Monthly Archives: May 2010

twilight xoxoxoxooxoxo times one million bazillion

the secret to life…


oh sorry

Guest blog post!

YO! loyal readers of transatlantic sketches. I am handing over my blog to Allison from Ontario, Canada, which means we practically come from the same hood, since I’m from Michigan. The only differences being, of course, where and when we use u’s. She writes a blog called Webster’s Law where she does awesome posts about postcards and music and everything else, and… well… here it is!
First off – what is Bloggerstock? Essentially it is an organized way to guest blog. The concept is that each person who signs up blogs for the person whose name follows and the thing ends up being a blog ring…or circle. We all blog on the same topic and this month’s topic is: “What’s Your Theme Song?”
Hello readers of Transatlantic Sketches! I’m Allison and I write at My Quarter-life Crisis. I’m a Canadian 20-something who is still figuring it all out. For those of you familiar with my blog, you’d know that music is a huge part of my life – so this topic is particularly fun for me. Normally I post a weekly list of songs (iTunes Playlist Tuesday is what I call it). I usually pick a new theme each week and I briefly discuss each song in relation to that theme, but here I get to focus on just one and that is very cool.
When I first saw this topic I thought, “Okay, so you want me to discuss my favourite song.” But then I thought about the word “Theme” – so maybe not so cut and dry. A theme, in my mind is something that might play whenever my character (that is, if I were on a TV show) does something funny, dramatic, heroic, etc. (depending on the song). Hmm, so maybe not my favourite song.
But then I revisited the idea and realized that the song I say is my favourite – my all-time-favourite-song-no-matter-what-I’m-diggin’-on-the-radio-at-the-time actually fits well with my life right now.

“Losing my Religion” by R.E.M.
This is the song I’d say is my favourite. It’s one of my “Heart Songs.” (Listen to “Heart Songs” by Weezer to know what I mean). It’s a song I discovered because my parents own the album Out of Time. R.E.M. is a band I inherited from my parent’s music collection – and eventually I pretty much stole them and claimed them as my own. R.E.M. was my very first concert. I own almost all of their studio albums, and a few “Best of” compilations and DVDs.
So why is “Losing my Religion” my theme song? Well, it has nothing to do with religion at all. The song is actually about having a secret crush on someone. It’s about admiring someone from a distance and not having the courage to do anything about it. Oh! Michael Stipe, you and I are so alike.

“That’s me in the corner / That’s me in the spotlight. / I’m losing my religion.”
I feel like this every time I like someone. Hidden and exposed at the same time. “Does he know? Nah, he doesn’t. But maybe he does but he thinks I’m weird…”
I feel numb and can’t speak.

“I thought that I heard you laughing. / I thought that I heard you sing. / I think I thought I saw you try.”
I’m always looking for signs. I read too much into things. I make terrible, awkward jokes – because that’s how I break the ice.
So during these moments of bravery and awkwardness I think it would be fitting that “Losing my Religion” played.

“But that was just a dream. / Try, cry, why try? / That was just a dream / Just a dream, just a dream / Dream.”
Thank you for putting up with me, feel free to check back at my blog to read about That Ain’t Kosher’s theme song.


i am back in wien again, and it feels so good. last weekend i was in sweden, this week i was in kaernten, austria for work all week, and it is so nice to be back in my own bed, able to cook my own food, and chill.

there’s a lot to write about and catch up on, but for now, i am going to just post a few pictures.

On the job at the Bundesparliament in Klagenfurt.
Three participants from the conference we just hosted for work… Lily Munir, Indonesia; Mossarat Qadim, Pakistan; Robi Damelin, Israel
Elaine in Copenhagen at Nyhavn (one of my favorite places, not that I know Copenhagen that well).
 Boyfriend time! Note our classy blue bracelets to enter the carnival area.
Elaine and I in Lund… on our way to party in a castle.

Hello from Klagenfurt

The conference is almost over, and now I am going to celebrate by drinking wine with the rest of the team. Hooray!

A is for Austria.

In lieu of any other news, here’s a picture of me with a very awkward looking arm in Klagenfurt.  Viva la Austriaaaaa.

Naschkatze here. How may I help you?

My new love in life... Elaine's lemon bars. Work is a dangerous, dessert-filled place.

I don’t know what got into me, but for the last week and a half or so I haven’t been buying chocolate. I don’t know why I decided to do this, but I did. Well, ok. I do know why, but it’s kind of ridiculous. I realized that I actually eat chocolate every single day, and that maybe I am addicted. And if I am addicted, maybe I should break my addiction by proving to myself that I don’t need to eat chocolate every day. And so I didn’t buy chocolate, but I found out that I am still addicted and unable to wean myself away from the chocolate and instead found myself buying things like cookies that (surprise!) had very large amounts of chocolate. And pastries. Although I’m for sure blaming Elaine for that, at least 50%, because the girl can bake. If I didn’t know better, I would suspect that she is baking just to watch me get fat, but that would be malicious. Right, Elaine? Are you out there? I’m onto you, girlfriend.

Anyway, thank God I’m over that stage since it didn’t do me any good and just reinforced my suspicion that I have a dangerous addiction to chocolate and also zero willpower when it comes to abstaining from it. I used to be so strong on the inside! But now I am just a weak, weak individual, powerless against ze chocolat.

Getting back to the point. It turns out that some things are universal, even if the way we say it isn’t… like having a sweet tooth. In English, “I have a sweet tooth.” Auf Deutsch, I am a “Naschkatze”… a snack cat. How awesome is that?

Attack of the Naschkatze!!


ay yi yi!

more brief updates! it’s so late, and we have to get up early to start the conference tomorrow.

i suppose the main points about today are:

  1. i went swimming in the lake at maria worth!
  2. i am eating my body weight in cake. (true story)
 The view from the terrace at Hotel Linde in Maria Worth (Karinthia, Austria)

Elaine, being joyous.

Elaine and I at the majestic Lake Worthersee.

And this is some very special news: Elaine got accepted to the London School of Economics for a one year masters! YAYYYYYYY!!! This is a picture of Elaine and Silja together in celebration :)

SO TIRED I CAN’T BELIEVE IT. Tomorrow I’ll try to write more about our hilariously ridiculously bad hotel… So beautiful, right on the lake, but so horrible at customer service of any kind. I promise that this is true. More later.

the briefest of brief updates: lundakarnevalen, vienna, and kaernten!

and i really mean brief, because i feel like i’m going to die of tiredness.

thursday: went to work, went from work to airport with elaine, airport to copenhagen, brief tour of copenhagen, train to lund (sweden) (home of boyfriend). sleep.

friday: beginning of lundakarnevalen (amazingness, which i will explain later), walking around lund for hours. ate cheese and napped in botanical gardens. watched swedish youths (ok, young adults our age or older) drink in the park. one group brought a table to the park and started playing beer pong on the lawn. hilarious. ate pizza. went to party. went to another party. partied in a castle. went to sleep at an absurdly late hour.

saturday: boyfriend’s parents brought festive and filling brunch to boyfriend’s home. elaine, boyfriend, and me, plus parents, ate twice our body weight in baked goods and cheese. then we went to a parade. then we walked around the carnival grounds. then we went home and rested. then we ate dinner. elaine and i shared special moments while boyfriend went to friend’s house for soccer game. then we went to another party. then we stayed at that party until very, very early/late in the morning.

sunday: two friends, “tired” and “more tired” (that’s me and elaine), got in train to airport. plane was delayed. airport to vienna, train home. was home for 15 minutes before i left for work-related dinner. got home at 11:15 pm. did two loads of laundry and cleaned house.

today (monday): woke up so early. metro to city center. got on bus to go to workshops for work. me, three coworkers my age, my boss, and 13 women from all around the world in karinthia (kaernten), austria. go women! kaernten is beyond beautiful. the weather was great today. i am hungry because they didn’t feed us enough. i haven’t slept in days, it feels like.

time for bed. my time in sweden was wonderful. my boyfriend ist auch wunderbarr. ich bin sehr mudig. liebe liebe.

mystery destination!

… a dazzling array of dairy products
ok, this is a mystery only if you aren’t facebook friends with me, or my family, or someone i didn’t happen to bump into during the last 24 hours, because i can’t stop being excited…
castle in the countryside…

this is a fortress on an island. part of the island is a unesco world heritage sight…

and the last one is a dead give away…


Brot, as you found out in a previous post, is bread. Two guesses as to what “Katastrophe” means. Yep.


I was so excited to follow up on my bread-making success from last week that I tried again this weekend, only to find out that my previous accomplishment was only the result of… I shudder even to write the words… beginner’s luck.

Oh, the shame. Oh, the humanity. Oh… the bread.

Last week’s version of bread was super delicious, but I had a few ideas for improvement: cooking at a slightly higher temperature, using wheat flour instead of white, adding seeds, and not using as much flour on the outside. Last time, I used a ton of flour to help pick up the dough ball because it was really sticky, but that meant there was all this flour all over when you were trying to eat it.

It was a disaster practically all the way through. I was so excited about my new and improved bread, but when I dumped the dough out of the bowl and onto the towel, it spread like instant pudding that hasn’t set yet instead of staying clumped together!! The HORRORS!!! So then I had to add more flour to make it become dough instead of pancake batter, which meant I had to KNEAD THE NO-KNEAD BREAD! More horrors!!! Then, convinced that I had finally remedied a bad situation, I started cooking it. No problem there, everything’s going well, bread bakes, and then… (can you guess what happens next?)…

I can’t get the bread out of the damn pot.

My bread is stuck, stuck, stuck.

I didn’t put any flour on the bottom of the pot because I’m an idiot, and now the bread is firmly baked onto the bottom of the pot. My kitchen, the Katastrophengebiet. Tears everywhere. Giant sobs. Rending of hair. The whole nine yards.

So now what to do? I have tried, mmm, just about everything. Including trying to put oil into the pot to loosen it up. Another harebrained idea that has resulted only in making the crust soggy. I am now faced with the ultimate and tragic solution: tearing the bread with my bare hands to get it out of the pot. I don’t know if I will survive this mission. It might just take too much out of me. And the waste of the bread! Cut down at the very blossoming of its wheat-and-seed filled life! Oh me.

This is what the bread looked like when I finally sliced and tore it out of its pot. Not so bad. And covered with seeds!

Edible after all.

And then I mangiare-d it with my mom’s homemade strawberry jam that she sent to me via my sister Beth. Mmmmm breakfast.

Mmm, mmm, mmm.

A victory for liberal arts colleges and an increasingly globalized world

Now doesn’t that title sound hoighty-toighty?

This weekend, I met up with Alice and Adam, who went to college at Macalester College with my best friend from high school, Katie. Katie and I went to high school in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and now Katie is in Seoul, South Korea teaching English and I am in Vienna. Alice is in Vienna teaching English through the Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship program, and Adam is doing the same program in Voralberg, Austria, which is practically in Switzerland. They brought along their friend Matt, who is also doing a Fulbright ETA in Linz, who went to school at Ohio State University and is from Powell, Ohio, where my aunt lives.

This wasn’t the first time I met Adam, because I met him in 2008 in Berlin when I went to go visit Katie there while she was studying abroad, and we all went to the official Madonna after party for her film premiere at the Berlin Film Festival. Madonna didn’t show. Then Elaine, my friend from Davidson College, met up with us at an all-you-can-eat Pakistani buffet, and she and Adam hit it off, and I think they are going to become roommates next fall when Adam starts a new teaching assistantship in Vienna.

Now THAT is a victory for liberal arts colleges and a small world. In case that was way too confusing, here’s a simplified schematic.

There, now I’m sure that’s much easier to follow.

Katie, all that was missing was you!!!! I wish you were here….