A Smorgasbord of a Post: Spring, Hitchhiking and DVD Players

Photo by Josef Stuefer

Small town living has given me time to consider and observe. Since I’ve been here, life, for me, has slowed down considerably. There is time to share a coffee and pastry with my landlord, have a meandering walk to the grocery store (but before 7:30 pm, because that’s when it closes!), listen to the birds chirping in the morning and evening or take a bath if I so desire. And while I didn’t end up penning that elusive first novel, I’ve been able to make many valiant attempts. This year has been a welcome break from the hustle-and-bustle that was the University of Michigan.

And so, now, I give you my observations of the week, which are not much to publish in independently, but combined, make a nice smorgasbord of thoughts…

  • Bad Aussee is GREEN. Last Saturday, walking to the train station, I felt like my eyes opened for the first time. In the past two weeks, the snow has melted off all but the highest peaks, I’ve sun-bathed on my balcony in shorts and a tank top and we’ve had a few days of rain and cloud cover. The result: green, in every shade! The trees are sprouting their leaves, buds are budding and the grass is growing at an astounding rate. My walk to school is shaded in yellow-green, emerald green, evergreen, lime green, pea green and everything in between. I thought I knew what green was, but know I really know.
  • Hitchhiking is OK when you live in the middle of nowhere. My parents, grandparents, media and campfire horror stories all taught me that hitchhiking was bad. And inevitably ended in kidnapping and/or death. There is a sign on the drive to my cottage in Gaylord, MI that says, “PRISON ZONE: Don’t pick up hitchhikers.” … OK, OK — hitchhiking is wrong and dangerous: I get it. But in the last two weeks, I’ve been the hitchhiker twice and in the vehicle picking up a hitchhiker once. And you know what, it was a fun, even pleasant, experience each time. I think my small-town area lends itself to hitching. When you could stick out that thumb or walk the 3 km to your destination under the hot sun, I’d say the choice is clear. I no longer have qualms about trying to catch a ride whilst trudging along. However, not sure I’d do it in the US…
  • I hate my DVD player on my computer. Why is it that computer DVD players cannot play DVDs from all regions? Why?? I purchased my computer in the United States and it can only play Region 1 DVDs, which have been produced, purchased and intended for viewing in the United States (and Canada). But guess what? I live in Austria, a Region 2 country. I’ve watched the same DVDs all year, and while my British friend, Frankie, can buy a new DVD every time boredom strikes, I cannot. Please, computer companies, take folks like myself and other expats into consideration next time and start producing region-less DVD players, OK? Thank you.

So, what has been on your mind this week? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Until next time!