Yesterday we went to see the Hundertwasser museum in the Kunst Haus, in Vienna.

I was very impressed to see his paintings and graphic works! The world mainly knows and remembers him for the quirky buildings  but these works are very original and meaningful.  I have seen quite some modern art museums around the world and I can hardly remember seeing any Hundertwasser painting, which is a pity and I do not understand why! I have seen all sorts of weird paintings as empty canvases with a line in the middle (as in DC) though… Maybe I am wrong, but I just feel that his paintings are somehow neglected…

This time in Vienna, I thought about something different to do. So, I was looking for a way to see a concert at Musikverein, the place where the New Year’s Day concert is broadcasted from.  As the lottery system of that concert means that I would probably not manage to see it any time soon, I thought that going to a concert now might be a good way to see and experience the sound of the Great Hall. So, I looked if anything was playing during our stay and I found a Mozart concert, with the Vienna Mozart Orchestra. I got the (not so cheap) tickets and looked forward to it. I cannot say how disappointed I was! The building is amazing, the hall is very impressive but the concert is a tourist trap! It is full of people taking pictures and talking during the concert! I had an idiot behind me that kept flashing with the camera all the time while his wife was humming to the music! Plus, while the orchestra played quite well, not the same could be said about the soprano, whose singing was an insult to poor Mozart.  I could not wait for the intermission to come so we could leave. It’s very sad that a concert hall like that (acoustic was excellent) can allow such gimmick events to take place in there! I can only imagine how it would be to see the Royal Opera House full of idiots talking and getting up and taking pictures during the performance.

Musikverein building, Vienna

Ceiling in the entrance hall of Musikverein, Vienna

Ceiling in the entrance hall of Musikverein, Vienna

Inside the Grand Hall, Musikverein, Vienna

Inside the Grand Hall, Musikverein, Vienna

After a slight delay, our household came on Friday. The guys came quite late (around 1pm) since they had to first get the stuff out of the container and put it into trucks. First they said they’ll bring only part of the things but, in then end, they sent one more truck and brought everything. They did not stay to unpack too much, but it’s ok. This weekend we worked a lot in unpacking but it’s getting somewhere. We finished the kitchen, the living room and our bedroom (almost). Not too many damages happened during the moving, which is good.

I was really happy a few days ago when I got my EEA card (European Economic Area) card and it said it’s my residency permit, which means now I am a permanent resident here, in Finland. Quite nice feeling: to finally belong (somehow) somewhere. In US, I still have don’t have my Green Card approval. It’s a bit weird and I am not sure why they consider me such a dangerous element. Dirk was saying that it could be because I “suspiciously” cut my finger right before my fingerprinting appointment 🙂

Anyway, it is quite nice to know that I have social security rights and guaranteed health insurance, not like in US, where I kept paying for these items but I never had them as rights.

Today is one of the biggest (if not THE biggest) holiday in Finland: Midsummer. Nobody is at work (except some non-Finns like us).
Everybody is supposed to get ready for the celebration tonight. We are also going later to see what’s going on. We’ll try the festivities from Seurasaari island, where there are supposed to be some bonfires and all sorts of traditional activities.
Here is something I found on about the meaning and origins of the Midsummer celebration:

“The second high point of the year comes exactly six months after Christmas, when the interminable nights of winter have given way to the white nights of the Finnish summer. Midsummer, celebrated at the summer solstice, has been very important since pagan times, especially in northern Europe, where the difference between the dark and the light seasons is particularly dramatic. In the north of Finland, Midsummer marks the peak of the exotic appeal of the Arctic, as the sun remains above the horizon all night.

Midsummer in Finland is a celebration of the countryside. Towns and cities are deserted, as this holiday is traditionally celebrated in a rural setting, preferably at a waterside summer cottage. Anyone who has to stay in town over Midsummer can buy birch leaves and lilac at the marketplace to help create an illusion of the countryside. At Midsummer, trains, buses and trams are sometimes also decorated with birch branches.

Lighting a bonfire is the high point of Midsummer night. Originally, bonfires were only part of the eastern Finnish Midsummer celebrations. In western Finland, bonfires were traditionally lit on Ascension Day and at Whitsun, and in Ostrobothnia on Easter Saturday. Nowadays, Midsummer fires are lit all over Finland, except in the Swedishspeaking areas along the coast, where a Midsummer pole, similar to a maypole, is erected instead.

In the old days, every village used to build its own bonfire, as Midsummer was a village feast day. Today, the biggest bonfires are seen at public Midsummer celebrations, where you have to buy a ticket to get in. In addition to the leaping flames by the shore, the ideal Midsummer includes silver birches, maidens in national costume and, flying above it all, the blueandwhite flag of Finland. Midsummer is the day of the Finnish flag and up and down the country the white flag with the blue cross can be seen flying proudly through the white night.”

We were told yesterday that our household stuff is going to be deliver next Wednesday. Really happy about this 🙂 !!! It got kind of annoying to sleep (almost) on the floor and eat mainly standing.
I just think that I will have to get used to the “shrinking” space when we start putting the furniture in the house 🙂

All is going very well with us. We enjoy a lot being here, frankly speaking, more then I expected 🙂
And now, after we moved in our new apartment, we are even closer to the center than in the first 2 weeks 🙂

The new home looks really big now and there is a lot of echo so the cats are having a lot of fun meowing 🙂
The cats had no problems with the last moving. They seemed to feel “at home” from the first night.
Peppe was very funny: when we started packing in the hotel he went to the door and started scratching. I guess that was his way of saying “I am happy to get out of here” 🙂

The weather was really nice here this weekend, though yesterday was a bit moody.
Saturday was really good. We spent the whole weekend looking for all sorts of home items and cleaning a bit.

And, yes, we don’t miss the Boston weather at all 🙂 Sorry for you that this summer is so bad.

However, we do miss you and we hope that you are all doing well,

Dana & Dirk