September 9, 2009

Do I want to live in Graz's version of the Bronx?

We are looking at apartments in a neighbourhood that has basically completely escaped gentrification. Despite this/Because of this/Having nothing to do with this, the neighbourhood is also a bit sketchy; it's not dangerous, and honestly, having never been to the Bronx, I don't know how accurate Christian's comparison was, but for me, it was like the St. Henri to our current neighbourhood's Mile End. Lots of immigrants, lots of kids hanging out on street corners, Turkish teenagers on scooters: none of these are really reasons not to take the apartment, but as we were biking around and the sun was going down, I couldn't help feeling like I wouldn't feel that comfortable walking home alone at night.

In its favour, this neighbourhood is inexpensive but still central, contains our favourite club (Postgarage, home of the Worst of the 90s parties and Russian Style Disco, etc.), is near a really cool vintage store, and contains two apartments we have both looked at and liked. Also comes with accompanying cred of living in a neighbourhood completely devoid of 'Bobos', the Austrian equivalent of yuppies.

Against it is the fact that while Postgarage is right around the corner, Postgarage is bordered by a park is definitely sketchy, and a little bit further down the street is a Mill*... Like a Quarry, next generation. Finally. I grew up in Mount Royal. I never had to learn street smarts. When we looked at the apartment today, I accidentally left my purse in my bike basket. I don't know if I have what it takes to live there.

What do you think?

*Christian sent me the link to the Mill's website to contrast my creepy impressions about it. I don't know... That font is pretty sinister.

September 7, 2009

Diary of Katie Peacock

Boyfriends (finally on same continent): 1, Roommates: 9, Reunions: plenty, all joyous, Jobs: currently none but working on it.

Am currently v. frustrated by inability to change line spacing from 1.5 to 1.0 even though have clearly done it in previous posts (see that one about point form). Also currently omitting subjects in all sentences as have been reading Bridget Jones all day and cannot avoid duplicating writing style of similar diary-entry format. Very much obliged to official BFF Lara Branson for peer-pressuring self to read said book (am currently on sequel) despite much reluctance on part of self.

Yesterday Christian and self went for dinner at Monika and Norbert's (You know Monika and Norbert, darling, Christian's parents!) and ate delicious and v. European style raclette. C. had to work all day, so had spent all of previous afternoon wandering around, reacquainting self with city and enjoying favourite activities of European haunts gone-by. After such haunting was therefore understandably excited by prospect of melted cheese and grilled meats plus vegetables for dinner. Experienced state of such gastronomical fulfillment that promptly fell asleep in Anja's bed after dinner (with Christian and Anja), although this may also have been caused by residual jet-lag and/or (most likely) being forced to watch NCIS.

Was lovely to be reunited with rest of Witternigg family as were practically adoptive parents while was here for European exchange, even going so far as to name family hamster after best friend, in manner of keeping her around even after she was gone (i.e. they liked the name). Not only were Monika and Norbert v. welcoming and friendly (somewhat appeasing residual guilt about luring their only son to far away country), but Monika began dinner by telling me about an advert she had seen in Friday's paper, which stated "ENGLISH NATIVE SPEAKERS WANTED" and then gave only a mobile number. Called today and spoke with an Irish woman named Brita.

Brita goes to Austrian equivalent of Junior Highs and teaches English with focus on communicative skills (i.e. not grammar, hurrah!). Was told more but don't want to ruin it as... am meeting with same Brita (hopefully have not butchered name on public blog?) on Wednesday morning. Am somewhat skeptical as:

  1. Brita does not live in Graz
  2. We are meeting in the main square next to where the tram arrives and does not seem formal enough to be real "interview"
  3. No real pressure was felt on phone; Brita seemed pleasant and didn't make me feel as though I had to work to obtain this interview in any way, but did mention that she had had various replies to advert so maybe she is just playing the field.
  4. Generally just seems much too easy and am therefore innately skeptical but also naively hopeful that skepticism will turn out to be cynicism and optimism will be rewarded as faith in human kind.
Tomorrow will continue apartment search with boyfriend and possibly provide summary of 9 (nine!) other people within walls of current lodging. Amendment: will only post again if can figure out how to regain 1.0 line spacing and also if can stop self from writing in ridiculous (though, if may say about self, quite accurate) parroting of Bridget-Jones-style documentation. Will resume use of pronouns! Tomorrow. Promise.
UPDATE: Coerced boyfriend into helping with HTML (after various attempts resulting in completely butchered formatting of blog) and line-spacing now conforms to high standards held by self. *Bats eyelashes at boyfriend* See? It's wearing off already.

September 6, 2009

Preliminary Findings Upon Moving (Back) to a Foreign Country

1. This is how things went as we were walking towards Christian's apartment for the first time, suitcases in tow:
Me, in my head: "I can't believe we live near such a pretty square... That is my favourite cathedral...Hmm, Cafe Chat Noir... I don't remember seeing it before... I think that will be my new favourite haunt. I'll go there all the time and drink coffee and read books and think about life... I wonder what it's like inside..."
Me, to Christian: "Have you ever been there?"
Christian: "No. That's a brothel."

2. Apparently, in Austria, a beautiful sunny day with a temperature of 20 degrees ≠ summer if it occurs after September 1st, and if you go outside wearing a white t-shirt and shorts you
will be publicly puzzled over, perhaps even scorned. This tip may be particularly pertinent for Canadians who, like myself, see any day above 15 degrees as fair game for full summer garb, including cut-offs, sunglasses, sandals, etc.

3. The door to Christian's bathroom is made out of
GLASS. I know that he pointed this out to me last night, but today when I was nakedly washing my face in front of the mirror, I only remembered when I saw the shape of his blonde male roommate move to the left of me. Christian maintains that you can't see through it, but for my part, I maintain that being able to see a flesh coloured silouhette is see-through enough for me.

OK I have to go back outside but will probably add more after inevitable further ridiculous moments. Good to be back.