Monday, March 15, 2010
Techo-Musik und Kaffee Treffungen (Techno Beats and Coffee Dates)
Hey y’all! I’m back! (Along with the “awkward turtle,” I am spreading the magic of the word “y’all” around the world. European accents + Southern drawl = AMAZING. Ha ha.)
Hmmm… So it’s been almost a week since I last updated. You’d theoretically think I would have a lot to say. Let’s see what I can drudge up…
OOOOOHHHHH! This is fun! Last Thursday, the ESN (Exchange Student Network) hosted a HUGE party at a Diskothek (Disko for short. It’s the European name for a dance club, not a John Travolta shrine). The party took place at the Postgarage. The name fits it perfectly; from the outside, it honestly looks like an old converted garage. On the inside, however, it’s quite large and is the perfect place for an international party.
Now despite its rather significant size, the Postgarage struggled to accommodate all the guests. Let’s just say that the Fire Marshall would have not been very happy (especially the Fire Marshall in Stillwater, Oklahoma. If he frowned upon the Flash Rave during finals week, he would have had a cow AND thrown hissy fit if he had seen this). In other words, it was very crowded. And very warm. And there was a lot of smoke. BUT it was still a BLAST!
So what does one do at a disko? You might be asking. Well, silly, what do you think?! You dance! Don’t know how to dance? No worries! The constant, incessant pounding of a high-decibel techno beat will have you bee-bopping up and down in no time at all. Don’t think you know any techno songs? Think again! You know plenty of songs that Europe transforms into techno. That’s right; you name it, and they give it a techno beat. My personal favorite of the evening was the theme from “Pirates of the Caribbean.” Bust a move, Jack Sparrow!
Anyway, the party was a BLAST! (did I already mention that?) In fact, it was so much fun, that I really didn’t want to leave. But sadly, I did… at 3:30 a.m. I don’t think my roomie got back until 4:30 or 5 (and she had class the next morning at 8:30), so I was actually relatively early…. ish. :/
Naturally, the next day I was pretty tired. But did I fall asleep in class? No, of course not! It’s kind of hard to fall asleep in class… when you don’t have class! Yes, welcome to the world of 3-day weekends—every weekend. :) Do I love Austria or what?
Speaking of classes, let me give you a quick run-down of my schedule. I am currently taking 12 hours (15 if you count the German intensive course which is already done). And here are my classes:
Monday 8:15-9:30 “Main Topics in Austrian History” (in German)
Monday 16:00-17:30 “Modern State and the Search for International Order” (in English)
Tuesday 14:00-16:00 “Hungary since 1848” (in English, with a professor from Toronto)
Tuesday 16:15-17:45 “Constitutional Issues of the American Revolution” (in English)
Thursday 17:00-18:30 “Cultural History of Ireland” (in German)
And there is my schedule. Note: I didn’t mean to have this many classes in English. It just kind of happened. They are all fascinating so far, and I think I am going to really enjoy them. Although it does make me kind of nervous since the only grade in most of the classes is the final exam. Eek. :/
Well, I am getting kind of tired, so I should be wrapping up soon, but I want to end with this thought. Romans 12:13b says this: “Practice hospitality.” I love that. It’s one sentence, two words, so simple. I’ve read it so many times (Romans 12 happens to be one of my favorite chapters in the Bible; if you’ve never read it, you should go check it out.) I’ve read it many a time, but I don’t think I’ve ever tangibly understood what it meant. But I think I am beginning to.
On the surface, Austrians don’t come off as the friendliest of people. In America, we tend to be really open with each other about everything. For example, in America you can go to Wal-Mart, ask the cashier how his or her day is going, and there is a good chance you will get an actual answer, more than just a “fine, thanks.” In Austria, you don’t even ask the cashier how he or she is doing; it’s considered intrusive. And you don’t smile at people when you make eye contact with them on the street. I don’t know why, but it’s just not something you do.
But despite this apparent stiffness and lack of openness, I believe Austrians are among the most friendly and hospitable people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. In one of my last posts, I told about my friend Debbie who invited me over for lunch after church—five minutes after meeting me. Last week after one of my classes, the girl sitting next to me (with whom I had chatted for two minutes maximum before the professor began her lecture) invited me to go out for coffee with her after class; unfortunately, I couldn’t go because I had to meet with the American history professor, but her offer still warmed my heart. Last Friday, I went to the 20th birthday party of my friend Maria from church. She had invited me a couple weeks before—the same evening I met her. I’m going out for coffee later this week with the teacher from my German class, and I’m planning on meeting up with an Austrian student at some point, so he can practice his German and I can help him with English.
I don’t know if I am making any sense; I’m probably just rambling again, as usual. But the experiences I briefly shared here are just a few examples of what I keep seeing: Austrians seem to care for people and value them, even if they barely know them. In other words, Austrians practice hospitality.
What a humbling feeling, to have a stranger care about you. And even more humbling to ponder: do I practice hospitality? No. No, I don’t. Instead, I have a frustrating tendency to go about my life at break-neck speed, wearing blinders that force me to look straight ahead. I go so fast and get so busy that I forget about people, forget how valuable they really are. Yes, I legitimately have things to do, responsibilities to fulfill, and work to accomplish. But that shouldn’t be an excuse, should it? I don’t think so. Especially not when Romans 12:13 states it so clearly: Practice hospitality.
From what I have seen, Paul could have also said, “Act like an Austrian.” And, as far as hospitality is concerned, that is exactly what I want to do.
As always, thanks again for reading my blog. Know today that you are loved—both by me in Austria and by the God who made you and sent His Son to die for you. Hope you have an absolutely fantastic and incredible day—wherever you are! :)
Oh, and go listen to the techno “Pirates of the Caribbean” theme on YouTube. But be warned: You just might start dancing! ;)
Here is the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t-Mwh3PL6h8