Saturday, January 21, 2012

{day two}

today was full of many adventures and discoveries! i slept pretty well last night... i finally gave in at 9:30pm and fell asleep. i woke up thinking ok, it's probably like 5. i went and got my watch and realized, in horror, it was only 3:45! i tried to go back to sleep, but it was a lost cause. i just laid in bed thinking for an hour, especially since i had just had a bizarre dream that cami and eric were only my half brother and sister. *awkward* 
i eventually fell back asleep and woke up again around 7 and coaxed myself out of bed and into the shower. it was nice... but the towels are really small here. 
i'm sitting in the bathroom waiting for the water to get warm when i heard a timid knock on the door. "yes?" i asked as i quickly reached for the nearest towel and the door began to creak open. i frantically tried to wrap the towel around me, but to no avail... for it would not reach all the way around me without adequately covering the necessities. so, i settled for just tucking the edges under my armpits and holding the front of the towel with my left hand. Eva poked her head in the door, and muttered something about her glasses in broken english. she pointed to the corner of the mirror which was lined with shelves. i did an awkward sideways shuffle, and reached up to grab her glasses with my right hand, careful not straighten my arm all the way in fear of releasing the towel located under that arm. the awkward sideways shuffle quickly turned into the awkward frontways shuffle (and i thought to myself briefly, hey, this could become a world famous dance someday) and i handed Eva her glasses, smiling awkwardly.
talk about "ice breaker."
(is it just me or is that an understatement?)
Helga took us to the bus station around 8:15 and rode with us to the school so we could find our way back home. the public transportation here is the best. they have buses, streetcars, and the u-bahn (subway). what's cool about vienna is they sort of run the transportation on an honor system. you jut have to have your card with you at all times, because sometimes someone will get in the car and check your cards. if you don't have it, it's a charge of 85 euros! (100 US dollars) that's enough incentive for me! there are no  turnstiles in the u-bahn station, and you only slide your card once your on the bus or streetcar. 
you just look for the blue boxes like this:

 we had orientation today. we have the coolest instructors! hermann, markus, and gretl. we got the scoop on public transportation, our host families, the school regulations, the operas, and all that good stuff! markus took us on a brief city tour (he couldn't appear to be giving a tour though because it's against the law. tour guides have to take classes for two weeks and then take a difficult test to prove they are smart enough!) he took us to walk by the opera house, saint stephen's church, art museums, the huge shopping centers, and the Naschmarkt. 

they pride themselves in the wide variety of fruits, 
vegetables, and meat products.
they come from all over the world!

The Naschmarkt is one of the oldest markets in vienna, and it's about 1.5km long. 

there is a colorful array of exquisitely exotic foods there!

but as for me and alexa...
i settled for a toscanini sandwich and she a chili chicken sandwich
while sitting in this... carriage/lawn chair?... to eat our lunch.

the rest of the day was filled with orienting until about 4. then me and my roommate kristin headed down to gerngross with a few others to buy some converters and a hairdryer. that was an adventure. i went to purchase my things and as i handed the cashier my card he muttered something in german. "uhhh... sprechen sie englisch?" "we only take debit cards" "uhhh... this is a debit card." "no no. no visa. only mastercard." "oh"
so i ran out to the atm to make a quick withdrawal and went back and bought my things. i was a little embarrassed, so i found a new line! what happened next was quite satisfying.. i navigated myself back home! through the u-bahn's and buses i found my way! with this new found confidence me and kristin strutted our way up to our apartment. we pulled out our keys to unlock the door. i noticed the knob didn't actually turn so i'm thinking to myself ...uh how are we supposed to get in? we tried kristin's keys for about 20 minutes and then switched to mine in hopes of it working: nada. so we said a little prayer. right then we heard the entrance door open. thinking it was eva or helga kristin said, "is this too much to hope for??" yes, yes it was. we decided to give it a rest for a while and eat our sandwiches we had picked up on the way home. 

after our break, another 15 minutes of trying to unlock the blasted door, but no luck. kristin sat down and said we just needed to be patient. but i HAD to go to the bathroom, and i was sick of being patient. i was exhausted from trying to open the door (yeah, that's how hard we had been trying, all the while tchina meowing on the other side of the door) so i had my left cheek against the door and was leaning against it, turning the key hopelessly with my right hand. all the sudden, *click* and the door popped open!! i couldn't believe it. i looked at the door, then at kristin, then back at the door again. huzzah! i yelled. i was so happy. i grabbed my bag and ran to my room, and then darted straight to the bathroom. 
today was a very good day:)

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