First Full Week

I’ve had a pretty full week in Austria.  We’ve been having meetings as a group every day, which is different than how things were going in Durham.  We’re trying to get into the habit of making dinners instead of going out all of the time, but it is so easy to go out when there are so many heurigen around the place!

I bought a bike this week.  The Winora Jade bicycle.  It’s a bike made in Germany: http://www.winora.de/index.shtml?city  (Last one on the page for the CityLine of bikes.)  At the store it was marked as 399, but I paid 300 (euros).  I feel that was rather expensive … but it was the cheapest option. Then, less than a week later, I traded it in for the Weekend (first on the page). Turns out that the Jade only has 3 gears (the Weekend has 7). It was impossible to go up and down the hills around here with the Jade. So far (2 days into it), I am happy with my new bike.

I taught my dad and brother how to use skype. Too bad I can only use skype in the 2nd floor hallway of the building I work in. By october, we are promised internet in our apartments.

We went to a party on Saturday night in Vienna.  Paul made friends with a woman on the plane, and she invited him and friends to her husband’s birthday party.  It was neat to meet some “locals” (most had actually come from other parts of austria).  I tried to strike conversation with two guys that were sitting near Amit and me for a while, and they would have nothing of it.  I asked them their names and where they were from and I got one word answers.   A couple minutes later, I asked where they worked and got the response “not near here” and “nowhere special”.  Very odd.  But other than that, everyone was really friendly and willingly spoke to us in English.  There was a half Austrian half English little boy at the party, and he was quite adorable.  Someone who was an architect found it fascinating that we were from IST Austria.   We are those strange folks up yonder who moved into a mental institute.  Haha…. I also learned that IST Austria has the nickname “Elite University” which I found pretty funny, becuase it caused some issues between IST Austria and the press.

Today, Amit and I went into Vienna (right near the Opera house) to sign up for the German classes. But, we both took the “german language test.” We did so well on the first test that we had to take the second level test … and then were told that we were placed in the 1A level (very lowest level). Haha… must have been my fabulous pronunciation during the oral part that convinced her of that. In the end, Amit decided not to take the class since (1) he needs to write his dissertation and (2) he leaves in January. I decided to take the class because it is only 4 weeks and I could really use it. lol. Since the DeutchAkademie is right across the street from the opera house, Amit and I picked up a pamphlet while we were there. Hopefully, this will help me learn german and meet some people. The one-way trip down there is an hour, so it will be 5 hours of my day four days a week for a month … a bit of a drag. But, hopefully it will pay off in the end.

When I came back from that trip, I wanted to do laundry but couldn’t figure out how to use the machine. (either that or it is still broken?) When Paul and Amit return from dinner I will need to have them help me figure it out. I need clothes, and we are leaving for a workshop on Wednesday morning.  After I decided that I couldn’t do my laundry, I took a bike ride to St Andrä.  It was a cute little farm town half way between Vienna and Tulln.    In fact, I could see Tulln as I was biking into St Andrä.  There was really nothing much in the town:a town church, a pharmacy, a billa, fields for playing sports, a gasthaus, a cafe, and a couple small places to eat that didn’t even have signs.  Throughout the town, there were tons of religious statues.  I did find a nice gasthaus not too far from here (2 km), and the site of the 2009 Weltcup .. a grass ski competition that will happen this weekend.  I am going to go check that out.

Ok, I am hungry for dinner now, and I am hoping to figure out this washing machine problem.  Wish me luck!

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