Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Wiener Weinwandertag

Once a year the city of Vienna organize a day of wine tasting throughout the different vineyards in the outskirts of the city. We joined an English speaking hiking group for a 10 km (app. 6mi) walk through parts of the hilly wine districts. It turned out to be gorgeous day with lots of sun, enjoyable company and stunning views.


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Saturday, September 26, 2009

Something to look forward to

I ended my German class yesterday, and will miss my very engaged teacher Thomas, who was handing out sweets to a bunch of grown ups whenever we got the German grammar correct or when compeating against each other on Austrian expressions. Ayy.. University starts on Thursday. I don't think there will be any sweets handed out there.

We booked tickets for Iceland over Christmas & New Years. Exciting indeed.


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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Signs & Store Fronts

I love some of the old signs and store fronts, which can be found all over the city. For the non-German speakers: check out the length of the word on picture 3. (Wohnungskomplettsanierung translates to something like complete housing renovation)

Loooong name
Obst & Gemüse
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Sunday, September 20, 2009


Weather is still sunny and warm in Vienna, but fall is definitely in the air. The mornings are colder and the trees are changing color. It's oh so pretty, and I'm excited to be back in a climate with four different seasons. Last Sunday we took our bikes and headed for the top of the Kahlenberg mountain, which is just outside of Vienna. It's was a steep but beautiful ride through the Vienna forest and the wine fields. After catching our breath and enjoying the view from the top, we turned around and made a stop on the way down again in Grenzing, where had a glass of the local Sturm, which is currently in season. Prost!
Leavng Vienna
View from Kahlenberg
Grape Stocks
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Friday, September 18, 2009

Hello Frustrations!

So of course moving and adjusting to a new culture cannot always be fun and exciting. According to cultural adjustment theories a person normally undergoes distinct stages in the process of adapting to a new environment: Honeymoon, Crisis, Recovery and Adjustment. From the US experience I learned that PATIENCE is key when it comes to adjusting succesfully and feeling at ease in a new environment. It simply takes time to learn the communication style, find your way to the good places in town, make meaningful friendships, connect with professional contacts and even basic things like knowing how to pay bills or where to buy various stuff. Based on our previous move I feel I have had much more realistic expectations this time around in terms of settling in here in Vienna: "Relaaax, it takes time" has been somewhat of an inner mantra, whenever something has proven challenging.
Earlier this week though, I hit some kind of wall in terms of having enough patience. I had been interviewing for a full-time administrative position in an non-profit working with refugees. The position itself was not very interesting, but I thought I might give it a shot since it's a field I'd like to get into. After the 2nd round of interviews I was turned down, which wasn't so bad after all because I came here to study, and just filing papers sounds kind of boring. But I guess the rejection mixed with the fact the master program I'm starting in a week and a half is completely disorganized (there has been zero guidance and I still have no clue which courses I'm suppse to take, all I can see is that A LOT will be in German), knocked me over and I thought: Why on earth did we leave a city, which both of us really liked, a bunch of great friends and on my part a meaningful job? Why?!?
Ah, yes... (Aside from Bjarni's studies) Because we wanted to be challenged! And because we wanted be super German speakers. Pffrr! And because I wanted to be closer to home.

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Monday, September 14, 2009

With Lola in the Park

Meet Lola. She is the incredibly cute and ADHD-like dog with extensive amounts of energy that can play fetch for hours and hours. We know her from Copenhagen, where Ines, her owner, was working at Bjarnis institute. Lola and Ines are living in Vienna now, and we spent Saturday afternoon hanging out in the park, playing fetch - of course, drinking the newly harvested wine Sturm and practiced wire walking with some of Ines' friends. Wire walking (I'm not using the proper term, but I don't remember what it's called...) has apparently become very popular in Austria, and hence you see people pulling up strings between trees in parks to practice their routines. It looks very easy, but it's so damn hard!

Walk the Line
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Saturday, September 12, 2009

Vienna, the antonym of LA.

Believe it or not, I'm actually blogging, but I've been incredibly lazy lately when it comes to blogging.

Anyways, we're now in Vienna, which is really really different from LA. First of all, most people in Vienna are European looking, whereas in LA there is a much greater racial diversity. Also, there are no taco trucks, Pinkberries, or Jamba Juices, instead there are kebab places, bakeries, and people dressed up as Mozart selling concert and opera tickets. And finally, it rains... which is nice... and then again, not so nice when you get wet. I mean, it sometimes really pours with thunders lightning and hail.

Vienna is in general a pretty nice place, little or no crime (at least I don't get any emails about it so it feels safer). I can go to a public park (and there are many) and drink a beer without risking a stiff fine from the police. Vienna is very small and bike-able, and the public transportation is excellent. Also, I now have a window in my office, in the US I didn't.

However I must admit that I still miss some things from LA. Primarily I miss people, friends, etc., but also the good weather, and the beach. Nonetheless, me and Dorte are adapting quite well to the new environment here, despite constant challenges, and I'm sure we'll grow to like Vienna... but I'm also sure we'll keep our time in LA at a special place in our hearts.


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Home ♥♥

We went to IKEA last weekend and are now just about there in terms of getting everything in place. Still a couple of pictures & paintings to put up and a corner of the living room, which is not quite done. But all that are minor details. It feels SO good to be settled here.
A lot of the presents I was given, by the women from USC, got a special place in this new apartment, which brings back lots of good memories. I organized the books in one of the bookshelves by color, which made Bjarni shake his head, but I'm pretty pleased with the result.

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Monday, September 7, 2009

Straight from LA

Alex, Bjarni's collegue from USC, arrived to Vienna a couple of days ago. Back in LA we were at some point staying at Alex' place in Silverlake to take care of his greyhound Nigel, while he was out of town. Now Alex is like Bjarni here to work at GMI. We went out for a typical Austrian dinner Friday night and it was great to see a familiar face.

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Thursday, September 3, 2009

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Vienna International Centre

I ended my German course Friday, signed up for another one that started today (Wednesday), and thus enjoyed two days of no forced German grammar exercises. Yesterday I headed to the Vienna Intenational Centre (VIC) which is home to the United Nations office of Vienna. It's the workplace of 4500 internationals and is an extraterritorial area, meaning you are nolonger in Austrian territory once you have passed the security check point by the entrance. It is of course not as overwhelming as the head quarters in New York, but still quite impressive. I joined a tour and learned that the two main departments at the Vienna site are the International Atomic Energy Agency and the UN Office of Drugs and Crime. The really cool exhibition Facing Nations been installed due to VIC's upcoming 30th anniversary. The message is to give a face to the people of all nations (124 to be exact) and to promote tolerance, respect, dignity & freedom. When leaving VIC, I was thinking to myself: Hey, I think I could work here!!

UN Interpretation
Facing Nations
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