Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Ups and Downs (but mostly Ups)

Just finished making it two weeks in a row at the pub quiz at Johnny’s Irish Pub. Tonight, we won by a quarter point since we knew that “A Ticket to Ride” was a song from the Beatles movie Help. So we needed Help and we got it :)
The best news from this past week was that AFS, the exchange student organization I first came to Austria with back in 1999, agreed to hire me for a 30 hour work week starting at the end of August. Granted, it might not be the most lucrative job in the world, but for a whole slew of reasons, it’s more or less my dream job here in Vienna. For starters, AFS is a non-profit that does great work, so the part of me that feels the need to work for a higher purpose is happy. Also, in addition to being an AFSer myself, my mother and aunt were both AFSers when they were in high school, my family hosted an AFSer from Indonesia two years ago, and I have worked for AFS on a paid basis before in Germany and as a volunteer for them in Egypt. So I’m on familiar territory. Finally, from a logistical standpoint, it’s not easy to find a job without a work permit (AFS will support my application for one, though many employers wouldn’t), a job where I won’t be starting for another four and a half months, or a job where they’ll let me work thirty hours a week when I want to. All of that, of course, is essential for me in order to continue with my other projects apace.
The worst news from this past week was that my apartment situation, which I thought had worked out very nicely, is now completely back to square one. The primary renter in the apartment where I’ve been the last week is a weirdo to say the least. Matters came to a head when she waltzed into my room on Sunday morning, glass of wine in her hand at 10am and more than a little shitfaced. She insisted on telling me some rambling and cockamanie story about her night before in some club even though your average imbecile, drunk or sober, would have noticed that I had utterly no interest and was trying my best to ignore her. That’s when she accused me of not having greeted her appropriately at one point when I was in a hurry the previous week- even though this was a few days ago, and on Saturday night, she had been with my friends and me, enjoying wine that I had bought, and all seemed perfectly fine. She then said she wanted to rethink the contract with me for this slight infraction. Somehow this all seems to clash with her stated desire to have “friendly and uncomplicated” people in the apartment. Meanwhile, I had baked cookies for everyone before I moved in as a friendly gesture, and a few days ago she helped herself to a carton of strawberries I had bought without asking me. To top it all off, her dog took a shit and pissed on the floor in my bedroom on Saturday and this woman has apparently never wandered down the deodorant aisle in the local supermarket.
Yuck. And sorry for the rant, but I have to speak to this woman tomorrow to tell her I’m out of here, so I guess I’m using the blog as my oppoprtunity to get all my arguments lined up. As a parting gift, I’m going to give her a bottle of Lady Speed Stick. Hopefully by tomorrow, I’ll have a new place (of my own) to rent, although I’m planning on buying an apartment by mid-June, at which point I’ll have finally settled the housing issue for good.
On a more positive note, I continue to do loads of training each day and have literally more energy than I have ever had before in my life. Highlights from this past week include doing my first biking hours in a beautiful part of Vienna near the famous “Wienerwald” or Vienna Woods. And then today, I was running to the gym through the beautiful historic center of Vienna when out of nowhere the theme from “Chariots of Fire” started playing. That made me smile and gave an added burst to my run. It’s so funny how in high school, when it was obligatory and involved going around in a circle at 8am, running was my least favorite thing in life- even more than my traumatic relationship with algebra. But now, as running involves barely more effort than walking, when I can run at high speeds for miles – faster than I ever have before in my life, I find that running, as well as my other time spent training, has brought me to a point that I’ve never been to before- and it’s only going to get even better. Noticing such progress and overcoming my limits is one of the most rewarding things I have ever done, and it is noticeably leading to an increase in something that I have had far, far too little of in my life since 1999: joy. And with all due respect to the hokey pokey, that’s what it’s all about.

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