Having my first year in Austria free meant I had a lot of time to devote to my many hobbies: dog walking, writing, exercising… but of course a lesser-known hobby of mine is making mixed tapes. And even if I do say so myself… I consider myself quite good at it.
I started off very young… mixing cassette tapes off the radio: sitting for hours in my room with a tape in deck… waiting patiently for my favourite songs to come on and pressing play at exactly the right moment (kids these days have no idea!). As I got older, I progressed to purchasing tapes and mixing them together on blank ones… and of course making custom-printed covers for them on the computer!
With the news of Victoria’s flash seven day hard lockdown last week, I’m reminded again what a yoyo of an experience this whole thing has really been. On one side I’m in Europe where measures against Covid were relatively mild… and I say relatively because the flip side of that coin was Australia where life in my home state basically stood still for months on end. At first I was thankful I was in Europe, where we were coming into summer and were safe – this thing would be over soon. It was lucky I wasn’t stuck in Australia in a hard-core lockdown. That would be awful. But then it flipped again. Europe hit the cooler months and Covid raged… while in Australia it was back to business as usual.
And there’s these words I keep hearing again and again… it’s not so bad…
Even in these times of awareness about the dangers of UV and the sun, there’s still plenty of sunburn going on. Of course, we can’t protect ourselves from everything, and we do need our vitamin D, but as an adult, there’s no reprimand if we stay in the sun too long. Nobody yells at you. It’s more ooh that’s going to hurt later than what an irresponsible individual you are.
Coming from Melbourne, with its huge Asian influence and entire suburbs chock-a-block with authentic Asian eateries, I miss the lack of it here. I understand that if I travelled further afield to a bigger city I would find more diversity, but I think the kind of food that you can find in say, Box Hill or China Town in Melbourne, would still be few and far between.
Sure, I grew up on western ‘Chinese’ food with sweet and sour pork and cashew chicken top of my favourites list. I once famously proclaimed that Thai food was too hot for me. Oh, how far I have come.
I don’t like raisins. I love sultanas. So imagine my surprise when I came to Austria and was forced to eat Rosinin (raisins), only to discover they were actually sultanas.
In fact, sometimes the packet says Rosinin… sometimes it says Sultaninen… but for all intensive purposes, they seem to be the same thing.
I don’t mind a good board game. Of course, as you get older, the tone of board games changes. You move from Monopoly and Mousetrap to games requiring increased knowledge like Trivial Pursuit or strategy games like Risk. Hubby and I regularly play Carcasonne and we recently started with Azul which is a pretty cool game perfect for two people.
At one of our Wine Wednesdays with my work colleagues (pre-Covid), one of them introduced us to a board game, which does not seem to exist in the English-speaking world. It’s called Was’n’das which translates to What’s That (but in slang)… though in our circle we’ve renamed it ‘The Fur Game’.
They’re in every foreign country – names of shops or street signs that have us giggling like the 16 year old hiding within. And I think it’s about time I let mine out. Over the last few years I’ve been collecting some I’ve spotted in Austria and Germany. I’m not going to provide any explanations – I think they speak for themselves… enjoy!
I’m not even sure if everyone knows what a hankie is these days… let alone uses them. Of course, what I’m talking about is the humble handkerchief. You know that thing a handsome man presents when a woman becomes upset – a clean, ironed, folded handkerchief – even allowing her to take it home with her. It’s in the movies, so it must have happened in real life. I’m sure it was a ploy back in the days to get a piece of a beau’s belongings. Or to make an excuse to see someone again. And it would have worked great for me, since I’m a bit of a crier.
Still, hankies have gone out of favour – they’re old fashioned and they’re disgusting – tissues are far easier to contend with. Still, in a time of banning the straw and plastic bag, I think there’s a good case for bringing back the good ol’ hankie.
I came across something new in the supermarket the other day – a Bifi Roll. Now, a disclaimer on this one, I have no proof that Austrians actually eat these, and in fact, this product seems to be originally American.
What is it, you ask? Well, apparently it’s a salami hidden in a crust of bread.
Did I buy one to try it? No, I did not. I guess it’s a good source of protein that you can eat on the go? A convenient snack?
I think I’ll stick to mixed nuts.
Recently in Europe we moved our clocks forward an hour. Normally, this can be quite a traumatic event. Having to get up an hour earlier for work is just no fun. And there’s this weird sense of almost-jetlag that goes along with it. Is it time to eat yet? Am I even hungry?
For the loss of the hour I usually placate myself with the knowledge that it means summer is coming. And I have to say, I’m a fan of the time change. I know not everyone is – I know the cows are unhappy – I know the curtains are fading – but I’m down with it. There is a lot of talk of removing it altogether now – I know the original reason for introducing it is invalid – but for me, it adjusts the light of the day better. In any case, whatever is decided in the future, I’ll live with it.