Monday, 10 October 2011

Chinese Lanterns

Emotional Update
I think the most interesting part of any experience is the psychological one. For anyone who thinks otherwise please feel free to skip this paragraph. 
It's been two months since I left for Austria and I have finally felt a longing for home. Not my house or Kelowna or anything material or familiar. Simply put, "I think I just miss my mommy." When those words came out of my mouth last night over a teary eyed Skype I could not believe I was ending to the so labeled, “honeymoon period” which wasn’t even a honeymoon at all, just a too-busy-and-overwhelmed-to-think period. It comes and goes. When I think or when something reminds me of someone. In this case it was Chinese Lanterns (the plant) hung in bunches from the ceiling of my friend’s house. As only I think my fellow exchange students can relate to, it feels a little lonely sometimes being the foreigner. I hadn't expected this type of isolation. It’s probably similar to a monkey in a cage sort of effect. Give a monkey a banana and see what it will do. I know I am over sensitive, as I always am, and that may have resulted in the emotional water works. *Important to note: Being sensitive does not mean you are emotional. These are two very different things. The former refers to being quick to detect or respond to slight changes, signals, or influences and the latter readily affected with or stirred by emotion. 
So I am trying to live every minute and be present in every minute (a quote from my cousin). And for a little more emotional cleansing, tonight I can look forward to volleyball.

Thinking of home...
Arts are Influence 
Austrian art class can churn out some pretty sweet stuff.
"What do you see in the tree?"
I find it’s more about what you are trying to get across and the composition then the skill or experience. I couldn’t be more in love with this method. The walls of the school are packed with art. It seems to be valued with an importance similar to sports in Canada. For instance in senior year you don’t have to take gym but you do have to take art. How awesome is that?! Also I must mention the importance of art in the home. The common colour scheme here is white, almost a chalky Greek looking white. The walls however, are filled with art, usually from relatives and/or friends. The houses, (from my little experiences) also have little to no colour scheme, (an anti-Home Sense quality, if you will.) And hanging wind chimes and stained glass are in abundance. Every house feels like home - and not like Ikea.
Culinary Canada
So last Saturday I did a little Canadian cooking for my family. I was at a little bit of a loss, as you can imagine, when trying to figure out what to make. Canada has very few traditional dishes that are easy enough to make over here and that an Austrian palate would be partial to. The french cuisine sort of went out the window, but won’t be forgotten for future culinary endeavors. There was a yellow pea soup that didn’t look too appealing and a meat pie from the French. What I will make one of these days however will be poutine. Perhaps not as a main course, I’m not sure how much gravy one can take. Of course Salmon was the obvious choice, but only my host mom eats salmon. I remembered at every salmon run in BC we always have salmon chowder and... Bannock! So I made this traditional First Nations “camp fire” bread for my family which was very easy along with bacon, and Jamie Oliver’s carrot salad and stir fried corn recipe, which is worth a mention. For desert I made Nanaimo Bars from Vancouver Island. When I was eating what I prepared I couldn’t help but feel a little closer to Canada. Two things that will always take me back home: Nanaimo bars and City and Colour.
Canada Cooks
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons baking powder
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 1/2 cups water
  1. Measure flour, salt, and baking powder into a large bowl. Stir to mix. Pour melted butter and water over flour mixture. Stir with fork to make a ball.
  2. Turn dough out on a lightly floured surface, and knead gently about 10 times. Pat into a flat circle 3/4 to 1 inch thick.
  3. Cook in a greased frying pan over medium heat, allowing about 15 minutes for each side. Use two lifters for easy turning. May also be baked on a greased baking sheet at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 25 to 30 minutes.
My Nanaimo Bars

Jamie Oliver corn kernels+olive oil+ginger+chilli+parsley+soy sauce=yum!

Me, Konni and Desi on our way to the play

Here's where the play was. Sorry the pictures are
blurry- we almost missed the bus!
Woyzeck and The Tiger Lillies
Woyzeck is a German play written by Georg B├╝chner. He started writing the play the year before his death in 1837 and never finished it. It is often categorized as a “working class tragedy” but is also known for its theme of “human jealousy.” The main character, Woyzeck, has a child with a woman (Marie) and must earn money for the family by working for the Captain and taking part in medical experiments conducted by the Doctor. Woyzeck begins to see visions and becomes paranoid of an affair between Maria and the Drum Sergeant, (which in fact did happen). In a fit, Woyzeck stabs Maria to death by a pond... this is where the original story ends. Most renditions end with Woyzeck drowning himself while trying to clean the blood off. 
The stage was decorated in strings of different coloured lightbulbs hung hap-hazardly above an old carnival setting. I gather that this was a big cultural event from all the cameras and people from all different countries that were there. The actors did a fabulous job at portraying the play with more actions then dialogue. But what saved my, and every other english speaker’s bacon, were the Tiger Lillies.

While most of the plot of this play would have been lost on a foreigner like me here’s where the Tiger Lillies come in. After every main event in the play the band would burst into english song summarizing what had just happened. It was eerily and beautifully done principally with accordion, drums and a stand-up bass. There was also a live brass band that supplied music for the rest of the play.

Here’s a little clip of the wonderful music that we got to hear.

Rotary Sturm (weak but very tasty wine, more like juice really) and 
Kastanien Braten (chestnut roast)

Pretty cold fall weather (pun intended)
They always have baked goods at every event
Hasselnuss Kuchen und Apfel Kuchen
Mr. Chestnut roaster
My first time eating chestnuts

Wurst and Semmel - you really can't get more Austrian

Going to the Rotary trip to Wien this weekend. Hopefully will get to see some museums, even though there are non on the itinerary. I think we can change that...

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