My name is Lara. I am English. I have just returned to the UK after living in Vienna for two years.
1. Why did you move abroad?
My husband was posted to Vienna with his job.
2. How do you make a living?
I am a teacher by trade, but I didn’t work whilst I was in Vienna.
3. How often do you communicate with home and how?
I had conversations on Skype with my parents every day. When we first moved abroad, my Mum would often Skype my son in the morning before work because he would be asleep by the time she Skyped me again in the evening. Whatsapp was also liver saver. I was in regular contact with my friends and the rest of my close family through Whatsapp messages. Facebook helped me keep up to date with other friends and relatives.
4. What was your favorite thing about being an expat in Vienna?
The wine is excellent and very cheap!
5. What was the worst thing about being an expat in Vienna?
Not always knowing how things work or what is expected of you. Not being able to communicate very well.
6. What did you miss most?
My family. Followed by the ease of having your food shopping delivered straight to your door.
7. What did you do to meet people and integrate in your new home?
Truthfully, I only really mixed with other expats. I met people through my husband’s job. I also went to an English speaking toddler group when I first arrived. If you have children, the parks are good for meeting people.
8. What custom/ habits did you find most strange about your adopted culture?
Going to the supermarket is a very stressful thing! The checkout assistants hurl your shopping through at a hundred miles an hour - much faster than you can pack it up! If you are too slow, the customers behind you get impatient. The checkout assistants will also start putting the next customer’s shopping through before you have finished packing so you end up getting thoroughly in everyone’s way.
9. What was a myth about your adopted country?
In England, we get Vienese whirls which I love – they are like two whirly shortbread biscuits sandwiched together with jam. I actually didn’t see one the whole time I was in Vienna!
10. Is the cost of living higher or lower than the last country you lived in and how has that made a difference in your life?
Food shopping is more expensive. You can eat out quite cheaply and we definitely ate out more in Vienna. There were a lot of restaurants that did takeaways so if I couldn’t be bothered to cook, we could have a fresh pasta delivered straight to our door. In England, takeaways are usually Indian or Chinese or Pizza. Take away sandwiches are also cheaper over there. Museums and attractions were also cheaper. In London, it is often the same price for adults and children to get into an attraction.
11. What advice would you give other expats?
If you are moving to Vienna, make sure you get an apartment with air-conditioning. Especially if you don’t come from a hot country originally. I have never known anything like trying to cool down in 40 degrees heat. Last summer, I used to put my son in a cold bath half way through the day so he could pretend it was a swimming pool. When people think of Austria, they are likely to think of skiing and snow but it gets really hot in the summer.
12. When and why did you start your blog?
I started my blog a year ago in April 2015. My blog is mostly about motherhood in general, but also the experience of being a mother as an expat in Vienna. I wanted to document some of our time in Vienna so my son could read it when he is older. I thought I may as well share my experiences with the rest of the world while I was at it. Also, having no job, I was a bit bored at home and felt like I wasn’t using my brain enough.
Lara's Blog, My Noah and Me
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