{Notes from Salzburg}

[Barnes and Noble is my hangout. My jam. My Place To Be. While enjoying a dirty chai {yes, I enjoy placing that order}, I remembered an old blogpost I wrote when I was studying in Austria. Only my family and maybe two of my friends ever read it – my mom was just glad I wasn’t dead, I think. Anyway, here’s one of my favorites. Susie, this one’s for you.]

{Big Bugs}

One of the most interesting parts of this cross-cultural experience has been the realization that, while things are very different, they are also very much the same. People are people. Deep. But seriously, there are families here who live like we do at home.

There are young adults who are full of life and excited about the future. There are lonely old men who sit at Cafe Tomaselli and drink coffee, watching the young people who are full of life.

Things are are a lot like they are at home. Including the fact that huge hornets fly into bedrooms and scare silly girls into screaming.

Last night, Susanna and I stayed up late talking and laughing. It was after midnight, and there’s such a thing as “quiet hours” in Salzburg (that’s right, college students, they exist in the real world apart from finals time…), so we closed all our doors but forgot to close the windows. We were talking about girly things and making each other giggle, when suddenly the largest bug I’ve ever seen buzzed into our room, hitting the ceiling and making Susie jump down from the bunk bed and huddle next to me on the floor. I try not to swear, but I’m telling you, this thing could sting the life right out of me, and we both couldn’t contain ourselves. I’m not even scared of bugs, usually, but what can you do?

Austrian bugs are flippin’ huge.

So I climbed up on to the top bunk and tried to swat it with one of our towels. I hit it, but what’s a swat to a mutant stinging insect? It buzzed right at my face, and I screamed. I was pretty embarrassed that a bug made me scream, but Susie said with determination: “Alright, it’s time to wake the boys.”

Now I am not one for running to a male in a time like this – what can a boy do that I can’t? If it’s gonna sting me, it’s gonna sting him – but I didn’t know what else to do. We weighed our options: Tom wouldn’t wake up, he’s like a log. Jon would wake up, but probably be pretty angry at us and never let us forget it. We decided on Andrew, the outdoorsman, the boy who likes to save people.

Susie knocked on his door, but he wasn’t in there (immediately after our frantic knock, his roommate replied, “Andrew’s not in here. Don’t come in.”). I went back to our room while Susanna went to find Andrew, and I’d had enough. Liz, our friend from the Finland, said, “No one has ever seen a bug that big! I want to make a picture!” And instead of helping me, proceeded to take pictures of the huge deadly bug.

I grabbed the towel again and stealthily tested the hornet’s reaction to my approach. It was preoccupied with preening, so I set in, a fast and furious attack with the towel. I pounded the towel against the wall, trying to squeeze the life out of it, but when I checked the clump, I saw it still moving! So I smooshed the towel into a ball and punched and punched it. By this time, Susie was back with Andrew, David, and Liz, and I looked like a fool punching a towel. I opened it again and IT STILL WASN’T DEAD. This thing was resilient. Andrew took the towel and threw the hornet outside, where it lives on to attack us in our sleep.

So somethings are the same, and somethings are different.

Bugs fly inside and scare girls, but they are a heck of a lot bigger.

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3 thoughts on “{Notes from Salzburg}

  1. Pingback: Two Months Out | neither here nor there

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