Sunday, 11 March 2018 18:43

Back to the orderly life

I’ve lived in so many places, I have forever trouble recounting the details of my nomadic life. The number of places I’ve lived in tends to vary, but mostly I reach 12, usually getting the order wrong. It simply is so long ago now, even if some periods seem like only yesterday. How can it be? My time in Africa almost 30 years ago? ‘I am not that old!’ I tell myself. How long ago was Cairo? 12 years ago?! Riga 8?!

It is actually quite arduous to keep having to calculate, count back, look up random facts to get those time periods reasonably right when asked. I thought if I moved back home to Austria it’ll help me put some sort of ‘logical order’ into my life - or at least into my life’s future events.

Being home

Being ‘home’ - no more need to add new travel tales for a while to the already long list. ‘Maybe I’ll live a life so orderly, I’ll find time to write them down.’ Or so I thought… My life has been far from orderly. True, I’ve only been here for six weeks and things really are falling into place - just not as quickly as my mind had imagined, impatient to have routine and true Austrian order fill my every day, feel settled.   

In fact, if all does work out according to plan, things will soon be in so much order for at least one year, I won’t know what to do with myself.

The biggest excursion yet 

Until now, however, my homecoming has felt like one big, exciting tourist excursion - probably the longest yet in all my travels - with so many sensations inundating my senses, I generally go to bed with my head spinning, feeling anything but settled.  

I knew I’d be excited about all the art and culture and the stunning architecture all around. And I have been. In fact, today, my sixth Saturday in Vienna, I actually found myself exhausted - so much so that I ended up bedbound with my bright, unlined notebook on my lap and my head demanding to be emptied.

Losing count

I’ve lost count of all the museums, exhibits, openings, guided talks I’ve been to. The city is full of them and on any given day one has a myriad of things to choose from. I’ll often be sitting with the various brochures I keep picking up, paralyzed by the sheer variety of what is on offer - much of it for free. I’ll get so excited, I’ll actually have to get out a piece of paper to help me think and organize and make a plan.

My numerous visits to museums and events do not include the trips to get to them - they are usually an event on their own. I walk, I gawk, I get lost, I sit down to marvel…

Metro Marvel

In the center of Vienna, getting out at any given metro station often turns out to be the first attraction. You take those last few steps, you look up and the view will more often than not have you stop right there, still on the stairs.

There is one exit where you look up straight onto the steeple of Stephansdom from the top of the staircase. Eight hundred years of humbling beauty towering over you, when all you were planning to do was get from A to B. At other stops you’ll emerge in the center of several grand boulevards meeting, with buildings so magnificent, you’ll feel like you’ve walked into a movie of kings and queens and royals, the backdrop to some historical novel.

Making the ladies at the museum wait

So after a week that has featured several such encounters with history, a guided tour of the State Hall of the National Library, the opening of an art exhibit at the Kunsthistorisches Museum, a talk on Austrian women in literature and a tour of the literature museum, a play on the life of the sculpture Camille Claudel, a visit up the dome of the Karlskirche, and yes, some English teaching, I found myself exhausted and could not make myself go, as planned to yet another guided tour on women in the art of the 16th and 17th century. I will go pay them a visit another day. After all, I am here to stay.

Even my much loved gentle jogs have not been bringing the usual relaxation, but have instead led to more overstimulation of the sense as I keep having to stop to marvel at the many little wonders of nature, the first snowflakes in many years, and lately the tiny buds starting to show everywhere and the birds singing in every bush and tree…

Not changing ways

So here I am - bedbound, notebook bound, almost overwhelmed by all that this wonderful new hometown of mine has to offer. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I guess one could call this the ‘downside’ of always experiencing the world around to its fullest, taking in all its details, stopping constantly to appreciate its beauty. A ‘skill’ I also would not trade in for anything else in the world.

So here’s to the fortune of getting to live in such a stunningly beautiful city, with a cultural offer that may occasionally simply wipe you out. And a good thing it did, as it gave me a chance to finally get back to writing.

Mary Anglberger

I’ve been travelling the world for over 20 years teaching English and am now taking time to follow my passion for photography and writing. I want to share all the things, events and people that have inspired and inspire me and spread those positive vibes all around.

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