Saturday, March 2, 2013

A Walk Out Of A Frame


Here I sit, in the middle of an unnamed park. It is a bit cold to be sitting outside, but the sun on my face helps. I see two young men playing football, a child playing in a puddle and groups of people scattered over the hillside. There is a cafe right next to us where the more responsible of us reside. Maybe in a bit, once my hands are sufficiently cold, I will go find some lunch. But for now I am content to do not much more than watch the time go by.

My thoughts stray to a small Viennese restaurant snuggled into a back street. It took a bit of walking to find a nd my stomach is now as loud as my thoughts. Soon a Gemuseschnitzel will grace the table in front of me. This is some of the only traditional Austrian food that I can eat. It tastes as fried and as good as I thought it would. Maybe this Austrian food isn't as bad as I thought. There are only two other couples in the restaurant with me and the waiter is impatient. He paces around as much of his small space he can without being obvious. The inconsistency of eating Austrian food but hearing American music is something that will always leave me with the feeling of an un-itched scratch. I sneakily took a picture of my food, not wanting to give myself away as a hopeless tourist. I am not sure it has worked, I have caught both of the men who are working here looking at me. The waiter has found something productive to do. He brings me a candle. Watching it burn is soothing. I believe I will get the Apfelstrudel. When in Vienna, do as the Viennese do and eat Schnitzel and Apfelstrudel! I have a while for my train anyway. I will miss the food here. Sure, there are mass quantities of fried meat, but I have managed to deal in America, here is not too much different. But back home lacks dishes like my now favorite Gemuseschitzel and late night Kebap runs. Spatzel will be a thing of the past along with cheap breads and french cheeses.I suppose being healthy is a good trade off, but I know that once I get home, that will be a paltry recompense  An Apfelstrudel comes this way, begging for attention. How could I let it pass by unattended? it warms my mouth and soul as it goes down. What a wonderfully romantic dinner I am having with myself over candlelight. I should have started doing this earlier. Well, no time like the present. Going somewhere new you learn things about yourself that you may have never realized before.

Walking through some of the Hapsburg's abandoned rooms, I come to a room that strikes me as more beautiful than all the others. It has few colors, mostly gold, and other than the chandeliers, is not very decorated. It is long, almost a hallway. Windows break up the wall on the right side while nearly floor to ceiling mirrors echo the windows. I walk through, taking my time and letting my mind wander. Once I get to the end, I do not want to leave yet, so I sit upon a stool with a window at my back. Looking straight ahead I see me. I sit perfectly in the center of the mirror, with two white marble statues that flank me. It is one of the most wordless feelings I have had. But then the lady stands. While staring into my eyes, she walks out of the frame. I follow quietly. 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Looking Back, Then Forward

It amazes me how fickle time can be. On the one hand it has flown by and I can still not believe how much time has past. But on the other, I feel like I have been here for seven weeks. Soon I will be going to Berlin, then off to Rome, for a day, and then before I know it I will be spending spring break in Dublin. It really does amaze me that I still have so much time ahead of me. And then once the semester ends, I still have two weeks with my mother and brother on a whirlwind adventure across Europe. 
Even though I may be looking forward to these things, I have started to look back on life back home. So much must be changing along with the people. I know that things will not really have changed much due to the fact that I will have only been gone for four months. Yet this knowledge does not prevent me from feeling like I am drifting away. 
As a very smart lady suggested, I am the perfect example of "The grass is greener on the other side". The moment I get home I will be thinking back to this time and wondering how I could ever want to come back. I know this now, so I guess the only option is to make the most of my time here so that when I go back I will really have something to miss. 
So off I go, with my homework done before nine, to find something to do!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Venedig

What has happened this past weekend will forever be written upon my heart. Yes, that may have been a little cheesey. But give me some credit, I had to. I was in one of the most romantic cities on earth for Valentines Day weekend.
Venice was a once in a lifetime experience (other than the first time I went, which was good and all, but this one trumps it like Gelato trumps Ice cream). The people I went with were stellar, making the trip not only fun, but outrageously so. None of us had an agenda and were content at times to do nothing but sit around in a square and eat some Gelato. The pizza was hot and cheap, the Gelato was cold and satisfying, but most of all, the sun shone on us (figuratively and literally, if you didn't catch that). Many times have I thought that maybe I have a perfect life.
On our second and last night there we spent the rest of our Kleingeld on some alcohol. I got a bottle of wine, and we all sat out in the square and had a marvelous time before it got to cold and we had to go in. Once inside we continued to have a blast with a few rounds of Euchre. All in all it was a wondrous night.
The next morn we wanted to go home a little earlier so we could get back to Salzburg at a reasonable hour, and hopped on the first train we saw in the Hauptbahnhof. When we were a few stops out of Venice, our cabin door slammed open and from the hallway came a very loud "What the hell are you guys doing here?!"
Who else could it be but the famed Natascha Fuka! One of the maybe 20 people I know in Austria and we meet one of them on a train that we hadn't planned on being on. It made the 8 hour trip home a lot more fun.
What this trip also made me realize is that I really love Salzburg. Venice was nice and all, but the feeling of coming home to a city you love is a feeling I have never felt before. I have missed the people (some of them) from Port Clinton, but I have never missed the town itself. I may come to love Athens, but even though I have lived there longer, Salzburg is the the city that owns my heart.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

The Thought Process of an Artistic Walk

Does caging beauty make it less? Does the beauty slip through the bars, never to be captured? The rape of trying to molest beauty into slaving for your pleasure. Or can we bind beauty and majesty to our wills? Does this turn the freedom into something wretched and depraved? Is beauty the same when shoved together, sharing a space too small to contain its pure magnificence?  
Living beings are not to be allowed to be captured or taken prisoner. Yet art is allowed to be thrown, scattered about. Compressed into a space far too small for such large ideas. Set next to another, completely alien and made with a different stroke, a different thought in the mind. How things, so incomparable could be so close together, is an unfathomable answer. Long lost are the days where you had to hunt for something of value, to work for it. Now it is handed to us on a silver platter. Shoved down our throats with the cry of "I am best! Look at me for my artist's name, give glory to the one who made me!" Should we not give credence to the art itself? Let our minds wander to where the dried paint takes us. It will take us on an unforgettable journey to somewhere new and undiscovered.

That being said, I love museums. They fascinate me to a wondrous extent. I could spend hours just going where my feet take me. The solitude makes me sad, but I feel like I am the art's only escape of the rigid boredom that is their life. I take what they have to offer and I give a little bit of myself in turn. I give them my attention and in return they give me stories. They take me into their world, a stranger in a strange land. 
They give me perspective on my life. They make me realize how very insignificant I am. How even 100 years from now the world will be forgetting me and letting others take my place. But what they let me see in polarity to that is that I am a wonder. I may be forgotten in nigh but one hundred years, but for that time I will do all that I can. I will live my life, and if something permanent comes out of it, then so be it. But I shall not be afraid to fade away into time. For at some point we all must do it. I shall live my life in acceptance that when I die I will truly die. With that I am satisfied.
I guess I get a little more out of museums than other people...

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Electric times

Tonight's ramblings are a bit of a story. Here I was sitting, in Rachael and Chelsea's room, writing a blog (to be posted on a later date, this took precedence). When all of a sudden, Rachael turned the light off. At this point she was in the kitchen and I thought it a very strange thing for her to do. I look up and see her in the doorway looking confused and kind of scared. I realized then that she was in darkness too. We tried to turn the lights back on, but none of them were turning on! Starting to get a little freaked out by this point we went over to Dernie's (Dan and Bernie) room to see if their lights were out. Nope, only Rachael's room.
Everyone else was out when this was happening, so it was just the four of us. Rachael was having none of the whole being in the dark and Bernie wasn't helping with his continuous "You're going to die" comments. Since it was time for some much needed rest and Rachael did not want to be alone, we decided to have a sleep over! So up we went to my room and I put my pajamas on, grabbed my alarm and headed back down. As we started to settle down, everybody came home. Away we went to watch youtube videos late into the night in Nick's room. As we were all falling asleep staring at the computer we decided to disband. Away I went to Rachael's room and promptly fell asleep. It was strange waking up in a different bed, but that is what slumber parties are all about.
Unfortunately, even now, their power is still not on and they have no idea who to ask. For while you would think the Hausmeister would live in the dorm, he does not. Our Hausmeister apparently lives somewhere else and some random family lives where he is suppose to live. Who would have thought?
Crazy runnings around and good times were had by all (except for Rachael). Hopefully she will get her power back!

Thursday, January 31, 2013

A New Find

I have a couple things that I want to talk about, but for now I have wanted to share this with someone for a while. Sorry, it is not a secret or even something remotely interesting to most, but I enjoy it.
I realized the other day, while walking down the street to my dorm, that I was thinking about English grammar. If any of you know me (which I assume you do) you know how very much I hate all things grammar. Yet here I am. In another country, finally free from grammar, or English at least, and what do I proceed to do? Ponder it not once, but I have caught myself doing it on several different occasions. I am not thinking about "schoolroom" grammar per-se, but more along the lines of function and perception of words. I play with them in my mind, seeing how they fit into our language and how they translate into German. Maybe not literally, but most defiantly figuratively. I believe what I was thinking about that fateful day was how we express pleasure. In English you can say "I like...." and insert almost anything. It may be strange, but at least it would be grammatically correct. (If I am wrong, please correct me!) Aber auf Deutsch, you would have to say something like ".....gefallt mir." Or translated, ".... pleases me." But that only works for a visual affect or something of the like. If you wanted to say, for instance, you enjoy the taste of a food, you would have to use the verb "schmecken".
Ok, reevaluating for a moment. I did not mean to get into a grammar lesson there. (Who am I?) I simply wanted to point out that learning German has opened my mind in ways that I never thought it would. I knew I would learn about German grammar, but who would have thought that I would start to enjoy pondering grammar whenever I had a spare minute?
This turn of events makes me rather happy. I now feel my mind expanding in a fun way. I guess I must have had a point to this at the beginning, but now I just realize that I never want to stop learning languages. Even if I may not be very good at it, I shall always endeavor!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Whipping Boy

Getting ready to call them to order

Resetting the whips....

And GO!!
Today I thought I was going to a Brass Band concert. And I did, in a fashion. We were suppose to go to the Stiegl Brewery and on the poster that we saw there was a picture quite like the ones above on it. Although better quality. I had no idea what we were getting ourselves into, I was just a dutiful follower. About three blocks away we started to hear cracks in the air and followed it. Sure enough it led us to a row of whip-cracking women in Dirndls (unfortunately, I did not get a picture of them). As awed as we all were, we were behind a fence a couple hundred feet back. We walked around the enclosure, which was a large yard, until we found a smaller fence. Only as I was jumping it did I realize that this was not land, but in fact a frozen pond, hence the lower fence. We all traversed the pond and fence perfectly, including Rachael, who was in heels. Once we got closer two girls in the classic garb came up to us and asked us if we wanted a shot. So, for a Euro at three in the afternoon watching burly men crack whips in Leiderhosen, all of us took a "traditional Austrian" shot. Where else could you do that? Oh, and did I mention that this was all in the literal back yard of the brewery that practically owns Salzburg?
I probably should have added this earlier, but there is a point to the whip-cracking. It is a tradition that when it gets to a certain point in the winter people literally "whip away the winter". Yup, these leiderhosen wearing men and women have took it upon themselves to whip winter into submission. I hope it works, it has been a wee bit chilly here! Their culture fascinates me....
After we had our shot to warm ourselves and watched a few more rounds of Winter Whipping, we went inside the brewery. It was a great hall filled with kids running around in even more leiderhosen and parents with pints of beer following. It was loud and raucous, just as a beer hall should be. We ordered some food and, of course, a beer. I, myself, had the Stiegl-Radler Grapefruit. Quite tasty if I do say so myself. Then, just as I thought I was not going to see this alleged brass band, A group filled on stage and took up playing. They were really good and fit the scene perfectly (and had a backdrop of crates of beer). As we were walking out, all of the professorial whip-crackers had gone in for a beer, but a bunch of small children were lined up and cracking mini whips of their own. Walking past them was one of the more frightening parts of my day. I have to say, giving unsupervised children things that break the sound barrier and could possibly take something off that shouldn't come off does not sound like a good idea. But that is why I love it here so much! Those kids have more self-control that quite a few adults I know back in the states. I guess that goes to show you that if I have kids, I must teach them how to crack a whip!
What an adventure to have on a Sunday afternoon, and full of information too! Although it seems all I got from today was that I really want to buy a Dirndl.