My hair gets messy when my head is in the clouds

Trip Start Jan 08, 2014
Trip End Apr 23, 2014

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Flag of Austria  , Austrian Alps,
Monday, January 20, 2014

My feet are killing me. You would say the same if you went from an essentially sedentary lifestyle to exploring the world on the daily. A saying I became fond of at home was that "life is a thing that happens to me" usually followed with some form of me embracing it. Right now, that seems to be the case. 

The reason for my prolonged disappearance is due to a couple of factors. While working on my Auf Geht's program (for my German class), my computer decided it was time to pass away. My computer was not only vital for my sanity, but also for my studies. Also, I find blogs an incredibly difficult thing to write, seeing as I've been working on this post for a week now. So I'll try my hand at inception and give you blogs with in a blog. 
Learning to Live

I had not realized that going abroad would be the hardest thing I have ever done. I thought it would be all sunshine and roses (or snow and evergreens to be more geographically correct). I thought the fairytale would last. Don't get me wrong, I am still living in a dream. The people I have met and the places I have been have been beyond my imagination. What I didn't know was that my anxiety would be teeming, and that I would be flirting with the prospect of home so much. However, I know that I would be devastated to cut my time short, and that is why I continue to forge onwards. 
At this moment, I can't quite tell you if I love this program, or am a bit jaded by the work overload. I can't quite break down how much we have got to do, but it is rather overwhelming. All of it seems more burdensome when it all has to be done on a computer, something I no longer have. Danny has been so kind as to let me piggy-back on his computer time (if you know Danny, you know that is a pretty big gift). To speak of the good: I have had so many incredible experiences thus far. I've been to a concert played by the Vienna Symphony (Strauss, Gershwin, and Bernstein were played), been to an opera in the heart of Vienna (in which I had to walk through a police barricade to get there [there was a fun little riot protesting the government]), toured the salt mines of Hallein, and have had countless accounts of history, culture, and a personal enlightenment. 
I've taken to trying new cafes to observe the local and global community. Just yesterday I met the most lovely couple from Belgium, who proceeded to tell me that I talk too fast. Nothing my Grandpa hasn't told me already. This at least will be an extra incentive to better myself at German. So that I can speak as quickly as I damn well please.
So as I slow my speak, I also slow my mentality down to take a moment to be grateful. You all thought that I was gonna gripe this whole post, huh? I am so very grateful for this amazing opportunity, but more so for every passing day, because life is truly a blessing, and I've had several experiences that have reminded me of such.  
This was not my frame of mind when we left for Vienna and Budapest for 6 days, a daunting task for someone who was spread rather thin.
What is That Confusing Second Toilet

My first impression of Vienna was not the incredible medieval infrastructure complemented by modern masterpieces. It was not the amazing street vendors that sell tasty food and fun souvenirs. It wasn't the impressive amounts of history or culture this wonderful city holds. It was the confusing second toilet staring at me when I walked into my hotel room. Bidet? No way. My roommate and I had a good laugh about it before being ushered out for our immediate walking tour. We spent several hours walking around Medieval Vienna, leading us to the Blue Danube. We broke into smaller groups depending on the sight we wished to see, so I chose to go to the Hundertwasser Museum. Quite a fellow. He apparently spent many of his days tripped out on acid, naked in the forest. His art makes that just a TAD apparent. However, still a fascinating place, probably even more so because of his lifestyle. There were two levels of uneven floors that are almost hills and valleys, filled with paintings, sculptures, and quilts all made by this interesting individual. After this museum trip, we had time to split for dinner. I sprinted towards a sushi place I had seen earlier, dragging a somewhat hesitant Danny behind me. He reminded me several times that fish might be an interesting choice of food in a country that is double land-locked. To that I said, well, nothing, because I was kilometers ahead, already stuffing my face with rice and fish. 
The next day, we had a tour of Imperial Vienna. We
Leaving a Bit of Me in Pest

I never knew that I wanted to go to Budapest until I had been in the city. It has architecture that calls to me. Once strong and unyielding buildings now stand with a slight touch of dilapidation due to the harsh grasp of time and the limited funds in Hungary post World War II. Our hotel was one of the most lavish buildings in all of Pest, and that may be because of the money that tourism brings in. Something interesting I immediately picked up on was that there is a clear divide between Bud and Pest. Obviously by that of the river, but also financially and the mentality. The people living in Pest are seen as lower class, and both of the tour guides I had went as far to say that they were the "peasants" and that the people in Bud are like the "bourgeoisie." I hear that the LA dwellers call it "bougie" these days, right Amanda? There is no animosity between the two (at least that I could detect).     
On our first night in Budapest, we visited the castle, where I had my first taste of actual cold weather. Wind and snow greeted my pre-chilled cheeks (the face ones) and I knew that Salzburg had not yet reached winter, a luxury I both appreciated and was a bit saddened by. We walked around this beautiful castle for the better part of an hour, and once we were all thoroughly frozen, we left for our dinner. We checked into our lovely hotel, and from there we all walked to dinner together. We went to a lovely local Jewish restaurant called Spinoza Cafe, where I had tried goose for the first time. What happened next was one of the most bizarre experiences I had yet to have in this trip. 
This part of the post is not for the faint of heart. So, you've been warned. During the lovely dinner at Spinoza, I had a moment that was so lovely. That is, before the nausea settled. There was a piano player who was playing hit after hit of songs we all knew. Our group had a special section at the top of the restaurant, and as if on cue, we all began to sing. It started with If I Were a Rich Man, and moved from any and every song the pianist thought we would know (even dabbling in Christmas music). I started to perspire, and wrote it off, believing that the room may just be hot. Soon it became apparent that the room was fine, and that I was not. 
Danny quietly ushered me out of Spinoza and into a run-down alleyway. We had a short discussion of whether or not I needed to throw up then and there, spicing up the alleyway in the process, or try and make it back to the hotel, where I could throw up in peace. I opted for the second option, as I try to avoid throwing up in public places as often as I possibly can. However, as we quickly walked back towards our hotel, it became increasingly clearer that I could not make it all the way back. I had to throw up, and soon. Danny and I began to search for slightly more private places where I could release some things, but we were in a fairly crowded part of the city, so we found a trash can and I opted to make the best of a bad situation and use that as a vessel for my vomit. The trash can stood in front of a car with its headlights on, spotlighting me as if I were on stage. I lifted up the lid and, like the gentleman he is, Danny held it up for me. I was standing a good 2 feet away from the trash can, give or take a few inches, and proceeded to vomit more at once than I've ever vomited before. However, despite my distance from the trash can, and despite the sheer quantity of vomit that flung itself from me, not a single drop missed the can. Swish! And all of this happened silently, spare for the natural trash can noise. What followed was probably the weirdest reaction I've ever had to a vomiting situation, my own or someone else's- I threw my head back and laughed and laughed. It was like a hero walking away from an explosion. Not that I'm calling myself a hero or anything, but those who had witnessed would claim I am a hero to pukers everywhere. 
By far, my favorite part of Budapest were the two tour guides I was so blessed to meet. Adam Botta was both captivating and very unsure of himself. I just wanted to scream "Be proud! You are awesome!!" I think inside he knew he was the bee's knees. He stole the heart of every person in our group, and I walked away convinced I would not meet a finer individual. The next day, Juliana gave him a run for his money. Juliana is a Holocaust surviver who delved into her incredible tale. She told us of the priests who hid her in a coal box, and the terror that she felt. I looked around to see that there was not a dry eye in the beautiful synagogue where she told us her story. The most powerful thing I had heard in a while came from her lips: "Horrible, terrible things have happened to me. I should be mad and crazy. But there is no use in that. Instead, I have my humor." And that she most certainly did. She walked side by side with me and we laughed together and made fun of how crazy Hungarian drivers can be. She and Adam melted my heart, and it made me hesitant to bis Budapest adieu. 

So here I sit, a bit frazzled, incredibly star struck, and in dire need of a nap. Tomorrow, we have another concert, the next day another German exam, and on Friday, I leave for Italy. So, with a lot of positive self talk, and with a perspective of thankfulness, I will be just fine. 
So to wrap it all up, I will leave you all with an interesting thought: the roosters here do not say "cock-a-doodle-doo" like our dear man chickens back home. Instead, they cry out, "Cick-a-ricki." So let that settle you all to sleep, or wake you up in the morning I suppose.

With love, 
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Mamacita on

Cick-a-riki to you! Cute title and very interesting content! Your adventures are merry and many! Keep warm and safe!

Mamacita on

Hey! Where are the pictures?

Twin B Baker on

Finally! Another post! I love your musings and witticisms &lt;3 I misses you lots! Keep on taking amazing photos! Love, Amanda

Twin B Baker on

And stay strong! Try writing down one thing you appreciate about the area or one thing you'll miss every day. By then end of the journey you'll have a nice little list of memories! Keep strong and look to the positive!

Uncle Bob on

Great post sorry you got sick and had to hurl . I cant wait till your next post.

Mrs. Finnsson on

I love your pictures. How long will you be in those areas? I will be in Germany this Aug.

Mamacita on

Yeaa for the wonderful pictures!

Twin A Baker on

Mom and I had a good smile about the title of this post. You are learning so much, take time to recognize all that is around you. Love you so!

Bonnie on

Becca -you are looking thin and beautiful, the walking is working for your body! Enjoy it will be over way too fast! Hugs from San Diego

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