Flight back home

Forgot about this post -- written during the flight back home from Germany to the US...:

A word of advice to those planning on traveling with Icelandair in the near future -- they have suddenly become extremely anal about the number of carry-on items each person has. We spent close to 10 minutes at the counter until everything was taken care of. I had a backpack and my violin, and the woman at the counter told me that instruments in general are forbidden as carry-ons. I then asked her how long that had been in effect; she said for as long as she had been working there. I then told her, that it wasn't even a year ago that I flew with the same airline, and the same items (backpack, violin), and it was allowed. She then said that the flight was full, and that they were limiting the number of carry-on items as a result (nice change of story, by the way). It would then be up to the crew of the plane as to whether or not I would be allowed to bring my violin on board. The final decision was that I had to choose between checking my violin or checking the backpack. There would be absolutely no insurance possible for the violin. We checked the backpack. Still, I had to sign a waiver stating that it would be no fault of the airlines if my backpack ended up damaged (due to the straps). Lose-lose. But on the plus side, I'm certain that my violin weighs around 3 or 4 kilograms, so joke's on them.

Right now I’m on the six-hour flight back to Minneapolis. There is a man sitting in front of my father who is somehow managing to lean his chair back far enough to be annoying, all without actually pushing the reclining button. The plane is filled with Americans, Minnesotans. My mother will be delighted to know that one of the on-flight entertainment options was once again Lazy Town. A very involving show. I have suspicions that Sporticus and Robbie Rotten are one and the same person. But then again, if they are, how do they manage the fight scenes? What a tricky situation... (**hindsight note: after the second episode of Lazy Town, I think they are two different people. I am, unfortunately, not motivated enough to actually confirm or bust this theory/decision**)…

I started to cry like a little girl (grown up girls, I think, don’t have belly-wracking sobs muffled by scarves or sweaters) as the plane took off from Germany. All I managed to say was, "Here it goes.” I think that the final push was actually seeing Germany grow smaller and smaller and eventually disappear, reducing me to an emotional scarf-mumbler.
The man across the aisle kept looking over at me. Yes, I'’m crying, on the plane, across the aisle from you. I am on-flight entertainment.

Has anyone else noticed that they seem to serve drinks from (flight attendants') left to right on the flights? Has anyone also noticed that there are at least four layers of clouds?

I'm already bored of typing.

My pre-leaving night in Landau was spent going to an uninvolving tango music concert, eating an ice cream, and drinking a glass of sparkling wine and kiba (cherry and banana juice mixed together).

During the tango concert intermission we took photographs of ourselves--—group and individual shots--posing with "The Lady of Landau." The statue is of a naked woman balancing and leaning back on one foot, holding grapes to her bosom. We were fully clad, I'm thankful to say, but we all got our chance to pose and copy the statue. Pictures...…um...maybe never :p

Ice cream was one Kügel (scoop) tiramisu, and one Kügel Rafaelo. RAFAELO ice cream, Rafaelo as in the tasty coconut-almond-white-chocolate goodness. Ooooh so good.

Leo's: one of the workers there, Rader (I'm not entirely sure how to spell it) made our drinks on the house, as it was my last night. Very very nice of him. Leo’s is the best café for late-night chilling, hands down. And we're not the first group of people to think that, either. The ambiance is nice, the staff is nice, and the food is good, too. Then Sonia, Carmelinda, and Sonia's friend Ilaria (who is there to visit Sonia --– they leave Thursday) walked me back home, singing Italian songs all the way. It was loud, confusing, but amusing. We got back to the Wohnheim, said our teary good-byes, and parted ways. I went up to my room, started moving things around and finishing up final cleaning. Then I hear voices coming from the garden in-between the apartment buildings. Sonia, Carmelinda, and Ilaria are singing Aerosmith's "I don't want to Miss a Thing." I'm being serenaded by three wound-up Italians. It made me teary again. I think stuff like that only happens during study abroad. I can't imagine anything like what happened (or what I experienced) this year ever happening anywhere else. I'm so incredibly thankful for everything all of the ERASMUS students have done for me, and I’m grateful for having so many new people in my life that were, are, and will be important to me for the rest of my life.

From the bottom of my heart, I urge and recommend that everyone spend at least one term in a study abroad program. It changes your life for the best, and the knowledge you gain about yourself and other people is something that you really can't find anywhere else.



Everything is very big here.

Other than that, because my first real day was spent in the quietness of my grandparent's home (they live outside of the city, in the woods, so there is no shock-factor for me), and now at home where I'm very used to things, I haven't had any problems readjusting. Maybe a bit of jet-lag, around noonish yesterday, but I'm always jet-lagged after the return trip.

But I love the WLAN, the wireless internet. LOVE it.


Last Whole Day

Today marks not only my final full day in Landau for the year (I say for the year because I am very certain that I will one day very soon come back to Germany and pop by Landau for a visit), but also the day I have more spam-mail in my inbox than ever before. I have no idea how that came about.

I think I would be more sad and depressed about everything were my Grandmother not habitually pessimistic about almost everything. Usually I'd say it's borderline endearing, but not on my final run here. On the up-side, at least I'm not an emotional wreck. So maybe I have her to thank for a bit of balance in the brain area.

Also, the remnants of 10 months worth of living is a tight squeeze when it comes to packing. I have sent 4-5 boxes, each between 10 and 20 kilograms, home over the past months. There is another box waiting, along with my IKEA chair, waiting to be sent out today. My hiking backpack and other large suitcase-duffel bag thing are literally stuffed full, and there is little room left in another large bag my dad brought with him. I will be pushing the limit this time around.

There have also been a lot of last-minute-doing-of-things-I-need-to-do-one-more-time-before-I-leave moments, and they've all gone relatively well.

The thing with the blog now, is that once I get home, I can still keep it current by comparing the transition back into American society to what was left behind. Over the past year I've thought of and anticipated many reactions, but now I'm not sure how it will be. The best thing now is to just not expect anything and go with the flow.

My first few days will be spent at my grandparent's house, which is in the US, but in the countryish outskirts of a city, so I won't be rushed with people and society. I think it's a smart move.

So, tomorrow are the flights home, and the re-introduction to the States. Expect the next post no sooner than Wednesday!

From Germany, peace out.