Moving Abroad: From Jet Lag to Culture Shock

Ok, so it’s been a week since I’ve landed in Vienna. And while I think I’m finally over the jet lag, I’m not quite over the shock of what I just did which is quit my job, pack up/donate/throw out all my worldly things, sell my car, and fly across the ocean with two small children on my own. Thank god for my wonderful friends, for their support and kindness and friendship and understanding. I’m writing this for you.

So, let’s get caught up. The girls and I landed in Vienna and were whisked off by D to our beautiful new apartment that had 3 beds and some wine glasses because D only got the
“essentials” because he wanted to build our  new home together. We also had a half-assembled table because it took us a week to find a store that sold screwdrivers and other essential household goods. In Vienna, there’s a Bipa on pretty much every corner (because you can never have enough cosmetics?) and tiny grocery stores about every half a kilometer, but I could only find one “baumarkt” in a 10km radius. And that was the other thing — just finding the right word to do a Google search. I can’t tell you how many places I walked into, bleary-eyed, looking for a screwdriver, like it was some holy grail to building my new home, not finding one, and asking through Google translate for a Schraubendreher (and was literally laughed at), and finally figuring out where to go.

So for a while, we either ate out, or the kids ate on the floor while I improvised with things to feed them with and on because I also couldn’t find any paper plates to get us to our first Ikea run and figure out how we wanted to furnish our place. But on the plus side, the kids loved eating their mixed veggies out of wine glasses and hot dogs on the cardboard box the veggies came in. When CBS does their next MacGyver reboot, they seriously need Mac to be a Mom.

Glamping in Vienna with Stuffies

In all of this, the kids were so excited to be a family again. Oh the quiet rapture on Squirrel’s face as we were driving from the airport to our new home! Everyone who knows her knows how loud she is when excited, but it’s when she has that wise old quiet smile that I know she’s truly, deeply happy. And Greta’s belly laughs every time she got lifted up by daddy. And every time we meet up with D after work, the kids are just ecstatic, hugging him, hanging on him, getting thrown over his shoulder and tickled. And I’m happy too, albeit very very tired.

There are still a lot of things I need to figure out. Like the right way to order and drink coffee here (it’s an art form that I still don’t understand). Or how to choose cheese that doesn’t make the place smell like a locker room. And how to keep connected with our friends back home. The kids and I had a healthy crying session about our friends, and every time I pass sidewalk cafes where people are drinking wine, I desperately miss my partner in crime and my village. I miss being able to talk in real time about my day, about my kids, how they’re driving me insane, and any and all help on dealing with the terrible twos. (Honestly, I don’t remember it being this bad with Squirrel!)

But for now, we’re just trying to be a family again and have fun. Which is why we’re in Sarajevo. Yeah, Sarajevo. Long story short, but we’re spending some time travelling and learning about the world. And I’ll do my best to keep you updated about our travels when I have my sanity and working internet.



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