letting the days go by.

24 April 2008

a week for words.

It was a red-letter week in terms of correspondence. On Monday, after sleeping through my Internship, I found an missive in my mailbox from one Mr. Henry Leung, all the way from California, perhaps having flown over China and the mighty Pacific. This of course called for a large cup of coffee at Aida, the retro-tastic chain coffee house with the same color scheme as the bathrooms and kitchen of the house I grew up in on 58th street: Nifty Fifties Pink and Brown. And, I'll admit, as wonderful as the letter itself was, I was just as amped about seeing my name on the envelope, above this crazy foreign address that still makes absolutely no sense to me.

And then, on Tuesday, after a glorious day with the chit'lins and an afternoon of pure unbridled malaise, what should I find but a package from Ariel, containing, as described in her own words: jeans, a letter, a few pieces of candy. And what jeans! Glorious, American, Old Navy Jeans! Without those dratted holes in the attractive inner thigh region (it's called friction, friends. Maybe you have been blessed with regular-sized hips, but I'm an Okie with a pelvis just begging for birth. I can't put it less weirdly than that)! This also called for a large cup of coffee, at another Aida cafe, in the middle of a rainstorm.

And I'm only blogging now because, goddammit, there are words in me and they want to get out somehow. We had some new age "group chat" about our expectations, goals, blah de blah, and I was the only one in the room who didn't list "Improving My German." Because, truthfully, and maybe it's Herr Mosburg's fault from back at Booker T, but German has never inspired me. I joked about it with Rob, saying this German business wasn't one of my priorities, but then, I didn't know what my priorities actually were, which was probably a problem. But he said, "Well, reading and writing are up there, aren't they?" And that's true. Being bilingual would be great, sure, but I haven't got the Itch to learn it, the way I do with writing. And that's what it is - call it passion, call it a rare literary disease, but right now it's like a mosquito bite that I'm sure would probably heal fine if I'd stop nagging at it, and then I could go on and become a happily mediocre Grown Up who sometimes remembered her wild delusions of writerly grandeur (see also: My Father), but I'm young and stupid and full of wild ideas and there are few feelings better than a good scratch when you've really got an itch, metaphorical or physical. Which is probably why Penny is so happy all the time.

Speaking of tiny dogs, it was also a red letter week in terms of them. Annie and I went on a late night dessert hunt following a dinner of waffles (we are very healthy beings) and headed to the Votiv Park Cafe, a little local joint where the lone waiters are an old man and an adolescent boy, where the Sachertorte is handmade, and where there was a tiny dog running around, being typically Austrian and indifferent. So I leaned down and scratched it, and it took a shine to me and hopped up on the seat and stayed there. Exciting stuff, I know, but Dog Withdrawal is one of those things they don't tell you about in all the Culture Shock Bullshit.

And speaking of tiny things, let me give you a profile of some of my favorite citizens of Vienna.

Felix. 9 years old. Looks exactly like he'll grow up and be the lead singer of Frog Eyes. Makes a point of reminding me about his English Great-Uncle every time we interact, but also asked me how to spell my name when we were learning "I like" and "I don't like" so he could announce, "I like Rachel." So great.

Lottie. 8 years old. Actually, she is Rory Pavach from Hammyton. It's downright freaky. Translated the entirety of "Where is Spot?" for my benefit when we read it this week. I learned the word for "turtle" and then they quizzed me on it.

Kid Whose Name I Do Not Know, but he's probably 10 years old. Very impressed by my sneakers. Also asked me if I liked Guns N' Roses.

Kid As Tall As Me Though He Is 10 Years Younger. Actually that is just disturbing to me.

There's more - the tiny Indian boy, the girl who speaks immaculate English already, the Raised By Indie Parents boy with his blazer and bandanna around his neck, the ones with glasses and lisps, pretty much any one who says hello to me in the hallways, and so on and so on. They're pretty great, altogether, though I wish I didn't have to get up at 7 to teach them, because I'm mostly dead by the time noon rolls around.

And that's the news from over here. I'm looking forward to: seeing The Go! Team next week, eating a banana with some Nutella tomorrow, running around in the Springtime weather, deplaning in Oklahoma and waking up at 6 a.m. for a week from jet-lag, having my first legal drink in America, finally perceiving this wealth of time as the rare opportunity it is.

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