Oh, hi there!

Waves on Lake Michigan; Grand Haven, MI

Well, hey there Blogging World, how’s it going? It’s only been about a million years since I’ve updated and I’m terribly sorry about that. It’s been such a busy summer that I’ve barely tackled anything on my Bucket List, (sadly). Alas, c’est la vie, and I really can’t complain, as I’ve been so busy that free time was minimal anyway.

What were you so busy doing?, you might ask. Well, let me elaborate…

  1. BELL Summer Program. After a month of “vacation” (aka, sliding back into my American life) and spending time with family/friends, I started up teaching (well, teacher assisting) summer school in Detroit at the William Beckham Academy. Detroit, Home of 8 Mile, is the #1 most dangerous American city, as ranked by Forbes.com, and one of the top 10 most dangerous cities in the world (along with Baghdad), as ranked by CNN.com. Yes, friends, I was busy teaching little rambunctious kindergarteners for 6 weeks in this fabled Michigan city. And while I was never told to “Fuck off!” or called a “fat bitch” by my students (like other TAs I know), I sure had my hands full. Five year olds do not listen to logic, nor do they respond well to a raised voice. Additionally, these kids needed more help than I could give; a number of them could not write their own name or identify all the letters in the alphabet. It’s hard to imagine that a 1st grader could not write her name, but I encountered it. My time there was difficult and tiring, but I miss those sweet little hellions more than you know.
  2. Logan’s Roadhouse. BELL ended nearly a month ago now (I can’t even believe it), so I was quickly on the hunt for another job… And I found one, hosting at Logan’s Roadhouse. If you’ve never heard of it, it’s “The Real America Roadhouse,” as they say, and we’re famous for steaks and peanut shells on the floor (woo.).

Beyond that, it’s pretty much been “business as usual” around here. I have managed to make it to 7 concerts (Brad Paisley, Something Corporate, Passion Pit, MGMT, Tom Petty, Pink Floyd Laser Spectacular, Lynyrd Skynyrd), and I have a few more up my sleeve. Believe it or not, I won concert tickets to Eminem and Jay-Z. The two are only playing a few shows in their respective hometowns (Detroit and New York City) so it will be a wild night in Detroit, (September 2nd!).

I have spent some time Up North and on the west side. My family went up to Traverse City for the Cherry Festival, and that place couldn’t be more beautiful. I hope to spend more time there in the future. Also, I ventured to Grand Haven for the Coast Guard Festival and the waves on Lake Michigan were 3-4 feet high! People were surfing them, for Pete’s sake! So I have managed to get in some travel. 🙂

One thing that was on my Bucket List that I did was learn how to golf! I really enjoy it, though I never thought I would. I’m not very good, but then again not too bad for a beginning lefty who is golfing right-handed. Hopefully I’ll get out to the driving range again this week.

I’m gearing up to go back to Austria, and can’t wait for another year of (mis)adventure. (Part of the reason I chose to make this post, to get the blog wheels once again turning.) I still have a number of posts in mind about my trip to Berlin, so I hope to get to those before I land in Austria.

Hope everyone is well.
Cheers,
Alaina

A Very Styrian St. Patrick’s Day

Yesterday, as you all know, was St. Patrick’s Day. I had two classes yesterday, and only two students were wearing green! A little sad, but oh well. I told the students they could pinch those who were not wearing green, and I ended up with the whole class PUNCHing each other, so I had to put a quick end to that. As you can imagine, St. Patrick’s Day is not a very big holiday here in the middle of Austria, but I found a way to celebrate.

First, I scoured the grocery stores for Guinness — no luck. But, inspiration struck and I instead purchased normal Gösser beer and some food coloring — VoilĂ ! my very own homemade green beer. Of course, I needed the other Irish staple, potatoes, in my celebration, so I picked up a bag of potato chips. Ha Ha.

My St. Patrick’s Day “meal”
Maize + blue = green!

Zandra, an English assistant from a few years ago who settled down here in BA, invited me over to her house for some whiskey before we headed to Salzhaus, the local, and only, disco. She had Bushmills, and it reminded me of friends from home. At Salzhaus, there was a St. Patrick’s Day celebration of sorts — Guinness, whiskey, lots of my students and Irish music. I had dug up some green eyeliner, and we gave everyone a shamrock on their cheek. Zandra gave the bartender green food coloring, so everyone was getting green beer last night! Also, Zandra had convinced the Austrians that the Irish wear potato necklaces on St. Patrick’s Day, ha ha! We all had legumes around our necks…

Mmm, I love Guinness!
Salzhaus celebration
Woooo, St. Patrick’s Day!
Someone got a little inappropriate with the green eyeliner…

The students had brought a big Irish flag with them to the bar, and today it was hanging in their classroom.

Yesterday was my first time really drinking whiskey, and I must say I like it. Never could I drink straight vodka or rum, but straight Irish whiskey is actually quiet tasty. I also had an Irish whiskey highball, which is ginger ale and Irish whiskey, but last night’s drink also had muddled lime and lemon in it. Very delicious! However, the whiskey did give me a pretty bad hangover headache…

Also today, I was in my first class and noticed that something stank like poo. I thought nothing of it, maybe a smell had gotten in the class from outside. I went to my next class and sat down to read an article with them. I again noticed the smell. I thought, “It must be me that smells…” I then looked down at my shoe and saw DOG POOP all over it! I pulled my foot up to my nose to check, and, indeed, it was poo. The students found this absolutely hilarious and laughed as I put the shoe in the hallway. Took a while to get the class back in order after that one.

I’m going to Graz this weekend — looking forward to getting out of Bad Aussee and seeing some friends. I’m getting quite excited to go home — I really miss my family and friends from home. Not long now!

Cheers,
Alaina