Tuesday 1 Sept
I woke up today after a terrible sleep, I kept tossing and turning feeling pretty nervous about work. I got up at 06 and went for a run, that felt good, i'm already feeling a heap better then I was on last nights run. I ran down and around work and back, it's less then 2km away.
I left for work at about 0810 and got there at 0820, 40 minutes early, there was a pretty nice looking coffee shop just near by so I walked into that. The man behind the bar fired a torrent of german at me, I replied simply with, i'd just like a coffee please mate, this caused everyone who was sitting at the bar (some drinking beer already) to turn around and stare at me. Rather then have everyone gawk at me for the next half hour I went and sat outside.
The coffee here is great, it comes out on a little tray, with a couple of sugars, a tiny jug of milk and a cup of mineral water. I sat there drinking my espresso reading my book until about 845 and went inside to pay. The barman had gone so I just stood there waiting, a lady who was sitting near me started talking to me, again in german, I just said I wanted to pay, she looked at the men at the bar and then smiled and walked behind it. I said how much, she said something in german and I just handed her 3 Euros, she gave me one back, I said danke and left.
I walked down to where I was working feeling pretty nervous, I found the building and let myself in. I'd memorised the floor plan and luckily the map i'd been sent was pretty accurate and I found the office I was supposed to be going to straight away. It's funny now that I was thinking about wearing a collered shirt. Every one in the office was in shorts t's and sandles.
The guy whose my supervisor is a young guy called Martin Abart, he's only been out of Uni for 2 years himself and introduced me to a couple of guys in the office, they were pretty engrossed by what they were doing said hi and pretty much got back to what they were doing, typical social inept engineers.
Martin gave me a form I had to fill out and I sat at what is to be my desk. I looked at the paper, it was all in german. Luckily martin figured this might be the case and came over to translate. We then grabbed a coffee from the machine, and just chatted about nothing in particular, which was good and I started to feel a lot more comfortable.
We then sat at his desk and he started to talk a bit about the company et cetera et cetera. He then rather sheepishly gave me my first project. “i know its not very technical, but we were very rushed in compiling this and i'd like you to proof read it” haha. My first task is proof reading an application for funding partly from the Austrian Government and partly from a bunch of multinational firms. I could barely contain my laughter, but I played it cool as if I was the expert in the English language that I most definitely am not.
At the moment i'm back at home, they need my insurance number and my bank account details and to open an account I needed to retrieve my passport from under my mattress. It's good though it's giving me a chance to change into a pair of shorts, might save the flip flops until a later date though.
Life's good, early knock off. Well not really, my contract doesn't start till tomorrow so I wasn't getting paid anyway. Before being shown around the work shops I had lunch at the canteen with martin, it was some sort of saur craute, pork, and some other meat thing, could have been dog. I dunno.
I left work and walked into town via a second hand bike shop, martin said it was run by a turk, and the bikes were probably stolen, I think he's probably right. I walked in and he came over, I said i'm looking for a bike, he pointed to one of the bigger ones and ratled of some german, he soon realised I didn't know what he was saying, he pulled out his phone and proceeded to walk around the shop typing in the price on his phone and showing it too me.
At the moment i'm sitting in the town square sipping an espresso. Its really crowded and everyone here falls under one of two categories. 1, gorgeous well dressed milan looking model or 2, scraggy alternate dread locked hippie. What a juxtaposition, I love Europe.
After finishing my coffee I went home and did some sit ups and push ups, the plan was to do 10 sets of 30 with a page of my book inbetween, by the 5th set I was stuffed. 150 push ups!! 2 months ago I could almost do that straight. I've gotta pull my finger out.
Not long after max came out and asked if I wanted to go for a swim. He leant me a spare bike and we took off. The bike was the least road worthy thing i've riden in my life. The rear brake was non existant and the front one was only half paced, I reckon the bike is at least 20 years old. My reservations weren't put at ease by the fact that no one wears helmets, and we were riding on the right hand side of the road. Max also decided to enlighten me to an accident he had 2 years ago, which he cant remembers as it knocked him out cold are rendered his left shoulder next to useless.
Regardless the ride in was awesome, max took us a more scenic route in through town and to the pool. The pool was pretty cool, it has a 5 laned 25 meter pool in the centre and rising up 4 levels all around it is levels of sun bed, until at the top there's a big patio to lie on. I went up there to read my book, laid my towel down and started reading my book, I then looked around, it was only then that I realised that half the women up there were topless. Haha. Europe.
I read for a while while max did some laps. Then we called it quits and went to grab tea. We ate at an italian place in the town square, it was awesome, sitting in the heart of a European city, drinking fine beer, eating spaghetti bolognaise (as I couldn't read the menu, and this was all I could work out) discussing eastern Europe with a Local. We then went to a different place and had coffees.
It sort of hit me hard while I was drinking my coffee, here I was sitting on the other side of the planet in the heart of a major European city drinking coffee with a Ukranian i'd met 2 days ago. I felt like I should be dealing arms, not sipping latte's
After that I had to ride home, again the language barrier kicked in and I think tobi was coming into meet us, but I wasn't sure and I had some stuff to do at home. I jumped on my bike and headed towards the tramline to follow it home. Half way down the hill in the city it narrowed and I got off the bike. A police woman started yelling at me in German, I wasn't sure weather to say “I'm sorry do you speak english” or “I'm sorry I dont speak deutsch” so I did the neext logical thing and said “I'm sorry I dont speak english” this bit of genious earnt me gesture where she just waved me away and turned her back. I'm still not sure if I was getting in trouble for not having a light or for riding in what was maybe a pedestrian zone. I dunno.
Wednesday 2 Sept
Another run this morning and I was feeling pretty groggy halfway through it, thats the problem with half litre beer cans. Its too easy to drink 2L of beer before bed.
Again I got into the office early so I went upto the cafe for a coffee. The one I went to yesterday was closed so I tried next door. At this place the coffee wasn't as good, but it did come with a little bit of cake, which was delicious so that made up for it.
The day kind of dragged on a bit. The application i'm editing is hard, there english is very very good, but just not quite right, its taking me between 10 and 20 minutes per page to go through and there's 78 pages in total. I should be finished by friday though.
Getting home was the best, the house was full of people I didn't really know what was going on, turns out it was just an old housemate and her friend shifting all her gear out of her old room, I introduced myself as Lucky, No one over here has ever heard of a name pronounced Lokee, and either I introduce my self as lachy or lucky it doesn't matter because everyone just ends up calling my lucky. She replied with here name, it's something like vendetta. I was in the middle of thinking how foreign her name was and she has the gaul to laugh and say “Lucky, i've never heard that as a name before!!”
But the cream of getting home was tobi pointing in the direction of a pot on the stove asking if I was hungry, I wasn't really but I wasn't going to turn down free food. It was cauliflower soup, it was awesome, and I really needed the vegetable hit, I might even have some more for tea as tobi insisted that I help myself.
I sent out a few more couch surfing requests today, the organisation that was supposed to sort my accommodation out took too long so I decided to just wing it and “sleep around” so to speak. I know I've got a roof over my head until next Tuesday and there's a bunch of people who just said to come and crash whenever so i'll work it out.
Tonight tobi cooked dinner, it was simple, just fried eggs on bread but nevertheless it was free and done for me, this couch surfing gig is awesome. Tobi's a massive, natural and all good for the planet guy, and mum had sent me out some natural confectionary co' stuff from home, and although the lollies themselves aren't really australian the company was. But I guess they were snakes so that's kind of Australian, the size of Australia an dall the dangerous animals are what get people over here, but as i've just grown up with it it's kinda weird..
Dinner was good, we sat outside, one of the ex room-mates was here, she was outside as well prepping up some wall filler, Over here, people walk differently, they stand, they talk they eat, they even blink differently, sitting there watching the way she sat/squatted mixing the powder with the water while I also watched my housemates using the cutlery was really surreal, for a bit I felt really almost superior but then I staarted to feel like maybe I was the backwards one, they were so confidant in how they acted that it made me feel really self concious. I got over that pretty quickly and finished the fried egg.
After tea I went into town. I was meeting my boss, whose only 28 so he's not oppressive at all and a few of the other guys from work for a beer. I went via the “Australian” pub of town, it wasn't very Australian, apart from the fosters umbrellas, a couple of Aussie flags, a few boomerangs and the kangaroo steak, but it wasn't very australian. I went in to ask if they were playing any of the AFL finals. No luck, he just told me that you couldn't get it here...
after that I headed down to the bar I was meeting the people at. It's in the middle of a park in town, It's pretty cool and when I got there I couldn't see them so I just went to the bar. Martin had spotted me and joined me there, I grabbed some beers and we went and sat down.
At first it was just myself, Martin(my boss) and one of his mates Raymond, a good guy, an engineer from martins class, convo was a bit dry though just about work etc. Later on to join us was a guy called Johannes, who co-ordinates IAESTE down here; another guy from the institute where i'm at, a hungarian called danielle; and then another guy called johannes, also from IAESTE showed up.
It was really good, both the Johannes' are involved in the whole couch ssurfing thing and both of them have contacts all over the place, the first Johannes girlfriend even lives in Belgrade, which is one of the stops i'm planning on making.
Conversation started to flow abit, i'm glad I went down, my boss is pretty cool, kinda funny really, when he gets excited about anything his eyes open really wide, that comibined with his really dark iris' giive him a really eerie look. At one point he says in his thick accent, “its good working at the University, because if you have 1 too many beers, tomorrow maybe you just come to work an hour late”. I laughted and replied “no wuckers (a phrase i've been teaching them) boss, I'll hold you to that”.
I left a bit after 10, I was knackered and wanted to get some sleep. I walked down to the tram and had a steirer-cat from a fast food place, it was awesome, like a deep fried hot-dog, in a roll with lettuce tomato cheese and some kind of sauce. The tram sign said it was going to be 4 minutes, then It was all of a sudden 0, then when it was pretty evident the tram wasn't there it went back upto 1 and then down to 0, it did this 3 times befor the tram turned up.
I fell asleep on the tram. Lucky I woke up at the last stop and walked around the back of the house to join my housemates and to type this while I try to get the gyst of what ever the hell it is they're talking about.