I’m not really sure if “ich lerne” is a complete sentence in German but I was going for the general idea of, “I am learning.” I really am learning a lot. Here are a few of the things I have learned so far in Salzburg:
1. For some reason, it is easier to spend money in a foreign country. I partially attribute this to the fact that I am dealing with euros, not American dollars and in my mind a euro is like Monopoly money. If it’s not the same currency that I use at home, it’s not real money, right? After blowing through a very large sum of money in the last week and a half, I have realized that I need to slow down if I hope to have any money at all left by May. It is for this reason that I am sitting in my room typing a blog post instead of enjoying Magner’s hard cider and singing karaoke at O’Malley’s with everyone else 😦 the good news in this situation is that there will always be more trips to O’Malley’s and karaoke is every Tuesday and Thursday night. I think I would rather spend my money on trips to Venice, Finland, Paris, and Limerick anyways.
2. Getting sick overseas is unavoidable when your name is Maggie Collett. Actually, getting sick in general is unavoidable if your name is Maggie Collett; anyone who knows me very well knows that I often have to carry an entire box of tissues around campus during the winter months thanks to my infamous colds. Unfortunately, Salzburg doesn’t believe in boxes of tissues. Instead, I have a 14-pack of travel-sized tissue packets on my nightstand. Thank goodness I was smart enough to pack a bottle of nasal spray.
3. Austrians love American music. Seriously. Every restaurant, cafe, or bar has American music playing. I’ve heard everything from Kelly Clarkson to the Red Hot Chili Peppers. I can count on one hand the number of songs I have heard that are sung, “auf Deutsch.”
4. Unlike some candy, Haribo gummy bears are the same wherever you go.
5. Austrians don’t have a Wal-Mart or Target equivalent, no matter how badly I may want them to. There is a store called DM where you can find drugstore-type items (shampoo/conditioner, face wash, lotion, etc.), there are markets where you can buy groceries and produce, there are shoe stores, electronic stores, clothing stores, and sporting goods stores. And they all close by 8 pm during the week and are closed on Sundays. Southwestern students, listen up. When in the middle of the night on a Wednesday you decide you’ve got a hankerin’ for some Velveeta Shells, a binder, a can of paint, and a new pair of slippers…you get into your little car, drive your little self across town and relish every. single. second. of that Wal-Mart run. If not for yourself, do it for me.