One year ago today we went to Dulles airport, accompanied by most of our family. We had 7 suitcases, a stroller, our dog and our little family. When we departed, we had only arranged for a place to stay for 8 days. We spoke no German. We had only a little money saved, which had to cover our Austrian expenses as well as our home in Virginia. We really had no idea what we were doing or what we were in for.
I am still surprised and impressed with myself that I got on that plane. I’m even more surprised by what we’ve accomplished since we’ve been here.
We now move through life here pretty easily. We have a home that we love. We know our way around Vienna very well. We’ve made friends. Benjamin is in school. Dan really enjoys his job. We are all having a blast exploring and experiencing Vienna, and a little of the rest of Austria. We’re all learning German and getting familiar with the customs of life here. We no longer have to maintain two households — our house was sold in September. (We left the preparation and sale of our house to be completely taken care of by my family — I am still humbled and indescribably grateful for the love that went into the immense amounts of work that they did for us.)
More than ever, I miss who and what we left behind. I haven’t seen my brothers, my dad, my stepmother or two of my sisters since we boarded our flight. The family and friends that we have seen we havne’t seen enough of. I haven’t ridden a horse (or even groomed one) since we left to come here. That’s the longest hiatus I’ve taken since I started riding at the age of 8.
We’ve been here for a year, and we haven’t done or seen as much as I would have liked. I knew that would happen — I know I’ll feel that way a year from now, when we prepare to move home — but there really is so much we still want to do and see while we’re here.
I can’t say that the first year has flown by. There were times when the days passed frustratingly slowly (thinking back to our summer without air conditioning, or our days in a tiny hotel room where Benjamin slept on the couch in the living room) but the more comfortable we’ve gotten, the more quickly time has passed. It didn’t happen all at once, but somewhere along the line, we really came to love living here. I am more thrilled and excited by this adventure than ever before. I’m glad we came.