How I’ve missed you! A quick update: the new job is going swimmingly. In fact, it’s going so swimmingly that I’m completely wrung out and my free time in the evenings is down to whatever hour or so I can carve out at the end of the day for eating dinner and zoning out in front of bad reality TV. Which….have y’all seen “The Shahs of Sunset” on Bravo? I’m convinced it’s genius social engineering—a new means of uniting Muslims and Jews in horrified embarrassment by featuring people from both communities (Persian, in L.A.) acting vapid, childish, and materialistic.
Anyhoo…in the midst of the new job chaos, I am headed to Europe. Why might I be doing that when I’m getting my butt soundly kicked by the giant corporate extravaganza I’ve just taken on? Well, the tickets were bought before I was offered the new job, and it’s a rare chance to get an uninterrupted week with MamaSharper and BigStepdaddy, who live on the west coast and who don’t see nearly as often as I’d like. So I bid my boss farewell—she was pretty great about it, actually—and had the IT geeks at my office hook me up with super-secret remote access software so I can still check in at the office from my laptop.
Next week, I’ll be in Vienna, Austria. I’ve been to nearby countries, but never Austria itself, and MamaSharper was keen to go there in the spring, when it’s supposed to be extra-lovely. There are a gazillion museums—we have a list, we’re whittling it down to as many as we can manage without getting sensory overload—and lots of beautiful cafes, where I will be fortifying myself with Viennese pastries and cups of coffee and chocolate. There will also be wienerschnitzel.
I’ll be in Vienna during the first couple days of Passover (which begins on Good Friday this year), but will probably go seder-less. There is a small Jewish community in Vienna, composed mainly of expats and immigrants from the former Soviet Union, but I can be a bit shy around strangers and I’ve been specifically warned by several friends who’ve lived in Austria to be careful about identifying myself as a Jew—one American I know who was raised in Vienna in the 90s has unpleasant memories of regularly being cursed at on her way home from the local Jewish school. I’m used to being cautious in some parts of Europe, although because I’m blonde and blue-eyed, I usually fly under the radar unless I pull out a credit card or passport and reveal my extremely Jewish name (which has led to numerous double-takes, narrowing of eyes, and curling of lips, especially in France.) So I won’t be having a big fat Ashkenazi Passover this year, but I’m okay with that.
If anyone has any recommendations about great places in Vienna to visit or eat or places that are a waste of time that I should scratch off my list, please leave them in the comments! Bratislava, Slovakia, too, since we will probably be taking a day trip there. There is currently a debate going on about whether it’s worth taking the train to Salzburg for a day, so if anyone wants to weigh in on that, we will take your feedback seriously!
Full report with pictures to come!