kitewithfish: The Doctor tilts his head. (Default)
So, yesterday was boring and fairly dull. We had a meeting with Alexandra that included some great Kaffee und Kuchen, which would have been, fine except for the fact that after the coffee and cakes we had to go on a cultural adventure through the Sigmar Polke retrospective exhibit at the MuseumsQuartier. For those of you blissfully unaware of who Sigmar Polke is, he's a German post-modern painter who's made a name for himself making commentary of capitalism through the use of abstract techniques and blowing up newspaper prints to be almost unintelligibly pointillist.

I have Issues with Modern Art. Some of it, I can understand enough of the technique to get into it, I can see the commentary and the structure of the work; in short, I can get into it. Sigmar Polke ain't that. It's all abstract and huge and I had to wander through this exhibit from present to past (ie, least intelligible to somewhat interesting) for three hours.

I think it's a good idea for us to have meetings and go to cultural events, but I would like some warning. I thought we were meeting for coffee and to talk about whether the bank has gotten back to us and how to get the insurance paid automatically. Which, admittedly, we did, but then I had to sit through several hours of modern art, wandering around in a huge white room where I could not sit down, and I was just very tired by the end of it all.

Anyhoo, after all of that, Colleen and I went back to Schäffergasse and made dinner together. We bought white wine, beer and Zwetschkestrudel (plum strudel) and made wonderful pasta with fresh parmigane cheese, olive oil and salami, which green beans and carrots for sides, and the strudel for dessert. We were just too dead to want to go out, and we'd gone to a bar with a huge crowd of Erasmus students the night before. (Which was rather dull, overall, because we got swarmed by a herd of French girls who only wanted to speak English to us and talk about America. Which is boring- people don't seem to get here that America is generally quite boring, and that Europe is much more interesting. They seem to find it disappointing in some way that I've not quite understood yet.)

Anyhoo, we ate store-bought strudel, killed the wine and watched "Ocean's Eleven," while making snarky comments about it the whole time. It's a surprisingly good movie- bears rewatching very well. Also, Andy Garcia is incredibly attractive.

Colleen and I got up and went shopping at Naschmarkt at 11 or so. We'd heard that the flea market on Saturdays was a big deal, and it really, really is. It's amazing the amount of stuff they've got there, and the food section of Naschmarkt is absolutely packed. I was able to find a small messenger bag that I've been looking for, because I'm a little concerned about caring stuff around in my unzippable and open canvas Wellesley bag. I got the bag for quite cheap, and then bought groceries for the rest of the week. Humus here is expensive- the most expensive thing I bought of the foods, but it's so incredibly wonderful here that I'm not really able to restrain myself. It will not be a staple food for me here, clearly, but it's very tasty all the same. We stopped for a coffee and then headed back to my place to drop stuff off.

Since we didn't have anything else to do, we finally made that trip to IKEA. This was apparently the week for it- the bus there was packed with students who unloaded themselves to buy a household set-up for themselves. I was able to find what I've been looking for: a big wide-mouthed mug for soup, a small baking pan, a vegetable pealer, measuring cups, and some adhesive mirror tiles. (I'm considerable shorter than most of the mirrors I've seen hung around here- I can only see to my shoulders in most bathrooms, and I needed a full-length mirror.) I've put them up on the back of the doors.

Anyhoo, I should probably go and start reading my only homework thus far: der deutsche Hinkemann by Ernst Toller for my 'Literature of the Weimar Republic".
kitewithfish: The Doctor tilts his head. (Default)
My brain is in some kind of minor pain caused by high levels of concentration on German lecture.

So, today was my first lecture class at the University of Vienna, The Archeology of Catastrophe: Literature and Politics of the Weimar Republic . I had been speaking English all day, which was a bad idea, because I only really got into gear with German towards the middle of the lecture. However, I did understand a lot of what she was saying. The style, unfortunately, was really reading aloud an essay she'd written on the topic, which meant that it was more grammatically complex than normal speech, which meant that I was sometimes a bit a drift.

However: I can do this. I understood enough, I could get what she meant, I didn't have any problems with getting that, and much of what she's going to be talking about next time will be covered in the book that she's assigned for us to read.

Post lecture, I came home, ate a late dinner, and then went to Down Under (the Australian pub favored by the Erasmus program for reasons beyond my understanding. ) It was okay, and I limited myself to the amount of alcohol that could be purchased for only ten euros, so that I wouldn't spend too much. Sadly, E3.80 only goes into 10 twice with change, so my Strongbow addiction my keep me sober but tasteful.


Oct. 4th, 2007 09:24 am
kitewithfish: The Doctor tilts his head. (Default)
Reading the first three issues Stormwatch has been like a return to my childhood. All the ridiculously bad art, the plots that make no sense, the introduction of characters and vendettas at completely random random intervals without any development, the way the writers just jump around the timeline of the plot and then make up by telling us what happened in the 48 hour jump-- it's suddenly the mid nineties again, and grammar school is being cruel and unusual to me.

Honestly, this suck must have improved- I can't imagine why anyone but comatose teenage boys being able to stand this art for more than twenty-minute intervals. The constant GRITTING OF TEETH for DRAMATIC EFFECT is seriously going cause these characters some dental trouble down the line. I hope that's covered in their sooper-sekrit superhero club medical package (along with chiropractors for the women to fix that unfortunate inability to stand upright without a mark arch to their poor spines.)
kitewithfish: The Doctor tilts his head. (Default)
Or at least it does not like me very much at all.

I'm trying to assemble a vocabulary for food so that I can do more than point and say "Diese, bitte" (This, please) when I want to buy something at Naschmarkt. But I am stymied by the fact that Austrian German tends to have different set of words for things than Germany-German does. So when a website tells me that 'green beans' are 'grüne Bohne' in German, but I know that I bought them under the name 'Fisolen', it can get more than a little confusing.

green beans- die Fisole, -n (Austria only)
asparagus- der Spargel, -
Brussels sprouts- die Kohlsprossen (Austria only)
cucumber- die Gurke
lettuce- der Salat
cabbage, der Kohl/ das Kraut
pepper (vegetable, not spice)- der Paprika
cinnamon- der Zimt
salmon- der Lachs
eggplant- die Melanzani (Austria only, die Aubergine in Germany)
zucchini- die Zucchini
tomato- der Paradeiser (Austria only)
humus- der Humus (sometimes spelled "Chumus" or similar)
radish- der Rettich/ das Radieschen
pickle- der Pökel, die Essiggurke
broccoli- der Brokkoli
kitewithfish: The Doctor tilts his head. (Default)
So, I did not get out of bed today until 11, and that was only to let in the cleaning lady who comes in every two weeks to keep us students from fouling ourselves irrevocably. I've watched every episode of House from the third season, except the very last one, and I'm actually kind of waiting on that one for little.

Anyhoo, after I got kicked out of my room by the cleaning lady, I IM'd Colleen and we went back to Naschmarkt. She was able to change some of her stashed American money to Euros, enough to survive for the next few days, but not enough for the rent that's going to be coming due soon. We hung around Naschmarkt and I bought some stuff, most of which was fairly cheap until I got it into my head that I would like some dates to take home. The last time I had them was in Israel at another open air market, so this seemed like the thing to do. Just a handful of the suckers cost E6!! I was annoyed- first of all it was more than I wanted, and secondly I don't want to get into a place where I'm spending too much money here. Fortunately, that little splurge seemed to be at the far end of the spectrum- the vegetables I bought could be found for fairly cheap.

I'm still hunting for a teapot here- there were several Asian stores that happened to sell teapots and other crockery, but what I was seeing was either outside my price range or shoddily made. I'm hoping that I can find something at IKEA, but I don't think I will find that great a selection. I think that the Saturday Flohmarkt (flea market) at Naschmarkt would probably serve me better on that front. There are a lot of outdoor markets right now- they seem to just pop up at random lining the roads wherever I'm heading.

Anyhoo, after Naschmarkt and a quick sandwich munched while wandering through, Colleen and I headed back to the dorm. (I am fairly certain that my residence director is beginning to recognize Colleen just as much as me.) We hung around in my room for a little, and then went out to Kaffee and Kuchen at a diner-ish place called Aida. As much as I like the tradition of afternoon coffee, it's really expensive here. Nice, once a week thing, I think, though. I'm considering shifting some of my finances around, because I seem to spending far more time and energy buying good, tasty food and socializing with other people while eating good tasty food than is built into my budget. But I'll see how things tend to go before I finalize anything.

In our wanderings back after coffee, Colleen and I stopped in a Libro on an impulse- they're a chain of book and stationary stores here that go for fairly cheap. It also had a bargain DVD section, much of which was Hollywood movies with German dubbing optional. (God, how it would have sucked in the days of VHS.) I got a cheapo copy of "Showtime," a movie that Robert De Niro decided to do one weekend while bored out of his mind. It was bad, and full of plot holes, and now it's mine to mock whenever I so choose. I also got a nice portfolio style binder in black- I have one that I love in clear plastic with sections in different colors. I'd used it last summer as the way of sorting out my papers while working in my research job, and I have good memories of it, but since I got here I've been forced to use it as the catch-all container for all my important documents. I've transfered all the stuff into the black folder, and the happy rainbow colored one is now free for my school stuff.

I have the first of my classes tomorrow, Literature of the Weimar Republik. I had honestly really not intended to take that one, but my schedule got a little screwed up by the forced ejection from several of the my classes to the waitlists, and it fits my schedule. As a result, I will go and see what's too be seen, and not worry too much about it. I suppose I ought to consider buying some notebooks and stationary supplies, but now knowing the location of several stationers and office supply stores around here, I think I will be okay waiting on things.

As a general note, it was a lovely day in terms of weather- nice and warm, with a somewhat threatening grey sky that never materialized into more than cloud cover.

Colleen and I are planning to take a trip to IKEA tomorrow. I ought to make up a list of things I need to get beforehand- it would be a short list, really. I think I would like some measuring spoons, a ladle, and a bigger ceramic bowl than I currently have. Other than that, I'm pretty good. I'll also probably hit Naschmarkt again to buy an eggplant, which will keep me happily fed for a day or so.
kitewithfish: The Doctor tilts his head. (Default)
Specifically, the kind that relate to TV series that you're almost done watching. I really ought to consider getting involved in one of these series while they're actually on TV- that way I can do the whole group-waiting thing another set of addicts before the next episode comes out.
kitewithfish: The Doctor tilts his head. (Default)
I forgot to mention- my roommate of two days moved. Clearly my prancing around naked got to her, but I refuse to hide my light under a bushel! Or clothing, for that matter.


I actually have no idea why she left: while there was a conversation in my presence with the residence director, I was not really listening, and have no idea what went down, other than that she wished me luck and rolled her stuff out.

Hopefully this will *stay* as it is, because it's kind of wonderful to have my own room and not have to worry about roomie issues, like who wants to sleep when. I doubt it will be maintained- after all, this is a business arrangement, and an empty room is wasted space. It's early days yet- I haven't had a single real class yet, so others who only had to register online would probably know when they needed to come in by, and hunt down new places. I'll probably roll in one day to find that someone else has moved in, but life will go on.
kitewithfish: The Doctor tilts his head. (Default)
So, today was both lazy and full of minor accomplishments. Tis from such that one makes up the dignity of one's life, and so they get full word-count today.

This morning, I got up fairly early (as always before my alarm clock and roomie, who turned out the lights at 9:30 last night!) I set out to get my stupid change of address form duly registered with the Austrian authorities at the address given to me. Now, it was good that I did this, because on my way to the building, I passed a bookstore that stocked (finally!) the Moleskine City Notebooks over which I have been lusting for many a day now. I bought one, and went on with my errand. So, now I'm registered for the stuff I needed, and I have the object of my desire. Upon close inspection, the notebook is perfect save for the fact that it's maps do not include the city streetcars and bus lines that will make my life less pedestrian, so I am honestly considering writing them in.

I met up with Colleen to stop by the bank and give them copies of our photos. Apparently they needed them, and lost the ones we gave them a month ago when we opened the account. Curiously, the woman who opened our account was still not in (as yesterday), but we left our photos and phone numbers with the girl at the counter, who tried to speak to us in broken English. In any case, we have done what needed to be done, and hopefully that will be the end of it.

We then stopped by the Historical Crime Fiction course that we both waitlisted for. (And ran into the second of two people I had in my language course, also doing class related things.) The room was packed, but the professor was clearly a nice and funny man who was trying to accommodate as many as possible without ruining his course by the sheer number of papers he had to read at the end of the year. As he went on with his talk about what the course required, I became increasingly aware that this was the kind of course which I could have aced blindfolded at Wellesley, but that I had nothing on my record to prove that I could do the same in German. As I was 83 on the waitlist in a class which seems likely to end up at 40, I didn't worry too much, but Colleen and I both seemed to regret the fact that we couldn't get to hang out with this really cool guy. He seemed Wellesley-worthy, as in interested in his subject, a highly capable academic and teacher, and clearly wanted to see what the students had to say.

Anyhoo, after that Colleen and I massaged our bruised egos with sandwiches eaten in Sigmund Freud park, in front of the Votivkirche, and decided that since we had *nothing* to do for the rest of the day, and we both needed to shop and eat a real dinner, we would do that together. We headed off to Naschmarkt. Now, I had been there twice before, once on a very random tour with Kurt while it was closed, and once with some girls from my language course to see what could be seen. I had not bought anything there before, but I really liked it. The produce looks good-much better than most open air markets I've seen- and the sellers are not incredibly pushy or trying to stick you with the worst stuff. You ask for a bag, pick your own stuff, and then it gets priced by weight, so that you don't get shafted by crappy food. The prices are much better than in the grocery stores around here, and the selection is more interesting.

There is a definite hierarchy to the set up of the place- I actually came in towards the far end of the stalls, and the food towards the front looks better by far. They have some really good stuff other than just produce- permanent restaurants, some luxury items and speciality stores, and lots of meat shops.

Normally I'm a bit suspicious of buying my meat from anyone doing business like that, where there's a lot of press and they could just screw you and not get caught, but most of the butchers and fishmongers there were actually permanently established, not just stalls. So, I think it would actually be a decent place to get meat- the prices were certainly better than other places. I got an eggplant and two zucchinis for E1.50, which is much less than I got them for at a grocery store in Milan, which is a cheaper city to live in than Vienna. Colleen got some fresh Italian bread and sweet peppers, and we shopped around at a couple of Asian markets for a teapot for me. (While I love my little water-heater here, I need a teapot. I just *do*.) However, while I found several likely candidates, I was feeling a little profligate and there was nothing that seemed worth the prices they were asking.

Colleen and I made dinner together- she claims she cannot cook at all, so I did most of the stove-related stuff while she chopped and was my little errand-monkey. I had boiled some chicken yesterday, mostly to get the broth, and I threw some of that in with the eggplant, zucchini and mozzarella in a little stir-fry. Nothing terribly special, but apparently more cooking than Colleen does really at all. It was, however, fairly wonderful after a long day of running around and trying to speak German.

I actually spent money on downloading last year's episodes of House, so we watched a couple of those in my room before Colleen headed home.

After reviewing my school schedule, it appears that I can maintain my current status of Free-Gloriously-Free! Mondays and Fridays, but there will be some rearrangements. It's looking like a single class on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and three on Thursdays. I need to email the professor for one of those classes and make sure I can still get in, as registration has closed for the History department. Sadly, my Islam in Germany and Austria does not actually start till November, so I can't take it for credit, which annoys me to no end. For the immediate present, it means that I have only one class this week, on Thursday at 6:30pm, and that all my other days are completely free.

For those of you who've been reading along, this means that I find myself once more in almost exactly the same state as I was last week, which I went to Milan to avoid: I am in a strange city with nothing to do but wander around and spend money. This is dangerous, but also fraught with possibilities for cementing friendships and finding new interesting things in the city.


Oct. 1st, 2007 08:20 pm
kitewithfish: The Doctor tilts his head. (Default)
So, I got up this morning with a list of things to get done. First, I went to the bank- and I suddenly have so much more sympathy for people who have to function in a foreign language. Financial vocabulary, like cooking, tends to be very specific, and has the added stress that you feel silly for having to ask. I was, however, able to deposit (einzahlen, for those of you wondering) the amount of money I needed to for my rent, which will be automatically deducted at the end of the week.

I was also considering going the registry and giving them my new address, but I decided that I had freaked myself out enough with the banking issue, and just left it for tomorrow morning.

Later, Alexandra and Ana and I did a little tour of the University, focused on finding the rooms that we would need when we started classes tomorrow.

However, shortly after returning home, I was talking to Colleen online, who, while traveling, had not been able to register for classes. We both wanted to take this one proseminar on historical crime fiction (for which one really just gets to read novels and write about them, which seems highly wonderful,) but there was a really long waiting list. She was describing to me the email that the professor had sent her, telling her that it was unlikely for her to get in based on her place in the waiting list. I suddenly began to recognize things she said, in English, as being very similar to the email that I'd gotten from the same professor. I realized that we'd gotten the same email, and I went to check on my 'registration' after all. It turns out that getting on the wait list here, the computer doesn't give you a sad message about not being able to register- it simply gives you a number, and notes somewhere else the size limit on the class. My number: 83. The size limit: 45.

So, it suddenly became clear to me that I was not going to be able to take the two proseminars that I had wanted. Which meant my schedule had just changed rather drastically.

Fortunately, I had a number of backup classes that I had looked at before deciding on my final list, and several of them had already been approved by the my major advisor back at home. So, I should actually be alright, and have the same number of classes as before. I just no longer have the proseminars (which are classes of roughly 40 people that terminate in a 15 page research paper and a presentation to your peers.) I only have lecture classes that are about really rather huge and impersonal, but have less work attached to them because of the sheer numbers involved.

As my parents have continually stated, the Wellesley way of doing classes, with small classes and lots of writing, is absolutely bizarre and I should not expect to see anything like that anywhere else. But I would kind of have liked to try to see how I would have faired, trying to work in German at the same level that I do in English. Perhaps next semester it will work out better. I will have speedy fingers.

So, with the change of my schedule, comes a new realization. Because the classes here do not have to start at the same time, I no longer have any classes that start this week. Well, only one, but that's on Friday in the evening, and I'm honestly not sure I want to take that class at all.

Essentially, I am in the same situation as I would have been in last week, had I not decided to go to Milan- I am in a strange city, somewhat isolated, without the academic output that has characterized most of my life, and without an automatic social group to fall back on. I'm not sure what exactly this will do to me. In the past, I've tended to find some sort of artistic outlet for myself, and here that might end up being the case. I also might devote my time and energy to hunting down a bookstore that sells Moleskine City notebooks. (I mentioned these in an earlier post, but I would just like once more to look over how awesome they seem. Maps, street listings [which my map does not have], places for scribbling and notes about interesting things in different parts of the city- the idea of having one of these things is so nice that I really think I would like to get one of them as a counterpart to my journals.)


Oct. 1st, 2007 09:49 am
kitewithfish: The Doctor tilts his head. (Default)
Why do I keep having roomies who want to go to bed at 10? They make me feel bad for staying up after they go to bed. Honestly, really, I only need about 6 hours of sleep a night and more makes me feel groggy. I end up waking up hours before I need to, and they somehow manage to sleep on. I don't understand these people!

Anyhoo, I put money in my account to pay my rent, which was a tiny adventure in and of itself, and I'm meeting with Alexandra later to do a tour of the campus. I need to get out money for my students semester card.
kitewithfish: The Doctor tilts his head. (Default)
So, I should be full of rage about the various incompetencies and stupidities perpetrated against my innocent personage today, but honestly, I am just very tired. I had a wonderful and rather expensive lunch, for which I will be reimbursed, that caused me to question wether it is possible to have an orgasm from food.

In other news, the director of my program did not know that we were moving today. She thought we were moving tomorrow, and so was completely surprised when we called her to tell her that we were late to our prescheduled meeting because we had to get all our stuff out of our rooms by 11 am. It has all worked out fine, and I'm now happily ensconced in a much nicer room with what appears to be a rather friendly roomie, but for the love of God! Really.

I also had to fend off this creepy old man at the wonderful lunch today. He said he was Finnish, I think, and he could not speak English or German, and he came up to us, saying "Candid Camera!" and tries to take our picture while we're just sitting there eating. So, I say "And I am candidly saying, no. Don't take our picture. No." But he went ahead with it anyways. Then, like twenty minutes later, after he's returned to his own table, he comes over with a joke on his cell phone in German (something about cows??) and tried to flirt with us. So, I told him, "Please, go away. Go back to your own table. Thank you." And then when we were leaving I gave him a glare.

Now, see, I see that he was not terribly offensive in his behavior, but he seemed to have dreamed up this situation where we were interested in him. Or looking at him at all, really. If we had been, then his thing with the joke might have been funny or cute, but the thing with the camera was just damn rude. I do *not* like strangers having my pictures, and it is never polite to just take someone's picture without their permission. So, his stupidity marred an otherwise absolutely *wonderful* meal with a really cute waiter and a lovely view.
kitewithfish: The Doctor tilts his head. (Default)
- Everyone here smokes. Well, okay, not *everyone*, just so many people as to be shocking to all other Europeans. You can smoke anywhere, including within ten feet of a "Bitte rauchen nicht" sight.

-Bratislava is very close, and a good cheap airport. Many cheap flights go to either Bratislava airport or to Vienna, but almost none go to both.

-Vienna is really, really safe. You do not have to bring someone with you to walk through the city after dark. It seems strange, but it really is that safe, and I have wandered heavily laden through the streets at night enough to know it's true.
kitewithfish: The Doctor tilts his head. (Default)
My goal for today was to find Pickwick's , a combination movie rental, bookstore, cafe and bar that caters to the English-speaking population of Vienna, and get myself set up with a membership to rent movies. The idea is good, but honestly it seems like it would be a bit out of my way to get movies. But, honestly, it has a really good selection of movies, and this weekend seems to have shown me that sometimes I just need to watch something in my native tongue. However, the selection of books was rather disappointing- while they were grouped fairly consistently by genre, they were *not* in alphabetical order. Clearly, the place makes more money selling drinks, coffee and renting movies than selling books.

The area around Pickwick's also contains a little English-language bookstore called Shakespeare and Company, after a more famous bookstore in Paris that attracted Hemingway and a number of other authors of the bohemian trend. I stopped in there, though honestly I was looking for something lighter than what they were offering. I should probably take a picture and send it back to the Shakespeare Society in a letter. That would make them laugh, I think.

I did a lot of window shopping and wandering about. There was a lot to see there, and it seems to be a big tourist area- I clearly heard several people speaking in English, something I think was Arabic, and French. I also saw a *fantastic* sign in the doorway of a Beisl, that read "Kitsch as Kitsch can." I love bilingual puns!

Anyway, I'm rather glad that I went wandering about- I found a number of decent-looking restaurants, including two separate running sushi joints, and bought a replacement for my current little black notebook. What I would really love, however, is one of these. They seem so incredibly practical- I'm always wandering around scribbling something that I want to remember about a place in Vienna, and these things look absolutely perfect for that. I'm keeping an eye out for a place in Vienna that sells them. (With my luck, they'll only stock the ones for Barcelona and Prague by the time I get there.)

Returning to Vienna makes it clearer in my mind how Milan was different architecturally- Vienna is less colorful than Milan, where all the buildings were painted something warm and bright. Everything here is the same shade of beige stone or white. Also, there are none of the foyers with lovely mosaics or marble staircases- usually it's just a sturdy wooden front door with the glass case to one side holding a menu or sample of the products. Somewhat more adapted to cooler weather, I think.

I wish I'd brought my camera today, but that will have to wait for tomorrow, I suppose.

In other news, I got my budget straightened out in my head, and in my excel sheet, which is why I was in such a good mood today. I'm apparently living well within my monthly budget, and had money to spare for a little fun today. I only spent a little money, honestly, and still found myself doing the reflexive comparison shopping thing, but in the future I'll have a better idea of what I need to buy and what I need to pay, so I should be okay. If anything, this should have been one of my more expensive months, because I had to settle into the housing and all that.

On Monday, I'm moving into my permanent residence for the year, and I intend to go and visit it today or tomorrow. My mom also found me a church to go to, which is both Episcopalian and *very* close to where I'm going to be living. Rather good deal overall, there.

Well the upshot of all this is, that life is good, and I feel as though I'm better prepared for anything else to come down the bend. Now if only the bank would send me a damn card to use ATMs.


Sep. 28th, 2007 09:21 pm
kitewithfish: The Doctor tilts his head. (Default)
So, I had a bit of a freak-out this afternoon with finances and my mom. IM is not a very good mode of communication for me. I lay all this at the feet of travel- it's hard going around the world all on one's lonesome. (Apparently my parents were rather impressed with the fact that I was able to get off my duff to get it done at all. Go me!)

Anyhoo, things seem more solved, and I'm slightly less freaked out. I should go to sleep early tonight, because I have resolved to get stuff done tomorrow.

And I can't quite believe that I'm going to be moving Monday, and starting classes on Tuesday.
kitewithfish: The Doctor tilts his head. (Default)
Particularly ones that have a nice selection of English-language books. Particularly when those books are the second and third books of trilogies that I have not yet finished.

I'm sleepy and have eaten too much chocolate. I'm reading bits of comic books, focusing on the theme of the Joker, and considering what to do with my Friday evening.

In the next few days, I'm going to sign up for a membership to Pickwick's, an English-language secondhand bookstore and movie rental place, and figure out where my new dorm on Schäffergasse looks like.
kitewithfish: The Doctor tilts his head. (Default)
I have returned from Milan, and actually got home at a much more reasonable hour than I thought I would. Though my flight got in before 18:30, I assumed I would have to wait for the last Postbus from Austria to get to the Bratislava airport at 20:30 before I could begin the two hour drive back to Vienna.

There's a lot of stuff I left out of my visit to Smadar for the sake of brevity. )
kitewithfish: The Doctor tilts his head. (Default)
Well, I lied. I am sort of keeping a paper journal, but I'm almost getting more internet access that I thought I was going to. Right now I'm in the computer lab of Smadar's IES program, and taking advantage of her free internet. I did stop by the Basicila di Sant Ambrogio, but was ushered out shortly thereafter by a security guard- closing for lunch is a very common theme in a lot of these places.

Let's see. Me and Smadar are planning to go to a Jazz club later today for apperetivo. Before that she has class and work, so I will probably amuse myself with using her washing machine and doing a little tourism around the area. I'm taking this not so much as a "hunt down everything and experience Milan!" vacation, but as a visit to my dear friend. Since she's got things to do, that means I'm not doing that terribly much, but it's nice to hang out. We're doing lunch later today as well. I'm not sure what I'm going to do until then, but I now have access to the internet and a interesting area to wander around in, so I might just stay put right in this area. There's a good little cheap pizza place around here that we need to try, I hear.

I have to register for classes tomorrow. Today, me and Smadar came early to her school/program place, and the computers here are free and awesome, so I might just request tomorrow that we repeat the same kind of deal. That seems like it would be the best and most simple way for me to get registered online.
kitewithfish: The Doctor tilts his head. (Default)
Hello my loves,
I'm in Milan with the lovely Smadar, and this is the first time I've gotten onto a computer. Smadar does not have internet access in her apartment, and while she's letting me use her computer there, it's not doing me much good. So, for the record, I'm keeping a paper journal that I will transcribe once I get back to Vienna.

All you really need to know for now is that I'm here, it's slightly cheaper than Vienna, and I'm considering leaving the internet cafe just so I can save myself a little bit of money.

Love to all the lovelies.

(Also, anyone trying to email me at my college email right now, don't. I can't reply on it. SO, those of you who want to contact me, I have a gmail account that's the intial of my first name, then my whole last name without the hyphen. Example, presumming for a minute I'm Bob Smith-White in real life = bsmithwhite (at)
kitewithfish: The Doctor tilts his head. (Default)
So, I'm flying to Milan tomorrow to visit a lovely, lovely friend, who also happens to be the physically closest person to me on the European continent. Which means that I will have some rather limited computer access in the coming days, so don't be surprised if I update with less frequency.

This was a good day. I got a lot done, my language course is over and done with, so I will never again have to sit through four hours of talking about German grammar. (At least this semester.) I got my little diploma, Wellesley will get all it's money back for the course, and I just got a full course credit for something that took three weeks. Which is great.

The final event of the class was a gathering of all the groups to hear a very short speech by the director of the program, and to hand out book prizes. There was a cute little choir made up of students singing, and it was all rather corny. But for some people, it was their last day in Vienna, and then they were just going back without any more time here. It seemed a nice gesture for the people who were not staying long, while it seemed perhaps too corny for others.

I've worked out a class schedule for myself, as you've seen, which has four day weekends every week. Also, I found today the Austrian bus system website, so that I can use busses and trains and planes all to get around this lovely little patch of world I've found myself attached to.

I'm having an mixed reaction to Vienna. It seems now to be equal parts terror and joy. I know that there are amazing cool things out there for me to do and see, people to talk to that I would never otherwise meet, and things to do that I would never otherwise do. But while all the strangeness is wonderful, at the same time it makes me really ineffective here as anything other than a passerby. I can't vote, they can kick me out whenever they find me too annoying, and the rules are all seemingly arbitrary and hard to understand and complicated. But then, maybe home seems like that for foreigners there, too.

Anyhoo, I have done a variety of things today that were pleasant and enjoyable. I had a "Wiener Frühstück", or Viennese breakfast, which consists of a soft-boiled egg, two of Semmel (a wonderful crusty roll with the top in a little spiral- it seems to be the city bread, as ubiquitous here as the crescent roll to France) with lovely butter and black current jam, and a small cup of wonderful coffee. This was at a small cafe/restaurant in the Museum Quarter, which I have no fully explored. But nice, and while expensive, not so much so that I can't return. I was able to chat with a variety of nice people in German, and order tickets for a bus, in German. (I did, before I began, apologize for my German and ask them to speak clearly- they seemed to take that better than when I didn't say anything and got confused.)

This is all a little wandering, but I'm not quite clear in my head right now, and it seems to be the right tone for it. Tomorrow, I am leaving Vienna for a week, and we'll see how Italy is to me. I think I am more prepared for this trip than any other that I've been on: I've got two copies of my passport and insurance info, have hidden one of my credit cards away from pickpockets, and have two copies of all the travel information for everything that I'm doing, including documents written in Italian and Slovakian that I can pull out to show people who don't speak English, Spanish or German so that they understand the destination I'm trying to find.


Sep. 20th, 2007 07:49 pm
kitewithfish: The Doctor tilts his head. (Default)
I applied today for my Student Residence Permit to stay in Austria. Gah. So much paperwork. But, things are look well, because the things are now in motion, and the only issues that came up for me to solve prior to getting my residence permit are all things I was myself concerned about. And they are all of them fast on their way to getting solved, so life is good.

Other than that, I have received information that *all* of my classes in my Schedule of Wonderment would be acceptable for credit at my home university, and that I can thus pick and choose from the best of them.

(Excuse me, brief interlude while I fish out a fragment of dry pasta from between my keys. THAT would have sucked.)

Anyhoo, there has been a request from the great unwashed (Hi, Mom!) to know what my classes are. With that in mind, I provide you with a list of the possible choices:

Proseminars (which are classes in the normal number of students I know, about 30):
Historical Crime Fiction
Holocaust Literature

Vorlesungen (just lectures, usually in the realm of 200 or more)
Islam in Germany and Austria
Austrian History: a Survey
Women and Gender in National Socialism

Women's Diaries of the 19th and 20th Century: Women's History in the European Context
Archeology of Catastrophe: Literature and Politics of the Weimar Republic


kitewithfish: The Doctor tilts his head. (Default)

August 2016



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