It’s been four weeks now since I arrived in Vienna, Austria, my new home for at least the next year or two and perhaps longer, and I realize that little has been posted on the blog since then. And to be perfectly honest, it might be a minute still before posts really start appearing again.
The move was decently exhausting and getting back into a grove is taking some time. Currently, I’m employed as a Teaching Assistant in high schools outside of Vienna. While rather different form what I was doing over the course of the past year in Chicago and what I ultimately plan to do in the future, it’s definitely offering me a valuable opportunity to experience something new. This is of course in addition to the living visa that comes with the job and the chance to live in Vienna.
Focusing my energy on writing anything new or meaningful has been a struggle (I’m attempting at not being hyperbolic), in spite of the fact that there’s plenty to discuss.
Before leaving for Chicago, I hosted a bike tour of Chicago’s queer (read: LGBTQ*) history through a local Meet Up called Moxie Chicagoland that brings together LGBTQ* people and allies who are urban planning professionals or simply interested in urban planning issues. It was a great capstone moment to the last year I spent in my hometown before moving and provided me incredible insight into how we look at the relationship between history and space, the formation and destruction of communities in the urban environment, and more habitual needs of the contemporary city and its communities.
That’s just one of many things I have been thinking about. My arrival in Vienna opens up a whole need world of topics to discuss, especially in terms of comparative notes on how Vienna is designed and functions in comparison to Chicago. Both cities have lessons they can teach each other. Neither is perfect in any definitive way. They’re still both amazing nonetheless.
While taking on this new work opportunity in combination with taking the last year to do anything but school means it’ll be awhile before I actually get to working on my master’s degree I’m glad I’m doing it. The experiences I’m going to have working in a school are ones I can already tell are going to positively impact how I interact with people from here on out, in my personal life, as a student, and professionally, and for the better. I’m also–and I hate to use this phrase–still a student of life. It seems redundant to speak the virtues of living abroad, especially in an environment where the language is something other than your native tongue, but those are virtues that are incredible! Your language skills improve as does one’s cultural competency. The chance to engage with other perspectives is vital, I think, to making a well-rounded person. Most importantly though it teaches us to be critical of our world, to realize no place is perfect. The grass is never greener on the other side, but that’s okay.
As I get more settled and adjusted to my new surroundings I imagine my current bout of writer’s block will dissipate. But until then here is at the very least a brief update from Vienna.