Posts tagged austria
Posts tagged austria
Aww yeah mothafuckin advent calender!
I’ve never had one before!
The second half of today was really really busy. It’s like we didn’t do much of anything this week and then BAM!
The morning was nice and relaxing though.
First of all, it’s Friday so I slept in because I don’t go to French classes (first period on Fridays) but I slept in too much and missed second period as well.. which turned out to be just fine since more than half the class was taking some sort of generalized French exam or something.. I’m not sure what it was about, but it wasn’t a test for the school. Anyways, they were still taking it by the time Religion class rolled around, and we had a sub for religion anyways. She did have worksheets to give us, but between the 8 of us remaining we convinced her to let us watch Simpsons episodes instead. I really love how relaxed my school is about everything, but we’ll get to that another time. Then for German class I went to the library and read/listened to a learners book which is about an apparently desperate woman at a club who was interested in a man drinking mineralwater, but was decidedly not interested in a man in a BMW shirt, but who was unfortunately interested in her. It was fun. Then during art class, we had another sub who just let us look up pictures for ideas for our ball.
BUT AS SOON AS I LEFT SCHOOL THE CHAOS STARTED! See, I was supposed to be getting my ball pictures done tomorrow, but the changed all the times at the last minute so that everyone did them today. So I had to finish putting together my cowgirl outfit at the last minute, but at 3 I was also supposed to be rushing to the tailor’s to get my measurements taken with my friend Katy for our dresses for the ball. So we went shopping for our last-minute things and then, already running late, we went to the tailor’s, stopping at Katy’s house along the way and meeting her fun mom and Very Scottish Dad. Because we were late for the tailor’s, it was nearly 5 when we got back to Katy’s house and my pictures were at 5:30. So I called the girl in charge and by some miracle got my time switched to 6:30, but I still had to rush home (all the way across the city), shower, get everything together, and then get to the college they were using as a studio. I made it at about 7:15, whoops.
I keep underestimating how long the trams will take.. I’m still used to my driving logic of ‘well, if I’m running late I can just go faster’. But no matter how late or panicky you are, the trams will role along and whatever speed they please.
The pictures were great though. I wasn’t so fond of mine (I thought of a million better poses than the one I chose after I was done, as always) but everyone looked so legit.. they’re gonna look amazing hanging up. My favorites were of the 2 guys and three girls who decided to wear just cowboy hats.
Just cowboy hats.
Just to cover their privates.
Like I said, the school is super relaxed… students at my old school would have never gotten away with that!
Now I’m home and curled up and tired, and tomorrow I have a party to go to, so goodnight :)
(Pssst.. and I promise I’ll try to take more pictures! I just gotta remember xP)
Today two of my school friends decided they were going to speak German to me (though I replied in English) slowly enough for me to understand. We actually were doing pretty well until she asked me “Do you like any of the guys in our class?”
and I thought she was asking “Do you know any of the guys in our class?” and I thought, well of course I know them, it’s not a big class, so I said “Ja..”
and she’s like “Oh? Who?”
And of course I went “All of them!”
Earlier I was like “damn I should update my blog, I could really say a lot!” but now I’ve forgotten what I wanted to tell y’all.
I got internet working on my laptop! No more mooching off everyone else, aaaaand I have my itunes! Huzzah!
The other day Jan (my dance partner, remember?) showed me where the English bookshop is. We were talking about it because he and another girl from my class, Angel, were discussing how disappointing it is that it’ll close down in December. In the meantime, however, all the books are 50% off! It was very nice and.. cozy. It wasn’t very wide, but there were two stories and every space available was crammed to burst with all sorts of books.
Then yesterday I was invited to a girl’s 18th birthday party this weekend. It’s dress up, and then we’re going to go out! I don’t have anything to make a costume out of though, so I’ll have to figure something out. Then next weekend is another girl’s party, another dress up party! But it’s going to be a house party. Should be fun!
Also, in the last week or so my German skills have suddenly jumped up a level. Not veeeeeerrrryyy much, but now I can mostly understand people if they speak to me reeeeaaally slowly and are talking about subjects I’m familiar with. Also, at night I read children’s books in German. Let me tell you, they are exciting. But my speaking skills still don’t exceed “Ich habe Hungrig” and a few other key phrases. I guess the real test will come tonight when I go to watch Johnny English with my host sisters. Though today I did manage to tell a kid that “Meine Schuhe sind nass,”
Speaking of which, boy were they! Yesterday it was so sunny and warm and then this morning I woke up and thought the house was about to be blown down! It was cold, cold, cold, and raaaaiiiiny! I don’t have the right clothes for this! All my shoes- even my boots- are made of cloth or something equally not waterproof. So I guess that means I’ll have to go shopping!.. and socks, I have no long socks.
I was going to write a comparison of my American school and my Austrian school, but I think I’ll save that for later because I’m pretty tired.
One last thing though! For anyone that might actually actively follow this blog (I doubt your existence though) would you prefer I do shorter posts more often or only do a post once every 2 weeks or so but have it jam-packed full of info? Which would be better?
I went in a sex shop today. Very exciting! Just kidding. About the exciting part I mean, I really did go in a sex shop, but it was a little boring because we were just trying on corsets that we need as part of our dresses for the matura ball. Since the theme is (ironically, i think) cowboys/western we are wearing a black corset with a big red skirt of the bottom that is pinned up on one side. I don’t know how Western it’ll look, but since the guys will be wearing cowboy boots and hats, I’m sure the onlookers will get the idea.
But Jan, my date to the dance, didn’t stop teasing me about how we’re going to a sex shop. Hey, he’s 18! If he’s so jealous he could just go to one himself!
Which reminds me- I’m not 18 yet, so technically its illegal to be buying such stuff from such shops. Whoops.
I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before, but everyone speaking English to me, while nice, is not very conductive to my German-learning purposes. I knew and understood absolutely zero german when I got here, and now nearly a month and a half later my undertanding has risen to only a measly 5 or 6% and my ability to speak is still around nonexistant. I feel like it should be much higher. With full immersion, most people are able to understand quite a bit after only a few months. At least thats the impression I’ve garnered from other exchange students. But I’m not getting full immersion am I?
Its all good and well with my host family, who purposfully speak German to me knowing full well they may have to slow down and repeat themselves, but we hold all our interesting conversations in English, and after you hear ‘Du bist hungig?’ for the 50th time theres not much you can learn from it. My school friends all speak English so well they hardly have to think about it (with the exception of a few) and they would much rather converse easily in English than watch fumble through understanding what they say in German and then not even be able to reply to it. All my classes are in English too (huzzah for going to an international school) so theres no help there. Once a week while they have German classes I go do a fun little german-learning program on the computer, but thats not really doing much for me (though I suppose it has helped with my grammer some)
I guess I’ll just have to encourage my friends to try to speak more German with me. Hmmm.
In other news I went shopping with my host mom yesterday and bought a very nice warm hoodie that should get me through a bit of fall before I need heavier stuff. Its really not that cold yet, everyone keeps talking about how unseasonably nice it is out! So I’m spending as much time as I can outside, today I just sat around reading in a hammock. I also skyped with my mom for the first time since I got here! I asked her to send me my itunes library (we have it saved to an external hardrive) and my dog, Pumpkin! I miss him so! She’s gonna try for the first but the second might be a bit difficult. I think she might also try to send me my semi-proffesional camera which would be AWESOME. I couldn’t take it with me because I wasn’t gonna put it in my luggage (hell no) and I was already carrying too much for carryons. But maybe I’ll have it now! *crosses fingers*
In december, there will be a ball/dance thing. It’s sort of a big deal. There are 2 parts to it: a ballroom dance and a modern dance. Ballroom is first and modern is second. BUT all the girls have to wear one of 2 dresses to both parts. One is a long champagne colored one that obviously fits with the formal dance, and the other is a shorter black one with a “corset thing” at the top. I hope I’ll get to see pictures of them before I have to decide, but the main deciding factor is gonna be whichever is cheapest. Go me.
But lucky me, I’ve already got a date! A very nice and rather good looking Welsh boy asked me this morning. I mean, I think we could both see it coming from a mile away, he’s been talking to me a lot this week, kind of takes it upon himself to explain everything/show me around. But it still made me very very very happy. The only problem is that he is my height or maybe even a centimeter or two shorter, soooooo no high heels for me. Which sucks cause I’ve never been able to wear heels with a date. Ahhhh weell. …That’s a silly thing to worry about. And it’s not like he’s short! I’m just tall.
I go to GIBS- Graz International Bilingual School. It’s a privat school, and I’ve been led to believe it is fairly unique for Austria. Most classes are in English, which is both a blessing and a curse. On one hand I can probably do very well in them, on the other it’ll take me that much longer to learn German.
Today I only had 2 hours of school. I woke up this morning at 6 am, which is great since I have to wake up at 5 or 5:30 for my school back home! we went to school by tram, but we nver had to stop and switch or anything, it was really easy. And they were filled with kids from all over the city of all ages going to all different schools so it was very interesting. When we got there my host sister, Lena, led me to the office and they just sort of told me what class I’m in (8A, btw- 8 is the year level, final year, and A is just the group I was assigned to) and had Lena show me where it is before she went to her own class. So I walked into class alone.
Everyone was really nice though, when I walked in immediantly some people came up and introduced themselves- of course everyone could tell I’m new because they had all been in the same class together for 7 years. There were only a little over 20 students in there, I think. We’ll take all our classes together except for the electives, which are after school anyways. Our homeroom teacher was really nice too, apparently she does fun stuff like bring in birthday cake on people’s birthdays and stuff, and none of the other teachers do that, so I got lucky :P Also, they have double periods of French level 7 on Monday mornings, and obviously I won’t be able to do that class, so I can just sleep in. Lena’s jealous. One girl from South Africa, Angle, introduced herself right away and was super cool. She basicaly told me she’d been in Graz 5 years and no one ever showed her around, so if I ever wanted to she would take me around to all the fun spots, and then there were these three other girls who invited me to a cafe with them after school was out (but of course I had to go set up classes and get my more permanent tram ticket.)
After school my homeroom teacher took me to introduce me to the DAFT teacher (Deutsch As a Foreign… Whatever ‘Language’ is in German) and handed me off to this other woman who took me back to help me pick electives. I don’t actually have to do them if I don’t want to but some of them looked interesting and everyone else is taking them too. So I picked two english-speaking classes: World Geo/world Politics on Monday afternoons and this weird sounding Psychology class on Thursday. No art class available, much to my dissapointment.
We got out at 10 today and we will again tomorrow so I’m kind of siting around with nothing to do for now.
and sorry for not posting pictures when I promised it. My laptop, where all the pictures are saved, can’t connect to the internet here without a password, and they don’t know it!
Anyways. Last week we drove through Germany, stopping first at their Grandma’s house. She was super nice, and we stayed there 2 days. On the first day we visited their great-grandma, who’s 91! Then on the second day, by host mom’s brother and his family came for dinner. They had this cute little four year old boy who was very shy. He couldn’t understand the concept of a different language, and whenever we spoke in English for too long he would burst into tears! Poor thing!
We stopped in Rothenburg next, which is supposed to be the most well preserved medieval city in Germany. There was an ancient wall surrounding the whole place, and some of the houses were from the 1200’s! Went to a few museums there- A 30 years war museum (plus some dungeons- creepy!), a super well preserved old house that was set up just like it was in the middle ages, and, get this, A Christmas museum! Very cool, but then we had to leave.
Driving though the country side was very pretty, and they have these cool little roadside cafeteria things here where you stop to eat if your tavelling! Useful! It was interesting watching the archetecture of the villages change as well, it went from straw roofs and square churches to bright red tiled roofs with churches that look like they have giant bulbs on them!
Then, 2 days ago, we arrived in Graz. Yesterday evening my host parents took me on a walk around the city (well, the interesting part). The sun had just set and the atmosphere was wonderful- everybody was going out to eat or get icecream or just walk through all these antique, beautiful streets.
And then this morning I went to school for two hours, but I’m going to put that in another post :)
This morning I woke up at 8 to go to orientation with the local coordinator here, and didn’t get done until 1:30!
Now, I sort of got the short end of the stick when it comes to orientations. Normally, when an exchange student is getting ready to go abroad they will go to a big orientation in the nearest big city where they will meet up with 50-60 other kids and lots of speakers and organizers. Along with filling out the legal work, which was the sucky part, they will play games, watch informative videos and slideshows, ect. They will also be able to ask questions to other young adults who have just come back from exchanging or are here in the USA from another country and getting ready to go back. Depending on how big the group/city/whatever is they may even expand the experience for several days.
But unfortunately, I am the only student in my little rural area about to leave and I am the only US student in the entire program who is going to Austria so I didn’t get to have a big meet up. Instead I went to my local coordinators house and we sat down and filled out legal papers for about an hour and a half, and then she sat down and talked to me about what I expect, what I should expect, what my biggest fears are, culture shock, home sickness, the balance between my host family and my real family, and lots of other stuff. We also roleplayed a little bit how I would get myself out of uncomfortable situations and how to turn down drinks even if everyone else is drinking (its against the program rules for me to drink alcohol except with my host family). Even though I have my drivers license here, I can’t drive while I’m over there. :( We also had a 20 minute conversation about how I’m not supposed to have sex, but if I do (don’t), please (don’t do it) use a condom! (DON’T HAVE SEX!) It was 1/3 embarrassing, 2/3rds hilarious.
So not the super awesome orientation that other kids get to experience, but I won’t worry about it because I didn’t sign up for orientations, I signed up for exchange trips :)
On the brighter side: When I got home I found my new macbook pro waiting for me! That’s right folks, I have my laptop! In fact, I just finished setting it up! I can’t stick around to fiddle with it much longer though, since soon I have to run up to the dentist to get forms signed, then I have to go through all my clothes and pick out what I’m taking and what I don’t even want any more and should take to goodwill. Then tonight we finish orientation with my parents, or rather- my parents get their very own orientation and I have to stick around for the first 15 minutes or so.
Also, hello to all my followers! Thanks for following, it means a lot to me :)