Hello faithful readers! This week was less eventful than the last, excepting the TU Ball on Thursday and a day trip to Halstatt (hahl-shtat) on Saturday. I finally finished my university course--on Thursday afternoon, I took the final exam, which was quite the hand-workout. I used to be able to write essays for hours at a time in high school, thanks to the AP courses I took, but college, with its term papers and laptops, has made me soft, and so it was actually pretty painful to write the four short answer responses and two essays the exam required. Luckily, I passed the exam and the class with a "1," which translates to the highest grade, so that was a nice bonus to finally being done with that portion of my workload. Now I get to pick a new course for the summer semester, as it's called here, which runs roughly from March until the end of June.
The highlight of my teaching week was playing modified makeshift Apples-to-Apples with a first-year class to help them think quickly on their feet in English and also have a little fun. Since there were roughly twenty students, the usual method of playing in a circle wasn't going to work, so what I did was take some orange and blue construction paper and give each kid seven scraps of the orange paper to simulate the seven red noun cards. Each round, I would write an adjective on the blue paper, and the kids would have a short period of time to come up with a noun to write on an orange paper, which they would then place on the table in front of me face-down. I would then mix up the orange cards and read each of their answers in turn, and pick the noun that best fit my adjective.
|Adjectives included "annoying," "beautiful," and "brave."|
The TU Ball was fun, but unfortunately I had teaching at 8 the following morning, so I missed most of the actual festivities, including all that dancing I had learned last week. The best part, though, is getting dressed and looking snazzy, naturally, so I did get to do that, and managed to be in bed by 11pm, because I require sleep to be a functional person, let alone an effective teacher. It is a little sad that I won't get an opportunity to wear my dress for a while--I guess I need to wait for people I know to start having black-tie weddings, or something, or for someone to invite me to an awards show.
|You can put me in a ball gown, but I will always make a weird face. Guaranteed.|
|The ball was at the Hofburg palace complex, and was extremely fancy. So fancy, in fact, that the staff wouldn't let me sit down during the opening dance performance because every chair was apparently accounted for by people fancier than I.|
|Red light, violet light... it was so cold walking to the subway from the palace. I'm not sure I'll ever feel warmth again.|
On Saturday, some Fulbrighters and British Council teaching assistants took a Erasmus bus, run by the international student organization of the same name, about four hours away to Halstatt, a tiny town on a lake that is apparently a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The town itself was reminiscent of a ski town, with snow covering the ground and rooftops of the historic houses and small buildings, and it was all very charming (and cold). Halstatt is built into salt-mine mountains, as the tour guide let us know many, many times over the course of our ninety-minute walking tour, during which I was positive I was going to lose my toes to frostbite. The view was certainly beautiful, even if we lost the sun at around one pm behind the mountains--it was like a town in a snowglobe, and another example of a place in Austria that felt too picturesque to be real.
|There are only two roads from one side of the town to the other--one for cars at the bottom, and one for pedestrians higher up the hill.|
|It's a small world after all?|
|I'm smiling in this picture because I'd just gotten off the bus and could still feel my feet.|
|Spotted at the rest stop we paused at on the way to Hallstatt. For a brief second I entertained the idea that it would be a regular CD with songs about chocolate, but...|
|... calorie information instead of a track listing confirmed that, yes, this was a chocolate CD. I should have bought it.|
Miscellany of the week:
- In other news, the sun is finally setting around the all-new late time of five pm! Imagine that!!
- I've got a few pieces in the pipeline, as usual: I reviewed the pilot of Riverdale on the CW, which is... interesting... to say the least; I'm working my way through Paul Auster's 4321 on my Kindle app; I'm planning my review of the Dream Theater concert I'm going to see in Prague in a little over a week, and more. You'll probably be able to see those write-ups on my site by the end of February.
- Picture time!
|This store sells clothes. I would have thought this store would be selling something a little more PG-13.|
|Oh man. Wow. I can go see the Superbowl here in Austria. I'm so excited. Wow.|
|Do I have room in my brain to try and learn Esperanto? Probably not.|
|Walking back home at sunset and caught a very pretty view. Hashbrown, no filter.|
|I like that this pastry is spelled with "blech(hhhhh)" even though it probably tastes better than that.|
(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! (Please, please, please--the wait is extremely unpleasant!!!))