As I have now been in Vienna for a week, I am becoming much more adjusted to my new temporary home.
I am blessed to have been paired with such a wonderful roommate. Her and I have spent the majority of our time together exploring shops and restaurants while getting to know each other better. It is so wonderful to have someone to share this experience with who is always there at the end of every exhausting day. We have found a really great bakery just down the street from our residence hall. We went there for our first time this morning and are sure we will be frequent customers! We got topfenstrudel and hot chocolate! Yummy!
We learned that topfenstrudel is a treat that is special to Vienna.
My teachers and site director are also very friendly and resourceful so I have been enjoying being around such wonderful people. There are only four students in my program so we have very small classes and it enables us to cover a lot of material in class. My music history teacher took my small group of four on a tour of the first district our first weekend here. We saw so many beautiful buildings that I never could have even imagined existed.
I had a little surprise when I opened my violin case and discovered that my sound post had fallen out of place, but this allowed me to figure out the public transportation system quickly as I had to get to a violin maker’s shop to get it fixed. Since then I have met my private violin teacher and he is basically a celebrity around here. He is a very respectable guy who I know I will be able to learn a tremendous amount from and he is an excellent resource as well. As soon as I met him he offered me a free ticket to an orchestra concert he is conducting! I have been having a great time exploring the city, looking in shops, and finding restaurants with my roommate though we have had our share of difficulties adapting. After my first couple of days it seemed as though everything I tried to do was a challenge. Being that I came here not knowing any German there was a definite language barrier. Prior to coming here I never could have imagined just how many daily tasks I would have difficulty with. Normally simple things like doing laundry, cooking, making copies, and getting a grocery cart suddenly become a great challenge when instructions are written in a language you do not understand and the only people around to request assistance of do not understand your language. Many people I have run into don’t speak any English at all. My first morning here I was trying to find the place I was supposed to be meeting my site director at and I didn’t have a phone that worked here and I couldn’t find anyone who spoke English who could give me directions. Since then I have experienced many similar occurrences. When my roommate and I first went to the grocery store we couldn’t figure out how to get the grocery carts loose. There was a chain that connected them all and we couldn’t get it loose so we gave up because we were really embarrassed standing there trying to get a cart, knowing that there is something simple not known to us that everyone else there knew. Instead we were forced to carry everything in our arms so we were walking around with our arms full of groceries and everyone was looking at us funny. Later on we asked one of our teachers what the trick is to the carts and learned that you are supposed to stick a euro in a slot on the carts and then it is released and when you re-connect the cart after you finish shopping, the euro is returned to you. This has definitely been a huge learning experience and I feel much more informed about how things work now than when I first got here, but I know I still have a lot more to learn.