Hallo! Wie gieht’s?
We made it to Salzburg on Monday – before that, we had a 3-day stopover in London. I’ll be honest, I liked London but the whole time I was focused on getting to Salzburg so I could get settled. Once we got here, everything seemed like a whirlwind. The town itself is breathtakingly beautiful (pictures to come – more on that in a second), every single person I’ve met has been so welcoming and genuine, and the weather is EXACTLY what I hoped for: cold and snowy.
These last two days have felt like an eternity but in a good way. We’ve had orientation meetings and group excursions around the city and today began our first day of German classes. Ich lerne Deutsch in Salzburg – doesn’t get much more authentic than that! I’m anxious to start learning the language so that I can communicate with the locals. I hate asking everyone, “Sprechen Sie Englisch?” but I suppose that’s not the worst phrase to know.
Today felt like the first day that I could find my way around. While here, I will be traveling on Salzburg’s public bus system which the city relies on heavily. AIFS provided a 24-hour bus pass for us the first day but I bought myself a week long bus pass yesterday. This means that I can ride any bus as often as I want all over the city for the next week with one ticket. It was around 13 euro which isn’t bad and luckily AIFS will start reimbursing us for some of our bus pass fees when classes start in two weeks. I think I finally know which stop to get off at – learned that the hard way. The city streets are all very windy and alley-like – exactly how I pictured! While beautiful, they are confusing and I find myself staring at my map quite often.
My room situation is what I expected: a bit smaller than I’m used to but with a little TLC it’ll work out fine. My roommate and I get along really well. The only downfall is that we are only allowed 3GB worth of internet for a whole month. This basically means no Skype which was my entire plan for the semester. A few of us have gotten desperate and walked to McDonald’s a few blocks down for free WiFi but unfortunately it kicked me off Skype and blocked my free texting apps. Sad face. It’s hard not keeping in touch with family, friends, and boyfriend but I’m sure after a few days of settling in I’ll figure something out. There are lots of little cafes that offer free WiFi – I just need to find one close! If you want to talk to me, Facebook or e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) is probably the best way to do so. The lack of internet access is why I haven’t uploaded pictures yet. I promise as soon as I get some decent WiFi I’ll be uploading my pictures!
A quick funny story while on the topic of my dorm room. AIFS promised that bed linens would be supplied. When we arrived, all we had was a comforter and a pillow. No sheets, no pillow case, nada. Tuesday morning while waiting to gather in the lobby, our Hausfrau came down and asked if everything was all right. She doesn’t speak much English and we don’t speak much German so it was hard to communicate that we were cold and wanted sheets. Finally she gestured for us to take her to our room. Once there I pointed at my blanket and said, “We’re cold. Sheets? Blanket?” She nodded that she understood and went to a closet and pulled out sheets and held them out. “Ja?” she asked. “Ja, ja!!” I said, thinking it was a victory. “Ah. Nein,” she said and put the blankets back in the closet. I could have died. Looking back, it’s hilarious but I was baffled at the time. Turns out AIFS called and got it taken care of for us but it was quite the experience of the language barrier here.
Like I said, I’ll post pictures asap! I know that’s what everyone wants to see 🙂