One of Dan’s future co-workers invited Benjamin, Liam, Dan, Bailey & I to lunch today with his family at his home outside of Vienna. We were really excited to get to see some of the area around Vienna, and to hang out with some Americans who had been through what we’re experiencing. When Scott arrived to pick us up, they had outfitted their car with carseats appropriate to our kids’ ages, so we packed Bailey into the back of the minivan, and we all trekked off to Korneuburg.
It was so reassuring and validating to talk to them and compare notes on our experiences. Ada, Scott’s wife, talked about looking at her “to do” list shortly after arriving here in Vienna and just starting to cry. She also talked about showing up at the first temporary apartment with two kids (the same ages, at the time, as Benjamin and Liam are now — AND she was 8 months pregnant with their third) and insisting vehemently that whatever happened, they were not staying in that place. On both points, I can really relate. In terms of my “to do” list, most days I’m just not looking at it, and when I do, the word that keeps coming to mind (and more than once out of my mouth) is “unreasonable”. As in, “This is an unreasonable amount to expect of any one person”. And although I haven’t had to insist on any last minute heroic changes in accommodations, I was well prepared to do that yesterday (was it just yesterday?) had this place not turned out to be suitable.
But to see them now, seven years on in their journey, it’s hard to believe that was ever true. They have a lovely home in the suburbs of Vienna, their kids are enrolled in school, and even their dog has a great yard to play in. Ada mentioned that she recently found the list that had brought her to tears, and looking it over, realized she had survived accomplishing every last thing on that list. So, we will get through this — this too, shall pass.
We had lunch, and chatted about relocating and things to keep in mind. Ironically, they are moving to Northern Virginia in July, so we were able to offer our own advice and encouragement, as well. Their kids helped Benjamin through an Easter egg hunt they had set up for him. Then, we stayed for dinner. Our beautiful day turned into a lovely Austrian evening. Our kids played soccer — the dogs played, too. (Bailey makes an excellent goalie.) By the time we headed back home, well later than we had expected, we were all tired. But we had a great day. Their hospitality was so appreciated, and so was the encouragement.