Going out

So, a Canadian, an Austrian, a Brit and two Americans walk into a movie theater . . . But it’s not the beginning to a bad joke, it’s actually what we did this evening when we went out with a few of Dan’s coworkers to see a movie.

We almost never go out. Before leaving the U.S., we relied on my mom as our main babysitter, but since we’ve been here, we’ve only had a few chances to go out, just Dan & I. With Jo being here, we took the opportunity.

And we had a great time. It was nice to go out, it was nice to be with other grown ups. It was so nice to watch a movie whose stars weren’t animated cars (nothing against Lightning McQueen). We saw the new James Bond movie, we had popcorn, and we got to see the whole movie (in English, even!) without interruption. It was a fantastic evening, and we are really grateful to Jo for helping us make it happen.

Going to the movies

I love going to the movies.  Before kids, Dan & I went all the time.  It was one of my favorite leisure activities — we went for birthdays, anniversaries, with friends, or just because it was too hot to do anything else.  Sometimes we’d even stay and see a second movie after the first one ended (and that way, no one has to compromise — you both can see your first choice).  Ah, the good old days.  There aren’t a lot of things I really feel like I’m missing out on since becoming a parent, but the ease with which we used to go see movies is one of those things that I know we’ve lost for a while.

005Today, I went to the movies for the first time here in Austria — by myself.  It’s an “OV” (original voices) theater, so whatever American movies they play there are in English, which is a nice thing to have found, and it’s really close to our apartment (bonus!).  It was great, if different from what we’re used to at home.  First, you have to choose your seat when you purchase your ticket — they have assigned seating in the theater.  I didn’t have a preference, so I asked the ticket seller what her favorite was, and she chose a seat for me.  She chose me a seat in the third row of the balcony, right on the aisle, which was excellent.  Yep, in the BALCONY.  There was a whole upstairs seating section — very cool.  I guess partially because there is assigned seating, the theater itself was only opened up 7 minutes before the show started.  There’s no real need to open the theater earlier, because no one has to stake out a spot.  (It was a little weird just standing around in the lobby until the theater opened . . . and that was with only a dozen or so people attending this showing.  I imagine it would be very crowded and awkward if the theater were nearly full, although maybe then they’d open it sooner?)  Also, the theater wasn’t super air conditioned — they definitely have a/c, but it was still warm inside.  It was cool here today, so I wonder if it would be better or worse on a really hot day (maybe they didn’t have it on very much because it was cool out, or maybe that’s as much as it turns on and it would have been like watching Harry Potter in an oven if it had been 90 outside today).

There’s a concession stand, with popcorn, soda, nachos and candy, but with a few important differences.  First, no Cherry Coke (gasp, horror).  Second, no ice (boo).  Third, the cashier talks the customers out of the large size — talks them OUT of it.  The guy behind me in line wanted to order a large popcorn for his family to share, and the concession vendor girl told him that the large size was too big even for three people, “It’s much too big”, she said, “you’d be much better off with a medium”.  Then, he decided maybe he’d get two mediums for them all to share, and she talked him out of that.  Bizarre.  I’m guessing they don’t get bonuses for how many larges they sell.

But, it was great.  I got a Coke and a popcorn (not a large of either) and got to watch Harry Potter in 3-D in English.  It was a good time — I’ll definitely be going back.

Such a beautiful day

We don’t have as fixed a schedule here in Vienna as we did in the US.  I was pretty strict with our family schedule at home — here, I’m trying to turn over a new leaf in terms of flexibility, and we’ve also been here for not quite two months (during which time we’ve lived three different places) so we just don’t have things settled yet.

Allowing for flexibility, however, our days tend to follow one of two general patterns:  either we get out and explore (or get some things done) first thing after Dan leaves in the morning, followed by an afternoon at home, or we have a relatively quiet morning at home doing household stuff and try to get out in the afternoon.  I try to make it a point to get out for a bit every day, and I’ve managed that most days.  (I find it helps my sanity, as well as Benjamin’s, to get out and stretch our legs, and I’m also fighting a latent desire to curl up on my couch and watch tv in English all day and temporarily forget where we’re living, which, although occasionally tempting, I know I will regret one day soon.)

Getting the kids out of the house is always an ordeal, although I’m getting better at it.  I change diapers, get kids dressed, get myself dressed, make sure the diaper bag is packed, then one child will inevitably need another clean diaper, or one of us will need a clean shirt (because they just spilled something and/or spit up on themselves, or on me), put anything edible away so the dog doesn’t eat it while we’re out, make sure everything is off or closed and squared away, grab my keys or Benjamin’s water or Liam’s pacifier (whatever I almost forgot) . . . and then it’s time to pack all of us, and the stroller, into the too-small elevator and go out into the world.

Typically, by the time I get everyone downstairs and strapped into the stroller, I’m nearly too exhausted to go out.

But every time — every single time — we walk out the front door of the building into the courtyard, Benjamin looks up at the sky and says, “It’s such a beautiful day!”  It doesn’t matter what’ it’s like out:  cloudy, hot, raining, cold, windy.  It’s worth all that effort just to hear it.  Really.