Tuesday, 30 November 2010

My Weekend In Innsbruck

On the 27th, I went to Innsbruck for Sam's 21st Birthday Gathering. Was really good and had a fun time as I hadn't seen any of the assistants (apart from Kieran) since the induction course and I was reminded that everyone is SO nice and friendly! Elina was kind enough to put me up for the night, along with Melissa and Abi, and they were all really chatty - felt like I hadn't missed out on that much (which i thought i might have, given my lack of doing many social things!). Interesting to hear about their teaching experiences, though and how they're settling in to other parts of Austria - think we're all in a similar situation, having different styles of classes but also different outside of the school.

We went to the Christmas market and had some Glühwein - kept my cup as a souvenier! :D - then met up with Ross and Chris and went back to Elina's to get ready. Had a bit of an adventure getting to the place we were going! Chris left early to meet Sam and the others at the train station and he took them to the Hofgarten. We went with Elina there but she'd never been to the tent/bar place there! So we spent around 20 mins walking round, shouting 'SAM!!!!???' before we eventually found the right way to go. Part of that story may have been a little exaggerated... So we sat inside the tent bit of the bar for a while, freezing and eventually decided to go inside the actual building. Sam had to leave early for her train home, which was a shame, but enjoyed catching up with the other TA's Helen, Betsy, Hayley and Kerry and the other new people I'd never met before Chris and Nathan.

All in all, it was an amazing weekend and will definitely visit these people more often! I hadn't laughed so much in a long time!

A Tribute to Leslie Nielsen

On the 29th November, I heard that Leslie Nielsen had died (aged 84). This upset me tremendously. He was an utter LEGEND and his spoof films are so funny, they have determined my own sense of humour. The Naked Gun (and the original Police Squad series) made fun of American cop dramas and Nielsen's serious portrayal as the bumbling Frank Drebin made the whole thing much funnier than if he had been played in a slapstick manner. Airplane! is another classic film and although Nielsen is not the main character, his lines are probably the most memorable parts of the film. His more recent movies were a little bit of a sell-out (Spanish Movie - he has 2/3 minutes on screen) but who cares? He's AMAZING and deserves any role he wants! The comedy world will 'shirley' miss Leslie Nielsen, as will I...

My Quotes:
Stewardess: Surely you can't be serious?!
Doctor (Nielsen): I am serious. And don't call me Shirley

Doctor: We need to get these passengers to a hospital.
Stewardess: What is it?
Doctor: A big white building with patients inside. But that's not important right now.

Doctor: I just wanna say, Good Luck! We're all counting on you.

Naked Gun
Frank Drebin (Nielsen): Nice beaver!
Jane: Thanks! I just had it stuffed.

Frank's inner monologue: Who was this character in the hospital? And why was he trying to kill Nordberg? Did Ludwig lie to me? I didn't have any proof, but somehow, I didn't entirely trust him either. Why was the 'I Luv You' not listed in Ludwig's records? And if it was, did he know about it? And if he didn't, who did? And where the hell was I?

Police Squad!
Det. Frank Drebin (Nielsen): [running gag] Cigarette?
Various: Yes, I know.

Superhero Movie
Uncle Albert (Nielsen): Remember, with great power comes...
Rick Riker: Great responsibility?
Uncle Albert: Well, I was gonna say bitches, but if you want to be a virgin for the rest of your life...

Scary Movie 3
Agent Thompson: Sir! Step away from the window!
President Harris (Nielsen): What? Did I forget to put my pants on again?

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

A Realisation

There are numerous times when I really want an Xbox or a Playstation. I see the adverts for the latest games and accessories and I get a little jealous – they look so much fun!

But today I realised that not having a games console is a good thing. I was talking to Chris, and was telling him about the pianos in basement of the boarding house I live in. I’ve been there a couple of times to have a bit of a play and at the weekend, tried to teach myself Fireflies by Owl City (which is coming along quite nicely!). I enjoy doing things like this as I love music and enjoy trying to learn such an artistic, respectable skill. It was only after Chris said that I enjoy learning whereas he enjoys playing his Xbox that it hit me how great it is not to have a games console.

If I had an Xbox or a Playstation (they are the only consoles I’d want), I would ALWAYS spend my time on them! They are a great way of relaxing and keeping you entertained but at the same time, it’s a way of wasting time; you don’t gain any transferable skills from them, you don’t learn anything that can bring happiness to others and it’s scary how much time you actually spend on them without realising it. Basically, people are becoming zombies because of an addiction to simple pleasure.
Learning to play a song on the piano in comparison, takes time and practice but in return you gain a massive feeling of satisfaction and success. So if learning an art is the alternative to becoming a slave to the game, then I guess I will continue to take advantage of the pianos on offer here and stop complaining that I don’t have a console.

Fun Sunday!!

Had an extremely productive Sunday yesterday. I retuned my radio to all the fabulous Austrian pop music stations I could find, tried to play the piano for about an hour, went on a walk up the hill where I live and fixed my hard drive! Well good!
On the first day here, Gerhard told me there was a nice walk up the hill to a hermitage and I presumed he meant along a road but I deiscovered yesterday, there’s a whole hive of paths up there! All of them are scenic, woodland-y routes along earth paths and there was even a notice board with all the information about these paths on it in German and English. I followed the most obvious looking path and managed to get to the big building halfway up the mountain you can see from the centre of town. This is Schloss Lichtenberg. I would’ve carried on to the hermitage but I left the start time of my walk a little late and I wanted to watch the Arsenal-Everton match online (we luckily held onto a 2-1 lead!) so I turned round after reaching here and returned to my house.

My portable hard drive decided to break the other night. Every time I plugged it in, Autoplay wouldn’t load up and the drive didn’t appear in ‘My Computer’, only in Device Management so it was impossible to load the files stored on it. This frustrated me so much! I checked online and tried various solutions, but none of them worked. After a day or so of getting angry, throwing it against the wall etc. I had a look in the box it came in (which I’d forgotten I’d brought with me). In it was a disk and a screwdriver. Dad recommended reinstalling driver software but when I loaded disc up, there were too many file names and paths for me to know exactly which one I’d want so I did nothing. I thought I might as well have a look inside, in case there were any obvious flaws. So I unscrewed the end and pulled it out. The actual disc part was still inside. I couldn’t see anything wrong with the end bit so pushed it back in, trying to be careful not to damage anything. But when I plugged the HDD into my laptop again, the light didn’t even come on…. OOPS! :S so I unscrewed it again, pulled the end out and slid the disc bit out as well. This time I reconnected the ‘teeth’ of the disc into the slots of the end bit, plugged it all back in and it worked. Amazingly Autoplay ran straight away, ‘Panda!Panda! (G:)’ came up and I was so happy!!! Have no real idea how I fixed it, but if anyone wants me to look at their technical equipment, you know where to come in future!

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Chris' Visit

Chris visited me for a whole 9 days. 9 days. THAT’S AMAZING!!! Was so happy to see him and spend time with him. The first couple of nights we stayed in my room at the HIB but as it’s a girl’s house, I felt it was a bit inappropriate for him to stay once the girls had all returned (and the teachers who live here might disagree with this… :S). Annoyingly, the internet decided to not work whilst Chris was here, so ended up watching films from the hard drive and from DVD to pass the time.
We rented an apartment in Kehlbach for the next few days. This was so nice – really wish I lived there now! The bed was hidden in a wall compartment thing and folded down on top of the sofa (HOW COOL!?)

and there was free WIFI, Austrian TV, a kitchen with proper cutlery, crockery, a MICROWAVE OVEN GRILL combi! :D and was only around 30 euros a night FOR THE WHOLE APARTMENT! I loved it! Haus Mitteregger Kehlbach

I enjoyed watching my new DVD of Coupling at the apartment , as I couldn’t really remember the episodes and they’re all really cleverly written and most of all, I enjoyed having a microwave oven. We had the best baguettes ever and could melt cheese into them coz of the microwave… fantastisch!

Throughout Chris’ stay, I learnt a lot about where I live. For example, I now know the city bus is cheaper than a numbered bus at only 80 cents a trip, I know how to get to the airport for whenever I need to come home and I finally explored the rooms to the boarding house and saw the table tennis room, the piano room (AMAZING!) and the common room, where there’s a free table football game and a pool table, which didn’t have it’s balls with it. I could not think of a good way of phrasing that end bit…

Thanks to Chris as well, I watched lots of films! We watched X Men, Dark House, Orphan, House Of Wax and House on Haunted Hill within the week, all of which I really enjoyed. I’ll probably give them (defo Orphan) a review on my other blog, so check that out. Also got Chris back into Supernatural! Well happy coz I’ve just got back into it and want to keep watching it. Still only on series two though…

Our last weekend together til Christmas was as follows: spent Friday back at mine and went to Salzburg on the Sat. Stayed at Turnerwirt again (slightly nicer room this time) and went to Shamrock in the evening again. We managed to bump into two really nice British people, Martin and Lil (I think that was their names), who joined our table and were good to talk to. They were only in Salzburg on a weekend break but they seem to have enjoyed it immensely. Adela and Manuel turned up later and joined us for a drink, but by this time it was time to head back to the hotel as Chris’ flight was early in the morning.
It was very upsetting leaving Chris and we were both emotional sheep, bleating like there’s no grass left in the world. But it won’t be long before I see him again…

Monday, 15 November 2010

My Birthday weekend!

So I turned 21 on Saturday the 30th this year. Slightly gutted I spent it abroad and not with the fabulously outrageous drunken party-goers at home but I still had a very nice night out, albeit a slightly more respectable one than my last couple of birthdays.

Chris came to visit for the week and he flew to Salzburg on Fri 29th, so I decided to meet him and we'd spend the night in a hotel somewhere. We stayed at 'Hotel Turnerwirt' - was comfortable and cosy, with free wifi and a computer and wasn't too expensive (around €55 for a double room) but was a bit far from the town centre, so had to get a bus in (although buses were from right outside every 5/10 minutes!).

We went to Shamrock and was so happy to see Nick, Mary and Rachel there! Had a really good catch up with them all whilst drinking mucho Bacardi und Cola and doing shots! As it was near Halloween, they had a lot of spooooky shots on offer so me, Chris and Nick did quite a few between us, with Rachel also having a few. She was an honorary Brit for the night! A couple of Mary's friends appeared, Adela and Manuel, who both seemed really nice and somehow got the bar to sing 'Happy Birthday!' Overall, I had a really good night and we had a hot dog from an Imbiss on the way back and then got in a taxi!

Here's a couple of pics:

On my actual birthday, I realised quite how much i'd spent in the bar... €60! :O can't believe it! But it was my birthday night out so I don't really care. Went for a walk round Salzburg. I found a 'Pound Shop' ('Euro' shop doesn't have the same ring to it) where I bought a spare mug, some forks and a pair of scissors! ESSENTIALS! So I was happy, although Chris looked in disgust at my cheapo side! Went to McDonalds for lunch (v. Austrian, I know) and then made way back to hotel. Think Chris wanted to listen to Chesterfield game on the hotel’s computer so I watched some Austrian TV and learned that The Simpsons voiced by Germans is WRONG.

Went out for a Chinese in the evening, where I got a free bottle of wine! Well impressed! :) We were gonna go to Rockhouse for the night (a gig venue/bar place) but I was confused by the entrance price. I was ushered to the people behind the desk by the bouncers and when I asked about going to the bar side they said it would cost 28 – 42 euros! I didn’t understand what was going on and repeated that we only wanted to go to the bar but the guys didn’t seem to understand. WELL RANDOM! So we walked back towards Shamrock...Met Rachel on the way and decided to try somewhere new - O’Malley’s. Would you have guessed that it was also an Irish bar?! AND it was next to Shamrock! Here it was very rowdy and loud but luckily we found a table in the non-smoking section so we weren’t being choked by fumes! Eventually we went home and the next day, me and Chris returned to Saalfelden.

Excellent birthday all in all just can't wait for the celebrations at home!

A Voyage to Bludenz...

These next few posts are going to be seriously outdated, but feel I should keep track of any semi-interesting things that happened whilst on my year abroad! So....

At the start of Autumn half term, I decided to visit Kieran in Bludenz. Luckily, K was also free this weekend (I basically gatecrashed his house for a couple of nights) and we did what we did best - went out drinking! This was such a nice change from my current lack of social life in Saalfelden. The first night, we went out to a couple of bars, one where K had never been but had always looked good and one that he'd been in quite regularly. The first was AMAZING! It played rock/metal music so we were both pretty pleased about it and there wasn't too much smoke around. Drinks weren't too expensive and there was a general nice atmosphere. The second was not as good. We managed to get a table but it was 'w'rickety and it was SOOOOOO smoky I almost lost a lung! :O

But we had a good night and managed to catch an AMAZING German gore/humorous/reunification film by Christoph Schlingensief Das deutsche Kettensägen Massaker. Definitely one to check out!

On the second day we ventured to Dornbirn. There we met up with some other assistants, Mackenzie, Xan, Kiley and Erica and had a drink and a chat in a cafe/restaurant place. I was getting extremely hungry at this point, but felt it would be dodgy if I ordered anything. So I watied... and waited... and waited... until finally we left!
***SHOCK OF THE MONTH*** Dornbirn has a supermarket open on a Sunday!!!!!!!!!! I was GOBSMACKED! So went in and bought a roll - well hungry - and some other bread to keep me full later! GET IN!

Mackenzie and Xan live in Feldkirch and they were having Mike over for the night so me & K decided to stay with them a bit and carry on socialising. Again, this was SO GOOD coz I hadn't had a proper chat or drink in AGES! Went to an irish pub but unfortunately only stayed for one drink and by this time, me and K were thinking about the trip home, so we called it a night and went to the second bar in Bludenz again. Tonight's TV included an American artist (speaking English) who somehow managed to make green splodges of oil paint look amazingly like trees in about 5 brushstrokes...