I still love Austria and I’m still enjoying my time here. I still feel happy, and I love to be in Vienna. I’m looking forward very much to our summer vacation plans that we’re in the process of making and I’m super excited about the school we’ve chosen for B next year. I still think our life here is pretty amazing, and very cool, and good for all of us. But I’m ready to go home.
This isn’t the desperate, hiding under the covers feeling of homesickness. It doesn’t come from feeling overwhelmed or incapable of managing the challenge of being here. I don’t feel sad or lonely. Given infinite money and infinite opportunity to travel, I’m not sure I’d want to go home yet. I really do like it here, a lot.
The real issue is that, however much I love Austria, I miss my family and friends at home terribly. I want to be able to see them more often — not just for a few weeks on vacation, which is lovely but always too short and with too few chances to see and talk to everyone. I want a chance to be part of each other’s day-to-day lives again. I want to see my brother on his birthday. I want my mom to be able to come to the school plays. I want to have my sister over for dinner. I want to go camping with my kids in my dad’s backyard. I want to have a lunch date with a friend. I want to ride my horses again.
I miss my people from home. I love Austria very much, but not enough of the people I love are here.
I feel like I’m living two separate lives.
In the evenings and on the weekends, I’m sightseeing around Europe, eating in lovely restaurants and enjoying more leisure time than I was used to at home. We are intentionally not spending as much of our “free” time cleaning/organizing/doing chores/running errands as we did at home — we’re trying to relax and enjoy as much of this experience as possible, so we’re giving ourselves a break on the minutiae of life in favor of getting out and experiencing Vienna. This part of my life is fabulous — exactly what you would imagine an extended European vacation to be.
But during the day, during the week, my life is pretty much exactly the same as it was at home, except harder. Dan’s hours are longer here, and I don’t have anyone to help me (my mom used to come over at least one afternoon each week so I could get a break). I also have a lot less social interaction than I’m used to. The day to day tasks are the same: diapers, meals, laundry, cleaning, doctor’s appointments, errands, just with a different location, a language I don’t speak and less support.
I feel like I’m having mood swings: relaxed euphoria on the weekends and exhausted isolation during the weeks. The weekends are amazing, and I’m getting to add experiences to our lives that we absolutely would not have had any other way. The trade off is the amount of work I have to do during the week.
I think it’s worth it. (Although there are moments, in the middle of the week, when the memories and plans of the weekends seem far away and it’s hard to remember that.) Soon, too, we’ll start taking some time off of work and travelling in Europe — and that’s pretty much all upside. The work is temporary and the memories and new perspectives will be forever. (But it’s Tuesday evening now, so I’d better keep reminding myself of that.)