So, Art and I have discovered a tasty new snack. Contrary to Sarah's beliefs, I rarely had my childtime favorite, Cheeto Puffs, in the last decade, but I sure did love me some growing up. In Austria, they only have plain potato chips and Paprika flavored, which tastes almost exactly like BBQ. Then they have Snips, or Flips depending on which store you get them. Snips are puffed peanuts. (Erdnuss = Peanuts) I don't think they are actual peanuts, but corn chips puffed with peanut oil and peanut flavoring. They are quite delicious...and let's just let me think they are healthier than Cheetos too. Instead of Chester the Cheetah, we got Crusti Croc. And yes, they leave a nice peanutty, beige film on your fingers.
So, in case you were wondering, life isn't always happiness and hydrangeas in Graz. It's been raining for 4 straight days here...all day, every day. It really puts a damper (pun!) on things considering walking and tramming it are our only forms of transport. And when it's raining, the trams get really crowded with wet, stinky people all smushed together. Try keeping your balance holding one dangling, moving handle with one hand and a 2 liter Cola Light with the other while standing on a slick floor in a jerking tram. Not ok.
(I know I'm complaining to people who are melting into their cars as I type and I apologize, but at least people speak English there, K?)
Short sidenote...I don't have any cute rain boots that serve the dual purpose of snazzin' me up and keeping the bottom of my jeans and feet dry. So many other girls do...dang it.
So, if you are thinking "Why walk around in the rain? Why don't you just stay inside and eat bon bons...you don't work anyways?". Well, today I went out to show my face to these language schools since they don't answer e-mails or call me back. I even fancied up my CV and added typical Austrian info like date of birth, place of birth, religion (actually, didn't put it down), parents names and titles (omitted that one too) and marital status and number of children (are they joking?...no, they are way behind the PC times here). Anyways, my trip was not successful. Apparently you need certification to teach English to adults here and it is pricey and time consuming. Also, knowing a lot more German than I do is a must. So, feeling completely defeated and crusty and wanting to punch any German speaking person in my sight, I walked home...in the rain. Did I mention my umbrella is a piece and when a tiny whisper of wind blows it pops back inside out into my face? This added to the fun ambiance of the day.
So, I will be starting my intensive German course (through the govt...I might even get a daily stipend...woo hoo) hopefully in late August or early September. I will be traveling Germany, Czech Republic and Austria with Lindsey a lot of next month...more to follow on that!! My German course will be M - F, 4 hours a day for 12 weeks. I better know me some Deutsch after that...and get a jobby job! See how I'm now writing with exclamations? My mood changed when Art brought some ice cream home. That's all it really took.
And last complaint for today...our landlords, a nice older couple that live on the third floor, have freaking four English Spaniels. Now, this is not a complaint in itself. I love these dogs..they are so pretty and mostly well behaved. (Definitely not a substitute for Ty though.) The thing is...they must be taken outside at least 8 times a day. Well, the oldest is 14 years old and she moans and howls the whole way down the 3 flights of stairs....so, every night around 1am and every morning around 6am, we got some hootin' and hollerin' going on for a good 10 minutes. Poor thing...I get out of breath after going up to ask Hubert for his drill.
Alright, that's all I got. Off to get some ice cream.
On Saturday night, we went out to Mariatrost, the suburbs of Graz, to have dinner with our British friends, Rachel and Julian. Rachel made a delicious dinner and a homemade cherry pie.
It's a 20 minute scenic tram ride out to their house. I love all the houses and woodwork on the balconies...
Yes, we are wearing jackets and scarves in late June.
There were a million big ole snails along the sidewalk.
And, I took more flower pics by our house because I think these hydrangea bushes are so wondey. I even did a quick snip and snatch and ran back to the house with some under my shirt. This was quite risky considering old ladies are known to watch out their windows on patrol of their trash cans and gardens (Art was busted crusted once by a an old woman with a moustache for throwing his beer bottles in her recycling bin.) I like to call these ladies "Helgas".
Flowers fo' me!
Art, Monika and I went to check out one of the 5 public pools in Graz yesterday. It was quite nice! Although I was a little disappointed in how well my SPF 30 worked for the whole 2.5 hours. Oh well, less wrinkledge later on...more whiteness for now.
I chose the pool in the Geidorf district because it's a nice area around the main university, UniGraz, and the park. It was pretty crowded because it was the perfect pool day. Blue, clear skies but a nice breeze and about 27 celsius (81 Fahrenheit). Lots of college kids scampering around. Oh, and about 1 out of every 15 women was topless. I spared you those photos, but see if you can spot "Bruno" in one of the photos below.
College kid section
And on our walk back through the park, we saw a mother with her ducklings and I be lovin' dat.
Today marks four months of wedded bliss. :)
For some reason, it seems like longer to both of us. Probably because we've had so many changes over the past four months and are living a completely different life now. This has been a great way to start our marriage. Yes, sometimes it is hard, but it has forced us to appreciate what is important and has brought us closer since all we really have here is each other. Of course we miss all of you and are awaiting your visit. Thanks for reading the blog..it has been a great way for me to feel connected to home.
Cheers from Austria!
So I took my 48th trip to Ikea yesterday, but this time in a car with a friend. I met Bettina at the IWA (english speaking club) meeting in April and had explained to her that everytime I go to IKEA I can only bring one or two small items back because I have to be able to carry them on the tram. She promised me that the next time she took a trip out there she would call me.
Bettina is from San Francisco and moved out here after college at age 22. She is now in her 40's, so obviously, she never got around to moving back. She has two girls that came to Ikea with us. Katrina, 6, and Magdalena, 3. To kids, Ikea is fun time. They are cute and intersperse their German with English.
We had lunch there and I was loving it because I be loving their Swedish meatballs. I used to see photos of these in the Ikea parking lot in Houston and laugh and say "that looks disgusting, who eats that?"...I was sorely mistaken. They are delishy.
Afterwards, Bettina drove me back to their house so she could let me borrow one of their bikes. I have not ridden a bike since ...a long time. She lives in the hills sort of outside the city...my fingers were red and aching from slamming my tiny nuggie hands on the breaks so hard down that hill. Dang, people, I am not used to this. Oh, and there's a basket in the back for my bag-o-kottbullars and purse. Then I got into the city and I was so confused on how the bike on the streets system works. I was riding on a sidewalk and an old man gave me a mean look and yelled something in German...I'm sure he was saying I looked dang good riding my bike. Actually, I think I wasn't supposed to be riding on the sidewalks. I finally made it home and locked that thing up. I think I will wait until Art gets one and we can ride on the weekends.
Wiedersehen...time to go put the kottbullars in the oven.