Saturday, July 7, 2012

Sun, good food, and some cultural differences

Started out the day with my austrian brother mowing the lawn. As the morning grew warmer (would eventually reach 88 (F)) we were glad to escape to the lake to cool off. We played around with the surfboard and water balloons. When the swans showed up we threw stale bread at them.

Eventually my austrian cousin, aunt, grandmother, and grandpa would show up as we all tried to cool off and stay in the water or the shade. We took a break for lunch which was made up of vegetables from the biofarmers market.

Lunch with tomatoes, potatoes, a mix of carrots and squash, and what you see in the lower right corner is some sort of cucumber dish which is often made. And yes that is some limetten radler in the background to go with lunch.

We went back down to the lake, and after digestion some packaged desserts were pulled out. The german name escapes me for the moment but it was quite good. I was asked for the English translation for this treat. The many different types of breads and cakes I encountered here don't really have a English word or direct translation. My austrian family always seem somewhat confused when I inform them of this.

Crisp and flaky. Covered with sugar on the outside. Apparently if you do a direct german translation it means something like 'leaf pastry' which doesn't make much sense in English....
 After the snack the children's sail boat was pulled out and both my austrian brother and cousin went out on the lake. There wasn't much wind though and they were at some points stuck out in the middle of the lake trying to adjust their sail.

Austrian father and brother getting the small sailboat (for children) back on to shore.

Of course, dessert wasn't over and some cake was pulled out. My austrian grandmother had made it (again, no direct translation for the cake) and it was jokingly said that it was a 'no calorie' dessert *wink wink*

Cake. Little sugar on top and there is a layer of apricot (?) which adds some sour/sweetness to the cake.

As we were lounging around at the lake I noticed a 'Women' magazine laying around and asked if I could look at it. It was mostly in German with some English phrases and was in many ways similar to a   U.S. magazine. There were celebrities, make-up, clothing, and the latest fads included within its pages. However there was some noticeable differences between this magazine and a U.S. one.

McDonald's ad in Women's magazine. Looks very different from the U.S. McDonald ads. Considering though  how common bread, cheese, and ham/salami are in a Austrian household I'm not sure why they would stop by McDonalds for this breakfast.

One of the differences is that nudity is treated differently. For example I turned one of the pages to discover some advertisements on plastic surgery (?) which contained before and after photos of breasts. From an U.S. perspective it is a little shocking since we are seem to be very paranoid about nudity. In addition, photos of female celebrities/models who might have something peeking out from one of their shirts aren't subjected to the blur/spot treatment at all. The difference in the treatment of nudity here though doesn't mean that women run around naked. It means that young children are more often naked or almost naked on a hot day. It also means that there is less self consciousness about nakedness and people aren't typically going to lock themselves in a room to change from a swimsuit to regular clothes (towel method popular). As always, differences between Austrian and U.S. culture are surprising but informative and interesting.

In the late evening we had some dinner and my austrian brother grilled some sausages. They were not wrapped in bacon this time but they were filled with some cheese.

Some tomato salad w/ feta, sausage filled with cheese (potatoes were also available but I didn't have any)

After dinner we had a light snack of pears and nectarines. My austrian family and I will head to Mallnitz tomorrow to drop the kids off at camp. Ciao!

Interesting Austrian fact (Austrian military): I learned this in Hallein during my Salzburg trip but I forgot to mention it in that post. I have learned that when austrian males reach the ages of 18-19 they are required to go into the Austrian military for 6 months (unlike the U.S. where it is more of a profession). If they don't want to be part of the military they do have an alternative option which is to do 9 months of social work instead. Social work seems to be defined as taking care of the elderly and different jobs described to me included driving elderly around, delivering meals to elderly, etc.

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