As we are still waiting for baby to come (I’m now 4 days past my due date…) I wanted to share my thoughts on Vienna after being here for one year. Yes, today it is exactly one year since our arrival to Austria with a moving trailer full of stuff and mindsets prepared for new ups and downs connected to the resettlement in a new country. So what’s status after this first year?
Of course one arrives to a new place with certain expectations that affect the reactions to all new things and impressions around you. I think we arrived to Vienna knowing from past experience that adjusting to a new environment takes time, but also that it would be a more smooth transition compared to that of Los Angeles, because it was a European city and consequently a context we were expecting to fit into quite quickly. And nice it was – we arrived in the middle of summer where everything was blooming and looking its best. All the old buildings, all the history, fantastic public transportation system and lots of public parks – it all provided such a stark contrast to what we’d left behind and what we had missed even though we had come to love a lots of things in Southern California. But of course and as you know it has not all been fireworks and butterflies this past year. It has been bad and frustrating and sometimes we have wondered, if making the move was a good idea in the first place. I think we hit the wall with the arrival of fall/winter and cold temperatures. The language was proving to be a bigger challenge than expected, it was difficult to make friends, people were rude and it was cold and gloomy. And I was pregnant (which was a good thing!) but it meant little energy to get out and meet people and practice the language. My studies were challenging, as I was not used to the Austrian university system and I spent a good deal of energy trying to figure that out along with how to bridge my previous studies and work experience with a new field of study. We went back to Los Angeles around February/March and while it was more than great to revisit the place and see the sun (!), both which we had missed greatly during those tough winter months, it also seemed clear, I think to both of us, that as much as we love that city with all its craziness and all our friends there, our life is not there anymore. It is in Vienna! That is where our home is and our current commitments and aspirations. We returned then to spring and it is insane how this city changes to the better with warmer temperatures. Or maybe this was combined with us looking more positively to what Vienna has to offer? Probably. While we can definitely still frown upon the rudeness, all the smoke in cafés and restaurants, and the at times conservative mentality of the Austrians, it is said with the acknowledgement of all the many good things that is also part of a life in Vienna.
Looking back I think this year has been “cultural adjustment” in a nutshell. It’s been somewhat of a rollercoaster ride, up and down. With at least another one and a half year more in this place it shall be interesting to see how our relationship to Vienna continues to develop. A goal for the coming year is definitely to explore what else Austria has to offer instead of staying put in Vienna, which somehow has been the result of our first year here. And as something new, it will be Vienna with a baby (we hope… if the baby decides to make its appearance).
From Kahlenberg this afternoon (it finally cooled down, so so good!)
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