Monday, April 9, 2012

Bjarni & Dorte did Vienna - part 2

Pff.... I'm trying to think how to sum up the whole Vienna experience. I don't know where to start, and it doesn't even seem very important now after we have spent an intense week and half with family and friends in Denmark and Iceland, and are looking towards all that is about to start in Boston in just a couple of days. I talked to the woman next to me on the plane to Iceland (a kid is an excellent ice breaker). An Icelandic woman who had lived 38 years in Denmark. She was telling me, how she would feel her roots instantly grow hundreds of meters through the ground every time she'd put her feet on Icelandic soil, although she loved living in Denmark and felt very much at ease there -- there was just an instant connection every time she went back home. The past week and half I've felt connected in the same way, making Vienna feel far far away. Nevertheless, I want to finish this blog in proper manner, which requires a couple of words:
For us Vienna was mostly about studying/finishing studies and building our own little family. 
Had we had more time and energy I think we would have put more effort into building a well grounded network (expat networks are fragile with people constantly coming and going), we would definitely have gone on more trips outside of the city, and we'd probably put more discipline into learning the language. But in the end there is just so much one can do, and despite real-life shortcomings to the ideal stay, I feel confident to say we made the most of it. It was fun, tough, frustrating, smokey, eye-opening, inspiring, challenging, and rewarding. Although it was hard at times, and it surely was, I leave with lots of great memories: the weekly farmer markets, Augarten around the corner, cakes!, Christmas markets, the great public transport system, Sturm, the health care system (great with a little one), the sound of horse carriages during lectures, the inexpensive child care opportunities, the beautiful city center and Wiener Melange. All that is pretty amazing. That also means there are plenty of good reasons for the three of us to come back to visit Austria and Vienna; not least to see all of what we never managed to do and see this time around. 

Thanks for following our journey in Wien. If interested you can follow the next one over on Where do we go next?  

Alles gute & Auf Wiederschauen :)

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Friday, April 6, 2012

Bjarni & Dorte did Vienna - part 1

Greetings from Iceland! I ran out of time in Vienna. I will be back with another picture post, and hopefully some thoughts about the whole experience in retrospect. For now I wish you a happy and sunny Easter!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


I pulled Bjarni's arm Friday night as we pushed a suitcase and the stroller through the central train station in Budapest, and exclaimed: I'm SO happy we came! We were just about to cancel, when I went to bed with a fever the night before. Earlier in the week Silja had been home two days because of a stomach bug, the whole packing ordeal had turned our apartment into chaos and my last exam/thesis defense was lurking around the corner, and I had not spent enough time preparing for it. There were plenty of reasons to stay home and catch up on the to-do list, but this was the weekend to go, if we wanted to see Budapest before we leave. It's a 2,5 hour train ride from Vienna, non of us had been before, and the forecast said sun and up to 20 degrees. And so of course we went! And it was great and energizing. I got (lots!) pictures to prove it. Go if you are in Vienna, and hasn't already been.

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Sunday, March 11, 2012

On the Upside

Thoughts on two challenges connected to a life in Vienna that makes it feel rewarding and worthwhile.
Silja's vocabulary is rapidly expanding these days, and it is mind-blowing to see how she picks up three different languages like the most natural thing in the world. In daycare she says Papa Arbeit, Auto, geh mal and baba (see you) The other day they were playing outside when Bjarni came to pick her up, and one of the teachers said to her: Du musst an die andere Seite gehen Silja - and she turned around and walked the other way to the slide. Bjarni and I are looking at each other and are like: Whoa!  

I have requested a copy of my journal at the hospital where I gave birth. I need it because I had a complicated birth, which has led doctors to suggest a C-section might be better next time. I got the copies a while back, and it's strange to to look through them and, in medical terms and handwriting I can barely make sense of, be reminded about the crazy intense experience a birth is. When I think back I'm quite stunned that I managed that whole thing in a language I only master on an intermediate level. So in addition to the informative purpose the documents serve, they are nice little cue to myself that I gave birth in German! And hey, if I can do that, I can do pretty much anything.

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Sunday, March 4, 2012

Efficient Weekend

Ah, this weekend has been good! Three moving boxes stacked in a corner, several bags dropped off in the clothing recycling containers, a trip to Hundertwasser Museum with coffee breaks at random places. And dancing-jumping-singing with Silja in between. 
Luckily things have turned out well since the last post. I got a good advisor, who despite a conference in Brussels, will read and grade my thesis by next week, which means my exam will be as scheduled. Big big relief! 

I hope you have enjoyed a sunny weekend too.
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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Please remain calm

I forgot how stressful a move is in its final stages. A month from now I will be in Denmark with Silja - Bjarni will join us there shortly after. But this last month.... Craazy. I think we were slightly overambitious when we planned that we would leave right after I finished my MA studies. As an international student I'm currently running from office to office, filling out bureaucratic paperworks and making sure I'm adhering to deadlines and guidelines and what not. But in between my broken German and secretaries', at times, rusty English, misunderstandings still happen. I submitted my thesis in the beginning of this week, but learned at the same time that I need a grade for the thesis two weeks BEFORE I can register for the final exam. My advisor, who is relatively new to Uni Wien didn't know either. She now has less than a week to read and grade my 100 page paper, if I'm to take the final exam before we leave. This whole mess has now left us trying to postpone the exam to the last minut, one or two days before I leave Viennea. Worst case scenario is that I have to come back to do the final exam over the summer, but man, I hope this works out before we go. I was hoping for a little breather after I had submitted my thesis, but it doesn't feel like it now. I will be studying and packing/organizing right up until we leave.

On a positive note, Silja finally received her US visa, and we decided to ship our belongings straight from Vienna, making that part considerably more easy. What else? We are drinking the expensive wine, because there is no need to save things like that for special occasions. From now on its clearing things out, which has its nice moments to it too.

Phew, I hope to check in sooner than later, but we'll see how it goes.

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Tuesday, February 21, 2012


We have been celebrating Fasching over the last couple of days. Eating fastelavnsboller, the Danish equivalent of Krapfen with Danish and German friends, and today Silja celebrated the festivities in Kindergarten dressed up as a little lamb -- very Icelandic.

Today we have settled where we will stay in Boston until the end of August. Turns out we will have a garden over the summer. Oh yeah!

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