Yesterday marked the one month anniversary of our arrival in Vienna.
It's been quite the month. In a way it feels like we have been here considerably longer - living here is a bit like being a child again, when each summer felt like a lifetime soaked in sunshine and chlorine. I am trying to revel in the hours that feel like days and weeks that feel like months, knowing that all too soon life will speed up again and I will be wishing it would slow down once more.
Considering how long it feels like we have been here, it is good to be reminded of how short the time has been in reality. It is funny to hear the perspectives of other Expats who have been in similar circumstances - according to them, Jacob and I are positively blazing through accomplishments.
Settling into a fully functioning apartment within the first month? Check.
Partially furnished said apartment? Yes.
Mastered public transportation? Sure, it's easy.
Tracking down job opportunities? Yes!
Making friends and joining a local church? Mmmhmm.
Officially registered as a resident of Vienna? Yup, and it was in and out the Registration Office within 5 minutes.
Apparently all that we have accomplished within this month is practically unheard of - not to mention you usually need to spend a couple hours minimum at the Registration Office (think of it as the Austrian DMV). God has apparently been opening doors for us where most others have just run into walls. And yet, here Jacob and I are, running around like headless chickens, worrying about why things aren't moving along faster.
So, in the spirit of gratitude, of "smelling the roses" and appreciating the beauty of the here and now, in celebration of our first wildly successful (supposedly) month in Austria, here are some favorite things about Vienna:
1. Our Neighborhood
I have lived in several beautiful places in my life, but I have never lived anywhere I absolutely adored. I mean the deep down to my core, miss-the-city-when-we-are-gone-too-long kind of love. It's kind of weird. And glorious. Every time Jacob and I walk down our street I get a little thrill over the fact that this is my street. Is this how everyone feels about their home? Have I just been missing out all along?
2. This Guy
Ok, so technically Jacob doesn't belong on this list, but bear with me while I have a rare sappy moment. I couldn't imagine being on this adventure with anyone else. I'm glad it gets to be him.
Keep a stiff upper lip, Chelsea.
3. Street Festivals
Look guys! I took a video!
There are festivals in Vienna around almost every corner. The Austrians appear to embrace any opportunity to hang out, drink beer, and enjoy an evening together - a trait I quite appreciate. This past weekend, the city hosted a free street performer festival at Karlsplatz, just two steps from our apartment. I could not have asked for better weekend plans. Stations were set up all around the square and park, with street performers from all across Europe performing their skills. We watched break dancers, fire breathers, avant-garde acrobatic acts, magicians - and this, a super trippy giant puppet that paraded around and shook it's arms to the music. It spoke to the deeply repressed part of my soul that wants to run away and join the circus.
4. European Food (And Walking)
Two aspects of a European lifestyle that I hold very dear: better tasting food, and walking. As a little girl in France I ate so much saucisson (salami) that my parents started calling it Chelsea-son. I never grew out of my love for it, and the salami available in America just doesn't cut it (sorry Trader Joe's). Now I can find it everywhere, along with good cheese, olives, chocolate, and...are you getting hungry? Best of all, I can walk to the grocery store to purchase it. No car necessary. After living in Southern California utterly dependent on a car, being able to walk to the store feels like the height of luxury.
5. Beautiful Buildings and Parks
I hope I never grow accustomed to how beautiful this city is. Everywhere you look there are grand buildings, soaring carved facades, and coppery green roofs. Here, the parks are actually used. Park after beautifully manicured park fills the city, populated on pretty days with locals, picnickers, tourists, businessmen - everyone you can imagine.
6. Café Culture
Unfortunately there are still a couple of Starbucks around. For the most part however, Vienna embraces a long history of cafes and coffee houses. Once home for the thinkers, artists, and musicians that made Vienna great, now they cater to people like us who just want a nice cup of coffee, good conversation, and a pretty place to watch the world go by. Order one cup of coffee here and you are free to sit and read your newspaper, work on your laptop, or chat with friends for however long you please. No one takes their coffee to go.
7. Showing Off Our New Home
In the month we have been here we have spent time with five friends from around the world, and very nearly ran into another. Within a few days of being here we saw on Facebook that a friend from Turkey would be in Vienna for just one day. We scheduled a time to meet and catch up. Then, just a couple of weeks later two friends from San Diego rolled through Vienna on a river cruise, and met us for lunch. A few days after that, Jacob's brother Jeremy and his friend Justin arrived from a summer semester in England, and spent three days exploring the city with us. During that time Jacob and I received a message from an old Biola friend, saying "were you just in front of the Opera House? I think I just saw you...".
Suffice to say that even though we have moved several thousand miles away from those we love the most, the world is beginning to feel increasingly small.