On December 30 2014, my family and I arrived in Vienna. What was initially a 6 month assignment has turned in a 5 year journey that shows no sign of ending.
We love Vienna. The city is small enough to be efficient and quiet where you can be outside it within 25 minutes, but large enough to feel like you are in an international city bustling with people. With forests and hills surrounding the city it is easy to go for a walk in nature via public transport.
The mighty Danube river flows by the edge of the city centre giving a sense of movement and flow. A 22km man-made island in the middle of the river allows for lunchtime and weekend recreation. A safe space without traffic, it is the perfect place to go bike riding with the kids.
The Viennese enjoy a nighttime culture and I am constantly surprised by how many people are out at 10pm at night. Cafes and restaurants bustle with people enjoying each other company after work. A mid week Aperol Spritz is a regular sight.
Museums abound and I must admit that after 5 years, I have not been to as many as I should. The works of master painters are on display and are attended by tourists and locals alike. There are three opera houses, concert halls and other live music venues everywhere to enjoy Opera and classical as well as contemporary Austo-Pop. Vienna's Stadthalle can boast of hosting Elton John, Billy Joel, Andrea Boccelli and many other famous singers and bands. Culture is on full display in Vienna and caters to everyone.
As a local now, after 5 years I am slowly coming to learn the ways and behaviours of Viennese people. To fit into a new culture takes time and you have to adapt. My frustrations at the service of waiters, the way pedestrians cross the road and the way people address each other in shops pop up occasionally but much less frequently. Life becomes easier when you accept that things are different. When my family and I visit Australia we notice how different things have become for us. It is an interesting reminder that we now live between two cultures. Not fully Austrian and no longer fully Australian.
Hence the welcome joining of Aussies in Austria. Having a regular catch-up with others living here in Austria who are also from the Southern hemisphere, helps me to feel at ease, understood and accepted. For a brief moment, over a beer, I can chat without fellow Antipodeans and relax. I encourage anyone who has recently arrived in Austria to come and be apart of the events we regularly put on. You can relax, share you frustrations and even ask for advice from someone who might have taken a similar journey to you.