“When are you going to start packing for studying abroad? You know you’re going to be there for 6 months. You need to start now.” That’s what my mom said about a month before my date of departure to Vienna, Austria. I laughed and told her my plans for the next couple of weeks, then went on about my business. Boy, was she right! Funny pre-departure story: I cried from the moment I arrived at the airport until I boarded the plane. Serious tears, not crocodile tears. I wasn’t crying because I was going to miss my parents or home, or for any of the usual leaving-home-for-a-long-time reasons. I cried because I forgot to grab my winter coat. Yes, my winter coat, of all things. I think the stress and sleep deprivation from packing was the cause. I mean, after unpacking and repacking three times in a matter of five days, all while juggling an online class, I learned my lesson the hard way. The good news is that the journey to Austria was a memorable one, and I survived without my winter coat.
Since the first day I arrived in Austria, I keep thinking Vienna is massive! (Compared to my hometown of Indianapolis, Indiana.) When I tell the people who live here how big I think the city is, we always end up agreeing to disagree. My initial thought about Vienna is that the number of people on the streets do not amount to the number of apartment buildings in the city. There are so many buildings, and no two buildings look alike.
I’d say the size of Vienna is comparable to New York City or Chicago, but the discomfort of walking through those cities just isn’t here. I say discomfort because if you’ve ever visited New York City or Chicago, you just can’t escape bumping into a couple of people or getting lost in a huge crowd. I believe the fact that Vienna is separated into 22 districts is the reason it feels less populated. Every district I’ve been in also varies in the vibe it gives off. One may feel urban while another feels more suburban. I live in District 22 near the Schonbrunn Palace, and I’d describe it as a busy but relatively quiet district. It’s lined with cafes, local markets, restaurants, and art galleries (recent discovery)!
The way Vienna is set up makes it unique and breathtaking, and excites me more than any city I’ve ever visited. There’s a thrill in knowing that I won’t ever be bored because on top of my classes, there will always a new place to visit, or a different restaurant to try out. I love the city life!