A Chronicle Of My Experiences Living Abroad

A Chronicle Of My Experiences Living Abroad: April 2013

April 30, 2013

Yogurts Galore!

Before moving here, I thought that the yogurt section at Whole Foods was impressive. I was wrong. It's not that there's more selection here, it's the presentation too. My sister told me that there's a whole aisle dedicated to yogurts when she was in France. And after exploring a few grocery stores here, I've concluded that the Europeans take their yogurts seriously. Yesterday, I found a few new "fancy" ones to try. I know people may find this uninteresting, but the presentation is what I find so fascinating. The yogurts not only look great, but taste great too. In my opinion, they are not sugary sweet and artificial tasting like a lot of the ones in the States. It's the little things, right? Happy Tuesday everyone!

l-r: Swiss yogurt, Italian yogurt, organic yogurts that are staples in our fridge, and French yogurt

This one is from France and is in a CERAMIC container!!!
yogurt in glass containers!!!

Not yogurts, but these are from Italy and are in cute GLASS jars!

April 27, 2013

The Demel

Yesterday, a friend suggested a famous Viennese coffeehouse for our outing. It was like stepping back in time when you walk in. The candy shop, the pastry buffet display, and the windows looking into the amazingly talented pastry chefs were all a delightful sight. It was truly a great experience. Another great thing about being in Vienna is that you're not rushed to leave a food establishment, no matter how busy it gets. So even after we were finished with our delicious cakes and drinks, we lingered for three hours.

So many to choose from!
Soooo delicious!

Maybe even too pretty to eat?

April 24, 2013

9th District


Vienna is made of several districts (yes, like it is in the Hunger Games). Districts 1 through 9 are considered the city center, with district 1 being the historical center. When we first moved here, our temporary flat was in the 3rd. Our ultimate goal was to end up in the 7th, 8th , or 9th district. So we were so ecstatic when our wish came true and found our home in the 9th.

The 9th is home to the Sigmund Freud museum, University of Wien, the house where composer Franz Schubert was born,Volksoper and General Hospital. It's also associated with many notable names of Viennese art and science.

We LOVE our neighborhood.

If you remember from our apartment pictures, this is the church that you see from one of our windows

April 23, 2013


The last couple weeks have been the busiest since our arrival. I've had the pleasure of meeting so many new people and keeping a tradition with the not so new. So far, the best luck I've had in making connections is with the women in the expat community. They are some of the most extraordinary people I've come across. We are from all walks of life that already have a shared bond even before we've met. Who else would understand the trials and tribulations of moving abroad better than another trailing spouse? It's been great to be able to try all the local cafes with someone rather than doing it alone. To be able to explore and discover new parts of the city with a friend sometimes takes the edge off of the homesickness and loneliness. I believe it helps tighten the bonds as well. There is some excitement in slowly forming friendships that I hope will develop into something long term. I know for sure that no matter where life takes all of us, we will always have this shared experience.

I love spending lunchtime with friends. It's become my favorite part of the day. 

April 22, 2013

Looking Up (Part Two)

interesting leaves

cute restaurant sign

Took this while waiting for the UBahn

April 19, 2013

Tram Hopping

I figured out, early on, that the best way to see the city is to hop on a tram and go. It's a lot of fun. Hubs and I have discovered parts of the city that you simply miss from just riding on the U Bahns. I've discovered so many favorite places and areas this way. My goal is to ride every tram in the city before the end of the year. With 29 lines and getting off every few stops is totally doable. There are 90 bus lines, so that may be my goal for the next year! And I've already got the U Bahn lines covered. I want to be able to say that I know this city like the back of my hand.

Unfortunately, I didn't take these pictures. These are what the older trams look like.
The modern ones.

April 17, 2013

Wandering Wednesday

Great lunch before exploring. Cute isn't it? And right in our neighborhood too:)

The weather has been absolutely beautiful this week! It's given me a chance to explore a lot of the nooks and crannies of Vienna.  Living in this city really reminds me of my visits to Taiwan throughout my life. My family lives in the city center of Taipei and believe it or not, its transit system is amazing too. The ease of getting from point A to B is simple and fast, just like it is here. The wonderful thing is that they are both clean and reliable. Hubs and I have enjoyed not having a car and are completely spoiled by the wonderful infrastructure here. I think we have both become city converts and if/when we move back stateside, city life will be calling us once again.

April 16, 2013

Looking Up (Part One)

The architecture in this city is incredible and the details takes your breath away. Every time I look up, I realize what a privilege it is to be here*.

Happy Tuesday!
* All pictures are taken by me and have not been edited. My point and shoot camera amazes me every time I upload the pictures that I have taken.

April 15, 2013

Climate Control

In the states, air conditioning is ubiquitous and we tend to take it for granted. We knew moving here that air conditioning wouldn't be nearly as prevalent as in the states.  It's common to have no A/C in public transportation (buses, trams, and subway), businesses, and (in many cases) the apartments here. Fortunately, our flat has A/C but only on the main level - we'll take what we can get!  It's such a beautiful sunny day, highs in the 60's and I could start to feel the warmth/stuffiness on the tram today. I can't imagine what it will be like when summer comes around. Thankfully, there supposedly aren't as many hot days as we are used to back on the east coast. We shall see...

April 14, 2013

Vienna English Theatre

As you can probably tell, Hubs and I love the arts. It's amazing how much of it is here in Vienna. In just a few months we've been to the Opera, a concert at the Musikverein, and now a play at the English theatre. Although we did take advantage of the Hippodrome, Kennedy Center, and the Warner back stateside, it's not nearly as much as we have and will be doing here. We live in the city and have more opportunities to take in all the greatness it has to offer. It's also nice that public transit gets us to all the venues in 20 minutes or less!  We want to be able to say that we truly lived like the locals when our time is done here.

April 9, 2013

London Calling

After last week's rant, we have come up with a workaround that will help alleviate some of the homesickness I was feeling.  So, the original plan was for me to fly home at the end of May for two weeks. However, after thinking about it and confiding in a few friends it was clear that it may be too soon to go home.  Upon my return to Vienna it could put me right back to how I was feeling last week. Or worse.

My friend, from class, who moved here around the same time as us is in a very similar situation as me. She brought up a brilliant plan. She and her husband have taken a couple of weekend trips to London since February. She said that although English is not her native language, and that it's still far from "home" for her, it was so comforting to be able to get around with ease.  Read signs with ease, talk to people, make reservations, etc.

After looking at it from a financial (and more logical standpoint), Hubs and I decided that London would be the best option and that we get to do it together.  I've been to London a few years ago with my mom, but it was for a short stop before going onward to our other destinations.  We did all the typical touristy things. This time will be different. Hubs and I are renting an apartment for five days in one of the best neighborhoods and getting to explore parts of the city that I haven't been. And the great thing is, we will be able to understand everything! I am so excited.

April 7, 2013


Győr Philharmonic Orchestra was in town and we had the honor of attending their performance last night. With having such an emotionally rough week, we were really looking forward to a night out.  It was by far one of the most enjoyable things we've done here. I was far more impressed by this than the Opera a few weeks back. To be in the classical music capital of the world, it was truly inspiring to be at the Musikverein and amongst such amazing talent. Hubs turned to me in the middle of the performance and said, "See what could of been if you never gave up playing the violin." Ha!

April 5, 2013

Combatting Homesickness

I had my first breakdown this week and was thisclose to buying a plane ticket home next month (still in consideration). Moving here, I knew there were going to be dips and I really thought I would have had one much sooner. People said that if you get through the first six months, everything after that would be a breeze and the homesickness would slowly subside.  People also assume that moving to Europe would be sunshine and sprinkles, as if we we're full-time vacationers. I don't normally write about the bad and ugly in my posts, because I don't want people to take pity in me. Why would they anyway? It's not like we moved to a third world country. We live in Europe, so everything has to be great right? Not so. I've mentioned here and there that it has been a hard transition, but I don't think people really get it unless they are in the same situation.

Imagine that you are at the highest level of a complicated video game which you've spent years building up points and hours nurturing the characters. Now imagine having that all wiped clean and having to start from the beginning again in a different language no less. Sounds extremely hard and almost impossible right? Almost like you want to give up altogether and not try anymore? That's what it's really like sometimes for me and other expat wives. The nicest people I've come across are my classmates and other expats (either online or in person).  They are my saving grace. Their compassion and understanding  truly makes this experience a little less complicated. I have to keep telling myself that it will get better. It has to.

Rant over.

April 1, 2013

Spanische Hofreitschule

The Spanish Riding School in Vienna is the only one of its kind in the world and still practices the original forms of classic equestrian skills. The facility was opened in 1735 and is a huge tourist attraction today. People from all over the world come to see the famous for the Lipizzaner horses perform. Although I have little knowledge of horses, they are really majestic creatures and I feel privileged to have seen them in such a beautiful setting. As we were walking out, there were carriages pulled by horses lined up around the school - another tourist activity in Vienna. The thought crossed our minds that we hoped those beautiful snowy white horses that we saw, trained for their whole lives, don't get castaway when they get old onto the streets of Vienna and pull carriages for the rest of their lives.  I don't know if that is a silly thought, but how awful would that be?

Spanische Hofreitschule
We were not able to take photographs once the show started, but here is what it looks like where the performances take place