Welcome back dear listeners to your humble purveyor of poor puns and askew alliteration. When we last left our handsome hero he had begun to reveal his main personal defects in a calculated ploy to better connect with the larger viewing audience. Once an emotional rapport has been reached the hero will begin weaving an overarching narrative to his life experiences in order to better give the illusion of a cohesive story. Our hero could linearly progress along a path of self-discovery and improvement in order to come out the other side of the story arc a more accomplished and likable character. Said narrator/hero/writer would also for some reason begin referring to himself in the third person to make the blog more difficult, both to write and to follow while reading. Good job him/you/I. I feel that’s enough meditations on writing perspective and narrative structure. What you came here for is the heartwarming fish out of water story of a small town boy from the U.S. adjusting to life in the big city, and on a different continent to boot. I assure you, wacky hijinks are bound to ensue.
So, where to begin the journey in proper? There are plenty of places that would make proper points of origin, but what I feel would make the best intro is a cold open to an establishing shot. Exterior view of the Frankfurt airport midday in late August, this international hub is yet again a magnet of activity. Planes arrive and discharge their restless living cargo onto the steadily warming tarmac. The camera cuts to a high top down perspective and remains stationary as unsure travelers are shepherded into shuttles that are most definitely not marked well enough. The buses cross each other back and forth in winding circuits around the incredibly convoluted airport. Our heroes can be made out emerging from the back ground extras and entering into a terminal that they are only 48% sure is the correct place to be. Some cross referencing of tickets against plane traffic later, the protagonists find seats close to what can only be assumed to be their connecting flight. Looking back out the window at the airport with its endless stream of human experience, the man begins narration.
As I sit in the surprisingly blistering heat of a German summer staring at the sign for the third airport that I have visited in the last 12 hours, I am filled with this strange sensation that I should really be asleep right now. The nine hour time zone differential means that at home right now it is 2:00 in the A.M.
My bags seem to be scientific marvels because somehow with just the mixture of shirts, pants, shoes, and underwear I have created a new celestial formation with just enough mass to have successfully collapsed into a black hole residing conveniently in my backpack.
I suffer from the generic woes of the international traveler, but do not mistake discomfort for a gripe against the opportunity I am participating in now. There is just so much information to experience right now; no, no, wait now. No, now, there is a persistent wall of information that is overwhelming my senses. It’s the sort of things you can acknowledge and ignore in a familiar environment where you know what things are and what the words around you mean. However in a place with cultural and linguistic barriers every sense is aflame with the question, “Will this thing kill me?” The answer is yes, most certainly yes.
Unlike most of this blog which will be written long months after the fact, this snippet I actually found jotted down in my notebook written not long after the first leg of our transatlantic flight. I was remarkably coherent for being jet lagged and on fire. All told there was still another flight, followed by a bus ride, and highly dubious directions given in mostly Hungarian before this weary traveller could make his rest.
As previously stated I am teaching English abroad. That is the official reason for my being on the other side of the planet. Less official but still valid reasons for existing abroad are feeding the wanderlust, meeting new and interesting people, and meeting new and interesting types of alcohol. A major component of the teaching program was that as a show of good faith and support on the part of the teaching program, all participants were invited to a week long orientation situated in the center of Budapest. The program pulled out all the stops, renting out an entire high end hostel and setting up crash courses in survival Hungarian as well as a class about teaching language. I found it to be helpful and a great experience which I will go into in more detail later.
It was such an amazing atmosphere, finding oneself in a new world surrounded by others who have likewise abandoned ship on the very idea of normal lives. We all had, and it wasn’t exactly a secret. So many people living uncertain existences in a world we didn’t know, there was an energy exuding off of all the new prospects. The spirit took on a certain intoxication elevating us all with a natural high.
C2H6O, that’s right, that’s the word I was looking for. Our spirits were intoxicated by alcohol; I don’t know why I didn’t just say that in the first place. I have seen less drinking at AA meetings held in open bars. I’ve noticed a strange even occurs when you gather several dozen people together in close proximity. Especially when most of said test subjects age around their middle twenties, it is similar to a law of physics with its instantaneous and inescapable nature. Adding into this little equation an exchange rate which causes a passable bottle of wine to cost $1.37 and space time will rearrange itself to materialize a frat party.
Now, let me clear, I am in no way stating that a roving band of American drunkards are disseminating their way through the Central European countryside fueling their hedonistic lifestyles by liberally spouting the English language to any passerby who would listen. That’s a crazy thought, how could I even write such a statement while sipping half a bottle of wine out of a beer stein? How could you even accuse me of such an inflammatory statement Terry? After all we’ve been through? You’ve changed since the divorce, mate.
Hey, we’ve reached the point of the blog where I’ve begun going off the rails again. That’s my cue to begin wrapping up. Full disclaimer, I am exaggerating for effect, there was an exuberance to the first week that I find hard to fully express in a short amount of time. Also, none died of alcohol poisoning so that’s a plus. No, the jokes are coming back and I can’t stop them. I must go before further self incrimination, but in the mean time I’ll leave you with this image of my current home city to get a better idea of where my life is right now.
Welcome back, I hope you’re having a good time.
Rejected post titles:
Orientation, or Reorienting My Liver with Cirrhosis (Rejected for possibly further convincing my mother that I am an actual alcoholic and don’t just play one on TV.)
Orientation, or Being Constantly Disoriented (Rejected for portraying the protagonist in a foolish light. I prefer to be found a fool for my foolish actions.)
English grammar and vocabulary looked up during the writing of this episode:
Checked to ensure proper use of the third person perspective.
Double check that I remembered the chemical formula for alcohol (Hint, I didn’t. )