Monday, April 2, 2012

Firsts and Lasts

Days Left: 63

Now that I'm back indoors from 2 weeks of being outside enjoying Austria's unnaturally warm and sunny Spring, I finally had a chance to sit down and write again.

With the arrival of warmer, sunnier, happier days comes a newfound motivation to do things you haven't done since, well... lets not say how long. So I had a lot of "firsts" lately which I would like to share:
  • First outdoor ice cream this season. I've already mentioned my love for ice cream and a special eis salon in Mödling... but I was talked into cheating on my ice cream lover, Eis Peter and tried out the beloved fußgängerzone ice cream maker, Zanoni and Zanoni. I feel really guilty to admit that I it was actually really good. Don't worry I'm still going to go crawling back to my first ice cream love once it gets warm enough again... but I can safely say that we probably aren't in an exclusive relationship anymore either. What won me over? The "Nutella" ice cream.

  •  Outdoor English! I love this time of year because it means I get to take all my students outside again. Nice, warm days for me means I get to go to the park, Lainzer Tiergarten or Schönbrunn Zoo in Vienna. I've probably been to Schönbrunn around 20 times in the last 3.5 years (I have a season pass)... but that place NEVER gets old! English is so much more fun to learn with real animals. :-)
  • Swimming. For the last 2 years I've had a pass to swim twice a week at one of Austria's nicer 50 meter swimming pools. The cold weather, illness, stressful days and a million other lame excuses has kept me from going for a really long time. 2 weeks ago I decided I was LONG overdue in keeping up with my fitness goals, so my hope is now that I'm out of my slump, you can catch me at least once or twice a week at the pool again.
  •  Hiking. Last weekend Chris and I decided to meet another couple for " a very short and easy hike around Mödling." I'm usually weary of hikes proposed by Chris and his friends because they are almost always a lot harder than they sound. I was brought up in the Land of Lakes  so any "hikes" I went on usually involved walking around a lake and a hill or two at most. So when I heard we were going on an "easy" hike, I got excited because those aren't ones I can convince Chris to do very often. The problem was, as soon as we started out, the other female member of our group became too sick to continue which left me alone with the guys. More than 4 hours of uphill/downhill hiking later, we finally sat down at a beautiful hillside hütte overlooking a vineyard and a nearby village and drank a well deserved Kaiser spritzer (white wine mixed with holundersaft, elderberry juice I think?) with a nice spot in the sun. I can't say that I didn't whine a little about the underestimation of time and difficulty of the hike... but it was well worth it in the end.
    The road less traveled

    Breaking the rules.

  • Cinnabon. Yes, the American cinnamon roll company.... It exists here in Austria and not far from where I live. It's definitely not my first time there nor my last... Its just been awhile because I typically go with a friend whom I am not allowed to name because she is technically still fasting. (Thank you for using your one remaining "exception" on me). It was absolutely scrumptious.

Today I also want to share with you some things on my 100 days "to do" list. With time ticking away I realize how hard it is to squeeze in every last thing before I leave for the States, but my hope was that by sharing them with my friends, I'll be more likely to get them done... Also, it will be more fun if you want to help me check something off the list in some way. Some of these are actually in the works or just things I'm looking forward to.
  1. Visit all of Austria's 9 Bundesländer (states). Actually, I've only got 2 to go, Tirol and Voralberg. These are the furthest away from me, so it's been hard to get out there. I do actually plan on going out to Innsbruck (capital of Tirol) next weekend with Herr VanDorp and Chris. Dad VanDorp is visiting (arriving tomorrow morning!) which will make for an action-packed Easter break, I'm sure. Getting to Voralberg is going to be a stretch, but maybe, just maybe I can get that last one in there before I fly out.
  2. Camping at Gardasee. I'll be headed south during Pfingstferien (the last week in May) to Lake Garda in Italy with a very fun group. I'm excited to camp, next to this beautiful lake and also try mountain biking for the first time.
  3. Visitors galore! As mentioned, my dad will be here tomorrow. I'm also expecting a few others to pop in for a visit... All are welcome to stay on the "green couch."
  4. Run like the wind! Believe it or not, I've taken a liking to running, and I've been doing pretty well keeping up with it, even in the cold. I was hoping to do the Frauenlauf in Vienna but the signing up part slipped my mind until it was too late, so I didn't manage to get a starting number. That means I'm hoping to do another run before I head home, preferably a 10K. I have one in mind for the end of April, but if anyone hears of anything else around Vienna/Lower Austria... please share. Also, Minnesota friends, I'm looking for runs and tris to do when I get home. I've already signed up for Brewhouse Tri in Duluth and a Lederhosenlauf (5k) in St.Paul... I've been training hard for the latter, obviously.
  5. One last crazy weekend with Flo and Co.
  6. See a concert or opera at Musikverein. I've always adored the architecture and style of this building in Vienna (plus it's pink). One of the things Grandma Arlene always told me I had to do in Vienna was see an opera or a concert. This is something I very regretfully haven't done yet, and if I can, I'd like to see something at the Musikverein!
  7. Attend a bachelorette party (Polterabend). It won't be my first, but I'm definitely looking forward to one coming up in May very much. :-)
  8. Be a princess. Well, I already know I'm a princess, but I have yet to attend my first ball in Austria. I plan to "Dance against Cancer" and complete my dream of going to an Austrian ball on April 14th with some great friends. Now, for the dress and shoes....
  9. Sing karaoke. I know I'm not Britney, Katy or Kelly... but I sure do like to pretend :-)
  10. Enjoy Spargel. I love Spring because I know it means Spargelzeit (Asparagus season) in Austria. I eat spargel like a crazy person during that time, just ask Chris.
  11. Eis tour- Ice cream testing. After my post about sweets/ice cream a couple of friends challenged my love for Eis Peter and its status as "the best Eis Salon around." We decided the only way to determine "the best" is do a salon tour *for my Austrian friends, it'd be like a seidl tour only with ice cream. It will take place mainly in Vienna/Mödling and we will test each of the contenders. Can this please be my job?
  12. Throw a really awesome going away party. This whole moving home business is exciting and sad all at the same time. It's also a really great reason to get to party with all my friends in Austria one last time. So, please save the date for Friday, June 1st! I've already got a place booked in Mödling. Details and a proper invite coming soon!
  13. April= 30 days of biking! If you are my facebook friend that you probably have already seen something about this. If you have no idea what I'm talking about you can check this out: It's a community cause based out of Minneapolis, Minnesota (woop!) and it's awesome. Basically the challenge is to get out and ride your bike at least once a day for every day in April. There are really no other rules. Since I love biking, raising awareness about bikers, making the world a greener place, doing things that make me healthy and exploring my surroundings I thought... I accept! I'm already representing from Austria and here are some pictures from my first day of 30 out on my bike! 

    That's all I have for now, feel free to join in/help out or add to my "to do" list!