Kim's Austrian Adventure

My year as a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar in Graz, Austria. Yes, there are other cities in Austria besides Vienna.

14. Mai 2006

Do you mean my 'e' or your 'e'?

(Actual date 01.März.06)

  • Reading: Graz map (der Stadtplan)

  • Listening to: Beck: Guerolito: Clap Hands

  • German Word of the Day: Bürokratie

  • Translation: Bureaucracy

  • Example: Die Österreicher sind für ihre Bürokratie sehr bekannt./The Austrians are well known for their bureaucracy.

So, I’ve survived the first day. It began with a visit to the nice ladies in the office of my dorm, where I experienced the greatness that is Austrian Bureaucracy. Here’s how it goes: first I go to the registration office (das Meldeamt), where I inform the Austrians that I am indeed here. From there I take my proof that I’ve visited the Meldeamt (das Meldezettel) to the university (die Uni), where I register for classes. Then I need to open a bank account (das Konto), and in order to do that I have to have my Meldezettel and my Uni registration (die Inskriptionsbestägigung). Only after all of this can I apply for my visa (die Aufenthaltserlaubnis/das Visum). Theoretically this wouldn’t be bad, but I need my visa in order to get my hard(ly) earned cash. In order to get the visa I have to have my passport (der Pass), Meldezettel, Inskriptionsbestaetigung, insurance (die Krankenversicherung), passport-sized picture (das Passfoto) and birth certificate (die Geburtsurkunde), which is silly, since I needed that in order to get my Pass. Hence, I need one thing after the other, and naturally my birth certificate is still at home in some fire-proof box. FedEx is going to learn to love me this year.

As I was downstairs learning the Bureaucracy, I had to write down many a street and address. When writing I realized that I’m not yet thinking auf Deutsch because I kept getting the letters wrong. Here is how the German alphabet sounds:

A = aah
B = bay
C = say
D = day
E = aay
F = ef
G = gay
H = ha
I = ee
J = jut
K = kah
L = el
M = m
N = n
O = oh
P = pay
Q = koo
R = er
S = es
T = tay
U = oooh
V = fau
W = vay
X = ecks
Y = ypsilon
Z = zed

(This doesn’t mean that Kimberly sounds Kah-ee-m-bee-ay-er-el-ypsilon; just that it would be described like that if someone asked how it was spelled.)

Many a letter can be confused, especially E and I. Didn’t know you were getting free German lessons, did you?

I’m staying in a quasi-Wohngemeinschaft – WG for short (Wohn = to live, Gemeinschaft = community) that has four floors with various suites. There are six of us [Chrissi, Katarina, Eva, Daria and Wang (Chung? No, I didn’t ask, though I would like to tonight.)] and we each have our own room, sharing the kitchen, one bathroom, and two showers.

Here’s the view from my room…

…and the view in my room. They must have known I liked pink. Note how organized everything is, and remember I’ve only been here 24 hours. I have plenty of time to mess it up.

Here’s the living room (das Wohnzimmer).

The kitchen (die Kueche).

And, of course, the bathroom (das Klo).

More later, after the continued Bureaucracy.