Stole that title from Billy Joel, but I know he wouldn’t mind. And you can listen to his “Vienna” whilst reading this post, maybe it will enhance the unbelievable awesomeness of finally being in this city:
Billy Joel knows what’s up.
Here’s a quick summary of my surprisingly easy voyage across the ocean, which I suppose was deserved after having to wait for two months to get to this point: The parents kindly drove me from Sackville to Halifax, NS in the morning, where I ate my last bowl of seafood chowder in honour of the Maritimes. The airport was pretty dead, so it was a relaxed goodbye, minus my incessant twitching from excitement and general lack of sleep for the past week.
My flight to Toronto was uneventful. I sat next to a decrepit, wrinkled woman with a mean smoker’s cough, but we were simultaneously doing crossword puzzles so I felt we had a bond that transcended my disconcertion over her disturbing, lung-rattling hacking. Next to us were two adorable half-Asian kids, the younger of which found it extremely amusing to shriek for basically the whole trip. This would have annoyed most people, but ever since my mom put me on top of the dryer to get me to go to sleep as an infant, I’ve been unable to stay awake in the lulling white noise of moving vehicles. This tends to be somewhat more of a problem when I’m the one driving said vehicle, but it’s nice for plane rides.
I flew Austrian Airlines for the Toronto – Vienna leg, and there was no one sitting beside or behind me, which made me less claustrophobic than I usually feel on airplanes. The flight attendants wore charming, all-red ensembles, including red shoes. Unfortunately, my amusement at these outfits did not counteract the fact that there were three movies on for the duration of the flight, being played on a continuous loop so that you were out of luck if you tuned in midway through. I ended up watching part of a movie about Marmaduke, that great dane from the comics, who had the voice of Owen Wilson; a movie with David Duchovny that was subpar but infinitely better than the Marmaduke movie; and the last half hour of The Incredibles, which is actually a decent movie if you get to watch the whole thing.
The best part of the flight was listening to Sigur Rós through the night (Untitled, Takk and then Ágætis Byrjun, because I just couldn’t get enough), a band that perfectly complemented the darkness down below occasionally peppered with light and the dreamy cloudscapes that rolled like waves. Coincidentally, just as the red band of sunrise presented itself on the horizon, “Untitled #8” was playing – the sheer epicness of the moment made me too excited to sleep for the rest of the flight. The banana muffin I ate for breakfast was also pretty epic, but I hesitate to put both of those events in the same category of awesomeness.
Landing in Vienna was a bit of a non-event because it was so cloudy that morning, and I saw literally nothing until seconds before we hit the ground. The passport check and customs went very smoothly, and my suitcases were waiting patiently for me on the conveyer belt. The Minkus had made me a lovely sign out of cardboard with my name on it, so I clearly felt superior to the other people who didn’t have a sign. We reunited with only a few tears, because it really seems like it’s only been about 14 minutes since we last saw each other instead of 14 months. The wonderful Milan drove us back to our apartment, and we had what was perhaps the best nap of all time. We met with Mink’s parents for dinner and coffee because they’re in town on vacation for a few days, and had Italian pizza (thin crust is vastly superior to that doughy monstrosity we call pizza). I had my first glass of red wine as well – but, as Mink pointed out, it was likely not my last – if I try really hard, hopefully I’ll have all of my vices covered this week!
I’m sitting in my (currently mostly empty) apartment waiting for the Minkus to get home from work, and I just cracked my first beer here, an Ottakringer Helles. I learned a bit about discerning types of beer when I was visiting my sister in Deutschland a couple of years ago, but I’m kind of rusty on knowing lagers and whatnot. I guess this is a pale lager, or so the omniscient Wikigods tell me. It’s pretty good in general, but right now the best part of this beer is the taste of success: I have made my first purchase at a store without embarrassing myself because I speak no German. Oh, but I did offer the harried cashier a muted “danke schön” on the way out.
As tomorrow is a bank holiday in Vienna, we’re going out tonight with some of Mink’s friends. They’re mostly all still here from her high school days, and it’s nice to have that kind of support system upon first arriving in a new city. (I know, support systems for drinking beer seem especially appropriate and necessary.) I’ve met quite a few of them during the past few years, so I’m stoked to reconnect with them. We’ll see what adventures await.
And now, Mink’s home, lying in bed and eating bugles with me. Life is good.