Saturday marked my fourth month in Austria. This month has been pretty quiet and the weather has been really nice. It is still above zero during the day here most of the time and yesterday I noticed that there is still green grass in a lot of places. My favourite part about winter so far here is the view of the mountains. I’ve been running a lot after school lately and the view of the snow on the mountains on a sunny day is gorgeous. Sometimes I can’t believe I actually live here because the landscape is so spectacular compared to the flat prairies of Alberta ahah. This month hasn’t been too eventful but really nice nonetheless. I have been helping my host mom bake lots of Christmas cookies(she has an infinite amount of recipes and I love the almond paste ones) as well as meeting up with some friends.
Last weekend I was in Vienna visiting some exchange students and saying goodbye to a friend from Alaska. I stayed overnight with my friend Manuela and she took me to one of the Christmas Markets in front of Schloss Schönbrunn as well as one in front of the Rathaus. It ended up being so expensive but definitely worth the money because everything was handmade. Austria is the absolute best place to be for Christmas. I have been in the holiday spirit for weeks and weeks now because they start to celebrate so early here. The Christmas Markets are like a fairytale and my city is decorated completely with mini markets of our own scattered throughout the streets. The lights are really cool too! They hung tree branches upside-down above the streets and wrapped them in lights. During the day it looks a little odd but at night it is very Christmasy:) We also have two Ferris wheels in the city at the moment for the markets! When I was sick a couple weeks ago, I went into the city one night just to see the lights to make me feel better. This Saturday I went downtown to get a gift for a friend and I was caught off guard by how many people were on the streets visiting Graz. It was crazy and as busy as a festival!
This coming weekend I will be in Salzburg with the other Rotary exchange students celebrating Christmas and saying goodbye to some of the Australian and NewZealand students. Hopefully with my close friends it won’t be goodbye because I am planning on spending New Years with them before they go back home. Even so, I am really excited to see everyone again. I also have a test in German which I am crossing my fingers for. I think I will be ok as I am already on level A2 in German and taking one class at level B1. However, it is difficult for us exchange students to study for a test without knowing what will be covered. So wish me luck!
Today also marked an important day in my exchange! I bought a Dirndl! This is the traditional Austrian dress. I got a really good deal and it was surprisingly easy, I ended up getting the first one I tried on. I do not have a photo of me wearing it yet but I will include one in my next blog post so keep and eye out!