Monday, July 23, 2012

Finished Leaving the Atocha Station at the recommendation of Marnie. When I got accepted to teach English in Austria, I asked my college advisor, who had gotten a grant to write poetry in Italy, whether he had gotten a lot of writing done while abroad and he said, "It was hard to write while I was there." I had also found this in Italy and attributed it to the Italian culture, which is conducive to many things, but not productivity. I was thus surprised when in Austria I had the same struggles to write, failing to write more than a page at a time, unable even to document my experiences. As the character in the book (who has a grant to write poetry in Spain), I became better and more apt at living abroad. Things that were originally special became less so, my German got better (but I became more afraid of speaking it), and for moments I thought about staying there despite being unhappy for the majority of my time. At the end of the book the narrator describes his year abroad as two paragraphs that he tells to people who ask about it. This is what Austria has become for me, though it certainly had a profound affect on my life.

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