Guten Tag from Vienna!!!

Guten Tag readers!!

So I have actually been in Vienna for a month now, but didn’t have access to this blog until I was already here. This month has been so crazy that I haven’t had any time to begin my blog until now… exactly one month later. So to catch you guys up on what’s been going on in my life the past 30 days, I’ll make several posts highlighting the most memorable parts.

I guess the best place to start is the beginning…
I began packing about 3 weeks before my flight for Vienna. When did I finish packing? –The morning of my flight. It was hard to pack almost half a year’s worth of clothes into the airline’s restriction of one suitcase under 50 pounds. But I did it… final weight at check-in: 49.5 pounds. Success! 🙂

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The only way I could do this was by taking full advantage of my 1 carry-on suitcase and 1 “personal item.” I bought a huge backpack a couple weeks before I left to use for travelling around Europe and stuffed it to the max. The other way I succeeded in meeting my weight restrictions: wearing all my heavy coats and boots on the plane. I looked really foolish walking in Florida with 2 heavy coats and snow boots on, but a travelling girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do.

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PHOTO: February 6, 2013. Me at Jacksonville International Airport. Ready to board my flight.

Three other students from UF are in the same exchange program in Austria as me. One girl: Dani, and two guys: Kevin and Rafael. None of us knew each other before this trip. We met once for lunch a few weeks before the end of last semester, but that was it. I can tell you now that after one month in Vienna, we have already formed our own mini-UF family. It’s nice to know when I go back to UF I’ll be coming back with three new friends!

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PHOTO: Our little UF family. 🙂

Anyway, by chance, Dani happened to be on the same flight as me from Washington DC to Vienna, so we decided to sit together on the plane. We got to know each other better on our nice 9-hour flight to Vienna. It was nice to have someone there with me as I got off the plane, especially someone experiencing the same overwhelming feelings of beginning a completely different and crazy new phase of life.

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PHOTO: Dani and I looking rough after a 9-hour flight to Vienna, Austria.

February 7, 2013
When we got off the plane, walked through customs, and got into the arrival hall, I found my Austrian “buddy” waiting for me with a huge smile and a hand-written sign with my name on it. She was so excited to meet me, and was so sweet. Once she saw me, she ran up and gave me a huge hug and kissed me on each cheek. I was tired and not expecting that, so this took me by surprise and I didn’t really know what to do…awkward. Oh well, I covered up the awkwardness by giving her a stuffed animal of “Albert” (The UF gator mascot), and she absolutely LOVED it!! She kept pulling out the gator at random times throughout the day and saying “Oh, so sweet.” I’m really glad I thought to get her a little gift before I left, because she was such a huge help to me.

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PHOTO: Me with my super-awesome and helpful buddy, Kordula, in the Vienna Airport arrival hall.

My buddy, Kordula, spent the whole day with me the first day. She took me downtown to pick up my keys from the OEAD office (company in charge of Vienna student housing), took me to my dorm, and took me shopping for home essentials, such as plates, utensils, towels, and a hair dryer. We had to take the underground system a lot the first day, which was confusing at first, but by the end of the day I had it mostly figured out.

I was relieved when I got to go to my new home at the end of the day because I was jet-lagged and exhausted!! My dorm is located at Sechshauser Straße 31. This was not my first choice when I was choosing my housing, but it is a pretty nice dormitory. It’s about a 15-minute subway ride to the school, and my room is very nice. I have a double room that I share with one other girl, and then share a kitchen and bathroom with another double room, so four girls total share the kitchen/bathroom.

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PHOTO: Sechshauser Straße 31. Home, sweet home for the next 5 months.

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PHOTO: My room

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PHOTO: Our beds

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PHOTO: The desk.

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PHOTO: Enough closet space. Yay! 😀

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PHOTO: Our shared kitchen between 4 girls.

One crazy thing that’s happened is that after just one month here, I have already had 2 different roommates. When I first moved in, I had a roommate named Elif from Turkey. She was very nice and we got along well, but she had to move out a few weeks ago to go back home to Turkey. As of three days ago, I now have a new roommate from China. She’s a graduate student studying here in Vienna, but she’ll be moving out in just one month because she has an apartment in Germany she’ll be living in. I don’t really understand her moving situation exactly because she’s a little hard to understand, but she’s very sweet, and I’m kind of sad that she’ll be leaving. Maybe I’ll have a third new roommate by this time next month, who knows…

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