So, I'm flying to Milan tomorrow to visit a lovely, lovely friend, who also happens to be the physically closest person to me on the European continent. Which means that I will have some rather limited computer access in the coming days, so don't be surprised if I update with less frequency.
This was a good day. I got a lot done, my language course is over and done with, so I will never again have to sit through four hours of talking about German grammar. (At least this semester.) I got my little diploma, Wellesley will get all it's money back for the course, and I just got a full course credit for something that took three weeks. Which is great.
The final event of the class was a gathering of all the groups to hear a very short speech by the director of the program, and to hand out book prizes. There was a cute little choir made up of students singing, and it was all rather corny. But for some people, it was their last day in Vienna, and then they were just going back without any more time here. It seemed a nice gesture for the people who were not staying long, while it seemed perhaps too corny for others.
I've worked out a class schedule for myself, as you've seen, which has four day weekends every week. Also, I found today the Austrian bus system website, so that I can use busses and trains and planes all to get around this lovely little patch of world I've found myself attached to.
I'm having an mixed reaction to Vienna. It seems now to be equal parts terror and joy. I know that there are amazing cool things out there for me to do and see, people to talk to that I would never otherwise meet, and things to do that I would never otherwise do. But while all the strangeness is wonderful, at the same time it makes me really ineffective here as anything other than a passerby. I can't vote, they can kick me out whenever they find me too annoying, and the rules are all seemingly arbitrary and hard to understand and complicated. But then, maybe home seems like that for foreigners there, too.
Anyhoo, I have done a variety of things today that were pleasant and enjoyable. I had a "Wiener Frühstück", or Viennese breakfast, which consists of a soft-boiled egg, two of Semmel (a wonderful crusty roll with the top in a little spiral- it seems to be the city bread, as ubiquitous here as the crescent roll to France) with lovely butter and black current jam, and a small cup of wonderful coffee. This was at a small cafe/restaurant in the Museum Quarter, which I have no fully explored. But nice, and while expensive, not so much so that I can't return. I was able to chat with a variety of nice people in German, and order tickets for a bus, in German. (I did, before I began, apologize for my German and ask them to speak clearly- they seemed to take that better than when I didn't say anything and got confused.)
This is all a little wandering, but I'm not quite clear in my head right now, and it seems to be the right tone for it. Tomorrow, I am leaving Vienna for a week, and we'll see how Italy is to me. I think I am more prepared for this trip than any other that I've been on: I've got two copies of my passport and insurance info, have hidden one of my credit cards away from pickpockets, and have two copies of all the travel information for everything that I'm doing, including documents written in Italian and Slovakian that I can pull out to show people who don't speak English, Spanish or German so that they understand the destination I'm trying to find.