A Look at Life in Austria

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A person can make many observations while walking down the street. Most people observe others. When someone that is noticeably of a different race walks down the street, many heads follow. This not only happens on the street, but also in the hallways of most high schools. Although everybody has learned the lesson about not judging a book by its cover, many do it anyway.

I have learned that an impression of a person should not be made before actually meeting him or her. People today share so much in common with other people around the world, and I am fortunate enough to share in a friendship with a teen from a different country.

This past summer, I traveled to Austria. While I visited the country, I met teenagers in towns that I stayed in. Upon learning that I would be meeting new people, apprehension overwhelmed my thoughts. How would I be able to talk to these kids with a grand total of 10 words in my German vocabulary? As far as I knew, the teens only knew a little English as well. When I met them, I found out that my first thought was incorrect. I was able to have a conversation with all of these kids. Their English was phenomenally good, and they knew how to keep up with the conversation. I clicked instantly with one girl, Katja. Even though we spent a mere 4 hours together, we exchanged e-mail addresses and hoped that we would be able to keep in touch. Luckily, Katja and I write to each other frequently. We learned about each other’s daily lives, and how similar we actually are. I had difficulty imagining her as being like an American teenager, but after interviewing Katja, I realized that we had more in common than I could begin to fathom.

Katja is 15 years old. She’s about a year older than me. It’s crazy that we like the same things. “My hobbies include horseback riding, playing guitar, bass guitar, electric guitar, and keyboard,” Katja informed me. “I play them in my band, Dream 5. The members of the band were the kids that you met.”

“We love performing. Dream 5 is the world to me! We got to record a CD recently, which was so cool! We learned a lot about how the CD’s are made. Plus, we had so much fun together!” Katja said. Dream 5 is a local band in Katja’s town. The band performs in the town frequently, and is very popular. Dream 5 has many different influences for the style of music that the band plays.

“The Beatles are very great, and I have many of their songbooks. The songs are so beautiful. I also like the German band, Silbermond. I listen to techno a lot. Techno is so cool,” Katja said. The Beatles are one of my all-time favorite bands, and when I found out that Katja liked them, I was so excited. I listened to the band Silbermond, and I really liked the music! The lyrics are all in German, but the music is fantastic. I was so thrilled to hear new music.

Music is such a big influence on both Katja’s and my life. When she said, “Music makes me happy when I am sad. I think that music is a thing that every country understands, and you don’t have to understand the language,” I knew exactly what she meant. Her feelings about music hit so close to home. For many teenagers, music is such a huge and influential part of our lives. Every person can relate to music.

Katja said, “I attend parties and discos (dance clubs) very often with my friends. Dancing at discos is so fun! I also love to go shopping for shoes!” This made me smile. I can only imagine how many pairs of shoes are falling out of her closet. Apparently, Katja’s friends are even worse than her.

I asked Katja if she went to the movies with her friends. She replied, “Yes. I usually love to see films in English, like The Titanic, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Harry Potter. They are all fantastic!” I had a feeling that Katja would like the same movies as me, because her personality gave me a sense of her taste in movies.

“Orlando Bloom is very handsome. I love Keira Knightley, especially in Pride & Prejudice,” Katja told me. Naturally, Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley are two of my favorite actors. Katja and I enjoy watching the same romantic movies.

“I watch love movies with my boyfriend. I like my boyfriend very much, but I also like 6 other boys,” Katja informed me. Her life is like an American teenage girl’s life. It is eerily similar to some of my friends’ lives. Katja thinks that our similarities are so cool. Interviewing her made me realize that she would fit in here in America.

I loved being able to discover the similarities between the two of us. Katja and I talk almost every day, and it is so great to talk to someone just like me. I am so happy that I actually met her and didn’t take the difference of our countries into my mind when I became friends with Katja. I now have found one of the sweetest friends I have ever known.





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