tarte aux pommes

| apple pie (feminine noun) | /taʀt o pɔm/

I wrote this on the back of my boarding pass (Vienna -> Hamburg -> Paris). Spending New Year’s in Vienna taught me a valuable lesson, and for this reason, I’ll always remember this trip and this city very fondly. In the wee hours of 2015, I learned the importance of living in the moment. You see, I find myself unable to resist looking to the future or yearning for the past. My mind is fixated on future sorrows and nostalgia, imminent goodbyes. How can I possibly enjoy this experience when I know it will come to an end?

But, Vienna, you taught me to accept this.

On New Year’s Eve, Nat and I started with drinks at an Italian restaurant: limoncello shots, sparking wine, bruschetta, and eggplant. We communicated in broken Italian to the bartender, who poured us glasses of chilled white wine and offered us beautiful platters of antipasti. Afterwards, we spent the night dodging snowflakes and stumbling down barely-lit stairwells–me catching my heel on the last step and falling forward, laughing–racing to catch our cabs and barely bridging the language barrier, but hoping our red-lipped smiles would make up for that. We fell asleep in a jazz hall, and the clock struck midnight while we sat in a warm taxi. Fireworks exploded over our heads, and the church glowed majestic in the distance. Couples tipped champagne flutes and kissed.

At a house party at 1 AM: We leave soon, but that’s okay. In the meantime, let’s pour another drink and discuss psychoanalysis on your couch.

The next morning afternoon, we were bleary-eyed and giddy. We enjoyed one last apple strudel and thawed our fingers in a cafe by the university.

We left Friday morning, and I may never see these people again, but I’m not sad. Vienna, you taught me to enjoy the moment, no matter how fleeting, and for that I am grateful.

2015, here’s to saying thank you in three languages and going to bed at 6 AM. Here’s to hot chocolate and apple strudel, metro stations, snowfall, and our naked, frozen fingers. But most of all, Vienna, here’s to you. Cheers!

About Gabriella

I'm a twenty-something insomniac with a caffeine addiction and chronic wanderlust. I recently graduated with my M.A. in French, and I've spent the past two years living and working as an English teacher in France. I now work as an English professor at a university in Lille, where my students are learning to never omit the Oxford comma.
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