Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Chapter 1: The Outskirts of Glory

Don't let the pouring rain ruin your day by day, and don't let the bones the closet may hold get in the way. --Matt Pryor

After technical difficulties last night, i'm finally settled in and on a functioning computer.

I landed in Washington D.C. at 2:00 EST Sunday and ran into 4 other Franciscaners. Within 2 hours that number grew to around 50, and probably upwards of 80 or more by the time the flight took of at 6:30.

Some fun facts about the airplane:

1) It's uncomfortably small for an international flight. (Or, as one student said, "we were doing a bit of penance" before Austria. Gotta love franciscaners.)

2) Two words: International Waters. Three more words: First. Legal. Drink. Not much needs to be said about this one.

3) "Snake Gobbler", a rehash of the that game everyone used to have on their Nokia cell phones in middle school, is available on the plane and basically entertained me the whole second half of the trip. I'll talk more about this in a bit.

So after the initial rush of "OMG WE'RE GOING TO AUSTRIA!!@$$@!" and after a glass of wine or three (four) plus dinner, i finally got bored. It was about 4 hours into the flight and i decided i should try sleeping.

My seat was so uncomfortable i felt like a small child was prodding me in the back with both of his knees the entire time. I tried every possible position: facing left towards mike, facing right towards elliot, leaning back, sitting up. It was miserable. Then i decided to try putting my face on a pillow on top of the table in front of me. this was comfortable for about 30 seconds, and then the kid in front of me leaned his chair back, pressing down on my skull. Sleep was officially ruled out as a way of killing time.

So what did i do? I did what most 19 year old American males would do. I went straight for the video games. For the next two-plus hours, "Snake Gobbler" destroyed my life. After reaching level FORTY NINE, i decided to call it quits as the plane began to descend. For anyone going to Austria in upcoming semesters: this is an open challenge. If you can get past level 49, take a picture and post in on facebook and i will mail you ten euro. I'm convinced it can't be done.

We finally got to Vienna around 9 am Austria time (AMT? GMT? idk). After a two hour bus drive we got to campus, moved in, and had mass. After a meeting, which essentially said "please don't screw up like the kids last semester did", a bunch of us went to Urs, the local pub. It was then that it hit me that i was really in Gaming. Maybe it was the drunk men yelling in German, maybe it was the lampshades that said "Steigel" on them, maybe it was the drinks going to my head. regardless, it hit me, and i couldn't have been much happier than i was then.

today we went on a brief trip to this monastery which is now a museum and celebrated mass there. As beautiful as it was, the drive there was even moreso. A winding road took us through mile after mile of snow covered mountains and tiny little 19th century looking villages. the beautiful scenery was not enough to make my body forget about jet lag, however, and i fell asleep for much of the second half of the ride there. i'm still exhausted.

More meetings tomorrow, then classes start thursday.


today was

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