The past week has been a great example of what I call the Big Life Decision Cycle:
Blissful elation for having taken such a huge step forward in life
Sudden self doubt about whether you made the wrong decision
Repeat Steps 1 and 2 several times
Calm down and realize that everything will be ok
Truth be told, the emotional ups and downs of our move could have been much much worse than they were. After two years of dreaming of a place we had only visited for two days, it would have been the easiest outcome for us to arrive and realize like a deflating balloon that the Vienna of our dreams had been nothing more than a figment of our imagination.
Think about it - that outcome would have made the most sense, wouldn't it? Instead we found the opposite. Vienna wasn't a disappointment at all - it was a wonder. The city is more beautiful and exciting than we had remembered, and as we have begun to learn the streets and forge fledgling friendships we have only fallen more in love with our new home.
The past week has felt so long that we find ourselves beginning to wonder why things are happening more quickly. Then, with a shock, we realize, "Oh...right. Last Thursday we were sitting despondently in a Turkish airport. Wait...that was Thursday?". In light of that, we have actually done quite a lot.
This past week has been a string of one appointment after the last, viewing apartments all across the city.
We had learned early on that the process of finding an apartment in Austria is far different than in America. In America, renting an apartment is typically left to Craigslist hunts, or visiting the offices of giant corporate apartment franchises. In Austria, renting an apartment all but mandates the use of a real estate agent. In our case, two real estate agents. That agent arranges appointments to view apartments, deals with the landlord and their real estate agent, and then collects the finders fee should you sign the paperwork.
Having seen a couple of apartments, Jacob and I quickly narrowed down our preferences to a particular style and city district, all while learning the nuances of conducting business in Austria. With real estate agents, we had been advised, state your opinion strongly, feel free to dispense with the small talk, and don't worry about upsetting anyone's feelings. Much to our relief, neither of the agents we have worked with have required throwing our weight around to achieve results.
On Friday we were beginning to feel the strain. We had seen 8 apartments, and were finding everything was falling just shy of the mark - either we didn't love the neighborhood, or the apartment was strangely designed, or the kitchen cabinets were missing handles...strange. All of the apartments that seemed the most promising had been snatched up too quickly for us to even have the chance to view them.
Feeling dejected after a promising apartment fell through on Friday, we walked over to our last appointment. We arrived at the door of the building and I immediately perked up. This was my dream neighborhood: close to downtown (a five minute walk from the city center) with gorgeous, stately buildings (we could see two embassies from where we stood). If the apartment itself held a candle to the promise the building offered, we were sold.
Suffice to say the apartment did not disappoint, and we put in an offer to rent. Until we find out whether our offer is accepted (we should know sometime this week), we are doing our best to curb our hopes and just take comfort in knowing that the type of apartment we are looking for does exist. Once it is confirmed the apartment is ours, I promise to share photos upon photos to your heart's content.
A couple of nights ago I was reminded for the millionth time just how special this city is. It was a lovely warm evening, late enough that all of the tourists had cleared out of the city center to their hotels and bars. Walking through one of my favorite parks, we passed a small group of people sitting on the steps of a museum. Music played softly from a stereo while a couple danced a tango in the lamplight.
I think Vienna is already beginning to feel like home.