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INTERNATIONS CONNECTS EXPATS AND VIENNA MUSES TOP EXPAT BLOG

Who’s Conchita Wurst? What’s a Radler? Where do I buy baking soda? When do the subways stop running? Why is the restaurant personnel totally ignoring us and those rude Austrians hurrying past us and grabbing that table?

If you’re a newly arrived expat, after your first couple weeks in Vienna, once you’ve successfully managed to score your Meldezettel, and become a card carrying member of Billa and remembered to stash a few spare plastic bags into your backpack as you dash out of the building at 16:45 Saturday afternoon in a mad race to hit the grocery store before it closes till Monday morning, when the initial shock waves begin to wane, that’s about the time when you’ll start feeling the need to call a friend. Only, you don’t have any friends because you are living in a foreign country. Because with all the bags unpacked and all the forms filled out, the everydayisms and real challenges start. And that’s when you realize that Walmart isn’t in every corner of the universe and no one’s stopping to offer help just because you look a little lost. And not only do you look lost, you feel it too. Really lost.

And that’s when the questions start coming at you faster and more determined than the Oma ramming her cart to be the first in line at the newly opened Hofer register.

Who’s that bearded woman in a long dress and stilettos? (Conchita Wurst) Why does the beer the locals are drinking look different than mine? (they’re probably drinking Radler – 50 % beer and 50% Austrian soft drink called Almdudler mix that is a popular summer drink). Where’s the Arm & Hammer in this town?(You can get baking soda and other non-Austrian grocery products at the Prosi Supermarket, U6 Burggasse) How am I getting home tonight? (Vienna’s subways run all night long on the weekends and till midnight weekdays – assuming you can manage to make it to the subway) Why is the restaurant staff ignoring us? (unless you are in a fancier restaurant or typical tourist area, you’re usually expected to sit yourself in a restaurant and won’t get the bill slapped down on the table (that would be rude) unless you ask for it. If you’re still getting ignored, you might have to take it personally).

But what if you are in Bahrain? Or Singapore? Mexico City? Or Shanghai? KC couldn’t help you there. But other expats living there can. And how do you find them? Internations.

They just contacted me and featured my blog this past week. No. No money was exchanged. Alas, a blog is a labor of love. But hey! If you’re an expat, looking for info, you might want to check them out. The Internations site was started by three Germans who were former expats themselves and now connects over 1 million people in 390 cities and 190 countries around the world. So whether you want to know where to find the best Mandarin tutor or Mandarin duck, there is bound to be some expat on the Internations China site that has the answer for you. And since they also organize local events, you might even make some new friends and get to stop hanging out with the ducks.

Check it out, or just have a look at what I had to say about my experience as an expat in Vienna. You know you’ve been dying to read about my first apartment in Vienna! Print This Post

Internations Website

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The Top 10 of the Top 5 Expat Bloggers in Austria – Week 4: Austrian Adaptation

As mentioned, back in April of this year,the English language online news blog, The Local, featured “The Five Best Expat Blogs in Austria.” The five of us thought it might be fun to do something together so the other four ex-pat bloggers agreed to appear on my blog with their top 10 favorite things Austrian.

During the first week, expat blogger, Kristina Cosumano from the blog, The Practice Room wrote about her love of unusual, forgotten places and shared some very interesting ones.

Week 2 was A Mommy Abroad, Emily, who confessed a new found love of Krapfen.

The third week included my favorites and an Oachkatzlschwoaf challenge: KC Blau’s Top 10 Favorite Austrian Things.

This week, week four, ex-pat blogger Carly Hulls, of the blog, Austrian Adaptation, an “Aussie girl’s perspective on living in Austria,” shares her top 10.

Expat Blogger, Carly Hull’s Top 10 Favorite Austrian Things

1) Food

Kaiserschmarren

Kaiserschmarren

It would be boring to say Schnitzel, so I’m going to go with Kaiserschmarrn. But its only best when you’re at the top of a Mountain after a morning of skiing in perfect bluebird conditions – then it’s absolutely heavenly.

2) Drink

I’ve actually developed a deep love for the Apfelsaft gespritz since moving here, it weaned me off my Diet Coke addiction which can only be a good thing. Second vote would be a weiss wine gespritz or a Hugo on a summer’s day.

3) Film or TV Show

We don’t have a TV so I’m rubbish for that question and unfortunately my Deutsch is not quite up to watching Austrian films yet. On the advice of some of my blog readers I’ve just recently started watching Tatort to improve my German which is strangely intriguing.

Tatort Crime Series

Tatort Crime Series

4) Book

I’ve been making my way through some Stefan Zweig novels but my absolute favorite book to paint a picture of Austria/Vienna during WWII is Night Falls on the City by Sarah Gaiman. An incredibly vivid and moving read.

5) Month

October is beautiful. Fresh weather, Autumn leaves and the winter coats come out. I’m a summertime beach baby at heart but in Vienna, October is definitely the prettiest month – plus pumpkins are finally in season!

6) Place

Tirol. I’ll always have a soft spot for the mountains, the ski fields, the food and the gorgeous little villages. I’m always telling my mister that he grew up in a fairytale village.

Egon Schiele Self Portrait

Egon Schiele Self Portrait

7) Historical Figure

Tough call – you have to respect Maria Theresia for all that she did for Austria. But I think if I had to invite a party guest it would be Egon Schiele or Gustav Klimt to get their impressions of early 20th Century Europe and art.

8) Tradition / Past time

The Perchten festival in Tirol is a special one for me – my very first week in Austria was the week of Perchten and I had no  idea what was going on but I loved it!Now I know what Krampus and the devils are all about and can dodge the ‘Teufels’ that roam the streets armed with coal.

9) Song

Any après-ski singalong that has dance moves to go along with it! They are so adorable and get the whole bar involved in ridiculous moves. The Fliegerlied is a fave because we taught my whole Aussie family all the moves last Christmas.

10) Word

Brustwarze. Come on…a wart on your breast is a nipple? That’s comedy gold, every time!

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The Top 10 of the Top 5 Expat Bloggers in Austria – Week 2: A Mommy Abroad

As mentioned, back in April of this year,the English language online news blog, The Local, featured “The Five Best Expat Blogs in Austria.”

Who knew?

I certainly didn’t and I was thrilled to learn I had been included on a list with like-minded expats in Austria spreading the word, I decided to reach out and invite them to come hang out with us for a post and meet you all via a blog tour. Fortunately, they enthusiastically agreed so in November/December, I am featuring expat bloggers, with each of their Top 10 Favorite Things Austrian.

During the first week feature, we focused on expat blogger, Kristina Cosumano from the blog, The Practice Room.

This week, we are featuring Emily, who describes herself as “a stay-at-home mom of two little boys, and one of the least likely people you’d ever expect to decide to live abroad with her family” and author of the blog, A Mommy Abroad

Expat Blogger, Emily’s Top 10 Favorite Austrian Things

No high fructose corn syrup in these Krapfen

Krapfen – NOT Dunkin Donuts

1) Food

I never thought I’d say this, but this was a tough choice. When I first moved here, I was not at all a fan of the food. “Where are the vegetables? Why is everything fried? What, exactly, is Leberkäse?” (Never mind, don’t answer that.) Since the early days, though, I’ve learned to love a lot about Austrian cuisine (and the frequently served Hungarian imports, like goulash and lángos) but my absolute favorite is the Krapfen, an Austrian doughnut. I’ll never be happy with Dunkin’ Donuts now.

2) Drink

Until this past summer, I would have answered this differently, but on vacation in the Austrian Alps this summer (and strongly encouraged by my sister, an American with a vast knowledge of tasty beverages) I discovered the refreshing satisfaction that is a Radler — a tasty combination of beer and citrus soda. Grapefruit is my favorite

3) Film or TV Show

The Third Man — Not an Austrian film, but set here in Vienna, and I didn’t see it until I lived here, so I’ll count it. Interesting, shocking and confusing to see the devastation after the war (more confusing given the way the city is shot and edited together). But I call it my favorite mostly because the building where I live is in it (the part with the cat).

4) Book

I’m embarrassed to say that I’ve got nothing for this one. This is partly because my German is just now becoming literature-worthy, and partly (mostly) because most of the reading I’ve done in the past few years has been board books rather than novels. I was amused and entertained to examine the differences between the original “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” and the German translation (Die Kleine Raupe Nimmersatt) — pomegranates instead of oranges and all the strawberries face the same way — but that’s all I can offer.

Red rose bush in Volksgarten in June

Red rose bush in Volksgarten in June (Photo: A Mommy Abroad)

5) Month

June gets the win for me. At home, I had learned to lump June into the hot, humid, unpleasant summer months, but here, June is still (usually) spring. Walking through the Volksgarten in June, with the roses all in bloom — it’s hard to top that. I also really like November, though — it’s chilly and dark (before I’ve gotten tired of it being chilly and dark), the Christmas lights are going up, it’s often foggy and a little bit cozy and romantic.

Michaeler Gate - Michaelerplatz

Michaeler Gate – Michaelerplatz

6) Place

Michealerplatz in the heart of Vienna. Stephansplatz is the iconic focus of Vienna, and Heldenplatz is certainly grand, but I love Michealerplatz the best. It’s got just enough hustle and bustle without being overrun, and it still looks and feels a bit like old Vienna (more or less).

7) Historical Figure

Johann Strauss. As a ballroom dance enthusiast, I find him the most inspirational.

8) Tradition / Past time

Laternenfest, St. Martin's Day Celebrations, November 11

Laternenfest, St. Martin’s Day Celebrations, November 11 (Photo: A Mommy Abroad)

Lanternenfest. Of all the categories, this was the one I had the hardest time choosing. Christmas markets, summer sledding, ice skating, Krampus — so many great traditions and pastimes in Austria! But Martinitag, and most particularly the childrens’ Lanternenfests, are my favorite. I love the story of St. Martin, the tradition of the lanterns and the songs … though I’m not yet convinced about eating goose to celebrate.

9) Song

Blue Danube Waltz. This has been a favorite of mine since my dancing days, but living here makes it a bit more special (though I’ve never seen the Danube manage to look quite blue).

10) Word

Gemütlichkeit. Coziness. Perfect word, and it just covers so much of the warmth, community and tradition of Austria. Perfect!

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The Top 10 of the Top 5 Expat Bloggers in Austria – Week 1: The Practice Room

Back in April of this year,the English language online news blog, The Local, featured “The Five Best Expat Blogs in Austria.”

Who knew?

I certainly didn’t until I found out quite accidentally this past week. Thrilled to learn I had been included on a list with like-minded expats in Austria spreading the word, I decided to reach out and invite them to come hang out with us for a post and meet you all via a blog tour. Fortunately, they enthusiastically agreed so in November, I will feature one expat blogger per week, with each of their Top 10 Favorite Things Austrian.

So here it is — Week One featuring the blogger brave enough to go first: expat soloist/singer Kristina Cosumano who lives in Tirol and writes about just about everything and especially about all things Tyrolean and author of the blog, The Practice Room.

Expat Blogger, Kristina Cosumano’s Top 10 Favorite Austrian Things

1) Food

Wiener Schnitzel with a dollop of Preiselbeeren.

2) Drink

A Melange from Cafe Munding in the Innsbrucker Altstadt.

3) Film or TV Show

Anything with Josef Hader. “Indien”, for example.

4) Book

“Im Alphabet der Häuser” von Christoph W. Bauer. Right now I’m reading his book of short stories, “In einer Bar unter dem Meer”.

Fliess in late October, photo by Kristina Cosumano

Fliess in late October, photo by Kristina Cosumano

5) Month

October. Tirolean “Altweibsommer” (Indian Summer), when it’s sunny and dry, is perfect.

6) Place

Unusual, forgotten places. For instance there’s a curve on a forest road between Landeck and Fliess, where there are grooves worn into rock from centuries of Roman wagon wheels. There is a cave in the Rofan Mountains north of the Achensee with “Etruscan” texts carved onto the walls.  There is a grassy mound next to the Bergisl ski jump, under which are the remains of an ancient sacrificial burning altar from pre-Christian times.

the Roman "Via Claudia Augusta" in Tirol

the Roman “Via Claudia Augusta” in Tirol photo by Kristina Cosumano

7) Historical Figure

Maria Theresia. Mozart. Erich Wolfgang Korngold.

8) Tradition / Past time

A hike to the Alm for Schnitzel and a Radler.

9) Song

Mozart, Eine kleine deutsche Kantata, KV 619. The text, more or less: For God’s sake, stop warring and love your neighbor.

10) Word

Well, I have favorite phrases rather than words. Such as “taking the Nr. 71” (tram, which runs to Vienna Central Cemetery) as a euphemism for dying; that a situation is “hoffnungsloss aber nicht ernst” (hopeless but not serious). Or what I refer to as the Official Motto of Tirol, “Es wird schon”.

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