One other big difference of living abroad

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

People are always asking me about the differences between living in Austria as opposed to Australia. I always reel off the big, easy ones – the culture, the language, the weather, the fact there’s no ocean and so on. Of course let’s not forget the quirkier ones like the fact that they tend to use foil instead of cling wrap and that you always have to pack your own groceries. If you haven’t already read it, check out my blog on the 25 differences between Austria and Australia.

But there is one other big thing. And it can’t be reconciled – it can’t be learnt, and it’s really hard to get used to. Because it’s the past. It’s the fact that the way I grew up versus the way the people around me grew up is completely different. I’m not saying that it’s bad. I’m just saying that it is.

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The obsession with electricity

Snow sun winter

When we moved in, our house was already kitted out with solar panels on the roof. I’ll admit that I didn’t realise there was a difference. I thought our solar panels simply generated electricity – so heating the water and everything else. But apparently you need a special kind for that. Something called Photovoltaic. I don’t get the science behind it, but earlier this year we installed these special panels on the roof, which now means, that we generate electricity, not just heat water.

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The world was always huge, but the pandemic has intensified the distance

Australia beach sunset

There are thousands of people all over the world who haven’t been able to get home and see loved ones during the pandemic. They’ve missed births, deaths, weddings, divorces and everything in between. It’s heartbreaking. But what it does demonstrate, is that even though we’ve all gotten used to the fact that the world does not seem so big, it’s still a bloody big world. I’m sad that I haven’t seen my friends and family back home for two years. But the thing is, this is kind of what I signed up for.

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Want a sleep in on Dec 28 in Austria? Don’t forget to disable your doorbell!

Austria has so many traditions and customs, especially in December. One I haven’t mentioned so far takes place on the 28th.

So picture this – it is our first year of owning our house, I am on Christmas holidays ready for a sleep in, and before 5am on December 28th, the doorbell rings.

My instant reaction was panic. Who knocks at the door at such a time? Only police, right? Not that it’s ever happened to me… but I’ve seen it on TV. Hubby calmly rolls out of bed grumbling while I stay where I am, covers pulled up to my ears, heart pumping, waiting for the bad news.

And guess what it was?

Kids… chanting a rhyme… and slapping the adults who answer the door with branches.

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