Journals from Vienna 2008
2008-12-01 Giving Thanks
Thanksgiving in Austria was definitely one of my best memories of being here, as well as one of the best Thanksgiving celebrations I have ever experienced. On Thursday night, our four wonderful Musicians put on a house concert at Melissa Davazs home. Before the concert, I helped Gerda (Melissas host mom) prepare heisse maroni (basically roasted chestnuts) for everyone. To prepare maroni, one must cut a slit into the shell, so that it cooks properly. I had never tried to cut a nutshell before, which made this quite the experience, and Gerda had a few good laughs watching me try to cut the slits. Slowly but surely it came together, and after awhile I was cutting the maroni shells as if I had been born to do so. It was quite the occasion, with approximately 35 guests, including the Linfield students, the Weissgrbers (program directors), and friends and family of the host. Amanda, Andrew, and Melissa played a variety of piano pieces by Bach, Liszt, Chopin, Debussy, etc. Then Amy played a beautiful cello piece, of which the name escapes me. Melissa and Andrew then sang four songs each, with Amanda accompanying them on the piano. Overall it was a great concert; weve been blessed with a seemingly musically talented group in Austria this semester.
Gerda had prepared a delicious traditional Viennese dinner for all of the guests. The dish is called Schinkenfleckerl, best described as a noodle, cheese, and ham casserole of some sort. Although ham is possibly my least favorite thing in the world, I really enjoy Schinkenfleckerl. Thankfully, Gerda made four large pans of the dinner, and a salad, because it was so tasty that everyone went for seconds. During dinner we shared jokes, laughs, smiles, and enjoyed the wonderful company of one another. Though the event was not in honor of Thanksgiving nor was it a Thanksgiving dinner, it felt somehow like Thanksgiving at home. It may be partially due to the fact that I feel so at home and comfortable here. After dinner we all sat around the piano, and sang both German and English Christmas carols, such a mix of culture and tradition was really beautiful to be able to experience. Thursday was one of those nights that I had dreamt of when thinking about what my time in Austria would be like.
On Friday evening, we celebrated Thanksgiving with the entire group, our families, friends and people of the institute where we study. The dinner was a typical American Thanksgiving dinner, with turkey, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, and stuffing. Though I was hoping for a Thanksgiving with Austrian food, it was not too bad. We all ate, drank, and were merry. It was certainly a memorable evening!