“Where have you been,” you ask? Good question.
I came back to the US a few weeks ago. Now, don’t worry. This is a temporary state of affairs — in the same way that a trip to the dentist is temporary. That is, it comes around regularly and is somewhat painful. Every fall I come back to the US to teach a couple or three classes, and then around Christmas I’ll head back to Vienna.
Will blogging cease? I certainly hope not. But I’ve been uncertain about the terms on which to continue. Clearly, going on and on about sights and events in Vienna when I’m not there would be…weird. And while I really do want to write a post on the subject of American versus European drivers (good GOD, California, would it kill you to stay in your lane???), I don’t feel like I want to spend the next several months writing a blog about life in the US.
So I thought I’d turn to my other sometime focus: shoes. A couple of years ago I did a thing on Facebook where I decided to teach an entire semester without ever wearing the same pair of shoes to class twice. I wound up posting many of the shoes I did wear as status updates. I’m not going to promise never to repeat a pair, because I have some favorites here that I never get to see when I’m in Vienna, and I plan to work them hard. But. It did occur to me that I could post a weekly shoe update here, on my friendly blog. For example, for the first day of school, I wore these:
I wanted to start out neutral, but assert a certain presence. I also got those shoes this summer on vacation in Udine, a city I very much liked. Somewhere along the line I developed a rule that wherever I travel I get to buy a pair of “souvenir shoes.” I’m not sure this was a good tradition to institute, but there you go. That’s how it is. So I will share with you, not only the shoes, but the memories and travels that go with them.
For example, those shoes, neutral though they are, call to my mind the church of Santa Maria di Castello in Udine, where a side apse is frescoed with a fantastically emotive 13th-century (probably) Byzantine fresco of the Deposition:
Speaking of shoes with memories, last week I also wore these:
Those shoes were acquired in the US, so not souvenir shoes, but they are what I like to think of as “lucky accidents.” I ordered them to wear to my best friend’s wedding (where my eventual spouse and I hooked up — talk about luck!). But they didn’t arrive in time, so I had to order another pair of shoes as well. Bonus!
Finally, last Wednesday I wore these. I love these. I got them in Vienna at this store in the first district that sells a highly random collection of Italian and Italian-styled stuff, some of it super-cool, some of it pretty strange, with a staff of very friendly young women who all seem to be Czech or Hungarian or something. These were on mega-sale (something of a theme among my shoes):
No promises, people! I still want to bitch about how people drive in California (like, it’s a STOP sign, not a SIT AND STARE sign!). I still want to marvel at how much I have to exercise and how little I can eat here. But in the meantime, I’ll show you some shoes, and hope this keeps you on board until I get back to Vienna in December.
And I’m gonna need to get better at the shoe selfies. I’ll work on it.