Friday, October 14, 2011

The New Addition

Yeah, there are a few more blogs to post from the old ones but I wanted to get this one up so you’d understand just why I haven’t posted for a whole week.

A few weeks ago, my dear husband had made a comment that he would be traveling off and on for his job in the upcoming months. The days without him stretched ahead of me and he wasn’t even gone! Getting into the society here is not easy because most of the people I met have nothing in common with me nor do many of us live in the same district, so visiting can be hard.

While we were coming home on the tram one day, I happened to see lots of people staring in the direction of a young woman. On her lap, she had the sweetest little puppy I had ever seen. I knew it was some sort of Jack Russell Terrier. I made the comment to Gordon on how cute the dog was and that I missed mine. Our dog, Jasper, can’t be crate trained as it terrifies him and according to the vet, it probably will be detrimental to his health therefore he won’t be joining us as planned. This left me in a quandary as I was planning on him being my companion when my DH was gone. So seeing the puppy had really, really tugged on my heartstrings.

When we go home, I started to do some research to see what type of small dogs I might like to get because I didn’t want to get a dog so large that I couldn’t have it as carryon luggage. This caused quite a few days of me and the DH going back and forth because he felt a dog would limit us. Then I wondered why he even agreed to bring the dog in the first place. The more I thought about it, the angrier I got as he’d told me when I first discovered we were truly going to move, he wanted to bring all the animals.

But I did what I always do when he’s being unreasonable: I ignored him and continued my research. After many days, I found a group in Vienna that not only told me about Jack Russell Terriers but another breed called Parson Russell Terriers. The dogs were fairly small and could actually be carried on a plane. This made me leap for joy and I went to my husband with my findings. It took me a couple of days to convince him just how lonely I was here without family and friends. He finally came to grips with the fact that the people he knows here, he’s known for almost fifteen years or at least some of him he has. He’s got a good support base here for himself but because I had never come here with him, I am far, far behind the curve.

Now that doesn’t mean I won’t catch up, I probably will but until then I’ll be a pretty miserable person and alone every time he travels. It finally dawned on him just what I was talking about and he got it.

Last Sunday, we went to a town near Salzburg to look at a puppy. Not just any puppy but one named Harry Potter. After spending an hour with the pup, my husband was as enthralled as I was. Yes, this is a puppy and it will take six months to a year to get him to be everything we want but I’m betting it will be much sooner than that. The pup is box trained, similar to a cat but not quite, which makes it very nice on rainy days and the fact we’re in a flat. No mad dash to the grass for us while he’s little. Just point him in the direction of my office and the majority of the time, he’s perfect.

But the best thing about this little dog is the fact that he brightens our day and makes it a little easier to be so far away from home and everyone and everything I love. I’d like to present you all with the newest family member, Harry Potter. You’ll be hearing lots about him in the coming months as he’ll be teaching me all about Vienna and how they handle hounds. To give you a little overview of how things are first, dogs are allowed on all forms of public transportation though a muzzle is required. They are allowed in all restaurants, most parks and hotels. We don’t know about the licensing yet but have already found a vet. Another cool thing is that I’ve made more new friends in the last few weeks than I’ve made in all the time I’ve been here. This is one special dog!


Friday, October 7, 2011

The Wild Ride

First, let me apologize for the quality of the pictures. They were taken from the car window during our ride. I’m only sorry I didn’t get any when we were on the freeway. Second, last weekend was fabulous and I think I’ve recovered. LOL! But the weather has changed here in Vienna and winter is definitely on the way. I’m only happy that we got to see fall in the countryside.

Written September 26, 2011

The DH and I decided to rent a car this past weekend so that we could purchase some book cases from IKEA. I don’t know if any of you are familiar with IKEA but overall they have good furniture that you put together yourself. We had purchased our new beds from there and were very pleased with the quality but not with the cost of delivery. At $89 euros the delivery fee weighs in at over $125 US and the DH wasn’t please with the service nor the cost. 

So, to appease the Scotsman, we rented a car. Now this isn’t a bad thing. Quite the opposite as it will let us know if we’re suited to driving in this city. This time we were prepared as last we had a credit card snafu the first time we tried the weekend before. The whole thing went very smooth until the moment we started driving. Or rather I should say, the DH started driving. Need I say more? 

Those of you who know me understand I have control issues and love to drive. Here, there’s not a chance in hell I’ll do it first. This means I have to relinquish all control to the man who has let me drive for years. That combined with the fact the car’s a stick and I’ll let him have it as long as I’m the navigator. But a navigator must have their bearings and needless to say, he got me off on the wrong foot from the moment he pulled out on the street. He went a different way than what we’d planned, so I was immediately off kilter. 

He got very upset when I made him pull to the side of the road so I could get my bearings. Yet I patiently explained to him why I was feeling that way. Soon, he understood my dilemma and we were back on the road very quickly. It seemed as if the cars here in Vienna were just whooshing by but in reality, they were probably going at slower speeds than what is normally seen in the states. While it’s true that they have things like the autobahn in Europe, people overall tend to drive at a much slower pace. It’s almost like each of them is a Sunday driver or something. Matter of fact, in all the time I’ve been here I’ve only seen the police stop cars for speeding only once and that was in a speed trap they set right in front of my own home. 

Eventually, we ended up on the right road and had a laugh as IKEA had signs everywhere on how to get to their store once we found the freeway in its direction. Off ramps were the same but getting into the parking lot was a convoluted series of turns. We were thankful that we had known about the entrance as the first time we’d come here by bus, we ended up walking totally the wrong way then having to back track.

Finally, we’re in the parking lot and my DH is practically tittering with excitement. No, IKEA didn’t do that for him but the store next door did. It’s called OBI and it is equivalent to a Home Depot in the States. I’ve never seen the man so beside himself as he does woodwork at home to relax. Now he couldn’t bring any of that with him to Europe but he certainly could purchase an electric screwdriver...but first...the reason we’d come, bookshelves at IKEA.

We wander through the store for a few more items that we discovered we needed and find the bookshelves we want. We go searching through the warehouse portion of the store for them only to discover that it won’t matter that we have a car as we needed a van! LOL! The boxes are too long and too heavy. The DH decides that maybe delivery is worth the charge because we can’t fit them into our small station wagon nor does he want me to lift them either. I am grateful that he’s worried about my back but I’m just as worried about his as we don’t have a chiropractor here to adjust us when needed. 

Soon, we were in the OBI store and the man was oh-ing and ah-ing about all the power tools. What is it with guys? Sigh. I told him to get whatever he wanted as he can afford it. After an hour or so of deliberating, I informed him is wasn’t rocket science and went to see if I could find anything I needed. After another thirty minutes, he finally came to find me, proudly bearing a new power tool. Needless to say, he’s used it quite a few times since he brought it home. 

Now, it’s time for the ride home. Oh, boy, I’m not sure if I’m ready for this as he wants to go out a different exit. Frankly, I should have deferred it all to him as he seems to have the system down just by driving here. The exit from the parking lot goes directly to the onramp of the freeway. As he goes whizzing out of the parking lot, the discussion immediately begins about where to get off. We tussle a little bit because again, I’ve lost my bearings but the DH seems to have found his and knows where he needs to go. I decide I’m just along for the ride and close my eyes when someone gets too close or they think he’s an idiot. Not that he got too many honks or anything, but drivers seem to get more irate here on occasion. 

The exit he picks is fantastic as it is only two blocks from our flat. We manage to get through the construction and go to the grocery store around the corner. Finally, we’re parking in front of our flat and our adventure of the wild ride has ended. I’m sure there will be another one around the corner, sooner than I can imagine!


Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Birthday Weekend

Yes, this one is written today but I’ve still got a few more to catch up. And this might be the last for a few days as it is the husband’s birthday weekend and we’ve already started celebrating. 

I’ll be post more on the whole trip later but wanted to leave these impression for you. First, we decided to go to Salzburg on Saturday, October 1 as we’d not taken a train trip nor been away from the city. So, off we go. When we get there, we realize the error of our ways as it is in no way like Vienna. There isn’t a hop-on-hop-off version of a tour bus, so we felt out of place immediately.

What we ended up doing was our own walking tour. Here you’ll see a few of our photos that we took and believe me there are a lot more. You’ll see the castle high on the hill, the inside of a church and a monastery  that is built right into the hill. I’ll give all the details later when I do the research but right now, I’m off to catch another train to a place called Bad Ischl. Bad means bath and this is somewhere the Romans were.

This is going to be fun! Hope everyone had a great weekend like I did!


Saturday, October 1, 2011

The British Bookstore

Originally started July 7, 2011 with a September 4, 2011 update.

Since my first visit in February 2011, I have passed this store. Every time I noticed that it had a going moving sale where everything was 10-50% off. I felt sad because I just knew this store would be closed when I returned to live here as we never seemed to be near it during the hours it was open.

Imagine my surprise when upon my return that the store sat in the same place with the same sale. I didn’t know if it were a ruse or not but this time I had a legitimate reason for going in as I needed a German/English dictionary. I thought while I was there I’d check out the other books as well. Geez, I should have known that it doesn’t matter what country but a bookstore is dangerous for me. I walked out ninety-four euros lighter than when I went in but I found some very valuable resources.

The item I went in for actually turned into two as I found a picture book that was about three inches thick. It had almost every word one could think of in both German and English right along side the picture. What could be more easier than that? Now at least I knew what things were but it really won’t teach me how to speak the language any quicker. That will be a whole new learning experience. The other German/English dictionary was another easy find.

Now it was time to just peruse the store. One of the items I went in for was a Gaelic dictionary just like I had at home. I didn’t find one there but I did find a couple of new resource books on Scotland I’d never seen. Of course those went into the basket as well.

I also needed a new reading book and I was happy for find a huge fantasy section as well as a romance section. Both appeared to be fairly up to date as my son pointed out, so I spent a few moments looking at all the selections before picking out  a new-to-me author, Daniel Abraham , and a book called The Dragon’s Path. More important to me was the fact that I had wanted to check out Orbit Books for a long time and this was my chance.

The last item I found was something I knew immediately I had needed before I got here. It was a series of books called Living in Vienna series of books. It consisted of a boxed set of three books, Living in Vienna, Exploring Vienna and Exploring Austria. It is compiled and edited by the American Women’s Association of Vienna for people like me. It tells one everything they should do before a move and once they’re here. The second item under the ‘Essentials’ section is that a laptop and a wireless card is necessary as it will take weeks to get internet up and running.

These books would have been vital for us to have prior and I’ve recommended to the UN that they tell every American family coming here to get them. They tell you how to get your electricity, gas and water transferred to your name. They tell you how to search for a home, get your work permits, your residence permits and on and on. Things would have run a lot smoother if this resource had been available to me in the States. When I searched online, I got some websites but no books. Now that I know about them, you can bet I’ll be telling anyone coming here to get them.

The visit to the British Bookstore was very productive but the main thing I noticed, not one person there was actually British. It gave me a laugh as I put my purchases in my backpack, heavy as they were, and trudged my way back to my apartment. I couldn’t wait for my next visit.

September 4th Update – Alas, there will be no more visits to this fantastic bookstore as while I was in the States, they closed their doors. There is a sign that does say where they did go but it is all in German and the dear husband can’t quite translate it. I can’t wait to find it though as they were the only store I’d found here that has all English books. It was a great addition to my living experience here and I miss it already.