Jul 6, 2016

"There She Goes" Talking in Song Lyrics!

"You can't always get what you want, but if you try sometimes you just might find, you get what you need." -Rolling Stones.

Probably one of those lines that most everybody knows and for me that what one of my many song Mantras of the past two years. I tend to think a lot in song lyrics, if life was a movie best to have an awesome soundtrack that goes with it. My other song mantra that has helped me through these past two years and for a good part of my life is "I get knocked down, but I get up again you're never gonna keep me down." -Chumbawamba (for all those 90ies kids out there!)  After going through probably one of my darkest times and being alone in a town with no one you need a pretty cool soundtrack to get you up and going.

But back to the first song lyrics I had mentioned. What I wanted was not what I was give to work with and I somehow had to make lemonade as my dad would tell me more than once. So since I had my very tart lemons I needed a lot of sugar to turn that lemonade into something I would want to drink and let me tell you boy is not an easy task. I obviously had to go through the motions that anybody goes through after a bad break up.  This was the time where I asked myself what it is I wanted to be. A question most anybody hears growing up and it normally gets the very career orientated answer.

But seriously, What or rather WHO do I want to be?  At that moment at my lowest moment I realized that the past seven years of my life I had been in a relationship and I had allowed that to define me and it swallowed me up. For my entire adult life up until that point I wasn't just me, I was Me and (Who's name whom shall never be spoken. :) ). So like any normal 20 something female I panicked and my very interesting life in the dating world began. If you ever find yourself single in a big city be warned there are certainly interesting people out there. They make conversations with your friends but that is about it.

So I sat down wrote a very long list of what I wanted in my life, small goals next to big ones. I was a blank canvas and felt inspired and started building myself into someone who I wanted to be. No one holding me back and no one in my ear tearing me down telling me I was being silly. I had all this inspiration and didn't know how to channel it, so I channeled it into everything. I got more focused in my studies, I started playing an instrument, I started painting and one of my goals was to get my scuba license so I signed up for a class through the university to do that as well.

Another item on my long list was to Travel which I did! I traveled alone and also with my family, which was also a lot of fun. I already knew how to be alone with myself but what I needed to rebuild was my self confidence and traveling alone helps because it forces you to either be all alone or talk to other people and even if it is a short live friendship it forces you to make friends. My first trip alone was to Graz for the weekend and for the most part I was alone but at night I went out to a bar and there I was not alone. Also a fun thing to relearn once you are single again after a long time is flirting, how embarrassing! Thank goodness it was in another town!

Me in my very sweet suite!
For Easter I met my mom in Paris and the first day she was not able to be there so I ended up being in Paris for the third time but for the first time I was alone and it was great! We were super lucky to have a connection in Paris where we got a wonderful hotel room with a view of the tour and the Sur Bon right next door. I felt very posh coming into the hotel and at first being told I am too early to check in and I would have to wait until check in time but after giving them my name I was treated like a princess and immediately escorted to my room! So apparently Check-in time was only for schmucks!   

10 years ago I said I would eat you, now get in my belly!
I have and always will be a foodie and before ever thinking living in Europe would be a reality for me I used to sit in my parents living room late at night once everyone had gone to bed watching traveling food shows. Some people like reality TV some people sleep, this insomniac liked traveling and watching people eat all the local specialties where they were traveling. One episode that probably made 13 year old me say I am one day gonna go there and eat that was an episode all about France and one bit was about Mont-Saint-Michel and the infamous Omelettes. If you are asking yourself am I crazy enough to travel to a city 2 hours away for eggs, the answer is YES! May I also add that it is not just a specialty that you can find anywhere, it is at a very specific restaurant because the other places selling it is just not the same. Needless to say it was the perfect moment, yeah I had a moment with some eggs. When they served this masterpiece the radio then started to play Etta James' At last I had to laugh at how perfect it all was! I told you, you need an awesome soundtrack for life!

Maybe life knew that it was time for me to get rid of what was a dead limb that I did not want to be sawed off quite yet. What I didn't know what what I felt like was a huge chunk of me that I could not get back was really just my old skin and I was growing into my new skin. The unknown is very scary but sometimes we need the darkness to appreciate the light. I didn't know it then but it would take sometime until I really found that opened window people talk about, but once I jumped out what was on the other side  was much better than I could have hoped for.

Until next time, I do hope you all are enjoying the telling of my journey.

Jun 21, 2016

It's time to heat up some new American Schnitzel!

It has been way too long since my last post. For many reasons the major reason is simply LIFE. Life happened and got in the way and my blog ended up left out. So is anyone still reading? Should I do a recap of all that has happened?

I guess you don't have much of a choice really unless you decide to just not continue reading.

If I had to really compress it all down into as simple as possible I would then have to steal a quote saying "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times" probably the hardest time in my life up until now. Why? Well without getting into juicy details, lets just say the person whom used to spend my life here in Vienna who went by boyfriend is no more. From the statement above I guess you would be safe to presume it was I that was the hurt one in that end situation so it sent me into quite a spiral. After being with someone for such a long period of time and to have given up a lot to be with them then to turn around and bite you in the butt was something that took a lot of time for me to work through. I know many people can relate and everyone thinks their hurt or pain is something no one can understand which can make you feel isolated but really in the end it is more for your sake of throwing yourself  an even bigger pity party. So after my long needed pity party I looked at myself in the mirror and said this has to change. So I pulled on my big girl pants and started on my journey.

I would like to say this was a journey to love, happyness, self-finding or all that cliched things most people write books about. Even though that has happened along the way, it certainly has been an interesting trip. So what does a 20 something year old who has been out of the whole dating game for what is a a very long time do? I decided to be like a nun (ha, I wish it was more of a choice than I make it sound.) since no prince charming or knight in shining armor was knocking at my door I figured it is my time to work on me. To make me into a person I find interesting and someone whom I would want to date. I realized this after going out on a date with someone and realizing either I felt like a very boring person or any interesting stories about myself somehow had my ex in the mix. Yeah, so after that I figured this is the first time in my adult life where I am totally free and unbound to anyone so I took advantage of that.

After my revelation I had a lot of lonely days trying to fill in the time and keep my mind busy. I got in contact with my family in Sweden and learned about the infamous family that I have always heard about but never really talked to. After a few e-mails I surprised myself by buying a ticket to Stockholm and letting my family know I am coming in town. They were more than hospitable and invited me to stay with them for a few weeks in the summer. I stayed in Stockholm for two days before I hopped on a bus to go to my family. I must say arriving in Sweden was a very spiritual moment for me. If you have ever been somewhere and felt either deja-vu or that an inner peace quiets your heart you might know what I felt like when I was in Sweden. Sweden was a place where I find inspiration, inner peace and it is the place that made me feel truly happy after a long time in what felt like darkness.

So I got to the city in which my family lives and was treated like not a stranger like we all were to each other but rather if we had always been in each others lives. After these two weeks I met so many people who I share a bloodline with saw so many beautiful places in Sweden and most importantly. This is where love crossed my path on this self discovery journey. No, it was not the guy I met in Stockholm that could have been Leo DiCaprio's brother. It is also not just one boy but two! Two little blonde haired blue eyed swedes that I now call my nephews. I am an only child and will not really have any nieces or nephews of my own so what else are you supposed to call two cuties that stole your heart when you thought it was still broken?

I now make some mean Swedish dishes, and yes my meatballs taste so much better than IKEA's. My Nephews are too young to speak English and only speak Swedish and I only speak German and English so with my background of the two languages I have been able to understand a lot of what is being said and give commands in Swedish. They tend to laugh when I try to attempt to speak Swedish, which I can only imagine how badly I butcher the language. The great thing about children is you don't need many words to communicate, one morning I woke up with 2 pairs of eyes looking at me waiting for me to wake up and once I was outed they somehow managed to place a toy dagger under my pillow. It was clear that it was for me to defend myself since they were holding the much larger swords.

With that I end this post as to not to get too lengthy and hopefully I will have the energy late at night once more to continue talking about what I have been up to.

Travel safely! Till next time!

Feb 23, 2014

A Taste of Home

When living abroad one thing you might not right away realize you will miss are the foods you know and most likely grew up on. When I first moved to Vienna there was not very many American food (more in particular I am talking about snacks) I know this might seem like a really bizarre post but I feel like it is needed.

As of recently it seems like I have been seeing more and more food products from "home" then when I first moved here. One store that most every expat seems to know about is Bobby's food store close to Naschmarkt, and yes they have many British and American foods but it is about the size of a stop n' shop. I have go there very infrequently due to the fact that the prices for a student is a bit high. If you want a box of cake mix, syrup for pancakes, special sauces, or snacks be prepared to see how much importing such specialized food can be.  In my home town a basic box cake mix can be about 2 to 3 dollars and sometimes you can get them on a BOGO sale, but here a cake mix can cost about 5 euros. That is without the canned icing! Now for most expats they have a steady job and normally it is a better pay grade than min. wage, so this might not be a big splurge. But now, with seeing more and more of American, British food becoming more popular you can shop around for the better price and or get a larger pick of food that will make you feel like you are back at home.

So for any of you expats out there that maybe can't easily get to Bobby's or whatever reason you might have. I have found a store that you might not normally go into to grocery shop considering it is in the underground. The store is called U3 Supermarket and it is located in Westbahnhof but not in the main part where the train station is at but right next to the Wiener Linie Ticket and info desk by the U6 and U3. Now I am not saying that this one store is more cheaper than the other, but Bobby's is the one and only store I have found to date that sells ONLY British and American food. The other store has a very selected selection of British and American foods, but they have a good selection for those cravings.

Coming from South Florida I tend to also miss alot of Southeren and also Caribicfoods. So if you are craving Biscuts and Gravy with Grits for breakfast you better have a recipie to make your own or pack your suitcase with some fixings.  Things like Okra, Plantain, and Collard Greens may be found in stores like Prosi, or any ethnic food store in the area. Normally you know you are in the right spot when the language that is being spoken is neither English or German (or whatever language that is spoken in that country) most ethnic food stores are also a great place to pick up everyday produce it normally is always cheaper than the same produce at your chain supermarkets.

As a college student and all, I am on a limited budget. I know most typical college students eat pretty much the cheapest things out there and save there money up for parties, and booze. Things like Cereal, PB&J, and Mac and Cheese are normally the staple for any toddler, or college student's diet.  I had also assumed that even though I would be far from home what I knew as inexpensive food would be somewhat the same over in Europe. I was soo very wrong. Cereal is pretty easy to find, but can be somewhat expensive and not such a large selection. The first year and a half I lived in Vienna Peanut Butter was not a common food item, and now you can find it anywhere really but it is in a small container and from an American point of view pretty expensive, now I like Grape jelly for my PB&Js but Grape Jelly is not a common Jam or Jelly so Stawberry is what it has to be. Mac and Cheese you can find in the stores I have mentioned but are certainly not the cheapest.  It is certainly healthier but can be frustrating when you just want to have it and not have to travel across town.

Well that is pretty much all I have to say or ramble about on the matter. I know how it can be when you are new in Vienna and just want to feel at home and you have no clue where to go. If any of you know other places in Vienna to get British American food please leave them in the comments below.

Jan 17, 2014

Job Hunting in Vienna as a Student.

 If you either are trying to find a job in Vienna as a student that holds a Passport that it not within the European Union, search no more, you have found a place that will help you figure out the ins and outs of getting a job! 

Most people studying abroad will only study for a semester and that is easier to do than doing your whole academic career abroad. Simply put, your expenses are going to be somewhat easy to save up for, or easy on your parents to pay.  But once you take the step into staying longer finances can start to dry up quickly. Yes, I am full aware that it is the same for any other college student that living off of Ramen and peanut butter is the norm. But for the most part you have a scholarship, a grant, or financial aid, which can ease the burden.  Here in Vienna I have not really found many scholarships and the ones I do find I never am eligable since I am not a citizen, or I am not a citizen of a poor country.  Studying abroad though can be the same or sometimes even cheaper than attending hometown colleges. I have been lucky to have been supportted by my family while I have been abroad.

So if it to support yourself while studying abroad, to help your parents with the finances, or if you just want extra money in your wallet here is the way to do it. (Legally that is!) Sorry This can't be much help to other countries, or other regions of Austria but I could imagine that it would be fairly similar.

Before you can even start looking for a job you must have:
  1. A valid residency permit, that somewhere should state you can work with working papers.
  2. A valid Medelzettel.
  3. Proof of being inscribed into that current semester or the upcoming semester from the UNI.
  4. A CV or Resume with a picture of yourself. (In German)
If you are a registered student at a UNI but are a Ausserordentlich Student (an extra ordinary student) meaning those pesky classes you must take before you can be a regular student. (German and whatever else the UNI requests) If you fall under this catagory I have been told that you can not work, but once you have your visa you should be able to tell if you can or not from your permit card.

If you are studying for your BA you can ONLY work for 10 hours per week! If you are studying for your MA you can ONLY work for 20 hours per week! The chances of you getting more hours than that are slim!

It doesn't matter what you are paid but you can not go over that time!  Most employers will know about working papers for forgien students, and there will also be some who have no clue and will be scared off and then not hire you. Every employer is also looking for people to hire that are bi-lingual and speaking German pretty well even if you are working in the back of some store. If you can speak English fluently you have a great leg up but speaking it as your mother tongue is also a good selling point. The more languages you speak the better!

So after you have scoured the paper, the internet and in window for hire signs, and what feels like sending out 40 resumes to every place in town you might get 2-3 calls saying they are interested and will want to set up a date for an interview!WOO-HOO! Don't get too excited the fun has yet to begun!

After your interview you will within a few days possiably get a call back saying they would like to hire you. Many jobs here are not secured after the phone call stateing they would like to hire you but what comes next is forgien to many Americans, it is called a schnuppertag, or a trial day. Where you go to work for a few hours they show you the ropes and you will be put to work you won't just be shadowing. Then hopefully you will get called back a few days after that saying if you were chosen.
IF you were chosen then you will have to go to your districts AMS (Arbeits Markt Service) where you will need to show your permit card saying you found a job and need the formula for working papers. You will be sent to another room just for forgieners, after showing your permit card to them they will give you a folded piece of paper that you need to fill out and also some things your employer needs to fill out. You will also be asked what exactly kind of company it is you will be working at, which will then determine where you must go to hand in the formula. There are certain offices for certain types of jobs if you got a job at a bank, you would have to go to another office than your friend who got a job at a bakery. They will then give you the adress of the proper office and after having your employer fill out and stamp their part of the formula, you will need to fill out your part. Before turning the formula in you will need to have a: copy of your passport, a copy of your permit back and forth, a copy of your medelzettel, and a copy of your UNI papers.

Once all that is done, you will just then sit back and wait about a week for the paperwork to come in and then your employer will let you know when they have recieved it and when your first day of actual work will be.

The trial day is NOT paid!

So for summing this lengthy post up this is the few steps you must do for your working papers:
  1. Have a residence permit and enrolled into the UNI.
  2. Send out resumes and wait for a responce.
  3. Have an interview. (Make it known then you need to obtain working papers)
  4. Work a trial day. (Expect this, but it is also possiable you won't have one either)
  5. Wait for a responce, and if it is positive then set up a date to stop by with the formula that your employer will need to fill out.
  6. Obtain Working Formula from AMS. (You can obtain the formula sooner as well)
  7. Fill it out and also have your employer fill it out as well.
  8. Bring it to the AMS that deals with similar types of companies you will be working for.
  9. Wait for the paper work to come back

Jan 2, 2014

Here's to the New Year and New Beginnings!

I hope everyone has had a wonderful Holiday Season and a good New Year.  I to be honest have been thinking for over a year about starting up blogging again, and after reviewing recent comments and knowing that people are still coming on to my blog it made me want to start again.

For a quick update about how I am doing and where in the world I am.

I am still in Vienna.  I am older, 22 to be exact. Yikes! I don't feel 22! In one of my last posts I think I mentioned something about my German exam. Well, I have not only finished all my pre study lectures the Uni enforced me to complete before I could start my actual BA. Thank goodness that is all over and I have already finished my first semester at the Uni! Which feels like such an accomplishment and also a relief to finally say that I am a regular College student.  I look at the people I know back in Florida and see a lot of them finishing there degrees, or close to being finished. HECK! A lot of people I know are MARRIED! Then there is me who feels like an 18 year old finishing off her first semester at college. 

I am just going to sidebar for a quick second!
Like any little girl I always liked the thought of the princesses finding their princes and getting married and living happy ever after. Which made me like to day dream about my wedding day, if you have or know about pintrest you know about the wedding overload that is on there and many people who are not getting married have a pinboard that is dedicated to a wedding that they are not planning. *Guilty!*  We all have our guilty pleasures, but when I go onto my Facebook and look at people who used to be my really good friends and more than half of the people that I knew are already married.
 I am not saying getting married in your late teens and early twenties are a bad thing, but I know how this group of people (whom I used to be friends with) tick somewhat and I just see it as a pressure from their parents or from their church and even a pressure they put on themselves by saying not only are they saving themsalves for marriage, but they are saving their first kiss for their wedding day. Which leads to after dating someone for a year they can't handle all the pressure and jump into marriage. THAT OR they think it makes them mature and adults.  I am not saying that people who marry at a very young age are doomed to fail or trying to bash anybody here but I just see it differently. With that off of my chest I am going to move on. 

I also found a job here in Vienna, which is going to be my first job here. Which I am very excited about. Finding a job here in Austria as a student, not from the EU (European Union), and having to deal with obtaining working papers make job hunting a very long ordeal. I might blog about how to get a job and what to do for someone in a similar position.

The saying '' It's not what you know, it's who you know'' is an understatement here in Vienna. (I can imagine it is the same in many other cities but I can only speak from experience)  During the 3 and a half years I have been here I have come across a few American students here, and the ones I have spoken with the ones that had jobs always seemed to have gotten the job through the grapevine. (You know the typical mother's cousin's friend's sister also living in Vienna and worked at xyz and was looking to hire someone.)  I had attended an info night and it was for students moving onto the Universities that were forgieners and it was there how I learned the way to go about working legally in Vienna. But I will go into details another day.

As far as new beginnings does anybody have any goals for the new year? 

May 18, 2013

Remember That One Time?

Dear reader you know how everyone has that story or stories that will make everyone burst out laughing? Well here is mine!

I had just gotten home from meeting up with one of my friends and had a few groceries to put away. I do not know about you but, when you know you are not going to leave home again for the day one of the first things you do is kick off your clothes and shoes and get comfy in those P.Js that welcome you home.

Well after getting comfy I figured time to put away my groceries. I had not been home for a few days and well some stuff started to go bad. After cleaning out my fridge, what ever stunk up my extremely tiny fridge started stinking even worse in the garbage. And who really wants to have the kitchen also starting to smell? So I did the next logical step that any person would do, take the trash outside. But I figured I don't want to get dressed right now so I had planned on placeing it outside my apartment door for me to take down later. ANYBODY who is judging me for not getting dressed and throwing the garbage away then and there does not live in a building on the fourth floor without an elevator and was wanting to take a nap!

So I stood in my doorway to place the garbage in the corner and that is when it happened! A pretty large gust of wind comes through my apartment and slams my front door right behind me! Most people won't realize that here most standard doors have a stationary door handel which I believe to be useless. So that means when the door is closed locked or not without a key there you stand locked out!  You see I figured since I have done this before there would be no problem but you see my apartment door was on the other side of my door. I live on the fourth floor of an apartment building, I can't climb through a window. There I was stranded, if you haven't picked up on the fact already but inside my apartment was my keys, ID, cellphone, you know the most important things a girl needed. OH! Did I mention I am barefoot and in my P.J.s?????   Well lucky me not knowing my boyfriend or even his parents phone numbers.

What to do? Well that is when I realized I could look up the numbers in a phone book and there is a phone booth on the corner of my street. So I told myself time to suck it up and go. Of coarse the phone booth is completely electronic and to look up a phone number costs 10 cents!!!! Have I mentioned I had no shoes????  Well after my failed attempt of finding a number to call, I realized this was not the end of my story. My boyfriend's apartment is about 20 minutes walking distance from me and he had my spare.
So yes, barefooted and in P.J.s I walked 20 minutes through the city to my boyfriends. On my walk I pass a street where street walking is legal and well the ladies of the night (it was more like 5 p.m. so there was plenty of daylight) on this street are normally half naked and freely advertising. Even they looked at me like some crazy person.

I finally reached my boyfriend's place and his parents were home and this is when I completely melted down from the sheer embaressment of EVERYONE staring at me. Thankfully I put on some shoes I had over there and my boyfriend's dad drove me back to my apartment and boy was I grateful when the spare key opened the door. Since there was a chance that since the one key was in the lock on the inside that it would not allow the spare to open the door and then I would have needed to call a locksmith.

So that is my story and it seems to make everyone laugh.

Feb 15, 2012

Blog Break is OVER!

So for the past month this is how I have been feeling since the beginning of this month was my BIG German exam. If you know me you would know how I am not the best test taking person and considering that this was the last German test I had to take which would give me the green light for being able to finish my pre-studies and the proficency the Universtiy is wanting to see that I have. So I was more than stressed out and for about a good month of non-stop studying for the test and practising my writing in German. I was more than happy when the test had ended and took a break from German and just enjoying not having to study for the test.

Well two weeks after the test would I and my other peers be able to see our results, the night after my test I had nightmares and dreams about the test. Dreaming about what I had written and that it was utterly false and then dreaming up of a better paper. So I was just counting the days down for the results since half of the test I found to be a bit above the level we have been taught and just simply difficult and I just wanted to know if I had gotten just enough of those questions right to give me a positve grade. Yesterday was the big day, pretty much everything I have been doing for the past year and a half has been leading up to this moment. Now you can re take the test 3 more times but after all that work who really wants to go through that all over again? When I got to the big board that had all the grades posted up I could not believe my eyes, I double checked to make sure I was reading the correct one but I actually passed. I was blown out of the water since I felt that the one part was so difficult and I thought I did horriably on it and have heard more than a few times that it is common not to pass the first time but certainly by the second chance most everyone passes. So here I was thinking the worse but overjoyed just to find out that I did not have to continue studying as hard as I was.

I have recently been working out with one of my close friends here and I am starting to fully enjoy it I also am wanting to get that cute bikini body that everyone here seems to have. The only down fall is that it has recently been extremely cold and has snowed for a few days which make going to the gym some what of a chore atleast getting myself there. Because I feel like I have to pack so much in a bag and change there and or turing into an icicle just getting there. Having a work out buddy make it easier and also nice to have someone there to help motivate me.

Considering that I am a born and raised South Florida girl you can imagine how many encounters I have had with snow, not many and before living in Vienna I hadn't tried any winter sports other than ice skating. Here in Austria all schools are out in Febuary and for high school and under have only a week off which gave me and my boyfriend to do something I have always wanted to do but have never been able to. We went sledding! We were the only people our age on the hill going sledding everyone else were half our age but we didn't care we went anyways and had a lot of fun. I think I found a picture of expresses pretty well how I probably looked like when flying down that hill in the Prater on a butt saucer just adult size.

Needless to say it has certainly been alot of fun lately but I am starting to get tired of this cold wintery weather. Spring please come soon!