Yesterday in the U-Bahn, I saw a two year-old girl, arguing with her mother, in German of course. I don’t know why, but I always get a kick out of seeing little kids speak foreign languages. And German has an absolutely perfect word for two year-olds: “doch.” There’s no counterpart to this word in English, though “au contraire” comes close. “Doch” is used to raise an objection to a point being made, e.g. “You need to go to bed.” “Doch!” or “It’s not a good idea to put toys made in China in your mouth.” “Doch!” Anyway, every other word this little girl said was “doch” and it made me smile.
Continuing on with my lists of goals from earlier this week, here’s the stuff that I’ll actually be doing to make a living here in Vienna. And let’s put the emphasis on “living.” While I’ll never criticize anyone else for their chosen path in life, working 100 hours on Wall Street or for a law firm does not constitute “living” for me. It’s been said that Americans live to work and Europeans work to live. Well, I’ll get plenty of enjoyment making a go of it doing the below listed jobs and such, so for me it’s all good and a false dichotomy.
1. Writing up my memoir for my hike, entitled “On the Road Shoulder”
-Not sure if I can get it published, but it’s worth a shot, and it seems like I met plenty of potential readers on my hike anyway.
2. Working for AFS Austria for 30 hours a week starting in August
- AFS, the exchange student organization that I originally came to Vienna with in 1998, is famous for not hiring many people since they rely heavily on volunteers. I’m very fortunate to have been given an offer from them.
3. Helping out at the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency)
-I wrote my master’s thesis on nuclear terrorism, and will be going for a doctorate researching contingengy plans if all works well. Being able to volunteer at the IAEA would be great experience, if things work out.
4. Coaching a quiz bowl team
-Have been meaning to do this for years, and should be able to find an international school that will take me up on it next year.
5. Becoming a certified genealogist
-Will be working hard over the summer on my own family tree for a book on my family for my grandfather’s 90th birthday in November. Then, I’ll get certified and do it professionally for others.
6. Going for a doctorate researching contingency plans for nuclear terrorism
-See number 3. Won’t start this until fall of 2009 though, in all likelihood. Before then it would be too much.
7. Setting up the American Student Ambassador Program (ASAP)
-This is my idea to send young Americans living overseas to foreign high schools to talk about life in the USA, with the hope of improving our image overseas. It’s sorely needed, and I’d like to set this up as a non-profit and get a modest salary for doing the organizational work it entails.
8. Rental Income
- I’m in the process of buying an apartment, and according to the real estate agent, I could make close to €100 a night renting the place out to tourists. I just need to find the right platform online, and might even set up my own for other would be renters as well.
- Will try out for the American version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire this year, the Austrian version late next year, and meanwhile, Jeopardy might come calling for a 25th year anniversary show. At the very least, I ought to be able to crack one of the €1000-1500 trivia jackpots at various Vienna pubs (like the one where I’m writing this now). Three friends and I won another 35€ worth of free drinks (with 18 out of 20 right, just two questions away from 1400€!) on Monday at the Four Bells- we’re saving up the certificates for a big party there in the fall.
10. Setting up the Vienna International Club
-Another non-profit that I will set up could potentially make a little bit for doing the office and organizational work for. Details still emerging on this one, but think of a cool outing club / language club / debating society / random acts of kindness purveyor, etc.
Now that’s my idea of “work.” So now that work is done, here’s a list of ten fun ways to play- just for shits and giggles, as they say.
1. Learn to play the guitar
-Like Oktoberfest and shooting under 100 in golf, this is just way overdue. And with my host brother (hey God, can I drop the “host” please?) Laurenz being a guitarist in a band and a music student, there will never be a better time or place to learn, nor a better teacher.
2. Setting up an Ultramarathon from Vienna to Bratislava
-There’s no other place in the world where you can have a one-day run (realistically) between national capitals. My friend Dominik and I are all over this.
3. Learning CPR. No, for real this time.
-I have done CPR courses before. I have forgotten what I learned before. Meanwhile I have memorized the capitals of the voivodships of Poland. There is no excuse for this, but at least I have already got on the ball with this one and did a 5 hour long first aid course with the Austrian Red Cross yesterday.
4. Learn how to waltz and trip the light fantastic at one, no, make that many, of the balls here.
-This is Vienna, after all.
5. And if I’m going to learn how to dance, I need to learn how to cook.
-Beyond just chocolate chip cookies. Specifically, I want to learn a bunch of Asian dishes that I can’t find in restaurants here, how to make a New York style cheesecake, and a smattering of traditional Viennese dishes. For starters. And main courses, and desserts too, ha ha.
6. Driving stuff
-Including but not limited to, improving my shoddy stick-shift skills, my non-existant tire changing skills, and getting an Austrian motorcycle license. And then doing a whole slew of classic road trips.
7. Setting up a second fantasy baseball league in the USA
-For Brad, Mark, Luke, John, Adam, Nick, and whoever else wants in. Have been planning to do this for years, and will come back to the states for our inaugural auction in March 2009.
-Yeah, knots. Starting with a Windsor, but also going back to all those rotten rope routines that frustrated me in scouts. Hey, I hated running once too, but seem to have conquered that. I’d put studying algebra and learning to play the oboe up here too for good measure, but I’m trying to stay sort of realistic here.
9. Volunteering at least twice at an orphanage in Romania
-I’ve done well with fundraising and donating over the years, but have done pathetically little actual volunteer work. I’m heading down to Romania though in May for three days to help out with Project Centipede and I’m really looking forward to it.
10. Keep this blog up to date.
-Twice a week, if possible, once a week come hell or high water.
That’s not it. There’s lots more in fact. But this is a good start, and just about everything listed here is doable. Welcome to Vienna. Anything goes in a place like this…