Our Vienna Homecoming

We didn’t learn as much German as we should have while living in Vienna, but I did manage to pick up one lesson: The art of the German language is definitely not in the sound of the words themselves, but instead in the elegance of the ideas and images those words can evoke when they’re smooshed together into little linguistic Schichtkuchen (layer cakes). 

Take the word Sehnsucht, for example. Google translates it to “nostalgia,” but this seemingly simple thing is actually much more complicated — just like everything else in Austria. Break the compound word apart and the little words mean “to see,” “to investigate.” Put them back together, and you get something like “life longing,” or “a sense of separation from the imaginative experience we crave,” a translation I particularly like and picked up here.

Anyway, this nuanced sort of longing — not for the reality of an experience but for the imagined perfection of it — is something that speaks deeply to how I felt about being back in Vienna for three weeks after almost a year away. This city never became home for us, not really, but our visit made us feel like maybe in fact Vienna had been, if only for just awhile.Read More »

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Auf Wiedersehen, Vienna

The time has come: We’re leaving our European home. Matt has lived in Vienna for almost two years, and for me, it’s been about a year and half. It’s been an exciting, frustrating, and ultimately empowering experience for both of us. Vienna is a city of secret doors, and we consider ourselves very fortunate that a few cracked open for us.

It’s impossible to capture the complexity of our expat life in a single blog post, but I can distill what we’ll miss most into a list of ten:Read More »

Frohe Weihnachten!

I know I’ve said this many times, but nobody does Christmas like the Austrians. Nobody.

Almost every European city has a Christmas market of some sort, but Vienna (of course) claims to have started it all with a massive December market in 1294.

I decided to walk my way through Advent season by visiting 25 of Vienna’s more than 40 annual Christmas markets, pop-ups, and bazaars. (Matt was a good sport for about a half dozen!) To do so, I traveled to some of Vienna’s farthest corners and visited many of the city’s lesser known parks and landmarks.

So, without further ado, grab a cup of glühwein (mulled wine) and take a look at Sandy’s Advent Calendar of Advent Markets.