A Chronicle Of My Experiences Living Abroad

A Chronicle Of My Experiences Living Abroad: January 2013

January 31, 2013


It was my second day visiting the U.N. complex, and I've been blown away each time. To be in the same vicinity with some of the most intelligent minds around the world, has been truly inspirational.

The commissary on the grounds was quite impressive too. It will help us save some money on toiletries, cleaning supplies, vitamins, and other necessities. Getting food would be quite a trek for me, seeing as our local supermarket would only be a two minute walk from our permanent place vs. 25 minute commute to the U.N. It's kind of a no brainer of where I will go for our day-to-day needs.

Since I don't have one of those fancy schmancy DSLR cameras, I had to take two pictures to try to get the whole complex in.

January 30, 2013


It's been ten days since I've had any means of communication, except for the Internet. It's been rough! I never thought to be one of those people who absolutely needed a handy ( term for mobile phone here). It's more of a convenience thing than anything else. For instance, I've had to communicate with potential landlords through email this whole time and it worked for the most part. Today was Hubs first day at work and I was going to meet him to run some errands. I had to email him before I left and we would meet at the entrance of the U.N. No problem right? Wrong! The worrier in me was antsy during the whole commute there, not because I didn't know where I was going or scared. What if I fell on a piece of ice and needed Hubs to meet me at the hospital? Or the U bahn was running late? Okay, I may be over-exaggerating a bit, but there would be no means for Hubs to know that I was alright without a phone. So, after about two hours, we both are online again. PHEW!

I was on a mission today, so I didn't get a chance to get some pictures of the U.N. I will do that tomorrow when I go back and post in the next day or two.

Not bad for a badge picture :) At least I don't look like a convict.

January 28, 2013

Residence Registration

Even though we have not been handed over the keys to our flat, we still have to register ourselves into the system. Its purpose is to connect us with the postal service and used as proof that we live in the flat. We've lucked out that our landlord is fluent in German and English, because he helped us fill out our first forms in German. Today we trekked out to the local registrar and everything was done seamlessly.  Hooray!

Here are some random happenings of the the day:

This city is pretty well equipped when it comes to removing snow. The snow pushing trams are so cute!

Cap Warmers for Chilled Drinks- I was so incredibly giddy when I saw these!

January 27, 2013


After spending the last few days flat hunting, we finally found "the one"! I had scheduled us to see Flat #1 the day after we arrived. We did the usual look around and spoke with the owner and left. However, we stood on the other side of the street for a good ten minutes and gave each other the "what the heck are we waiting for? let's do this!". So we went back up and verbally told the owner that we wanted the flat. Yes, we LOVED it that much. There were four other properties left to see and we kept those appointments. But one after the other, it was apparent that nothing compared to Flat #1. During this time, the contract was written up and had to be translated by the U.N. housing department. So in the short time span of four days, we signed on the dotted line yesterday. YAY! *doing the happy dance*. We will officially be handed over the flat on February 1st. Now here's to hoping our shipments arrive within the next two weeks, so that we can FINALLY settle into our lives here in Vienna!

Here are some pictures of the exterior our building...how flippin' lucky are we?!?!

Gorgeous architecture! This building was built in the 1800's.

We have the top floor penthouse apartment. It has TWO terraces overlooking beautiful Vienna and vineyards.

Beautiful entrance

January 25, 2013


Today was our first dining out experience and it was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! We were on our third day of house hunting and Naschmarkt was a few steps from Flat # 3. It's a famous market here in Vienna. If you are a culinary foodie like myself, this place is stomach heaven. There's everything from exotic spices to freshly made pasta that you can take-away.

We found this cute little place and decided to have lunch here.
Yes, those white little dots were flurries from this afternoon.

I had butter fish skewers with fresh mango sauce, salad, and perfectly cooked potatoes

Hubs had lemongrass minced meat skewers with the MOST FRAGRANT basmati rice we've ever tasted.   

January 24, 2013


While on our house hunting search today, we came across these beauties that literally took my breath away...

St Stephan's Cathedral- the mother church of the Archdiocese of Vienna
The square that leads up to Stephansdom

Another picture of the 'Platz"

January 23, 2013

Better Than A Car

When people found that we were moving to Vienna without a car, some were shocked and were wondering how on earth would we get around. To be honest, I never liked public transportation. Today was my first experience using the "Wienerlinien" system and WOW!  The approximately 582 mile route network is comprised of 5 underground lines, 28 tram lines and 90 bus routes, to take you comfortably and reliably across Vienna. No wonder it's been known as one of the best transport systems in the world! With my extremely limited German, I was impressed with how easy it was to get to our destinations. Usually I don't have a good sense of direction, but Hubs was truly surprised with my navigational skills today. It may not seem like a huge deal to some, but this experience has built up my confidence for the numerous challenges ahead.

In other news, many people have asked how our "son" has been adjusting, it seems that Hershey has settled in quite nicely...
Not sure if dogs are affected by jet-lag, but Hershey has been tuckered out more than usual.

January 22, 2013

We're Here!

After months of anticipation and anxiety, we are finally here in Vienna! The flight went by so quickly and I honestly think it had to do with the fact that we were in business class. Hubs and I both agreed that we could get used to that kind of service.

So we are in a temporary flat for a month, and in that time we should be able to find our permanent home that we will be living in for the next three years. We have a bunch of appointments lined up for the next few days and hope to find "the one".

In the meantime, here are some pictures of our short-term flat:


Living Room


January 16, 2013


I sold my car today. The transaction itself took no more than 20 minutes. Just like that, the vehicle that took me from place to place for the last eight years was no longer mine. I shed a few tears. Pookie was my first brand new car and has been through many life events with me. I'm a sentimental sap, so sue me.

With that, it's finally hit me that we are leaving in five days. I. CAN'T. BELIEVE. IT.  The next update will come when I'm a Viennese resident. See you all on the other side :)

January 7, 2013

Becoming Quadrilingual

Besides the obvious preparations for an overseas move, I had to come to terms with needing to learn yet another language!

Growing up, I never really appreciated the languages that have become like second nature to me now. English wasn't my first language. I only learned through my older sister and when I was officially in school. The schools that I attended were of "typical American families" and being made fun of for looking and talking "differently" was somewhat discouraging. It made me ashamed of my background and knowing a different language.

In hindsight, I'm glad I was in the position of being "forced" to have learned Mandarin Chinese and Taiwanese dialect. Those years of endless Chinese Sunday school in Maryland were a joke. I actually learned the most from spending every summer in Taiwan with family and going to summer school there. Although my reading and writing skills have deteriorated over the years, I still can communicate fluently in those languages.

So now I get an amazing opportunity to add German to my list, I plan on taking an immersion class when we get settled. But in the meantime, this came in the mail today and hopefully it will help me get started with the basics:

Here's to an attempt of becoming a Quadrilingual!

January 6, 2013

What's In A Name?

After finding out that Hubs and I were moving to Vienna, Austria back in November, I knew I wanted to start a blog about the adventures we were about to embark. However, it has taken me awhile to invent a name that stuck and described me in two words. It couldn't be Vienna based either, because what if we end up elsewhere and wanted to continue blogging? I enlisted family and friends for help, but even their creative juices weren't enough. It had to be personal and special to me.

So as I sit here nursing a cold (which Hubs gave to me), it suddenly hit me! I wanted to incorporate my heritage in the name somehow. Taiwanese/Twinkie_______ was too cheesy and I didn't want people to think I had some sort of obsession with Twinkies (yellow on the outside and white on the inside)  if I had used the now retired Hostess treat in the title.

"Formosa" is a historically given name by the Portuguese when they discovered the island of Taiwan. The name literally translates to "beautiful island". PERFECT! So now what word to completely sum up my life? Hubs loves the word 'serendipity' and I consider the next phase in my life a stroke of fortunate luck. THAT'S IT! I FINALLY FOUND IT! And so it begins...