Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Taking Stock: My Semester Abroad

I spent one semester, one autumn, and one hundred twenty-one days in Europe during which I completed six courses for thirteen hours of credit.

When I moved in to my twenty-four square meter studio, I bought one fork, one spoon, one knife, one bowl, and one mug. I “requisitioned” several more from the trash.

During my stay, I visited twenty-five cities in eleven countries, accumulated thirty-eight postcards, and sent none of them.

In addition, I personally snapped one thousand, five hundred twenty pictures. At least half of them are garbage.

To get around, I took seventeen flights covering sixteen thousand, one hundred twenty-seven miles, none of which qualified for my frequent flyer program.

I also boarded over sixty different trains going to various cities, airports, and bus stations, only five of which were of the high-speed sort, and I missed five others.

Between planes and trains, I rode eighteen buses.

Border control stamped my passport fifteen times; all but four stamps are boring, EU rectangles.

I read only three books, and I never got a hair cut.

In lieu of reading, I watched four movies one time each, listened to twenty-six episodes of PTI, downloaded five weekly airings of CPR’s This American Life from iTunes, and posted sixty-nine blog entries.

I had a lot of free time.

My mom sent, and I duly consumed, two jars of peanut butter, one jar of jelly, five boxes of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese (The Cheesiest), one box of Club crackers, one tube of original Pringles, and two bags of Pepperidge Farm Goldfish (Cheddar).

My diet was supplemented by over seventy waffles and a sampling of roughly sixty different types of beer shared with students from twenty-two different countries on four continents.

I drank two bottles of Hungarian wine I bought for friends back home. Sorry.

But I worked out a little, too. In twenty-nine short-sided soccer games, I scored one goal.

A total of five people came to visit me on two occasions over two different weeks. I spent one fantastic week with my parents.

At the end of my stay, I waited through two canceled flights and booked eight separate reservations on three different airlines before I could find a flight home for the holidays.

I cannot count the memories.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You must have a good memory or you keep track of that stuff some other way.

Hope you had a good holidays and made it back okay.