Hello again, oh my best beloveds! It's September and regular classes have started at the Institute. We are all having to stretch our brains and dust out the cobwebs. Future students take note: The grammar course taught by Peter Wassertheurer is the sort of grueling bilingual boot-camp that turns boys into men. His gleefully stated mission in life is to make coddled American language students weep. You will love him for it, trust me. Most of our group has been busy booking flights and trains to exotic destinations around Europe and the British Isles. On the long weekend last week only two other people besides myself stayed in Vienna. Exciting times were had by all in Italy and Budapest- though there was an unfortunate mix-up with scheduling concerning a trip to Rome in October overlapping with a required concert for our music class. We are still working this out. It would have been a better idea to wait to plan vacations until our classes and concert times were set in stone, but such is life. The weather is finally starting to cool down, which is a true relief. Autumn is going to be incredible here. It's sunny, but not too hot, and perfect weather for taking pictures of the city, which I have been doing with great enthusiasm as it is a rewarding experience that does not cost any money. This is a good thing, as you will discover. I am busily falling in love with the aesthetics of Austria at the moment. Vienna has an incredibly vivid and iconic past. Just reading a timeline of the city for me brings to mind colorful pictures filled with symbolism and quintessentially European pomp. I can see why so many artists of all varieties have been drawn here over the ages; the history of the city itself invites creative interpretation. I visited the Leopold Museum the other day to see the Auchentaller, Schiele and Klimt exhibits, and I had a lovely, sort of spiritual moment looking at the original works from the hands of artists I admire, from a time period that I connect with on such a personal level. It was truly inspiring, and I hope everyone here has a chance to find something that resonates with them as deeply, whether it be music, art, architecture, psychology, or football. The one thing I haven't done yet that I am really frothing at the mouth impatiently for is to see a live concert/opera/play. I refuse to leave this country until I have accomplished this! May I fall on my sword if I miss out on the Staatsoper! Your ever obedient servant, -Rivka Nipper, Blogmeister.