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Published: November 27th 2005
One hell of a mountain climber I am
This was in Gaberl, and atop the mountain you can see the entire valley where I live. It was gorgeous. In Winter, it's a Schigebiet.
Hello. I'm not a computer person so although I have a few photos I'd like to share, I can't, because I'm computorily challenged. At 23, I should be well computered. Sadly I'm not, for I hate them when they randomly turn off or erase my entire email. Modern times, these days. It's like a complicated relationship, you don't like it all the time but you need it.
This is, however a TRAVEL blog, which means I shouldn't be blabbing on about computers. I'm not actually travelling either, because I live here in Austria, and will be living here for the next 7 months or so (perhaps longer; it depends on how well I can handle myself around all the racist homophobes). Generally, however, I have no complaints and find myself to be happier and more satisfied with life than ever.
But, I do however do a little travelling here and there, that is, to Graz if I want to hang out with a Baron or see the Christkindlmarkt, to make a short day trip of it in Italy (part of which used to be Austria, stress the locals ), or perhaps to check out the Lippizaner, or white horses, in Piber just around the corner from Köflach.
I live and spend most of my time in Köflach, and many Americans who travel around in Europe with ridiculous backpacks and bastardize the capital cities by night with booze might disagree, but it suits me just fine. Granted, I like to booze it up here and there, but it's important to respect a culture, especially if you don't know the language and can't explain yourself. I have an apartment in the third floor of a big, old, red house and enjoy the company of its owners over lunch and dinner every day. There I practice learning Stoasteirisch, and forget all I learned about the German language these past 10 years.
The first thing I ate when I got here on September 13, 2005 was deerliverdumplingsoup. I was taken aback at first, but now I'm actually quite fond of the liver soup. When I smell it after coming home from my few hours at the Bundesgymnasium Köflach (no, I'm not a student; I'm a sort-of teacher/assistant/professor/whothehellknowsbecausenobodytheredoes) I get excited and my stomach grumbles in agreement with my salivary glands. Yesterday Alois and I were eating our Abendbrot, literally "evening bread", and he wiped his mouth with a piece of bread. I love it.
There's a really cute kitty that lives in the house and we have already bonded. Even though Hanna and Alois are against letting the cat in, I always let her in because it's cold and her poor little paws must be freezing in the snow. Also, when she sees me, she runs toward me meowing constantly saying "hi, Nikki, let me in now" and I can't resist her charm. The owners of the kitty, whose name is Susi are, however not as charming, and every morning I hear the kids squawking about this and that. The mother is ridiculously unfriendly. I think she doesn't know how to communicate, because everytime I see her, I say hello, but she stares at me blankly and sometimes I'll get a mumbled Servus back.
My friends so far are both foreigners: Marie, 58, French, and Rahman, 18, Bosnian. We see the world similarly, although of course not the same, which makes for interesting conversation and lots of learning. In my opinion, you learn the most by talking to people because it's active. You can spend your time reading about the world, but it's passive and you can't put the information into practice. Books don't respond, books don't argue, and books don't agree. I also thought I had some Polish friends, but I guess not, sadly enough, but that's a long story.
I've also met the town racists, who aren't afraid to say they like Hitler. My thoughts on this: people here are really conservative in general when it comes to race, homosexuality and sometimes even gender. I think it has to do with the fact that Austria denies ever having had anything to do with the third reich and Nazis. So, unlike Germany, which has done a considerably better job at dealing with its past, Austria still harvests racist ideas and uses the word Neger far too much. Someone, whom I actually hold in high esteem, told me the other day that "es gibt genug Jüden in Österreich" meaning "we have enough Jews here in Austria". Words like Neger and comments like that about Jews occur frequently, but it's not just the Africans and the Jews they talk about. They've got something to say about Italians, Turks, Poles, Russians, and whoever else tries to take things away from Austrians. I don't understand. There's enough in the world for everyone, and some people here think it's theirs and theirs only. Funny, I'm a foreigner, but they don't say anything about me. Aren't I taking a job away from somebody, too?
Punkt ist: Mensch ist Mensch. Human being. Period.
That was exhausting. I am going to publish this blog and get on with my evening. Love to all those I love, and peace to everyone else.
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