Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Guesting // Carolyn from Life in Graz

Hello Friends!
While I am off introducing my parents to NYC,
 I wanted to leave you inspired by some of my favorite ladies in all of blogland.
Please show them some love here in the comments and then make your way over to their own blogs.
You will be so glad you did!

Welcome Carolyn from Life in Graz!

Where do you live?
- Graz, Austria

Our little fam out and about town.

How long have you lived there?  And is this your first home away from the States?
- A little over 2 years.  Yes, first time living out of America.

Where are you originally from?
- Houston, Texas

My big fam back home

What brought you to Austria?
- Husband's postdoctorate research

What do you do for a living?
- I do blog designs for some extra money, but I don't make a living from it. :)
I never found a job due to insufficient German skills, so I created my own little stay-at-home work.

Do you speak German fluently?  If so, how long did it take you to learn?  Do you find it to be an easy language?
- Um, no.  I took two 3-month / 4 hours a day / 5 days a week intensive courses in the first year we lived here, but when you don't get good, daily real life practice, it's almost impossible to become fluent.  I find I can read magazine articles fairly well and understand e-mails from some Austrian friends, but when it comes to speaking, I am sehr peinlich (embarrassed) and nicht so schnell (not very quick).  I'm not proud that I've lived here for over 2 years and am still not fluent, but the fact that Germans come to Austria, esp. southern Austria, and say they have a hard time understanding the German here makes me feel much better.  We learn one thing in school and hear a pretty mutated version of it out on the streets, which makes it really hard.  There's my excuse. :)

Oh, and to answer the second question, I did not and do not find it easy (Spanish is WAY easier), but if I compare it to Chinese or Hungarian, it doesn't seem quite so bad.

trying on Dirndls

What are the people like?
- The people are more reserved.  At first I thought it was snobby or a bit rude, but what I've come to learn is that that is just what they are used to. They find it fake that we automatically ask "How are you?" and don't always expect an answer.  I do miss the mega-friendliness in Texas, though.  Not the pushy salespeople or waiters...in that regard, I like the Euro leave-you-alone style.

How long did it take until you felt mostly adjusted?

- I would say a year...and you keep adjusting more and more, of course, the longer you are here.  I felt mostly adjusted when I had a set of friends, when I knew enough German to order food and grocery shop, when my house had at least 5 pieces of furniture and when I was calling Graz 'home'. 

Coffee with friends (Argentina & Canada expats)

What were some of the hardest things/aspects to adjust to?
- Language, not working (no routine..at first), the WINTER

Snowy time I'm not used to being a Texan

What are some things/aspects you don't miss back home?
- Overconsumption (lots of people have said this..it's a biggie), 'Keeping up with the Joneses' crapola, traffic

What are your top three faves about your current city or country?
- Most everything is in walking distance/public transportation (I LOVE this...it makes more of an impact on your life and health (physical and mental) than you think), the old-fashioned charm (buildings, cafés, our apt.) and the simpler way of living.

View of Graz from the Schlossberg (little mountain) in the center of the city

In what areas do you think moving abroad has helped you to grow?
- I didn't really realize the subconscious pressures and expectations that I felt back home (not really from friends and family, but society in general), until I moved away and felt sort of a freedom. Living here is kinda like a rather long sabbatical.  It gives you some serious perspective to step out (way out across the Atlantic) and see a different way of life than you're used to.

In Prague with a friend from home: summer '09

Fave places you've traveled in Europe?
- Don't really have a fave...I've really liked everywhere I've gotten to go.   Europe is wondey like that.

From Molly: Carolyn, you can now expect all of us to show up on your wondey doorstep!
 ps... Friends, Carolyn is so modest. She's a super talented blog designer. Go see for yourself.

1 comment:

  1. I'm packing my bags now, Sister. Hope you can handle this.


good communication is as stimulating as black coffee,

and just as hard to sleep after.

anne morrow lindbergh