Hi! I'm Allison and I'm an American

Trip Start Jan 08, 2008
Trip End May 17, 2008

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Sunday, March 2, 2008

Sorry for the delayed update. I kept waiting for an amusing vignette to happen to me when I realized that I had gone several weeks with out writing. This 3 week hiatus waiting for excitement emphasizes the fact that I'm having a relatively regular semester in an irregular place. We still sleep in on the weekends, we get bored, and we go to bed early on the weekdays...

I did go to Salzburg last weekend which was amazing, but words cannot express the splendor of this city. Of course I hummed "The Hills are alive with the Sound of Music" all weekend, (They filmed Sound of Music in Salzburg) but there was so much history oozing out of the streets besides this famous blockbuster hit. I discovered that my favorite thing to do in foreign cities is to go places where I'm not supposed to go. I was overly enticed by blocked staircases, areas with no pathways or catacombs with no light.

It was my first unguided trip to a city, so I became the quintessential tourist with camera in one hand and tour book in the other. My roommates relied on me to enlighten them with interesting facts on the churches and fortresses we visited. I took my job seriously and studied up on the sights (and sounds) of Salzburg. Every thing went according to plan, except for the Serbian Rally we stumbled upon on the last day of our trip.

Kosovo's independence has been a major topic in my classes because it severely affects Austria's neighboring countries. Many people are very unhappy in this part of the world and riots and rallies have broken out all over the EU as a forum for their anger. I decided that I should become a little more alert to their unhappiness when the Serbians destroyed the American embassy in Belgrade. Although, I feel safe in Vienna, the unrest of this part of the world makes me cognizant of the fact that I am an American and not everybody in the world likes this aspect of me.

When I am in America, I have several characteristics by which I define myself: my name is Allison, I'm a college student, I play piano, and I have 6 nieces and nephews that I love. The second I moved to Austria, the order of these characteristics shifted. I became Allison-an American, a college student, a pianist, and an Aunt. When the riots and rallies turned to burning American flags, it became painfully clear that my nationality defined who I was here whether I liked it or not.

I've noticed that it's in vogue for study abroad students to take the side of their host country and continent. Several Americans decide that they disapprove of the way the US does things and would prefer the historical ways of Europe. They think that America moves too fast, doesn't care about its environment and has no history. I agree that Europe has a history to maintain that America can't hope to have but, despite America's youth and naivety, I am proud to call myself an American. I enjoy all the luxuries that America has to offer and I love that we are able to share our innovations with other countries. Of course, I don't prefer to walk out of my Viennese apartment and see a McDonald's but, I think one must take the good with the bad.

The Serbian rally in Salzburg ended peacefully (or so I read) but it was frightening to know that I stumbled upon a group of people that didn't like me because of my nationality and which countries my nation supported. I hope I don't encounter any more rallies and I hope that "the Hills are Alive with the Sound of Music" lyrics will eventually leave my head.

Please check out the slide show above my blog. I have posted several photos that are not displayed in the entry and have included stories about most of them! Enjoy!
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