I was supposed to be studying music at the Mozarteum in Austria, but I couldn’t get myself to care. I had been sprung from boarding school in early June and boarded a plane for Europe shortly after. I was scheduled for a summer of study, before landing in another music school in Cambridge, but how could I study? I’d just been put in a cornucopia of new experiences and cultures. Why would I put my face in a book or run up and down musical scales in another academic world? 

The night clerk where I stayed was young and cute. He owned a red Vespa and offered to show me the countryside.

Show away! I said. 

salzburgI did show up for classes a few times, but when I walked into my German class, my instructor actually announced that he hated Americans. Well you know what, I hate ya back. You are just the excuse I need to get out of here.

Our group was watched over by Jesuit priests from Georgetown University. I found my favorite guy and told him a story about being overwhelmed and unable to adjust to a full academic schedule. He agreed to tutor me, so my class schedule was cut in half. The gates were open. I’d return home with half the credits, but didn’t care.

I still tell people I was in Salsburg when Van Cliburn won the international Mozart competition. He was amazing and wonderful, but the truth of my summer would be found more honestly in another place. I was the girl with hair flying free on the back of a red vespa.

One can never be too careful about the stress of academic overload.