London: Spring in Our Step

Living in Vienna has afforded me the opportunity to have a love affair with London. So much so, that I have returned on a number of occasions.  It’s a great metropolitan city that has things that Vienna doesn’t, such as: great shopping and a vast selection of international cuisines (which taste the way they should). A girlfriend and I planned to take advantage of both when we visited last weekend.

Emily and I arrived on a Friday night and had a “late night” snack at an Indian place right around the corner from our hotel near Earl’s Court. As we walked in, the place permeated in delicious scents. We were quickly seated and both decided to order thalis- it’s what the place is known for. It was a great and delectable start to our fun weekend!

I have been to London in the Winter, Fall and Summer and this is the first time in the Spring for both Emily and me. It’s a lovely time to go. The trees are in bloom and the weather is pleasant. So what did we do on a lovely spring afternoon in London? High tea of course! We decided to have afternoon tea at the first seating time, because if you’ve been to tea in London before,  you know it’s practically a meal in itself. It was so relaxing and filling.

After tea, we burned some calories shopping at Selfridges and checking out SoHo. We continued with our eating and shopping throughout the city the next day and hopped back on the plane to come home to our families. It was an amazingly fun trip and I can’t wait for more adventures with such a great friend.

 

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Refocusing

This has been the longest stretch of time that I’ve gone without blogging. The main reason I’ve taken a break is that I’ve been busy “living”.  In the past, I was so caught up in blogging, taking an obscene amount of pictures, and wondering what to write about next, that I’ve forgotten to enjoy where I am and spend time with my friends.

A very dear friend of mine moved away at the end of May. It was my first “loss” as an expat.  It’s a known fact that expat life is a crazy roller coaster of emotions. Just when I was starting to feel established, my foundation developed a crack. Losing this friend sent me into a “mourning” period for about a week. It’s  made me realize that the time I have with my other friends may be limited, and this experience of “loss” has refocused my energy toward what’s really important. I will still blog about our travels and experiences, but not as often as I used to. I want to be “in the moment” and appreciate my time here. After all, one day it will be our turn to leave our friends behind and move on to the next chapter.

 

 

 

Playing with Fondant

A few friends and I signed up for a fondant decorating class over the weekend.  I didn’t have very high expectations going into this, other than to have a fun evening with great company and learn something new. The course was taught entirely in German-with the four of us together, we managed pretty well.  Although it was tough keeping up with the teacher’s fast paced German, it was mostly hands-on-so not many lost in translation moments to be had.

We each got a cake to decorate, learned how to roll the fondant,  to “blanket” the cake with it, and make decorations. It was the first time for all of us, and I’d say our cake decorating skills are pretty good. Overall, it was a great stress-free and fun night!

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My So-Called Social Life

As recently as last November, when people asked “how do you like Vienna?” I’d sugarcoat it with “It’s a beautiful city…yada yada yada”, but what I really wanted to exclaim was how I just wanted to go home. There were many days in our first year that I had those thoughts.  Around that time, my social life was almost non-existent. I had a few friends I had made through Hubs and the women’s organizations of the UN, but it was hard filling my days with activities and such. It was those days which made me miss my girlfriends back home. I was lucky that most of them lived within a one mile radius from our house, and it was easy to have impromptu popovers and what not.

In December, I did the unthinkable (to me) and joined some meetups and Facebook groups of Vienna. Why was it “unthinkable” you ask? I’ve never been the type of person to put myself out there.  Those closest to me would say I’m pretty reserved and not open to large social situations.  However, something snapped in me and I had to take charge of my (social) life. I was, and am, responsible for making the most of this situation. I couldn’t go on saying how much I disliked a place without giving it 100%.  It also helped to have Hubs, close friends and family to cheer me on.

I was terrified and anxious about my first social experience with one of the groups I joined.  I had no expectations. Period. I went to a Champagne tasting event, even though I don’t drink. I went purely for the social aspect of it. It proved to be the tipping point toward building a stronger foundation and outlook of my life here.

Realistically, I will probably never be chummy with the Viennese population. Now, with the friendships I’ve made with other expats- I’ve gotten to the point where I’m okay with that. Now that I’ve participated in a lot of the activities that these groups plan, my calendar is having a hard time keeping up with me.