I have been back in the US for almost two weeks now. Here’s where things are at:
I took an Uber to the Vienna airport to avoid being “that person” with my luggage on the Ubahn. I was able to carry a full small talk conversation in German with my Uber driver. I felt proud of myself because I have been practicing my German a lot in Vienna, and I think I have come a long way in my ability to actually use the language. After a long day of flights (24 hours including layovers), I arrived in Seattle. My dad picked me up and we stayed with my grandparents for the weekend. It was awesome to see everyone, and I had a very emotional reunion with my little brother. This is the longest we have ever been apart, and we’ve been making up for lost time. We’ve been playing lots of soccer and watching tv shows together in the last couple of weeks. My sister will graduate from high school this year. We have been celebrating her college decision and upcoming graduation.
This week, I drove up to my university to audition for our fall opera production and also reconnect with friends who I haven’t seen in a long time. I stayed late after the auditions and got coffee with a group of singers from my school. We caught up. It was so nice to see people after a semester away. Some of my closest friends are graduating. I am staying in this area for a couple of days and tomorrow I am attending my university’s music department graduation event.
I am preparing to go to Chicago for a young artist opera program later this summer. I have a large opera role to memorize before I go, and I have been chipping away at it. I started this work with my voice teacher in Vienna, and will continue with my teacher at my home university. Mostly, the preparation is me drilling Italian recitative in my garage (where I like to practice). I commit about an hour a day to practicing. The alone time is actually very restorative for me, and keeping my practicing up has helped me to feel productive after coming home from Vienna.
I already miss the friends I made at IES Abroad. Today I turned on the Muppets soundtrack in my car because my Vienna friends and I had Muppet movie night parties in our apartment building. Our group chat is still buzzing with activity. Everyday someone sends an update…a picture of a pet…something yummy to eat (for us West Coasties it’s Burritos…) or another part of life at home.
I know we will all see each other again. The world is big, but it’s not THAT big. There is something comforting about having friends in every corner of the world. Wherever we go, we are forever connected. And I am incredibly grateful for that.
After all, “Auf wiedersehen” means “until we see each other again.” And I do believe that we will.
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My name is Isabella Daltoso, and I am a senior at Pacific Lutheran University (PLU). I am a vocal performance major and a dance minor. I love all things music and opera, and I am so happy to be spending my spring semester in Vienna as part of the IES Vienna Music Program. I love to write and am a consultant at the PLU Writing Center. I have also been a newswriter for PLU’s Marketing and Communications department. When I am not singing, studying, or writing, I love to spend time with my friends and family, especially my younger siblings.