Tag Archives: classes

A Series of Friend-Making Events

This week Leisha met up with Mia in Milan for the Homeless World Cup and left me alone in Rome again. Only this time I chose not to sit on my bum! This is the story of me not sitting on my bum:

Friend-Making Event #1

On Tuesday I met up with a bunch of couchsurfers in Villa Borghese. I guess a few years ago someone decided to replicate Shakespeare’s Globe Theater in the Villa’s gardens and now you can see his comedies and tragedies all summer long as if you were in London. Roberta, who studies Theater, organized the event and there were three Italians and a Russian girl there. I thought, “Hey, it will be a great way for me to practice Italian.” Aside from speaking with the couchsurfers, I was wrong. Shakespearean Italian is not the kind of Italian that I am capable of understanding. Luckily for me, I am very familiar with the play. I read The Taming of the Shrew in high school and, really, who hasn’t seen 10 Things I Hate About You? Also, just to be sure, I read the cliff notes before hopping on the bus to the Villa. So, I was able to follow along for the most part. Afterwards, Roberta gave me a lift home on her motorino. It was my first romantic, night-time Vespa ride. She turned into a bit of a tour guide on the drive, telling me about all the sights. I didn’t have the heart to tell her that I already knew quite a bit about the city. When we said goodbye I almost walked away with her helmet. Oops. I hope to see her again soon!

Friend Making Event #2

Wednesday night was the first night of a course at the American University of Rome that I hope to audit. The course is on Art Crime (theft, vandalism, forgery, etc.) taught by Noah Charney. Please click on the link to his website. He’s absolutely amazing. He is the first academic art crime expert EVER to exist and he is currently working on two TV shows. One is a documentary series that he will host and the other is a CSI-type show with a character based on him. The show will be about Noah helping the authorities solve crimes against art. He also created a non-profit organization that helps churches protect their works of art… for free. Anyway, enough sausaging about Noah. Just check out his website. Back to the friend-making. So, during the class I sat next to an American girl named Sam. She is an art major from some school I have never heard of and she just arrived in Rome last week. We exchanged emails and may be meeting up in the future! Score! Two friends in less than 24 hours!

Friend-Making Event #3

After the class, I met up with the LSJ students who were having a goodbye party for one of their professors. Professor Walsh is leaving Rome early because his wife was just appointed to Obama’s council for something something. Yeah, you know, because that happens everyday. Anyway, it was a wonderful party and I ended up getting gelato with a few students afterwards. Apparently I made a joke that made me seem more human (less intern?) to the students. SUCCESS! If you can consider this Friend-Making Event #3, then the next one will graciously take the place of event #4.

Friend-Making Thing #4

This one is questionably considered an event. I guess all of Rain’s roommates were participating in other events that did not sound appealing to him. (The LSJ group is ridden with drama. Don’t get me started.) So, we decided to watch one of his favorite movies, Stardust. It is now quite possibly one of my favorites as well. While Rain slept through most of the movie, I was glued, wide-eyed, to the screen. It has a cheesy, but oh-so-good factor that is simply off the charts. Just check out the trailer and see for yourself.

Potential Friend-Making Event #5

Leisha and Mia returned to Rome on Friday. Mia is one of Leisha’s friends from the design program and she is here working for Cornelia. I can’t even begin to describe this woman, so I won’t try. Anyway, I foresee friendship in my and Mia’s collective future. Only time will tell!

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Letzte Woche

My Last Week in Vienna:

After getting home from Salzburg we went straight to Centimeter to meet up with Billy. He got out of the hospital on Saturday and wasn’t able to come on our class trip. He had his appendix removed and he is doing much better now.

On Monday I finished up my project for Cultural studies class. Each of us were assigned a different district of Vienna. I explored Vienna’s 16th District, Ottakring. I decided to make a video using the photo burst function on my camera. So, this video is like a flip book of still shots or a really fast slide show. The song I chose was Matt Costa’s Vienna. To watch my video click here.

I also had my presentation for art history this week. We went to the Secession building just down the street from my dorm and I talked about Gustav Klimt’s Beethoven Frieze. Here is part of the panel entitled Hostile Forces:

Klimt's Beethoven Frieze at the Secession

Klimt's Beethoven Frieze at the Secession

After my presentation, we took the bus to Hundertwasser Haus for our final art history excursion. It was so amazing. I wish it wasn’t raining so hard, so we could have explored more. It’s just a normal apartment complex, but the architecture is wacky and colorful. Michelle said the architect, Hundertwasser, hated straight lines. Even the floor was uneven. After art history, I had my last night with Sasha as a nanny. Wooooooooo!

On Wednesday we had our final day of Cultural Studies class. Verena’s mom came to talk to us about her experiences growing up during WWII and during the Allied occupation of Vienna. She told a cute story about receiving chocolates from American GIs on her walk to school. That night we all met up for dinner at a traditional Austrian Keller before running to the opera house so we wouldn’t miss the show. This time, the opera was paid for by our program and we saw Die Zauberfl├Âte (The Magic Flute). We learned about this opera in German 103, but this version was very modern. The whole opera took place within a white gridded cube. Some of the grids were trap doors, pedestals, windows, etc. There were also some quite funny animals in the opera.

Since then I have been trying to pack and eat as much Asian food as I can before getting to Italy. I had Chinese with Andrea on Wednesday, Japanese with Sarah, Rebecca and Billy on Thursday, and all-you-can-eat Asian buffet with Diana on Friday.

Friday night we had our farewell dinner at a Heurige in Grinzing. We were short a few people (Joseph, Amanda, Kirstin, Sara, and Ina), but we were joined by 30 IKI students from North Carolina. It was wonderful to be able to say goodbye to all our teachers and to the office staff at IKI. It was also wonderful to enjoy some free traditional Austrian food. (I needed a change from Asian.) That night we gave Dr. O, our art history teacher, a scarf and a card and she just about cried. It was so cute.

At the Heurige with Dr. O

At the Heurige with Dr. O

Anyway, I should finish packing and say goodbye to Vienna. ­čśŽ I take the train tonight to Berlin.

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Libri Togati

This was a short week because there is a holiday today. I’m not entirely sure which holiday it is, but everyone has the day off and all the stores are closed. Austria has so many holidays. There have been about three holidays per month since we have been here… not that I’m complaining…

Prince Eugene in the National Library

Prince Eugene in the National Library

Yesterday we had a field trip to the National Library with our cultural studies class. Apparently the collection began with Prince Eugene’s books. Prince Eugene owned the Belvedere palace that we have visited with Art History class. To start out, Rebecca was given the key to the library doors. This key has been held by Habsburg Monarchs and other important historical figures. When she opened the door we saw that this library was so huge and beautiful. It reminded me of the library in Beauty and the Beast. There were books from floor to ceiling and the ceiling was decorated with a beautiful trompe l’oeil fresco. Our tour guide even got out two books from the shelves. The first book was an encyclopedia of snakes and dragons with illustrations. The second book was a first edition of the Martin Luther protestant bible. Imagine that! Sarah even got to hold it and turn its pages. Billy was jealous.

Sarah holding the Luther Bible

Sarah holding the Luther Bible

That night there was a toga party at Sarah, Rebecca and Ethan’s dorm, so we all threw on our sheets and headed over to Lerchenfelder. It was fun, but I was exhausted and didn’t stay long.

I am getting so excited because Hallie arrives this afternoon, but I’m a little worried. I have so much homework! I have to finish my art history journal, write 4 essays for our take home final, prepare for my presentation on the Secession and read for cultural studies. Ahhhhhhh! When will I ever get it all done?

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Bye Mai

The last week of May in Vienna is also my last week of German classes. Our teacher from Seattle, Verena arrived and we met her in the Museums Quartier for a drink. During June she will be teaching a Cultural Studies class about the Americanization of Austria. She said it would be a lot of hard work, but I am excited about it.

Last weekend many of the other students were out of town, leaving Andrew, Rebecca and me alone in Vienna. We made the best of it by meeting up and going to the Brunnenmarkt together. We bought fruits, vegetables and bread for cheap. That night we got together and made some of the best food. Rebecca prepared curry lentils while Andrew and I whipped up a delicious fruit salad. I also made Sommersalat. We atea delicious meal while watching the Little Mermaid. (In preparation for my trip to Copenhagen, capital of Hans Christian Andersen fairy tales.)

After people returned from their weekend excursions, Andrea, Joseph and I decided to climb up the tower of Stephansdom, the main cathedral in Vienna. It was a bit of a disappointment because the top is just a room with four windows looking north, south, east and west. I did get some good pictures of the city and the colorful roof though. For example, this photo looking west shows the Haas Haus in the bottom left and many of Vienna’s churches.

Looking west from Stephansdom's tower

Looking west from Stephansdom's tower

On Monday, my roommate Diana invited everyone on my study abroad program to her classical guitar recital at school. Andrew, Ethan, Billy, Andrea and I met up near Stephansdom to walk to her school. Only the best students at her school performed, including her friend Vasile that I had previously met. Her performance was amazing! Here is a video of my favorite song. Please excuse my shakey hands!

Later that week we visited the Belvedere with our art history class. The Belvedere is a Baroque palace built for the war general that helped Austria defeat the Turks and protect the the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Now it is a beautiful museum built to house the general’s art collection and the Austrian collection. We focused on the architecture and Biedermeyer art, but we will be returning to see art around 1900 (the stuff I’m interested in). Can’t wait!

Art History class with Dr. O in the Belvedere

Art History class with Dr. O in the Belvedere

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There are no kangaroos in Austria.

It is now the end of my first week in Vienna. I arrived last Saturday afternoon when the sun was shining. That night I stayed with my friend Doris. She also had three guys from the east coast visiting her. Doris took us all to a 1920s themed party at a museum. Apparently it was the Technical Museum’s 100th anniversary. Doris dressed up in true 1920s style and I did my best with what I had in my suitcase. At the door they handed out TanzKarte or dance cards. In the 1920s women would carry these cards around and men would ask them to dance. If the women wanted to dance then they would write the man’s name down. For example: Waltz Benjamin There we met an old couple who teach dance lessons. I learned the charlston and the foxtrot. It was so much fun! Afterwards Doris, a bunch of her friends and I went out to Ost Klub to listen to Balkan music. So interesting! The next morning Doris had made a huge breakfast for us with scrambled eggs, fruit and semmeln (bread rolls). After breakfast Doris, her friend and I went to the Wien Museum to see an exhibition about imagining travel in 19th-century Vienna. It reminded me of the many things I learned in my “Representations of Others in the 19th Century” course I took last quarter.

Later that day I met up with the other students in my program and we stayed at a hostel for a couple nights.

On Monday I had my oral placement test at school so they could put me in the right German class. After the tests our teachers led us on a hike around the Nu├čdorfer wine country where we stopped at a place in the woods that inspired Beethoven’s music and we sang a bit of his Ninth Symphony. Here is our group photo by the Beethoven monument:

Vienna Spring 2009 Students Singing Beethoven

Vienna Spring 2009 Students Singing Beethoven

We ended the night at a Heurige or wine garden where I ate schnitzl and drank Almdudler.

The next day we had a historical tour around the inner city to orient us. At night we were able to move into our dorms. The room is so nice, but also very bland. All my sheets, walls and furniture are white. My roommate Diana is from Romania and she is in Vienna studying classical music. The first night she made me a Romanian dessert soup which tasted like a cinnamon roll in cold, liquid form.

Classes started on Wednesday. I love my teacher and Rebecca from my program is in my class. IKI offers classes to people from all over the world; USA, France, Philipines, Taiwan, Japan, Ukraine, Croatia, and Korea are all represented by the ten people in my level. On Thursday we had our first Art History class, which I am looking forward to.

Today we are planning on visiting Sch├Ânbrunn for the annual Easter market and getting together to make plans for a weekend trip to Croatia for some sun and fun. (Not that it isn’t 75 and sunny here in Vienna.)

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