Sunday, January 12, 2014

Weekly Interlude 26: Happy New Year!

A sign by the Museums Quartier
Welcome to 2014! The new year finds me back in Vienna, where I will stay until at least July 3 to finish out the school year at Musical Munchkins. I spent nearly three weeks at home, however, and let me just say that that's exactly what I needed to recharge.

Obligatory wing photo
I flew into Boston, just missing the first of many snowstorms, though that landing was by far the most terrifying I've ever experienced. As we descended, I could see snow cleared on either side of the (rather slick-looking) runway, and the plane hit the ground with a huge THUMP! that tossed everybody into the air. (That seatbelt sign is no joke!) Then we proceeded to pitch side to side, hurtling down the runway at what felt like dangerously high speeds; the thing with the Boston airport is that the plane MUST stop after a certain point--instead of an endless stretch of runway, you'll eventually just hit the Harbor.

Remnants of Christmas in Wien
After this stressful touchdown, the captain got on the intercom and apologized for such a bumpy landing. But we were safe and sound back in Boston, AND my parents met me at the arrivals gate with a sign and an American flag!

My sister and my aunt both came up for the holidays, as well, so it was a mostly family-centric three weeks. There were a couple things I definitely needed to do: go shopping on a Sunday BECAUSE I COULD (stores are always closed on Sundays in Vienna), go to Target (which inconveniently erupted with credit card scandal), eat delicious food made by my mom (I can't even tell you how glorious this was). It was super nice to drive again; my car (an 18-year-old Camry named Car) was waiting for me.

Finding a shell at Ogunquit Beach
As a surprise Christmas present, my mom took me to Stonewall Kitchen in York, Maine, where we took a cooking class--aka, we watched someone make food, asked questions, and then ate the most scrumptious meal you could possibly imagine--and then we visited Ogunquit Beach, one of my favorite places on earth. As amazing as Austria is, it will just never have a beach; no matter how perfect everything else is, it will always remain a land-locked country. I'd been very sad over the summer, thinking I wouldn't make it to the beach in 2013, but with just 12 days to go until the new year, I did! It's good to know that I love the beach just as much in the winter as in the height of summer.
Ninjabread men

Every year at Christmas, I make gingerbread people--men, women, snowmen; even houses, stars, and angels. Last year, my sister gave me a whole bucket full of cookie cutters; this year, however, she upped the ante and gave me three NINJAbread men cutters, which, according to their box, are cut out for action... So needless to say, baking for Christmas 2013 was pretty wild.

I sang for my family while I was home--mostly Christmas carols and folk songs. I bought a book of folk songs in Vienna and brought it back with me. Did you know The House of the Rising Sun is a Southern American folk song? Well, it is, and it's über-fun to play; cue me wailing away at the piano while my mom, dad, and sister sing dramatically at the tops of their lungs. I also entertained them occasionally with such classics as "Welcome to My Music Class" and the "Hokey Pokey." Once a music teacher, always a music teacher, I suppose.
A very snowy beach

Winter at Ogunquit Beach
New Year's Eve saw me cooking dinner, as I've done for the past four or five years. The menu: baked goat cheese and caramelized onion salad over leafy greens drizzled with honey, apple-stuffed pork roast, seasoned roast potatoes, lemon and almond green beans and brussel sprouts, and Bavarian pear torte. I believe I was cooking for seven hours straight with just a small half hour break in the middle. Craziness, you call it? I call it DEDICATION. Plus, if I do say so myself, it always turns out to be quite delicious :)

So it was with great sadness that I left the US again and headed back to the land of Schnitzel and Knödel. It snowed the two days before I left, though luckily my flight from Boston was delayed only an hour (thankfully shortening my 6-hour layover at Heathrow), and the flight from London was delayed 30 minutes. All in all, I arrived in Vienna completely exhausted and have been trying to adjust to the time zone ever since. (I did sleep very well last night, and I didn't wake up in the middle of the night, so perhaps I can say I'm officially over the jet lag?)

The moon & sunset from the airplane
Lillian and family are gone for two months in New Zealand, so now's the opportunity to take advantage of all my free time--go to the opera, read, take walks, visit museums, practice, etc. Now is my chance to do all the things I didn't have time for before. I have evenings now! Unbelievable.

Perhaps in this new year, I should re-title my blog "Susan's Adventures" because I'm starting to wonder just how artistic they all are. Nevertheless, I'll leave it like this for now. After all, who knows what the new year will bring?

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