I have spent a lot of time these past couple of weeks just being a citizen of Wiener Neustadt, and a student at the University of Applied Sciences. Sometimes, a couple weeks of chilling in Austria is necessary, especially when there is in fact school to be done, and a bank account that needs to breathe a little bit. Five months is a long time to be on exchange, so with this down time, I was quite worried that I would have nothing to write about in my next blog that would interest people. But maybe my everyday life and the all-over-the-place thoughts that I have daily do in fact intrigue my readers in some way. Which leads me to think that it’s cool that I have “readers”. So, while we are on that topic, I’d like to send a huge thank you to those of you who do in fact read my blog, it’s nice to know that more than just my parents read about my life, thoughts, and travels.
From here, I’ll give you the scoop on school and the exam experience that I had. So, for all you Algoma U business students out there, help me out. When you hear finance, you think Professor Dave Galotta, right? And when you think Professor, Dave Galotta, you automatically think okay, there is a three-hour exam in my future, yes? Well with this mindset going into my “Financial Planning, Budgeting, and Controlling” exam, how is an hour ever going to be enough time to write this thing? Short exams are the way things go here, which makes me think that we could be saving tons of pencil lead and pen ink at Algoma U. However, when I stared at my exam paper, my heart automatically started to race because in my head was in this hour timeframe. I knew I was ready for the exam, so when I turned over the paper I powered through it hoping that I would have enough time. When I finished the exam, I realized my heart was still running a marathon and that I still had fifteen minutes to look over my work! I panicked for nothing. So, lesson learned for the next three exams in my future, I need to chill out – the exam will get completed.
Now onto my thoughts of the week – I have done a lot of reflecting on the fact that at home, I have a lot of resources. It fascinates me how someone can completely downsize their life and be totally okay. I think a lot of us take what we have for granted. Living the student life, I have forgotten what it is like to have a dishwasher, a place to dry my laundry, my magic bullet to make smoothies, having my own oven, and even a waffle maker, or my apple cutter. I forgot what it is like to have a cantina (the Italian word for a cold room or cellar where all the salami is kept) full of ingredients in it to make all the things I like to make. Just a thought for this week and another “missing home” side effect, but it helps me to appreciate my life and everything in it.
Moving on, I still have two months on this study abroad journey, and there is so much ahead! I have an excursion with the other exchange students to Salzburg, I am going to Dubrovnik, Croatia with my friends, and I will be meeting family in Rome to tour Italy and Greece. Then, I will have all of June when my final trips to Vienna will happen and my semester will come to an end. I will begin a two-week journey with my brother and cousin to tour Denmark, Germany and the Czech Republic. There is so much in store, and it is going to pass by so quickly, it is hard to believe all of this is on its way! I am trying to embrace my time, which is a lot harder than it sounds. To miss home and want to be with loved ones again, but at the same time want to embrace every second and not let the time slip away. It’s difficult let me tell you!
Aside from all the above, I have in fact seen a little bit more of Austria. My friends and I spent a couple of days in Vienna in addition to visiting Neusiedl am See to attend the Surf Worldcup that was being held there. It was such a fun event held on Lake Neusiedl, which is the largest endorheic lake in Central Europe. My friends and I had the opportunity to witness some professional wind surfers while also embracing the beautiful weather and the event itself. It was a weeklong event with live music and a DJ playing music from the water. There were food and drink stands all around and even a mini Ferris wheel. We also spontaneously ran into the lake, which I did not regret for a second. It was pure refreshment. It felt so great to attend and participate in an event in Austria. The country is still my favorite of all the countries that I have been to so far, and it’s awesome to be a part of the community.
Finally, I just want to take some time to talk about the walk I went on today. This was one of those, I’m going to power-walk-like-my-mom-to-clear-my-head kind of walks, and I was hoping that this walk was going to change my mood. I have a sick puppy at home right now, and the news has been brought to me that she will not be wagging her tail when I return. With this topic on my mind, some fresh air and my Journey playlist seemed like an appropriate activity. I took a route that leads to the open fields of Wiener Neustadt, but little did I know, I would come across so much beauty. My power walk turned into a stroll as I did indeed stop to smell the roses, and even took a moment to capture what I saw. All I did was go for a walk to clear my head, and went from upset, to enlightened all within an hour span of time.
So, what I can take from these past couple of weeks is to find beauty in your surroundings. When something goes wrong, or even if you feel like there is nothing exciting happening, look at what is around you, you might surprise yourself at the little things that can brighten your day.
PS. Have a sangria night, enjoy a spread of food that reminds you of home, go bowling with friends, and maybe do something spontaneous. It all enhances the experience.