Like every year the Southern Taiwan University of Science and Technology hosted a special event, where foreign students can introduce their country, culture and art performance to other (mostly Taiwanese) students. So I tried my best to bring a little Austria to Taiwan – in traditional leather trousers (Lederhose) of course!
Griaß di, Austria
At the festival, students had to decorate a booth and cook traditional food and/or do a performance on stage. I am the only Austrian at the STUST – and probably in whole Taiwan – so I decided to just focus on food and decoration because no one could look after my stand while I do a Schuhplattler on stage. And when I write focus, I really mean focus. Every team had a budget of 4000 Taiwan Dollar – 118,7 Euro – to spend for the decoration and food, and I spent it all.
As Solo-Austrian, I was eager to decorate the stand where everything is self-explanatory, which means to do a lot of paper cutting and glueing. Hereby, I have to express my thanks to the blogger and master-decorator Adriana for helping me with this task.
For the decoration left I put some important heads of Austrians, who excelled in Sport, Science, Music and Life. The most interesting part, besides the moustache of Emperor Franz Joseph, is that 80% of the people thought Arnold Schwarzenegger is from Australia.
More than 80% of the people also thought I am from Australia – even friends I know for 6 months now.
At the back side of the booth, I put the Austrian flag and some words in German dialect – I put Woisökibär (= Wollsockenbär = Sheep) just to tease my fellow German students. Also, I put the steps for the Viennese Waltz as well as the most interactive part of the stand, the “Donaudampfschifffahrtselekrizitätenhauptbetriebswerksbauunterbeamtengesellschaft” – one word that I had to read out loud and explain as many times as the word has letters, a lot. Oh, look! There is even a crossed Australia!
On the right, I put some maps of Austria in the history, Austria in the world, Austria in Europe, Austria within its neighbourhood and Austria as Austria, besides my Fistball U21 team shirt.
On the table I provided pictures of the motherland, Austrian beer I found in Tainan and some info material about Linz and the JKU. And FOOD and DRINKS!
Cooking for 100 samples, which can be eaten cold and is traditional for Austria? Let’s do Emperor’s Mess (Kaiserschmarrn). The scrambled sweet pancakes are named after Emperor Franz Joseph’s preference of this dish. At the festival, it seemed everyone was an emperor because I just heard compliments – and it really was delicious. I really have to thank my Czech friend Viki for helping me cooking in the morning. Without her, it would not have been possible to finish all of it. Just look at the recipe!
Ennobled with powder sugar and decorated with a tiny flag, the dish was served!
For refreshment I provided a traditional Austrian beverage – unluckily it was no beer or Green Veltliner. It was RedBull! It gave the people wings to enjoy the rest of the cultural festival and me a lot of energy to stand the horde of interested students. Besides the energy drink Adriana, Viki and Muunuu help me a lot cultivating the stand. Serving food and drinks, take pictures and repair the flag 15 times would not be possible alone.
Other nations such as France or Vietnam had a performance on stage where they danced and sung happily. Because it was hard to leave my booth, I did some singing on my stand. Five verses of “Once an Austrian went yodelling”, the title song of “Heidi”, “In di Berg bin I gern” and the national anthem had been performed while preparing drinks and food.
All in all, it was an exhausting event, where 13 hours of work, preparation and cooking was done for 2 hours of entertainment. AND I LOVED IT! Showing your culture in creative ways, making new friends and see happy faces is worth every drop of sweat. Thank you for coming to my stand and made my day by enjoying it!
In the end, it was “Pfiat di, Austria” – and enjoy the other stands as well!