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Wandering the Planet

Sharing Stories - A Glimpse into Another's Life - Power of Conversation

AUSTRIA | Friday, 19 April 2013 | Views [210] | Scholarship Entry

The summer of 2010 I couch surfed through Europe. What an amazing experience I will definitely do again. I was hosted in Copenhagen, Berlin, Paris, and Vienna. Preparing to leave Vienna for Venice, I received by email a couch offer from a guy named Micheal. “Vienna for another day” I thought. “Why not”. So I accepted his offer.
A small guy with a big heart, Micheal was a laid-back 22 years old, electrician, and a dj. From his CouchSurfing.org profile, Micheal loves hip hop music. Arriving to his home, Micheal eagerly showed me his rap album collection. Micheal's bedroom was also his music studio. Noticing turn-tables and big black speakers, I'm immediately drawn to this huge steel beige colored five column five row shelf inundated with albums.
Excitedly I thumbed through his music potpourri. “No way, you have Rappers Delight” I proclaimed. “Dude! You have old LL Cool J”. I haven't seen vinyl records from these artist in decades. In awe of his collection, Micheal says to me “name an artist and I bet I have them”. “Um” I wondered. I'm a 39 years old man, Micheal wasn’t even born when rap music was at its genesis. Offering an obscure name of an 80's rapper, I was confident that he would be stumped. Micheal walks up to the shelves, gives a cursory lackadaisical gaze, and pulls that artist's album off the shelf. “Whoa..are you serious?” I bellow. Then we both bursted out in laughter. “Where did you get your music?” I ask. “Most were purchased from thrift stores, some given to me by other dis” he responds. What's fascinating about Micheal
and speaks loudly of his character was that he learned how to speak English by listening to hip hop music. His main tutor, the 1988 album “Power” by Ice-T. Micheal states he would listen and recite these lyrics over and over to help his diction. How cool is that. Rappers teaching a young Viennese guy English.
That evening Micheal, a funny tall burly guy named Gerd, and I barbequed, breaking bread under a bright Austrian moon. Such an honor to share stories of life in America and Austria, our aspirations, and hints of disappointments and heartaches. Chirping crickets acknowledge the wonderful conversation amongst us. Micheal was preparing for a trip to Central America. Gerd, an entrepreneur and fantastic cobbler, I saw examples, had website issues. We talked and laughed outside until the swooshing of blood thirsty mosquitoes became a losing battle. Inside, we conversed briefly I prepared my couch for a needed sound sleep.

Tags: Travel Writing Scholarship 2013

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