Sunday, January 15, 2017

Day 121: Let's have a ball at Blumenball!

Hello readers! A few days late, but here's the newest edition of I On the Arts: European Edition! 

With this week, playtime's officially over! Back to the usual: school, research, writing, and teaching--but this week had a little formal fun thrown in on Friday evening. Getting back into routine is definitely a good thing for me, but I'm still not a fan of waking up before sunrise to get to school, or a fan of the way the sun is just gone again by four in the afternoon. Though, since it's January, the days are apparently going to start getting longer soon, which means that hopefully my sleep cycle won't feel so bizarre.

Teaching this week was pretty normal--I covered a mix of topics depending on which teacher I worked with for any given class period. I talked a little about my own holiday in Berlin, I presented the art scene in Los Angeles and had the students research works in the major L.A. museums, and I also had the kids debate one another about the benefits of vegetarianism versus being an omnivore. (I was assigned to have the kids talk about an environmental topic by the teacher.) Despite the students' reluctance to get up in front of the class to make their points, I think it was good for them to have to argue for a side they didn't necessarily agree with--I didn't ask who was vegetarian among the students until after the debate had concluded. My own debate experience in a formal setting began and ended in seventh grade, where, flustered and unprepared, I stammered out a defense of capital punishment (which I've never been a fan of), much to the consternation of my history teacher (shout out to Bud Pell). But just for the experience of talking in a second or third language in front of the class and having to think quickly to write responses and rebuttals, I think, is good practice for anyone.
Only at art school would the kids be able to build an awesome bench and cushion fort like this in the hallway without it being taken down. It certainly wouldn't have flown at Windward High School, where I recall being scolded for not wearing shoes outside on a nice day and for walking on the "landscape."
On Wednesday night, I surprised exactly no one by going to see Arrival for the third time in theaters. It was just as excellent as the first two times, and it makes me sad that it's not getting much Oscar buzz compared to Gravity or The Martian, because it's definitely better than La La Land (and I love musicals!), which is getting all the love.

On Friday night, the night I had awaited for several weeks arrived: Blumenball (or "flower ball")! A bunch of other Fulbrighters and teaching assistants got all dressed up and made our way over to the Rathaus (raht-howz), or government building, our legs and arms freezing in the cold. As anyone who's known me since infancy can attest, I literally cannot resist an opportunity to put on fancy dresses, so having balls to go to is the perfect enabling mechanism for this wayward behavior. 
Something seems strangely familiar here....
With my three-inch heels I was the tallest by far, even more than I normally am.
This lighting makes the dress look velvety, but it's actually lace over silk. I love this dress because it makes me feel like the princess I already knew I was when I was four.
This is almost too fancy.
Unfortunately, my low tolerance for high heels meant that by the time people were getting out on the dance floor, my feet were going on strike. But it was actually also a lot of fun to just walk around through the ostentatious halls all covered with fresh flowers and see the other ballrooms--there were rooms for waltzing, for salsa, and for other kinds of dance, which was pretty cool. It was another one of those moments where Vienna felt unreal, like a perfectly arranged simulation or dream or Disney locale--because where else would I go to an honest-to-goodness ball? Luckily I get to wear my dress one more time to the TU Ball, which is a formal Fulbright event. And then it shall go in the back of my closet until someone invites me to an awards show or my friends start getting married at black-tie weddings...

Miscellany of the week:
  • Spotted on Viennese sidewalks: tiny rocks and lots of dog poop. The rocks are for traction against snow (but they just get inside my shoes), and the poop is... because the Viennese apparently don't think they need to clean it up. Gotta always look down at the ground to make sure you don't step in it! I've been lucky so far, but who knows?
  • The dermatologist's office I visited on Wednesday was only accessible by walking through the elevator, which was just weird as heck and felt unnecessarily secretive.
  • Of course I binge-watched A Series of Unfortunate Events in less than two days. Reviews are coming out soon, and I already need season 2 yesterday.
  • Much to my surprise and what will undoubtedly shock my family, I actually find cleaning up my side of the room to be soothing and satisfying, especially because there is always so much dust to get rid of. I think choosing to clean up rather than being told to is what makes the difference.
I'm forever holding out for a gyro till the morning light...
I have undertaken a quest to find the best bowl of ramen in Vienna. This one was pretty good, but a little too light on the non-broth elements.
Even in the fancy part of town, there's a vape shop whose mascot appears to be a Bitmoji.
I have to wonder if there's a much better Viennese pizza trattoria around the corner to make this one incredibly jealous!
Sadly, there was no Ewan McGregor here to sweep me off my feet.

(As always, if you want to express your love for me with material goods, my Amazon wishlist is here, my main site is here, and if you want to see many, many photographs of me and of Vienna, my Instagram is here. Also please send me good vibes so I get into graduate school with a good stipend!)

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