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Journals from Vienna, Austria

2013-09-23 The Plane, color Red and a leap over the Atlantic


4:45 is an excellent speed if one were to run a mile. 4:45 is also the length of time of  “More Than a Feeling” by Boston.

Waking up at 4:45 a.m., though, feels like you just ran a mile. You have more than a feeling, you have multiple feelings. Generally those feelings include sadness, pain and anger, accompanied by an angry lash at the snooze button.

Unless, of course, you have an incredible reason to be awake at 4:45 a.m. Maybe like, oh I don’t know, traveling to Vienna to spend an entire semester learning and traveling.

On August 12, 2013, we left the Portland airport on a journey to Vienna.

Only to never return…..

Nah, I’m just kidding. It’s only been one day since we left! The fun is just beginning!

It wasn’t without turbulation or tribulations of course. Our flight to Washington, DC (in order to connect to Vienna) ran into some turbulation.

Naturally, I was just about to leave the restroom when it occurred, so I was asked to remain in the back of the plane. I did have a friendly conversation with the flight attendants, which I am sure is usually not included with most plane tickets.

I was not the only one with an interesting turbulation experience. Zoë and Jaimie had to sit down in the aisle while it occurred. Fun stuff!

Eventually we arrived in Washington, D.C., and we discovered we had to take a tram to a different gate. OK, we can handle that.

Once we got the different gate, we discovered we had to take a train to the gate that we thought we were already going to. OK, we can handle that!

Eventually, we made it to Gate B. We had arrived. Our last launching pad in America. I was just just about to officially bid a mental adieu to the country I have called home for my entire life when, what was this I saw?


I was 2600 miles away from home, but home was waving goodbye to me one last time. My close friends from back home and I have eaten so much Chipotle in our lives that we may or may not have a plaque in our local Chipotle with our names on it (ok, that’s not true at all. But, honestly, it should happen. Throw us a bone here, Chipotle. Or a free burrito).

With a tear in my eye, I ordered a chicken burrito with extra white rice, black beans, hot salsa, sour cream and cheese, and I proceeded to wave goodbye to the burrito in approximately two minutes and 49 seconds. Without spilling of course.

And with that disgusting show of eating skill, we waited to board our plane. Goodbye, America. Time to see what Austrian Airlines have to offer.

4:45 (DC time)

We picked up our boarding passes, and then I heard, “Aww their uniforms are so red!”

It might have been Jaimie. Or Zöe. Either way, the observation was spot on. The uniforms were a brilliant white and red. Perhaps not coincidentally, the colors of the Austrian flag are white and red. OK, duh, that’s not a coincidence at all.

The plane was equipped with personal entertainment TV’s, full of music and movie and TV show options. You could also track where the plane was, which got fairly depressing if you looked too often. After two hours we were flying near the Labrador Sea. Anytime you can fly so close to the Labrador Sea, you have to do it.

After three hours the picture of the plane was over a large swath of water called the Atlantic Ocean. That’s a lot of water. Sheesh, this flight is long.

4:45 am (Vienna time)

I stopped looking at the map after that. All I wanted to do was land in Vienna, and the more I looked at the map, the more anxious I became.

I wasn’t alone with these feelings. The entire group wanted to finally arrive in Vienna. We were so close to entering a country that none of us had any experience with. Most of us can’t speak German or we can only speak German at a rudimentary level, but this is going to be a life-changing semester for us all.

One way to pass the time on a plane, of course, is sleeping. The Austrian Airplane was kind enough to provide a pillow and a blanket. The pillow was the color – you guessed it – red. My favorite color is red, so I continued to be a sucker for this airplane.

Eventually, we began to descend upon Vienna. When we landed, the time it took to leave the plane seemed to take longer than the entire plane flight altogether. Tick, tick, tick. Let us through those doors!!

And then all of a sudden we were out of the plane, meeting Verena (one of the assistants at our institute).

You guys, we are in Vienna.

August 13, 2013. One day complete. Our semester has begun.


(post was written on August 14, 2013)

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