understanding a word around me. I’m sure I will pick up more German while I’m here. It will be interesting going back to the States and understanding everything again.
That night we went out to a café and restaurant. I shared an awesome pizza with R. We learned that the perception of time basically stops. The waiters and waitresses take your orders and then bring you your food. They don’t stop by to check up on you at all and leave you alone. One could just sit there and talk for hours. That’s basically what everyone does here. It’s up to you to flag your server down for the check when you’re ready. Very different from the U.S. We had some nice laughs together.
The following day was orientation at the Webster campus. We found out the route to take, and since then, riding on the metro has become much easier. Campus is just one building. It’s so much smaller than St. Louis, and I used to think that was small! They served us little pastries, fruit, coffee, and thank goodness tea. I don’t drink coffee, and that’s their main staple here. We had a “meet and greet” discussing policies and information. Then we took a little tour around campus and out in the city area surrounding it. Webster treated us to lunch at a restaurant called “Stars and Stripes.” I think it was trying to be a stereotypical American place. They served us chicken and fries. I felt bad for R because the vegetarian option was less than desirable. Hopefully more vegetarian options can be found. Shopping for our own groceries will certainly help. On our way going back to the dorms we walked around for a while trying to find a tabak that was open so we could get a new metro pass. And then we couldn’t find a bus anywhere. When we finally found one, it turned out that it was going in the opposite direction that we needed to go. So we ended up taking a little tour of the town on our own for an hour until it completed that route, turned around, and ended up right back to where we began and onward finally to our stop. It was quite an adventure! Later that night we went out to Bricks Lazy Dancebar. It played throwback songs of the 80s and had a really great atmosphere. Completely smoky though; I’m going to have to get used to having smoke on my clothes. I had an alcohol-free beer, and it reasserted the fact that I don’t like the taste of beer. I drank it anyway. All in all, it was a fun night.

Yesterday we went to a bakery and had some pastries for breakfast. The milk here is really good! We headed out into the more central part of Vienna and took a tour bus around the main square. Most of the architecture around here is very modern, but some of the buildings make you feel as though you’ve stepped back in time to the days of Mozart. They are so beautiful! I can’t wait to go to church at St. Stephan’s! The church is absolutely gorgeous! After the tour we walked around and explored the area. There is so much to see, so many hidden treasures to find! We bought tickets to see a concert of selections from Mozart and Johann Strauss. Unfortunately, we went to the wrong place, so we had to hail taxis to get there. We were late but still able to get in. The music was beautiful! Everyone was wearing cute outfits. A string ensemble, soprano, baritone, and a ballet dancing couple performed. I really enjoyed the ballet; each piece told a cute story. Afterwards, we continued walking and exploring even more. By the end, our feet were really getting sore in our heels. The benefits of all this walking will definitely make our feet stronger to handle pretty much anything. Not to mention being able to lose weight! I’m really looking forward to that! When I got home, I noticed my boyfriend was online, so I was able to talk to him for a while! It was so nice to be able to finally be able to make contact with him since we had said goodbye at the airport! I’m really missing him, but I know this is such a fantastic opportunity. Maybe someday we can go abroad together!

I slept in until 1pm this afternoon! That’s the most sleep I’ve gotten in quite a long time! Today was a really relaxing and leisurely day. I got my first schnitzel from a vendor with A, and it was very tasty! Afterwards, the whole group of us went to get groceries at Hofer, which is actually Aldis back home! The same sign and everything! It was really great because I spent under 15 Euros for all of my groceries! I’m not sure how long they will last me or if they will be enough selection, but it’s a nice start. I hung out with L, R, and K once again but then decided to relax back at the dorm for the rest of the night instead of going out clubbing. I’m sure there will be plenty of time for that. I really need to catch up on my French readings for class and not to mention finish writing my composition that was due before Spring Break! I hope she still accepts it! My professor has been really great about everything, so I believe she’ll understand and have patience with me.
I’ve written quite a novel! Thanks for taking the time out to read this! Stay tuned for more adventures!
❤ Me
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