I recently had a good friend come to stay for a week and half in our tiny little town. A word for the wise – that is too long for most in our tiny little town. Being autumn and getting colder, although the weather wasn’t terrible, there is still a limit to what we could do. On days where the sun takes until lunchtime to pierce the fog, it still feels dismal and cold and motivation is low.
But we did have some great adventures, and most importantly spent some time together. We took a snow walk in the sun, ate various Austrian foods, had a night out dancing, drank a lot of wine, met a lot of dogs, talked about anything and everything, and even took a side trip to Italy to get a little more warmth and some fresh ocean air.
And I suddenly noticed two things: Firstly that I could handle myself in German a lot better than I realised; and secondly, that there were a lot of things I had never actually done alone before! Without my husband to chaperone us (he was busy with renovations), the task was left to me to translate, order food, make dinner reservations and drive new places. I had my first ice slip while heading up the mountain (was driving very slow, no danger) and I made my first phone call to book a table. I drove to Italy and negotiated foreign streets, a faulty ticket machine and various detours.
My husband has always taken very good care of me in Austria to make sure I know what’s going on and that I’m comfortable getting around. But perhaps he’s done too good a job, since it’s taken me so long to make a simple phone booking. Yet that’s just the way it started, because I could speak no German at all, and now it’s time to break away a little – to look after myself – to become more independent.
And it’s scary, but I know I can do it. Because when I have to… I do. And there will be mistakes. I did take us on an accidental 1.5 hour walking adventure in the dark, but we weren’t in any danger, we had a good time, and next time I won’t make that mistake.
And although I felt a little downtrodden after my friend left, because spending time with someone who actually understands everything you say, even your sarcasm, will do that. But I also felt a great confidence boost.
Onwards and upwards!