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

Monday, November 28, 2011

I Hate That There's No Vowels In The Name "Ischgl"

This last weekend I snowboarded in Ischgl, Austria. AKA The Alps. One more thing to check off my bucket list! :)

We went by train on Friday morning to St. Anton (near Innsbruck, Austria). We were sitting by a random guy, and I noticed he had a cast on his arm, so I asked what happened, and he told me it was from snowboarding. We all talked a bit more and found out he was from Switzerland heading to all these crazy places. Then the arm came up again, and I asked if he snowboards a lot. His words were: “Well…yeah I mean...I snowboard for a living.” WHAT?! Ok. First we meet the Napal Soccer Team on a train then a professional snowboarder? Awesome. Meet Martin Seiler yall. 

We got there in the late afternoon. It was a hike up to our hotel which meant the view of the Alps was amazing! Very picturesque. :)

My friend Robert from Vienna lent me his board, boots, and snow clothes. What a gem! Cool snowboard right? The front said "McDrivin". Baha! I'm lovin' it. :)

Amanda, Kendal, Elysse, Lyndsi, Ashley, Becca and I! Party!

Just going around town.

The Ski Resort (Ischgl) was half in Austria and half in SWITZERLAND! Make that 9 countries I've been to in the past 3 months. :) 

Tired snowboard bum=

Although pretty icey and mostly artificial snow (bad snow year here), we had a blast! Nothing beat my first run of the season-happy to be on a board again and what better place than on the Alps?! :D

We got to the train station to find out that our train was an hour late. Then to find out that it was in fact, cancelled. Um...what?

Sooner or later we got home at 4 AM and woke up for church the next day. What an adwenture as the Austrians would say! 

Thursday, November 24, 2011


This is my first Thanksgiving away from home and it didn't really hit me until this morning when I woke up without my family to watch the Thanksgiving Parade with, no smell of a turkey already starting to cook, and not one ad  for Black Friday sitting on the counter. Well shoot! I will miss this all including watching football, taking a long snooze after eating, and being with my favorite people in the world.

I'm thankful for this opportunity to be in Vienna and travel Europe. I have learned much.
I'm thankful for Christ, for the knowledge I have that he is always there no matter what.
I'm thankful for my family, because without them I would be a sad little girl I know they will always love me no matter what.
I'm thankful for two feet and a healthy body that both allow me to do what I could never imagine not doing-dance.
I'm thankful for the people I have met here in Austria. They are all amazing, and I know my relationships with them will last. 
I'm thankful that I have a roof to live under, clothes to wear, and food to eat while so many unfortunately do not.
I'm thankful for education. Knowledge is the one thing no one can ever take away from you. 
I'm thankful for my best friends Louisa Matthews and Brittany Carson,
 for letting me be the crazy person I am and still loving me like a sister.
I'm thankful for all my other friends who have made a difference in my life and helped me along.

This is maybe the first time that my excitement of getting home to Oregon has outweighed my distress of leaving Vienna. One month at home during the holidays to spend time with family and friends-it will be great!   

Tonight the Austro-American Institute is having a Thanksgiving dinner for us at a restaurant somewhere in town. We are all wearing our dirndls so that should be fun! :)

We dressed up like an Indian and Pilgrim and handed out hand turkeys to everyone! Haha :)

Monday, November 21, 2011

Parlez-vous Anglais?


Despite the fact that:
Ashley got food poisoning on the very first night and threw up near or in 3 world wide famous landmarks, and we got hussled by some stupid guy on the subway. Don't even want to talk about it. :/ You live and you learn right??


This first day, Ash was brave and sucked it up enough to go to the Sacre Coeur, Moulon Rouge, and Musee d'Orsay where she finally had enough and had to get back to the hotel. And THANK GOODNESS we had a hotel...or this trip might have been hell (pardon my french...haha get it?!) for Ashley. Plus...they had really great breakfast which included chocolate croissants. That Museum was absolutely phenomenal...dozens of Monet, Degas, Manet, Van Gogh, and many other famous artist's pieces. 

Sacre Coeur

Moulin Rouge!

HAHA. Ok I'm sorry, but this picture cracks me up. Ashley is so sad. I just love her.

And thus began my obsession with impressionism art. 

So we're in the hotel at 4 PM on Friday, Ashley is pretty much bed ridden. We only have Saturday left, and I know how stupid it is to go around Paris alone...at night. 



So I did the one thing everyone told me not to do...but Paris was calling my name! I caught the bus right outside our hotel which took me straight to the Eiffel Tower and the famous Champs-Elysee shopping street. Christmas booths were set up, so I just had some me time. :) And quite honestly, it was great! A little pathetic as I was taking selfy pictures to record the beauty of the night...but I realize that I notice people so much more when I'm by myself. Haha, I just had a great time! :)

The next day Ashley thankfully felt better. It was a bright, sunny, beautiful day with blue skies and we went up the Eiffel Tower in the morning. Absolutely took my breath away. Gone. Afterwards, we went to a nearby bakery and I bought a baguette and some gouda cheese with cumin in it. I was the happiest girl ever eating that in front of the Eiffel tower while wearing a barrett. :D Baha! We went to The Louvre where we spent hours but could have spent two days. It was HUGE and spectacular. We definitely got lost in that place. After The Louvre we went up the street to Champs-Elysee, The Arc de Triomph (SO COOL), and the Eiffel Tower so Ash could also see it at night. We ate yummy crepes, french onion soup, and the best chocolate croissant I have ever tasted. Just say it, Europe has transformed Ali Steck into a fatty. Its ok, I know it. Hahah. 

This is all I wanted. I felt so cool.

DAD:  Although all the crepes (notice how I say ALL) were delicious, I have to admit that your crepes are STILL my favorite!!!

In front of The Louvre. It's dark so you can't see it very well!

In the elevator up to the top of Eiffel Tower!

On the Eiffel Tower. Still blows my mind that I was there!

The next morning we caught our flight and I was sad to leave. It was a short trip, but I saw what I wanted to! I definitely want to go back there someday! Back home, to Vienna.

METHOD WE USED TO VEER OFF CREEPY MEN: It totally worked ok? I have no shame, no shame whatsoever.

Oh and...I really have never seen more couples making out in public in my life. WHAT justifies this?! Have mercy. It made me laugh.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

No Shave Nowember: I'm in Europe...Why Not?

I realized today that as far as blogging is concerned, I’m almost getting too caught up in recording my travels to other countries on the weekends that I am failing to talk about how spectacular Vienna itself is! And I feel like my blog is boring with nothing but pictures. 

Johann Strauss in Stadtpark

First of all, I love this place. There is SO much to do…and so little time. I made a Vienna to-do list with only 3 weeks left here..man I need to get crackin!!! Some things on my list are: Ice Skate in front of the Rathaus (City Hall), go to a mass at one of the beautiful churches here, eat chestnuts roasting on an open fire, go to all the Christmas Markets (there’s a TON), learn to make the best schnitzel ever, and go to about 10 more museums. And trust me that’s probably a third of my list.

The Christmas Markets are starting to open. Let me just say…that I was probably the happiest girl EVER when I went to the first one last night. It was UN. REAL. Lights everywhere, yummy hot “Punsch”, and I hear the other Christmas Markets just make it better and better…

I LOVE everyone I have met here in Austria. This includes: one, everyone on the study abroad trip. It’s a blessing that I came here before going to BYU because I have made friends that I know will be some of my best friends during the rest of my college career. And two, everyone at Institute! Sometimes we’ll be hanging out with them or they’ll be showing us another cool thing about Vienna and I just think… “Am I really hanging out with these attractive European men right now?” Heck yeah I am. And the girls, they are all so sweet. LOVE THEM ALL! I often think about how sad it will be leaving all of them...I will definitely have to be better at keeping in touch than I am right now!

One of our classes is called Experiencing Vienna. This has been fun because for class we just go out and find an adventure in the city. Then, we write about it. And bam! That’s it. It’s just great. We’ve gone on bike rides, gone on paddle boats, climbed the church towers to see beautiful views, and much more! J

With 3 weeks left I realize how much I have learned (and am still learning) here. I think I have finally grasped the concept that I can learn…just for the sake of learning. Not because I have to, but because I want to! Learning is great. J I have a long list of things I want to learn when I get home. Oh boy.

Learning German is…
A kick.
A doosey.
& FUN!
I really love learning it. I was doing pretty well at understanding and communicating until we went over the rest of the cases this week in class. Have mercy.
It will get easier…someday Ali, someday! Fluency will be achieved…you watch!

At Zentralfriedhof Cemetery. Beethoven!

 Roommate LOVE baby!

Reading Mormonism in Germany on the subway...could I look any more conspicuous?


Monday, November 14, 2011

Ride A Gondola: CHECK! Get Kissed By An Italian Man: CHECK! When in Venedig.

Thursday night seven of us left on a night train to VENICE, ITALY! :) 
We literally were in a dream the whole weekend.
When I think Italy, I think of this.

I rode a GONDOLA! With 6 of us girls it wasn't too expensive. So worth it! Seeing the city from the canals was awesome. And in contrast from the Jolly old Italian Waiter who cornered me and kissed me, our Gondola driver was a catch. 

On the Island of Murano. That is...Murano glass. The glass blowing demonstrations were amazing, and the shops here and beautiful dishes and glass trinkets of all kinds. 

These next few pictures are onthe island of Burano. I don't think I even need to explain why I loved this place.

This is a view from the Campanile di San Marco. Gorgeous view of Venice. This is St. Marks Square where the St. Marks Church, the bell tower, and Doge's Palace are. Very famous place! The Cathedral was stunning inside and out. 

The famous Rialto Bridge! 

It was a very fun weekend filled with delicious Italian food and a lot of pretty places! Not to mention great company. We came home on a night train and we all slept like rocks. I woke up to a pretty view of the sun rising in the winter foggy morning. :)