I am wrapping up my second month of living in Salzburg, Austria after I moved from my homeland of Canada on May 1st. The first month was full of excitement and thrill as my fiance and I got reacquainted and I began to explore all that Salzburg has to offer with my dog by my side. The second month, transitioned into a love-hate relationship with me and my new town which I was warned about by someone that has lived the expat lifestyle in the past. The first month you love it. The second month you hate it. The third month you are back to loving it. This is the cycle I’ve been experiencing.
We live in the city center, in tourist haven, and being surrounded with so many people at all times has been a struggle for me energetically. I would feel frustrated going grocery shopping, because it would take so long compared to getting groceries at home. At home, our stores offer a one stop shop approach. That is not the case here. For someone that doesn’t like grocery shopping, hitting a few different shops and still only coming home with only half of the items on your list has been extremely frustrating. We also have been dealing with a lot of unnecessarily grumpy people at local government offices. The culture is very close minded here and they display frustration a lot more openly than Canadians do. I will leave it at that LOL. I became very disconnected and went into a period of PTSD flare up – disconnection from my mind and body, anxiety and depressed days. Our vacation to Croatia came at a perfect time so that I could spend time by the healing ocean and feel that connection to joy again. Coming home to Salzburg though I was an emotional mess as unexplainable anxiety consumed me.
A few days after we settled in with Croatia, I decided that even though people are not like over friendly Canadians here, I am going to start smiling at them and talking to them the way I would back home. I really miss talking to random people everywhere that I go. So I started with saying hi to people as I walked Lyla along the river. It wasn’t received well. People would laugh at me and I could hear them talking about me in German and laughing as I continued my walk down the river. Fortunately, I was able to laugh as well and talk to Lyla about how we definitely are not in Canada anymore where we can just openly talk to anyone we want. After a couple of days of continuing to do this, suddenly I was beginning to see more of the love that my perception of, “people are assholes here,” was hiding. A little girl said hi to me without me saying hi first. I had a few smiles back when I would make eye contact with someone and offer a smile. I ran into a girl I had been chatting with on Instagram last fall just by making eye contact and smiling with people as they passed. Some people actually wanted to stop and pet my dog rather than jump away from her like she was a diseased pig. It’s funny how much our perception can change the way we see things.
A Canadian girl who recently moved to Salzburg wandered into my fiance’s Irish pub and once he found out she is a Canadian living here, he swapped our contact info so that we could meet up. Living abroad, when you run into a Canadian it’s like seeing a unicorn and you right away feel like they are a friend of yours. If they are someone you would normally hangout with back home, it’s an even more of a bonus. This girl is my kind of human, and it’s amazing that the Universe brought her into my life in such an epic way. She has shared details about Austria that I wasn’t aware of that is beginning to make me fall in love with it again. Facts like how big slaughterhouses are illegal and that all meat served in Austria is grass fed, free range, and they have a strong ethic code when it comes to the way the animal is handled in the butchershops. Grass fed, free range and butchershop cuts are something you pay through the ass for back home. She has shown me places in Salzburg I didn’t know existed that are good vibed, Mary type places. And she gets it when I talk about how much I miss poutine and the convenience of convenient stores.
I have had to be really intentional of bringing myself back into the moment and feeling into the joy of the journey rather than allowing myself to be swallowed up by the low collective vibration in Salzburg. I’ve been focusing on slowing down and enjoying each moment as the manifestation of what I have been asking for. We are now living what we were so looking forward to since the day we met in Cuba…JP, Lyla and me travelling around Europe every few weeks. Even though Salzburg isn’t in align with who I am, I can decide to step outside of the collective frequency here and own my own vibration separately. I can choose to find the wild of this town and the mountains that surround it buried beneath the prestine perfectly trimmed bushes and planned out gardens.
I had a wine night for Summer Solstice with a woman from Finland the other night. We have been bonding over our love for vegan cafe’s, spirituality and embodying the feminine. She crossed my path in November when I was here for a visit and I connected with her for her reiki session services. The day before our wine night we had jumped naked into the ice cold canal that has the fresh mountain water flowing down it. The Sound of Music bicycle tour peddled past us as I pulled my white Canadian tatas out of the water. This is completely legal here. I would have been arrested for public displays of indecency back home.
JP and I have a lot of exciting trips right around the corner. The great part about living Central Europe, we are in the perfect place to start any journey from. Everywhere in Europe is a quick train or plane ride away, and the public transport system is so amazing that it can be done very cheap as well. An eight hour train ride to Croatia brought us to paradise that reminded me of Sayulita, Mexico. Back home, an 8 hour drive would get me to Fox Creek. An oilfield town that speaks the same language, serves the same food, and is still the same province. An hour and a half flight gets us to Paris for the weekend. Back home, I would drive 3 hours to Calgary to fly an hour and a half from there to Fort McMurray at the same price as what our entire weekend cost us for flights, accomodations, and food. We are flying to Spain in August for 9 euros each. I don’t know how they make their money but they do. We are heading to Amsterdam in 3 weeks, Ireland in 4 weeks, Spain in 2 months, a couple of weekend trips up in the air in September, my parents are coming out in October so we are taking them to Ireland, I am meeting my Canadian best friend Dylan in London in October as well because he’s competing there, and we are back to Spain for a week in November before I fly home for a visit in December.
Fortunately, after a few weeks of hating Salzburg, I’m back to enjoying it because I’ve been able to shift my perception to stop focusing on all of the people that are not as friendly as Canadians, to the great parts of Salzburg. So I guess you could say that the cycle of love-hate relationship every month as an expat is true. Cheers to a great 3rd month!