We put them in rest homes, we kinda kick them under the rug and make believe they don't exist. They [the people in Vienna] don't feel like that. In a lot of these older places in the world, they value their older people and their older people feel they can still be a part of the community and I thought: This is a terrific idea - that old people are useful -and that means I don't have to worry so much about getting old because I can still have a use in this world in my old age. I thought "Vienna waits for you..."

-Billy Joel

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Having The Time Of My Life

Oma is the best cook ever (besides my own mother of course). :) Today she made Ashley and I vegetable soup which was PERFECT (I swear she read my mind) because I have been feeling sick these past couple of days. She also made us minced meat (sounds scary but it is AMAZING), cooked spinach and pureed potatoes.

Ashley is the best roommate ever! We sure do have fun. :)

 It is finally getting cold here. Today, it was suddenly VERY cold. And rainy. Time to invest in some boots! 

I now completely understand why Europeans rarely shower...or shave for that matter! Shower curtain? Naw. Shower head? Nawww. Just a hose baby! Bring it on.


The Sound of Music Soundtrack has been stuck in my head all day (see awesome video on my facebook). Salzburg and Munich hereeee we comeee!!!! I'll be back Sunday to tell all about it!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Hungry in HUNGARY!

This past weekend 12 of us went back packing in Budapest!


My absolute FAVORITE building! 

Haha. This is cutie pie Maddie and I as we are Hungry in Hungary!!! Baha!


This. Trip. Was. AMAZING!

I can’t even describe how beautiful this city is. After Vienna I thought it couldn’t get any better! But I’m not kidding, it is so great. We all took the train early Friday morning, arrived in Hungary, ate yummy lunch, and explored the city. We took a pleasant yet unexpected hot and humid hike to the top of Gellert Hill that overlooks the city. There is a statue at the top representing the conversion to Christianity. The view? HOLY SMOKES! It overlooks the Danube river which splits up Buda and Pest (the two cities came together obviously) and for miles and miles beyond.

A few of us girls at the top of Gellert!

Later we went up the river over the Buda side where the incredible Buda Palace was, the Matthias Church, and many gorgeous buildings and monuments. My feet were pretty close to falling off, we were all delirious and laughing at the most ridiculous things. It’s unreal I’ve only known these people for a week.

Around 7 we finally found our Hostel. It was called “Home to Home Hostel” and the name actually fit very well! It was the first hostel I had ever stayed in, and believe it or not I had the most amazing experience. In fact, all of us did! Let me just tell youuu… J

We check in, and the guy at the front desk is telling us what we can do at night to have fun. He lays out 12 coupons on the counter, looks at us and says, “free beers!” with a grin on his face. That smile slowly went away when he saw that none of us were jumping for joy and when we told him that none of us drink beer. So later that night I hear Lyndsi talking to him about school and about Budapest, so I decide to go join. When I walk in he out of the blue just asks us what religion we are. We tell him and he continues asking questions. Before we know it, seven of us are in at the desk talking to him for an hour and a half. It was a really great experience hearing his story and things that he has and is struggling with. You can tell he is a really good person and I’m thankful we got the opportunity to tell him what makes us  happy and what gets us through life! Oh and he totally asked us if we use facebook. Neue Freund!


At night a few of us went out to a main strip with a lot of restaurants for dinner. I was surprised at how alive Budapest was at night! Love eating outside. The “sexy saxophone man” was playing MJ so Lyndsi, Elysse, Naomi and I danced. Yeah, we danced and brought in a crowd with video camera and pictures. No big deal.


We woke up and went to the “Baths” which is natural effervescent spring water. SO fun. First of all I love water anytime, anywhere. Second of all it was in Hungary (still can’t really believe I’m in Europe…) and the baths were surrounded in Ottoman architecture and the set up was very unique! Afterwards we went to the Budapest market, went to the Parliament building. Seriously…majestic.



These boys are hilarious. Haha!




This man was so random and funny! 

 St. Stephens Kirche (church). Literally the most beautiful church I have ever been inside and seen so far. There was a wedding going on while we were in there and we got to see some of it. Cool!



Matthias Church. Beautiful...

Up on the Budapest Castle!
This is my Castle.


Shoes along the Danube River representing the Jews who were forced to jump off  into the river after taking off their shoes and giving up their belongings.

On our way back to the train station, the Hungarian workers stopped us and told 4 of us we owed them 6000 Flornz (weird using different currencies everywhere) because we didn’t stamp our tickets right. HUGE language barrier, and we needed to catch our train. it was stressful and overwhelming, but you live and you learn and it made for a good laugh at the end! Other than these men, the Hungarians were EXREMELY nice people. We eventually got on the train and are back safe and sound!

This weekend was unreal and so worth my time. Being in Hungary has actually made me realize how much german I really do understand and how well I've gotten to know my way around Vienna. SO glad to be back in Vienna! J

Week Number One!

Okay so I may have been slacking a little bit on this whole blog thing. So I’ll start with the past week then do another post about Budapest this past weekend!

Last Monday we started school. I love it because rather than just sitting in a classroom to learn about history we get to go out where the history actually took place! It means a lot more to me and makes it more fun to learn about. Both our history and art history teachers took us out through the town for a tour. I love hearing about the Holy Roman Empire and everything that took place back then! And German is really fun too-crazy how much faster you catch on when everyone speaks it around you!


Outside of the Intitute!

On Tuesday night, I went to a studio here in Wien and took a dance class in german. It was veryyy interesting! Haha! Very fun experience that was. On Wednesday, Herr Professor Minert took us to Prater Park-Vienna’s famous amusement park. We went on the ferris wheel which was, at the time, the largest one in the world. It was built in 1897. It took it’s tool with bombings and fires during war, but was renovated in 1947. It is HUGE! While eating pumpkin soup and goulash (DELICIOUS) with Oma and Opa we found out that Opa actually managed the wheel for a while because he is a mechanical engineer! J


However my favorite part was going on the 311 foot high swings. It was INSANE!! I love things like this but even I got way freaked out. Loved it!! Other than that my life consists of classes, dinner with the Institute or Oma and Opa, roaming and exploring Vienna and just finding other fun things to do.
:) :) :) 

Everywhere. From the Spanish Riding School.

Just a pretty building!

I really love it here. Throughout the week I stopped a couple of times and thought about how I actually got here. One day I have this crazy idea that I really want to study abroad and travel, and the next thing I know I’m here in a foreign country with 22 other amazing people. It literally all happened so fast and the fact that I randomly chose Vienna and randomly chose to come this semester makes me think twice about why I’m here. I look at each and every one of the people I’m here with and notice how well we all click and get along and it stops me in my tracks knowing that I’m here for a reason. I wish I knew what that reason was but I guess I will find out sooner or later! Makes me happy that I have this opportunity to learn so much and find my place. I’m so excited for what is to come! J

Similar to that was when Professor Roger Minert and his wife Jeanie were talking to all of us on Sunday night. They constantly are thanking us for taking initiative to come on this study abroad, and always want to make sure we know that they wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for us. They are both so passionate about German/Austrian history and culture and I find that so great! I’ve noticed it’s rare today to find people that passionate about something and really make time to involve it in their lives. Good for them! Roger and Jeanie are so sweet to each other and to us and I love having them as our leaders on this trip. 

Oma and Opa's House. :)

Oma and Opa's front door!

Our neighbors House. :) :) :) 


Sunday, September 11, 2011

Willkommen in Wien! :)

Today was great! We went to a ward where young single adults came from all over Austria to spend the weekend with the Institute. Fun to talk to natives! :) It’s been extremely hot and humid here. Can’t believe I’m saying this but I’m so ready for colder weather! 

Yesterday I:

1. Went to the Austro-Amerika Institut for the first time which is where we have class. One floor of a cute building and of course beautiful like everything else here! I’m excited to start classes.


2. Went to the Naschmarkt for lunch. Amazing and it's there every day. Vendors, food, produce, so fun.

3. Ordered lunch for the first time in German. Ich mochte ein h├╝hnerschnitzelsemmel bitte!

4. Attempted to barter in German-I’ve never felt so American. But hey, I’m trying!

5. Developed a new obsession: chocolate croissants.

6. Met my host family. Ashley Curtis is my roommate and she is just amazing! I love her and we get along great. Our hosts are in their 80’s and insist we call the Oma and Opa. Are you kidding? Could they be any cuter?  They live on the first floor, have a daughter on the second, and we live on the 3rd floor with the daughter’s host students. They are super nice! Another one of their daughters live next door. They have 4 grandsons. Heey! ;)

7. Unpacked, updated my blog and wrote in my journal. We are lucky to have wifi here. It is very rare that homes have wifi because it costs a lot per minute and electricity is expensive. I will take advantage of it but don’t want to waste time on it. We also have our own kitchen and bathroom to share with the other two girls. So. Nice.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Jetlag?

I can't believe I can actually say this but...I live in Austria! :) Yes, I'm an official Viennese resident. Check it.


Kiersten and I are sitting in our hotel room (which is the cutest room EVER). We. Are. Dead. We arrived in Vienna around 9 AM this morning, which leaves my body thinking it's midnight. I slept on the plane a lot though so I've made it walking around town until now!

VIENNA IS AMAZING! The people are so friendly, the architecture is all so beautiful and everything is in german! Everything...is in german. Haha! Fun. :) Here's the view from our window! I'll definitely be putting more pictures up.

So I step out of the Vienna Airport and decide to be a typical American Tourist for a second and snap a picture at something random. Whelp, my camera lens wouldn't go back in! It broke. Of course. The instant i get there! Kiersten and I felt really cool when an Austrian gave us the address to a repair shop and were able to find it and manage to communicate with people that spoke nearly 10 words of english. Exploring the city of Vienna was a lot of fun.

I've eaten like 5 meals in the past 24 hours with the plane and the Minerts (program professors) feeding us. Ohhh heck. Big day tomorrow- the Austro-Amerika Institut Advisor is taking us the school for orientation stuff and taking us around town to show us where everything is. And we meet our host families tomorrow! :)

That was really supposed to be posted yesterday...but no internet. Another post coming soon!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Toronto!

I’m in Toronto! AKA…I got my very first stamp in my passport! YES! :D The plane ride wasn’t bad. I read, slept a bit, and watched Midnight in Paris. Meh, wasn’t too impressed!

My mom drove me to the airport at 5 AM (woof…) and our plane didn’t leave until after 8-over an hour late! I met up with two people from my group-Kiersten and Stephen who are also from the Portland area. They are super nice and fun and I’m excited to meet the rest of the group and get to know everyone!



The plane to Vienna boards in the next few minutes. I’m going to try to sleep as if it’s a regular night even though I’m still on Portland time. So I’ll feel like its 3 PM but have to act like it’s midnight! This will be very interesting. I hope jetlag doesn’t hit me too hard!



Brother Minert claims he has a lot planned for us the moment we arrive in Vienna. Cool!! J

Maybe the stewardess will wear lederhosen and yodel down the aisles while serving us Weiner Schnitzel…

Baha!! Just kidding. That would be awesome...

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Last week in America! ...What?!

Well, this is it! T minus 7 days (proud of me, Dad?) until I leave for my big adventure. I will be in Vienna, Austria for 3 months studying abroad, and I decided to start a blog to update family and friends on what I’m doing! So here it is! I’ll try to write posts as much as I can keeping in mind classes and whatnot. :)

I decided to name my blog “Vienna Waits For You” based off of Billy Joel’s famous song…which I love! It’s catchy and I love the lyrics:

Slow down, you crazy child 
you're so ambitious for a juvenile 
But then if you're so smart, tell me 
Why are you still so afraid? 

Where's the fire, what's the hurry about? 
You'd better cool it off before you burn it out 
You've got so much to do and 
Only so many hours in a day 

But you know that when the truth is told…
That you can get what you want or you can just get old 
You're gonna kick off before you even 
Get halfway through 
When will you realize, Vienna waits for you? 

Slow down, you're doing fine 
You can't be everything you want to be 
Before your time 
Although it's so romantic on the borderline tonight 

Too bad but it's the life you lead 
you're so ahead of yourself that you forgot what you need 
Though you can see when you're wrong, you know 
You can't always see when you're right.

You've got your passion, you've got your pride 
but don't you know that only fools are satisfied? 
Dream on, but don't imagine they'll all come true 
When will you realize, Vienna waits for you? 

Just say it, I'm cheesy! But I know that so it's okay. :)


This reminds me of the always forgotten advice that we just need to relax and enjoy where we are at this point and time in our lives. People are often so busy and caught up with daily life that they forget to sit back and think about what got them there and who helped them in that journey.  To the younger people: slow down! I believe having goals and ambitions and being excited for everything to come is so great and a necessity! But the future isn’t going anywhere—don’t try to get there TOO fast.  To those older folks: getting older is a gift…not a burden. Embrace it baby! ;)

I know, I’m so deep.

  So I get thinking about how grateful I am for this opportunity to travel to such a beautiful city and experience all there is to experience in the next few months. It will be a good break from life and a chance for me to do some thinking of my own. It’s something I wanted to do while I still could, so I put my heart to it and went for it! I know I will learn a lot—academically, spiritually and personally.  I want to enjoy every minute of it and I don’t doubt that I will! :)