Here’s a little creepy inspiration for All Hallow’s Eve, thanks to the wonderful Christopher Walken:
I’m going to be Edgar Allan Poe for the multiple Halloween parties we’re attending tonight, and the Minkus is going to be Lenore, the dead chick the speaker obsesses over in “The Raven.” We’re hopefully going to find a raven of some sort at the grocery store when we go out in search of alcohol, but there are so few stores open on Sundays in Vienna that it might be tricky. We might have to fashion the Raven out of kitchen supplies or something, but we’re pretty crafty so that should work out alright. And if we get too lazy to actually make a raven, we can always just scream out “NEVERMORE” in menacing tones to get people to stop asking about why we don’t have one. After all, spot-on improvisation is the key to overcoming most awkward social situations!
So, it’s been a week since I landed in Vienna, but it seems like I’ve been here for way longer, since I’ve done so much. On Wednesday night Mink and I went to our friend Emily’s apartment for dinner, and she made these amazing cheese/hummus/pecan/green onion pizza thingies. I actually met Emily in Halifax when I was registering for SWAP, and she happened to be going to Vienna on a year-long visa as well. Emily also ended up getting a job teaching English to kids with the same company as Mink, so they already knew each other before I got here. Coincidences abound! It was nice to talk to her about being here and all the crap we have to go through to actually get settled in a new country – not that it’s hard, but there is so much red tape to cut through to get things done and actually work here legally.
On Thursday, I ran around to various Orange stores to get my cell phone to work – even though I currently have only one phone number in my address book (guess who). I then took the U-bahn to find my way to the place where I had a job interview the next day, near the Vienna International Centre. This area of the city, called Austria Centre, is beautiful – it’s a collection of high rise, all-glass towers right across the Donau, and the sun was reflecting off of them and the air was crisp and autumn-y and I thought for the thousandth time since I got here, “I love this place.” Damn. My afternoon was less fun, as I had to wait in line for a long time to get my card that says I’m allowed to work in Austria for the year. The actual process itself was painless, since my card had already been made and I just had to pay for it (the ONE perk to deciding to have all of this paperwork done before I actually left Canada). My photo makes me look like I’m a serial killer, but so does my passport, so I guess at least I get points for consistency.
On Friday, I had my job interview in the morning (more details to come if that actually pans out), and then Minkus and I made the journey to IKEA to purchase such necessary items as a bed (for me), a couch (for the living room) and a dresser and desk (for Mink). Needless to say, the boundless aisles of IKEA and the many options are exciting but intimidating for two notoriously bad decision makers like us. We ended up spending four hours in that store, had to load our stuff onto a trolley OURSELVES (that couch was a challenge, but we vanquished it) and then had to pay an exorbitant amount for delivery next Friday. But I’m pretty stoked that I’ll (hopefully) have a bed to sleep in by the end of the week. Depending on whether we successfully assemble it, that is. (Details on how many beers we will have to consume between the two of us in order to actually build a bed also to come.) We met Mink’s parents for dinner again, since they got back from their trip to Prague that afternoon, but we were too exhausted from our IKEA odyssey to do much after we said goodnight to them. Took the old lady route and went to bed early.
Saturday morning we met the ‘rents again for coffee and to say goodbye to Jim, who was flying back to Hong Kong that morning. We went to the Flohmarkt, a huge flea market that’s held every Saturday – bought a couple of wine glasses with the king of hearts and the king of spades on them, a record (for decorative purposes), the first shot glass for the apartment, and a couple of ugly paintings to brighten up our kitchen. Next was the Naschmarkt, and awesome market that’s outside and open all the time. I loved it – reminded me a bit of the good old days shopping at the Atwater Market in Montreal, except the language of choice was German instead of French – both of which I am not adept at speaking, but whatever. We did a lot of walking around and a bit of shopping, then ate at an Asian place (first sushi in Vienna! YES, I missed you, California maki!) and went for a couple of drinks with Mink’s mom and Milan at Roo Bar afterward.
And tonight is Halloween!