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Journals from Aug-2009 Austria Semester Abroad in Vienna

2009-12-17 The Return of the Prodigal

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Stephansplatz Weinachtsbaum

Getting on the plane to Zurich was like leaving home to come home. Being in Vienna for four months was quite possibly the best thing that has ever happened to me. I wish we'd had more time to say goodbye to the city before leaving, but finals ran right up to the last minute, which just means I'll have to come back, I suppose. The universe went out of its way to make me happy in my last week in Austria. I saw a last opera when an internationally acclaimed singer just happened to be performing. I made some new friends from Spain and Portugal. I managed to revisit the Augustiner Kirche, which is one of my favorite places in the inner city, just in time for a surprise organ recital in the dark. I passed the 3,000 photographs-taken-in-Europe mark. The last day cleared up miraculously from all the rain, and was sunny and gorgeous and brisk. Finals went very smoothly and we all had a last farewell dinner together at an Italian restaurant and said tearful goodbyes to our host parents and then suddenly it was time to go. It didn't feel real until we were in Los Angeles, waiting for our last plane. I think I need another seminar on re-intigration with the US. The first thing I did on American soil was to order a coffee in German and give the cashier a five Euro bill, because my hand had gone straight to the last of what looked like real money in my wallet and skipped right over the funny looking green dollar things. I'm still trying to get used to being home. There is so much about my trip that I can't convey to people who weren't there with me, and it's frustrating. All that aside, I am happy to be able to share what I can of my experiences with people I love, and I'm grateful, at least, for the time to rest after all the excitement. Vienna was my home for a semester, and I hope it will welcome me back later, even if I have to come as a tourist. Maybe it won't have forgotten me. I certainly will never forget it. Yr.Obdnt.Blgst., ~Rivka Nipper

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