E flew out this afternoon and he will be in the land of Freud by tomorrow morning. We said our goodbyes quickly as he’ll be back in late October after setting up our new apartment in Landstraße. Once we celebrate his best friend’s nuptials on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, we’ll be off to Vienna, Austria for the next eight months.
Needless to say, his year has been one of change. Such a cliche but nothing but could be truer in our household. E and I began 2016 living in Chicago, by June had moved back to Pennsylvania, and by October we’ll be calling Vienna home. My mind spins when I remember all that’s happened. When E found out that he got the Fulbright in Vienna, I remember the call like I’m still standing there realizing that this is actually happening.
I was at one my elementary schools with a co-worker doing a training visit. E called me on my work phone, our previously agreed upon signal of “this phone call is going to change your life”, and I ran to the janitor’s closet to take the call.
“I got it”, he said and I couldn’t hold in a shout of excitement/relief/pride/all the emotions. The next day, like a jackass, unable to hold in the big news (one of my worst flaws), I unceremoniously blurted out to my boss at the tail end of a rushed meeting that I was quitting to move to Austria. She was understandably caught off guard. All told, everyone in Chicago wished us well and many lamented that they didn’t take the same opportunity to live abroad and commended our choice. People always asked me if it was a difficult decision to make; quitting my hard-earned promotion, learning a new language, and uprooting our lives to go abroad.
I assure you it was the easiest decision we ever made.
We moved back home to Pennsylvania for the summer while I worked on earning my certification to teach English as a foreign language and E waded through the slog of government paperwork that is involved in obtaining a highly-coveted Austrian residency visa and, most importantly, work permits. Reestablishing residency in Pennsylvania after nearly four years in Illinois was its own kind of challenge. I hope the great Commonwealth of Pennsylvania uses our fees wisely (crossed fingers for the expansion of liquor licenses).
Beyond the government-mandated paperwork wading, we were more than happy to be back within driving distance of our closest family and friends, spending our anniversary in Virginia Beach, fishing with my Poppop, horseback riding, swimming, hiking with the pups, celebrating birthdays, toasting at weddings, and loving the new opportunity in front of us.
It comes with downsides, for sure. Financial strain, missed family moments, and a whole bunch of anxiety. The apartment search, the job search, the whole flying across the ocean when you’re not a great flyer thing. But I’m not here to complain because frankly, I’m amazed, proud, delighted, and thankful for what E has earned after so many years of hard work. His dedication to excellence in his work is the entire reason why we get this chance and I can’t say enough about how proud I am of him. I’m his biggest fan.
While I wait my turn to join E, I will sleep with my puppies every night, go fishing, hike, laugh my face off with my friends, and celebrate a few weddings. Summer is over but, hot DAMN, fall is going to be imperial.