Picture of the skyline of Graz

This is a copy of my study abroad blog, moved here as a backup. The original post can be viewed here.

Acht sechs sieben fünf drei null neun

February 14, 2015

I’ve learned this week that it’s very easy to relate to the Austrians, thanks to American television. With several different people now, I’ve had the exact same exchange:

“So where are you from?”
“Oh, I’m from Nebraska, in America.”
“Nebraska? Just like Penny from Big Bang Theory!”
“Yeah that’s right!”
“And what do you study?”

I had no idea The Big Bang Theory was so popular here, but now I can easily relate to people based on how similar my life is to the show, or something like that.

This week hasn’t been nearly as eventful as the week before, but I’ve completed my first week of German class, and that’s something. I’ve now expanded my vocabulary to the numbers up to 100, being able to ask random trivial questions to strangers, and a bunch of random nouns. All in all, not horribly practical, but at least it’s something. I’m actually enjoying my German lessons much more than I ever enjoyed my Spanish classes, although that maybe due to German being actually applicable in my life, as opposed to how seldom I’ve needed Spanish. I still have two more weeks of German to go, including a midterm exam this Wednesday that I am very much not ready for.

Apart from classes, I’ve spent most of my free time wandering around the various sights in Graz, and going to whatever events the university or other students have set up. Wednesday night I went to this gathering of the other study abroad students by the ESN (Exchange Student… Network? I donno.) at some pub on the other side of Graz. Turns out, while my side of the river is mostly dark and bland at night, the opposite side is very lit up and vibrant at night. However, while all the shops are lit up at night, none of them are actually open, as stores close before 8 here, which I found odd. The social gathering was incredibly busy, the pub was literally packed, people were stuck in the aisles between tables and unable to move back or forth. While it was a good time, it wasn’t quite the social meet-up they intended, as it was so loud you could only barely hear the people next to you, and I ended up leaving deaf in one ear.

Last night, I met up with some people from my German class and we went to this cool Asian restaurant where all of the food was on a conveyor belt, and you had to chase down any plate you wanted. It was actually really good, and I tried sushi for the first time, which wasn’t quite as terrible as I thought it would be. We ended the evening by going to this sports bar of sorts, which was filled with at least 8 pool tables, although I didn’t play any games. They were showing some sort of winter downhill ski racing event on TV, and by the time we left, the American had taken gold, and the Austrian had silver. Awkward.

I did find out that the power converter I bought in Chicago wasn’t quite what I wanted it to be. I thought the device I bought would not only adapt my plugs to fit their sockets, but also change the voltage to something that my appliances could use. Turns out, I just overpaid for the simple adapter that doesn’t convert voltages. I guess I was more sleep deprived after my flight than I thought. So this morning, I went on an exciting bus riding adventure to find this mall that I visited on my first day in Graz. I ended up waiting for and riding the buses for an hour to go a distance I could’ve walked in 30 minutes, but I got there in the end, and found what I was looking for. I was honestly surprised with the mall here. Most stores in Graz are very “Austrian” and wouldn’t fit in in the US, but the mall was in a very American style, if that makes sense.

This next week should be a bit busier than last week was, as I will have the college’s “Welcome Week” in the afternoon on top of my German class in the morning. On Monday, I have to stay until 5 PM, but I should be able to pick out the classes that I’ll take starting in March. The weather is starting to warm up a bit as well, the snow is all gone from the ground, and it broke 40 degrees today, which is a pleasant change.

As for the blog, I’ll be adding a few more pictures to the gallery today (if I remember). In addition, I’ve tried to set it up so that a Facebook message is posted every time I add a new blog post, but I have yet to test that, so hopefully that works smoothly. Don’t expect too many posts during the week either, I really only have enough to write a post about once a week unless I do any traveling outside the city, then I might post several more during that week. See you next week!

PS – Two important things I learned just while writing this post. One: My desk chair is adjustable, so I don’t have to be sitting 2 inches off the ground anymore. Two: “Everytime” isn’t actually a word, it’s supposed to be two words, although I’m willing to believe that everyone else on the planet is wrong about this one.

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