Wednesday, September 25, 2013


First Day of School... and then some.

So far I love all of my classes. I am taking a music history course exploring Mahler and his philosophy and music in Vienna, a music theory and rhetoric course, a musicology internship, more German and private lessons and a music workshop. I am blessed to be so challenged and to have such interesting material to learn for the semester. 

My first few voice lessons have been great. I am working through a few technique issues and I can already feel an improvement in the way singing feels and sounds. 

On the break that happened recently I did a whole lot of chilling. Although some of the highlights were Carmen at the Staatsoper, Tchaikovsky and Shostakovich Concert, a trip to the Music Composers graves, Dirndln shopping, and learning were I can purchase 50 different flavors of pop tarts. 

Also Otello at the Staatsoper was to die for! So far it has been my favorite performance of all the Operas I have seen this season. And there was a niffy tour that happened last night in the Museum Quarter for free. It was a modern, living art thing. There were 7 stops on the tour: a African spiritual choir, Scottish bagpipes, modern dance presentation in a hospital, Norwegian Folk band, 21st century classical music, Football choreographed dance, and the last stop was a punk rock party filled with people in fancy clothes, lots of confetti and a splash zone of popping champagne bottles. It was crazy awesome and only could happen HERE in Vienna. I am so glad that I came here to study and learn all that I could about music and culture and also about myself.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Third Week of Intensive German, Registration, Staring Contests and The Gathering

I cannot believe I am almost all the way through intensive German. It has been...intense. Finals are on Friday and I can't help but feel uneasy about it. I have completed my homework to the best of my ability and finished my quizzes, but somehow I don't feel like I retain the information to well.

On a sixteenth note I have registered for my classes for the semester. I am taking a course in Mahler, Music Theory, Performance Workshop, Voice Lessons, More German, and the Musicology Internship. I also have plans to see all of the Operas, including Wagner's Ring Cycle in its entirety (I am will be getting standing room tickets y'all). I also am excited for all of the learning and music making and collaboration with my fellow musicians (who are crazy talented). 

On lower note, I won a staring contest with a complete stranger on the U-ban. Now before you judge me, this is a normal thing in Austria. Apparently, natives just stare at people. It's a thing, don't even think twice about it. So in my orientation, the program directors warned us of this oddity. There was a few comedic moments that followed this revelation and then one of the directors said "Just stare back at them, that's what Austrians do. Just don't smile, Austrian's don't smile at strangers. Unless they are trying to hit on you." So now I have made it my personal mission to win. all. of. the. staring. contests. ever.

On a higher note, we had a gathering at our house this past Friday. Now it wasn't a party, because Austrians don't have house parties; they go out to bars or clubs because there is a city-wide quiet hours at 10pm. The idea was to have a game night and play cards against humanity and relax with a drink or two. 

So it started out small with my seven roommates. Then we added our three brass-playing bros from another apartment. Cool that's not too bad. And of course the girl from upstairs who is super cool and I love her awesome wit (Jessica you're awesome). The there was Julies Boyfriend Ben, who is really funny. With Ben comes Matt, their mutual best friend from their home-school. And I invited, or rather I asked Julie to invite because I never see the guy, a pianist named John because he is pretty chill, very nice, and knows a lot about music, which is my favorite topic to discuss at gatherings. The total is now at 14. And somehow another violinist showed up for our gathering and to this day I have no idea where he came from, (but it didn't matter because he is actually super nice).

Our small game night gathering of 15 quickly escalated into a mild party. 

And it was awesome.

People were enjoying themselves, telling stories and jokes. A moderate amount of Alcohol was consumed (and all of the recycling was taken down before midnight). John played piano 3 of my roommates and I sang with him accompanying. Other people played piano. There was a gigantic round of cards against humanity. And it was all finished by midnight, the kitchen was cleaned before we went to bed, and everyone made it home safely to their own beds. 

Overall, not my style of a Friday Night, but it was a nice change and was so glad that I was open to allowing this experience to happen. 

Now, will we have gatherings every Friday night? Hell no. But once in a while is nice.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Cow tongue, celebrating the end of auditions, and internships

Earlier this week, I went the Naschmark and bought groceries in one of Vienna's biggest open markets. The food was super fresh and delicious. So fresh in fact that two of my roommates found worms inside their fruit. I got ripped off when purchasing nuts. But the biggest faux paux of the trip was the mystery meat. 

I feel the need to try new foods now that I am in a foreign country. This is certainly a noble endeavor. However, as my roommates have advised me after the fact, one should know exactly what they are eating. I purchased meat at he Naschmarkt. I thought it was bacon or some other kind of lunch meat. However when I opened it up and started to cook it, I realized it didn't smell familiar. 

Then one of my roommates chimes in, "Hey, that looks like cow tongue; my mother used to make it all the time." So we googled what cow tongue looked like and it didn't quite look like what was in my frying pan. I tried to dig the packaging out o the garbage container and locate what it was called. Well the packaging didn't say what it was. So to this day, I have no idea what kind of exotic meat it was that I bought that day. 

The moral of the story is this: Alicia is not allowed to go grocery shopping by herself--ever. 

Yesterday was the vocal auditions for placement in the music workshop. I felt very good about my audition. I was content with my diction, technique and tone. As it turns out there are many very talented musicians and I am honored to have the opportunity to work with them, and grow as musicians together with such wonderful people. 

Afterwards everyone decided to go out to an event put on by our resident assistants. We were going to locos (a bar) for loco Wednesdays. Because my roommates and I are all auditioning for the music workshop we all went later than our fellow participants in the European Culture and society section. 

Navigating the U-ban as I-don't-know-that-much-german speakers is super interesting. We called our R.A. (who was apparently in Italy at the time and we had no idea) several times in trying to get to where we needed to go. Then we arrive and enter our first encounter with local Austrians. 

Apparently I have no idea how to order drinks in German. Also my rommie got hit on by this one random guy who was dancing in our area. I was cracking up because she was very unsuccessful in trying to display her disinterest. And then later in the evening I was hit on by that guys wingman and the interaction was interesting. The conversation follows:

Me: Wie heisst du?
Him: mumble drunkenly auf Deutsch about loving all kinds of women
Me: nervous laughter
Him: Wie alt bist du?
Me: Zweiundzwanzig jahre alt.
Him: Zweiunddreissig?
Me: Nein. Zwansig, zweiundzwansig. 
Him: 22. Shit your young. 
Me: How old do I look?
Him: I am 28 so...

And that was my first interaction with the locals.  

Moral of the story: Dress down at bars so I don't get mistaken for an old woman. 

On a happier note, I received a musicology internship through my program and am super stoked about it. My roommate is also participating in the internship which is mega cool.  

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Shopping, Walking, Ect.

We finished orientation on a Saturday afternoon and drove from Mariazell to Vienna. It was an interesting couple of days.

Fact: Practically everything (like grocery stores and many restaurants and pharmacies) are closed on Sunday in Vienna.

Fact: Grocery stores close early on Saturday, like 6 pm.

Fact: We arrived in Vienna and had to move in, meet the landlady, and deal with all of that craziness.

Reality: One of my roommates and I ran to the grocery store when we arrived with our resident Austrian RA, and grocery raced to get a few nights of food.


A few roommates and I decide to go attend the Stephansdom mass. We decided it was nice enough to walk. We found the place okay. Then we tried to get home. Imagine a girl in heels, dressed tot the nines for church and all hovering around a map saying, "Perhaps, I think it is that way?"

We walked in several circles. Eventually, we made it home.

I laid down on the bed and then "Hey, were going on a walking tour of the district in a few minutes."

Reality: It is true that the Austrians walk everywhere, all the time and a lot.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Orientation Update

I cannot believe I have survived International Travel. I have met many amazing peoples in my travels to Study Abroad. 

On my flight to Dusseldorf I met a very nice lady who offered me food and hand sanitizer. She was from Poland originally, but she was visiting friends in Germany.  During the flight we chatted about her sons, her beautiful garden and her cute dog. In turned I shared with her a little about my family and background. And the most ironic thing is she was a music theory teacher and I was to be studying music.

My roommates are all super awesome and everyone I have met so far has been super nice.

Once you get over the jet-lag it is all a pretty awesome experience


Monday, August 19, 2013

Flying out of the Country tomorrow

I can't believe the time to leave is almost here. The last few days have been spent preparing for my impending trip. I have said my goodbyes, without tears I might add, and have packed my bags. Although I am fairly certain I picked up a cold, because my throat is a little soar, but we deal with it. I am beyond excited to begin this semester and learn all I can about music on Vienna.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

20 Days!

This summer has been a roller coaster of the good, the bad, and the weird.

I started my summer job working for a movie theater. Which was pretty awesome. I have worker there previously and really liked my coworkers, bosses, and even the customers. 

My grandfather, whom I love very much and was close to passed away due to kidney failure at the age of 92. 

I quit my job due to stress and slight depression. 

I leaned how to cook, made many new friends, and trying to live each day as a reflection to the love I have graced with. 

I am still preparing for my adventure abroad. Recently I acquired a new camera and cannot wait to shot photographs of literally everything. I have been working on some new pieces as well as dusting off a few pieces for upcoming auditions in Vienna. I have all of the clothes I want to take with me picked out and waiting to be packed. Slowly I am acquiring a nine month supply of contacts, contact solution, deodorant, among other things I can't live without. I began a personal journal to help me deal with any emotionally challenging encounters that I don't feel comfortable sharing on the internet.

On the happiest note, I am dying to get started and to learn more about music and see the world as it may be.