A trip to the Gynecologist

Gynaecologist

Look, this might not be reading for everyone, but I promise to keep the details vague. Because after seven years in Austria I was recently reminded of my very first trip to the gynecologist, and it still makes me laugh.

In Australia I had gotten used to the ‘surprise’ Pap Smear. You know when you’re at the doctor on a Tuesday morning with a sinus infection to pick up a certificate for work and he or she looks at the computer and announces – says here you’re due for a Pap Smear, should we get that done while you’re here? So through your snotty nose and scratching eyes you weakly nod, and lie on that table to suffer the experience that is a Pap Smear.

After arriving in Austria this topic inevitably came up. Well no problem, I said, I’ll get that done the next time I’m at the doctor. Yeah… no. Because in Austria, your GP or Hausarzt doesn’t do Pap Smears. You have to go to the gynecologist for that. I’d always thought that people only went to a gynecologist if they needed specialist help with their nether regions or were having a baby! Apparently not the case.

Continue reading

Weird things Austrians… eat… Gabelbissen

On a recent trip to the supermarket, I discovered something I’d never seen before. Something that once again had me questioning the curious things that Austrians eat. So naturally I took a photo and decided it was worth a blog post.

Is anyone else out there interested in trying one of these Gabelbissen snack pots? Apparently they are Typically Austrian (according to advertising on the website) and are touted as THE Austrian classic for small snacks on the go for decades. They are available in six tasty varieties. What’s in them, you ask? Crunchy vegetable salad, mayonnaise, and a garnish of sausage, fish or egg… wow.

Continue reading

Christmas in Lockdown – just lazy lazy lazy

Christmas Day in lockdown

I returned to work this week after more than three weeks off. I don’t think I’ve had this much time off with no ‘real goal’ in mind ever – except perhaps when I was unemployed. In the midst of lockdown (only essential shops open, restaurants takeaway only, restrictions on visiting people), there was nowhere to travel, no one to catch up with and being winter, very little to do.

I thought it would drag. But all of a sudden, it was over and I was back to work.

They allowed us out of lockdown for December 24 and 25 so Christmas could be celebrated in a semi-normal way. There were limitations on how many people you could see at one time, but since my family here is on the small side anyway, we spent Christmas pretty much in the same was as always: Covid test in the morning, gathering in the early afternoon, singing Silent Night, opening presents and eating together. Oh… wait… the Covid test, that was something new for this year.

Continue reading

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