Elizabeth Hiatt 
Johannes-Kepler Universitat Linz

Another week has absolutely flown by! I can’t believe I’ve been here for two weeks already. I had a real shock when I realized I’d only be spending another four months here… To some that may seem like a long time but I feel like at the end I’ll be looking back not knowing where the time went.

Monday was my 21st birthday! Not that it’s really that big of a deal here because the drinking age is younger, but I was very excited! Some of my friends surprised me with cake and presents, and I felt so lucky! That night there also happened to be a Carnaval party, so I had two reasons to celebrate. Carnaval is pretty much just one giant party – you can dress up in costumes and everyone celebrates. Some of the other students and I decided to use our bed sheets and go “toga style.” It was a great time!

I’ve continued to have German class this week, and I’m learning a lot. I successfully managed to ask a server at a restaurant some questions and he understood me! I like to count the small victories. I also did my laundry this week and that is definitely a process… I needed to bring my dictionary so I could get an idea of what the washers and dryers said. And in the end my clothes weren’t all the way dry! I’ve registered for classes, and so far it looks like the scheduling pretty much works out. I only have a class conflict on one day. Most of my classes meet once a week for a couple hours, but my German class will meet twice a week. I do have one class I might be taking that only meets for one day… for 8 hours! We’ll see how that goes. I finally got my bankcard this week, and it works so that made me really happy.

On Saturday I went into the city with some friends to visit a flea market. Apparently flea markets and open-air food markets are pretty common. I really enjoyed looking through all the things people had to sell. There was everything from books to bikes to dishes to clothes to chandeliers. Afterwards we had lunch and then I took some more time to check out some of the stores in the city center. There are so many bakeries… I have to fight myself not spend all of my money there! I went into one store called Thalia, and it turned out to be a bookstore. A four-floor bookstore! I was in heaven! I also went to a store called Kika that’s a little bit like Ikea. They have furniture and other various household goods. One my way back it seemed like the tram was delayed for some reason (haha I couldn’t read the scrolling message…), so I decided to start walking back to the University. It was a beautiful day and unusually warm, so I enjoyed the walk immensely. I can only hope that Spring might be around the corner, but I'm not getting my hopes up too much as it's supposed to get colder later this week. Eventually, though, a tram did stop by so I didn’t have to walk all the way back. Saturday night my mentor here and the other members of our group of exchange students met the last member of our group. She’s from Korea, and she had to stay there until recently because she needed to be present at an interview, so she only arrived here the day before yesterday. We took here to the grocery store because we knew it would be closed today! Later while we were hanging out I decided that I wanted to make cookies despite the fact that I didn’t have a baking pan, all the right ingredients, or any measuring cups or spoons. Surprisingly, they turned out to be edible.

I’ve pretty much spent today doing things around the flat. This morning some other girls on my floor and I cooked breakfast! One girl made homemade pancakes that were absolutely delicious (there were some strawberries to go with them!), and I brought eggs, toast, and some fruit. I have my first test tomorrow. It’s for the Pre-Semester German class that I’m taking here, and despite needing to know a lot of vocabulary I think it’ll go well. Or, at least, I’m hoping that it will! Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday I’m going to a Cultural Sensitivity Training course, and then Friday we leave for Budapest for the weekend! I’m beyond excited, and I can’t wait!

Ok I think this post was a little bit more manageable haha. I’ll post more pictures next time! Especially a lot from Budapest!

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