This isn’t going to be the most elegantly written prose of all time, but regardless I wanted to give some quick updates regarding my life/Vienna, etc:
Number 1: Everything is amazing. Seriously, though, this year is going to be amazing.
Number 2: Vienna is amazing. I am so glad to be in the city again.
Number 3: Elaine and I get along swimmingly – and she’s like my new favorite person in the world.
Number 4: The view from our apartment is amazing.
Number 5: Just walked around the hood. There’s a Hofer right next door, along with a DM. And there’s a Billa that I went to just down one of the nearby streets.
Number 6: The only thing that isn’t amazing is that the old apartment’s renters took all the light fixtures so we had to do an Ikea run for stuff like that, along with other necessities (I had to get thing to hang my clothes on, for example).
Number 7: It’s sturm season, so the amazing sweet young alcoholic ‘wine’/grape juice product is everywhere, and it’s super delicious.
Number 8: Elaine and I are going to an expat community event at the Inter Continental’s bar on Wednesday, which should be pretty sweet. Hopefully meet some new people!
Number 9: Really hating the fact that I don’t get paid until November 15th.
Number 10: If you have any questions E-mail me and I’ll try to answer asap!
The Only Gliterati in Favoriten: Does that make us Favorati?
I just finished chowing down on some cottage cheese smeared on bread with yellow bell pepper. The cottage cheese that you find here is worthy enough of leaving everything you know behind in the United States and uprooting to Austria. I almost hate to admit that it was why I was so excited and insistent upon going grocery shopping this morning. I also bought some fresh figs, bell peppers, and berries among other items. As per Hofer prices, I got everything for 10 Euro. They were begging me to take the stuff.
At some point today Alice might drop by. Elaine and I’s apartment is – well – phenomenal. It’s everything I could’ve asked for and more. The view from Elaine’s bedroom of the city is insane, and my bedroom could probably second as a garage for a mid-sized sport utility vehicle. The soaring cathedral ceilings and skylights give the place an almost regal feel. Last but not least, the connection to the transport network is right nearby, with tram service that takes you right downtown.
It’s a beautiful, if not slightly windy day. I think I’m gonna head out and try to enjoy the weather. My friend Emily invited me over later to see her place, and Elaine and I are going to have dinner at our favorite “eat what you like, pay what you want” Pakistani restaurant.
It’s amazing how quickly you forget about the conditions in which you were living weeks, if not days, ago. As soon as the temperature dropped below 60 here in Minnesota I was giddy to put my jeans back on, break out the cardigan, and switch back to my favorite hot beveragesat Starbucks, Dunn Brothers, and Caribou. The reign of the iced Thai black tea was over! This was to be the autumn of the Americano.
Packing tonight I suddenly felt queasy, perspiring slightly on my forehead, enough to matte my bangs to my head. It was almost as if the pressure to fit my entire life into two 50 pound suitcases had manifested itself in a physical reaction. Only then did I realize that, to my surprise, the temperature outside had crept upward while I had been cooped up inside. What had been a frightfully chilly afternoon had suddenly become sticky, muggy, and reminiscent of evenings just two weeks ago. How quickly I had forgotten about the Minnesota summer – how quickly had I wanted to. Like my father, I relish the fall. There’s something about the autumnal splendor of it all – knowing that it’s fleeting, that at any moment the soft rain could turn to snow, or that the wind could blow in, stripping the leaves from the branches to which they once so precariously clung, issuing their cardinal, wine, and pumpkin hues into the gutters and streets below.
Tonight the summer has returned, if only for a moment. The air wafting into my room has that distinctively summer rain aroma, an invigorating freshness that I am convinced every laundry detergent company in the world works tirelessly to capture synthetically. Once again I find myself putting clothing into suitcases. At the University of Minnesota football game on Saturday I turned to my sister and said, “You know the scary thing is that a week from today I’ll have been in Vienna three days and this will all have felt like it happened a million years ago”. And sure enough, it will. Like the sticky summer heat that I managed to forget so quickly, my life in Austria will start again, and the long 2010 summer at home will be one for the record books.
The above link is to an article my friend Kate wrote for the Charlotte Viewpoint. Kate lived in Vienna last academic year, and was kind enough to let me stay at her apartment one weekend. Check out her incredibly witty blog, Transatlantic Sketches, where she blogs about her current life in Sweden, here: www.transatlanticsketches.com
“Sie haben einen Antrag auf Ausstellung eines Aufenthaltstitels für Österreich gestellt. Von der zuständigen österreichischen Inlandsbehörde wurde diesem Antrag stattgegeben”—Received a letter from the Austrian Consulate General Chicago today, notifying me that my Austrian residency permit has been issued.
Der Hölle Rache kocht in meinem Herzen. (Just kidding.)
For those of you who were loyal followers of my old blog, High on the Hill, welcome back.
It goes without saying that the title of this spiffy and shiny new blog deserves some sort of explanation. First of all, it was paramount that I change the title. But to what? Certainly High on the Hill, Part 2 was the obvious choice. But not only did itlack that certain je ne sais quoi, it was also just fundamentally ill-suited for the job. After all, the Alps don’t exactly tower over Vienna, a city that is mostly flat and relatively far east. High on the top of exactly what hill? Also, I couldn’t help but think that the Sound of Music reference had just, in my own humble opinion, run its course.
With that candidate axed, I asked myself just how esoteric I wanted my blog title to be. I was inclined to avoid the cryptic as to avoid writing this post, but frankly I just couldn’t help myself. After all, I was an English major. Identifying and appreciating obscure references and historical nods always brings a smile to my face.
The title of my blog is, as you may have guessed, German. Unschuldig, Weise, and Fromm are three adjectives. When the protagonist hero, Tamino, of Mozart’s opera The Magic Flute, is first visited by a distressed Queen of the Night, her aria outlines Tamino’s assignment – or frankly, her orders for him. Namely, that the reason for the Queen’s distress, the ‘kidnapping’ of her daughter, necessitates that Tamino go on a quest to rescue the damsel, one Pamina. The Queen chooses Tamino for his great qualities, among them that he is “innocent, wise, and pious”:
Oh zittre nicht, mein lieber Sohn!
Du bist unschuldig, weise, fromm.
Ein Jüngling, so wie du, vermag am besten,
das tiefbetrübte Mutterherz zu trösten.
Proclaiming oneself as wise is itself evidence to the contrary, but rest assured those three words are most certainly not intended as self-descriptors. I am most certainly not innocent, and am leaps and bounds removed from any form of piety. The three words, though, when combined, always bring my mind around toward good times. The Magic Flute is my favorite opera, for example, and it was first staged late in Mozart’s career, in Wieden, the neighborhood of Vienna I once lived in. My Aunt Susie and I enjoyed an incredible production of the opera in Berlin in 2007, and I was treated to a fascinating production, sung in Czech no less, at the Czech State Opera in Prague in the spring of 2008. I’m looking forward to finally attending the Vienna State Opera’s perennially sold out production at the end of next month.
Furthermore, and perhaps more appropriately, the Queen is sending Tamino on a quest. And if my life isn’t some sort of quest – an Austrian adventure if you will - than I don’t know what is. As it turns out, and those of you familiar with the opera know this, the Queen is actually the bad guy. So you never know what’s coming up next, or even if the parameters of the challenge you’ve been given are even valid...that the assignment itself isn’t hiding some more evil agenda! And so, with that hysterical bit in mind, I’ll take my days one at a time, and I hope to share them -moments of both triumph and failure - with you here.
So I guess, although it may seem esoteric and obscure, the title of my blog is just another in a long line of references to Mozart. Oh well. Enjoy the blog, and stay tuned!
Click the Title above for a link to last year’s exploits in Austria, including but not limited to mundane adventures in Feldkirch, quotidian culinary escapades, and plenty of fun. My old blog was private, so if you need an invite let me know and I’ll see what I can do.