Feb 23, 2014

A Taste of Home

When living abroad one thing you might not right away realize you will miss are the foods you know and most likely grew up on. When I first moved to Vienna there was not very many American food (more in particular I am talking about snacks) I know this might seem like a really bizarre post but I feel like it is needed.

As of recently it seems like I have been seeing more and more food products from "home" then when I first moved here. One store that most every expat seems to know about is Bobby's food store close to Naschmarkt, and yes they have many British and American foods but it is about the size of a stop n' shop. I have go there very infrequently due to the fact that the prices for a student is a bit high. If you want a box of cake mix, syrup for pancakes, special sauces, or snacks be prepared to see how much importing such specialized food can be.  In my home town a basic box cake mix can be about 2 to 3 dollars and sometimes you can get them on a BOGO sale, but here a cake mix can cost about 5 euros. That is without the canned icing! Now for most expats they have a steady job and normally it is a better pay grade than min. wage, so this might not be a big splurge. But now, with seeing more and more of American, British food becoming more popular you can shop around for the better price and or get a larger pick of food that will make you feel like you are back at home.

So for any of you expats out there that maybe can't easily get to Bobby's or whatever reason you might have. I have found a store that you might not normally go into to grocery shop considering it is in the underground. The store is called U3 Supermarket and it is located in Westbahnhof but not in the main part where the train station is at but right next to the Wiener Linie Ticket and info desk by the U6 and U3. Now I am not saying that this one store is more cheaper than the other, but Bobby's is the one and only store I have found to date that sells ONLY British and American food. The other store has a very selected selection of British and American foods, but they have a good selection for those cravings.

Coming from South Florida I tend to also miss alot of Southeren and also Caribicfoods. So if you are craving Biscuts and Gravy with Grits for breakfast you better have a recipie to make your own or pack your suitcase with some fixings.  Things like Okra, Plantain, and Collard Greens may be found in stores like Prosi, or any ethnic food store in the area. Normally you know you are in the right spot when the language that is being spoken is neither English or German (or whatever language that is spoken in that country) most ethnic food stores are also a great place to pick up everyday produce it normally is always cheaper than the same produce at your chain supermarkets.

As a college student and all, I am on a limited budget. I know most typical college students eat pretty much the cheapest things out there and save there money up for parties, and booze. Things like Cereal, PB&J, and Mac and Cheese are normally the staple for any toddler, or college student's diet.  I had also assumed that even though I would be far from home what I knew as inexpensive food would be somewhat the same over in Europe. I was soo very wrong. Cereal is pretty easy to find, but can be somewhat expensive and not such a large selection. The first year and a half I lived in Vienna Peanut Butter was not a common food item, and now you can find it anywhere really but it is in a small container and from an American point of view pretty expensive, now I like Grape jelly for my PB&Js but Grape Jelly is not a common Jam or Jelly so Stawberry is what it has to be. Mac and Cheese you can find in the stores I have mentioned but are certainly not the cheapest.  It is certainly healthier but can be frustrating when you just want to have it and not have to travel across town.

Well that is pretty much all I have to say or ramble about on the matter. I know how it can be when you are new in Vienna and just want to feel at home and you have no clue where to go. If any of you know other places in Vienna to get British American food please leave them in the comments below.

Jan 17, 2014

Job Hunting in Vienna as a Student.

 If you either are trying to find a job in Vienna as a student that holds a Passport that it not within the European Union, search no more, you have found a place that will help you figure out the ins and outs of getting a job! 

Most people studying abroad will only study for a semester and that is easier to do than doing your whole academic career abroad. Simply put, your expenses are going to be somewhat easy to save up for, or easy on your parents to pay.  But once you take the step into staying longer finances can start to dry up quickly. Yes, I am full aware that it is the same for any other college student that living off of Ramen and peanut butter is the norm. But for the most part you have a scholarship, a grant, or financial aid, which can ease the burden.  Here in Vienna I have not really found many scholarships and the ones I do find I never am eligable since I am not a citizen, or I am not a citizen of a poor country.  Studying abroad though can be the same or sometimes even cheaper than attending hometown colleges. I have been lucky to have been supportted by my family while I have been abroad.

So if it to support yourself while studying abroad, to help your parents with the finances, or if you just want extra money in your wallet here is the way to do it. (Legally that is!) Sorry This can't be much help to other countries, or other regions of Austria but I could imagine that it would be fairly similar.

Before you can even start looking for a job you must have:
  1. A valid residency permit, that somewhere should state you can work with working papers.
  2. A valid Medelzettel.
  3. Proof of being inscribed into that current semester or the upcoming semester from the UNI.
  4. A CV or Resume with a picture of yourself. (In German)
If you are a registered student at a UNI but are a Ausserordentlich Student (an extra ordinary student) meaning those pesky classes you must take before you can be a regular student. (German and whatever else the UNI requests) If you fall under this catagory I have been told that you can not work, but once you have your visa you should be able to tell if you can or not from your permit card.

If you are studying for your BA you can ONLY work for 10 hours per week! If you are studying for your MA you can ONLY work for 20 hours per week! The chances of you getting more hours than that are slim!

It doesn't matter what you are paid but you can not go over that time!  Most employers will know about working papers for forgien students, and there will also be some who have no clue and will be scared off and then not hire you. Every employer is also looking for people to hire that are bi-lingual and speaking German pretty well even if you are working in the back of some store. If you can speak English fluently you have a great leg up but speaking it as your mother tongue is also a good selling point. The more languages you speak the better!

So after you have scoured the paper, the internet and in window for hire signs, and what feels like sending out 40 resumes to every place in town you might get 2-3 calls saying they are interested and will want to set up a date for an interview!WOO-HOO! Don't get too excited the fun has yet to begun!

After your interview you will within a few days possiably get a call back saying they would like to hire you. Many jobs here are not secured after the phone call stateing they would like to hire you but what comes next is forgien to many Americans, it is called a schnuppertag, or a trial day. Where you go to work for a few hours they show you the ropes and you will be put to work you won't just be shadowing. Then hopefully you will get called back a few days after that saying if you were chosen.
IF you were chosen then you will have to go to your districts AMS (Arbeits Markt Service) where you will need to show your permit card saying you found a job and need the formula for working papers. You will be sent to another room just for forgieners, after showing your permit card to them they will give you a folded piece of paper that you need to fill out and also some things your employer needs to fill out. You will also be asked what exactly kind of company it is you will be working at, which will then determine where you must go to hand in the formula. There are certain offices for certain types of jobs if you got a job at a bank, you would have to go to another office than your friend who got a job at a bakery. They will then give you the adress of the proper office and after having your employer fill out and stamp their part of the formula, you will need to fill out your part. Before turning the formula in you will need to have a: copy of your passport, a copy of your permit back and forth, a copy of your medelzettel, and a copy of your UNI papers.

Once all that is done, you will just then sit back and wait about a week for the paperwork to come in and then your employer will let you know when they have recieved it and when your first day of actual work will be.

The trial day is NOT paid!

So for summing this lengthy post up this is the few steps you must do for your working papers:
  1. Have a residence permit and enrolled into the UNI.
  2. Send out resumes and wait for a responce.
  3. Have an interview. (Make it known then you need to obtain working papers)
  4. Work a trial day. (Expect this, but it is also possiable you won't have one either)
  5. Wait for a responce, and if it is positive then set up a date to stop by with the formula that your employer will need to fill out.
  6. Obtain Working Formula from AMS. (You can obtain the formula sooner as well)
  7. Fill it out and also have your employer fill it out as well.
  8. Bring it to the AMS that deals with similar types of companies you will be working for.
  9. Wait for the paper work to come back

Jan 2, 2014

Here's to the New Year and New Beginnings!

I hope everyone has had a wonderful Holiday Season and a good New Year.  I to be honest have been thinking for over a year about starting up blogging again, and after reviewing recent comments and knowing that people are still coming on to my blog it made me want to start again.

For a quick update about how I am doing and where in the world I am.

I am still in Vienna.  I am older, 22 to be exact. Yikes! I don't feel 22! In one of my last posts I think I mentioned something about my German exam. Well, I have not only finished all my pre study lectures the Uni enforced me to complete before I could start my actual BA. Thank goodness that is all over and I have already finished my first semester at the Uni! Which feels like such an accomplishment and also a relief to finally say that I am a regular College student.  I look at the people I know back in Florida and see a lot of them finishing there degrees, or close to being finished. HECK! A lot of people I know are MARRIED! Then there is me who feels like an 18 year old finishing off her first semester at college. 

I am just going to sidebar for a quick second!
Like any little girl I always liked the thought of the princesses finding their princes and getting married and living happy ever after. Which made me like to day dream about my wedding day, if you have or know about pintrest you know about the wedding overload that is on there and many people who are not getting married have a pinboard that is dedicated to a wedding that they are not planning. *Guilty!*  We all have our guilty pleasures, but when I go onto my Facebook and look at people who used to be my really good friends and more than half of the people that I knew are already married.
 I am not saying getting married in your late teens and early twenties are a bad thing, but I know how this group of people (whom I used to be friends with) tick somewhat and I just see it as a pressure from their parents or from their church and even a pressure they put on themselves by saying not only are they saving themsalves for marriage, but they are saving their first kiss for their wedding day. Which leads to after dating someone for a year they can't handle all the pressure and jump into marriage. THAT OR they think it makes them mature and adults.  I am not saying that people who marry at a very young age are doomed to fail or trying to bash anybody here but I just see it differently. With that off of my chest I am going to move on. 

I also found a job here in Vienna, which is going to be my first job here. Which I am very excited about. Finding a job here in Austria as a student, not from the EU (European Union), and having to deal with obtaining working papers make job hunting a very long ordeal. I might blog about how to get a job and what to do for someone in a similar position.

The saying '' It's not what you know, it's who you know'' is an understatement here in Vienna. (I can imagine it is the same in many other cities but I can only speak from experience)  During the 3 and a half years I have been here I have come across a few American students here, and the ones I have spoken with the ones that had jobs always seemed to have gotten the job through the grapevine. (You know the typical mother's cousin's friend's sister also living in Vienna and worked at xyz and was looking to hire someone.)  I had attended an info night and it was for students moving onto the Universities that were forgieners and it was there how I learned the way to go about working legally in Vienna. But I will go into details another day.

As far as new beginnings does anybody have any goals for the new year? 

May 18, 2013

Remember That One Time?

Dear reader you know how everyone has that story or stories that will make everyone burst out laughing? Well here is mine!

I had just gotten home from meeting up with one of my friends and had a few groceries to put away. I do not know about you but, when you know you are not going to leave home again for the day one of the first things you do is kick off your clothes and shoes and get comfy in those P.Js that welcome you home.

Well after getting comfy I figured time to put away my groceries. I had not been home for a few days and well some stuff started to go bad. After cleaning out my fridge, what ever stunk up my extremely tiny fridge started stinking even worse in the garbage. And who really wants to have the kitchen also starting to smell? So I did the next logical step that any person would do, take the trash outside. But I figured I don't want to get dressed right now so I had planned on placeing it outside my apartment door for me to take down later. ANYBODY who is judging me for not getting dressed and throwing the garbage away then and there does not live in a building on the fourth floor without an elevator and was wanting to take a nap!

So I stood in my doorway to place the garbage in the corner and that is when it happened! A pretty large gust of wind comes through my apartment and slams my front door right behind me! Most people won't realize that here most standard doors have a stationary door handel which I believe to be useless. So that means when the door is closed locked or not without a key there you stand locked out!  You see I figured since I have done this before there would be no problem but you see my apartment door was on the other side of my door. I live on the fourth floor of an apartment building, I can't climb through a window. There I was stranded, if you haven't picked up on the fact already but inside my apartment was my keys, ID, cellphone, you know the most important things a girl needed. OH! Did I mention I am barefoot and in my P.J.s?????   Well lucky me not knowing my boyfriend or even his parents phone numbers.

What to do? Well that is when I realized I could look up the numbers in a phone book and there is a phone booth on the corner of my street. So I told myself time to suck it up and go. Of coarse the phone booth is completely electronic and to look up a phone number costs 10 cents!!!! Have I mentioned I had no shoes????  Well after my failed attempt of finding a number to call, I realized this was not the end of my story. My boyfriend's apartment is about 20 minutes walking distance from me and he had my spare.
So yes, barefooted and in P.J.s I walked 20 minutes through the city to my boyfriends. On my walk I pass a street where street walking is legal and well the ladies of the night (it was more like 5 p.m. so there was plenty of daylight) on this street are normally half naked and freely advertising. Even they looked at me like some crazy person.

I finally reached my boyfriend's place and his parents were home and this is when I completely melted down from the sheer embaressment of EVERYONE staring at me. Thankfully I put on some shoes I had over there and my boyfriend's dad drove me back to my apartment and boy was I grateful when the spare key opened the door. Since there was a chance that since the one key was in the lock on the inside that it would not allow the spare to open the door and then I would have needed to call a locksmith.

So that is my story and it seems to make everyone laugh.

Feb 15, 2012

Blog Break is OVER!

So for the past month this is how I have been feeling since the beginning of this month was my BIG German exam. If you know me you would know how I am not the best test taking person and considering that this was the last German test I had to take which would give me the green light for being able to finish my pre-studies and the proficency the Universtiy is wanting to see that I have. So I was more than stressed out and for about a good month of non-stop studying for the test and practising my writing in German. I was more than happy when the test had ended and took a break from German and just enjoying not having to study for the test.

Well two weeks after the test would I and my other peers be able to see our results, the night after my test I had nightmares and dreams about the test. Dreaming about what I had written and that it was utterly false and then dreaming up of a better paper. So I was just counting the days down for the results since half of the test I found to be a bit above the level we have been taught and just simply difficult and I just wanted to know if I had gotten just enough of those questions right to give me a positve grade. Yesterday was the big day, pretty much everything I have been doing for the past year and a half has been leading up to this moment. Now you can re take the test 3 more times but after all that work who really wants to go through that all over again? When I got to the big board that had all the grades posted up I could not believe my eyes, I double checked to make sure I was reading the correct one but I actually passed. I was blown out of the water since I felt that the one part was so difficult and I thought I did horriably on it and have heard more than a few times that it is common not to pass the first time but certainly by the second chance most everyone passes. So here I was thinking the worse but overjoyed just to find out that I did not have to continue studying as hard as I was.

I have recently been working out with one of my close friends here and I am starting to fully enjoy it I also am wanting to get that cute bikini body that everyone here seems to have. The only down fall is that it has recently been extremely cold and has snowed for a few days which make going to the gym some what of a chore atleast getting myself there. Because I feel like I have to pack so much in a bag and change there and or turing into an icicle just getting there. Having a work out buddy make it easier and also nice to have someone there to help motivate me.

Considering that I am a born and raised South Florida girl you can imagine how many encounters I have had with snow, not many and before living in Vienna I hadn't tried any winter sports other than ice skating. Here in Austria all schools are out in Febuary and for high school and under have only a week off which gave me and my boyfriend to do something I have always wanted to do but have never been able to. We went sledding! We were the only people our age on the hill going sledding everyone else were half our age but we didn't care we went anyways and had a lot of fun. I think I found a picture of expresses pretty well how I probably looked like when flying down that hill in the Prater on a butt saucer just adult size.

Needless to say it has certainly been alot of fun lately but I am starting to get tired of this cold wintery weather. Spring please come soon!

Jan 5, 2012

New Years In Vienna!

Like most everyone else in the blogger world, I am going to write a post about my New Years and all of that good stuff! I will just say it now, New Years in Vienna is something everyone should have on their bucket lists. New Years in Times Square seems to be the place to be for New Years for any American but the idea of having to stand for 6 hours to watch a ball drop seems to extreme for me.

Even though Florida is a great place to live New Years is not a big hoopla like it is here. My family has no real New Years traditions other than sitting in front of the T.V. and watching the ball drop and afterwards going to bed. Exciting I know.

There is quite a build-up to New Years in Vienna, buying fireworks, stands all over the city selling luck charms which can be strange to any onlooker. Stands that look similar to Christmas markets sell Pig charms to big stuffed pig toys, mushroom, four leafed clovers and chimney sweeper figures in all different sizes. Having any one of the named items are good luck charms.

Another tradition that is safe to say similar in all German cultures, which is probably going to be something I do every year no matter where I am. For me it is something I enjoy and a great way to pass the time while waiting for the final countdown. FONDUE!!!!  There multiple variations but the one that is traditional for my boyfriend and his parents is meat fondue but with soup instead of oil. It is certainly delicious and takes awhile so 12 seems to come soon after dinner.

The last thing to do before the year ends is to sit down and watch Dinner For One. Dinner For One is a short act about a woman on her 90th Birthday and has out lived her other friends and her butler James. The procedure is the same as every year and her butler must act out all of the 4 dead friends of Ms. Sofie. It is a wonderful skit no matter what time of the year it is, just it is only on T.V. just before the clock strikes Midnight!

Another new tradition for me is melting small lead figures over a flame and then pouring it in a bowl of water and trying to decipher what your shape means. It is an entertaining way to read into your New Year, it always seems to bring a good few laughs.

A small list of things I wish to accomplish before 2013:

  • Go to the Gym.
  • PASS THE EPD! That is my BIG German test that will allow me to study in the University. It also proves for my visa that I speak German not like a native, but good enough for studying. Talk about no pressure!
  • Travel with the Interrail this Summer
  • Finally get the ball rolling on finding a job.
  • And did I mention my BIG German test?
A Review on my year in 2011:

Was a very happy girl to stand front row of my ultimate favorite singer Iron and Wine. You can say I am a big fan, and since I have never seen him in concert before it was a pretty big deal!

My trip to Prauge with my lovely boyfriend over Valentine's Day.

Going  to Budapest with my best friends on Spring Break!

Going back home for the Summer and spending time with this cutie and my family!

Jumping out of a tiny plane over the Florida Keys.

Celebrating Birthdays.

 Going to Bratislava with one of my best Friends for the day.

Celebrating Christmas for the first time without my family.

Dec 29, 2011

A Not So White Christmas.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas this year! 

This year Christmas was a rollercoaster for me since I was not able to be back home and nor was my family with me. I spent this Christmas with my lovely boyfriend and his parents.

For me an average Christmas entails baking some cookies with maybe a pie. Other than that I spend maybe a day shopping and I am ready for the holidays. This year was certainly different.


I always plan to bake like there is no tomorrow and have different sortiments of all kinds of sweets and lots of them, but then when time rolls by reality sinks in and I never bake as much as I plan. Well this year was a tad bit different. Since for my birthday I was given a mixer I wanted to bake something that would require me to use it, and also find a recipes that my European boyfriend wouldn't find too sweet. Since most Europeans will say American baked goods are too sweet for their taste. So I found a really yummy Cinnamon Swirl Bread recipie that I thought would be perfect, and of coarse an eray of cookies. Gingerbread was number one, cinnamon stick cookies, vanilla kipferl, and last minute butter cookies. Did I mention we were only 4 people?
Now I have to confess I had a little help from my boyfriend when it came to the butter cookies. How yummy does that look?

Don't go thinking we just had cookies for Christmas, no we had a feast just as well before we even began to think about eating cookies.

Last year in Vienna it would not stop snowing and it snowed almost every other day it was my first ever white Christmas. This year on the other hand it was not white and around 40F which is warm for Vienna at Christmas time.

So with a good 6 to 8 hours of baking I was not finished with any Christmas preperations. Shopping anywhere in Vienna that has more than 3 major stores is pretty much the biggest headache you could imagine. People were not shoving and fighting over anything or atleast no where I was shopping but just the mass of people everywhere was astounding.

One nice aspect of this Christmas was the tree, even though it is much smaller than back home my boyfriend and I went out together to buy our tree. For me it was the perfect tree buying experience I can remember. Normally, buying a tree entails going to atleast 3 different locations to find the perfect tree and is pretty boring. This time all I had to do was point and say that one looks good and after having the boyfriend haggel the price a little we were on our way back.

In Vienna and  I would say some other European countries it is tradition that the baby Jesus angel brings all the gifts aposed to Santa. In German Santa is called Weihnachtsman litteraly meaning Christmas man. Also in Vienna after baby Jesus brings the gifts on Christmas Eve he rings a bell to notify the children that he was there and it is time to observe the pretty packages. In the States Santa brings our gifts Christmas morning and only a few gifts from family can be opened on Christmas Eve but Christmas morning is when children get to dive in. For me this was a bit strange since I am used to opening gifts in the morning so when Christmas day came around in the morning the little child inside of me was sad not to have anything to open in the morning.

Even though it was a bit sad not to be with my family this Christmas, I felt very blessed and grateful for what I had since it was what I would call a perfect Christmas just having my family there would have been the icing to the cake.