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Greetings from Vienna, #44

October 21st, 2004


In this issue:

Old Business

What's in a Name
Back in issue #41, I misspelled my cousin's name. It is "Birgit", and not "Birgid" (or even "Brigit"). Just so you know. Thanks to brother-in-law Andreas for catching the error.

Back in issue #35, I talked about "micro-cars" or "moped-autos"—cars which don't require a driver's license to drive. Here is a picture of a micro-truck at a car dealership:
A second thanks to brother-in-law Andreas for sending me this picture.


Greetings from Vienna (New City)
Part the Forty-Fourth: Counting Down

We've purchased tickets for San Francisco and will be there in mid-November. The Bay Area folks will start to see us once we get over jet-lag, soul-delay[1], culture shock, unpacking, and shopping for baby stuff. I will definitely put our updated contact information, include US telephone numbers, into the last issue of the newsletter before we leave.

And apologies for this being even later than usual. Karin is under the weather, so I am both nurse and babysitter, precluding trips to the internet cafe or even my in-laws to do email and post pictures.

Happy Birthday... Jacquie Lentz in Houston. I've known Jacquie since my junior year at Rice University, which was quite a while ago. Yikes.

Drive-Thru Visas
Got my Austrian visa yesterday (Tuesday). Went down to the police station, gave them my passport, and they pasted in a shiny piece of paper with words like "Aufenthaltstitel" and "Niederlasungsbewilligung". So now I can hang out in Austria (and anywhere in the EU, I believe) until next October, when I would have to renew my visa. I have to say that it is the second least complicated visa/passport application that I've ever done.[2]

Granted, it took some time to assemble all the documents we needed for the original application: proof of "connection" to Austria—in this case the marriage license, proof of Austrian health insurance, proof of residency, affidavit that I have no criminal record. But other than that, it was just simple matter of showing up at the correct office, given them all the paperwork, let them make copies as needed, then going home to wait for the official notice. Now, this would've all been much more complicated in Vienna, though I suspect that much of it would come from longer lines rather than any procedural differences. In any case, I have my "papers" now. Yippee!

Viennese (Folk) Music
Karin and the Liechtenthaler Quartett performed in Vienna last night at the Stadtgalerie Vienna, an art gallery near the Stock Exchange ("Börse"). The gallery had an exhibit of sheet music, posters, and other ephemera of "Viennese" musicians, singers, and composers going back to the mid-nineteenth century, and the event was actually a sing-along, with breaks for the Liechtenthaler Quartett to play. They ended up opening the evening's program:
then played in the basement space during break:
and closed out the even in the main gallery:

In the meantime, I was taking pictures while carrying Tobias around:
which allowed to me get these two gems:
IMG_5547_sheet_music_Unsere_Stutzer IMG_5546_sheet_music_Gigerl
as well as the funniest postcard I've seen in a while:
(The name of the song—as well as the title of the postcard—is "Mei anzige Freud ist mei Bua", which is Viennese dialect for "My Only Joy is My Boy".)

Swaddle, Swaddle
A timely bit of advice on baby care from former housemate Rich Frueh has given us some quieter evenings. We've started to swaddle Tobias when he starts crying for reasons other than the usual ones (hunger, dirty diaper. True to the advice, he calms down in very short order, and is either happy to stay awake or go to right to sleep. And speaking of happy, we're seeing Tobias experimenting with smiling:
Of course, sometimes these almost smiles lead into major crying fits, usually meaning that he's hungry again. He also starting to vocalize in response to us, which is very cool indeed. I am waiting for the day which I can teach him phrases such as "Spoon!" or "Klaatu Barrada Nicto". In the meantime, I'll see if I can record some of his sounds and put it online.

And now for something completely not so different:

With the change in weather (though it's warmed up slightly in the last couple of days), Tobias got a new outfit from Grandma:
IMG_5294_tobiasXSL_boots IMG_5298_tobiasXSL_boots_jacket

The green overalls are not part of the new outfit. They are orthopedic supports to adjust Tobias' hip development. We went to an orthopedist for a better ultrasound of Tobias' right hip (both the hospital and the pediatrician had trouble getting a good image), and it turns out that he needs a little help on that side, hence the funny pants. He'll probably wear them to the States, but we expect that he won't need them past November.

For more pictures of Tobias from this past week, go to:


Well, that's all for now. Next week, the newsletter will be out on Tuesday, as we are spending Wednesday and Thursday in the studio with the Liechtenthaler Quartett, recording their next CD.


Bis Bald
- Paul



[1] "Soul-delay": Term coined by author William Gibson to explain why travelers tend to have blank stares for quite some time after normal jet lag wears off (and why you might be mentally wiped out by a long flight which doesn't significantly alter your time-zone.)

[2] The least complicated passport application I did turned out to also be the most complicated. I was renewing my US passport by mail, which just required me to go to the local post office during the right hours with the old passport and some new passport photos, and fill in some paperwork. However, the new passport never made it back to me, either lost by the Post Office or destroyed by my company mail room because they didn't recognize my Chinese name. I ended up having to go to the Department of Immigration and Naturalization Services (INS, before they got rolled up into Homeland Security) and apply for a replacement passport in person. And then they would only give me a one-year passport, based on the belief that the "lost" passport might show up again. I had to take this "temporary" passport back to the INS which was converted into a normal, ten-year passport by the expedience of having some extra pages taped in the back, and a new expiration date typed in, but not on the same page as the old expiration date!! This always causes double takes at passport control and currency exchange counter all over the world. Sigh.



Except where otherwise noted, all contents © 2004, Paul T.S. Lee.
Creative Commons License See my copyright page for specific permissions granted under the Creative Commons License.
"†" Image(s) © Andreas Reißner, 2004.