There is this sensation, a rumbling, no – the beginnings of a rumbling, the sensation of a tremble really, of excitement building. I can feel it somewhere behind my stomach but before my spine. A low roar; the longer I think of it the louder it gets. The louder the bigger, too. So big I feel my insides push out against my skin – or start to, and want to.
I am going to burst.
A week from tonight I leave for Europe. This morning I woke up knowing it was the Friday – the last Friday – before my departure. Things are starting to feel very real. A year’s work come down to a week, and there is still so much to do. The days get shorter and my lists get longer. Every day there is shopping, cleaning, prepping, laundry, packing…. writing, research, paperwork, phone calls. And now, I must make do with gulping over this bubble of excitement growing in the base of my throat.
It is a bittersweet notion, if you think too long about it, knowing the world as you know it is ending in exactly a week from tonight. Soon, I will be surrounded by strangers in a strange land. My Country, my state, my school, my home, my family, my friends, my cats, my comfort – gone. To prepare for the unfamiliar, I have been stocking up and gorging on all the familiar I can get my hands on. Making time to meet friends, say goodbye and set up Skype accounts, download music, watch movies, shop for overseas essentials, driving and dinners. Essentially, doing all the things I won’t be doing or can’t do while traveling and studying in Austria.
The best of the gorging has of course been the food. There are so many delicious things I will miss while away, and while I am sure there are yums just waiting to be discovered overseas, there is no harm in celebrating with my personal favorites while I still can. Between the anticipation and the food, it’s no wonder I feel like I will burst. Come to think of it, the food might be the only thing keeping this bubble of excitement from carrying me away altogether…
…Back to the food; being from the Ocean State, I have a strong connection to the sea and all the tasty creatures found there. Unfortunately, I have a feeling my residency in the foothills of the Austrian Alps will be devoid of my favorite seafood. To curb any future cravings my week has been filled with shrimp, mussels, oysters, calamari, quahogs, and steamers. Not such a bad way to pass mealtimes, if I do say so!
I wonder if Austrians have ever heard of quahogs and steamers, let alone eaten one. I also wonder what foods they have that I am unaware of. I am sure regionally and culturally there are menu items to hold special places in the locals’ hearts (and stomachs) just as the shellfish does in Rhody. Our quahog has become infamous as the official state shell (yes, that exists – since 1987) and television star (This too – Family Guy). Will Salzburg have anything to match the reputation of the quahog, in all its stuffie glory – or the steamer, in all its buttery goodness?
A week from tonight I will start getting answers.