My Diary

I've split my diary now to individual months - so - the default page will be the diary of the current month. Here are the links to the other entries so far:
January 2009 December 2008
November 2008 October 2008 September 2008 August 2008 July 2008 June 2008
May 2008 April 2008 March 2008 February 2008 January 2008 December 2007
November 2007 October 2007 September 2007 August 2007 July 2007 June 2007
May 2007 April 2007 March 2007 February 2007 January 2007 December 2006
November 2006 October 2006 September 2006 August 2006 July 2006 June 2006
May 2006 April 2006 March 2006 February 2006 January 2006 December 2005
November 2005 October 2005 September 2005 August 2005 July 2005 June 2005
May 2005 April 2005 March 2005 February 2005 January 2005 December 2004

December 31st

Happy New Year - How we celebrated it in Boston
2008 is gone - 2009 is here. We swept the old year out with a nice tradition that Stephan was told by one of his friends - I actually captured it on video. The oldest in the house (in our case this was my mom) leads the line of people ordered by their age (so I was the last). She had a broom in her hand to sweep out the old year. We went out the back door - walked around the house to the front door where the youngest (that's me) entered the house first and the oldest (my mum) entered last.
During the day we wanted to check out the activities of the First Night in Boston. Unfortunately the weather forecast was correct this time. They predicted a snow storm, cold temperatures and wind - and thats what exactly happened. The snow started around 9AM and lasted till 6PM. It snowed between 15cm and 30cm in the different areas around Boston. Temperatures dropped to -12C at night - with the wind it actually felt like -24C. Thats also the reason why the city was pretty much empty all day and also during the evening activities.
So - instead of walking through the city we (Stephan and I) dropped my mom and sister off in the shops of Newbury Street while we browsed through the bars. At 7PM we watched the family fireworks - it was good that we did it because they had to cancel the midnight fireworks in the harbor due to strong winds.
After the fireworks we decided to go home - it was just too cold and too windy. So we spent our new years eve at home - playing cards - watching the times square countdown on tv - drinking coffee and prosecco.
Its been a great time with my mom and sister. They hopefully enjoyed the new experiences here in the united states. The final day has come - we are sitting here at the breakfast table. We are going to have Brunch at Christophers. After that I am going to drop them off at the Airport.
Here are some final impressions.
Ice Sculptures at Copley Square Two Snow Man in Boston :-)
Family Firework in Boston Common Snow blocked the entrance to hour home
Midnight Prosecco with cake What a beautiful morning

December 30th

New York - New York
Its been a great trip to New York. We just came back and now its time to share some impressions with you.
Stephan drove us to South Station in Boston were we boarded the Mega-Bus. I thought its going to be a ride no longer than 4 hours - due to bad traffic in New York and due to a strange route into Manhatten (not sure if it was a strange route but it seemed so) it took almost 6 hours. We arrived at Penn Station which is on 32nd Street. From there we walked to our Hotel - it was the Belvedere Hotel on 48th Street - really really nice!!
After dropping our luggage we started our tour: Walked through Central Park - after that we walked 5th Avenue down towards the Rockefeller Center. It seems that about a million people had the same idea :-(. From there we walked to Times Square. Then back to our hotel to get changed for the big event of the night: Phantom of the Opera. It was breathtaking!!
After the show we went to a bar for a couple of drinks before we went to bed. I think my mum starts to like Manhatten more and more - not only the city - but also the drink :-)
Got up at 7:30 and out of the hotel by 8:30. We walked again through Time Square - along 42nd Street to the Grand Central Station. From there we walked to the New York Public Library which unfortunately was closed. From there we walked to the Empire State Building. It would have been 3 hours to wait in line. 3 hours!! Ridiculous!! So we decided to skip this event.
Took the subway down to Staten Island Ferry to get a closer look at the Battery Park and then along West Street to Ground Zero where the World Trade Center used to stay.
After that we went back to Penn Station. I gave the girls some time for shopping while I picked up the luggage from the hotel. Our bus was supposed to leave at 5:30PM - so we got there at 5PM. We finally took off at 6:30 as the 5:30 bus was canceled or delayed or whatever (they couldnt really tell us the reason).
Its been a great trip. Lots of walking - lots of people - lots of light - lots of new experiences for my mom and sister.
Here we go - some impressions.
Imagine Inprint in Central Park In Central Park
Still in Central Park At the Rockefeller Center
In one of the bars we went Awesome - Phantom of the Opera
At Times Square My Mom with a big limousine
Didnt made it up there: The Empire State Building Wall Street - New York Stock Exchange
Brooklyn Bridge The girls enjoying the sun
The french lady Manhatten from the Staten Island Ferry
In the New York Metro At home - enjoying a beer

December 29th

Done with New England - Ready for New York
Just a quick update before we hop on the bus to New York.
Yesterday we spent driving up the north shore. Checked out Salem with the Witch Museum and all the other interesting sites that this town has to offer. From there we drove on Route 1A along the atlantic shore to Gloucester and Rockport. On the way we stopped at several places to check out the houses that are built on the shoreline - it was breath taking. Rockport was the most beautiful place of all - its a very nice small fishermans town with many little shops.
At night we finally prepared our first meal in the house. Stephan and my mom cooked a declicious pasta with a nice creamy salmen and vegetable souce.
Highlights in New York: Phantom of the Opera on Broadway, Central Park, Ground Zero, Statue of Liberty, ...
bye bye
Old sailing ship in Salem, MA 1 or 3 witches? :-)
Rockport, MA Rockport, MA
Working on the dinner The finished product - delicious

December 27th

Back in Boston with my mum and my sister
I am finally back in Boston. Well - not only me - also my mum and my sister. We had a great and easy trip to Boston. We started at 6 AM with our flight from Linz to Frankfurt. In Frankfurt we had a 5 hours layover. I smuggled my mum into the Business Lounge. I was not supposed to bring her in because we were not flying Business Class - but the lady at the desk allowed me to bring her in for a coffee.
After a while I thought about checking in with Lufthansa - wanted to know if there are free seats available in Business Class and whether I could upgrade us with my frequent flyer miles. It turned out that I just had enough miles to upgrade all of us. As we now have been officially in Business Class I took the two girls back to the Business Lounge - enjoying the amenities there.
Well - to keep a long story short: we had a good flight - we went through immigrations without problems and we "smuggled" all our presents through customs.
Today we checked out the Freedom Trail in Boston - followed by a quick tour through Cambridge (my old neighborhood) - ending in Christophers where we all had the famous assorted Nachos (which look disgusting on the pictures but which we all agree on actually taste amazing).
The plan for tomorrow: taking the car and drive north along the atlantic shore.
Time for bed now - bye bye
Last night in Linz: With Didi at Walkers The girls studying the menu in the business class
The first drink after we arrived in our new house First ride on the T from Stony Brook to Downtown Crossing
At Christophers Another shot at Christohpers - with Luise in the back

December 23rd

Same procedure every year - Walker on the 23rd
Where do you go if you want to meet everybody that you have ever seen in your life before? (well - maybe not everybody but a good percentage) - the answer is: Walker. It seems that everybody who is coming home for christmas and those that are in Linz all year round anyway go to Walker on the 23rd. So I also took the chance to catch up with old friends that I havent seen since last year on the 23rd :-)
Before that Klemens and Gabi invited for a "Baustellenparty". They are in the process of building their new house and it was time to check out the current progress. The shell of the house is done - the roof is on top - the christmas tree was also already there - perfect time to have some punsch, cookies and Gulasch :-)
Time is passing quick - 2 days left before I hope on the plane back to Boston. I've been asked many times how I feel about going back - where I feel myself as being home - if I will miss Linz - if I enjoyed my time here the past 2 weeks - ...
I have to say that it was a fabulous time. Before I came back my desire to visit Linz over the holidays was not too big - I could have managed to stay in Boston and enjoy the Advent there. Now - looking back 2 weeks - I am glad I was here. It was great to meet all my friends again - it was great to live through all our austrian traditions that we especially have around this time of year. The final highlight will be tonight - christmas celebrations with my family. But I have to say that I am really looking forward of going back to Boston. There are new cool challenges waiting for me: a new place to live in, a great roommate, my international friends, new year celebrations in Boston, tons of snow in the city, lots of salsa opportunities throughout the week, ...
Home for me is a place where I feel comfortable. Right now it seems that I have two homes as I feel equaliy comfortable in both Linz and Boston. I am fortunate to have the chance to enjoy living in both places.
Now - time to start working on the christmas tree. As you may know - our christmas tree at home is a bit taller than the average. Check out the pictures of the past christmas's - there is a lot of work waiting for me and my mum.
Merry Christmas - Fröhliche Weihnacht
My Gulasch-Soup with Mario in the back At the construction site of Klemens and Gabis new home
The entrance aisle in Walker "Refresh your night" :-)

December 22nd

Skiing with Didi in Hinterstder
Despite the weather forecast we (Didi and I) decided to hop in the car at 8AM and drive to Hinterstoder - one of the closest ski resorts. Its only an hour from Linz and its a good pick for a day of skiing. Our decision proved to be good. The weather was not perfect - but it was good enough. There was some snowfall on top of the mountain - a little bit of wind - enough snow on the slope and also in the woods - and - the best - not a whole lot of people.
So we skied from 9 to 3 with a short lunch break. We spent most of the time off-track somewhere in the woods enjoying the snow.
Now its time to get a shower (or probably a bath). A day in sweaty clothes without proper cleaning will probably scare away the salsa girls tonight at the Remembar. Its going to be my last salsa event here in Linz before going back to Boston.
Here are some pictures of today
He probably thinks: Oh my god - a full day with Andi :-( Empty slopes
Icy lift-poles on top of the mountain Keep on smiling - despite the cold wind
Taking a rest (or maybe he just fell down) :-) Making my way through the woods
Lunch break Early easter egg searching: Where are Didis ski's (somewhere burried in the snow)

December 21st

Too much food
Its monday - 7AM - and I have about 20 minutes left before I have to get ready for a day on the slopes. Didi and I are driving to Hinterstoder to get a day on our skies.
The weekend was great. On Saturday night I've been invited by Irene and Thomas. He is a chef at a local restaurant here in Linz. Thanks to his cooking skills we had a fabulous Schweinsbraten. The unfortunate thing about delicious and too much food is that I get too tired after eating. So - instead of going salsa dancing afterwards I went straight to bed :-)
Sunday morning was breakfast time with Alex - followed by lunch at Juergen and Babsi. We had Raclette. Before we all fell asleep we decided to drive into town for some punsch at the christmas markets. I ended the day with a burger at Walkers.
Now - time to go. Bye bye
Schweinsbraten witi dumplings, potatos and kraut Juergen getting more punsch and some Schmalzbrot
Babsi and Juergen Burgers at Walkers

December 20th

Compan Christmas Party
Its been a great christmas party with my colleagues from dynaTrace. We spent the evening/night/morning at the Eidenberger Alm. Started with Punsch - followed by a great dinner and a couple of drinks. Eidenberg presented itself as a winter wonderland. And the Eidenberger Alm is a very nice - very traditional and perfect place for an event like this.
Here are some pictures.
Playing Big Boys: Guenther and Alois with cigars Playing "Nageln"
Playing "Dare you dont take the bottom left glass" -> I did it - what a mess :-) Manuel in a blured view
Another blured view One more shot through the glass
Gulasch: A typical midnight snack Enjoying the Gulasch Soup
Winter Wonderland in Eidenberg Alois cleaning his car in the morning

December 18th

American Culture in Linz
What the heck is going on here? That were my first thoughts when I came closer to the XMAS Market on the Pfarrplatz in Linz. Two big Coca Cola XMAS Trucks where parked there and the Coca Cola XMAS Song by Melanie Thornton was played so that half of Linz could hear it. The place was packed with people so I guess that people are ok with this type of "American Culture" - I have to say - I kind of like it too :-)
Besides that cultural clash I tried to stick very close to the austrian culture. Didi invited me over last night - check out the pictures below and you will see what was so typical austrian about this evening. Its been great seeing him again. Thanks for the talks and the advice.
2 weeks are almost over - 7 days left - time is flying by. Stephan is going to finish the move to JP this weekend so that everything is ready for my mom, my sister and me when I fly to Boston on the 26th.
Thats it for today. Here are some pictures of the past 2 days. bye bye
Very traditional: Leberkaese with Gurkerl, Schwarzbrot and Beer Hirter Beer while watching UEFA Cup
Didi pouring the next bottle A great Zwickel Beer from Salzburg
The Coca Cola Truck in Linz The XMAS Market at the Hauptplatz

December 16th

Too busy
Its been a busy time so far in Linz - and I guess its not going to get better till XMAS. Its busy at work - and I try to keep myself busy outside work by either going dancing or meeting friends.
Its been another 5 hours dancing marathon in remembar last night. Danced till they stopped playing music at 2AM. When it was time to pay my drinks I thought - hey - lets try to pay with my US Credit Card. I have to tell this story now because Alex (my bartender) warned me about their credit transaction machines. To keep the story short. We tried all my cards on all their credit machines. We finally got the transaction through on the 3rd machine. As I used my us card the display showed the exchange rate between euros and dollars. I was kind of shocked - seems that the euro gained a lot of strength since I am back here in Linz - its over 1.40 again (bad news of course for me as I am getting paied in $$).
Now something really cool: As you may know - my mom and sister are going to visit me in the states from December 26th till January 2nd. I just booked a hotel in New York on the 29th. We are going down to THE CITY and spend two days in THE BIG APPLE. We are also trying to get tickets for a broadway musical - lets keep our fingers crossed that we find a good play. If not - we still have a good alternative with the Blue Man Group in Boston (have seen it 3 times already but I guess I can do another).
The countdown to Boston is down to 10 days. I really like being here in Linz and I really enjoy every minute. But - I also already start missing B-Town. Especially knowing that there is a brand new home waiting for me. Stephan shocked me a bit with the news that our basement got flooded last friday. It rained like crazy and we ended up having 3 inches of rain in the basement. First I misinterpreted the scale when I read his message. I thought it was 3 feet of rain (that would be almost a meter). "Fortunately" it turned out that it was not as bad as I thought. But still - he spent all day getting the water out of our house. Good Job - get yourself a beer now :-)
Well - time for bed. I am sure that there will be pictures from the upcoming evenings. Tomorrow I finally meet Didi and on friday we have our company xmas party.
Good night

December 14th

Friends will be Friends
There is a song of my favorite band Queen that talks about Friends. Being back here in Linz I realized that I am fortunate to really have some very good friends - even though the distance or the time that we havent seen each other.
The weekend is almost over. Its sunday night and its time to go to bed. Met Christian on friday - whom I haven't seen for 6 years. Met Udo (aka Prinzregent) - who had to spent the past week at home because he was sick. Went out for the Salsa XMAS Party which lastet till 3AM. Visited my sister to talk about our travel plans for Boston and New York at the end of december. Then I went to the Gallneukirchner Advent Markt where I met tons of people I usually meet once a year at the Advent Markt.
And I watched another movie tonight. XXY - very good movie discussing a very tough topic.
First week in Linz is over - 1 1/2 more to go. Its going to be a busy week at work which will end with the company xmas party on friday.
Thats it - here are some pictures from the past days. bye
Christian and I - havent seen him in 6 years Mr. Prinzregent - good to see him again
Linz from the Eisenbahnbruecke Midnight show at the Salsa XMAS Party

December 12th

Weekend is here
The first week is over - amazing how fast time flew by. Now its friday evening. Just finished a great game with my regular soccer group. Although I play soccer in the states on a regular basis it was obvious today that I lost my skills in scoring goals :-( - but I am still sweating as much as I used to :-)
Now its time to meet Christian - havent seen him in ages. He approached me this week with an interesting idea that he wants to talk with me about - looking forward to it. Tomorrow is time for errands and friends. I will finally see Udo (aka Prinzregent). He has been sick lately and it seems he has not yet fully recovered. I hope I can cheer him up.
Tomorrow night is the big salsa xmas-party. That will definitely be fun. Sunday is also already fully booked. Brunch with my sister - its about time to figure out our exact plans for Boston when she and my mum are visiting me after xmas. After that its time the xmas-market in Gallneukirchen - then I am going to visit Doris and Robert - and I think there is another planned visit later at night.
So - its quite busy right now - especially because I try to meet as many people as possible.
Hey - but there are also some great news from Boston. Seems that Stephan is making good progress with the 3rd floor. Looks like everything will be finished by the time I am coming back. And - thats an insider now - "NO QUATERS ANY MORE" :-).
Ok - time to run - bye bye

December 10th

Vicky Christina Barcelona
Just came home from after watching the new movie from Woody Allen. Its a great movie discussing some very interesting topics of our society - like - is it ok to live in a 3 person relationship? Do we have to live the life that our society has "planned" for us (house, wife, children, ...)? Can we enjoy the pleasures of life without regret? Well - its a great movie - definitely one to recommend.
Other than watching movies I was of course very active on the dance floor on monday night. Danced from 9 to 2. I counted the songs that I did not dance - I think it was a total of 4. So by the end of the night I was REALLY exhausted.
Took the bike to work yesterday - today I actually used the car. Both options are definitely a bit easier and faster than my commute in Boston. On the other side I do get much more excercise in Boston with my 50 minutes on the bike for one way - here its just 15 minutes.
Last night - tuesday - was the first night I actually fell asleep before midnight - at around 10:30. Well - I also woke up before midnight - at around 11:30. But I managed to get a good number of hours in bed - I guess I finally managed to deal with the time difference.
Whats coming up? Meet my old team from my former company tomorrow night - not yet sure about friday - and well - saturday - big salsa xmas party at Maestro.
Thats it. Greetings

December 8th

Weekend in Linz - Dancing, Family and BDay-Parties
Its been a great weekend in Linz. Wanna keep this entry short tough as I think the pictures speak more than 1000 words (at least thats the saying).
Basically we had a blast at the Ball of Andexlinger Dancing School in the Vereinshaus in Linz on saturday. Danced till 2AM - then I checked out the Remembar till 4AM. Thanks to the Jetlag I was not at all tired at night.
Sunday was family day. Went home to my parents - got a great meal and then we spent some time to update my family about what happened in my life the past 5 months. They are not regular website readers - therefore most of the stories were actually new for them :-)
Later in the afternoon it was time for the first Punsch at the Christkindlarkt - followed by a great birthday party for Thomas - he turned 30. One of the high or low-lights of the party was that Sandro and I managed to consume all the wheat beer they had. Well - it actually was a cocktail bar so they probably didnt have too many bottles in stock. Another hi/low-light was playing singstar all night long. It was fun (thats the highlight) - but we are all terrible singers (lolight). I actually took a video of the group singing "I am from Austria" - its a classic - but it is just totally terrible to listen to it :-)
Thanks to the jetlag - I stayed at the party till 4:30. Had brunch today with Alois. It was nice seeing him again - but it was hard for my body. So I had to go back to bed again after breakfast.
Now I am sitting here with Irene - drinking coffee and wine - enjoying some of her cookies and I am very unpolite actually updating my website while she is hosting me here.
In about 4 hours its time for Salsa in Remembar. That will then be the extended weekend for me. Back to work tomorrow.
At the Andexlinger Ball with Brita Exhausted after 5 hours of dancing
Mix your own "Saurer Radler" Isnt that cute? My youngest niece Lisa
Punsch at the Christmasmarket with Juergen and Sandro The birthday boy - proud of his "Wohlstandsbauch" :-)
Working on the wheat beer Interesting View: Sandro, Martin (aka Resl) and I
Awesome: just throw the nut shells on the floor Boston and the Beer: both established in 1630
The Samos-Gang The later the evening - the funnier we looked

December 6th - 2nd Entry

Back in Linz - where is the difference to Boston?
Had my first 6 hours back in Linz and I think I just have to write up those difference that I see between Boston (US) and Linz (Austria). There are just small things that are different - here are some examples:
* Honking: On my drive from the airport to the appartment I didnt hear anybody honking. In Boston - getting from one intersection to the other without anybody honking is unusual :-)
* Pedestrians: Pedestrians here in Linz actually wait till the traffic light is green before they walk. In Boston - a red light seems more like a recommendation to at least look if there is no car coming. But you walk anyway :-)
* Smoke: Just walked through the streets and also walked through some bars. Guess I need to get used to the fact again that people are allowed to smoke in restaurants/bars. I really enjoy the fact of non-smoking in the states
* ID: Went shopping for a bottle of Prosecco. No need for identification when buying liquor. A fact that I like about europe
* XMAS Markets: Walked through the streets of Linz - seeing all those small little stands selling their XMAS Stuff - and - all those little stands selling Punsch, Gluehwein and Gluehmost. People drinking in public - of course - they always drink responsibly :-). No public drinking in the states :-(
* Nudity: Watched some TV on the airport - a soap-opera at 7 AM on german public television. You see more skin at this time of the day than you would ever see on US public tv. Not sure if this is for the better or the worse. I though perceived it as "very welcomed" :-)
* Money: I switched the money in my wallet from dollars to euros. Euros are just soo much more colorful and have different size. Although - because they are so colorful compared to the dollar it feels a bit like monopoly money.

It was an interesting feeling when I got out of security at the Linz airport. Well - actually - it was not. I just went out the doors and it felt like I've not really been gone for long. I thought there might be more excitement - but there wasn't. Well - guess that this just comes from travelling so much and just getting used to being away from a place for a while but then readjust really quickly when being back.
The only thing that sucks right now is that I do not have internet here in the appartment. I canceled the contract in July. Also seems that none of my neighbours has an open wifi hotspot. Linz however has plenty of free hotspots that I will probably use over the next 3 weeks.
Other than that there is not a whole lot of change. My aunt welcomed me with a fridge full of stuff :-) - have my car back (thanks juergen for taking so much care of it) - and already got in touch with several of my friends - mainly telling them that it is time for me to go to bed :-)
Yep - thats it for now. Not sure when I am able to upload this entry. bye bye

December 6th

Beer or Coffee?
That was the tough question I had to answer about 5 minutes ago when I entered the Business Lounge at the Frankfurt Airport. Its shortly after 6AM - actually time for coffee. But - as I did not got any sleep on the plane its kind of still night for me - meaning - beer is definitely ok. I of course ask for advice by texting stephan in Boston. He is just having beer with Sydney and Ross - so I kind of join them from remote.
Flight was good - pretty short - only 6 hours - seems we had a lot of tailwind. Now I have another 3 hours to wait till I get on my flight home to Linz.
Thats it - PROST!!

December 5th

Time to say goodbye (well - just for 3 weeks)
Its been my last night in the appartment here in Cambridge - its been the last time at Christophers on wednesday - last time salsa here in US on wednesday - last time coffee grinding in the morning - ...
It feels a bit odd to say good bye to this great appartment that we had here in Cambridge. When I come back end of december we will finally have moved to Jamaica Plain and just life exclusively there.
The plane takes off at 4:30 PM today. Before that its time for some work - final batch of laundry and getting the bike fixed. Jessica is going to drive me to the airport - thanks for that.
The program in Linz will be busy: a ball tomorrow night - sunday lunch with my parents - a birthday party on sunday night - salsa on monday - probably lots of punsch at the christmasmarkets throughout december.
Looking forward to visit home again - but I am also going to miss my 2nd home here in Boston.
bye bye

December 3rd

Whats going on with my bike?
Two weeks ago I had a flat tire on my bike which I got fixed in my local bike shop. Well - today when I tried to ride the bike over to the house in JP I realized that the same tire is flat again.
What else is going on? Well - two days left here in Boston before my visit to Linz. Its been my final salsa night in An Tua Nua tonight. It turned out to be an "unusual" salsa night though - not as much dancing as I hoped but I am glad I could help somebody in a painful situation.
Tomorrow we are going to have a small farewell party with the guys/girls from the office. Well - and on friday its time to board the plane.
Thats it - time to say good night

December 1st

Two step forward - one step back
Another saying is: "You also get from A to B when you walk - when you run you may trip and never make it". Well - seems that its time for a step back and time to walk instead of run.
This probably doesnt make a lot of sense to you but these thoughts crossed my mind when I was on the T home late night from Jessicas place. We probably ran to fast - let's take a step back.
Besides philosophical stuff my mind circles around the remaining 4 days before I fly to Linz. Seems I have two customer appointments this week here in Boston. On thursday I will have a small farewell party in the office. Well - its more a "I am sorry I miss the Company XMAS Party in Boston - so lets get a beer" gathering :-).
Well - thats the entry. Time for bed