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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