Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Weekly Interlude 11: The Great Vienna Plan

The Great Vienna Plan has launched! Though still stumbling on its gangly little legs (despite the grand name I gave it) and lacking a few concrete details, it is, nonetheless, a PLAN. I am now a college graduate with an Official Plan, which is, in and of itself, a huge relief to me (and to my parents, I'm sure).

In short, I am officially staying in Vienna until December! The main reason I decided to stay was actually not because of all the potential auditions I'd been researching but rather because Jennifer told me she'd be interested in working with me -- we're talking intensive voice lessons, three times a week. And frankly, that's just not something you pass up. I'll continue to be Lillian's nanny in order to pay for rent and the lessons; now I'm trying to find a job for grocery money :) And the big news on that front is...I have a job interview in a week and a half!! Not only is this my first Real World job interview, but it's for an English-speaking music school in 1st district Vienna for children ages 5 months to 7 years. If I get this job (not to jinx it or anything), I'll have to return to Vienna after Christmas and stay until June.

Schönbrunn Palace
Lillian & co. will be in the States during September, so I'll have that month off. (Hence the job search to keep me busy.) There's a volunteer church choir at the Augustinerkirche, which I'm trying to figure out how to join. (There was a time not too long ago when I swore I would never sing in a chorus again, but I really miss regular rehearsals and making music with other people.) My friend Eliza, a fellow soprano who studied abroad with me, is moving to Vienna at the end of August, too, and I can't wait to see her! It'll be nice to have a friend here working through similar musical, cultural, and linguistic issues as me.

Schloss Schönbrunn
Speaking of linguistic issues (no pun intended), there's nothing like living in a foreign country to make you suddenly very protective of your native language. As an avid reader and writer, I've always loved words and the infinite ways to craft language; in learning German, my language skills have been whittled down to the bare bones, the simplest statements -- streamlined, but certainly NOT efficient. My personality typically goes AWOL when I speak German. Or my meaning will jump ahead of my mouth, and I'll earnestly lean forward and motion with my hands while the words stutter from my lips, so stilted and awkward, until I have to stop entirely and regroup. I'm getting used to letting my sentences hang or letting other people finish them because my meaning is clear, though my words have vanished. Words vs. Personality: hopefully, they'll start to work together soon.
Working hard or hardly working?

I did embrace Viennese culture last weekend when I packed up my Deutsch materials and plunked down at Café Schwarzenberg for a couple of hours to study. I ordered a coffee and a glass of fizzy pear juice, which was SUPER delicious, until a bee fell in it about 2/3 of the way through. O nein. Eine Biene ertrinkt in meinem Birnensaftgespritzt. But despite the drowning hornet, I managed to retain some of my vocab words. (There are SO MANY words! The more I learn this language, the more I realize I don't know.)

View from the hill at Schönbrunn
I also tried studying at Schönbrunn Palace, which is one of my favorite places in Vienna. There's a huge hill behind the palace with a fantastic view of the city, which is where I plopped down to study. It worked well until my friend (who was in Vienna until the end of July and is now spending a semester in France) called me. And suddenly, studying seemed superfluous.

Public Library
Today, in my quest to improve my aural comprehension skills, I headed to the public library in Vienna, got a library card (I made the transaction entirely in German!), and checked out three Harry Potter audio books. Sensing a theme with my reading materials? I though it would be a good idea to read along with the book while I listen to the CD, thus cementing what I see with what I hear. I'll keep you posted on how that experiment goes.

Some Schönbrunn gardens
Since I'm going to be in Austria for four more months, I decided I needed to make this apartment I'm staying in a bit more...mine. I went to a giant Bed Bath & Beyond equivalent and hit up the sale tables -- I now have three small flowered glasses, a purple cereal bowl, and a white-with-fruits-on-it bowl. In addition, I printed a bunch of photos and taped a row of them to the wall at the head of my bed. I also made a calendar with some of my favorite pictures and quotes. And if that creativity wasn't enough, I made a small collage of some family photos.
Gloriette pavillion, behind Schönbrunn

So I'll continue plugging away at this Great Vienna Plan. I do hope it becomes a little less lonely (or just a little more comfortable) by September. And I'm working on that by talking more with the people in my German class. See? I'm a planner. Every Problem must have a Solution. Every Solution must have a Plan of Execution. No need to stress. Keine Panik. I have a Great Vienna Plan...


These stars are all over Vienna, noting the birth/death places/dates of famous composers.

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