Ja, Genau

When I was in seventh grade, my English teacher, having listened to me whine a little about having to go to a college football game with my family (yes, I was the kid who brought a book), handed me a stack of blank attendance form pads, and told me to write down my observations.

I didn’t end up writing much, as the game was more engrossing than I had anticipated, but the concept has stuck with me; I’ve since gotten into the habit of carrying a small notebook around.  In it, I write grocery lists, quotes, notes to be made into a poem or a blog post, etc.

I recently found the notebook that I carried through Europe with me, and while I never want to be that girl who begins every sentence with “when I was in Europe…”

When I was in Europe, I carried a little notebook around with me.  Here are some of the unpublished snippets:

1. “Dachau info: Take S2 Bahn to Dachau/Petershausen, then bus 726 towards Saubachsiedlung to entrance. Audio guides 2.50.”

2. October 9. “This afternoon I decided that I have a raging case of cabin fever, and that said fever, combined with my already raging homesickness, was nearly incapacitating.  So, I’m going out.  I’m going to walk around Salzburg by myself, maybe get a snack, and try to remind myself what I’m doing here.”  (Don’t worry; things got better)

3. Eric/Me:

“You should get up there.  Maybe later.  Come on.  I will in a bit.  I don’t believe you.  I will, I swear!  If you don’t now, you never will.”

4. “Hair cut.  Fast, but accurate.  25 Euro.”

5. “To Wikipedia: Air Force fly height, Vienna protesters, body decay time.”

6.  “Put on reading list: 1. Roald Dahl short stories 2. The Discovery of Heaven, by Harry Mulisch 3. The Unbearable Lightness of Being.”

7. “There’s ‘another’ writer sitting across the cafe. He is unimpressed with the live piano music, while I listen with giddy delight. He hardly looks up from his notebook to admire the chandeliers, the green velvet-hung windows, the counter piled with frosted cakes.  I peer around, hardly subtle at all.  My mouth hangs open unabashedly. But then I notice that this other writer is eating around the raisins in his carrot cake.  I’ve been doing the same with my own slice.  I guess I can be a writer after all (edit this ending).”

8. “Eric puked on my backpack on the bus back to Salzburg…gross.”

9. “Lyman lecture: ‘there’s no such thing as coincidence,’ ‘don’t be critical,’ ‘love at first sight does exist.'”

10. “Can I please be airlifted out of here?  I don’t know that I’ve ever dreaded anything like I’m dreading the dreaded, dreadful, German oral exam.”

11. “Well, I think I left my eloquence back over Denmark, but as my homecoming is rather a grand event (to me at least), I thought I should say something anyway. In Munich, I paid 50 Euros to check a bag full of Christmas presents.  After that, I had to chug half a liter of water while a bemused security officer looked on.  Then I hugged Matt goodbye, picked up a Nat Geo from the Duty Free, and trotted off to gate H2 to wait.  It’s been a few hours since then.  I’m officially at the point that I reach on all international flights; the point where I have to clutch the armrests to prevent myself from screaming and running up and down the aisles.  I’m also thinking of jumping out of the plane and swimming home.  Do you think that would be any faster?  I’m watching ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ and appreciating the sentiments greatly.  Life is wonderful. The small child who’s been kicking my seat for the past hour seems to agree.  But still, despite the miserable, Coke-guzzling, leg-cramping, bladder-bursting, zombified plane state we’re all in, the only thing I’m thinking about is that I’ll be hugging my parents in less than 10 hours.  Ja, genau.”


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