I thought I would cluster the two European stories together- I'm not sure they're strong enough to stand alone anyway.
I love looking back on my study abroad experience in Vienna. I actually never would have gone if it wasn't for Jordan. I had heard about it and hadn't even considered going for financial reasons. Then my friend Jordan said she was going and suggested I apply, too- I thought, why not? Still wish you would have come with me, Jordan, instead of serving a mission in Russia.... Just teasing.
Okay, the first story happened the first night I arrived. I lived with a very wealthy family who lived in the third district- very close to the center of Vienna. They were unavailable to pick me up when I arrived so they sent their daughter Carolina who was in high school. She and I took a taxi home to their flat and she helped me up to the third floor with my heavy luggage, and then she gave me some quick instructions about taking the subway. There were two separate flats that belonged to the family. One flat housed the parents and three of their children; the other flat had a lower level where the father had his law practice, and a second floor where there was a computer and TV room, a small kitchen, two bathrooms, a rec room with a beautiful veranda and a fusball table, and my bedroom (which had three beds.) It was sweet, but sometimes kind of lonely because I didn't have any roommates. I basically lived alone during that time, which ended up being kind of cool for such a short amount of time (3 1/2 months.)
Blah, blah, blah- I'm taking too long to tell this story. So after Carolina left me in my flat to myself, I thought, "I'm going to go explore Vienna!" The first thing I thought before I started exploring- better get my bearings first. Now, I should mention that I had taken one semester of German 101 before arriving in Austria. As I step out of the flat, I look up for a street sign and see one that says EINBAHN. I think, okay great, if I get lost, all I have to do is look at a map and find the street called EINBAHN and I'll be fine. EINBAHN is possibly one of the easiest words in German to translate. EIN: one, BAHN: way. EINBAHN: oneway. In a busy European city like Vienna, there are going to be a lot of EINBAHN signs. Luckily, I noticed the sign at the end of the street for Rochusgasse, and after having a good laugh at my own expense, I was on my way. I told a couple of my friends, still hoping to keep it from my professor who is a self-proclaimed intellectual snob, but the story leaked. He thought it was hilarious and brings it up everytime I see him.
Next story: I need to set the stage for this one, too. It's really embarrassing and I don't want to share this part, but it makes the story funnier. Deep breath... okay. Growing up, my mom would always make fun of the underwear I chose. "It's so boring and it's always white. Don't you want something prettier and more feminine?" So I went shopping for underwear before my study abroad trip, and AS A JOKE, I bought some clearanced underwear that had a zebra print on them. I wanted to give my mom a good laugh. I'm not kidding, they looked like something a male stripper would wear. My wealthy Viennese family had a housekeeper who did all of the laundry. Their washing machine was in the kitchen, and they didn't have a dryer, so all the clothes had to be hung out to dry in the dining room. I had dinner with the family once a week and one of the first times we had dinner, we're all sitting around talking over pasta and I look over and see my zebra print underwear hanging over a drying rack just feet away from the dining room table! I could have died!!