Tuesday, September 28, 2010

American Football in Germany

As noted in my previous post, I had the chance to attend the American Football League in Germany championship game. Make sense? They actually call it "American football" but the teams I watched were German teams.

The championship game was in Kirchdorf on what appeared to be a soccer field, but this field was quite advanced for Germany, as they actually had real goal-posts (many are attached on top of the soccer goals). Kirchdorf Wildcats played against Frankfurt Pirates. Each team is allowed to recruit real American football players, who for obvious reasons can contribute much to their teams. The Americans are provided with room and board, as well as a living stipend. However, only two Americans are allowed to be on the field per team, and are branded with a giant "A" on their helmets, so observers can see from the crowd. Because of the American players, we actually ran into four Americans in the crowd, three of whom knew some of the players.

The Kirchdorf Wildcats creamed the Frankfurt Pirates, at least I imagine they did, as they had a score of about 60-14 when we left shortly into the third quarter. The Germans could be proud of their American football league teams, but Becca and I had try real hard not to burst out laughing at the quality of the game; it was as if we were watching a high school JV team playing. Fumbles, missed passes, plays gone array-- it was simply astounding. Mind you, this was the championship game on a professional level. Needless to say, it was quite entertaining, and interesting to see the American sport culture influencing Germany. All of the football terms are kept in English: "guter First Down!!!" (good first down). We even had the treat of watching the Kirchdorf cheerleading squad perform. Instead of cheering during the game, they choreographed a number during halftime near the bathrooms (not on the field, of course).

American football may not be as wide-spread yet in Europe, but it is catching on. In Vienna they have a team called the "Vienna Vikings", and their colors are indeed purple and yellow, and their logo of the NFL Viking head. The NFL must sell the rights to overseas teams.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Back to the Basics

I am officially a resident of Vienna. I arrived late Tuesday night, and my friend Carina was kind enough to help me with my massive suitcases to my apartment. Wednesday I spent the entire day getting settled in. I registered in my district, which was a much quicker and simpler process than in Braunau, strangely enough. Emily and I attempted to pick up our residency permits, but the person in charge of handing them out was of course not in the office (Austria bureaucracy). We then ventured to Ikea, where I bought some new things for my apartment. And I ended the evening with dinner at Emily's. So to sum it up, Wednesday was a long day in which I hardly spent in time in my apartment.

Thursday I came to Braunau to initiate the new assistants, pick up the things I left over the summer, and visit friends. This year there are two assistants here: one from America, who is teaching at the schools where I taught and living in the same house, and an assistant from the UK who is in two other schools. I've had so much fun with them this weekend showing them-- I hope they have a great year.

It was kind of surreal to arrive back in Braunau. The three months back in the States seem like a week. It was really good to be back, but it was the right decision to go to Vienna.

Back in Braunau I caught up with Austrian friends, visited one of my old schools, went to the grand re-opening of Lokschuppen, attended the championship German American Football League game in Kirchdorf (more on that later), and went to a very special church service in which three people were baptised. It was so interesting to attend a baptism in Austrian. Not a whole lot was different, other than the language, and the length of the service.

These past few days in Braunau were a bit up and down, a strange concotion of emotions. On one hand it was so great to see people and reassume my Braunau lifestyle, which makes me a bit bummed that I won't be able to be here all year. But on the other hand, I just know it's my time to move on to the city. Thankfully Braunau isn't very far, and it appears as though it won't be super hard to get back and forth from the cities, as I easily scored a ride to Vienna tonight with some of the Braunau church-goers.

So see ya later Braunau and here I come Vienna!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Austria Part Two

It has begun-- Austria part two. I've just arrived in Munich and am hanging out at the main train station at Starbucks for another hour until my scheduled train for Vienna. It feels like nothing is different, since I'm hanging out at Starbucks around a bunch of Americans accessing free Wi-fi, which is hard to come by over here.

The flights went well. I flew to Chicago and met up with Emily, another TA, who was on a different flight sequence. But we drank shitty American beer and caught up. My flight from Chicago to Munich went very quickly, a surprise. But unfortunately I didn't sleep more than two hours on the plane.

Hopefully I'll catch some Z's on the train to Vienna. Just a few more hours and I'll be "home". See you then!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Where was I?

After a three-month hiatus, I am nearly ready to resume my blog. Tomorrow evening I fly back to Europe and will be moving the big city of Vienna. I've been spending the last three months in the Twin Cities, Minnesota, USA. Against my own wishes, I had to move back home with my parents in the suburbs for these three months, after nearly five years of living independently. Talk about transition.

I've held random temp jobs, done quite a bit of babysitting and odd jobs around the house to finance my way back to Austria. I took three small vacations: the first to Hortonivlle, Wisconsin to visit Heather; then to northern Minnesota with my best friends to spend a weekend in a lake cabin; the last to Grand Rapids, Michigan to visit my family. I put over 5,000 miles/8,000 km on my car this summer driving to and from the suburbs to Minneapolis on a nearly daily basis, in addition to two of those aforementioned trips.

I volunteered once a week for half the summer teaching English to recent immigrants to the United States. I saw several movies in the cinema, read about seven books, and started a new project. I went to many new restaurants, started appreciating American beer more (not talking about the national favorites, rather local breweries), and started drinking too much coffee again.

I even spoke German at least once a week. And often it was Austrian German.

But mostly, I had a fabulous summer spending time with the people that matter most to me. I'm sad to once again have to say goodbye to these people. So thank you for a fabulous summer and I'll see the rest of you on the other side of the pond.