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Monday, April 26, 2010

My journey to Austria!

April 24th-25th, 2010 (Saturday and Sunday)

Saying goodbye to my family was easier than I thought it would be. I anticipated many tears… but there were none. I was dreading it, quite honestly… and it wasn't bad at all.

Stage one complete!
Columbia to DC.
The man I sat next to fell asleep, and snored. Then proceeded to do a crossword puzzle in pen… quite bold, I thought. The lady behind me was exceptionally loud. If I were to expound, it would not be kind. She kept saying “girl… no way…. GIRRRL…” I nearly turned around and gave her a piece of my mind… but I resisted the urge.
Upon arrival in DC, I set out to find something to consume. The lines for food were all substantial, so I chose Starbucks instead… deciding to enjoy my last moments on America soil.

Stage two complete.
The flight from DC to Frankfurt, Germany was a long one. I couldn’t sleep at all, and they couldn’t turn off the lights (so they gave us a card with a website so we can get some sort of compensation… dunno what that’s about). I sat in the middle of my row (composed of 5 seats… can you say CLAUSTROPHOBIC?!?!?!?!) with a man from the Ukraine on my right and a midget on my left. I kid you not. If I say anything it will just be mean… and ironic because I’m small myself… (BUT I was a good 5 inches taller than her… at LEAST… just saying.) The dude from the Ukraine wanted to play 20 questions or something about my life… he was quite the character. Then he wanted to know all about ALL the actors and actresses in all the movies the airline had been so kind to feature. (I watched “Aladdin” and most of “In the Air” and mostly I was really jittery… I could keep my eyes open to read, I couldn’t focus on a movie, I got sick of music—which was the weirdest thing ever--, and I definitely got sick of talking to my enthusiastic neighbor.) I think that’s about all I have to say… except that turbulence always seems to come just as I decide to get up from my seat. It’s like a law of flying or something… I find it hilarious…. But I doubt the people I run into do. :)

7:10 am.
Anywhos… so we got to Frankfurt airport, life is good, you know… I’m almost there! ...But… our plane is parked at a “remote location” so we all pile on a bus (actually 3 different busses but whatever) and are taken to the main terminal…

7:25 am.
… and then we had to go through Passport checks. UGH. There was NO line… it was like a massive mob of stinky, irritated humanity. I, naturally, picked the slowest line…

And when I finally got my turn, the dude grilled me with questions. Then he stamped my passport and I ran. Literally.

Now I’m like “YAYYY I get to go to my gate!!!” …. no. Then you have to go through security. Again… the slowest line. But THIS time I had a short little French lady standing approximately 0 inches away from me, speaking French in a very irritated fashion (I have no idea if she was speaking to me or her husband… since I don’t speak French…)… but I attempted to make her keep her distance by sticking my foot out behind myself and having my hands on my hips, making myself one big wall. By this time, it was…

My flight was supposed to leave at 8:20. I’m standing in line for security nearly hyperventilating because OH MY GOSH I’m going to miss my flight. THEN I had this wonderful picture of not getting another flight and them sticking me in a nice hotel and taking a nice hot shower…. But mostly I became painfully aware of the fact that all I had eaten for the past 12 hours was airplane food… and a Starbucks drink.

After finishing my magnificent act of jumping through every hoop the Germans had made me thus far, I ran up to the desk at the gate my plane was supposed to be leaving from… and, what do you know? It had already left. I watched it pull away. I imagined that this is what my sister must have felt like when I left her at school one time, as she has described—in VIVID detail—what it feels like to see your mode of transportation pulling away… without you.
I got put on the next flight to Salzburg, leaving at 12:15 or something like that… and now I am waiting.

I met some other Tauernhof people, and they missed the same plane I did! Their names were Jordan and Emily. THEN we met Mike Cagno!!! HOW COOL!!! We were all on the same flight, and quite relieved that we didn’t have to manage the trains alone.

We got on our plane to Salzburg… it was the tiniest little scary plane I’ve ever been on. I was freaked out… legitimately.

We landed in Salzburg and were instantly surrounded by giant GORGEOUS- indescribably gorgeous- mountains. We got our luggage (I realized just how heavy my backpack is), and I found out what bus we needed to catch. At the bus stop, we met another person on their way to Tauernhof!!! And she’s from GERMAN SPEAKER!!! :)
We got to the train station and got our tickets (we got them 5 euros cheaper because we bought them all together), and waited an hour for the train. The train ride was about an hour and 45 minutes. It seemed like FOREVER and I was sooooo tired!!!!
We got into Shladming and met more people at the train station… and saw the Tauernhof bus pulling away. Sad day. So we called, and they came about 5 minutes later.
I live in the building with the dining hall, top floor, room 6. I have 5 roommates. LOVE it. 3 Americans, 2 Canadians and one German.
We got to Taurnhof just in time for supper… so I threw my stuff in my room and we ate. Sausage and rice with peas. Sooo good. Then we had introductions, and we hung out at the Bistro… which is like the Capernwray version of the Beehive… except… it’s actually open!
At about 9:45 or 10 I literally could not stay awake anymore… so I went to bed. I was asleep before I hit the pillow.

34 hours without sleep... is a bad idea. :)

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