The days we spent looking after Nina were so peaceful and relaxing. Not only were we looking after one of the sweetest dogs in the world, we were also staying in such a breathtakingly beautiful area of Salzburg and ended up becoming friends with the awesome, Jinho.
Jinho is originally from South Korea but has been living in Salzburg for the past year whilst studying at the Mozarteum (the city’s prestigious music university). She had been living with Betty since November but would be moving into her own student accommodation in the beginning of February. The other person who lives with Betty is Sepidah – originally from Iran, she is currently completing her PhD in bio-chemistry. Unfortunately, we rarely had the chance to speak with her as she was very busy working in the hospital.
While Betty was away, we would take Nina for a walk every morning for as far as her legs could take her and then take her for a shorter walk on the evening before bed. The morning walks were always my favourite as we were able to venture a little further and it forced us to get up in the morning rather than sleep the day away (which I definitely would have done instead). It was so strange looking after a dog for a few days. It’s hard to explain to someone that isn’t as obsessed with dogs as I am but it does actually make a place feel so much more cosier and safer.
One morning after Jordan had been working late the night before, I offered to take Nina for her walk alone so that he could get a bit more sleep. Before I left, I sat and ate breakfast with Jinho when she decided to come along with Nina and I. As she had lived in the area for a few months already, she knew all the best routes to take so she led us on a long walk alongside a partly frozen river which was genuinely one of the prettiest things I had ever seen. The sun was beaming down on to the snow and the Untersberg stood clear-as-day in front of us as we walked along.
Jinho and I finally had the chance to get to know each other a little, discussing stories from our home countries and the differences between them. I learned that she had started playing the piano at the age of six and began playing professionally at fourteen. That her sisters had also moved away from South Korea, one now living in the USA and the other in Canada and I learned that she didn’t particularly enjoy her life in Seoul and wanted to stay in Salzburg after she finished University. Her life was so utterly fascinating to hear about and I frequently thought to myself how lucky I was to have met this person from the other side of the world, a person I probably would have never met if we hadn’t been able to move to Salzburg.
When we made it back from our walk, Jordan was in the garden chopping up Betty’s Christmas tree (with her permission of course) to use as kindling for the fire. We asked Jinho if she’d be willing to play the piano for us – in particular, Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata. We listened intently and swooned as she played every note perfectly, all by ear…it felt as if it was all set up just for us.
During our time at Betty’s house, we were joined on several walks by Jinho and we got to know each other more and more. She constantly laughed at Jordan being ‘so funny’ and at our strange accents that don’t sound anything like the Jane Austen films she knows and loves. She offered to help us with our German, giving us German language books and CDs to play in the car. First though, we had to promise to pull her up and correct her if her English was wrong but thankfully for us, this was very rare – although she had a hard time understanding us, her English was pretty impressive.
Nina was so sweet while we looked after her and annoyingly for me, was completely besotted with Jordan from day one. After spending some time with her, I’m pretty sure I’ve convinced Jordan to get a German Shepherd when we are eventually able to get a dog…and I can’t wait!