Making Friends – as an adult – in another country

Missing my friends
How could I replace my Aussie besties?

When you’re a kid it’s easy to make friends. You don’t even know you’re doing it. You get pushed together through school or sport, or you simply start playing together in the playground. As an adult most people have plenty of friends they’ve collected over the years, but what if you don’t? What if you’re the last single left after everyone’s married off, what if you suddenly realise that most of your friends have drifted away, and what if you’ve moved to another country where you don’t know anyone?

Continue reading

Weird things Austrians… say… wishing you a good slide into the New Year

fireworks

Back in Oz, the night before the first day of the New Year is called New Year’s Eve – sounds logical doesn’t it? In Austria, it’s called Silvester – the name originally coming from the fourth century Pope Sylvester I, whose feast day is observed on December 31. 

You can wish someone a Happy New Year in Austria – you just say: Gutes Neues Jahr. This is perfectly acceptable, but is generally only said once the New Year has begun. Because in the days leading up to it, if you catch up with someone you won’t see until after Silvester, the correct thing to say is to wish them a good slide into the New Year: Guten Rutsch! It literally translates to: Good slide

It’s kind of cute, it’s kind of wacky, but I like it, so I hereby wish you a good slide into the New Year. Have a good one.

Feeling like a rock star – we all should sometimes

Dancing concert
My very first medal

There are moments in our lives where we feel like rock stars. When I was in kindergarten I took a newborn lamb for show-and-tell one day. My uncle owns a farm and in lambing season sometimes we’d get a few abandoned little-uns to take home and bottle feed until they were plump and ready to survive on their own. On that day, at age 4, I was a rock star.

I began dance classes a year later, and in my early to mid-20s I was still attending the same dance school. This dance school perfectly suited my ‘average’ dancing abilities. Unfortunately it’s not natural talent, but mechanical learning that means I have any rhythm as an adult. It wasn’t a terrible dancing school, it just wasn’t where professional dancers got their start. But that place was where I grew up. I loved the dancing. Sure, there were some not so fun parts: exams could be excruciatingly nerve racking, ditto the concerts where everyone was watching (though in reality, it was probably just my mum).

Continue reading

That divide between home and work office

When lockdown first hit back in March, I really didn’t care much. I was very happy not to have to drive two hours to the office and back, and not having to think about what I was going to wear or making myself look office-presentable just saved me time and hassle. I was well used to working from home anyway – with 90% of my meetings held online with colleagues from the UK – it was common that I stayed home a day or so each week pre-Covid.

Those first few months felt a little surreal, and I relished the extra time I had – I could pick and choose my routine – I wasn’t forced to do my run first thing before going to work, for example, I could add that into my lunchtime and start work a bit earlier.

Continue reading

Corona-wear – my new generation of office-wear

Cothes

In October I went through my wardrobe and undertook the usual summer-to-winter swap of clothes. I pulled out all my big coats from the cellar and I re-discovered fur-lined boots and fluffy jumpers. And as I was moving the rest – skirts and dresses and sandals – out to make room for the new, I realised for the first time how much of an impact Covid had had on my wardrobe. I managed to go to the office about five times between lockdowns one and two, which meant that there was an outstanding amount of clothing that hadn’t seen the light of day this year. The spotty black dress that I love to wear? Hadn’t touched it. The myriad of work specific tops that I pull out when I wanted to dress smart? All but forgotten.

Continue reading

Cov-words

Covid words

The Australian National Dictionary Centre recently announced ‘iso’ as the word of the year for 2020.

And hasn’t it been quite a year? Yet despite all the downright annoying, draining, challenging times we’ve been through, we have come up with some pretty cool words to take the heaviness off the situation. Not to make light of it, but to lighten us up.

There are plenty you would have already heard of like iso-baking, Corona-cut, Cov-exit, Coronacoaster, Covid-normal, but with every day that passes it seems that more pop into the language. Here’s my take on some of the ones you already know, and some of the ones that I’ve found popping out of my mouth.

Continue reading

A box of Australia

Because my parents had to cancel their trip to Austria in June, and I never began planning a potential holiday to Australia, my mum announced that she was planning to send me a box of stuff in the mail. Originally I pushed back – Don’t be silly, postage from Australia is ridiculously expensive. Don’t waste your money. There’s nothing I really need. But she was adamant. Yes, it’s expensive, but it’s considerably cheaper than a flight. And she was right. I could see that it made her happy to do it, so I relented.

Continue reading

The Veggie Garden 2020 – this year’s summary

The spring of 2020 was warm to begin with, but was struck down by a burst of cool weather that negated everything I’d done up until that point. Weeks went by with me inspecting bare soil for a sign of growth before I had something to show for it.

I got smart this year and laid cloth over the unused parts of the garden to eliminate the amount of weeding that would need to be done. Unfortunately I choose a very poor quality of cloth, and all I really achieved was to give the late spring wind something to rip up and distribute across our entire backyard. So I spent a lot of time picking up black pieces of cloth, and then had to weed anyway.

Continue reading

Masks, masks everywhere… sorry can you repeat that?

Covid-19 Facemask

I have been trotting round for months wearing a crappy handkerchief secured with hair ties as a face mask. There are some situations where I’ve used disposables, but for the most part I’ve made do. I would rather look a bit stupid than put more disposable masks into landfill. Still, with the inevitable conclusion that masks are here to stay, and without the resources to easily make my own, I finally went out and purchased something a little nicer.

I have no problem wearing a mask. Yeah, it’s not as nice as not wearing a mask, but it doesn’t hurt me, and if it helps just one person not get sick, then why not.

Continue reading

Weird things Austrians say… wish you Mahlzeit at lunchtime

Schnitzel

You know how it goes; you see someone in the morning, you say ‘good morning’. The same applies in German. You can say Guten Morgen. But after that… at some point in the later morning, people switch from saying Guten Morgen and instead say Mahlzeit. That means, literally translated. Meal time. Mahlzeit is what you say when you are about to start eating a meal, kind of like the French bon apetite. But strangely enough, it is also used as a greeting. If you pass someone in the corridor at work and they are carrying food, chewing something, or hell, even look like they might be heading to the canteen, you say Mahlzeit to them, instead of hello.

It’s hard to get used to, but I’m getting there.