By

JJ
I find it hard to hold on. Some people can't let go, but I can't seem to hold on.
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In which I have some news: I am leaving New York City and am relocating to North Carolina. The short of it: Bear got Matched for his urology residency at Wake Forest. The long of it...
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I don’t write much, or even take photos much in London. It’s partly due to the fact that I am no longer alone–Psychic Roommate is with me now en route to Avignon–but also partly because I’m not a tourist here. Not quite, anyway.
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In an attempt to spend down my euros before leaving Austria (I hate having spare change in multiple currencies–I still have about €0,69 in a piggy jar at home), I buy every prepackaged thing in the Vienna airport. (Der Flughafen, a word I adore.) Even their airport cappuccino is amazing, although I can’t say the same for their plastic-wrapped sandwiches. Plastic-wrapped sandwiches taste exactly the same no matter where you are: slightly moist bread slathered with slightly warm mayo with a limp piece of lettuce and tomato with half-hearted bits of filling in between.
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I cannot decide whether the landscape of Austria looks familiar or like a fairytale. A bit of both, perhaps. At times I am reminded of New England and Pennsylvania Dutch country, and at others I'm thinking it's MOTHERFUCKING AUSTRIA. No, it is the hills that are distinctly foreign and fairytale-ish, alternately covered in patches of forest and rolling green. The hills of Vermont and Pennsylvania are similar, but seem more like an artist painting a picture from memory rather than life.
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Today and tomorrow are for music. I came to Austria for one purpose, and that was to fangirl Mozart. Is it strange to admit a crush on a dead genius? The irony of these days being for music is that I have broken my headphones on the way over and therefore cannot listen to any. How gauche and American could I get, to wander Stephansplatz in search of an Apple store and coffee to go?
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I am out of my depth. Unlike Oxford, I came to Vienna to become verloren, to become lost. But I didn’t realize exactly how unmoored I would feel. Language barriers–normally never much trouble for me–suddenly seem insurmountable. I am passable in Spanish (once fluent, but now no longer), can get by in French, and can read Italian and Portuguese, but German is overwhelming. It is overwhelming because it is unfamiliar, and my paltry practiced phrases dry up in the face of actual speakers. It also doesn’t help I’m the sort of person whose travels are dictated by whim and impulse, and this includes ignoring and leaving behind my guidebook in search of spontaneous adventure. However, my guidebook also contained a useful glossary of German words and phrases, but I can say Servus, ich heisse JJ, und ich bin Amerikanerin and Sprechen Sie Englisch? all I like, but it won’t make a difference, for I cannot escape what I am: a gauche tourist.
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Oxford doesn’t feel like mine. It’s a funny thing to say about a city, but it’s true. It should perhaps be the funnier thing that I assume it should feel like mine, but I do. It’s the city which engendered Alice and Éowyn and Lyra–especially Lyra, dear Lyra–so I thought I would find a measure of my childhood here. I don’t.
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If you follow me on Twitter or Tumblr (especially Tumblr), then you know I am a huge fan of Doctor Who, and that I am a huge fan of David Tennant’s run as the Tenth Doctor, and that Catherine Tate as Donna is my favourite companion. They are performing as Beatrice and Benedick in a West End production of Much Ado About Nothing, and I wanted nothing more than to see them before the run ended (which, incidentally, is tomorrow). Sometimes, if you wish really hard, magical things happen.
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I don’t sleep on the flight from Newark to Heathrow, which is strange because I’ve always been able to sleep on planes. I don’t sleep but I doze, a restless, fitful state that is neither restful nor refreshing. I had hoped to arrive in London having fooled my body into believing it had gotten a good night’s rest.
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