Holiday after Holiday: Christtag, Stefanitag, Silvester, Neujahr, mein Geburtstag & Heute ist Heilige Drei Könige?!
So anyone back at Cornell reading this may think my semester is over, as their’s is. But remember I’m on the European schedule. The semester didn’t officially start until October 1st and my first classes weren’t until a week after that! So it makes sense that I’ve got another month to go. Happily though I still get a long holiday break for Christmas and New Year’s and my birthday I just had my 21st on January 4th. Not too special over here in Europe, but I have many friends at home ready to celebrate it the right way as soon as I am home. I’ve always wanted a summer birthday celebration anyways. So my break lasts until next week then I have class January 10 until the end of the month. I’m not quite sure what exams are going to be like here, but I am glad not all of my classes have them because I had to take twice as many classes here. I have finished 4 classes and have 4 exams and 2 papers to go. This month will be an interesting (and somewhat sad) transition period since a lot of people will be leaving. So right after everyone gets back from break it is exam time (study study study) and then the semester is over and it is goodbye time One of the American’s left before Christmas, another leaves next week, and the last one I know here leaves January 21st. The European Erasmus students will be here at least until the first week of February, which means hopefully a lot will go to the Boku Ball February 4th. I am SO excited for the ball. I remember learning about different cultural places and events in German class of Germany and Austria and the most appealing thing to me was the Opera Ball. Though I won’t be going to that one (you have to be rich or famous or both to get an invite), the Boku ball IS in Hofburg, the royal palace here so it has got to be pretty impressive! But ok backing up a bit from here, I should say I spent 12 days of this break in Poland! I went with a friend who I met here since everyone I knew was leaving Vienna, I didn’t want to stay here alone for Christmas. So not only did I have a family to celebrate Christmas with, who incredibly considerately gave my presents (!), but my friend is a great tour guide and showed me a lot of historical sites in Poland. I saw Poznan and Warsaw, and his city Wlosolvek. It was tons of fun and I didn’t even really get homesick from being away from my family on Christmas–though two weeks later on my birthday I ended up really missing them. I have been telling myself since I got here though that as long as I make it through Christmas and my birthday I could do a year. My birthday seemed to hit me hardest I guess because going to school at Cornell is 5 hours from my home so I am used to not seeing friends for 3 months or so. But I am always home for my birthday and I really love birthdays and celebrating them so I always go out to dinner with a big group of friends, which I could have done here but almost everyone is not in Vienna and at their homes in Europe. But anyways I made it through alright! But then I realized that I’m not even close to halfway yet and it scared me a little! I mean I’m “close” but I arrived mid September so it’s been about 3 and half months and I’m here til the end of June/beginning of July which is over 5 months away! It is so crazy to think of leaving now after only 3 and half months: I finally feel settled with a bank account, cell phone and I get how to add minutes, grocery shopping, cooking, mail, class, etcetera–but it is also kind of crazy to think I have 5 more months! Crazy, in a wondrous opportunistic way of course. I am also really lucky because my friend from Cornell was studying in Florence and got to come visit me here in Vienna so I felt reconnected to Cornell. We got to celebrate Thanksgiving together. My American friend I met here and I asked some of our European friends if they’d want to do Thanksgiving (not sure if they would care about some American holiday) but they loved the idea and so we decided to host a dinner. We rented out a party room one of the dorms has (Haus Erasmus–live there, I think it’s my favorite!) and began inviting our friends, but then more and more got invited and more and more had visitors coming they wanted to bring and all of a sudden 45 people RSVPed! Somehow we pulled it off with lots of help in the kitchen and a few key ingredients mailed from home (the ease of cranberry sauce from a can and 15 minute prep no-bake dessert from a box–thank you Mom <3)! The trickiest part is that most dorm kitchen’s here don’t have ovens but the place where the party room was did so we were set. A 7 kilo Turkey was just enough for everyone to try a piece of turkey and we even had leftover food like real Thanksgiving. Hopefully this starts to give you an idea of why I have been so busy and not blogging. So after this I had 1 weekend of recuperation before my friend from home who was studying in Barcelona came to visit. I can tell you I am quite good at giving a tour of Vienna’s city center Ringstrasse now (even remember some anecdotes from the tour I had) and I have crossed off a few more museums from the 100+ list of Vienna’s museums. In fact, I am just about to go see a Rodin exhibit in the beautiful Lower Belvedere palace and become a little more culturally enlightened.
(A side note about the title, today is 3 Kings Day, which I only realized when I tried to go to the bank and post office today only to find they were closed, along with everything else in Austria-except the touristy stuff like this exhibit haha)