Monday, August 31, 2009

Reflections of an Expat

It is really strange to wrap my mind around the fact that I've been living in Austria now for as long as I was in New York. But just as I never lost part of the tourist in me while I was living in the Big Apple (...after 2 years in the city, I still found myself looking up...), there are things about Austria that I find perpetually fresh and new. While I've grown accustomed to these differences and no longer take much notice of them, I still have moments where the juxtaposition of my home culture against my adopted culture sets my mind reeling. Sometimes it just blows my mind that all of this is normal

I live in a country where steeples are more common than smokestacks. Where villages look like villages. Where you actually use the word "villages."

I live in a country where I see vineyards and farms on my way to work. Where the Alps are a fact of life rather than a novelty. Where castles are so common that when I see one, I say, "Oh, there's another castle."

I live in a country where the speed limits are higher, if only for the metric system, and where 40 degrees is a really hot day. And while my clothing size has quadrupled, my weight is down by half.

I live in a country where I have to walk up a flight of stairs to get to the first floor, and my clock strikes 00:00. Where a chunk of fresh mozerella the size of my fist costs less than a dollar, but a gallon of low-grade gasoline costs $5.60.

I live in a country where I no longer think of a 400-year-old building as very old, and where I don't think twice about seeing a man in leather shorts and a feathered cap out on the streets.

I live in a country where seeing a sedan with a trunk that sticks out past the rearview window is cause for a double take, and where seeing an SUV is cause to stare.

I live in a country where spotting a celebrity feels like an intelligentia sighting, since there are so few of them.

I live in a country where I think nothing of throwing faux-English words into my everyday vocabulary--where I use my Handy to make a phone call or use a Beamer for a Power Point presentation. I live in a country where the present progressive occassionally trips me up too, and where I occassionally find even myself "making" a photo.

And I live in a country where carrots really should be eaten with oil.


Food Blog for New Cooks said...

The leather shorts and feather combo is uhm.... scary. And anything dipped in a dark green olive oil taste better. Well, except dark chocolate, which should be eaten daily.

I live in a city where the motto is supposedly "metro-natural." Figure that one out...

Babe in Babeland said...

Such interesting reflections of where you call home right now! Thanks.

And I'm so sorry to hear about your grandmother passing away. Beautiful photos of you two!

Hugs to you.

Kristin said...

Ha. I had forgotten about the Tyrolean farm breakfast of carrots with linseed oil! 2009 has turned out to be a very different kind of summer, hasn't it? Although I guess chaperoning Austrian teenagers is just a different kind of work than herding Tyrolean cattle (and weeding Tyrolean herb gardens).

(I think I just like using the word "Tyrolean".) ;)