Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Arrival of Spring

For about 2 weeks now, Vienna has been the place to be. We have had a temperature range or 65-75 degrees every day! There are flowers in bloom and people spending the days in the parks or just out taking walks. Since this week is one of my 3 weeks allowed for spring break, I am taking it easy and enjoying the beautiful weather. During the day, I take a towel and go out to our porch and sun bathe! In the evening when the sun starts to set, I head out for a new spot! Taking a walk at sunset is probably the most Austria thing I do every day. It is the way of life here. On my list of things to do, I still have to go to the Prater Ferris Wheel and Weinerwald (Vienna Woods). Those will probably have to wait till after my trip to Rome and Prague! I leave Monday evening to take a night train to Rome. I will stay there with my old roommate Francesca for about 4 days then head back here to Vienna to work on some laundry and enjoy the nice weather. Then, after church on sunday, I will get on another train and make my way to Prague to see my sister Barbie! Barbie was an exchange student that lived with my family for a year back when i was in highschool. I havent seen her in about 3 years so this is going to be a wonderful week! I am planning on spending about 5 days in Prague then we are travelign to her home city about 2 hours away and we will stay at her house with her mom and her brother.
That is really the extent of my Easter Holiday plans. Once May and June roll around, i might try to get a group together to visit Munich, Athens, Salzburg and a couple more places. After all, I cant spend a semester in Europe and only visit 2 cities!

For the last 2 weeks, our laundry machines have been broken. Fortunately, one of my flatmates had a friend who was willing to help us with our laundry. She and her brother took our laundry home for a weekend (now remember, I had to send every piece of clothing that was dirty with them because i didnt know when the machines here would get fixed.) We sent them away on Friday and I didnt have any thing to wear till Sunday afternoon. Basically, I spent the whole weekend taking a nap and watching tv in my PJs :D Then, when the guy, Mladen, brought our clothes back, he asked to go to dinner with him. Of course I wasnt going to say no! He was a cute Serbian boy. He took me to this nice Italian restaurant and we had pizza and wine! It was such a nice evening. Funny thing, you know how some people get into a habit of dating the same type of guy or physically and characteristicly the same type of guy, well I swear he was the spitting image of this guy I dated last May. It was scarry how similar they are, yet they are so different. He bought me flowers too!!!
It was nice to experience a "date" while here in vienna. :D

To night, I am meeting with this guy named Martin, who will be studying at Purdue in the fall. Christine and I will meet with him and talk about classes and what to expect when studying in America....and more specifically West Lafayette, IN :D

Until next time....82 days left :D

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Take the good with the bad

So to begin, I would like to apologies for taking so long to update my blog. I know it has been about 2 weeks....but nothing really was worth writing about. My mom has been bugging me about my classes, so i guess I can use this space to describe what it is like to go to University in Europe. The best way to start off is to tell you that it is way different! Technically, you never have to go to class. If you want a grade for a class, all you have to do is show up to the final. There are hardly any classes where mandatory attendance exist, there is no homework and there are no text books. That is unless you are taking Managerial Economics, Global Networking, Policies of the European Union, or National and International Food Safety Authorities. So basically 4 of my 9 classes are not standard European classes and I get the privilege of doing homework while everyone else goes out. ok..its not that bad...but I do have alot of homework. For my National and International Food Safety seminar, we met twice- on Thursday and Friday from 8:30AM to 2:30PM. We meet again at the very end of June to present our home countries food safety policies. So basically I have to present an hour power point presentation over the USDA and FDA. Woo this will be fun! My managerial economic class is kinda a pain too. I am the only international student in the class and the professor wanted to make it a german class but since i was in the class, he had to keep it in English. Need less to say, I think he has a grudge on me. I always get called on to do the hard problems on the board (I never know the answer too) and he just isnt nice to me. We always have so much homework in that class. Its like taking Mico and Macro Economics, Financial Planning, Customer Relationship Management and Theories of Business Strategies all in one! That exam is going to be hard. My Global Networking class is by far my favorite class! We do video conferences with schools in the USA, Italy, France and Japan. Our class itself, is comprised of all different nationalities. There are French guys, Austrian guys and girls, Americans, a Russian, and a girl from French Gui....something that i cant remember. During class we truly get a global perspective on how different countries do things. One of our "homework" assignments was to go to the Naschtmarkt (basically a huge farmers market) and buy ingredients to make a international dinner. I made overnight salad (7 layer salad) which was a huge hit! There were other things such as Austrian soup and apple studdle (sp), Thia Curry, French Cheese (yuck). The day started at around noon and I did not get home till around 8PM that night! I dont really remember what all i did last weekend or this past week. I did kind freak out and threaten to pack up and come home. My computer is slightly gaining a mind of its own. The screen doesn't work sometimes so I spent the better half of the week borrowing my roommates computer, taking mine in to the IT department at BOKU (my school) and have them run diagnostics on it and having Dell do the same. After about 4 "professional opinions" we concluded that there is wire loose somewhere from my hard drive to the screen - the part that makes it light up. There is a man at my church here, Jim, who works for the US Embassy as their computer tech guy and he is going to run my problem by some of the guys there to see about getting sometime to fix my computer. In the mean time, Debbie and Jim are going to see if i can borrow a monitor from their school so i can have something reliable here to work on! Thank God for all the amazing connections He has placed around me here! I just dont know what I would do with out them! Yesterday was the first beautiful day of spring that Vienna has seen! I was able to meet up with Mike and my roommate Milica to climb 343 stairs to the top of St. Stephan's Cathedral! The air was so clean and you could see for miles! Its hard to determine how large of a city Vienna really is until you can see it from a birds view!
This week is my last week of classes for awhile. In Europe, students get 3 week during the month of April off. During this time, I will try to get to Rome and Prague and maybe some small cities with in Austria. I would like to travel some more, but unfortuantly, I have a 5 page paper to write at some point. :(
Until next time...

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Short and Sweet about 1AM right now and I cant sleep. This is not due to misfortune or bad feelings, but to an overflow of joy! I just want everyone to know what an incredible week I have had! This post is going to be very short - so bare with me and I will write more later.
First, my package from Casey came on Wednesday! It was filled with all kinds of American food: Oreos, Mac and Cheese, hot chocolate, rice crispies, pop tarts, chocolate, pencils, post its and PURDUE decorations!
Then, the next day, my roommate's friend George, shared with me the last 4 episodes of LOST!!!! needless to say, there was no going out or doing homework that night! I was glued in front of my computer for hours!!!Then it was the weekend...see, I dont have classes on FRIDAY!!!! I slept most of the day due to my late night viewings of Lost. I got up around 2 and then sat and worked on hw for the rest of the day. Around 6, I met up with christine and Amanda at InterSpar! I bought the cutest pair of heels for 10EUR! Then we finished grocery shopping and got the fixins for some tacos! I will have to say that it was the best tacos I have had in a very long time! We also bought chips and salsa to top it off! That night, we met up with some other Americans and headed out to the Erasmus party. Erasmus is what europeans are called if they study abroad. It would be the equivilant of being called an out of state student in America, except obviously they are in a totally different country.On the way to this party, we got lost! We walked around Vienna for about an hour before we gave up and found a taxi to take us the rest of the way --> turned out to be about 3 blocks away :/ During the wanderin, we came across one of those penny machines that you ride at the supermarket! I had to get a pic!!!! We had a good time and danced the night away! Sunday morning, I woke up early and met up with Debbie and Jim and visited their church. It was alot different than Indian Creek but I think I will like it. As far as differnces go - its night and day. Going from a church of thousands to a church of 20 and drums and guitars to a piano and hymnal, I'm in for another cultural shock. Hopefully this time, there wont be tears and desperate pleas to come home :D. Later that day I met up with some Austrian friends for a tradional Austrian Sunday meal. For 10EUR I got what is on the plate below, an authentic Stiegl beer and live entertainment. Aside from the sourkrout, it was delicious!!! The rest of the day we walked around the rainy Vienna. Of course, I made it home to watch the 8:30 (3:30 USA eastern time) tip off of the PURDUE BOILERMAKERS!!!!! I watched it via Skype :D They are now the Big Ten Champs!!! (just in case you didnt know) And when that was over I streamed the live selection show. How amazing is it that 7 Big Ten teams (and Butler) made it to the dance this year???
That was the basic highlights of my week! Now, I'm off to bed to dream of March Madness and PURDUE BASKETBALL! BOILER UP!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


As most of you know, I made my first excursion out of the country this past weekend. Place of destination: Budapest! Friday morning around 8:30 AM Mike, Serena, Melissa, Alycia, Tansy and myself left from the Westbahnhof train station. The train ride was approximately 3 hours-not too bad. We ate nutella and sticks as well as some kiwi that we had to peel by hand. The conversation was great, we could all tell this was going to be a great trip!
I would consider myself a very concious person. I try to keep my eye open to my surroundings as not to lose something or allow pickpocketors to creep up on me. However, during this specific train ride I lost it. The first time the conductor came around to check tickets, I couldnt find mine. I tore through my bad, freaking out that i was going to get kicked off the train somewhere out in the hungarian country side. After about 10 min of searching through my things, I found it in my me! Then, when we were getting off the train in Budapest, I couldnt find my Austrian worries though...i did find it right before the train was about to leave lol.
So after the train, the ticket booth went crazy on us! For real! It wouldnt take our money and kept spitting it back out...I swear, we sat there for about 45 min trying to buy our transportation tickets. We even tried asking the attendant at the booth to help and all she could say was 'a;hgiag;agha ;gjao'....that is Hungarian for "I dont speak English" It is the wierdest language i have experienced while in europe!
After another hour, we found ourself at Riverside Hostel! It was definatly different than what I had pictured a hostel to be like. I mean, I did see the movie "Hostel" and I was sorta scarred of going and staying in a bed where thousands of people sleep on an average year. The staff there was extreamly welcoming and helpful for us. They gave us directions to everything that we asked and recomended their favorite spots for us.
On friday, we just decided to get some traditional Hungarian food and walk around for a bit. So we went to this cafateria style restuarant. Most of us decided on the goulash and rice. Now, let me help you picture what this was like. know what that is, white, small, no flavor - rice. now picture a worm, you know the kind that come out after a good rain. take about 50 of those put them on that plate of rice and add some dark brown sauce...that is what our meal looked like. and imagine the texture. Chewy and squirmy. mmmmmm mmmm mm...hungarian food is GROSS!!! lol
After our "meal" we decided to walk down the street and see St. Stephen's Basilica.
It was beautiful! It defiantly was an old European church. The attention to detail on the inside was so impressive!!! The colors, and statues, and stained glass windows and candles and just every other amazing detail. I kinda wandered around alone to take in the full environment. After walking around in the main room where church is held, I found myself in this really old chapel. As it turns out, this chapel was the part of the church that was built before the building that we know as the Basilica existed.
As I was walking around the chapel, a light turned on in a corner and I saw a dead hand! It was sooo gross...apparently, it's the sacred right hand of St. Stephen. Apparently, after St. Stephen died, his hand fell off and mummified itself and someone found it. Now the Catholics have a sacred gross

After the basilica, we took a walk down the Danube River. Along the way, we walked by then across the Chain Bridge. It was the original bridge build to connect "Buda" and "Pest". Before the bridge, people could only cross during the winter when the river was frozen over.

The next day, Saturday, we decided to take a "free" tour of the city. Have you ever heard the saying "There is no such thing as a free lunch"? Well...there is no such thing as a free tour...we not only had to tip him, but during the 3+ hour tour, we got to hear all about Communism in Hungry and stand in gale force winds. Oh it was soo fun!!!...finally after about 3 hours, we decided to go off and create our own tour. So, led by Melissa, we made our way to the sand castle. Its acutally called the Fisherman's something...but i think it looks like the sand castles you make with wet sand when you drizzle the sand on it!!!!
That was pretty much all we did on Saturday. Trying to fight the wind and walking around a city for hours makes travelers extra sleepy! We decided to stay in on our last night in Budapest. That night was the ultimate bonding night! All the girls just sat and gossiped with each other and told about our lives back home and our families. Its really interesting how similar we all are and how close we are. I feel like I have made life long friends here and I wouldnt have traded this weekend for anything!
The next day, was our last day. We decided to take a tour of the "House of Terror" It was a museum that showed the ugly part of Hungarian history when the Nazis and Communist tortured and imprisoned citizens for their religion, skin and hair color and other things....The kinds of things portrayed in this museum are not the kinds of things that you learn about in history class...they are way worse...if you would like to learn more about it here are some links for you to check out:
The Website for the House of Terror
After the house of Terror, it was time to head home...well back to Vienna. The 3 hour train ride seemed like it would never end! We were all so anxious to get home, unpack and SHOWER!!! lol :D

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Prosit! A vortre sante! Eis Igian! Salud! CHEERS!

What a week, what a week, what a week! I can honestly say that not one time this week did I feel homesick. My awesome week started last Sunday! One of my bestest friends and sorority sister called me on MSN to announce her engagement! I was/am so excited for them! Matt and Kristin - Congrats!!!!!!
Monday was kinda boring. I went to the Austrian bank to open a bank account. Most of the day was rainy, so when I got there I was soaked to the bone!But I still looked cute! The guy at the bank that helped me, asked if I wanted to hang out with him. He was probably 23 or 24. I told him to ask me the next time I came in. lol :D at the bank, I had to provide proof of my residence here in Austria. I handed him the paper and he started typing some random street that I had never heard of. I was so shocked! That meant that I was registered to the wrong place. If the government found out...I would be shipped home!! So after i got my acount set up, Christine and I went back to the government place again. Only to find out that I have 2 address here. so just about everything I do, I have to re-learn how to do it. Its kinda stressfull, but at the same time its exciting. After I finally got everything straightened out, christine and I walked up and down her street for what seemed like 4 hours. We went into every shop and looked around...just killing some time and trying to stay dry. One of the places we went into was like a glorified Long John Silver. I guess it was ok...I had my first ounce and a half of coke haha the cans were sooo tiny!
On tuesday, I met my buddy, Andrea, for the first time. She met me at school and we kinda worked through my classes together. I found out that one of them had already started way back in January. I went to the class anyways and spoke with the prof and he decided to let me and 4 other international students join the class at that time. We just have to write a paper on genetically modified organisms (GMOs). ha that will be easy....(not)
I did meet Josh (from FL/CA), Vincent and Alexandre from France and Christine is in my class too!
Wednesday, I dont think, at least I dont remember doing anything....I might have stayed in bed for most of the day. I do know that I am planning a trip with Jordon to a day spa!! How awesome will that be? We found this natural hot spring place just outside of Vienna. He is going to fly down from his school somewhere in the UK for the weekend! And when we arent relaxing in the spa, I'm going to show him Vienna to the best of my ability!
Thursday was when my week really picked up! At 9AM (about 3AM for all you back in the States) I had to be awake and at BOKU for our first orientation session...and of course...I was late :D Thank goodness Christine saved me a seat! Basically, we sat in a beautiful room and listen to 2 women speak between English and German for 3 hours over the information that we had been sent a few weeks ago...kinda boring. When it was over, the tiny blonde haired girl turned around and in perfect English asked if we were from America. I thought she was a "valley girl" from California...turns out she is Canadian! Her name is Alycia! She is one of those people that is the bond between all different kinds of people. We somehow managed to find all the American students for the tour. there are 2 girls from Michigan State (Amanda and Michelle) a guy from University of Arizona (Mike) one girl from Wisconsin State (Selena) Josh is from Florida, Christine is from IN and Purdue like me, Allyson and Paul are from Cornell. Allyson is also a sister in my sorority! :D Zach is from some school in Georgia, and 2 more that i forget their names or where they are from.
But anyways we went on a tour of campus, in the rain of course. Later that night, I went out! We went to a party in the dorms where some of the kids stayed. It was really interesting to see how different things are here as opposed to purdue. Like, there are no RAs, kids can smoke and drink at the BAR in the hall!!!! There is noone controlling anything!
After the hall party, we headed to an irish pub called Charlie P's. Ummmm...I really didnt like it. It was really smoky and the DJ only played German music.
The next day, Friday, BOKU provided a tour guide for all who was interested and we hit the streets of Vienna! They took us around the inner city and told us about parts of history that even the history books don't teach!
Later that night, BOKU again provided us with an authentic Viennese dinner at a wine tavern! We got to sample all sorts of interesting dishes. I did try some of everything (except the sourcrout) and it all was DELICIOUS!!!! After the dinner, we all sat and mingled with each other. There were so many different cultures coming together. People from all over the world came to study at the same uni that I am.

All in all, this week was soo much better than last. I just needed to go out and make some friends.
I just wanted to thank everyone for the wonderful comments on Facebook and guys keep the smile on my face!
Until next time!!! <3

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Imperial Palace and Ride Club

On Thursday and Friday, my week took a turn for the better. Christine and I explored the city, got lost, ate lunch at a train station and took a tour of the Imperial Palace!
In the palace, we got to see the Imperial Silver Collections, the Sisi Museum and the Imperial Apartment. It was soo beautiful! There was floor to ceiling fabric in brilliant red and gold colors. The Imperial silver collection had everything from precious glass, silver, and gold to hand painted porcelain that used to be used to feed guest numbering 1000+.
That night, my friend Yahya and his friends from back home took us to their favorite club called Ride Club. We had to wait out in the freezing cold, while it was snowing for about 45 min. Once inside, I felt like I had time traveled back to middle school or early high school. The DJ was playing music from Usher and Nelly. He also played some Michael Jackson...surprisingly, no one had heard the "Billy Jean" song. I about died! :D The club closed around 5AM...but dont worry, I left by around 2:30AM...but still it was soo late.

OK side note ---> One of my best friends just got engaged!!!! Congrats!!! <3>

Saturday, February 21, 2009

First Week Here

So...i have been here for about a week now. In this week, I have had very good times and very bad times. During it all, I have kept a journal of all my day to day activities. I was just going to write here and tell you about the good stuff and make it seem like everything was just dandy for me. But thats not what i went through so I will be sharing parts of my journal here as well.

February ?, 2009
So I'm not exactly sure what day it is. When I left home, it was Sunday afternoon and when I arrive in Vienna it will almost be Tuesday. Right now, I'm somewhere in between jetting through time. Time is a reality that my body now knows no concept of. I feel like the sun should be shining yet its pitch black in the cabin with all the window to the plane closed. I feel like I should be sleeping but cant. In about 4 hours, we will land in London where the time will be about 11:30 AM.I just dont know where the time is going.
As far as the flight is concerned, the IND to CHI flight was terrible. It was crowded with little personal space. The absolute worst part was the pain shooting through my ears. the cabin pressure was so bad it took almost an hour after we landed for my ears to finally pop! I was extremely worried that this overnight flight to London would be the same way. Thank goodness its not and my ears are doing just fine :D

I cant believe that i am almost in vienna. Its a surreal feeling. I cant wait to see the mountains out of the window!

But i know its going to be hard. Leaving my family was the hardest part. I was showered in hugs and kisses by Vannah and Sierra. Dad looked like those dads you see at weddings right after he gives his daughter away -proud but heart broken. now mom and grandma were a little harder. Grams didnt me to see her so upset and Mom...well I think I started crying when I said good-bye to her. It was the first of many times i would break down to tears.
I just miss home already.

February 19, 2009
So far i have survived in a foreign country for 4 days. From the begining, it was really hard for me. The first night at the hotel, all the excitment wore off and the fear settled in. As I took a shower that night, all i could think about was coming home. I tried coming up with any excuse I could to get my butt on the next flight home. After I calmed down, I found out that my hotel room didnt have internet - this set off another round of panic. Long story short-my first night in Austria was terrible.
I woke up the next morning only to find that it is pouring outside and I have to walk over a mile to get my keys and sign my contract. Today is not looking any better than yesterday...
On the way back to my hotel, I bought a cell phone and immediatly called Christine. Thank God for her because otherwise I would be writing this blog in Indy.
After I moved into my flat, another panic attack set in. This is for real now! As soon as my bags are unpacked, I cant go home. My internet didnt work at first so once again, i cried my self into a unrestful sleep.
When I woke up, the internet was working - what a relief. I was able to talk with my mom through email for a few minutes and she convinced me to go find the grocery store and get some food and try to become familar with my block.
On my out of the building, I asked this kid where the grocery store was located. His name is Yahya. He is from some island out by Saudi Arabia. Yahya ended up walking me to the grocery store and back then took me out to dinner to this little Pakastanie (sp) restauraunt. It was really neat because you dont pay for food there. You only pay for the drinks! It was really different!
The next day, Wednesday, was probably the worst day I will have here. I basically hit rock bottom. Christine and I went to school to register and get our student ID cards and meet Max, the international coordinator. While we were there, we found out that school didnt start for at least another 2 weeks! What are we suposed to do for 2 weeks? We got back early around 3:30 and the tears started. they didnt stop until around 2AM when I finally fell asleep. During that time, I was email Mom and Dad and calling them on Skype. There was nothing they could say to me that would comfort me. Everything so hopeless. I was lonely. I wanted to come home.