Wednesday, July 6, 2016

What happens in Europe...gets documented on the blog

All right, homies,

The words that follow were written weeks ago.

And there are plenty more memories where these came from. But I just want some of my Europe memories, for now, to be out in the blogosphere. on!


Guten tag, my friends!

I am on another planet right now, I am so jetlagged.

But as I can already feel memories slipping away, because they are 2,000 miles from Los Angeles, I want to start journaling here on the blog, even if I feel like I'm underwater currently and have forgotten how to write. There is no way I will get everything down (and besides, you wouldn't read all of that anyway), but I'm going to get some of the highlights.

So here goes! Some things that happened on my trip (the great, the rough, and the ugly; because as you may or may not know, I like to be honest in my documentation of life; no frills, just the honest, raw emotion, be it jubilant or clamoring or somewhere in between):

I saw Elisabeth Von Trapp, Maria's granddaughter, perform a concert. She sang Sound of Music songs and played her guitar in a church in Salzburg, Austria. I teared up and just wish I were a little less self conscious in the moment so that I could have actually let loose. But anyway, she was fantastic, and I was thrilled to buy her CD, which she signed. Yesssss.


After forgetting to take my happy pills for two days and, admittedly, having waaay too much wine (I corrected this for the rest of the trip and was all but sober, and, oh yeah, took my meds!!), I had a very rough day, feeling hungover and anxious and sad. Abby was very patient with me and kept asking how she could help.

"Look at me," she said, as I wept in Vienna over my schinkenfleckerl (a ham and noodle casserole that I saw on the countertop, pointed to, and said, "I want that") and said that I felt like I was ruining the mood of the trip. My soggy eyes met hers, and she told me with utter sincerity: "You're not ruining anything."

I ate my comfort food and drank my mineral water, and then we moved on to a taxi ride to a bar and we talked about our families. I felt worlds better by the time we got back to the boat, where some fellow cruisers insisted that we join them in a game of shuffleboard.


In the quiet town of Melk, Austria, Abby and I got off the boat to explore.
Abby bought a bouncy ball and promptly lost it in the grass.
Before we left, though, we had a very important conversation.
"Should we bring an umbrella?" -- Abby
Me: "Nah."
Us, two hours later:
I couldn't help but giggle over and over as we ran back in the pouring rain. I had a rainbow colored purse across my body, and the ink seeped into my blue shirt (which has since been washed and is definitely "ruined," i.e. marked with a happy memory). I laughed the way I laughed the first time I rode Space Mountain at Disneyland; it was, plain and simple, my instinct. Laughing is such a curious thing, but man if it didn't feel amazing, water pooled inside my teal flats, hair sopping as if I were in the shower (and, well, I was in a shower), just losing myself to fits of laughter.
We were met by the hotel manager in the foyer of the ship, and he gave us fresh towels to dry off with. Others gaped at us and poked fun at us later. It took two days of hanging up in the cabin for our clothes to fully dry.
I rarely forget getting caught in a rainstorm, and I doubt I'll forget this one for a long time. Rain makes my heart SMILE.
Pretty much everywhere you go in public areas in Austria and Germany require you to use a 50 cent piece in order to unlock the bathroom stall. Our Salzburg tour guide called this a "pee fee." Alternately, she said that when lucky enough to find a restroom that doesn't charge, one has been granted a "free pee."
I have mixed feelings about this pee fee.
First, my real question is: do Europeans just not pee as much as Americans? Because, either they're always prepped with some coins, or else these people are always holding it. I mean, they have to be.
Also, there are not a lot of bathrooms to be found! In restaurants, yes, but, as with ATMs, one can wander quite a bit in order to find a place to pee in central Europe.
Finally, I happen not to find this idea of paying to pee to be abhorrent. I mean, yes. It's absolutely ridiculous. We have to pee, and some of us, named BAILEY, have to pee a lot, so it's like I'm being taxed for having a bladder that works overtime (it's like being taxed for feminine products, while we're on the subject of absolute ridiculousness).
So while it's terrible that we are asking people to pay to pee, I kind of wish -- in Los Angeles, at least -- that we actually would have a pee fee. Here's why: in LA, especially closer to the ocean, where it's very crowded, it is really hard to find a free, accessible, clean bathroom. The ones by the beach are disgusting, and the other ones that you might find are in coffee shops which require you to buy something and then get a stupid door code and then you still have to wait for five people in front of you to pee first.

I find this to be abhorrent, more so than the pee fees in Europe. Because at least in Europe I know that if I have a 50 cent piece, I can pee when I need to.
So anyway, that's my great idea for social reform: more restrooms, put a fee on them if that's what it takes, but just for crying out loud let us pee without having to wait in a huge line and patronize your business when all we have to do is relieve our bladder.
I'm overthinking this, I know. And I could keep going but I'll move on to the next memory:
I learned something about Europeans during my recent jaunts about their land.

No matter what you're asking them for directions to, they will say, "It's just about a 10 minute walk."

Number one: I live in LA. No one walks more than five feet. I find it unsettling to walk to the mailbox. We drive everywhere. So I think our Europe neighbors may be overestimating our average hustle.

Two: Are they pulling a fast one on us? I mean, really. Everything can't be 10 minutes away. It just can't.


That's all I have to say about that.


More memories -- hopefully -- to come!!!!

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