4 Years in Austria – some reflections

Koralpe hiking winter

It is with some surprise, and some trepidation, that I confront the fact I have now lived in Austria for 4 whole years.

4 whole years.

In many ways I feel like I’ve just arrived, in others I feel like I’ve been here an eternity.

This place has brought me so much happiness – a new start with my husband, a house to ourselves, great opportunities, diversified friends, travelling adventures… but with all that came the negatives – being thrust into a foreign environment, struggling to learn the language, feeling isolated, losing independence, missing friends and family…

Somewhat out the other side of learning to cope with these difficulties, I start to see the bigger picture. Yes, it’s hard living so far away from family and old friends, and knowing that I will definitely miss some big life events. Yes, it’s frustrating not to be able to communicate with people in the way I used to be able to, and to sometimes feel stupid when I know I’ve said something incorrectly.

Eating goose in Austria

But here I am. Safe. Home. My other home. Living with a man I love, in a town I adore, with new family, new friends and the opportunity to further broaden my horizons. Which doesn’t mean I’ve left Australia behind – Oz and all its wonders and friendships will always stay close to my heart. It just means I feel more comfortable, more settled… because that’s the crux of it – living in Austria will never be better than living in Australia – it will just be different.

I am about to start working on the last book in my German learning, and despite all my misgivings on the German language, things are getting easier. Even though I don’t notice it day-to-day, suddenly I realise I’ve done something I couldn’t have done last year or last month. And it cheers me up. It gives me hope. It makes me feel like I’ve achieved something. Because I have. And I’m learning and challenging myself all the time. And if that’s not what life’s about, then what is?

It’s terrifying. It’s humbling. But I wouldn’t change it for the world.

Still, if they could get onto teleporting real quick, that would brighten my world even further!



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