Where I Have Been Map

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Hunt

Cindy and I laid flat on our stomachs in the dark, two streams of light came from the flashlights we held, and the stream was shaking as it reached the bottom of the bookshelf.

“Is it dead?” Cindy whispered.

I would have said yes, if it was not staring right at me.

Before I explain that terrifying night, I’ll take you back to the beginning of our visit to Austria. Our stay was bound to be relaxing since we were staying with my cousin's friend, Barbara. In the past countries we had visited, we stayed in Hostels, which had its advantages and disadvantages.

The advantage was definitely meeting new people from all over the world. In Berlin, we shared a room with Australians. Not only were we submerged in the German culture, but we also got a taste of Australian culture as well.

One night the Australians told us a myth about The Moth Man. The story goes that if you research anything about The Moth Man, he will come and kill you. The only things you see right before you die are two glaring red eyes.

Cindy thought this story was humorous, so that night she researched The Moth Man on Google. We all had a laugh when she discovered that the only recorded death happened to a 54 year old woman who was probably already close to dying from old age.

Learning about Australian myths was just part of the experience, however. Many things were put into a different perspective. You cannot completely understand something until you see it through the eyes of someone else, and this proved to be the case when we began discussing the American culture.

The Australians said Americans had a bad reputation for being loud and inconsiderate while visiting other countries. They thought this was due to the fact that some Americans travel purely for vacation and partying rather than the culture experiences.

Cindy and I were surprised at hearing of this bad reputation, and we did not really comprehend it until we stayed in our next hostel. We roomed with mainly Americans, who we did not even see until 4 a.m. when they busted into our room yelling and dropping things. The next morning we heard them complain to the management about the lack of breakfast in a way that made them sound extremely spoiled. They also expected everyone in Germany to speak English and became frustrated when they did not.

Cindy and I know that most Americans are not inconsiderate like the ones we came across, but the fact is that other people who don’t come in contact with Americans often don’t know that. Bad impressions like our roommates are what tend to stick in people’s minds. This, above all, should be reason enough for more American students to travel and meet people from different countries. Maybe then, if people from all over the world could see our real culture, our image will become more positive.

Opening our eyes to the different perspectives and ways of life of other students in our Hostel was well worth staying in them. It was a nice change, however, to stay with Barbara’s family and have our own rooms as well as warm meals prepared for us daily.

They lived in a beautiful wooden house in the country side of Austria. In the backyard of their house had a garden full of bright, colorful flowers and delicious fruit that we ate during meals. When I walked outside and looked past the garden, I was suddenly taken aback by the breathtaking view. The seemingly endless rolling green hills resembled waves of the ocean that had been frozen in motion. At the farthest point, the rolling hills met blue tinted mountains that could almost disappear against the truest blue color of sky imaginable. I stood in the middle of the wide open meadow and despite the warmth of the sun, I took a deep breath and could feel the icy air that came off the mountains. It took all I had to restrain myself from running down the hills and bursting out in a song from The Sound of Music, which would have been unpleasant for everyone.

Barbara's dad and the family dog walking in the meadow in the backyard

The view, that looked more like a serene painting rather than reality, only became more amazing when Barbara took us on a hike to the top of the mountains.

By the time we reached the peak, I had rolled up my pants and sleeves despite the fact I could see my breath in the chilly mountain air. Throughout the hike, we saw babbling mountain springs that were so clear, I could sit and count each pebble that lay on the bottom. We also came across herds of cattle that crossed our path. Their united cowbells sounded more like wind chimes as we hiked passed them. My favorite part was when we passed two wild horses. Tired from galloping along the inclines, the horses were grazing in a meadow. They were so calm, that they actually let us walk up to them and pat their manes.

One the left is one of the wild horses on the mountain! They were so tame they eventually let me ride them!! haha

I could not fathom feeling anything but awe and comfort while staying in this gorgeous country town.

That is until Cindy and I woke up in the middle of the night after hearing a noise that 
sent a chill down both our spines. It started out as a small buzzing, but quickly began to grow louder and angrier. We both stood up in our beds and tried to focus our eyes in the darkness. The buzzing grew so loud that it began to resemble a chainsaw on the loose. I caught a glimpse of a shadow and hurled myself at the lamp next to my bed. Light suddenly filled the room, and the monster came into clear view.

A disturbingly huge moth, one that looked like it had been on steroids for years, was flying psychotically around our heads towards the light.

Cindy reacted first, grabbing a towel and whip lashing the moth into the wall. I turned the light off, scared it might fly toward it again, and Cindy and I got out our flashlights and pointed them where the moths still body lay.

I knew we were both thinking the same thing as we saw the moth’s red eyes stare back and forth between the two of us. Not daring to take my eyes off the moth, I angrily whispered to Cindy that she never should have researched the stupid Moth Man. Cindy didn’t answer, but her terrified eyes showed she was thinking the same.

Slowly, the moth’s eyes closed and we decided it was dead. Cindy pulled the covers over her head and I stared into the darkness, too alert to sleep.

Before either of us had time to slow our heartbeats, the buzzing began again. It was then I realized Cindy was just as awake as I was, and we reacted simultaneously to the immortal moth. I switched the light on as she grabbed a cup. She swiftly pinned the moth in between the cup and floor and I slammed multiple books over the top of the cup so the monster had no way of escaping.

It felt like it took years, but the sun finally began to peek through the curtains and morning came. The cup still stood in the middle of the room. We ran and got Barnaby to take care of the situation.

He picked up the cup and tossed what was inside out the open window. As Cindy and I saw the moth fly away, we suddenly laughed from embarrassment.

The moth was not the steroid monster we had thought we’d seen the night before, and it actually looked quite harmless in the daylight. Nevertheless, we both decided not to research the Moth Man anymore, just in case.