Lots of cheese and a different German

Yes, I'm in Switzerland.
Having worked 6 years in Wr.Neustadt, Lower Austria, in a bath as a waitress, I thought it would be nice to do something else for a change; something in a foreign country and a job that is more rewarding financially than my waitress job. :-)
As one can make good money in this beautiful country, I decided to work here for 6 weeks this summer. So, here I am and I’m a caretaker (“nurse”) in an old people's home.
Oh, you guys won't believe it but I'd love to blog all the time. I’m in need for communication. It’s only now that I came to understand what blogging truly means and what it’s all about…but apart from having little free time only, my biggest problem is to get to a computer plus internet. Muri, a real hick town not far from Zurich (canton Aargau), doesn't really provide foreigners like me with ways to be able to communicate with their family and friends. There's no Internet-café. Can you believe that? What a brashness! Well, that’s how it is here I guess…after all, it’s a tiny little town. What's nice or funny, however, instead of "modernity" Muri has farms spread all over the place at every corner. I can see sheep graze from my balcony and goats are right in front of the nursing home. There are animals everywhere. If you don't see them, you can smell them ;-).
The place where I’m staying is similar to a dorm. Only nurses, caretakers and trainees live here. Internet is actually available but simply way too expensive for poor Austrian students like me.
Okay…I thought I’d give you some insights into my new job and my stay here in Muri. Well, the journey didn’t just take extremely long (about 10 hours) but it also made me sick (or maybe it was the stressful time that we all had at the end of the semester). No matter what caused it, I got a terrible flu which made my first week horrible. Being confronted with a different environment, language, people, job, etc. is something that takes getting used to and having been sick made it even harder.
My first working day was the worst and I for a tiny little moment thought: ”What the heck am I doing here? Why am I not at home? I want to be at home.” I guess it was due to my temperature ;-). My job on that day was to accompany one of the nurses, watch what she was doing and make notes. She explained everything that I had to know in her language of course…well…“Schwitzer Dütsch” is kind of perverse ;-). It seriously took me a few days getting used to it. In the beginning I sometimes-of course depending on the people- didn’t understand a word. Old people without teeth are still a challenge. Hihihi. I of course knew what was going to expect me at the time I applied for this job but the first confrontation with bedridden old, sometimes very sick, and naked people who I was supposed to wash EVERYWHERE (and I mean it!), swaddle and wipe out their backsides…well, all that sort of…I don’t even know how to put it best…it was simply too much. The first week past extremely fast cause I went to bed as soon as I got home. In general time seems to fly when you’re working. We’re all working in shifts and I’m quite thankful that I only have 4 night shifts. Most of my days start at half past five, some a little earlier. It was hard in the beginning to get up at such an ungodly time. I’m a student and my days usually don’t start that early, quite the contrary, they’re more likely to end at that time ;-).
The team I’m working together with is great. We all get along well and enjoy working together, which makes working in general more pleasant or fun and the hours pass by faster. Bernadette, my friend who I came here with, is not as lucky as I am unfortunately. Her team doesn’t get along at all; that’s hard and I’m very sorry for her. At my ward not only the team is great but the residents/ patients. I like the work I’m doing, especially because the people give you so much back emotionally. I really “fell” in love with some of the old people there. I guess saying goodbye is going to be hard…Okay…I have to go know. I don’t even know if anybody’s still reading my blog at all but it’s nice to write. It’s really sad that I can’t do it more often and frequently:-(. For those who read my entry...hope you’re doing fine and I miss you all. Enjoy your holidays. xoxo


Oh, I’m sure there must be a God!!! No human being can create such a heavenly thing!!! No kidding! Take a look at the best site ever and you’ll see what I’m talking about. If you don’t like it, however, something’s wrong with you or you’re a philistine. Whatsoever, don’t tell me if you don’t admire “Bibliomania” … I won’t like you anymore. ;-) *chuckle*

Bibliomania is divided in 3 main parts: read, study, research!

The reading sector has thousands of e-books, poems, articles, short stories and plays all of which are absolutely free. You can read the world's greatest fiction by authors such as Dickens and Joyce, Sherlock Holmes mysteries, all Shakespeare's plays, or just dip into some short stories by writers such as Mark Twain, Anton Chekov and Edgar Allan Poe. Doesn’t that sound like heaven to you??? That’s the greatest thing ever!

I unfortunately don’t really know about the other two sections – I don’t even really care; after all, there’s this wonderful reading section – but why don’t you discover them yourself…

he studying sector has been especially designed to meet the needs of school and university students. Nevertheless, there’s also a part for teachers.

The researching sector
seems to be a cool platform for anything you’re searching for. Bibliomania research is definitely an additionally and equivalent searching tool to Google and Wikipedia. It’s an omnium-gatherum of unbelievably lot of things which covers a great variety of topics with strictly selected sources.

Although this site is great as it is now already they keep adding to the library regularly and welcome book recommendations. If you register you can receive email alerts on new texts.

Online Dictionaries

What would we do without dictionaries? Aren’t they our best friends? Oh, I often “consult my dictionaries”…I know there are dozens of dictionaries in cyberopps but I found out that I have some more to share with y’all … after all, we can’t have enough of them, can we?

Interactive Terminology for Europe:
IATE, originally EURODICAUTOM, is a multilingual dictionary. You can choose between dozens of source and target languages and additionaly you can search within a particular domain. I guess this dictionary will be very helpful for later translating on special topics, for language for special purposes (e.g. medicine, technology, business, etc).

Idioms and Slang:
This site is actually the homepage of Ontario, if I’m not wrong, but it has an ESL corner which, among other things, provides a list of idioms and slang expressions. It’s like the glossaries we usually write ourselves: You can listen to the words, have a definition and an example sentence. Have fun exploring the ESL corner; have fun improving your vocabulary.

The Language Site:
This site is said to be a site for language and translation. I can’t really tell you yet how good it is or whether it meets our needs…I spotted it and we maybe could all together explore it/ put it on test and find out if it’s worth adding to our bookmarks or not. All I discovered so far is its considerable range it provides: From dictionary links, tons of dictionaries to choose from to translator programs in dozens of languages… I tried out the English monolingual dictionary and that one is definitely good. It’s a bit like Longman: you can listen to both, the American and the British, pronunciation; you have an example sentence and a list of other words that relate to it, the category it belongs to, synonyms… So, please tell me, what you think about "The Language Site"?

The Alternative English Dictionary:
That’s a fun one ;-) We’re language students and we also need to know about these things…Okay *blush*…it’s a “beeeeeeep” kind of thing but it’s sometimes nice for a change to do silly stuff. After all, it has to do with English! What’s more, we might have trouble understanding native speakers without these words/ expressions/ phrases and we might have to defend ourselves one day ;-) It provides a nearly endless list of other languages and what’s really cool is that you could learn swearing in Hungarian for example because the definitions are in English. Take “Baszd Meg” for example: Some people in Hungary use it in every sentence; sometimes/ often as a filler word.

Travel Further:
This is a personal website created by an American. What you can find here …? British-American/ American-British dictionaries displaying the authors interpretation of the differences between American and British English; Travel Writing, Fun & Games; and much more. What’s nice is that you can leave a comment in his guestbook. It’s a nice little page…obviously not an educational one but fun to explore.

Okay…that’s it…these are the one’s I thought are worth mentioning. Feel free to tell me if I was wrong or not…

Dangerous Minds

I think I can talk for everybody if I say we’re still shocked because of the massacre in the US. What’s wrong with those people? How crazy must someone be to be able to do something like that? Okay…see, I won’t put in my two cents now, I really don’t want to write about this fearsome massacre or similar topics that already had happened; not only because I think everybody did that already, but mainly because I personally have trouble doing that. Why? No matter how “topic-number-one” an incident might be, this particular story really knocked me for a loop and I kind of consider it morbid to prefer writing about such a topic to a rather “boring” one.
But oh well, that’s just my opinion and “Dangerous Minds” was originally meant to be about something else: “The Shocking Truth…..”
USA, GB, Iraq, Australia, Africa, all the news from all over the world you here on radio, read in the papers and see on TV seem to be extremely far away from us and I often catch myself thinking: “Am I happy to be living in Austria.” And although it must sound horrible, I have to admit that I so far never really felt like we were in danger. I mean, what happens in Austria? We’ve no real natural disasters, no such big crime, we’re not at war with anybody or anything…………….
What I’m trying to formulate is the following (oh my God am I confused but that’s obviously due to what I/ we had to experience in the last few days): You see, Austria is a little alpine republic with a bit more than 8 million people living here and then there’s this ONE f****** freak who seems to be modelled on the US massacre, who thinks what the student over there did was good and he has to live in MY dorm. What the heck is wrong with this world? On Tuesday (April 24) he obviously just off the top of his head, for whatever reason, decided to freak out. Verbally he totally run amok and said things like: “The guy in America was totally right with what he did and I’m going to make this f****** dorm a crematory…I’m gonna shoot or burn y’all and film the whole thing…etc etc.”
For years you’re living peacefully together with this person, some of us door-to-door with him, and you have no clue about his sick thoughts or plans. Then, out of the nothing, he threatens you and smashes everything to bits, gets out of control. It’s not fun, I can tell you. We’re all together quite paranoid, scared and speechless. One girl – one of this freak’s direct neighbors – even moved away to another block on another floor. The “management” at first tried to speak with him but it didn’t help or do anything. He did not regret anything and assured that he meant every single word seriously in his rage. We had to call the police. But you know what….they would not have hauled him off, were the police not already searching for him. They were searching him for some other “crime”. He of course was terminated without notice out of the dorm and he’s in jail at the moment. At least we believe so. He got arrested but if he’ll be assessed to be normal they won’t keep him and the brashness ever is that the police won’t tell us when they’ll let him out. What if he wants payback? What if his threat becomes reality? ……Some of us even called their families to talk about what had happened and to tell them things they rarely express etc. I mean who knows….Danger is closer to you than you would believe. My mom always told me to never part/ separate from somebody when you’re still in conflict with the person cause you can never know what could happen. And she’s so true! We’re really scared and I hope no one will ever have to write about the massacre of the SchönbrunnHeim.

Stresses and Strains of a poor student ;-)

Okay no generalizing…I’m talking about myself (how selfish…hihi…but you’ll soon understand it). We’ve had our “Little Progress Test” in English yesterday (April 24) and I came to the conclusion that it actually was a real big test only disguised as a “Little Progress Test”. I like those kinds of teachers who bandy with euphemism around ;-) …they’re fun. I can remember my linguist teacher in Vienna who whenever he announced an exam said: “We’re going to have a little QUIZ.” As if, oh c’mon!!!!!!!!!!! Isn’t a quiz supposed to be fun? Well, according to my definition it is but teachers seem to have their very own kind of humor. Of course the quiz wasn’t a quiz but a huuuuuuuge exam and we’ve had 3 of them in one semester. The good news was: If you failed one of those quizzes, you failed the whole class. Why? Because you didn’t enjoy quizzing …? Anyways…so we’ve had our English exam and I have to tell you…I seriously didn’t know or haven’t experienced nervousness until I met my American English teacher Mr. Newman. That word didn’t even exist in my vocabulary until he made me fail (haha…okay…it was my fault, I know, but it’s so nice to blame things on others…hihi…no seriously: I deserved it) and now I can’t get rid of it anymore (the word; or to be more accurate the feeling, this panic, nervousness, fear etc.). I really don’t mind doing other exams or staying on stage in front of a million head audience but English makes me freak out. I don’t know why and I can’t explain it - the worst: I can't control it - but it’s really stressful and English seriously sometimes brings me beyond my own bounds and as if that wouldn’t be enough my teacher teases me. I know I get nervous easily and it’s often not easy to deal with me but my roomies managed to figure out ways to handle my “freakiness” and I honestly need support on that area. So please be patient with me, and nice. It really wears me down *blush*.

Tristan da Cunha

Are you as helpless as I was? What the heck is Tristan da Cunha and why am I writing about it? Okay, in order to give the information some content, here’s how I came to that: Some of my roomies and I sometimes learn “together” in terms of sitting/ lying together in our kitchen-cum-living room and studying, each of us for their own studies. Although I’m a “loner” with studying languages on my floor you wouldn’t believe how many similarities our different branches of studies have. So we’re all studying Martina and Karin for medicine, Mario for geography and myself for you know what ;-) as Karin breaks our peaceful silence: “Hä? What’s Tristan da Cunha but especially what does it have to do with medicine?” What we found out is that it’s for all of us and our branches!
It has to do with geography and my branch because Tristan da Cunha is a group of remote islands in the South Atlantic Ocean and is a dependency of the British overseas territory of Saint Helena making English its official language. It’s also the most remote archipelago and the most remote inhabited archipelago in the world. Its population is only about 300. Isn’t that cute? It’s like a big family but that again kind of makes it worrying … Nevertheless, this is the point where it’s becoming interesting for the medic. Since it’s such a sparsely populated area (on the whole island people share just eight surnames) health problems due to endogamy play quite a big role. Caused by inevitable marriages among distantly related couples resulting in small gene pools asthma and glaucoma (some kind of disease of the optic nerve; but to be more accurate at Karin's disposition: Glaucoma is a disease caused by increased intraocular pressure (IOP) resulting either from a malformation or malfunction of the eye’s drainage structures; so the damage of the optical nerve is just a consequence of the increased intraocular pressure) are quite common diseases. Having found out about these health problems scientists discovered that the mutated gene CC16 38A is significant for a disposition to asthma. Thus, 50% of the whole population suffers from asthma as a result of familial heredity. Another interesting thing of Tristan da Cunha is that young people generally would like to stay on the island but they are often concerned about finding a spouse. So some move abroad, marry and hope to return.

Freestyle Slalom Skating

Have you ever heard of that, done it yourself or seen some professionals doing that? If you have no idea how freestyle slalom skating looks like you can check out some videos here (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6). Well, yes, that's what I do more or less and maybe one day you'll find a video from me on youtube ;-). But seriously...I love skating. Ever since I stopped dancing ballet I didn't quite know what to do with myself and I veeredfrom one extreme (namely exercising every day for at least 5 hours) to the other (namely doing nothing that has to do with movement, extreme-couch-potatoing) until I rediscovered my passion for skating. I skated a lot when I was younger but our ballet teachers kind of forbid doing all kinds of other sports because of the risk of injury. If we had hurt ourselves, we would have been kicked out of the school, so I decided to not hurt myself. But there's no problem with that today anymore ;-). Skating isn't just fun it also keeps me in shape, keeps me exercising, sweating, practicing, ambitious etc etc. It's so much fun to do and it's a challenge to learn all these tricky things. I like it so much because it has to do a lot with body control, balance, self discipline, hard training and tangible improvement.
During my Easter Holidays I spent much time practicing along the Danube in Vienna. Both sides of the Danube are used for doing all kinds of sports and it’s really long, about 30 km. So you can imagine how many people you can find there on such a big area. It’s fantastic and I met some cool people sharing the same passion with me. There were two Spaniard freaks for example who are really good in freestyle slalom skating and they showed me new things and gave me lots of advice which is not just important but especially helpful. I enjoyed spending time with all these people very much and I’ll miss every single person a lot. See how easy making friends is?! Just go outside, build up some cones (these are the little “mugs” we use for slalom), practice a bit and the people will come to you. I’m still in contact with one of the Spaniards via skype. His name’s Marc and the funniest thing apart from skating with him is talking with him. We of course communicate in English only cause he doesn’t speak any German and I don’t speak any Spanish. Sometimes it’s a bit tricky to understand him; for two reasons: 1. He has a Spanish accent and he likes to use Spanish words whenever he doesn’t know the English one but I have a lot of fantasy and we manage to understand each other. 2. I guess because of the Spanish word order – which seems to be totally different to the English – he sounds like Yoda. It’s so funny! He sometimes says things like: “Ambitious you must be.” But enough about that!
Skating doesn’t only keep me in shape physically and mentally, it also makes me practice English and I was quite surprised how difficult it can be to talk about everyday, “normal” things; things that you usually talk with your friends about. But I have to admit…even although Marc's English is not as good, I have the feeling that learning especially vocabulary by simply just speaking English is the best and most effective way.

"Debunking myths about the 'Third World' "

This is the video Mr. Newman sent to all of us. I don't know if you've seen it but I did and I think it's really worth having a look at it. That's the reason for my writing: I have to put in my two cents :-) but in fact I just want to briefly comment on it.
Hans Roslong, Professor of Interational Health, gives a graphical and entertaining summary of how the world has changed in the past 40 years.
Although the world's changing economy usually isn't the most interesting topic to me, the lecture, its content and the way the professor was presenting it made it so fascinating that I could have listened for hours and hours. Normally such a topic is extremely complex and complicated but the lecturer more than succesfully managed to make it understandable even to the stupid ;-) I guess he did so by summarizing all his research, study, survey and knowledge, plus he is as enthusiastic and energetic as a person can be and that is how he drags the listeners along. Of course his intelligence is impressing as well, not to mention his accent which makes him very likeable and his great sense of humor which relaxes the whole severe lecture/ topic. What's more is the power point presentation that is just ... unbelievable. A perfect and entertaining lecture of interesting conclusions.

"A House Somewhere"

No, no, don't worry...I haven't read the whole book yet but I like it a lot and I'd like to quote a few things from the book; especially because it kind of answers to my last entry.
1) "...family is something you discover you cannot change..."
2) "...: home is not finally a thing of rocks and roof tiles, nails and wood; home, as the old saying has it, is where the hear resides. Or in other words: our House Somewhere is anywhere our own true love abides."
Okay, this is not a real entry but I had to put that on here! I like the quotes! Also because they kind of "complete" my last entry.

Home Sweet "Home"

There's nothing that inspires me to write as much as a trip "home".
Okay...before I start sharing my deepest thoughts ;-) with you, I feel like I have to let you know something very important in order to avoid misunderstanding: I really love my parents! I DO!
BUT "Your parents, they give you your life, but then they try to give you their life." (Chuck Palahniuk)
OR "Children are born as their parents' opponents/ oppositions."
(that's my free translation from a German quote ...)
The question is...what is "home" actually? Is it the place where you grew up, is it the place where you live(d) together with your parents or is it something else somewhere else? I never thought I would ever have trouble defining "home" but ever since I moved out things have changed. It's not that I don't like my parents anymore...God forbid! I hope they live forever...it's just that I got to know other things and I'm mainly talking about the living together and that's what a family is, isn't it? So here I am now living in this beautiful dorm with these beautiful people and I'm confused. Shouldn't I be homesick? I'm not and as if that wouldn't be bad enough it's mostly quite the opposite: I'm more often "homesick" when I leave Graz and am in Vienna at "home". Am I a bad person, a bad child? Maybe I just grew up or I got to know things that I dindn't really know before. Experience is such a beautiful thing, don't you think so? Maybe the thing is just as simple as that: All the people I'm living together with in Graz are about my age, plus we're all in the same boat.
I have no clue...but I hope I will find out one day!