When I started this blog in 2013, I never thought I’d stop. It’s been a little over a year since I last posted. I’ve thought about my blog from time to time, especially after each trip we’ve taken since. In 2015, the blog was mainly just journaling our trips. I miss that. Because even though I wrote about our daily lives in the beginning, it evolved into so much more. The whole reason that I started this blog was: to journal about all of our adventures. I’ve missed out on about two years of the places we’ve been able to experience. It was also the great loss of our Hershey that completely halted almost everything in my life. It left a gaping hole in my heart and zapped away any passion I had for anything. I thought the grief I had for my dad’s death was bad, this took it to a whole other level. It was almost like an avalanche of all the losses in my life came crashing down on me. It was so bad that I had to be treated for PTSD/anxiety and clinical depression, which is something I was already diagnosed with in 2011. It makes every day a struggle. I’m a very private person and have been reluctant to share something like this so publicly, but I no longer want to hide behind the stigma of my mental health.
Hubs and I just came back from spending five days in Dubrovnik, Croatia. And as I sit here this morning, a spark of energy came about me to start blogging again. It came out of nowhere. So, now, I want to dust off the cobwebs and start journaling about our adventures yet again. I want to be able to look back when I’m old and gray- and re-live (or help us remember) one of the most life changing experiences of our lives.
It seems like my blog has turned into more of a travel one than expat for about a year now. As we’re inching closer to our three year anniversary in Vienna, I’d like to take time to reflect on what’s been happening during the last year.
The first two and half years were great. I was networking and making friends with a great group of women, my schedule finally had a daily routine, getting used to how Vienna works, trying all sorts of different hobbies, gave German a shot, traveled around Europe, and the world. Everything looked and sounded peachy, right?
Oh how I could be so wrong. How is it that every other expat is having a fine time adjusting to the culture and life here in Vienna and I’m not? Is there something wrong with me? It took a lot of time to figure it all out and then I realized what was really wrong. I’ve straddled two entirely different cultures and three languages my whole life. I didn’t learn English until I was school aged and even after that I still had to come home and switch hats to communicate with my family. I’ve been told several times in my life that I’m “too Americanized” by my relatives, so in order to please them I would dive into being what they expected of me. So I never really had a defined identity. Then I’m sprinkled into the Austrian culture, which is completely different from being American and/or Taiwanese – a seemingly disastrous combination.
I’ve only come across a handful of expats that felt the same way as I do living here. And to be honest, I know I’ve put off a lot of people when I’ve been brutally straightforward about my feelings of Vienna. I absolutely hate the situation I’m in here. And with that comes the “oh you just haven’t met the right people” or “you need to get out more” or “are you sure you are doing everything possible to assimilate?”. That’s when I shut up and shutdown. It makes me feel like my problems are not valid and are figments of my imagination. Don’t get me wrong, I love all the friends that I’ve had the privilege to get to know here. I care and value them deeply. There are so many great memories that I have with them. But, at the same time, there’s still a lot of room for my personal growth and development that I need to figure out.
Which brings me to “Well, what the hell do I do now?”. I feel like I’m stuck in a tunnel with no light at either end. I’m feeling completely lost. I know I’ve been told by several people that this is my chance to do something I’m a passionate about, a hobby. It’s hard to keep trying different things and being disappointed with the outcome. So what’s next? Maybe I should look into underwater basket weaving…
I can’t believe that we’ve been living in Vienna for a year and half now. Technically, we’re halfway through our time here, although, I have a strong feeling that we’ll stay as long as we can. In the last six months, my attitude has changed about Vienna. Dare I say it? Besides the Viennese people, I actually am starting to really like it here. I can now understand why it’s #1 on Mercer’s list of “One of the best places to live”. When Hubs and I travel to other places, I catch myself saying “this wouldn’t happen in Vienna…”.
Hubs and I have met some pretty amazing people that we’re privileged to call friends. We’ve established a core foundation here that we never thought was possible, even six months ago. Hubs loves where he works and the quality of life here is incredible. Lately, we’ve asked ourselves “how are we ever going to go back?”. Sure, we miss our family, friends, and some foods – but that’s all that we miss. The things we used to complain about are dwindling and becoming the norm.
It baffles me, that in six months, things have changed for the better and I believe it will continue to do so. I’m personally in a much better place. Homesickness isn’t something that has come up. I’m finally learning to embrace this life and truly appreciate this experience to the fullest. I can say that Vienna is “home” to me, now, without cringing.