On Thursday and Friday of last week, Fulbright Austria held their orientation introducing us to a mixture of the complex politics, cultural practices and norms we should expect.
It was a fascinating overview that helped connect my experiences of the past two weeks. In particular, and what I suspect will need some work, is differences in formality at the university level. We were taught that the use of titles is very important in Austria....and I suspect I have stepped right over that with American informality many times all ready.
I'm working to engage the culture as fully as I can in the time I have. Over the weekend, I made my first Kaiserschmarnn or "Emperor's Mess" (right). Its a sort of Austrian pancake. Delicious, if a little too dampish—maybe butter instead of oil for the pan? Didn’t soak the raisins in rum either—was trying to make it healthier (which now seems like a silly thing to say about a dessert). It mainly just needs to be fluffier. Really looking forward to cooking this up for the kids on weekends. Normally, I am the pancake maker on weekends and this seems like a fitting way to mix it up.
This weekend also saw my first long run in Vienna and there is definitely a strong running culture here. Generally, I've been getting more miles since I've been here, but I put down about 15 miles along the Danube Canal on Saturday--to which I celebrated with the kaiserschmarnn after--and it was perfectly lovely. The highlight was spotting the many people out feeding doves and serenely watching the water. Would have joined, but for me, serene IS the run along the Danube.