Today’s Lessons

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Here I am in Vienna. This is the view from my room window. I’m actually sticking my arm out of the window because, like I learned on House Hunters International, many European windows do not have screens, like their American cousins.

I learned a lot today.

Flies will come through your unscreened window.

United Express planes are like tiny little La Bamba planes (well almost) that when you get off you have to walk down precarious stairs onto the tarmac. The uber nice flight attendant makes up for the close quarters, however.

International flights board early; you may not have time to stop for a chicken and cheddar sandwich.

Even though the itinerary indicated the contrary, you will get fed on your international flight.

Austrian Air international planes are enormous. They are so big that they don’t pull all the way up to the terminal, so when you get off you have to walk down a flight of stairs and board a bus. You will assume the bus will take you to the terminal. The crowd can’t be wrong, right?

Sometimes you’ll be just fine if you follow the crowd.

Sometimes you won’t.

People at customs are terribly surprised when you tell them you will be in Europe for two weeks but will only be visiting one country.

Having someone at the airport holding up a sign with your name on it makes you feel like A VIP.

People around the world don’t talk as copiously and loudly in public as do Americans.

The dogs are quieter too.

Euros are easy to use.

Ticket kiosks at subway terminals are less easy to use.

The pantomime for “Get off my bus now” is universal; you don’t have to speak the same language as the bus driver.

Zachgasse means “dead end” in German. You don’t want to take the bus there.

If you spend enough time on the bus, you will see a man urinating against a thicket.

Spending two hours on the bus is a lovely way to see Vienna, even if it is not the must expedient way to get to your appointment.

You will be a better person for learning multiple ways to use public transit to reach your destination.

You cannot buy a spoon in the corner grocery store. It’s not just spoons you can’t buy; the corner store seems to lack all manner of utensils.

One of those little travel pots for cosmetics such as creams is a good substitute for a spoon, but in hindsight maybe the lid would have worked better.

They don’t have water fountains here. Many Viennese (To all of my students, yes that is the correct word; I asked) – Sorry about the digression; back to my point. Many Viennese do not drink the local tap water although it is considered some of the best water in the world.

I am not smart enough to use a European shower. The 6 inch gap between where the shower door ends and the wall begins was all I needed to make a watery mess of the bathroom.

I am thankful for towels.

Vienna has a lot of graffiti and is very clean. I find that an interesting juxtaposition.

The only thing to rival how sleepy I am right now is the haze you exist in for the first few weeks to months of living with a newborn.

Today was a great day, and I’m excited for tomorrow!

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