Alles Gute muss einmal zu Ende gehen

It is the eve of my last Monday at work – the next one will be a bank holiday, and then the next one I will be flying home – and so I feel it is finally time to make a “leaving” post, especially since over the coming days I will be frantically preparing for my departure. The prospect of all the paperwork and the goodbyes is freaking me out quite a lot, so I imagine I’ll be putting it off by messing around on the internet, but I think I just need to get on with it.

Before I do that, though, here’s some pretty great news: This blog has been featured on Third Year Abroad, a very, very useful site designed to help students plan and enjoy all aspects of their time studying or working abroad.

Since this is obviously something that’s on my mind a lot lately, here are some positive things I’ve gathered about both Austria and England…

Things I’m going to miss about Austria:

  • The announcement made like clockwork before a certain tram stop on my way to school, that haunts my dreams: ‘Sehr geehrte Fahrgäste, wir bitten Sie, Ihre Sitzplätze anderen Personen zu überlassen, wenn die sie nötiger brauchen. Vielen Dank.’
  • The endearing fact that certain teachers and pupils think that I must know everything about every English-speaking country on the planet. But this has made planning lessons on Ireland and South Africa much more fun, as I’ve learnt some new things myself!
  • The cheesy jokes that get made: ‘In your country you drive on the left side, but for you it’s the right side!’
  • The wide-eyed shock people have when they learn that I willingly speak two foreign languages, particularly their own. It used to annoy me, but now, looking back, it’s just quite amusing.
  • The Upper Austrian dialect/accent still being an endless source of mystery and entertainment. So many times the kids at school have tried to make me say Oachkatzlschwoaf, which means squirrel tail, because they know that anyone who’s not from round here has real difficulty saying it. (In Standard German, it’s Eichkätzchenschweif.)
  • People walking around on the street in Lederhosen and Dirndl like it’s nothing.
  • The amazing availability of vegan-friendly products in Spar supermarkets (here, it’s akin to Tesco, unlike the corner-shop type of store it is back home).
  • The breathtaking scenery, like, everywhere.
  • Reading the Guardian Weekly in the staffroom at one of my schools. Just made me appreciate it more, I suppose.

Things I’m looking forward to about going back to England:

  • A good cup of tea.
  • A good curry.
  • Chips.
  • Beans on toast (the fact that the first four are food-related betrays many secrets of the current state of my stomach).
  • Netflix.
  • The TV panel shows that encapsulate our nation’s sense of humour, even if I do sort of hate them.
  • The mighty pound sterling. I just feel better paying with it, for some reason.
  • Being able to use uniquely English slang instead of having to talk slowly, in RP, all the time.
  • Not having to be constantly scrutinised as The Foreigner. It’s a novelty at first, but it can get you down a bit.
  • The Queen’s Jubilee. I’m no royalist, but it’ll be a nice change to have a bank holiday for a reason other than the official day of [insert name of random saint here]. Bank holidays in Austria aren’t always good because they mean that every shop ever is closed.
  • Taking a bath. Not specifically English, but sometimes there are times when you are just so stressed out and tense and only a hot bath can solve it.
  • Being able to be more adventurous with cooking and actually use the awesome cookbooks I got last Christmas. Kitchen facilities here only allow me to make a rotation of about three different meals (who really wants to spend all their money on baking tins and other stuff they can’t bring home?).
  • Visiting places I’ve never been yet. During the past year, I may have travelled to a myriad of great cities and countries on the European mainland, but there is so much in my own small country that I am ignorant of. For example, apart from a few days in Northumberland with my family when I was quite a bit younger, I have never properly been up north. All the time, I hear people at uni back home talk about how cool Manchester, Liverpool and Leeds are, and all I can do is nod and smile. I really want to sort that out.
  • Family and friends. I suppose.

I will refer to the second list when I have already been at home for a week and inevitably wish I was not.

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