It seems that ever since I began contemplating this exchange people have been asking me, “but seriously, why Austria?”, everyone including friends, family (especially my own Austrian Grandma) , the Austrians I meet and occasionally even myself. And of course I don’t need to justify such decisions though I would like to nevertheless.
First of all, the country has not failed to live up to it’s reputation of being incredibly beautiful. I have been lucky to catch the end of the winter wonderland phase of the year with snowy mountains and rooftops, thick mist settling between dark icy pine forests and the snowy blue hue of mornings and evenings…oh and of course the ski fields that can be pretty much seen from my window. The cold is sharp but not unpleasant, rather actually quite energising… I never thought i’d find myself going for runs in temperatures under 10 degrees and I certainly never thought i’d be sad that winter is ending. But so i’ve been told spring time bike rides and trips to the lakes are still ahead and to be looked forward to.
Secondly, Austrian people are pretty cool. The most unpleasant interactions i’ve had with people have been at Hoffer or Lidl supermarkets where the checkout is some sort of ridiculous race, even when there is hardly a line. People on the street are helpful and friendly and local students at uni are in no way closed off to the idea of interacting with exchange students. Things like having Corina join myself and the two Maddie’s for dinner, occasional trips to the mensa and Sarah using our cinematography lesson to tell me all the top things to do in Voralberg make the uni experience all that much nicer.
And while Dornbirn is no bustling city the life here is balanced and suits me well. If I had to describe it I would say people here are easy going and relaxed but still interested and motivated about what they do, and I on that note I am quickly finding myself getting into a handful of reasonably labour intensive assignments which I will have to somehow manifest some time for…but hey i’m here to learn so why not.
Then of course as I mentioned before, yes I am technically part Austrian, a part of me that I have never really managed to identify with. And yes, it’s taking a lot of will power for me to detach myself from my love of Italia (did I mention i’m going there twice in the next three weeks). But I think as I start to get a feel for what Austria is and what they do here I’m growing a certain fondness of my other genealogical parts. And of course as I have mentioned in previous posts, the pretty houses. Ok, maybe I am more excited about this than most people, but to me they are nice. Here the landscape is spotted with big and little structures just like that one solitary house which sits on a grassy windswept hill just out side Katoomba. They are remarkably private buildings though with many windows, it feels like you should be able to look in but you never can. I find them interesting and unlike many things worthy of the effort of buying some 7 euro paints.
Anyway I hope I have settled the ‘why Austria’ question once and for all. And of course you all welcome to read lots more at http://cargocollective.com/entrada