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Posts from the ‘Songs’ Category

The Top 10 of the Top 5 Expat Bloggers in Austria – Week 2: A Mommy Abroad

As mentioned, back in April of this year,the English language online news blog, The Local, featured “The Five Best Expat Blogs in Austria.”

Who knew?

I certainly didn’t and I was thrilled to learn I had been included on a list with like-minded expats in Austria spreading the word, I decided to reach out and invite them to come hang out with us for a post and meet you all via a blog tour. Fortunately, they enthusiastically agreed so in November/December, I am featuring expat bloggers, with each of their Top 10 Favorite Things Austrian.

During the first week feature, we focused on expat blogger, Kristina Cosumano from the blog, The Practice Room.

This week, we are featuring Emily, who describes herself as “a stay-at-home mom of two little boys, and one of the least likely people you’d ever expect to decide to live abroad with her family” and author of the blog, A Mommy Abroad

Expat Blogger, Emily’s Top 10 Favorite Austrian Things

No high fructose corn syrup in these Krapfen

Krapfen – NOT Dunkin Donuts

1) Food

I never thought I’d say this, but this was a tough choice. When I first moved here, I was not at all a fan of the food. “Where are the vegetables? Why is everything fried? What, exactly, is Leberkäse?” (Never mind, don’t answer that.) Since the early days, though, I’ve learned to love a lot about Austrian cuisine (and the frequently served Hungarian imports, like goulash and lángos) but my absolute favorite is the Krapfen, an Austrian doughnut. I’ll never be happy with Dunkin’ Donuts now.

2) Drink

Until this past summer, I would have answered this differently, but on vacation in the Austrian Alps this summer (and strongly encouraged by my sister, an American with a vast knowledge of tasty beverages) I discovered the refreshing satisfaction that is a Radler — a tasty combination of beer and citrus soda. Grapefruit is my favorite

3) Film or TV Show

The Third Man — Not an Austrian film, but set here in Vienna, and I didn’t see it until I lived here, so I’ll count it. Interesting, shocking and confusing to see the devastation after the war (more confusing given the way the city is shot and edited together). But I call it my favorite mostly because the building where I live is in it (the part with the cat).

4) Book

I’m embarrassed to say that I’ve got nothing for this one. This is partly because my German is just now becoming literature-worthy, and partly (mostly) because most of the reading I’ve done in the past few years has been board books rather than novels. I was amused and entertained to examine the differences between the original “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” and the German translation (Die Kleine Raupe Nimmersatt) — pomegranates instead of oranges and all the strawberries face the same way — but that’s all I can offer.

Red rose bush in Volksgarten in June

Red rose bush in Volksgarten in June (Photo: A Mommy Abroad)

5) Month

June gets the win for me. At home, I had learned to lump June into the hot, humid, unpleasant summer months, but here, June is still (usually) spring. Walking through the Volksgarten in June, with the roses all in bloom — it’s hard to top that. I also really like November, though — it’s chilly and dark (before I’ve gotten tired of it being chilly and dark), the Christmas lights are going up, it’s often foggy and a little bit cozy and romantic.

Michaeler Gate - Michaelerplatz

Michaeler Gate – Michaelerplatz

6) Place

Michealerplatz in the heart of Vienna. Stephansplatz is the iconic focus of Vienna, and Heldenplatz is certainly grand, but I love Michealerplatz the best. It’s got just enough hustle and bustle without being overrun, and it still looks and feels a bit like old Vienna (more or less).

7) Historical Figure

Johann Strauss. As a ballroom dance enthusiast, I find him the most inspirational.

8) Tradition / Past time

Laternenfest, St. Martin's Day Celebrations, November 11

Laternenfest, St. Martin’s Day Celebrations, November 11 (Photo: A Mommy Abroad)

Lanternenfest. Of all the categories, this was the one I had the hardest time choosing. Christmas markets, summer sledding, ice skating, Krampus — so many great traditions and pastimes in Austria! But Martinitag, and most particularly the childrens’ Lanternenfests, are my favorite. I love the story of St. Martin, the tradition of the lanterns and the songs … though I’m not yet convinced about eating goose to celebrate.

9) Song

Blue Danube Waltz. This has been a favorite of mine since my dancing days, but living here makes it a bit more special (though I’ve never seen the Danube manage to look quite blue).

10) Word

Gemütlichkeit. Coziness. Perfect word, and it just covers so much of the warmth, community and tradition of Austria. Perfect!

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The Top 10 of the Top 5 Expat Bloggers in Austria – Week 1: The Practice Room

Back in April of this year,the English language online news blog, The Local, featured “The Five Best Expat Blogs in Austria.”

Who knew?

I certainly didn’t until I found out quite accidentally this past week. Thrilled to learn I had been included on a list with like-minded expats in Austria spreading the word, I decided to reach out and invite them to come hang out with us for a post and meet you all via a blog tour. Fortunately, they enthusiastically agreed so in November, I will feature one expat blogger per week, with each of their Top 10 Favorite Things Austrian.

So here it is — Week One featuring the blogger brave enough to go first: expat soloist/singer Kristina Cosumano who lives in Tirol and writes about just about everything and especially about all things Tyrolean and author of the blog, The Practice Room.

Expat Blogger, Kristina Cosumano’s Top 10 Favorite Austrian Things

1) Food

Wiener Schnitzel with a dollop of Preiselbeeren.

2) Drink

A Melange from Cafe Munding in the Innsbrucker Altstadt.

3) Film or TV Show

Anything with Josef Hader. “Indien”, for example.

4) Book

“Im Alphabet der Häuser” von Christoph W. Bauer. Right now I’m reading his book of short stories, “In einer Bar unter dem Meer”.

Fliess in late October, photo by Kristina Cosumano

Fliess in late October, photo by Kristina Cosumano

5) Month

October. Tirolean “Altweibsommer” (Indian Summer), when it’s sunny and dry, is perfect.

6) Place

Unusual, forgotten places. For instance there’s a curve on a forest road between Landeck and Fliess, where there are grooves worn into rock from centuries of Roman wagon wheels. There is a cave in the Rofan Mountains north of the Achensee with “Etruscan” texts carved onto the walls.  There is a grassy mound next to the Bergisl ski jump, under which are the remains of an ancient sacrificial burning altar from pre-Christian times.

the Roman "Via Claudia Augusta" in Tirol

the Roman “Via Claudia Augusta” in Tirol photo by Kristina Cosumano

7) Historical Figure

Maria Theresia. Mozart. Erich Wolfgang Korngold.

8) Tradition / Past time

A hike to the Alm for Schnitzel and a Radler.

9) Song

Mozart, Eine kleine deutsche Kantata, KV 619. The text, more or less: For God’s sake, stop warring and love your neighbor.

10) Word

Well, I have favorite phrases rather than words. Such as “taking the Nr. 71” (tram, which runs to Vienna Central Cemetery) as a euphemism for dying; that a situation is “hoffnungsloss aber nicht ernst” (hopeless but not serious). Or what I refer to as the Official Motto of Tirol, “Es wird schon”.

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What’s on Your Life’s Playlist

Last week I wrote about Edmund de Waal’s talk at the Museum of Art History in Vienna and his views on the layering of memory through art and books.

Me in New Orleans, USA

Me in New Orleans, USA

For me, so many memories are layered through music – so much so that certain songs are now compiled in my heart and mind in a kind of playlist of my life. Songs that I never necessarily cared for when I first heard them but somewhere along the line managed to etch themselves so deeply into my brain that whenever I hear them now, I remember a specific event, place, person or time. How they managed to secure themselves a slot in the medley of my past varies. Maybe the song played as tragic news was reported, a cassette tape producer slid it in amongst desired tunes as proof of his malicious sense of humor or random speakers blared the same tune over and over again until by mind surrendered and the association of that song with that place became ingrained in me for as long as I live. Every single song on the following list has a story that goes with the memory that immediately takes me back in time to that place.

I am sure everyone has such a list. Here’s some of what’s on mine (that I’m willing to share):

Steppenwolf, Born to Be Wild – Camping and fishing in the summer with my family in PA as a child, wild and

Me getting ready to catch some trout

Me getting ready to catch some trout

crazy little kids, yep. Really wild.



Supertramp’s Take the Long Way Homemy beloved childhood dog

Any Beach Boys song – my brother – who blasted me awake every day in summer with them blaring at window rattling levels from his larger than life homemade speakers

Trio, Da Da Da – my brother’s college years and his roommate, due to a mixed tape gone horribly wrong incident

Beatles, Revolution11th grade social studies class and our social studies teacher, the long hair he loved to brush and him hopping between desks in frenzied excitement commanding “Listen to the words, Listen to the words!”

Münchener Freiheit: So lang’ man Träume noch leben kann –  Germany, my host brother loved this song and played it quite a bit. That and the Bee Gees but I am trying to keep them off my playlist

Me on Bourbon Street, New Orleans, USA

Me on Bourbon Street, New Orleans, USA

Marc Cohn, Walking in Memphis2 months camping cross country, USA. The song particularly reminds me of the days in New Orleans

Konstantin Wecker, Wenn der Sommer nicht mehr weit ist – moving to Vienna

Khoa San Road, Bangkok, Thailand

Khoa San Road, Bangkok, Thailand

Scorpions, Winds of ChangeGorki park, Moscow and having a street artist do a portrait there while this song played over and over again from somewhere in the park.  I’m not kidding. True story. Couldn’t get over it and it has stayed with me since.

Joshua Kadison, Jessie – a working stint for a few months in Boston, MA

Khao San Road, Bangkok, Thailand

Me in Mama’s Guesthouse on Khao San Road, Bangkok, Thailand

Cranberries Zombies – Khoa Son Raod, Bangkok, Thailand, blaring over and over through paper thin windows and walls all hours of the night. I remember saying sometime around 2 am “You’re in my head already. Alright?! Now quit singing and let me sleep!”

Bruce Springsteen, Streets of Philadelphia – Beijing, China and the surreal experience of going from living in

Me and my bike in China

Me and my bike in China in front of the Kempinski Hotel

Ping Guo Yuan in a two room apartment with Chinese friends to the Kempinski to babysit cats for 2 weeks

Deep Purple, Smoke on the Water – Meeting a sturdy as steel US marine on the otherwise deserted China Beach in Vietnam whose first question to me was “Where’s the Party?” as he carried a big old boom box on his shoulder blasting Deep Purple.

China Beach, Vietnam

China Beach, Vietnam

John Lennon, Imagine – 9/11

Big & Rich, Save a Horse & Barbie Girl – chaperoning middle school dances with a beloved teaching colleague (and the conversation of “Is this age appropriate? Should we be intervening?” I received a CD a week later with all the songs — I miss this colleague even if don’t miss chaperoning middle school dances)

Big Island Coast, Hawaii

Big Island Coast, Hawaii

Israel “IZ”, Somewhere over the Rainbow – beautiful trip to Hawaii

Napali Coast, Kauai, Hawaii

Napali Coast, Kauai, Hawaii

What’s on your life’s playlist?

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Novak Saves Naughty Girls

For all the naughty girls out there in need of a Novak, a translation of the text from the Novak song from the early 50s.
Listen to the song on You Tube here: Der Novak 

Originally performed by Cissy Kraner accompanied by her husband, Hugo Wiener

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Ich habe einen Mann, den viele möchten

der immer mich bewahrt vor allem schlechten

ein jeder kennt ihn – Novak ist sein Name

ihm dank ich es, daß heut‘ ich eine Dame

ob angezogen oder als ein Nackter

der Novak hat am ganzen Leib Charakter

Ich hätt schon längst ein böses End genommen

aber der Novak läßt mich nicht verkommen

Ich hätt‘ an vielen Dingen mein Vergnügen

Ich möcht’ so gerne in der Gosse liegen

Ich möchte einmal sinnlos mich besaufen

Ich möchte mit einem Freudenmächen raufen

Ich möchte einmal Männer toll verbrauchen

Ich möchte statt Memphis Marihuana rauchen

Ich hätt auch längst schon Morphium genommen

aber der Novak läßt mich nicht verkommen

Ich möchte einmal bei Vollmond ein Vampir sein

Ich möchte Geliebte von einem Fakir sein

Damit mich, wenn ich lieg auf der Matratzen

von hinten noch die Nagelspitzen kratzen

Ich möchte Austern mit der Schale essen

Ich möchte mit einem Walfisch mich vergessen

Ich hab mir das schon alles vorgenommen

Aber der Novak läßt mich nicht verkommen

Der Novak ist zwar einerseits ein Segen

Doch andererseits läßt er mich nicht bewegen

Da stand ein Inserat in einer Zeitung

Es sucht von einem Nachtlokal die Leitung

Ein junges Mädchen brav mit nettem Wesen

Das nackert tanzt vor Negern und Chinesen

Den Posten hätt sofort ich angenommen

Aber der Novak läßt mich nicht verkommen


I have a man, that many would like

who always saves me from all that’s bad

Everyone knows him – Novak is his name

Because of him, I am a lady today

Whether clothed or naked

Novak’s entire body is character

I would have taken a bad end long ago

But Novak keeps me from corruption

I would have had pleasure in many things

I would like so much to lay in the gutter

I would like to get plastered

I would love to wrestle with a whore

I would like once to consume men

I would like to smoke marijuana instead of Marlboro

I would have taken morphine long ago

But Novak keeps me from  corruption

I would once like to be a vampire under the full moon

I would like to be the lover of a fakir

So that, while I am laying on the mattressThe tips of his nails scratch me from behindI would like to eat oysters with their shells

I would like to forget myself with a whale

I had planned it all for a long time

But Novak keeps me from corruption

On the one hand, Novak is a blessing

On the other, he gives me no space

An ad was in the paper

The head of a night club seeking

A young nice girl well-behaved

To dance naked in front of Africans and Chinese

I would have taken the job immediately

But Novak keeps me from corruption