So so so where to start where to start. I arrived in Europe last Tuesday the 15 and upon landing in Amsterdam took a three hour train into Germany. While I was super jet-lagged and also kinda sick, this was what I considered a “hella” liberating experience. Here I am, a 19 year old American gallivanting through Europe…. It was like my plane took a wrong left turn and landed me in a parallel universe. Anywho, I survived and arrived in Germany where I was able to once again speak German, with all of my German friends who I had made while on exchange in Germany. I spent four days detoxing from my God-awful jet-lag and hanging out with some of the best people in the world (they even threw me a surprise party.) Then on Saturday it was game time. I was waking up at 5AM to take the 6:30AM train into Hanover and then taking an ICE to Vienna and end up in Bratislava at 19:00. I was anxious and nervous and almost lost my breakfast. First of all, as an american that enjoys my car, while I can in fact use public transport it makes me anxious. Second of all, some guy I didn’t know had sent me an email saying that he would be picking me up in Slovakia at the train station. At first I didn’t think anything of it, but the closer it came to Saturday the more I was having an internal melt down. I didn’t know this guy, what if he sold me to the mafia? And to top it all off, I was going to be sold to the mafia with out even seeing the Royal Wedding! Happily, after one missed train and three hours spent with a stranger in a southern Germany train station, I made it to Bratislava, where I was indeed not sold to the mafia. Instead I came to the main station that looked kind of run down and a little scary where the strange guy supposed to be picking me up did pick me up and took me to the Dorms.
Oh. The. Dorms. Let me just tell you. The building was definitely built under communist occupied Slovakia. I cannot tell you how I know. I just do. The bathroom has stagnant water on the floor. The room has bugs and the windows haven’t been cleaned for at least three years. The window frame is rusted. The shower head is broken. I refuse to let my toothbrush touch the sink. The whole suite (four double rooms with a bathroom) echos, but not like the Bat Cave and more like a prison. And, speaking of prisons, on the information sheet about the dorms, each “room” is referred to as a “cell”. How comforting. But, in the wise words of my lovely Turkish roommate, “It is really cheap and you get used to it.” And get used to it I have, now proudly proclaiming that my cell is my cell.
Having survived my first night in the dorms, the next day was all about getting to know the city with some help of some friends and social lubricant, otherwise known as beer. If you thought Germany was known for beer, wait till you make Slovakian friends. They are also evidently big into Ice Hockey. After asking what the difference was between Czech and Slovak I was told “there aren’t any. We understand each other, we like each other. Except in Hockey. We hate them in hockey.” And so my first whole day in Slovakia went, erasing the rather scary images of the run down train station and dilapidated dorms with light hearted laughter and cheap beer.
Now to the important part of this blog, I am a week into my internship! So far so good. My boss is a really lovely lady who is head of the International Relations at Comenius university. She takes care of all the international students and so far I have been making promotional material for said students and researching new schools to try and arrange agreements with (which is actually harder than it sounds.) I really didn’t have any expectations for the internship. I knew it would be in an office and I was more or less thrilled to have something new to put on my resume. I only hope that in the remainder of my time here I can get a knack at this whole international relations office job thing, and maybe get to see some cool places along the way. And the weather is gorgeous here. Eighty degrees and sunny? Count me in!