2023-24 Gaelyn, outbound to Austria – Nov. 11, 2023

Nov 11, 2023

As you probably expected a lot has happened in my life during these past couple months. My previous journal was mostly centered around Language Camp and bonding with the other exchange students. That was certainly the highlight of my first month here and really paved the way for who I socialize with, but there’s also been so much else going on. I’ve had countless day-trips into Vienna, a hike with my class, afternoons along the Ybbs River, interesting (to say the least) adventures in Linz, and of course the Rotary trips. These first months have really set the stage for what I’m sure will continue to be a fulfilling year.

I’m totally sliving to be honest. Granted, I’m depressed, anxious, lack motivation, and feel super unsure of myself about 40% of the time, but sliving nonetheless. During these times, I think back to something the ROTEX told us before we left for exchange and apply it to my own situation: I’m having a bad day but I’m having a bad day in Austria. It changes the perspective a bit. And just to clarify, I’m not having “bad” days frequently, but that’s not to say that the average (or even good) ones aren’t without their own ups and downs.

School just recently resumed from fall break, “Herbstferien”. I can’t say that I was particularly excited to come back, some things just don’t change no matter what country you move to. Herbstferien was great! It lasted from October 26th – November 5th. Right at the start of it I went on a trip with the other Inbound students. Four days, three cities. Prague was by far my favorite and I was a bit disappointed to have such little time there but Dresden and Berlin were also great experiences. My favorite part about the entire trip was just looking out the window during the bus rides. The landscapes were absolutely gorgeous. I’ve never seen this colorful of an autumn before and it just doesn’t get old.

When I got back from the trip I took two days to just lie around doing nothing. That got boring quickly. The next two days I visited Vienna and had a great time. The weather was beautiful, and I was excited to finally be able to wear a long coat (definitely not a Florida experience). The second day that I made the trek over was maybe my favorite day in the city yet. I met up with two friends and we went to a thrift store that I’d been dying to go to. It completely lived up to the hype. Thrifting is something that I love doing back home, and I felt so in my element. Afterwards I got the most delicious curry, rice, and naan from a place on Neubaugasse. The vibes were just too good. I can’t not romanticize every little moment. From the restaurant we walked to the Leopold Museum. I wanted to see their Gustav Klimt. Once again I was not disappointed.

On the day that followed I went to Krems. I have two friends that live there. Me and four others took the train over for a visit. I can only describe the day as cozy. The dreary weather was back but if anything it just made everything even more perfect. After going out for lunch and taking a short walk around the Altstadt we headed over to Café-Konditorei Hagmann. It’s owned by my friend’s host parents. The upstairs of the establishment is only open during the winter so we had it all to ourselves. We spent the day playing board games and only paused once for a snack break which involved going downstairs and getting seven different slices of cake to share. 10/10 experience, very yummy. The bond I share with the other Inbounds is so special, and it’s days like that where I just couldn’t be more grateful to have them as a part of my life.

As much as I was enjoying my time in Krems, I didn’t want to get home too late. The following day I had a flight scheduled… but not the kind you’re probably imagining. One of the men in my Rotary club is a hobby pilot and offered to take me on a flight over the area that I’m living. Accepting the offer was a no-brainer. It was a really incredible experience. I’d never been in such a small plane before, everything felt so surreal. The flight lasted about 45 minutes. The views were stunning. One of the things that I love most about this country is the rolling green hills – despite it being autumn they are still quite vibrant. On the horizon I could see that most of the mountains have become snow-capped which is exciting (I’m looking forward to experiencing a real winter). We flew all the way to Melk and back. Now I can officially say that I’ve seen Melk Abbey from aerial view! Not that that was on my bucket list to begin with, but it’s pretty cool.

Well, that’s about it for right now. Nothing new besides everything I just mentioned and that I finished Bridgerton Season 2 (I think I liked Season 1 better). Tschüssi!!

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