Small Town Life — Jocelyne
Okay, so I’ve been in Austria for about two months now. I’m getting to know my town, Ried im Innkreis, and starting to feel comfortable here. It is small, the people are friendly, and they know who I am.
I had my doubts about small-town life, but it definitely has it’s perks. Example: I’ve been to my bank twice. The first time, I was sick. Sniffling, coughing, feverish. The woman who helped me set up my account walked me to the nearest Apotheke and helped me buy medicine — what?! The next time I went into the bank to set up direct deposit, she remembered my name, asked how I was feeling, and made sure I got the right forms sent to the right places. And then, last week, we passed each other on the street, and she stopped me to ask how I was, and if I’d been able to get my online banking sorted (I hadn’t). She offered to send me new login information and I went on my way, struck with how insanely helpful and friendly and welcoming this place was.
Another perk of being in a small town is how much German I use every day. This does lead to some awkward situations, but for the most part I’m glad to have the practice. However, the Upper Austrian dialect has proven difficult. It’s getting better, of course, but sometimes it is really intimidating, and at its worst, it’s really discouraging. There are days that I feel like I know absolutely know German. But, I try to take it with a grain of salt and know that I still have time to improve. It’s mostly a matter of forcing myself to talk, talk, talk! While I speak only English in the classroom, I speak German with my fellow teachers about 90% of the time. They are very understanding and helpful, since they’ve experienced the same thing learning English or other languages. Recently, my German roommates have also taken it upon themselves to force me to speak German with them all the time, which is really helpful as well.
Well, I’ll end this here before I ramble on uselessly. Pfiati!