Sunday, April 15, 2012

Vienna waits for you...

When we arrived in Vienna (Wien) after a week of pre-trips (Dresden, Prague, Berlin), the bus driver had Billy Joel's song queued up on the bus' intercom.

You've got your passion, you've got your pride
but don't you know that only fools are satisfied?
Dream on, but don't imagine they'll all come true
When will you realize, Vienna waits for you? 

It's such a great song, and a wonderful introduction to this city I had heard about my whole life. My parents went to Hope College, a Michigan institution of higher learning that has been taking students to Vienna under the auspices of "Vienna Summer School" since 1956. When my father saw the roofs of Prague, he dreamed of working as a diplomat and decided to not apply to law school. (A diplomat's daughter says thank you to Prague, and I was able to do so in person, in the summer of 1991.) 

It was in between my sophomore and junior years of college. My parents were living in Warsaw, Poland, and I had been attending Carlow College in Pittsburgh for the past two years. I was transferring to Washington College in Chestertown, Maryland, in the fall, and my parents brought up the idea. Did I want to attend Vienna Summer School? Is the Pope Catholic? It had always been a dream of mine, latent, since I had decided in 1989 to not attend Hope College. (Most students that attend the VSS are Hope students.)

My father was in Vienna twice during the three weeks I lived in Vienna, and so he took me out to dinner the night the group was going to see the Magic Flute. I saw the Zauberflaute later that summer at the Mozart Festival in Warsaw (twice!). The second time my father came to Vienna, he took Derek and me out for dinner. An interesting (romantic?) piece of history: when my dad went on the Vienna Summer School trip, he was good friends with Derek's aunt, who was engaged. They were just friends, but good friends. I didn't know Derek was practically engaged, but 28 years later, he and I were good friends during my time in Vienna. Apparently Derek now has five children and lives in Holland, Michigan, but I've always thought it would be a little odd, looking him up after all this time. After the letter he sent saying he was getting married, I never wrote to him again. I just felt that my crush was a crush, and I didn't want to have feelings for a man who would soon belong to another woman.

I was disappointed that either my camera was dying or the supermarket that developed my pictures goofed, but at any rate, all of my pictures from that summer are out of focus. Hard to believe it was twenty one years ago!

References/Further reading:

Billy Joel talks about his song "Vienna Waits..." in a Wikipedia article
The Vienna Summer School Website

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