Easter, Midterms, etc.

Trip Start Aug 2008
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Trip End Jul 2009


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Flag of Austria  , Vienna,
Saturday, April 25, 2009

It's been a busy couple of weeks here in Vienna. After my last update, we visited the United Nations offices in Vienna, which is about 3 blocks from where we live. We had a little tour and then a talk by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The talk was by a PR person, so our teacher was really pissed and rescheduled it for this coming week. She prefers we actually learn stuff, which I appreciate. Especially b/c they made us watch a video that started with children reading letters to the IAEA, in which they said stuff like, "Dear IAEA, I wish atomic bombs were made out of chocolate and kisses" ... gag me!












Now that the weather is nice, we have been spending a lot of time sitting outside enjoying the sun. We live about 2 blocks from the Danube River, and Vienna has made a lot of nice public space - parks, trails, etc - along its banks. It kind of reminds me of the quad in the spring ... except that we're in Europe ... and people love to be naked here ...

On Good Friday (this is just a time reference) we went to the Hofburg Palace. We were expecting to just visit the Sissi Museum, but they had a museum entirely devoted to all of the silver and place settings of the palace coupled w/ the other ticket. We pretty much ran through the place settings section saying things like, "I feel bad for whoever had to polish all of this silver!" and made our way to the Sissi Museum and Royal Apartments. We gained a little more incite to the diva Queen and it's cool to see all the old palace rooms ... I could definitely live in a place like that (as long as there are maids).

On Easter Sunday, my roommate, Kieffer, and I went to mass. It's not all that easy to find an English-speaking mass in a German-speaking country, but we found one just 2 metro stops from where we live. It was probably one of the funniest masses I have ever been to. First, it started late because the priest felt the need to greet everyone in the church. Then, he would interject comments just about everywhere. He was especially enthralled by the music. He started by saying something like, "Aren't we so lucky to have this wonderful choir with us here this morning (the worst choir ever, by the way). There was a professional choir here earlier in the weekend. They were just great! They sang in German, though, so you wouldn't know what they were saying ..." It was pretty entertaining. He also loved to include all the kids. During the homily, he invited alllllll the kids in the church to come to the alter (which is always a giant production and takes some time). Then he said "Jesus calls us all by name. What's your name?" and then let all of them say their names into the microphone ... then he sent them all back to their seats. He concluded mass by wishing all of us a Happy Christmas? It was funny ... and a good way to spend Easter morning.

We had another group potluck to celebrate the holiday. Once again, it was quite the hodge-podge of food, but it was definitely delicous. We try to incorporate as many people's family traditions as possible into our activities. So, we did some egg-butting. A competition to try to break other people's eggs with yours, but still trying to keep yours intact. I won the first round, but it didn't make it through round 2.












Later in the afternoon, the girls and I went on a walk down the Danube. We found a pretty crazy bar scene near the Vienna International Center. Somehow we went from being in Vienna to being in Mexico for Spring Break. It was packed, which was quite surprising, considering it was EASTER! Not to mention all the top-less grandmas sunning themselves!!

We've had a busy 2 weeks b/c of midterms. Mine went pretty well overall. Somehow I am not horrible at international political economy! Hard to believe since I usually go into a trance at the mention of the word "economy." Globalization remains horrible, but we only have 2 classes left, so OH WELL!

Last Thursday we visited the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). It's always funny to hear organizations try to spin what they do into a positive light. OPEC was really talented at doing so, especially b/c they are an oil cartel! But, hey, at least we got a free polo shirt! ;)

That night we had a group BBQ. It was really fun to spend some time outside with everyone. At one point we looked up and said, "hey guys, it actually looks like we all like each other!" That's definitely not the case about 90% of the time! It's hard to believe we only have 2 more weeks w/ each other ... makes them a little more bearable (just kidding!)













That's it for round 1 of the update ... I've included some pictures of my room this time!
I hope you're all doing well. I'm failing miserably at responding to emails, but I love and miss you all!!
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