Monthly Archives: November 2015

An Introduction

My name is Wendy. I have five sons and in America I would often help people remember my name by referencing the book, Peter Pan, which includes a character Wendy who takes care of a group of lost boys. We arrived in Vienna about six weeks ago and plan to be here for close to five years while my husband works on a project at the University of Vienna. My boys have started school in the Austrian school system and are busy learning German. I told them they can come home and teach me.

In preparation of our move I tried to get a head-start on learning German by listening to German lessons on CDs and doing some lessons online. It did help some, though I find I have enough knowledge to ask a basic question but not enough to understand an answer. It is very frustrating and isolating to not be able to communicate well. My hope in taking the intensive course is to develop a wide enough knowledge base to be able to use more German in daily life on a regular basis and continue to expand my vocabulary as I go.

Much of our time in Vienna so far has been busy with visits to various offices filling out necessary paperwork and arranging long term accommodations. We have managed to do a bit of exploring for fun. This weekend we visited two Advent markets where we tasted some delicious local food—the biggest pretzels I have ever seen and some delicious sweet almonds (which are harder to come by here than in America) and enjoyed looking at the goods for sale.IMG_3652IMG_3666

At the end of A1.2 level

Finally, today was my last day at the course level of A1.2 and I am quite happy with my progress. If you are wondering what the main targets of this level are, then from my personal experience I would say that it’s the basic grammar. By now I know all the 4 cases of the language, Nominativ, Akkusativ, Dativ and Genetiv, how the articles changes in the sentence, though there is no concreate reason behind the articles but by now I have an idea of using which article for different word. As I already pointed out in my last blog post, that you do not only learn inside class but it’s the efforts you put. Classes here help you in all manner especially if you have a question disturbing you then this is the place where you can get the answer for that specific problem. But questions do not come from nowhere; it needs extra efforts outside the class room. For me, I do lots of Youtube. I watch different videos which help me further in improving my knowledge but also it sometimes gives me a question for which I cannot find an answer outside the course classroom. Also, this level has improved my pronunciation and it shows you what is pronounced as what. One needs to be highly ambitious if expecting to speak by the end of A1.2 but in general it helps teaches you the most important and elementary roots required for a good German grip.  Let’s see how I progress, and at which level I switch the language of my blog from English to German. Until then I wish you all the very good and bis bald.

Now its time for some concert 😉


Switch the language of your free time activities

I believe all of us here have a handy (mobile/cellphone). Have you ever wondered of changing the language of your handy device to German language (if it is not yet in German language)? Though I am still at the elementary level of German language but what I try to do is switch the language of all the mediums or activities into German language. Don’t be afraid of making a mess or something, because this will only help you in a positive manner. We all have some activities in our free time, may be browsing, youtube, facebook, or something. Why not to start using such social mediums in the language we are trying to learn? I am an Iphone user, and I am not afraid of changing the language of my cellphone because I know all the functions and way to use each feature regardless of its language. So how does it help me? Let’s suppose I want to use the maps on my handy, in English I know how it is called and I know its icon, but since I switched it German language then I automatically I learned that the application of Map is called as Karten. These small changes and ways contribute significantly in the knowledge. Also, since I have switched the keyboard to German standard from QWERTY standard, now I am adjusted with the new standard. I must say that now I find it bit problematic with qwerty keyboard because I am so use to the later standard that I always type “Y” instead of “Z” and vice versa. So that’s a small piece of useful advice for beginners

Do not worry if you want to party… they do promote in English also 😉


Class participation

Once you plan to learn German you have to be really motivated and concentrated every time. It may be not as difficult for some to learn, but in general it is not an easy process to get a grip over the language. But there is a German saying “Ohne Fleiß kein Preis” which means that without hard work you do not get a smooth way. Now as I said earlier that one needs to be motivated and concentrated, this is really important. I have seen few who think that just by getting enrolled in the institute and sitting in class would automatically make you learn the new language. It does not work like this, at least not with me. There are few things which have helped me along with the classes at DeutschAkademie, that’s trying to speak every time. As a normal human behavior, one is embarrassed or shy of speaking until fully confident. That’s normal. What you can do is speak out in deutsch kurs class because this is where all your classmates are almost same level as you. Our teacher always reminds us in class when he hear us speaking or talking in English that we are here to learn German and not English, and that we have paid to learn German not for talking with friends in English J. It really helps and built confidence when you try to speak in class with your classmates or teacher. Try to talk on different matter out of the course. So you learn not only the book knowledge but also the practical knowledge of German language.


Wish you a white Christmas




Looking for accommodation!!!

Big cities in Europe have one thing in common and that’s the difficulty in getting the accommodation. Same applies for Vienna. Though it is not as tough as Munich or Paris, but it is similar. Being a student or one with a budget constraint, it can be really time consuming procedure. In the second quarter for 2015, when I planned to move to Vienna, I was lucky to find a WG (shared house/flat in which one have a private room) in a week. But usually I heard that it can take longer time. I believe the best way to avoid disappointment is be alert and connected online. There are some good websites where you can search for advertisements with your specific preference and make alerts too. For me, facebook was quite helpful. There are facebook groups (also for English speakers) where there are frequent updates for all kind of accommodation, though the most are for WG’s. If budget is not a hurdle then you can also opt for agents who normally charge a fee to the tenant too. From a student perspective, I would recommend the following features to consider before you finalize a WG; price, flatmates, in-house facilities, furnished place, area/district, transport network in the area, grocery convenience and the contract terms and condition. So if you are planning to move to Vienna and looking for a place, the first advice would be to join the groups over facebook. Best districts for me are 5 till 9. All the best

Above all you need a good observation to find a place ))


Public transport in Vienna

Hello all… Today I would like to talk about the local transport system in Vienna. Personally, I believe that the transportation network in this city is nice designed. It consists of all the mediums which includes underground, over ground, trams, buses and taxis. If you are coming to Vienna for a longer period, let’s suppose at least a year or so, I would suggest you make a yearly card with which it will cost you around 1 euro per day to use any transportation medium any time. It is considered really nice price. Otherwise there are different options available too. Like tourist card, monthly, weekly, 3 days, 1 day or one time use tickets. If your friend or loved ones are visiting you during your stay in Vienna, they can go for the latter option. The most amazing feature of the local transport system is it works whole night over weekends which include underground trains and buses. Though it does not run as frequent as during the day, but still it’s really convenient. Coming towards the yearly card, I like it because you can take bicycle along with you in the underground or S-bahn (over ground) trains with you, which is restricted for all other ticket options. Also, there are few apps which show you the accurate travel schedule and other necessary information required specially by the new comers. So if you plan to stay here for long period, the most recommended commute manner is public transport and it will be economical if you opt for yearly card.



Cuisine of your choice!!!

Hey guys if you still not in Vienna, and wondering if you gonna miss your home food once you are here then I would ask you to stop worrying. It’s a city where you can apply the rule of “you name it and you will get it”. Coming from Pakistan, it is not that difficult for me to find my home food in any part of the world because our cuisine is similar to Indian cuisine. If you ask me to point one difference between the two cuisine, then I would say that my cuisine have the same dish but with meat. So being in Vienna you have lot of variety of food, cuisines such as Russian, Greek, Arabic, Persian etc are all here. So today, I was craving to munch some of my traditional food, and I visited a nice cozy student friendly restaurant near the main university in ninth district. It has a very cool concept of “eat as much as you can, and pay whatever you feel like”. Exactly! This is what it makes the place student friendly. Thus, if you are here as a backpacker, as a student or just a tourist, you have the option to get the food which ever you crave for. As many does consider the point of convenience (no matter if its food, shopping or what so ever) before moving to another place. I had the same concern, but now I can happily say that I have no reason to not like this place.  🙂




Journey from Vienna to Innsbruck

In my last post I recommended Budapest and Bratislava for a short visit around Christmas period. But in case you have already been to these cities and would like to try something new and Austrian, then let me start with the things you can do inside Austria. If you want to travel in winter holidays, then Tirol is ranked as one of the top region in Austria for winter tourism. The biggest city of Tirol is Innsbruck. The fast train (Railjet) takes around 5 and a half hour from Vienna to reach Innsbruck. Surrounded with mountains, it’s a beautiful small (in comparison with Vienna) yet big city which offers you almost all the taste of life. Of you are into winter sports, you can find really cool places to experience it. The city center is very near to the central station. Like, it takes 15 minutes by walk to reach the center. So if you are planning something for New Year ’s Eve and want to go outside Vienna but remain in Austria, my first preference would be Innsbruck. There is a private party in Innsbruck for New Year’s celebration for which one should book the ticket in advance. In here, you can enjoy the city’s firework from the top of the mountain. The ticket includes the lift both ways. Hope that makes your decision a bit easier (if you are planning for 31st December) ;). But anyhow, if you are in Vienna for a half year or so, it’s really worth paying a visit to the heart of Tirol.

Near by Innsbruck ))


Things to do near by Vienna

As winter is entering Vienna, I would like to tell you guys about what you can do in your winter holidays break. As you may know, Vienna is included in the list of three nearest capital cities in the world. Yes that’s right, Vienna in Austria, Bratislava in Slovakia and Budapest in Hungary, are the 3 capital cities which are nearest to each other. So if you are in Vienna and have some free time you can reach out the mentioned cities in a very convenient manner. You have option of either going by train, rent a car or carpooling. Being a backpacker, I prefer carpooling as it is the cheapest medium to do so. As you have Christmas and newyear’s coming around this time, I consider this as the right time for short trips. You can visit the neighboring capital cities for couple of days or more. There are nice (hopefully white) Christmas markets around the cities. The best part of visiting Christmas market in Budapest is you can try the real tasty Langos. That’s the specialty from the region. Though you can find really awesome Langos in Christmas markets around Vienna too, but the feeling or trying the food from the place of its origin gives you more satisfaction and joy. I would definitely recommend you to visit these cities at around Christmas time for a short trip. But for New Year ’s Eve celebration, my first preference would be Vienna, followed by Budapest and Bratislava. Hope that was useful for you 😉


My first winter in Austria

Actually i will not talk about the winter because if i’m not wrong it hasn’t started yet or i don’t know because as i say it’s my first one, i’m gonna talk about the first snowing day! yeah it starts yesterday 25 of November, if you are in Vienna probably you haven’t see it but i live in a village called Altlengbach and here already start to snow! and this is special for me because is my first time in the snow and it’s so amazing I couldn’t believe how beautiful it is and so soft and actually not as cold, it’s amazing! I didn’t realize when the snow started to fall, but like at midnight I opened the door and saw everything cover of snow and I was so amazed! was a completely new experience for me, I touched and was like nothing I have  ever touch was just unique. Today i waked up early to see the snow in the mountains and the view and I was speechless I couldn’t believe how stunning it is, I couldn’t erase the smile from my face. For this last reason winter has become my favorite part of the year because, when I walked this morning in the street, the only street of the village, every time that a person passed besides me, they were smiling all the way! and if something makes you feel something so intense that you just can’t take off the that feeling away, is not just beautiful is art, and for me, now that i know it, the winter is art. Nobody was complaining about how cold it was, or if the bus was late a couple minutes, even when the had the possibility of going to a covered place they didn’t, they, us stayed outside just contemplating the snow, how it falls from the sky and land delicate in the already white ground. Oh I wish my family were here with me just to share this moment with them. OK that was my experience and I hope you had enjoy the first snowing day of the winter and wish you a great time!.IMG_20151126_075254500 copia


LG, Sebastian

Living Alone

If you are from my generation, between 19 and 25, one of your ultimates goals is living alone, or with a friend, but the point is not living with an authority figure. We all have dream with the liberty of doing whatever we want when we want it, living over our own rules, go to parties every day, make parties every day, eat whatever we want, where and when we want it and a bunch of stuff more. I will tell you a little bit of how is living alone, and my experience in this big step of my life.


When you live with your parents, probably, one of the things that appear in your mind is that when you live alone you would be able to eat whatever you want like pizza, and burgers, and all kind of delicious fast food, and probably you will, i did it. But then you are going to start to get tired of that, probably you’re going to gain a little more of weigh and that is going to be your sign to stop.So you will need to learn how to cook, and that is not an easy task neither.It’s probable that you will get out of the house without eating anything just because you waked up late and you didn’t have time to cook anything, or because you open your fridge only for discover that you forgot to buy food and theres nothing in it, except for a beer and an old tomato that who knows how much have been there. Your diet will consist in eating over and over again the only three thing that you already know how to cook and then you will miss the healthy and variety of recipes that your mom use to cook for you, yes you will miss them even if you didn’t liked when you lived with her. And get prepared for the commentaries of your parents about your alimentation after you see them again…


When you still live with your parents and you are still a teenager or in your early 20’s you have probably think “when i move out of my parents house i will go to party all nights, i will make parties in my place very often, I always will have friends in my place and probably the first couple week will be like that, but then your are going to feel tired, and if you work or go to the Uni will be harder, your are going to notice funky smells in your house, and realize that it’s harder to keep it clean if it’s a lot of people around, so you’re going to calm down a little bit, you’re still going to want to party almost every weekend, but you are also will appreciate your time alone in your place and see it in order. Also you will appreciate the long days of just don’t doing anything, days of not taking even shower and watch all day and night movies while you are laid down in your bed.  

IMG_20151125_234325966_HDR copiaCleaning

This one is probably the harder, because after the first week you are going to realize that the house doesn’t  clean itself !!  that actually someone must clean the kitchen, the bathroom, the clothes and it makes you really appreciate more what your parent used to do for you. My first time washing the laundry i had to call my mom and ask her for instructions of how to do it , and i had to send her pictures of every step of the process just to be sure that i was doing it well adding the fact that i also had to have a dictionary in my other hand for translating every mode of washing of the german washing machine. And beat the laziness for do some cleaning is one the hardest things to do so and in consequence you start to collect empty bottles and jars, you wash the towels and the bed sheets like.. every two months or until them start to smell weird, it might sound gross but i can can bet you that it happens… and is just because the laziness don’t let us do those kind of things.But don’t worry you will figure out.

Even knowing that living alone is not as we imagine, is still a great experience and i wouldn’t change any of those experiences, it’s part of growing up; and you learn a lot in that process and actually I have start to enjoy more of those things like learning how to cook new recipes, and to deal with such boring things as cleaning and now are a little bit less uffle for me. So i hope you have enjoyed this text and I wish you a lot of fun and luck in this new experience that you are going to start (if you haven’t yet).
LG, Sebastian