I haven’t written in awhile because I’ve just been semi-depressed and uninspired and as my mom says, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, say nothing at all.”
Recently, I’ve been questioning my move here. In my defense, as I said in My Story, I realized there are a lot of things I just did not take into consideration. One of those things is that I seriously underestimated the enormity of my endeavor – seriously, WTF did I just do?!
Most folks extol change and adventure and it all sounds so very exciting just before you jump. Others warn you of what a fool you are to give up the road most-traveled and smile knowingly waiting for imminent failure. Those who choose change are not allowed to complain; it’s just not done: you grin, you bear it, and you spin obstacles into opportunity. I’m not about to pack up and come home – hell no! – I’m trying to deal with it the best & smartest way I can, yet I am human and I am affected.
To bring you up to speed:
Just when I thought I had a handle on German, it threw me a curve ball. Here I am, going my merry way, feeling secure that I was mastering verbs and absorbing vocabulary at an astounding speed, I’d even started reading young adult books to expand my vocabulary boundaries and then I learned just how much German is controlled by the gender articles. Simply, the masculine, feminine, and neutral articles determine how the case of adverbs and adjectives change in a sentence and the verb used determines which case (‘bestimmt’ – specific, ‘unbestimmt’ – unspecific, negative, or possesive) is applied. Further, the prepositions also influence the case for an article, adverb, or adjective. This is child’s play when you’re dealing with simple sentences but now that I’m to use more advanced sentences….well, you get the picture. Get the article wrong and everything goes out the window; to add more fuel to the fire, there is no rule as to how articles are given (i.e. a skirt has a masculine article, while a bowtie has a feminine article – WHY??!!!).
For some reason, I thought renting/buying a home (house or apartment) would be similar to how it’s done in The Bahamas or NYC. I’m not going to go into all the details as I’m so confused by them, I probably would do the explanation an injustice but it’s really difficult to locate an open-plan kitchen/living room, 2-bedroom apartment with a bathroom that actually has a bathtub and a small garden in a quiet sub-urban neighborhood, 30 mins from the city, with public transportation and shopping within a ten-minute walk (gotta think about these frigid winters folks!). The first culture shock was learning that rentals are not equipped with refrigerators, stoves/ovens, microwaves, bathroom/medicine cabinets – nothing! You want it, you buy it or you pay the previous renter to leave his. (That’s one of those confusing concepts I’m not going to delve into.) When we did find an apartment that had almost every wished-for element (via serious time spent praying), we were told that there were over 30,000 persons waiting just to see this apartment and we’d be added to the list. I thought I’d misunderstood the sales lady and had M1 (hubby’s mom) call to confirm. No joke, there’s that much competition here and she could not be convinced to allow us an earlier appointment. While disappointed, I’ve consoled myself by ‘letting go and letting God’.
Although, I’ve been enjoying the life exploring Austria, learning the transportation system, discovering where everything is – I’m really ready to continue my career. Easier said than done – I have no real professional reputation here. I’ve worked for some pretty high-profile, international companies so it was easy for me to convince myself and to allow others to convince me that I’d pick up where I left off – seemingly not going to happen. Yes, the last 15 years spent building and fast-tracking my career might be a complete wash! That alone was the biggest, hardest pill to swallow. Just as I’ve seen migrants in other parts of the world do, I’m going to have to start again…from scratch…if I’m lucky, I’ll get a break. My friend P also is taking it pretty hard – she’s a American-certified nurse with 3 years experience in ER who was told by the Austrian government employment agency that the best she can hope for is to start as a nurse’s assistant. It’s not any easier for any of my EU citizen classmates either.
The final chapter of the scales falling from my eyes has been coming to terms with the culture shock and realizing that just because I wish it, they will not change:
- Don’t laugh until you’ve lived it but what I wouldn’t give for a bathtub! Oh how I have taken their proliferation in the homes of my past for granted! This simple, over-looked, home-ware is a complete luxury here it seems. As soon as I have one again, I promise, I will not surface from it for at least a month! 😀
- I really wish folks would stop standing so close to me on lines; with all I’m dealing with, I could really do without feeling their hot breath on my nape!
- Why is there phlegm everywhere?! It’s impossible to stroll anywhere without keeping an eye on the ground. It must be an unsaid, national sport – “Let’s see who can spit the furthest!”
- The stares have not, and probably, will never stop; although I did get a good laugh when a guy walked into a signpost because he was ‘breaking his neck’ gawking at me.
- I’m all for improvements but must law and regulation changes occur to the same thing every 6 months? I guess it’s better than procrastination but the worse part is that in any given government office, the same question could be posed to six employees and six different answers could be given. Nothing is ever provided in writing (smart folks – CYA! If it is, you can bet your bottom dollar it’s out-dated.) so the customer keeps running back and forth with mis-information, trying to please the bureaucrazzy (a term I picked up from a fellow blogger meaning ‘crazy bureaucracy)!
The other day, mournfully browsing through Youtube, I came across this funny but ‘oh, so true’ clip by amalou2 of what acclimatizing to Austria is like. I’m experiencing almost all of these phases (for different things in my life) and have probably said almost all of them. 😀
It makes me laugh at myself and my woes, constantly reminding me that things will get better. After all, I chose to be here and I choose to adapt, bloom, and thrive.