Eight Things I Have Learned about Austria/Myself/The World in the Past Eight Weeks

At least I think it has been eight. Forgive me if my math is a little off, I find it hard to dredge up enough will to count correctly when it is so dreary here. And that was of course an example of classic Viennese deadpan, as, while it can get dreary here sometimes, the weekend has been gloriously sunny, and I have celebrated that glorious sunshine by purchasing a gigantic pillow. Seriously, it's huge. I'd take a picture and post it, but that would involve dredging up more will to live, and I have already mustered far more than my alloted share simply by taking the time and effort to explain about the classic Viennese deadpan. Anyway, back to important things, such as my pillow: it's one of those gifuckingnormous European feather pillows (yes, geese had to die for it–but judging from the preponderance of the word "Gänsl" on Tagesmenüs around town, I am guessing them geeses was already cooked), 70x90cm (which in inches is approx. HUGExMASSIVE), and is basically like turning one's bed into a Cloud Castle (though not the kind Wittgenstein was talking about, NERD JOKE…that I don't quite get myself). As I was saying–actually, I wasn't saying anything, but as I promised I would say, here are as many things as (possible) number of weeks I have been here that I have learned about Austria/Myself/The World:

  1. [REDACTED] due to above mentioned hawking by DoS.
  2. I am very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, unbelievably, very, very, very, really bad at poker. I do not know when to hold 'em. Nor do I know when to fold 'em, walk away, or run. I always count my money when I'm sitting at the table, because it is NOT HARD to count to zero. I was invited on Friday night to join my colleague Björn's poker game, an invitation that I guarantee you will NEVER be repeated given my pathetic performance (although actually it may be oft-repeated given the ease at which Björn's friends won away 10 of my Euros, though I shall never again provide them with this unique pleasure, nor the unique pleasure of my idiotic company), and quickly realized that the Hershey Kiss Stakes Hold 'Em Championships I used to play with my friend Amber did not prepare me for actual poker, where someone other than Amber's dad has to be the dealer and I am the world's biggest idiot. Not my finest hour.
  3. It's really easy to find a huge pillow for very cheap, but I am still not going to show it to you.
  4. If you keep buying underwear and socks at H&M, you don't have to go back to the insane laundromat for a long, long, long, long time. You remember the day I showed pictures of my dripping clothes? That was the last time I did laundry–and I'm not even wearing dirty clothes every day because I brought a lot of clothes and now I have a lot of underwear.
  5. Academic German is and will always be incomprehensibly foreign and impossible for me to reproduce. I simply cannot get my mind to work in the convoluted passive constructions that smartypantses use here, and subsequently everything I write for public consumption has to be vetted Obama-transition-team-style and changed extensively so as not to embarrass my peers with how remedial the language of one of their own is. You can imagine how painful this is for me, as I have always taken my acrobatic, nontraditional, highly idiomatic and profuse use of English for granted; you might also think that it does me good to be forced into brevity and succinctness. And it probably does, but the problem is that I come off looking like a brief, succinct fourth-grader–too bad the Republican Party can't channel German-Language-Me for its rebirth, because German-Language-Me sounds like just what they're looking for. BURN.
  6. Obama's election still feels pretty fucking transcendent. With the extra added bonus of I'm not embarrassed to be American in Europe anymore with an extra side of Which Country Is Cool Now, Bitches?
  7. These past almost-two months have gone by lightening fast in some capacities and at a miserable crawl in others. I don't know why. I'm no expert on the space-time-continuum, fuckers, I just work here.
  8. I was on the Internet Phone Machine with my parents a few minutes ago and realized, as I was telling them as much, that there is not a single person here in Vienna whom I see on a regular basis whom I have known for more than two months. Pretty much every person I know here is still a stranger to me, nobody really knows me at all, and I don't really know anyone else. I'm not bitching about this, I don't find it bad–I mean, how can anyone know anyone after two months? You've got to put the time in, you know?–I just took a step back from my current day to day outlook and realized, objectively, that I have basically lived the last two months in a vacuum.

And on that delightful note, I will leave you to these edifying footnotes and, instead of actually coming up with any final thought or cohesive argument, pull a Ravitz, which is to say "That's Entertainment!" for no reason at the end of something. That's entertainment!

1Too bad it does not have Foreign Accent Syndrome instead.2

2No, I am not going to attribute Foreign Accent Syndrome, which parties accustomed to stealing Minute King Jokes shoudl find as no surprise.3
3The Minute King Joke is pretty good, but only funny if you live in or near Irvine, and no longer belongs to me (but since I am a Marxist Socialist Commie Obama-Lover I should be glad to Spread the Jokes Around).

6 thoughts on “Eight Things I Have Learned about Austria/Myself/The World in the Past Eight Weeks

  1. That’s why it’s so dark here!
    Thanks for informing me about FLS. Now I have something about which I can ask my doctor (my mother thinks “your doctor” should be (wo)man of the year, given the frequency with which he/she is mentioned on television). What are the side effects of the FLS drug that is surely being developed?
    Oh, maybe your neighbor HATES Haider but is very, very security conscious and figures no one will even try to get onto his or her network now.


  2. Number 4 horrifies me, too. How are we supposed to look ourselves in the academic mirror if we can’t bullshit fluently in the language we are supposed to be studying? I really wasn’t that good at bullshitting in 4th grade, and even if I could bring it up to the level of high-school BS, it still won’t be adequate. I hang my head in shame and hope there are enough of us that we can cluster together for warmth against the justified icy stares.
    And please tell me the Minute King Joke!


  3. The Minute King Joke isn’t really even a joke, so much as a “quip,” and Erin you DO TOO know it because you were in the car when I first said it on the way back from Native Foods like 3 years ago. I believe we were driving by it and I said, “God that place looks shady. Maybe it’s a front.” And you were like, “A front for what?” and I was like, “I don’t know…an even worse grocery store in the back?” and we were like hahahahahaha. And then I repeated that bon mots to a certain, let’s call him Prof. Snuffalupagus, when we first knew each other, and he liked it soooooooooo much he took the liberty of repeating it to someone sans attribution, which I pretend to get really steamed about but actually see as flattering. Rimshot. Yawn. So now the joke is actually a metajoke ABOUT the Minute King Joke, neither of which, in hindsight, are that funny.


  4. About #5 – I completely know what you’re talking about! I had lived in Berlin for three and a half straight years (not even counting BCGS, Muenster, and our two week trip senior year), and when it came time to write my Masters thesis in German, I was pathetic! On the flip side, it seems like written English is loads easier for German speakers to pull off. It’s not fair!


  5. Oh Howwy, it’s so twue. I like to think of it as a weverse compwiment: Academic German is SO contrived that a brain that is not trained in thinking in the most contrived possible way simply cannot formulate the kind of soulless contrivances the lifeless German academic prose boasts.


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