Nothing has changed, and everything has changed.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Our flight to Munich was fine, and compared to our flight to Amsterdam, it felt like a walk in the park.  Lindsay managed (again) to talk her neighbor into switching seats with me and we ate what seemed like our 7th airline meal of the day (we love eating) (even if it's airplane food).  When we landed in Munich, deja vu began to set in.  We landed in the same terminal that I landed in earlier this year when I first moved to Salzburg, and as we waited to collect our bags from the very same carousel, I replayed the scene in my head: meeting Tim for the first time, meeting Ingrid, meeting Andreas... The nostalgia was real.

We hopped on the S8 from the airport, transferred to the Munich Haupbahnhof, stepped off in Freilassing, and then headed onward to Salzburg.  We took that Bayern route more times than I can count this past semester, and the nostalgia just kept building with each familiar stop.  So when an adorable German/Austrian young woman smiled at me a couple of times on the train -- a seemingly knowing smile -- I didn't give it too much thought, as my thoughts were focused on the fact that we were about to be in Salzburg, and very little else.

As soon as we stepped off the train at the Salzburg Hauptbahnhof, my first thought was, "I'm sorry, what?!"  Apparently,  in the short time since we've been gone, Salzburg decided to go and change a lot of things, the train station being one of them.  We found the Tabak Trafik (in a new location!), bought our bus passes, and jumped on the #3 bus, heading toward IK.  Oh, and of course I bought 10 euros of Guthaben to add to my A1 phone.  Riding the bus, it was like we had never left, and I recited the bus stops in my head along with the "bus stop woman" on the loudspeaker: "Nächster Halt, Rathaus.... Mozartsteg...Äußerer Stein..... Justizgebäude.... Akademiestraße..... Fastauergaße... Josefiau.... Herrnau....and finally, Polizeidirektion!  At least all the bus stops stayed the same.  Lord knows how I would have reacted if that had changed.

In March, one of Caroline's friends came back to Salzburg from the semester before, just to visit.  I went with Caroline to pick her up from the airport, and as soon as she met us at baggage claim, she started talking about how nervous she was to come back.  I didn't understand it, and I couldn't related when, on the walk from the bus stop to IK, she kept saying, "I'm scared I might cry.  I'm nervous.  This is weird.  I don't know what to do."  But as Lindsay and I walked from the bus stop to IK, I suddenly 'got' it.  How many times had I made this walk with Caroline? (Always with Caroline.)  Walking toward our studentenheim with the backdrop of the snow-covered Alps gave me chills every single time.  So last night, walking toward IK with Lindsay, I couldn't help but express to her, "This is weird.  This is weird.  This is weird." about 100 times over.  

Also on the two-minute walk from the bus stop to IK, we crossed paths with the same young woman we had seen on the train ride.  She smiled at us again and this time we smiled back.  After she walked away, I said to Lindsay, "What a coincidence!  She lives in IK!"  

When we reached the IK buildings, I ran into the green building to grab Rikee's keys.  Rikee is our friend who so graciously left her room for us to share, since I don't have a room there anymore.  She is native Austrian, and lived in the blue building this past semester, which is how Caroline and I got to know (and love) her.  We were to stop by the green building to collect the keys from Claudia, a friend of Rikee's, as Rikee is spending the holiday in spain.  As soon as we stepped inside, the smell stopped me in my tracks.  I'm possibly the world's most smell-oriented person, in that every memory is connected with a smell, so as soon as I walked into the green building, I 'smelled' so many memories.  Laundry memories!  Vending machine memories!  Heimbar memories!  

Claudia was so nice -- she had waited there for us all night -- and happily handed the keys over to me.  We then ran on over to the yellow building, where Rikee lives, to get into 'our' new room.  Rikee had told me she has a roommate -- a girl named Eva who is on Erasmus from Germany.  When we walked into Rikee's room, I peeked into Eva's room to introduce myself.  She wasn't there, but when Lindsay saw her backpack sitting on the floor, she gasped.  "Jennifer, it's the girl from the train!  The one we just saw leaving IK!"  Apparently, Lindsay had noticed her backpack on the train ride in (I guess I had been too busy contemplating all the current similarities between me and the characters from LOST when they return to the island).  But what are the odds that that girl would be our new roommate??  I always say that Salzburg is the smallest town... maybe I shouldn't be so surprised. 

We started unpacking, and charged my A1 phone so I could load the minutes.  As we settled in, we realized we were starving.  We walked back to the bus stop (it was about 20:00 at this point) and crossed the street to use the Bankomat (protocol for passing time if the bus isn't coming for awhile) to withdraw our money for dinner.  We discussed our options for dinner and knew there was only one place we could go: Reyna.

And that explains the happiness you see in these photos.  You'd be this happy, too, if you were about to eat at Reyna Kebab for the first time in months...

To be cont'd!

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