This week has been nothing short of remarkable for me. Let’s do a recount:
For one, the weather has been beyond amazing. I had forgotten a) what the sun looked like and b) what double digit temperatures felt like (except for those below zero). It was a completely foreign concept to me to stand in front of my wardrobe and not piece together an outfit made for the North Pole. Foreign, but incredibly nice. Keep it up, Vienna, I could certainly get used to this. But if you could turn down the wind machine a touch, it would be much appreciated. It feels especially nice to send my photos of budding trees and flowers to my friends/family back in Calgary, who are still wading through snow drifts. Suckas.
Secondly, after an incredibly successful trip to Vienna’s main shopping street Mariahilfer Straße, I returned home to see a stranger standing in front of my door. I couldn’t tell if she was waiting for my roommate, but as I approached her, she turned to me and asked in an elegant French accent, “Do you leeve ‘ere?” I only got out, “Yes, but wh-” when my eyes were drawn to a red, orange, and black lanyard dangling from her hand, “MY KEYS!” I squealed. MY. FREAKING. KEYS! I almost tackled her to the ground in a hug, but then I turned suspicious, “…how did you get them?” She explained that she found them outside her window on the first floor. Apparently, their captor had decided to throw them out the window (perhaps after realizing I had changed my locks). She aptly summed up the expression on my face, saying, “What kind of eediot steals keeys den trows dem out deh window?” I replied with, “What kind of idiot steals keys period.” I thanked her profusely for returning them to me and hugged them close to my chest. Not only was I excited just to have my keys returned to me, it also meant that I could get back my money from the office. It cost me 90 Euro to get new keys and have my “lock changed.” It was because of this that my friend Jarda (who also had his keys stolen) and I suspected that perhaps it was the Panorama staff who were stealing keys to turn a profit. As I begrudgingly forked over the wad of cash, the girl from the office told me that if my keys were returned, I would get my money back…but only 65 Euros of it. While it does suck they charge 25 Euros for something I could have done had they handed me the lock and a screw driver (hell, even a bobby pin, I’ve done it before), as a university student, I’ve learned to become grateful for even a penny I find on the street.
Thirdly, I have now met my fourth Tom (this is getting ridiculous). However, I’m conflicted about calling him Tom #4 as he made me cheesecake. Personally, I feel that merits a move up the list, maybe to #2 (as Tom #1 is greatly offended that cheesecake could trump the care package he sent me last week. Tough call, Tom #1, tough call). I feel from here on in I’m just going to call everyone I meet Tom, and chances are I’ll be right about 80% of the time. Although, I would imagine the odds of me receiving cheesecake each time would be significantly smaller. Tom #(pending) also introduced me to what could be considered the Austrian ginger ale. It’s called Tiroler Alm, which upon further research is actually herbal lemonade (although I’m skeptical to say anything definitively given the earlier translation of “bread gypsies upstroke”). I have a deep love for ginger ale, and given as I seem to be sick more often than not out here, finding a ginger ale facsimile (along with the Premium Plus crackers sent in Tom #1’s care package) is a great relief.
In the interest of attention spans (and the fact I’m actually supposed to be studying Corporate Finance), I’ll (attempt to, I really am a gas bag) speed through the last two:
Fourth, I was invited to a party at my friend’s studentheim on Thursday, and had an absolutely amazing time. I learned the magic (/danger) of Kleiner Klopfer, which is a small but mighty shot. But it’s not like your regular shot as it comes with an elaborate and bizarre routine (as they explained it to me, I seriously thought they were trying to pull one over on the stupid foreigner, but, apparently, this is legit). Klopfer means “knocker,” which is precisely what you do. I was instructed to flip the bottle over and knock it several times against a table (this isn’t carbonated, so I’ve yet to figure out the purpose), then you remove the cap and place it on your nose, put the bottle in your mouth and throw your head back to take the shot hands free. WHAT? When in Rome, I suppose. I’ve managed to, yet again, completely lose my voice after that night. I’ve deduced that it must be in part due to the amount of cigarette smoke I’m subjected to at every party/club that I go to as I’m never this bad after a night out in Canada. And as you can’t escape it except by not going out or standing by yourself in the non-smoking section, it looks as though I’ve really got no options other than to load up on Halls.
Lastly, I’m currently at Starbucks “studying”. Now, I hate Starbucks, let’s get that straight. As a coffee aficionado (read: snob), I can’t stand their coffee which tastes, at best, burnt and, at worst, like an ashtray. However, with the exception of my weak instant coffee, I haven’t had a cup of straight, black coffee in way too long, so I caved. I once described to a friend who accused me of coffee addiction that my morning coffee felt like tiny hugs running through my veins (as a med student, he reduced it to simply “vaso-constriction,” he just doesn’t understand). So even though I feel like I’m daintily sipping on bitter battery acid that Starbuck’s calls “Coffee of the Week,” I can feel caffeine’s teeny arms wrap around my soul, uplifting it. Hey, it’s not an addiction, it’s as a lifelong romantic partnership, and we shall never, ever part (except maybe in favour of cheesecake).