Archive for November, 2010

Aww, nuts!

November 26 2010

Since yesterday was a working day, we decided to celebrate Thanksgiving on Sunday instead of Thursday.  So, this weekend will be my European Thanksgiving.  It will be the first year that I didn’t celebrate Thanksgiving on the actual day and the first year that I am not going to eat Turkey during my Thanksgiving meal 😦  We’ll be using the turkey recipe on 4 chickens instead (I think we need to cook them in 2 shifts, since there is only one oven.

This was my Thanksgiving: In the office from around 10a.m. to 5:00.  Then, I had my German class 6-9 p.m.  After that, I went to play Mario with Jilly and Paul, where I ate a PB&J sandwich with a glass of wine.  🙂

The other day, Paul received a package in the mail at IST Austria. It was one of Eli’s birthday presents that had arrived late.  It was a large stuffed animal … a shark.  Maybe 2.5 feet long.  So, Paul had to carry it home, traveling via Bus and U-Bahn.  This is a conversation that he posted on Facebook that made me laugh:  “warum hast du einen hai?”   “warum hast du keinen?”  (translation: Q:  why do you have a shark?  A:  why do you have no shark?)

Speaking of Eli, reminds me of last weekend.   He’s now 4, and plays the Wii with us (well, not during our late night wii games).  He and I were playing on Saturday. We were playing Mario.  And, when we went to a mushroom house and got a bad card, I would say “aww, nuts!”  He repeated me, but didn’t make a big deal of it.  Then, I came over the next day.  When he woke up, he asked Jilly when I would come over.  He’s getting used to me hanging out there all the time! lol.  But, we started playing bowling together.  While playing, he says “remember Brittany when you said ‘aww, nuts!’ yesterday?” I said yes, then he reacts to missing a spare with “aww, nuts!”  Jilly looks at me and says, he was going around all morning saying that.  I was wondering where he picked it up.  I’m proud to have contributed to his list of favorite sayings!  Although, we might have overused it while playing bowling on Sunday … every time any pin was missed we said “aww, nuts!!”


A Phone Call

November 20 2010

Last night, I called Eduardo as I walked from the tram to my house (well not my house, but the house that I am currently living in).  Eduardo and I do not have a good history as far as phone calls go.  Usually, neither one of us can understand the other.  It winds up with one or both of us getting very confused.  I often ask him to speak in English because there is no way that some things he says is English.  Usually, our face-to-face conversations are a little better … although this isn’t always the case.  But, we’ve learned to deal with the language issue and we are good friends.

Most of our conversations are mock fights, which is probably rather funny for any bystander … which brings me to the reason for the phone call.  Last night, he was going to have a party.  When I discovered this, I decided that I was going to call him and give him a hard time about having a party while I am in another country.  But, he cancelled the party … so, the phone call was just to say “thank you for cancelling it, but you really didn’t have to cancel it on my behalf.”   When I called him, he was first a bit shocked, then we started out bantering back and forth.  And, for the most part we understood each other!  At the end of the conversation, he says to me “well, I really enjoyed the phone call.  It was nice to fight with you again.”  I do what I can to keep people happy I guess.

Fire Hazards

November 18 2010

Maybe I worry about this because my grandfather was a firefighter, but if a fire were to start in my room (that would probably be impossible because it is sooo cold  here “im keller”), I would be a goner.  The door to both my bedroom and the front door of the house are both double cylinder locks.  This means that you need a key both to open them and to close them.  I keep the key in the bedroom door when I am in my bedroom, but suppose I didn’t.  If there was an emergency and I had to get out, then I would need to find my key, unlock the door, run upstairs, and use my key once more to open the front door.  What if my key was inaccessible?  Also, putting a key in a lock is hard enough.  If I were in a panic, I would struggle even more to get the key into the keyhole!  I really think that this is a fire hazard, and it bothers me a lot.  Why are people allowed to install these locks in the doors in their houses?

Mornings at the Train Station

November 18 2010

My new trip to IST Austria consists of walking ten minutes to the main street, then taking a tram for one stop or walking to Hernals (a train station).  From there, I take a train to Heilengenstadt, where I catch the bus to Maria Gugging.  If I miss the bus, I take another train to Klosterneuburg and catch the bus there.   If I time it right, the whole thing can be done in under 40 minutes.  If I mess up the timing, then it takes over an hour.

The other day, I saw something interesting at the Hernals train station.  They have a kiosk that sells small snacks and sodas and cans of beer.  Apparently, you can also get a glass of wine there.  At 8:00 a.m., there was a man sitting at the “table” (which was created by a coca-cola tin barrel with a slab of wood on top) with a glass of wine (a real wine glass was used too).  8:00 in the morning!  He was dressed like any other person that day, looking like he was on his way into the office.  He was sipping his wine at the stool like there was nothing wrong with the picture at all.  I told this to Michael, who suggested that maybe he worked a night shift and was on his way home.  I doubt that this possibility is true.


November 12 2010

I am sitting at the CDG airport.  I have 3.5 minutes left of my internet.  But, I will begin to explain my weekend in Paris and complete this post when I get home.  First, I am able to say I spent a weekend in Paris and I think that is awesome!  I was here with Merri (Dave’s mom) & Lisa (Dave’s sister).  I spent a weekend in Paris, and did not go to the Eiffel tower or to the Champs d’Elysees.  Although, we did SEE the Eiffel tower … peaking over the tops of some buildings!  We did do one museum though, the Musee Marmottan Monet.  One of the things that I liked seeing there was his palette with paint on it.  I also thought it was amazing walking into the basement of the museum, where they had many of his large lily paintings.  The room was open, so it was really a spectacular sight when you first walked downstairs.

Let’s talk about our dinners.  I arrived on a Friday night.  When I arrived at the apartment, there was a large spread of olives and french bread and other delicious things, including some cooked mushrooms … and of course, djion mustard!  We ate until we were full, then had some dessert 🙂

On Saturday night, we went to Juveniles.  It is a wine shop that also serves tapas-style food.  The food I must say was delicious.   We had foi gras, duck, ratatuille, beef, and I forget what else … oh, and some wine too 🙂  The waitress was very nice, and she was from Scandinavia.  She joined us for a glass of wine at the end of the meal.

My Crepe

The man makes my pre-dinner snack

On Sunday night, we went to Mon Viel Ami.  During the meal, Lisa had a good view of the kitchen and was watching the efficiency with which they worked.  They do two seatings a night, and we ate during the first seating.  So, there was a lot of prep going on as we ate for the second seating.  Again, this meal was delicious.  Lisa had Wild Boar, I had scallops, and I forget what Merri had.  Since I had preceded dinner with two crepes (one sugar/cinnamon, and the other caramel), I was not able to think about eating dessert!!

Of course, a trip to Paris isn’t complete without shopping (who cares if we get to the Eiffel tower if we can’t go shopping)?  Lisa bought two dresses.  At one of the stores she was just 20 euros shy of getting the VAT back, so she tried on a sweater (nothing in this store was under 60 euros).  The sweater looks best on display.  I don’t think it was designed to be worn.  Anyway, she starts buttoning the sweater (and there were a lot of buttons too) and the lady at the store comes over to help her.  Lisa had mismatched the buttons.  Upon realizing this, the saleswoman says “Monday is matched with Tuesday.”  We all enjoyed that comment, and thought that it should be used more often.

We went to Garre du Nord as a pre-run for my trip to the airport.  We wanted to make sure I knew where I was going, and to buy my ticket.  Well, no ticket counter was open (we couldn’t even find the ticket counter at first).  So, we attempted to use the machines.  After trying almost every credit card we had among the three of us, we realized that it does not accept American credit cards.  So, we attempted cash … but no, they do not accept bills either.  We were trying to buy two tickets (one for me for Monday and one for Merri for Wednesday), and so the machine was asking us for about 16 euros in change!  What a ridiculous system.  Lisa bought herself a coffee, and we were able to put together enough change to buy one of the two tickets.

It was a wonderful weekend in Paris!!!  Food, shopping, and relaxing!  Thanks, Merri & Lisa!!

Foreign Languages

November 7 2010

On Friday evening, I arrived in Paris.  🙂  I was on the RER going from CDG to Garre du Nord.  I happen to be near a group of people from Austria.  Since I helped them with directions, we were talking for a little bit.  Then, I notice that the two girls next to me were speaking a foreign language.  After a couple of minutes I decide to pay closer attention to what they were saying to see if I could determine what language they were speaking.  It was English.


November 3 2010

Yesterday was day one of my 2nd German class.  I am now in 1B.

In the beginning of the class, we learned that the word fast means almost.  We used it in the following sentence: Ich lebe seit fast 3 Monate in Wein.  (I live in Vienna for almost 3 months).  Later in the class, we were trying to guess the plural of a word.  After many wrong suggestions were offered, Ioana (a student in the class) says something to which Florian (the instructor) responds “fast.”  So, Ioana says the same word quickly (and I, too, thought this was the appropriate action).  It turns out that she was almost correct … not saying it too slowly.

Dave Takes on Austria … Round Two

November 1 2010

This time in Austria, Dave thought he knew what to expect, and was anxious to see and do things that I do on a normal day.  So, we’ll begin with the grocery store.

If you haven’t read about Dave’s first trip to the grocery store in Vienna, perhaps you should refresh yourself.  This time around, he was extra cautious to make sure we had everything weighed before going to the counter.  We wound up buying a lot of things at the Hofer during this particular trip.  So, we load up the conveyor belt and step in front of the cashier when it is our turn.  At this point, Dave is in front, then our cart, and then me (trapped).  The end of the counter is quite small, and the cashier was going quite fast, like lightning speed.  I was hearing “ding ding ding” as each item was being rung up, and saw a pile forming on the little shelf quite quickly.  Dave was fiddling with his bag trying to put the first item away.  I reach over the cart and start throwing things into it as Dave continues to neatly put the item into his bag.  I say “faster Dave, get it in the cart.”  Then, he is confused.  So, I have to push the cart out so I can get to the end and do it myself.  I didn’t have time to explain as things were almost falling onto the floor.  After we paid and moved aside to pack our groceries, I explained to Dave that you are supposed to work quickly at the end, and then use the counters elsewhere to pack your bags.  Leisurely packing in line is frowned upon (although it would be more convenient).  Well, I think now he knows all the secrets about Austrian supermarkets … although you can never be certain.

Throughout his visit, Dave kept asking me how to say certain things in German. This resulted in two funny incidents.  On a Saturday, we went to the Naschmarkt.  At some point, I had to go to the bathroom, so we go to Wein & Co (it was a free bathroom .. and they sell wine).  It is half a cafe/wine bar and half a wine shop.  A neat place to go, although a little more expensive than other places for a glass of wine.  So, I run into the bathroom and when I come out, Dave happily tells me that he has ordered an espresso all by himself … in German.  I gave him a hug and said “good job!”  I ordered a glass of wine, and then we were talking about something and wanted to use the internet.  So, I asked the waitress for the internet password, and she responded in English, to which Dave exclaims “she speaks English!”  The waitress laughs and says “of course I do, but you looked so happy when speaking German, that I thought I would let you practice.”  I am sad that I was in the bathroom when he ordered, because I can just picture his face smiling, so proud that he was speaking German!

The next experience was at the Naschmarkt itself.  We wanted to bring home some olives.  One of the phrases that I taught Dave was “ein bisschen”, which means “a little”, and “proberien” which means “sample” or “test”.  So, with every type of olive Dave would first ask for “proberien” then ask for “ein bisschen”.  The problem was that the man would point at an olive, Dave would say “proberien?” then “ein bisschen”.  Then, the man would point at another olive.  I guess I neglected to tell Dave how to say “nein” or “das ist alles”, so 25 euros later, we had a plethora of olives ….