In reference to the title of this post, I threw in a little of my German lessons, in all honesty it’s more like I’m in my own country of confusion rather than state. (Ha, see what I did there…) Anyways, here’s a little more of my German for you:
Servus Leiblings! Wie Gehts? (Hello Darlings! How are you?) Ok, that’s all I got… pathetic I know. I take German four hours every day and I’ve already had 6 days of it. Luckily though, I only have 3 more class days until my certificate test next Tuesday. I have so much to learn in so little time! I’m only a little worried…
On a more serious note, my foundation here in Austria has been shaky at best. As I detailed in my last post, I was given an amazing room here in the university dorms and just as soon as I was given that room and blogged about it, it was taken away. So, let me clarify for you all, I was meant to be put in a different room when my group moved in, the keys did not work for that 4 person apartment so they gave me the keys to a single flat, which I inhabited for a lovely 5 days. Then, the true inhabitant of my flat was to move in so they kicked me out. I had to move into my initial room on the same floor, but by the elevators.
Therefore, I could potentially have 3 new roommates moving in within the next two weeks. I have only received one… I didn’t think this would happen because the university semester here in Austria doesn’t start until October. I am currently taking an intensive summer course. My new roommate happens to inhabit the other bed in my room because we are assigned to the same apartment so at this point we have an empty bedroom with two beds next to our room but we do not have the keys for it. Her name is Cristina, she is a 21 year old Romanian economics student from a university in the Netherlands. She lives in the Netherlands to study but her university requires her to take a semester abroad so she’s basically studying abroad twice over because the Netherlands was already a stretch for her. She is very kind and speaks English well. I will only be here now for another week and a half until the German course is over next Friday. Then, my group will travel to the Czech Republic.
Here are the pictures of my new place, first the view outside my window now:
Now, my bedroom shared with Cristina:
Our bathrooms, the toilet has its own room:
Our common area with the other bedroom, that has no inhabitants yet:
So, that is my humble abode.
So, I have been learning a very difficult lesson from God over the past week and a half that I have been here in Austria. That lesson is that although I find comfort in being surrounded by my stuff (for those of you who have seen my bedrooms before, I like to be surrounded by my books and things) and as much as I like to be surrounded by people who love me, especially in the home I grew up in, I can’t stay there. I can’t forever stay in the comfort of my own home within the surroundings that I have been influenced by since birth because then no growth takes place. The Lord is teaching me that He is the constant everywhere I go. Although I may be 1,000’s of miles from home, He is the same. He is my comfort instead of the people, places and environment I have used for comfort for so long. Instead of staying where I am comfortable, going where I am not will allow me to rely on the Lord for comfort instead of relying upon my environment at home. I’ve already felt myself changing here which I know is a positive thing. Parts of my core are being challenged at every turn, parts of myself that I haven’t confronted before such as how my environment, in terms of where I come from has affected the way in which I communicate.
If you know me at all, you know that I am extremely direct and open. If I do not like something or if I am uncomfortable with something, I speak up. Where I come from, that is how things are done. If you do not confront an issue people assume that there isn’t one. Then, that behavior that made you uncomfortable before just continues. To a fault, I am direct, sometimes in an overly aggressive way, sometimes with the right intentions but the wrong delivery and sometimes at the completely wrong time. But, I have never regretted saying how I feel. Never have I brought up a situation, had a discussion about it and left the discussion unsatisfied because through that discourse, resolutions, change and progress is usually always developed. I am experiencing some very different communication styles here in Europe within my Bethel group and beyond. This is a hard and fast learning curve for me to adjust to.
This is something I am attempting to take in stride but struggling with all the same. Something I’m beginning to understand is that the expectations built around a trip of this magnitude are easily shattered just upon arrival. Whether that be how I planned to act, who I thought I would pursue relationships with, or even just what I would do while here. This trip is a jumble of unknown possibilities and at every turn the journey is subject to even more change depending on the previous determinants. I am attempting to handle this new way of life. I like order, structure of some kind and knowing what is coming. I am not able to have that here and so I must adapt, change, learn to thrive and breathe here.
Anyways, enough of the serious stuff, as you all know, I promised I’d post Mondays. Then this Monday, a post never arrived on my blog… I have begun to realize that as much as I would like to post all the time for both my memories sake and for you all, I cannot. I am going to try to post more often than I have but it is more likely that they will be sporadic and lengthy. I usually designate a night to do a post but finding time between my German and Bethel classes and of course all of the fun that is Vienna, I have struggled. I will do better, I promise! I love sharing this experience with you all and I can’t believe so many of you read this silly thing. I appreciate it more than you know. (Special shout out to my brother in laws, Kyle: an avid reader of my blog, thank you for reading! You rock and Tadd: who won’t read it unless I mention his name…So, there you go Tadd, you have to read it now.)
On a different note, I have met some AMAZING international students here in the residence hall and in my German class. My friend Francisca, from Portugal both lives in my building and is in my German class. She is wonderful, I am loving every moment I am able to spend getting to know her better and understanding her and her culture. Last Friday, I went out to a place called the Travel Shack Vienna with Francisca and her Portuguese friends. The travel shack is a bar for international students where the commonality is speaking English and the people hang out and mingle. I had such an amazing time there, I met some local Austrians and some boys from Kosovo and Belgium. I was able to talk with them all about their homelands and their lives there. This was such an enriching experience for me because although I would love to spend an abundance of time with my Bethel group, I have 3 more months with them traveling throughout Europe. I only have 1.5 weeks left here in Vienna with these international students and these opportunities to make lifelong friends from around the world.
The Travel Shack was an awesome place with an incredible atmosphere, I had an Austrian guy come up to me and say with his thick German accent “Where are you from? My friend and I are in a bet about where you are from. I guessed the United States, he guessed England.” Of course, I said “The United States.” His friend then had to buy his beers for the rest of the night, lucky him. Then, A Belgian boy came up to me and said, “Are you from California?” I don’t know if it was my blonde hair or what that made him think I was from Cali but I said “No, I am from the United States but not California, I’m from Minnesota.” His response was this, “Will you still say ‘Hey, What’s up dude?’ for me…” I couldn’t help but laugh but I of course did it and all of his Belgian friends crowded around me and made me keep saying it. Granted, they were all pretty drunk but it was entertaining so I just went with it. I had an awesome night at the Travel Shack and I hope to go back before I leave Vienna.
Then, Sunday my entire Bethel group went to dinner at a place called Einstein’s and guess who the focus of this restaurant is? If you guessed Albert Einstein, you would be correct. It was a nice place, I would love to go back. I took these photos on the way there:
My lovely friend Brooke.
Classic tourist pic alone, never ceases to be awkward:
Tourist pictures are even more awkward when this happens, aka the wind blows:
Just gotta roll with the punches, flap in the wind.
This was my awesome dinner:
Now, what I’m probably most excited about sharing photos from is my night out on the town with Brooke, Tomasz (Toe-Mosh) My polish friend and Francisca. Brooke, Francisca and I have German class with Tomasz. He is from Poland and travels between Vienna and Poland studying and working here during the week and going home on weekends. Brooke, Francisca and I met Tomasz at Stephansplatz which is both the Cathedral in the photos below as well as a subway stop. We went and had pizza and then Tomasz drove us to an overlook of Vienna called Kahlenberg. It was so nice to ride in a car, I haven’t since I arrived here in Vienna. I’ve only traveled by train, subway, tram, bus but never car so it was a lovely feeling. We ended the evening by getting hot chocolate and coffee, it was a magical evening with amazing people that I will never forget.
Our dinner; a little Margherita pizza aka cheese and tomato sauce:
Myself, Brooke, Francisca and Tomasz
Took some random shots of the city as we were walking to Tomasz car:
Ahhh, we arrive at Tomasz car. This is his baby, he loves her:
The church on the Kahlenberg hill:
This is in Polish and Tomasz read it to us, it was awesome:
The overlook. It is very hard to capture photos of but Tomasz has experience with cameras like mine so he helped, the exposure is difficult because at night, capturing this view is very difficult. I love these photos though:
Then the coffee and hot chocolate… Ahhh
So, as I stated before, I have been getting to know Francisca and this sparked an interest in Brooke and I to take some time to travel to Portugal, where Francisca is from. Since we have a week of free travel we have decided to spend the second half together in Lisbon, Portugal! This is incredible because Francisca, while she will be here in Vienna studying, may be able to meet us for the weekend and show us around Lisbon! I will be going to London for the first 4 days of free travel and Brooke will be in Switzerland. We will meet in Portugal and spend the remainder together, hopefully the last weekend as well with Francisca and then three of us would fly back to Vienna together. This is such a priceless opportunity and I am so hoping it works out in the end. Here’s another picture of my lovely friend Francisca:
Now, with all of that said.. every single day things seem to change so by my next post I am sure I will either be leaving Vienna or in the Czech Republic having a blast in Prague, who knows. Until next time y’all! Also, I wanted to share this gem of a picture with you all that my sister sent me… I miss this little nugget so much. I sure hope she doesn’t forget about me while I’m here in Europe.