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Austria: Arriving and Starting to Settling In

By Billy | March 27, 2011

It’s taken me until the 3rd night here in Austria before I have done so much as even attempted to figure out how the converters work for me to plug in my laptop.  Luckily, I don’t need to buy any new cables, even for appliances with 3 prongs, while the European plugs only have two prongs.

(Pause for muffin break.  Airplane food isn’t always great, but this muffin looks delicious)

(Resume because muffin isn’t good enough to take up all of my attention.  Sorry Thich Nhat Hanh; I’m multitasking)


OK.  Since there’s too many things going on in my head, let’s play a little game.  Spiel ein Spiel, as they say here.

Things I can:

Ask for and understand directions to the baggage claim in a completely unintuitive Airport (Vienna/Wien).

Throw my curtains open in the morning, then open the windows and smell undeniably fresh air every single morning.

Spend more than an hour reading just the titles of the books in my room.

Look out of place in small-time Austria.

Use the definitively German and totally un-Austrian form of good-bye, Bis Später, with nearly everyone I see.

Nap.  Anywhere. (except an airplane)

Play fuβball with the rest of the kids in the park that’s only a fuβball kick away from my house.

Things I cannot:

Believe that I am in Austria!

Stop gawking at how beautiful (and strange) everything is.

Count the number of candles or musical instruments my house.

Imagine a better host family.  (The stuff is cool, but the family is even better!)

Watch The A-Team in German without dozing off.

Believe that I am in Austria!

Things I need to think about more:

Lesson plans.  How can we make English more fun, and also more full-time.  I haven’t thought about it at all yet — although we haven’t really gotten under way quite yet.

Being mind, body, and soul in Austria.

Things I need to think about less:

“I can’t wait to tell so-and-so about this.”

“I look so out of place here!”

“I have to do such-and-such.  It’s just what you’re supposed to do!”

Things I am thankful for:

That my family here is real and not con-artists, that I am here and not among airplane wreckage just south of Iceland or something, that my life and bio-family have provided me with the right conditions to make this my reality.

I can’t say enough how much I already love my family here.  Even when everyone’s mad at each other while playing at the park, and I can’t understand why, let alone attempt to mediate.

The smell of Weitra.  Even the few sewage grates.  On average for me, Weitra has smelled mostly like books, camping, and delicious foods.

My mom hooking me up with clothes.  Tobias wore corduroys today, ma, but I was wearing my skinny jeans.  We almost match.

The ancient tree in my back yard.

All the ancient trees in Weitra.  There’s a church tower 10 meters from my window.  Behind that church is a long walking path, overlooking a swiftly flowing river (with a dark patch of forest in between), and along that walking path are many old and knowledgeable trees, for example.

Not checking my phone every hour or so.

The way Hostmom Alex says, “ya, halooo,” when she answers the phone.

There’s no TV in my room, and the only TV I’ve seen in the house seems quite remote — you must be intentional to watch it.

Etc., (aka: everything?)

Things I am wanting of (wonting of?):

Encounters with people my age.

The last random things in my bags to unpack themselves.  (also, the hangers that would have facilitated further unpacking)

Everyone back home to teleport here for a while.




Seeing spring spring from start to finish.


The huge Mega-Power Plant on the edge of Vienna.  And the chopping up of trees in Weitra’s park to sell.  Chopping up of wood EVERYWHERE.

Random sprout I don’t recognize (aka, I wonder how this will turn out):

What do I do until the kids get home at 2 PM?  How will I spend that time?


For now, I think that’s enough.  Ask me things and I’ll tell you what I can!




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