Hello Vienna!

7 Oct

I am at home on a cool Fall afternoon eating delicious leftover goulash.  But this home is none that I have known before.  I have left the midwest and my business in DC is complete.  After a three-hour layover in Istanbul courtesy of Turkish Airlines, I now find myself… newly at home in… Vienna.

How one gets from South Korea to the US and then to Vienna is no common road.  I did not simply wake up one day and think… hmmm, perhaps I will go to Vienna.  It seems, somehow that it was Vienna that wanted me to come to her… with of course, some mutual agreement.

It began simply with an introduction.  A friend noticed on Facebook that I have the exact same birthdate (day, month and year) as a friend of his in Austria.  “Perhaps it would be fun to connect you?” he shared.  Whole heartedly I agreed and we began exchanging stories of ourselves and lives, comparing notes from where our personalities and preferences were similar.  She soon shared that she would be traveling twice to the US this year to work on an e-book project.  When she mentioned her need to create a way to support her husband and child while she was gone, it didn’t take long for both of us to have the thought… that I could come to Vienna!

A little anxiety, some well-organized planning, and an unexpected Visa trip to DC later… and before I knew it I was leaving Dulles airport on my way to Vienna.

Over my past 3 1/2 years of travels, it has been purely by accident that each major destination is separated by a time of respite in the States.  And so just as my mind and body start to sink back in my American ways, it is time to leave again.  This transition is frequently met with at least a little distress but overshadowed by the excitement of what is to come.  I find as I transition from one “life” to the next, it is easiest for me to stay in the present moment, take it one step at time, and allow the change to unfold in my reality as it happens rather than in the fortress of my mind and imagination.

I was greeted at the airport in Vienna by an exuberant friendly face. I felt a rush of emotion as I saw face to face the woman I had been writing to and came to think of as friend.  Her home was a pleasant taxi ride away from the airport and just minutes after my landing, I entered into the world of Vienna.

My first experience of Vienna was unlike any city that I had ever lived in before.  Beauty and history gently surrounding me.  When we arrived at her home, I was shocked and delighted to enter into a lovely courtyard in the heart of the city decorated in Viennese historical stature.  “This is your home?”  I thought in delight.  And for now, for a little while, it is also mine.

I slowly began to move through my jet lag, spending much of my first day on my own in my pajamas.  Today, however, I ventured out into the neighborhood a bit.  I can’t help but be giddy and perhaps a little intimidated by the beauty, culture and architecture that surrounds me. Never before have I taken a walk around my local block only to easily stumble upon historical empires, museums and theaters.

I left armed with a simple map and no real plan except to turn left when I exited the small corridor where their apartment is located.  After being in Korea for nearly two years, it is a noticeable difference to begin to negotiate a city that, while still foreign to me, at least has an alphabet I can recognize.  I couldn’t help but take note of how comfortable and at ease I felt wandering around.  My friend and host shared that Vienna is a safe city.  And while you may still have your pickpockets from time to time, there is not much to be concerned about.  That was apparent in my little outing today.  Even when I had ended up in an area where I was “not quite sure where I was”… I felt in my bones that all was well.

And now here I am, content to have successfully negotiated my way home.  And more content to feel the warmth of inside and enjoy more of my hosts delicious cooking.

I begin to delve into the German language on Monday with a beginners German class that will meet three times a week.  It is a great treat for me to be entering a new country with the opportunity to study the language in a more formal way.  My hosts are quite generous giving me time and space to first settle in and adjust to my new environment.

Good-bye for now from my new place in the world.  I am grateful for some quiet time as I ease into a new chapter of life and adventure in Vienna.

 

Featured photo:  A sneak peak of the courtyard from my cumfy room here in Vienna, Austria.

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