This past month has been filled with some of the best days ever in Vienna and all because of a little thing called initiative or as my mom calls it ‘get up & go’. You probably recall my last post about not being able to navigate the city because of connection issues yet still going out into a previously unknown area and signing up for a car sharing program. Well, I decided to push that boundary of independence and self-sufficiency a little further.
My normal MO for the past few years here has been waiting for hubby to handle most business details; hiding behind not being able to eloquently and confidently express myself in German. Then one day recently, I woke up frustrated and tired of waiting for someone else to accomplish something for me. So, a few weeks prior, despite not having my security net, I managed to sign-up for the car sharing program all by myself (in German, nonetheless). The following week found me busy with dental appointments and such (which were also conducted in German) and the momentum of being able to navigate without my phone and conduct my business in German must have snowballed.
A week later, I decided to use the car to go accomplish some other things (change of address, health insurance business, shopping errands) and at first, both hubby and I were a little nervous about me being on the road alone. I have not driven a car for the past 3 years and have never driven in Austria – the rules are a little different, there are a lot of details to concentrate on at once, and I would be completely alone. I had butterflies for the first mile or so, but it all came back to me (and coupled with the past 3 years of paying attention to drivers as a passenger helped acclimate me); soon I was zooming along the highway. Of course, doubt popped it’s head back up at the insurance office, but no problem, a smile, polite manners, and simple statements got the job done – and the lady was really nice (she did everything right there and then for me). Feeling empowered I even managed to take on my Internet provider and get my phone situation taken care of (in German) in 15 minutes; again, a smile, politeness, and simple statements opened the door to instant service.
For the first time, I felt at home. I no longer need someone to hold my hand or do things for me, I just need to gather a little ‘get up and go’. I’d read somewhere that success or failure is a learned feature of human development; that is, if we attempt something and do well, we learn we can accomplish things and continue to do so. On the other hand, if we fail at our goal (and here is the important part) and someone solves the problem for us, we learn we can not accomplish things and continue to rely on others. I’m no expert, but I do feel better about myself, my German, and my future here in Austria in general. Haven’t felt it (or said it in a hot minute) but seems like I’m blooming where I’m planted! 🙂