I made it safely to Bratislava, and thankfully, so did my two checked bags.
Here are some tidbits from the last couple days:
1) While waiting to board my plane from JFK to Dusseldorf, a girl began speaking to me in what I thought was German. I couldn’t understand a word she said, so I just replied, “I don’t speak German.” She laughed a little and just said “Ah, sorry.” It wasn’t until a few minutes later, when I settled into my seat on board, that I realized she may not have been speaking German.
2) I forgot how wonderfully simplifying and calming it is to be in an environment where you have absolutely no idea what anyone around you is saying. That may sound like an odd statement, but when you resign to the fact that you don’t understand what anyone’s saying around you anyway, it’s like having all this peaceful silence to yourself.
3) But then again, I wish foreign language was more of a priority growing up in the states. Then, I could engage in conversation with new people while traveling, without having to rely on the fact that they probably know English anyway.
4) Within 30 minutes of arriving to where I’ll stay during orientation, I managed to flood the bathroom floor (it was a minor shower mishap, OK?)
5) I was met at the Vienna airport by one of the ELCA’s translators, Peter, who was holding a handmade “ELCA” sign. I’ve never been picked up at an airport like that before, so that was just cool. Then, while Peter went to look for two other arrivals, I got to hold the sign in case they showed up while he was gone. It’s the small things that count.
6) The room I’m staying in has a balcony that has an amazing view over the city. I got to enjoy a breathtaking sunset tonight after dinner from this balcony, and although the city has about 500,000 people, it felt like I was out in the peaceful country because of the silence.
Tomorrow we’re meeting in the morning to take a bus to Lutheran church. I’m looking forward to another new experience.