You know those people who go travelling across the globe and then come home sun-tanned and bright-eyed and adopting a funny accent when they talk and think they've grown four inches taller than you culturally -- and you couldn't care less?
I'm that person. Not the person who couldn't care less. The other person. The person who drives you crazy saying things like, "Well, in Vienna, blah blah blah" and you're totally zoning out thinking about things like your grocery list and how you're going to get to that meeting on time tonight when there's this person talking to you who won't shut up about Wiener schnitzel.
I had the wonderful opportunity as a 21-year-old college kid to go and spend a semester on exchange in Vienna, Austria. For a girl raised in the middle of the black muck of a carrot field (not literally guys, come on), this was the pinnacle of cultural exposure. I went to operas and ballets. I did my daily business with the banker and the grocer auf Deutsch. I memorized all five lines of the ubahn (short for untergrundbahn -- or the subway) and rode the strassenbahn daily. I explored every corner of the downtown, eating up the gloriousness of a city still draped in the beauty of Baroque architecture and endless green parks.
I went to school, too. Really.
Heading back to my final year of university the next fall took some adjustment. It was a challenge to walk through a campus in the shadows of 1970s Brutalist architecture when only a few months ago I had been attending an ecology class in a building that was over 100 years old marked with echoing hallways and shining wooden staircases and gleaming chandeliers. I missed Vienna terribly. Fortunately several classmates from my program at home had been in Austria with me so we could commiserate -- we'd gather around a drafting table in our studio with the lights of the Graben still shining in our eyes and talk about how much we missed Stephansdom and Eissalon Tuchlauben and the sparkling Danube.
I know that I drove people insane. Anytime something came up in conversation that could be remotely related to my experience abroad, I'd feel this horribly strong urge to say it -- to say the dreaded words -- "Well, in Vienna..." It was a freaky sort of impulse that I had to learn to control. Wayne got the full brunt of it -- being the long-suffering boyfriend of a girl who left part of her heart in Austria while he missed seeing her for five months, I'm surprised he doesn't completely hate the city. Instead, he let me let it all out, and now over five years later I think the urge to word-vomit Vienna all over the place has subsided. Bad news, though. Scotland has taken its place, and this time, Wayne was there with me.
Yes, dear blog friends, we spent the summer in Edinburgh. We left Michigan in May and came back two weeks ago, jet-lagged and confused as to whether we had actually just done what we had done. I'll write more on why we went later -- I didn't post about our adventure while we were gone because it's usually good practice not to announce to the world that your house will be empty and unmonitored for three months, and we have got a fine microwave that I'm not ready to part with just yet.
In the upcoming weeks I'll try to be posting the bits and pieces that I wrote during our summer so you can get a wee taste of our experience. Hopefully this will serve to dampen our irritating travel superiority problem as well... just tell us to be quiet if we get annoying. We'll appreciate it as much as you.