Kim's Austrian Adventure

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

10. Februar 2007

Don't Turn Around (O-O-Oh)

  • Reading: Wolf Haas: Der Knochenmann

  • Listening to: M. Ward: Four Hours to Washington

  • German Word of the Day: Fernweh

  • Translation: defines it as wanderlust, which is funny -- defining a German word with a German word.

  • Example: Es kommt mir vor, dass Fernweh und Heimweh jetzt das gleiche sind. (Kommt natürlich darauf an, wo man sich befindet.)/ It seems to me that wanderlust and homesickness are the same thing. (Of course, it depends on where you are.)

A week ago, I was trying to sleep at the Frankfurt airport. Part of me would rather be there than here.

I didn't anticipate coming back to the States being hard; after all, I'd done it before, and back then I had been gone for an entire year. It would be easy peasy: come back, find a job, finish my degrees, move out, etc.

Yeah. This whole "becoming a responsible adult" thing? Sucks. In addition to that, I have to adjust to my Fernweh/Heimweh/whatever you want to call it. I'm still thinking six hours ahead to Austrian time. (This could be why I'm up at 4am.) Yesterday was the first time in a while that I hadn't been to a Rotaract meeting, and I think that was the first concrete realization that I won't be back in Austria for a bit. At 1:30pm I was itching for a Murauer. (Can one have Bierweh?)

How to cope? Currently, reading books by Austrians and listening to Falco. I have exhausted YouTube's collection of Falco videos, which delight me to no end.

Alles klar, Herr Kommissar.

6. Februar 2007

A few questions

  • Reading: Wolf Haas: Der Knochenmann

  • Listening to: Poni Hoax: Budapest

  • German Word of the Day: neu anpassen

  • Translation: reassimilate

  • Example: Es wird immer schwieriger, mich neu anzupassen./It gets harder and harder for me to reassimilate.
    While cleaning out my desk, I found a paper from way back in 2002. It's a list of questions that were asked of German exchange students in America, and it makes me cringe.
  • Can women in Germany pick their own husbands?
  • Do you guys drink beer for breakfast? (Kim note: if you haven't gone to bed until 7am or woke up after 12pm...ahem)
  • How can you guys drive in a big city when there isn't a speed limit?
  • Do you have trees and mountains?
  • Are there still signs that say "No Jews Allowed"? (Agh. Do we still have signs that say "Whites only"?!)
  • How do you wash your hair?
  • Is Hitler still your president?
  • Do you have any cars other than Volkswagen?
  • Do you have the color white?
  • You have your own language? I thought you spoke English with an accent!
  • Do you ride horses to school?
  • What do the stars in Germany look like?
  • How many months do you have in Germany?
  • Are there problems on the German-Chinese border?
  • Do you have something like democracy in Germany?
  • Is Germany a part of Russia?

I would say that none of these questions would be asked about Austria, but that's probably just because most Americans think that Austria is a part of Germany.

2. Februar 2007

Am schönsten ist die Steiermark

  • Reading: --

  • Listening to: --

  • German Word of the Day: heulen

  • Translation: to sob

  • Example: Am Flughafen werde ich bestimmt heulen müssen./ I'll definitely have to sob at the airport.

Here I am, leaving my Alpine locale. Eleven months ago I was retardedly depressed, wanting to get away from here as soon as possible. Now, Eva is on my bed, telling me not to leave, while I stare at my naked walls and realize that is really has been eleven months. Everything looks like it did at the beginning.

Now, I love saying "net" instead of "nicht".

Now, I say "a bissl" instead of "ein bisschen".

It's the little things that do it: friendships, drinks, inside jokes, Uno games, mix CDs, bottles of prosecco, making pancakes together... it doesn't matter what language you do them in: friendship is universal. I'll should stop before this gets too cheesy.

Oh, but I'll continue... I know I was born American, but I feel less and less like one. In the beginning, the girls joked that I was half American and half German. Now, I feel more Austrian than anything else. Maybe half German half Austrian? The question is, where did my American go?

Well, I still jaywalk...