The TO-DO list.

November 27, 2011

So, we’re now slowly creeping into December, and this Year Abroad is flashing before my eyes. It has suddenly occurred to me that I only have about 7 weeks left in Innsbruck. Massive schade. I’m suddenly starting to meet more people my age, get to know people from Frisbee a lot better, and feeling more like myself again 🙂 BUT, and this is a massive but. There are so many things I would like to do before I leave. Some are definitely possible. Some are probably impossible, but if you set yourself a few goals, then the feeling you get when you achieve them is even more worthwhile 😀 This list will probably be added to, and when I leave on the 10th of February, I’ll see if I’ve actually done any of them. Bit like what Luke did. But much longer.

 

1. Finish my project by the end of January and get a 1st/high 2.1 in it.

Possibly slightly optimistic as I haven’t really started yet. My topic is on the Olympic Games, but unfortunately, when I asked for advice from PT, I didn’t get much help. I really need to improve my marks from last year, so a first would be lovely. Obviously, I won’t find out what I’ve got until next year, but it would be nice to finish at the end of January. Best get to it then.

2. Seriously improve my spoken German.

Obviously, being surrounded by German helps. I understand a lot more, my listening has improved, and now I can tackle a few books. Unfortunately, the one thing I have severely struggled with is my speaking. It’s always been my weak point, and I find very often that I get very scared and say nothing. Also, the Americans who I often to go to Frisbee with are VERY good at German. They’ve been abroad many times before and I often feel like I’m being judged if I speak badly. I need to get over this, or I’ll be a bumbling mess all the way through 4th year.

3.  Make the most of this Christmas with family and friends.

Normally, I’m not really a massive fan of Christmas. Obviously dinner is just yumm and it’s always nice to see your family but that’s about it. This year, because I’m only home for 2 weeks, I want to see AS MANY people as I can. I get back on the 22nd of December, and will be immediately spending time with my favourite scousers Ami and Hayley. Then I will be at home for Christmas with my parents and sister, as well as seeing the Fab 5 and my friends in Darlington. I will hopefully be doing Ultimate Resolution over New Year (depending on whether my bank card makes it here on time), then heading off to London to get my visa and see a few people, then to Birmingham for Bruins 21st. Boom. Plans made. If you want to be included in said plans, all you need to do is ask. 😀

4. Be happier.

I’m very aware I have been a huge grump for the whole of November, and all I say is that I’m sorry to those who have to witness or view my whinges every day. Unfortunately, living in a family has more disadvantages than advantages, and I have often felt really alone in the basement. There have been a core of friends who have been there for me when I’m at my lowest. I didn’t even know on occasions how I felt. One day, Dante came on Skype and I just burst into uncontrollable tears for no reason. Maybe heimweh really got to me. Maybe being a babysitter was really annoying. Maybe  just feeling like I had no-one to go to here in Innsbruck was overwhelming. Honestly, I think it was a collection of those things. Now, I’m not surprised by anything. When I don’t get invited to things. When the family make me change my plans to suit them. When I get led on by people. It’s fine now. I think I’ve become so used to this now that I can now just shrug it off. Before, I’d be in a kind of blubbering “WHY DOES EVERYONE HATE ME” mess. Now, I don’t care. There’s people at home who are really there for me, and all I can say is thank you. I think it probably helps that I know I’m going home soon, but I’m a much happier person than I was this time last week. But I CAN be happier. And I will be happier. Smiley Sarah. 😀

5. Finish at the checkout faster than the cashier.

Already written about this. Nearly happened the other day. She JUST beat me. Grrrr..

6. Take on more of a handler role at Frisbee.

I realise next year that Phat’Eds are losing a lot of girls, and as an experienced player, I need to be more confident as a handler. People actually ask me to handle sometimes here, but I need to make it more of a frequent thing. But one things for sure, my overheads can go FAR now. Woohoo! 😀

7. Do ALL the ski slopes that are valid on my Freizeit card AT LEAST once.

This may be an issy weensy bit optimistic. Mainly because there’s a slope 5 minutes from me, and there’s a lot of ski resorts that are quite far away, for example Ischgl and St. Anton. But one can always try 😉

Just counted, there’s 14 of them. Oh dear, this one may not happen.

8. Get better at Ice Skating.

I’ve been twice now and now I can actually go round with a bit of speed. I’m going to buy a pair of ice skates because it’s cheaper than renting, and then sell them at the end. If I can spin before I leave, that would be great. :3

9. Be sick at Snowboarding.

I don’t know about this one, just because I haven’t been yet, but I’d really like to be as confident as I am on skis. I think there will be an improvement, but whether it’s staggering I don’t know, but it’s always worth a shot, especially if I go on every ski slope in Tirol 😉

10. Visit a few more people.

I’d like to get to Voralberg to visit some of the other assistants, and I really want to go visit Ben in Bonn. I’m aware that it’s miles away, but it would be nice of me to make the effort and see him, because I miss him! (Miss you Bennybabes ;P)

11. Possibly not murder the youngest child.

He’s incredibly good at winding me up. Yesterday I gave him the silent treatment and he didn’t like it. I can’t promise this one is going to happen.

12. Send some Christmas postcards!

If you feel worthy of a Christmas postcard, then leave me your address. I will decide if you’ve been good enough this Christmas to get one 😉

13. Prepare for Russia…

This involves grammar cramming, getting in contact with a frisbee team, sorting out where I’m living, and generally preparing myself for a very cold, possibly depressing Spring. It’s all part of the adventure. Right? RIGHT!? :/

14. Make a few important life decisions.

Finally, the last point I come to, is decisions. I need to possibly start thinking about what I want to do in life. Do I want to live in London in 2 years time? Do i want to move abroad after Uni? What job do I want? This year is a “soul searching” year, and I’d like to think that I will be one step closer to it before I’ve left Innsbruck. What the future holds for me, I have no idea. But now’s the time to start planning.

 

So there you have it. My life in a list. I’m looking forward to ticking this off one by one.

 

With love.

Sarah xo

 

 

 

Advertisements

I realise that I haven’t written in this blog for a while, and I am sorry. I’d like to say I’ve been really busy, but I’m not sure I really have… Maybe I have been incredibly lazy, maybe not, but I’m starting to forget about things that have been happening in the last 3 weeks, and I thought it may possibly be a good idea to put pen to paper before I forget. The days are really starting to tumble now. I fly home a month today for 2 weeks, and then have another month in Innsbruck. So in total, I only have 2 months left. 8 weeks. LOADS OF DAYS! Sometimes, time goes by so quickly, others, days drag. But I can’t wait for Christmas, to see my friends, my family, and spend some valuable time in good old England.

So, what’s happened in the last three weeks? Answer: Not a lot. Well, actually, I lie, looking at it from a different perspective, A LOT has happened, especially in the last week, but I just treat every day as the same nowadays. The most important day of the language assistant’s calandar kindly blessed us last week, PAY DAY. After living off 10 euros for the last few weeks, and being FORCED, (forced I tell you) to shop at Hofer, most of us were pretty happy when a lovely 2200 Euros landed in our bank accounts (unless you’re poor old James, when a lovely 0 Euros  lands in your bank account due to a banking error.) After discovering I was not one of the unlucky ones (sorry James), I marched straight to the nearest Apple shop and bought my Ipod Touch. Some people may say that 300 euros is a lot for an Ipod, but actually, I’m really happy I paid a bit extra for the space. I use the internet on it loads thanks to the free Wifi dotted about the whole of Austria, and once again, it’s nice to have a music player that works properly. We also went straight to Ikea to help ourselves to celebratory meatballs and chips, and then proceeded to play drinking games with the Americans. This was great, until I woke up the next morning feeling what can only be known as “ruff”, and headed for a long day at school. This also HAD to be the day when one of the teachers, (who will remain nameless) decided to be a complete moo to me and treat me like something nasty she just stood in the street.  She decided to humiliate me in the class (after a lecture before the lesson saying that I was unprepared, although I’d spent the weekend doing lesson plans) and say that my grammar was incorrect, when, well, it wasn’t. Obviously, we all make mistakes, but I knew that the sentence (which I have now forgotten) could also be said in my way. She then spent 10 minutes explaining (more like arguing) why I was wrong. The whole class we just laughing, and I had never felt so humiliated in my entire life. My only thought was “Why are you questionning a Native Speaker? I’d never question your German!” She then proceeded to argue with this poor girl who had spent 6 months in America, because she was agreeing with me. The teacher then told one student that she had “screwed the answer up” to which I said that that can be seen as rude, and she retorted, “Well she did! She screwed it up!”, once again arguing that, I, the English speaker, was wrong. She then left, to which the class just could not control their laughter. Although I knew they were on my side, I just couldn’t help but feel so stupid. Let’s just say, I’m not looking forward to going back in that lesson.

The teaching has been very variable. Some classes have been brilliant, and really interacted with my lessons, and been really chatty and lovely. Others, I will do the same lesson, but they won’t talk, wont respond, and made me stand there like a pillock for 50 minutes. The teachers also tend not to intervene, which also doesn’t help. Now, I have my favourite classes, and my not so favourite.  Tonight should be alright. But let’s just say, I am not made out to be a teacher!

So, my travels. This weekend, with my brand spanking new money, I set off to Vienna, the capital of Austria. After a 5 hour train journey, I rocked up at about 12pm. I finally met up with Chris, a fellow Frisbee player who had played for Fish and Bangor, and had been in contact with since leaving. We met up and had a currywurst in the centre, and had a delightful kaffee und kuchen in a very small but chic little cafe. I then left him to meet up with Vicky, a girl I met at training and shared a bedroom with, and we went around the Christmas Market at the University Campus. Here, I discovered Ameretto Gluhwein, and O. M. G. IT WAS SOOOOO GOOD. They also had different flavours such as Rum and Pina Coloda, which for 3,90 including a 2 euro deposit on the cup, is NOT BAD AT ALL. After being suitably warmed up, we headed off into the centre to do a bit of shopping. We discovered Peek and Cloppenburg, which is a department store a bit like Debenhams, and it was huge. There was a Superdry section, along with many other nice and expensive brands, but luckily I resisted buying anything in there. We then headed off to the train station where I was going to meet Flying Circus, the Frisbee team, as we were going to a tournament outside of Vienna. Unfortunately, as I was getting on the U-Bahn, I was stopped by some foreign girls who were blocking me from getting on the train, saying “No Entry” in French. After looking bemused, I went to join Vicky, to which I hadn’t noticed that they had very quickly hopped off the tram, and that my purse was no longer in my bag. After fumbling around for 5 minutes looking for my wallet, I’d come to the conclusion that, unfortunately, I wasn’t going to be seeing it again, and burst into floods of tears. After a frantic call home, we went to the Police Station and between us managed to be understood by the police officers. Although it’s not the end of the world, I definately tarnished my weekend. Especially when I remembered what was in my wallet…

Natwest Card, Yorkshire Card, Sparkasse Card (Austrian), Railcard (Polly has just reminded me about this, god damn it,) Skipass :(, Both Health Insurance cards, HMV Card, 10 Euros, 60 Euros worth of receipts that I was going to claim back from the rail company, Drivers License, a bit of English spare change to throw them off guard.

Oh, and the wallet, obviously.

After managing to cancel nearly everything, I finally met up with the team teary eyed. Unfortunately, in Austria, banks are shut all weekend, so getting money was not an option. Luckily the team, (mainly Matze,) managed to sub me some money so I wasn’t completely excluded, and we headed off to Wolkersdorf. My bad mood didn’t improve when I realised that we were in the middle of absolute nowhere. After a rough day, I headed off to sleep on a gym mat.

The next morning was the tournament. Our original hopes were to win the tournament, but after seeing a few teams warm up, I knew that this wasn’t going to be very easy. Firstly, I had to get used to the change in the rules. Games in Austria last 22 minutes, and are continuous. This means, you can sub on and off when you want, and once a point is scored, the game keeps going. With only 3 girls, this was tough, as it meant that two girls constantly had to be on the pitch at all times. The strangest rule of all though, was when the final buzzer went for time, that you were allowed 3 more passes. For some games, this was pointless, but for close matches, it meant trying to jam it into the end zone in 3 moves. I couldn’t really understand why the game didn’t just stop, but it provided a bit more entertainment for some matches. We had an incredibly tough pool on day one. Yellow Fever, a team from the Czech Republic, were phenomenal  and thrashed us 22-8 (that actually wasn’t the worst score of the weekend, one team got beaten 22-6, yikes.) We also had Spezi, a team from Munich and Trink und Spin, who only just beat us by one point (which also had to be the team Chris was on, boooo), so we came bottom of our pool on Saturday. Heads were low, so we decided to go all out at the party, and drank A LOT of Schnapps. What I couldn’t get over though was the fact that we had a very nice sit down buffet, which is something you can only dream off in England! We drank, and then stumbled back to our gym mats.

Sunday came along, and it was safe to say that we were all incredibly hungover. Susn, one of the girls on the team, had stayed out till god knows when, and could barely move. We slowly got ready for our games, but luckily came out as the stronger team. We played Chuck Bronson and Spin in our second round, and won. We then had to play Cheek2Cheek in our crossover for 5th place, which we just lost by a whisker. The highest we could finish was 7th, and we had to play Trink und Spin in a grudge match. Luckily, we pulled out the stops, and managed to beat them 14-12 in a very nail biting game. Overall, we did well for a team that had never played together before, but I felt that I could have done better minus walletgate.

I wish I had more time to stay in Vienna. Vienna’s buildings are just absolutely stunning, and it had such a homely feel. Hopefully I’ll be able to return before I leave, but I don’t feel too optimistic. I’d like to thank Chris, Vicky, and Matze again for their help, as I would have struggled alone without them.

Now, I have 4 weeks left. The Christmas lights are going up in Innsbruck and they are spectacular. They make Richmond’s lights look like someone bought some fairy lights from B&Q and then threw them into a hedge. I am FINALLY starting to get excited about Christmas, and I just wait to go get home. But first,  it really needs to snow in Austria. WHERE ARE YOU SNOW?

I’ll leave you with a lovely picture that I took in Vienna. Hopefully I’ll have a better week this week.

Love and miss you all.

Sarah xo.

I finally did it guys. I FINALLY got out of Innsbruck (yay!), and decided to head off elsewhere to see a different part of Austria. I’m a bit upset that I couldn’t leave earlier in the week, but then again, my money situation isn’t exactly great at the moment, so I couldn’t flit very easily from place to place. (But it’s okay, because I get paid in 8 days time, yay!) So I hopped on a train, which was late, very unusual for Austria, and set off for Bad Ischl 🙂

Now, most of you are probably reading this and thinking, Bad Ischl? What? Is that a city in Austria? Well, to answer your question, no, it’s not. It’s a fairly small town, which is located in Oberoesterreich. I say small, it’s probably bigger than Richmond actually, but after living near Innsbruck for the last 8 weeks, everything’s small in comparison. I went to Bad Ischl to visit Phil, who is also doing the British Council apprenticeship there, as well as Alex, who is currently working in Vienna in a transport company. As the only ambassadors of the University of Sheffield in Austria, we decided it was about time that we all did something together. I rocked up on Friday night, and stayed with Phil and his family, who helped me get the connection here in Aldrans. His family were amazing. They were SO laid back, so friendly, and were really welcoming. I stayed in Phil’s garconierre, which is seperate from their house, and Phil is actually the luckiest boy in the whole of Austria. Firstly, it’s huge, secondly, he has underfloor heating, and finally, THEY LET HIM USE THEIR CAR. My jaw dropped when he was waiting for me at the station, I couldn’t believe that his family were that relaxed! The closest I’ve got to driving my family’s car is sitting the in back seat. Although, to be fair, it is a 4×4, and I don’t really trust myself in one of those, let alone someone else’s…

Phil cooked Michelle (An American assistant also in Bad Ischl) and I a lovely Roast Chicken. I haven’t been able to cook half the food I want to in Innsbruck, because unfortunately, my kitchen doesn’t have an oven. And this is literally the most annoying thing ever. It means that I can’t just whack in a pizza when I get home from work, but I have to slog over a hob and eat pasta. So for the first time in ages, I was treated to some lovely English food. We watched a film with Stefan, one of the children, which was pretty rubbish, because it was a generic stupid American film, but it was fairly funny. It was just nice to relax. Phil’s room was so spacious and it felt like a home. The only thing I have going for my place in comparison to his is the view, but it would be nice to have heated floors…

Alex rocked up on Saturday morning, and we treked up this massive hill to have lunch at the top of Bad Ischl. The trees were such beautiful colours, deep reds, orange and brown, and it really felt like Autumn had hit us, although in both Bad Ischl and Innsbruck, it hasn’t rained for weeks, and has still been hitting temperatures of 20c. I fear now that when the winter comes, it’s going to come full force, but I actually don’t mind, because then I can prepare for the ski season. 😀 We had our authentic Austrian meals and then prepared ourselves for a Maturaball. This is the Austrian equivalent  of a Prom, which is held before students take their exams. This was one of Michelle’s schools, so we decided to go along as support. The ball was held in a very grand building, normally used a Congresshouse, with everyone dressed up in full attire. The students who were leaving had to do three performances through out the night, and had obviously spent a long time plannign and preparing for their dances, which were really good, (although I was a bit creeped out at the girls HAD to wear wedding dresses in these dances, seemed like a bit of an expensive waste.) We had a bit of a boogie upstairs with a few of Phil’s students, and watched the performances throughout the night. The emphasis of these balls is obviously the work that the students produce, rather than English proms where the emphasis is “Who can get the most drunk and fall into a bush at the end of the night?”

The next day, after sleeping off our hangovers, we headed off the the beautiful village of Hallstatt, which was located on the other side of an absolutely beautiful lake. We hopped on a boat which chanelled us around the lake, and ended up in this magnificent little centre. Apparently, good ol’ Maggie from last year had told the boys that Hallstatt was one of her most favourite places to go to in Austria, so we got a few pictures of us together, and we will probably send her one, so she doesn’t forget us in Sheffield. 😉 The village itself was so small it only took an hour to walk around, but I managed to get some brilliant pictures, which can be viewed on my Facebook page. http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150456917375977.417464.683895976&type=1

 

We then set off back to our own respective places 😦 but it was such a lovely weekend. Hopefully the boys will be able to come visit me in Innsbruck to go skiing, but we have to wait for the snow first! 😀

So, I now have 8 days till I get paid. I am in the nightschool again this week, and have no idea when I’m working. My host mum keeps asking me if I can babysit tonight, which I have told her about 3 times now that I have to go to work tonight and because of their disorganisation, I still don’t know what time I am working. She keeps asking me if I can ask my boss to leave early. I really don’t think she understands that I am NOT her au pair. She’s only hosted au pairs in the past, and although I’m happy to help with the kids homework (when I’m NOT busy, that also seems to be an issue), I feel like she is kind of abusing my right of being able to do what I NEED to do. (I.e. Go to WORK.) I know I’m moaning about this, but I have to work 13 hours a week, and I shouldn’t be asking my school if I can leave early just because it suits her. It doesn’t suit me and I’m going to get into trouble with my school if I’m not careful. I understand that it’s easy for me to be their babysitter, but I also feel like they don’t really need one. They’re 14 and 12. If they were 9 and 7 then maybe I would rush home from work. But they’re big boys. I know it doesn’t help that the night school can’t give me a structured timetable, but I’m not always able to provide my services. Rant over.

 

Anyway. I do feel sometimes that when I beg people to ring me and visit me, that I am moaning. I know it comes across as moaning, but the only reason I say this is because Austria is SUCH a beautiful country. I had never been to Austria before and now I live here I just want all my friends to come see it for themselves. A few people promised me they would come. I have started to accept now that they probably won’t. But I really wish they would, not for me, but because Austria is just the most stunning place in the world, and if you don’t take the opportunity to come and visit now, you never will.

Although, it would be nice to say hi to me too 😉

With love.

Sarah xo

 

Cribs.. Austrian Style..

November 3, 2011

 

This is my first ever video blog. Please wear Headphones because it comes out really quiet!

 

Missing you all!

Sarah xo

There’s a few things that you pick up on here in Austria that you could never learn out of a textbook. I mean, being involved in Austrian culture is the only way you’re really ever going to learn anything. And after being here for 6 weeks (6 weeks. Oh my goodness.), I have picked up on things that we would never do in England, but definitely seem socially acceptable here. (Most of them I have noticed going shopping, take note Tesco.)

 

So Austria, land of the mountains and those cows with bells on. I have been in my basement (yes, sounds a bit inconspicuous, but whatever, I’m over the jokes now) for about 4 weeks and I still can’t get my head round the daily routine of this house. It seems that the parents go to work at different times every day, come back different times every day, the kids are here, there and everywhere, and sometimes I’ll stroll in at 9pm and everyone’s there to play cards and on other nights i’ll be locked out because everyone’s out and I didn’t notice. I also get fed sometimes, and sometimes not, which is obviously nice when I do but often very confusing and it goes to show that Austrians often do not follow some kind of order. In England, things are normally very precise. School finishes at the same time every day, tea is normally in the space between 6-7 and you work the same time every day. But obviously this is how things roll in Austria. Just makes things awkward when I’ve been in my room for hours, want to come up for a chat/food and no-ones around. So sometimes, things get a bit lonely here.

Austrian’s also seem to think anything can make you ill. As you may not have known, I have been ill for the past week with something, (thinking it was ear infection/tonsillitis), but I’m convinced that they think I got ill because I don’t wear socks around the house. It’s just one of those things, when I’m at home I might wear a pair of shoes, or just cope, but every time I set foot in their house I get told off for not having any socks on. Also, they think that  if you don’t wear your winter coat on a mild autumn day (18 degrees or so), you will die. Remarkably, it hasn’t actually been that cold yet in Innsbruck, so I don’t know what they’re going to make me wear when the snow starts to fall..

On the topic of “order and routine”, Austrians schools are also not the best for their organisation. I was warned by my main teacher before I got there that some of the teachers are not the most organised in the world. This is very true. Firstly, my timetable’s for both of my schools keep changing every week which is pretty damn annoying if I want to make any plans or go away for the weekend. I don’t even know what time I’m starting today, I could get there to find out that I have nothing today. I kinda hope so, I really can’t be bothered right now. Also, in order to make lesson plans and find out what I’m doing in each lesson so I don’t stand there like an absolute moron, I generally email or text the teachers asking them what they want from me. Some have been brilliant, replying straight away with a topic, how long they want me to talk for, and giving me plenty of warning. Others, are definitely not so. (There are definitely some people who should not be even teaching English, but let’s not go there.) Some have expected me to talk about a topic I don’t know about on the spot, (one of them wanted me to talk about the rules of the human rights act. I don’t know!) and another teacher proceeded to dump information on my desk 5 minutes before the lesson, and then on the way to the lesson said “Oh, I’ve forgotten something, just tell them to go sit in a circle and I’ll be there in a tick.” They were already in a circle when I got there, so I sat patiently for 10 minutes. She didn’t turn up. After being bombarded with questions like “Where’s the teacher? Is she here? Do we have to do this?” I decided to take hold and do the lesson myself, even though I wasn’t really sure what I was meant to be doing in the first place. Luckily, the kids followed suit and were really lovely and well behaved. When the teacher came back 30 minutes later (for those of you that don’t know, teaching assistants aren’t allowed to be left alone, at all), she decided she wasn’t going to join in and sat outside of the circle and told me to “carry on.” So, I had to carry on, pretty much alone, for the longest 50 minutes of my life. Afterwards she came up to me and said “That was a BRILLIANT lesson.” Of course it was. You sat on your arse and did absolutely nothing. That was my first taste of real teaching, and to be honest, it was okay, but mainly because the kids were polite. If it was a different group, it might not have been the same outcome.

So now, things I have noticed on a day to day basis. Austrians are ALWAYS late, you WILL get tutted at if you do try and J-walk, (I j-walked infront of a police car the other day and they didn’t seem all that bothered.) and going food shopping is like a version of Supermarket Sweep. The cashiers in Supermarkets have the quickest hand movements I have EVER seen in my entire life. Firstly, they don’t give you bags, which was a massive error I made one day when I had too much stuff to carry in my own hands. Things were dropped. And smashed. Secondly, if you are in a queue with a trolley full of things, and someone behind you has about 5 things, they think it’s perfectly acceptable to push to the front because they have less. This means, anyone who has actually gone shopping for a weeks worth of food has to wait EVEN LONGER because you have to let the queue jumpers past. Terribly British of me to say,” WAIT YOUR BLADDY TURN. I’VE BEEN IN THIS QUEUE FOR 10 MINUTES! I WAS HERE FIRST.” Shame I don’t know that in German. And finally, because you don’t have bags, you have to pack everything in your rucksack. And the cashiers scan things at the SPEED OF LIGHT. Not even kidding. Before you have even had a chance to get your Frosties into your bag, she has already scanned 15 other items and is now in a huff with you because you haven’t got your purse out fast enough. And THEN when she gives you your change, she starts scanning the next persons stuff immediately, so you then have to pluck out which food item you have just bought from everyone’s else food. Needless to say, shopping is stressful. If I can pack my bag, and get my money out faster than she can scan before I leave, I will feel that I have accomplished something in my Year Abroad.

 

Once again, I’m sure there’s other things, but I have forgotten. This week, I am in the nightschool, and next week, I have a few days off. Please Skype me. There’s a few people that have not spoken to me since I left and firstly this is making me very sad and lonely, and secondly, I want to know what’s going on in England 😦 So if you can spare 15 minutes or more, that would be LAVELY.

 

My Skype name is: sillysaz6

 

Till next time.

Sarah xo.

 

Well, as some of you may or may not know, I made an impromptu visit to Sheffield to see the Phat ‘Eds over the weekend. And I know some of you are going to be harked off. All I can say is Sorry, and I promise that I will make it up to you when I return. And I know a lot of people that I am friends with guffaw every time I mention Ultimate Frisbee. Yes, I know it’s not exactly seen as the coolest of sports, but I don’t think people understand how much I enjoy it, and how much I love the people I play with. The social life cannot be beaten, and at every tournament you meet at least 5 new people, who already know who you are anyway because you tend to see them coincidentally at tournaments every weekend. I met my best friends and many others along the way, and to be honest, one of the things I was most gutted about before I left for Innsbruck was the fact I had to leave the club for a year. I had FINALLY started to get better, and although I’m now playing with Flying Circus, the standard of Austrian Frisbee in comparison is not the same, and I obviously don’t want to get worse. So, one day, after talking to Hayley about how good Sheffield Beginners was going to be (the only tournament we tend to host all year), I decided to head off home. So for those of you who were there, weren’t there, or knew about the surprise all along and were receiving regular updates of my journey, here is what happened this weekend.

So, I was very very sneaky. I had only told Dizzle, (the Social Sec of Phat’Eds) and Doug (the Captain of Naughty Strawberries, the team I played with this weekend) that I was coming, and I asked Dizzle to be a mastermind in my plan. So, after spending the whole week talking to people, saying how “gutted” I was that I was going to miss everything and how I would dress up in my room alone just to feel included, I went to work on Thursday night as usual. As soon as I finished, I legged it to the Hauptbahnhof (Innsbruck Train Station) and hopped onto a train to Munich. I arrived fairly late, at around 10.30pm, and then promptly took the S Bahn to the Airport, and arrived there around 11.30pm. Luckily there was free Wifi, so I spent the night updating my google+ to about 3/4 people who weren’t from Sheffield. I wondered around the airport for most of the night, as my flight wasn’t till 6.30am the next day, (Airports are dead at night, surprisingly). At around 2am, I decided to find a bench, and “sleep.” I definately did not sleep. The most “kip” I got probably ranged from 30 mins to an hour, mainly because 1) Benches aren’t all that comfortable, and 2) The cleaners kept coming around with their buffer machines and waking me up. As many people know, I am NOT the nicest person when sleep deprived. But when I thought of the main reason for going, I pulled myself together, and milled around the airport. I had booked my flight out with Singapore Airlines, because it was the cheapest, and I thought I was being punished for the early flight. In fact, I was hugely rewarded, as the flight was making a pit stop in Munich after flying from Shanghai. The plane was the biggest plane I’ve ever been on in my life, tonnes of legroom, tv in the seat, equipped with games console. I was planning on sleeping, but a crying baby and games consoles meant that I stupidly decided that napping was for losers. I landed into Manchester at around 7.30am, and marched straight to the Spar demanding a Dr Pepper (sorry Luke).

My train to Sheffield left at around 10am, and I got to Sheffield at 11. After surprising my sister and going for a trip round Meadowhall, Dizzle rang me saying it was time for the surprise. I would like to point out right here and now, that I am lucky to have alcoholics for friends, because if I didn’t, this plan would have failed epically. Dizzle called Hayley, Ami, Jazz, Toast and Griff to Bar One and let a few people in on a “surprise.” I hid in Jessop West, and caught up with Mikey P (when I say caught up, I mean he talked at me for about 10 minutes), whilst Dizzle convinced people to get to Bar One. By this point, I had been awake since 9am on Thursday morning, and it was getting on for 2pm. Needless to say, my eyes were starting to struggle. He called me and told me to come to Bar One, where I found everyone with their hands over their eyes, (I wish I took a photo, they looked like absolute morons), discussing what they thought the “surprise” was. When they opened their eyes, there was a 10 second silence of complete confusion and awe. They looked at me as if I had come from the dead or something and then just blankly looked at each other. It was only when Toast went “Oh my God..” and Ami jumped out of her seat that people actually start to react. Hayley was absolutely speechless, something I have never seen before, and was absolutely hilarious. I WISH I had filmed it. It was such a funny moment, and one I will never forget. We then hung out, posted the ridiculous amount of Fritt to Jake (yes, more ridiculous stares from the cashier who didn’t find mine and Griffin’s packing particularly funny..), bought things for the Party and then started to surprise everyone else. Over the course of the night, I got so many hugs, and there were so excited people who wanted to know about everything. Just seeing everyone’s reaction made the whole trip worth while. When I finally got back to the house at 10pm, I completely K.Oed.

So, Sheffield Beginners started early the next day, and I met a few of the freshers who had joined the team. A few seemed a bit confused, as to where I had come from, but they were all really friendly. I played for a “pick up” beginners team because one dropped out, which involves experienced players playing with their wrong hand. I have learned that I am definately NOT a righty and never will be, (epic fails were hard, sorry.) I also played for Naughty Strawberries, who are the Sheffield Alumni team. They are always very consistent, and I am regretful that they let me play with them, as they are just brilliant (and I am not alumni, obvs). We had some very tough matches, but played well together as a team, (I even caught a hammer in the Endzone, Frisbee people will know that never happens to me..). I couldn’t play the final with them, but in the end they finished 3rd out of 8, which is fantastic, top mixed team of the weekend 😉 But it was good to see the Freshers progress over the weekend, and see what a tournament feels like.

Then it was the party. The theme was Music Genres, and we had been landed with HipHop. I am definitely not a Hiphop kind of gal, so a speedy visit to Primark meant that I had something to wear. Me and Ami wore watching shirts with the Granddad from Only Fools and Horses on it saying “You alright Son?” which for some reason we couldn’t get over how funny this was. Everyone dressed up, and everyone had their own little personal touch which made it even funnier. Top ones: Toast generally, he was proper kitted out like a Trooper, hilarious, Charis and her strand of greasy hair, Bubbles and his “Merry Christmas” tag, and Gav with his CD ROM’s. In the end, the night for me was incredibly cheap (as I begged everyone to get me a drink, “I came aaaallll the way from Austria..) and just filled with lols. I taught a Lithuanian the Macarena, had a good old boogie with UBU and Hull, and just had a great laugh. Highlight was when we had all stamped on Charis’ plastic baby and Bruin decided he was going to give it CPR. After being told this on Sunday morning, I couldn’t breathe I was laughing so hard. I’m even laughing now, what a tool.

 

So Sunday, we were all hungover. But it was filled with hugs and lovely goodbyes. So I headed back to Manchester at 2.10pm, and got there to find my flight was delayed. I got back to Munich Centre around 11.30pm, and K.Oed, to wake up stupidly early, (6am German time this morning) to make sure I made it back to Innsbruck in time. It was nice to get back (not) to find my timetable had changed and instead of the one lesson I thought I had, I had 4 to suffer though. 4 lessons about the London Riots when you feel like you haven’t slept for years is soul destroying. But now, I am back in bed. And so ready for ZZZ’s. But I have to wait for Maxi to get home to help with his homework, which won’t happen till half 9. Grrrr..

But anyway. Before you think of slagging off Frisbee, think of this. If I do something that makes me happy, then let me do it! Just because you don’t agree doesn’t mean I’ll ever stop. This has been my longest blog, because I just have so much to say about Phat’Eds. But I shall stop, and say, thanks for a great weekend, and I love you all.

 

Till next time.

An emotional, but very happy,

Sarah xo

 

So, now i’ve been here for 3 weeks, i’ve started to settle in here. I FINALLY found somewhere to live (was seriously starting to consider living on the streets, life was tough) and I have definately destressed to a certain extent. Although i still have to anmelden and register, for some reason Austrian bureaucracy feel that they need to start early and end even earlier. Opening times of 7.30 to 12 are just useless for me, so it’s another early early start tomorrow. Anyway. For those who didn’t see my excited “omgimnothomelessyay!” status (which i’m sure you probably did), I’m living in Aldrans, which is up a huge hill to the south of Innsbruck. It’s about a 10 minute commute on the bus, then a 5 minute walk to the school, so all in all, it’s fairly good. And it’s god damn cheap. 200 Euros, plus the 66 for the bus pass this month is not bad at all. Plus the family are so lovely. They have 2 kids who love computer games and love to test their English. But obviously, i’m there to learn more German, so it’s going to be really useful for my language skills, which were nicely tested when i woke up at 6.30am this morning. And they have the CUTEST dog ever, called Emelie, but he is huge. A MASSIVE Golden Lab. I should really stop forgetting that I’m here. But the “holiday phase” has kind of gone away, which is good. Because, one, I’m gunna have to get used to the idea that i’m not going home at some point, and two, I feel that this is now the opportunity to integrate with the people here, and distance myself from the word “tourist.” But, unfortunately, there’s just some things that have definately got on my gripe. Already. Nothing huge, but it’s just those small things that just seems really confusing for a foreigner living abroad.

 

But don’t worry, I have plenty of reasons why Austria is also awesome.

Yay! Austria!

  • People here will do ANYTHING to help you, so long as you just ask. People have the misc0nception that Austrian’s are rude and unfriendly, because of Germany. Couldn’t be more wrong. Everytime I ask someone to help me with accommodation or anything else, people have gone out of their way to help. For example, on Sunday night i needed somewhere to stay, but the Hostel was full. So I told Arno, head of Flying Circus Frisbee, and he asked around the club, leaving me in the hands of Matthias, who put me up for the night on the spot. Boom.
  • Wifi. Wifi EVERYWHERE. And it’s free, which proves useful when you’re homeless and need the internet to look for anything.
  • Although i completely slagged off Macdonalds, (still not their biggest fan), their menu is miles better, i mean, you can get curly fries and a nicer range of food, although, it is expensive.
  • School finishes at 1ish. Woop woop.
  • I have some serious independance. Boom.
  • Austria is beyond gorgeous. The views never cease to amaze me. Here’s proof.
  • That’s the view out my window, beats Richmond by a mile.
I’m sure there’s more things that are awesome about Austria. But if there’s loads there will be another blog. Now onto this that are severely annoying me or that i could do with here.
BOO Austria 😦
  • J-walking. Something that occurs frequently in England. It does not here. I’ve been told it’s illegal. Which is BEYOND ridiculous, when there is NOTHING coming and even tumbleweed could float past and you wouldn’t be hit by it, yet everyone still waits for that green man. Unfortunately, I am a very impatient English girl. Just cross. the road. Okay?
  • I miss Dr Pepper, a lot. I was informed that it was sold here. SOMEONE LIED. And i do not like liars.
  • Children’s behaviour in school. They literally rule the roost, and I’ve never seen anything like it really. Shows how much stricter rules are in England.
  • I generally have a hatred for Uni students now because of people making faking promises during my flat search. Idiots.
  • Food is SO expensive. Especially meat. I know we’re in a valley and all that, but really? 6 Euros for 2 Chicken breasts?
  • Austrians are pretty damn unorganised. Just arrive 10 minutes after you’re meant to, then you might even be early.
  • There are a lot of hobos here. But they don’t exactly go about it in the most subtle of ways. Some just stick their hands out and expect something when you’re walking down the street. No. You are obviously not homeless. Go home and take a shower.
  • The Tirolean accent. I’ve heard it a lot now and i don’t think i’ll ever get it..
It’s just the niggles. I think the J-walking one actually hacks me off the most. Maybe it’s just me.
I have a meet and greet tonight with some people, don’t know who. A whole evening of speaking German. Scary. And my first Austrian frisbee tournament this weekend! Woohoo!
Till next time.
Sarah.
xo
(Oh! and now I have an address, i want post. I’ll give it to you if you ask nicely. SEND ME DR PEPPER PLEASE. YOU WILL GET SOMETHING NICE IN RETURN. (cans preferably. thanx ;))

I have now been in Austria for over 2 weeks now, and it feels like a lifetime. I can’t decide if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. Right now, I’m on a bit of a downer thanks to constant flat rejections and general hatred of Innsbruck’s students messing me over. This is a real shame, because this week has actually been AMAZING. I left Innsbruck on Friday to go to Oktoberfest in Munich, partly to get away from the flat search but also to see what Oktoberfest was all about. I met Aimee and Lucy in Munich on Friday and we went Dirndl shopping! Everyone (and i mean everyone, even tourists,) was wearing lederhosen or dirndls, so we thought it was definately appropriate to get them, (although my bank balance has now taken an absolute battering, i have a feeling I will be taking the price of that dress to the grave with me. Actually, when i die, can someone put me in the dirndl? Then I might make good use of it! Ta.) We headed out to a beerhalle where we met Phil, Bill and Mel, who had come all the way from Berlin, commitment! We ended up singing a bunch of crazy German songs and drinking a bit of beer, before we headed back to prepare for the next day.

On Saturday, we were suited and booted for Oktoberfest. Me and Bill, fully kitted out, got to the site at 9am, and already the drinkhalles were rammed. We managed to find a seat outside, and managed to drink our way through A LOT of beer, with the others of course. Unfortunately, the beers were pretty damn expensive. 10 Euros a pop. And unfortunately, there were no lovely German guys to buy us anything.. But the atmosphere was amazing, the beer was actually pretty good, and I got to experience my first and definately not my last Oktoberfest! 😀

So on Monday, Phil and I headed off for our training course in Hinterglemm. We were a bit weary, after many of the people from our course said that the course was a bit weak and boring in Germany. We set off on our long but incredibly pretty journey to Zell am See, where we crashed into Kirsten and Vicky, who were also going, and I discovered that Kirsten was taking over my place in the schools in the Spring Semester. We made it to Zell am See, a beautiful little town next to the most stunning lake i’ve ever seen. We hopped onto a bus with a lot of Americans and headed off to Hinterglemm. Hinterglemm itself was a bit, well, rural. We were seperated into groups, according to where we were going, and I was placed in the Tirol/Voralberg group, (TV.) Herbert was our mentor, and he was hilarious. Eccentric in the strangest way, could have easily be mistaken for your own grandfather but talked. For a very looonnggg time. Unfortunately, this meant everything tended to drag. Luckily, the American’s good sense of humour lightened the mood, particularly when we were discussing stereotypes and differences between America and the UK. TV as a group really bonded, and by the time we were meant to produce our lesson plans, we were messing about, pretending to be German, trying to annoy our “teachers.” Purely hilarious moments that will only make sense to those who were there were definately “giving and recieving”, playing Boulderdash, STEVE HOLT!, and the variety show. I really clicked with a lot of people, especially the Americans, and i definately felt sad to leave them at the train station in Zell am See, and Innsbruck. But hopefully TV as a group will meet up somewhere, and hopefully soon. Unfortunately for our Voralberg members, they are fairly up sticks, so whether the internet has even been invented up there is a mystery…

The course was also good because it meant that you could discover who was in your town. Turns out millions of people are in Innsbruck. About 10 of us over the whole year. And already, people have been incredibly kind. Because my house search seemed to be brought up a lot over the week, those who have already found places have tried to put me up just for a few days, which is GREATLY appreciated. Although staying at Peter’s fell through (which I discovered when very hungover this morning, which then lead to a small nervous breakdown and a lot of the tears, mainly because I don’t want to go back to the hostel), James stepped in, so I am staying at his for the weekend while he’s away in Zurich. And already Pete has visited me in my house (Macdonalds ;)) asking how things are going. So although they aren’t German, it’s really nice to feel like you have some friends here.

Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE Austria. I think it’s gorgeous. Never have i seen such beautiful scenery, and met such nice people. Today, Tim, Peter and I messed around taking pictures by the lake, and the photos are just stunning. If only people could come out now to experience Austria in summer.

So, tomorrow’s October. I’m meeting a family tomorrow about a house. I really hope I get it. But apart from the housing situation, I am in love with Innsbruck. And i really, really don’t want to leave. This week: My first days at school, and my first Austrian frisbee tournament! I need some luck this week!

 

Till next time. Remember, you can chat to me whenever you like, I’ll get back to you.

Missing you all.

Sarah. xo

 

(That took an age to write..)

Ever since I knew i was going to Innsbruck, my dad and I had always wondered when i’d first see snow (Schnee auf Deutsch, sneeuw in Dutch, definately my favourite word EVER), I knew it would probably be before November, mid October time, but I was completely taken back yesterday when I woke up to a 30-40 year old American screaming ‘ITS SNOWING!!!’ at 8am.  He was squeaking like a child at Christmas, I was a little less enthusiastic at this time in the morning, but once I looked outside, it was exactly how you feel when it first snows, seeing the massive dark specs falling from the sky, Austrians dashing around with their umbrellas (I’ve come to learn that Austrians LOVE umbrellas. Even if there is ONE speck of rain, the umbrellas will come flying out), and many bemused but excited tourists from Asia who have probably never even SEEN snow before.  Okay, so obviously take out the Austrians with their umbrellas and the Chinese tourists but there was definately a different vibe to the city.  The ground was too wet for the snow to settle, but the mountains were covered in cloud and fog,  leaving Innsbruck in it’s own little bubble. To be fair, i was surprised the weather could change so dramatically. It was about 22 degrees, and sunny the day before. So i was definately stunned when it was so cold the 80 pound winter jacket had to make it’s first appearance of the Year Abroad, (definately a worthwhile investment. I was sooooo warm :)).  Apparently it’s not normal for this to happen. I got lost looking for a flat that i was viewing and I asked a little old German lady for some directions. She was very polite, and we had a brief but lovely conversation about Schneefall (Snowfall) and how it never snows this early. Maybe this means the ski season will start earlier >:D Anyway, the weather is better today, although still cold. There is definately snow on the mountain, but it is still covered in snow, so it’s not really worth a picture. Hopefully tomorrow it won’t have melted and I can take a few snaps 🙂

I am definately making very good use of my German. Just doing little things every day like going to the supermarket, going to top your phone up, and talking to the hostel ladies is really helping me, although I am little way too scared to call anyone on the phone though. I have this fear in England, so get Sarah + phone + different language = Nervous wreck. I even plan what i’m going to say, and just have a complete mind blank. This doesn’t prove very helpful when you are trying to organise meeting up with someone about a flat. I really need to get over this. Because 1. The flat search is going nowhere. 2. Most people want you to call them. and 3. It would be nice to sustain a German conversation over a phone.

If you haven’t been kept up to date about my flat hunt, it’s not going well at all. Firstly, the first girl was an absolute (insert expletive here) and really got my hopes up about this flat. She was studying English, said she wanted to improve her English and was proper planning ahead. So when on Sunday she didn’t answer any of my calls or texts, my confidence was severely knocked when she sent me a short and not so sweet email saying she’d found two other people.

Yesterday, I met two girls looking for someone for just a semester. The room was perfect, the location was fine, they were also lovely. The girl leaving was also having a Year Abroad in Russia, so we had a good chat about that. I don’t think my German let me down too much, and i explained my sob story to them. They said they’d let me know by the end of the week, but I’m sure they’ll find someone better suited. I sure hope not though!

And today, I explicitly said to the guy that I was only here till February, and he said this was fine. I arrived at the flat today, and explained to the woman what i was doing, and then said I was only staying for 5 months. We hadn’t even gotten into the flat at this point and she was like “Oh.” Oh indeed. She was looking for someone for a year. Clearly he didn’t bother telling her, so I had to very awkwardly look around an empty flat that she knew and i knew i wasnt going to buy. Schade.

Everyone else has either not responded or said they want someone for a year. Which is a proper shame, because I would be enjoying my experience so much more if I was able to have my own space, internet to myself, and somewhere to relax. I met my first German friend called Max, who was also looking for a flat, but he’s just told me about 20 minutes ago that he found somewhere. But he’s been really helpful and passed on the details of people he was also going to view later in the week.

Hopefully i’ll find something soon. Tonight i’m going to be meeting up with Flying Circus, the frisbee team in Innsbruck. They’re hosting the Austrian Mixed Championships on the 8th and 9th of October, and have already asked me if I want to play, which is incredibly kind of them, seeing as they’ve never seen me play! But I am definately looking forward to tonight, and hope that some luck comes my way soon.

 

If anyone wants any letters or anything from Austria, give me your address and i’ll write to you.

Till next time!

Sarah xo

 

(if my English is a wee bit rubbish and jumbled, i’m sorry. For some reason my brain doesn’t want to compute English at the moment.)

I’m not going to write in this every day, because it will take too long, i’m not that interesting, and people will get fed up with me spamming their new feeds. But since i’ve arrived in Austria, i’ve kinda wondered how anything we’ve learnt in Sprachpraxis is actually adaptable to Austrian life. For example, i’m not going to stop a person and say “What is your opinion on women in the workplace? Do you think there is discrimination?” as opposed to “Excuse me, can this furniture be delievered?”  Basically, what i’m trying to say, I’m using more German that i learnt at GCSE than i did at Uni. Examples, directions, asking for something. Sometimes i feel that the University need to cover more things that are likely to crop up in daily life than what I think about the environment.

I’m mainly saying this because when I eventually got to Ikea today (after a very long long walk, mistake made), i was bombarded with furniture. Not a surprise, it’s Ikea, but they tend to have odd words for normal things. For example, why do  i want to buy a desk which is called Amon Curry? I just want a Tisch thank you. That being said, Ikea was a nice refresher for vocab in the Schlafzimmer. And now i’m not going to forget what a bed frame is. So cheers Ikea 😉

You may not know why I went to Ikea, but essentially, I will not be homeless much longer, provided I can find some furniture for my room. The flat is gorgeous. Central, literally next door to the school, behind the main shopping centre i’ve been stealing most of my internet from and fairly cheap for its location! Sure i may have to fork out about 200 Euros for some furniture, but at this rate, i’d rather live in this beautiful flat and fork a bit of money out than stay longer in the hostel for 22 Euros a night and keep looking. The girl was also really nice too. She was interested in improving her English (even though it was already phenomenal), and obviously i want to sort my German out, so this sounds like a good idea. Plus she’s trying to find someone else to join us so it’s not just us too. Just have to call and confirm I can get some furniture. Yay! 😀

So now, i’m about to have lunch. Will probably have a gander around the University too. Remember, you can always send a text to my English phone, and my Austrian one. It doesn’t cost to text the English phone, and it really makes me smile when someone does. 🙂 Will hopefully be able to Skype once the internet is sorted in the flat!

Bis bald. 🙂

A happier and more excited.

Sarah xo