Wednesday, 30 March 2005


...Easter was good, didn't have to eat hte fish, but did eat rabbit, on Easter day, which felt a little strange.... There were millions of fmaily people around, including more brothers and sisters who I have to add to the list...

We got to do an Easter Basket hunt, I got cute winnie the pooh (puuh here) socks, kinder surprise chocolate and lots of other yumy stuff. It was a fun day... Although I think I've worked out why so many people smoke - it's depressing to watch people chain smoking (Michi and other random brother just about were) so maybe people then go hey I need an anti-depressant... Don't worry, I think it's foul and disgusting, and if I do a uni exchange, choosing somewhere like Ireland where smoking is ilegal in pubs and stuff now (1st birthday of that toady, under 20 people were fined for disobeying, so it'sworking - all over the news here!)

Blergh! Anyway! Going to a KAraoke party at Magdalena's on Friday, should be fun... Hopeflly they'll have some aussie songs for Elise and me to drawl to...!!!

There are an amazing amount of Austrian and German actors who look a whole heap like Aussie actors! Very scary! Watched this very funny film, Sex Up (if it was American it would have been terrible and icky I reckon, but because it was German, it was very funny - didn't tkae things QUITE too far..!) with a guy who looked just like Abe Forsythe from Marking TIme, there's also a Bruce Willis guy I've seen a few times (no singlets though mum), not Aussie I know, but you know..! Saw Sixth Sense in german, the 'I see dead people' isn't quite the same really! Titanic is funny, makes the terrible bits of the script really stand out when you don't understand much, specifically the 'Jack' 'Kate' (or whatever her name is) 'Jakc' Kate'...

Went and saw Miss Undercover 2 on Sunday night, girls night out... (Miss Congeniality), in this very strange movie place... smoking inside, they must pay millions for ventilation here, and a bar, waitress who served drinks to the tables (yaha, tables) during the movie... comfy seats though...

Anyway, think that's all, last time i forgot to chekc my email, so thats actually why I'm on the puter now... bye bye!

Sunday, 27 March 2005

Teehee Meredith, you're so funny!

Most of the hot guys are the random people walking in the street though... not the ones i actually meet or anything (hi mum, hi dad I'm here for educational purposes, really! Nah, dn't worry!) And there are actually quit a few out there, but there's also quite a few weird looking ones as well...

Anyway, just been to church, is Easter now (went last night too) and decided the Catholics either like to show off their excellent knee joints, or they want to get excellent knee joints, and do this by kneeling all the time -up and down, up and down. Very strange, along with the corssing htemselves at every opportunity thing. I don't go along with these, just sit and get strange 'you heathen' looks. they like standing and sitting too, but I think that's more because they need to strech out the pew marks from their backs every couple of minutes...!!! Last night I was doing very well, not knowing what was going on, but still being attentive, until I saw my most danerous sight so far. A spider, about 2cm in body width, walking acorss the floor. It settled under my pew, and I was distracted for the rest of hte service. Later I was asked if I'm arachnaphobic, which i'm not, but wasn't believed about the size huntsmen get to. It's jst slightly worrying to know there's a spider somewhere under there, but not know where exactly... was glad I'd worn my tall boots!!! In today's service there was a guy siniging who sounded exactly like Kermit the Frog, which was a little worrying!

The internet here is working now, which is lovely - before it only worked under Hans' id, so he had to log in everytime I wanted to check my email, which just got too complicated, because he's often asleep on the couch when I want to use the comptuer! Now I can use my own id, which is nice, I can put a pretty picture on the background and stuff! Yay!

Lunch soon, there was a big fish in the fridge yesterday, isn't thre now, slightly worried. although I know there is schnitzel for lunch, hoping I won't have to eat the fish (if there's no choice I will, but would really rather not!)

Friday, 25 March 2005

My family!

My family consists of:

Johann (Hans) - host father, someone important in the local Judo scene (does something related to that for a living!)

Erika (in blogs, Erika senior) - host mother, works at a nursery, does lots of stuff around the house

Simone 23ish - host sister, mother to Sarah and Baby Michi, lives downstairs with husband/partner. Possible smoker (seen her smokng once, but she doesn't leave a smell behind when she walks past!)

Christian - Simone's male companion, barely ever seen him, except at mealtimes, mechanic.

Michael (Michi) 17- host brother, apprentice carpenter, usually has lots of friends visiting his upstairs lair (right above my bedroom, have on occassion been quite glad of that 'fall asleep through anything' training our uni student neighbours forced on me!). Smoker

Erika C (in blogs, Erika junior!) 15- host sister, student at a neary training school (not sure what she's studying). Often out and about hitting the town (dunno what doing!) or something. (Illegal) smoker.

Sarah (Sally - how does that come out of Sarah!!!) 3 - Cute, in a three year old kinda way, loves hidig in my warrobe, and playing the 'I'll hid this ball somewhere obvious and you have to find it' game. Reminds me a little of Smeagol (sudden mood swings!) and is a fantastic expert at crocodile tears!

Baby Michi 2 months-ish - hmm... not much more i can say there!

Oma - Hans' mother, comes around and knits sometimes, doesn't do anything but knit funny socks!!


Magdalena - My support person here, plays in a rock band, addicted to tv soaps, very nice!
Elise - Australian exchange student from same organisation, 18, year off between school and uni, talkative..!

And I think that's st about all... there are people from school too, but I can explain them if necessary!!

Grüss Gott from the land of hte talking letterboxes!

That's right! Tlaking letterboxes! They've got bright yellow boxes here (as i nthe ones for when you want to get rid of a letter) which all have stickers on them saying 'Ich fühl mich so leer' (I feel so empty) and other such things... tix a slightly strange phenomenon!

Well I talked to the class, then had to talk to the geography teacher's next class too because the video player wasn't working and you would have been proud of my hand waving efforts. I warned both classes that Icould get quite fast speaking when I'm on a roll, and to just ump up and down and tell me if it was too fast, but would they do that... no...! Instead, in the secod class, after describing Hobart and stuff, I got asked 'so where in Tasmania do you come from?' the guy then admitted that I'd been going too fast!! Maybe my enthusiasm levels were a little too high.. I could see some ofh te guys in my class commenting on my hand expressive nature, so I think it really was quite good... Ooops! Anyway, my actual class seemed to understand, although now i know how exchange students feel, when no one wants to ask questions...!!!! Was fun though! Teacher kept on writing notes on the board behind me, which was a little disconcerting... they were completely random as well!

IÄve written a list this time of htings I have to write about, so could be quite a random blog!

My current language crisis is telling hte difference between möchst and magst. The former means 'would you like' and the latter means 'do you like'. They sound almost identical, and I've almost dug myself into a few holes by responding the wrong way - if one meant 'dance aroundi n circles' and the other 'd you like' I could cope, but instead....!! Toaday I have no i dea if I was asked if I like vacuum cleaning or if I would like to vacuum... although in that situation the answer has to be the same 'of course, my favourite pasttime'....

There are a lot of weird piercings around here. Especially lip piercings, but skewed to the side. Met up with the other Australian exchange student, Elise, today, which was good. She seems really nice, and has a skewed piercing. Got it done in Aus, but says no one else in Bendigo has one like that. Here there are millions of piercings and dredlocks. All very freaky. AS we have been drilled to say though, 'it's not wrong, it's just different'. Some things here are wrong though. People actually using hte toothpicks provided in restaurants and cafes fro instance... erk!

Ate a strange Austrian delicacy on Tuesday. Hawaii Toast - ham, pineapple ring, cheese on toast... Is actually surprisingly nice (as is their incredibly processed ham!). Apparently everyone eats it, a Dane was telling me (I'll get to my amazingly multi-cultural Tuesday in a mo!), and I can almost understand why. The only bad bit was the cranberry sauce on top. I'm not surprised they make Hawaii Toast though, looking at the homemade pizzas! Generally just abase with cheese and sauce, dipped into tomato sauce, like party pies. Had very good pizza today thouh from the other train station (not actually mine, but Elise and I were looking in the newsagent for an ENglish newspaper!). 2 slices for €2 (about $3.50), but good sized yummy slices!

I think I'm starting to look like a local or something! In the sapce of two days I was asked by 3 people doing street surveys, and 2 people seeking directions. The best way o get rid of hte surveyers is just to haltingly say 'ich spreche kein Deutsch' (I don't speck German). One guy responded in ENglish, and asked me all about Australia, but htat was ok! Is kinda good htough, I don't feel like a tourist, alhtouhg I can put the tourist thing on, like today when I forgot to get a train ticket (running late, hopped o nthe train, happened to be the only day this year an inspector was on there!) Just did the whole English, huh, what's going on, oh no, I forgot thing, and didn't feel so stupid!

Made a very nice buy last week. 3 books for €18 (about $30). Normally €10-12 each...! Read them all alreaddy though... Marian Keyes, way too addictive! Now onto my fmial ENglish book, A Tale of Two Cities. Am starting to read my German textbook though, in an attempt to improve my German!

Spring here is compltely different to how I think of Aussie spring (yep, it's finally arrived!) Because everything has been covered with snow for so long, all the grass is brown and mushy. When I think of spring, I think of lots of new flowers and greenery, but here it really reminds me a of a factory, shut down for annual maintenence - not meant to be seen by people!! OR something like that.

My first time on a train, going home, I thouht I'd accidently fallen alseep, crossed several boarders and some water and landed in Wales when I looked outside the window at a station name. Achleitnersiedlung. I'm serious. That has got to be the best name in Austria I've found so far (Rottenegg is next). I thought someone had sneezed onto the sign or something. just laugh everytime I see it (hence the fact I look the other way at that station!)

Red meat is very expensive here, and right now I could really use a good Mince Lasagne. Or anything with mince or red meat really. I even thought about how NICE a mea pie could be... Oh dear! Actually I think it's canteen food deprivation. I wold love a Cheese and Spinach pasty as well, don't think that's a possibility though..! No idea where to look!!!! Generally they eat a lot of chicken (dunno why, no issues with eating chicken, but 'hünchen' is just too much like hen and that's not as good sounding!)

Well on Tuesday I went to youth group. Was nvited along as a guest to watch them make films for some Oberösterreich film festival. This meant travelling all over the area (not quite sure way, it was only the leaders going places!), but I actually got to do some sight seeing - y host fmaily hasn't quite got the hang of taking me to see the sights yet - will suggest it soon though! The lady directing was Danish, lovely English, the filming lady was Austrian and her boyfriend/helper was a Sydney guy living in Vienna for the year (lived there for three years, last year in Aus, back to Austria this year). Slightly freaky. Such a strong accent htough. Dunno if it twas ust because I haven't heard it for a while, but took some adjusting! First native English speaker I've spoken to for 3ish weeks. Actually didn't like him particulalry, struck me as a little arrogant and condescending. Still meant I spoke to him, and revelled in not having to dumb down and make it understandable!!! Lovely! Then Elise today, which was nice, we spent most of hte afternoon talking about our host families and stuff. She's here until July, 6 month program, but Magdalena ( our support person here) wants the three of us to do some stuff together, instead of meeting us individually once a month!

Can someone please explain to me the thing of non-Christians always apologising on first discovering you're 'religious' for blaspheming? Always strikes me as a funny thing to apologise for. There are plenty of other sins out there, why not apologise for committing htem???

Anyway, everytime I move at the moment I get a whiff of cigarette smoke. DUnno which item of clothing it is, but something as absorbed the smell and is wafting it in front of me!! Seriously can't understand smoking inside - that is my biggest European thing I cannot come to grips with. Alhtough I am starting to get used to it happening, I can't understnad how people can do it. Spent Saturday at a Judo thing, people were smoking at the tables near the canteen, and there was just this smoke haze. I had to tie my hair back for sleeping so I wouldn't die from the smell during the night... Yucky!!!!

Must do another post, for Erica's sake (and I'm sure for lots of other people who've just been too scared to ask!) If you want to know anything specific about my time here, just ask, I don't know what people find interesting. My parents sent me this massiye long list of questions, about the school and basic everyday stuff. I can stick them on here if people want to know about that stuff""

Saturday, 19 March 2005


I'm on holidays! Easter holidays! They have theirs the week before easster here, school goes back the wednesday after!! Hoepfully I'll get to update again sometime before then, but ifnot, that's why!

Latest word defining horror: Juggernaut! I don't know what that means, how were the poor studnets supposed to define it????

There are always millions of jetstreams i nthe sky here, amazing, and slightly weird... can always see at least one plane flying overhead!!

Meredith, what happens when people are caught cheating in America, even on small tests in school? We've been told it means cousnelling and stuff, but I can't believe that somehow, for just a small 5 word spelling test??????

Have a mobile, if you want the number ask Erica, my parents, Ruth, Liz or email me!!!

Gotta go... Tschüss!

Wednesday, 16 March 2005

The students here are amazing!

They manage to talk through EVERYTHING! Classes, the teacher talk up the front, while the students just sit and talk to each other, and then today when we had a cool thingo from a couple of South American musicians, they were talking through all the cool music too... Oh well... it was good! They were playing hte pan pipes and stuff!

Anyway, I*'m currently 'in the market' for a new phone, should get one soon, prolly going to be the Nokia 3200, if that means anything to you (that one with a camera and hte clear case you can stick new covers under, and the weird buttons.... with 2 numbers on each!) I'll make sure people get my number when I get one, although will cost a bucket load to send sms' to Aus I reckon... still!!! I can get it for about $A167 here, although there would also be an unlocking fee for returning to Aus, but that's ok...

There's a student card here, that allows free travel on the buses, trains and trams, but for some reason I am not elibigle for it, HEllo, I am a student here... anyway... this means I may have to pay around 15Euros a week for transport... although I can get a discount card I think...

WEll I think that's all i have to say, although still have 17 minutes left, so may think of something else!! Will actually get some time now to surf! Yay!

We're finally getting into spring weather here, the sky is blue, I don't have to wear my warm jumper thing anymore (although all the Austrians are stil rugged up with scarves and beanies and fifty layers!) For me it's one of hte perfect temps at the moment! Just a slight bite in the air, but generally comfortable!

Btw, Susan, it's all your fault, I've gotten addicted to Marion Keyes - had to go and buy a new book, bought 'The Other Side of hte Story', it's really funny!!! Well done on the money as well!

Ruth, they eat SO much bread here, you'd love it!

Must be off, have to post some chocolate home... only 9 minutes left now, but have foound out the exchange rates, so that's ok!!

Belrgh, someones just started smoking... gotta go

Tuesday, 15 March 2005

Well there's internet at school

But it's really old computers, so this is all squished and dodgey looking! I'll have to go to an internet cafe to make it look lovley (to me!) Sorry about the triplicating thing, I'll fix that in mo, prolly... although may have class soon... German... 2 hours..... ARGH!!!! Oh well, have chocolate... They've got Milka here, yum yum yum!!

Dunno why I thought I'd post... anyway... I'm alive, I'll try to get into hotmil now...!

Friday, 11 March 2005

My Name....

And.... Here I'm I-mogen ('I' as in irate), or Imo-g-en ('g' as in garden) or weird mixtures of that and the proper pronunciation!! They've never heard of the name before!!!

There was something, else, but haven't the foggiest what it was.... sorry! Must be off!

I wish they'd tell us how to say things like 'the Tasmanian Devil does not spin on its tail' in German lessons! I'm going to have to write an Excahnge student phrase book I think - lonely planet is lovely and all that, but it presumes your a tourist staying in hotels and things, not a student living with a family!! Ahh well! I#ll deal with it!


The Austrains have a favourite game...

It#s called, lets see how many people we can fit onto the one bus.... About 50 standing with all the seats taken seems to be the norm!! Blergh, in an internet cafge, because the internet at home isn't working at the moment, so on a timer, and being Europe, it's a smoking place... blergh! Must therefore be fast!

I've started school, finallz, and it's good, in a boring kind of schoool way... My class is cool, and a group of girls has befriended me, which is good, they all speak english though, and like to practise so I havent been speaking as much german as i should!! Been invited to a night out next week, to celebrate Bibi's birthday (sorrz SMem!), so that should be good. The man next to me gave me a dark look, I think its the fact that y keyboard is so loud!

Every calss seems to have stock personalities! In mine are the 'beautiful girls' who haven't spoekn to me, and there's the typical back row guys and there's thecould be gay, or just the most vain guy I have ever met and there's the loud people....!! It#s mostly girls.... THe classes here are weird, everyone is in onem ain class, and that's who they do all their subjects with, in their classroom. They get to choose one subject (I'm doing german, which means 7 lessons a week!)... A bit weird....

Anyway,m in my class there is a girl who reminds me of Nikkki Rogers, another of Sophie Watkins, the English teacher is a bnit like Barry MacFarlane, keeping the class as entertained!The religion teacher is a whol heap like the shop assistant in Notting Hill, commands no respect whatsoever!The English, Music and Choir teacher, who is also my class' form teacher will do anything to enforce his power, so the calss has to stand up when he comes into the room (a zthing that some teachers like yoiu to do and others don't!). THe Phychology teacher is very cool, I don't think she has that much english, but she is verz funny!! I basicallz understood thepsych lesson which was good! Histroy teacher seems nice, we're dping WW1, so I pretty much know what's fgoing on, which helps a lot!! The geography teacher is also an English teacher, which is very nice... I have to do a presentation (in English) for the class next week on Australia and Tasmania (so if You've got any really useful li8ttle facts for me, now's the time!). The chem teacher seems nice enough, alhtough he wears socks and sandals (not uncommon here though!), nd the physics teacher is just creepy! I understtod maths (in a vague, comparitive sense!), which was nice!

There aren't specific lunchtimes or anything, just 10 minutes between calsses, for people to eat, talk and have a quick smoke in the 'Rauchen Zone'... Btw Bridget, I think the smoker's zones in Vienna airport are funny as - a palypen type of thing under an extractor fan!!

Have found the coolest bookshop ever, called Amaedeus, about 5 levels (although oione is stationery and another is coputer stuff!) including a cool english language section! Lots of books I've been meaing to lread ofr ages! And they're not expensive!

I'm gettin better at understanding people, which is nice, and the accent is starting to make sense to me... Rather than just a muddle of sounds, I can actually hear individual words!

Quite funny, my host father (Hans) is learning to knit socks, or something.... They're not bad, but it is funny to see him and my host mother (Erica) watching tv knitting one sock of a pair each!!

My mornings start at 6am, when I'm woken in a very unsubtle way, door opened, light turned on, and 'guten morgen' exclaimed! I then have to either catch a train, then a tram, then a bus, or get a lift with MIchi and a friend or Hans... Never know how I'm going to get to school, until about minutes before departure!!

Linz is pretty cool, reminds me a bit of Melbourne _ lots of alleyways and things! I haven't had a really good chance to explre yet, but am gradually doing it, while waiting for the Bim (tram), although I'm still a bit scared about going and buying food! Can't always work out what price the people are saying, and just gie them a 10 Euro note, in the hope it will be enough (has always worked so far!) THe girls from my class say tehey're going to take me around LInz and show me all the important sites and thigns, which is good!

Apparently this is the coldest winter in years and year and years, and it's been going for way longer than usual!!!

Anyway, must check my email, have 20 minutes left... the major smoker is gone now though, so that's nice.... Keep me informed or waht's going on in the world (I atually have no idea - they don't really have world news!)


Saturday, 5 March 2005


I'm feeling a whole heap better here now! THanks! Starting to understand a whole heap more of the language, alhtough still not speaking all that much! Even the dialect is starting to become clear!

It#s starting to be all good, and I can't waitto start school - then I'll be albe to go about Linz and look at things, do things meet new people etc etc!!! This house reminds me a little of a lodging place - people appear for food and that's all....

Well, about to FREEZE to death in here, so will go and put some more cloths on, and sit by the fire....

there was soemthing else I had to say, can't remember what though! Can't be important then! Sorry people I've promised emails to (ie mum and dad!), will do that tomorrow or something, will be long prolly, been on computer too long today already! Will write it out as a letter, and then type it up for you!

Friday, 4 March 2005

Oh yeah!

And, I went skiiing in the backzard (well, paddock area....!) Twas fun, but all flat so kinda hard work!

Jono, youäd love driving here, can go at any speed in lots of places, (bt scary when eveythings covered in snow, and you're going at over 100km/hour on a windy road!) although it is worrying that they've put down concrete or metalmesh stuff on some corners for people who don't quite make the corner on the road... Is kinda fun in a 'Ah, we're all going to die' kinda way! Was scary driving home from the airport, wanted to scream out, 'oi, there's a car coming, get tothe proper side of hte road...!' Then I'd realise.. hey I was jetlagged! Meredith, knw how you must have fet coming here and driving for the first time!

Well, first it was 4 hours in a hospital, then a three year old dressing me...

...and now i look like a beaverchop again.... It has been a bit of a week really!

Now, donät start panicking people! I thought you a bit of a frright! The stroy is that Michi has a broken foot, done before I got here, and he had to get it checked, to make sure it was healing. I was supposed to be at school, going to be dropped off, on the way to the hospital. Unfortunately, my class is actually on an excursion to LONDON for the week (as you do!) so I could have either gone into another class for a week, and then swapped into the '7th form' or just stayed at home for the week....Yes that means I' on babysitting duty in a manner of speaking, but that's ok, I can occasinally sneak off and read or something, Sarah is cute though, although she loves hiding in my wardrobe.... ????????!

Anyway, I tagged along to get Michi's foot seen to, and was stuck sitting in the one plastic chair for 4 hours, while he went in had something done, came out again, went back in etc etc! The seats, for placcy, weren't that bad, baywest should look into them... I stayed sitting in the one seat for sometime, and didn't have a numb bum by the end of it....

Well, Sarah dressed me in coathangers... she took all the ones out of my wardrobe, and hung them through my belt loops until I clattered most impressivly!

Ans my infection has come back, although not nearly as badly as last time, this time, only a mild beaverchop!

Anyway, I have lots more to write about, should go and check in my journal for anything important though.... Monsters Inc is on sundaz night, dubbed of course...

Oh yeah! Me being the most musical person of my family (haha!), has been put into the class that is doing a Music Major thingo! Tee Hee! I have to sing in the choir, but donät know what else I'm expectd to do!

Anyway, been on the computer for a while I htink, anything major and I'll add it, but I think that's al really!

Ta for all the emails and stuff - would write more here ,but am busz reading them all!