I’ve been in Vienna for almost 5 months (it’ll be 5 months on the 4th of July). It wasn’t an easy decision to move here. It was something I’ve always wanted to do, because I fell in love with the city when I first came here 11 or 12 years ago. But it was hard, because that meant leaving my Parents, my Friends, my family.
A month after I arrived, I started my first job. At the time, my uncle told me he was extremely proud of me. I couldn’t understand why, because in my mind I didn’t do anything special. He said he was so proud of me, because I actually left everything behind, moved to a country not knowing what to expect. A few months later, I thought I had everything figured out…everything seemed to be going well at work, I had made a few new friends and I was managing living alone and raising a teenage cat on my own.
I got fired from my first job in May. Actually, I just didn’t get my contracted renewed, but for me it was the same thing. I cried. Like a baby. It was the first time I’d ever been fired from a job and the reason seemed pretty sketchy, but whatever. I didn’t want to call my parents and at the same time I wanted to. My friend M. actually met me (and waited 2h for me at my door step, the poor thing!) and “made” me call my parents. I called my Dad first and I was terrified. I was so scared that I would disappoint him and that he would be mad at me. He was so supportive, just like I knew he would be, deep down.
The thing is, even though I tried to put on a brave face…I was terrified. I still am sometimes. I got a new job and I know I am lucky. I have parents who love me and help me in any way they can…friends who are always there for me, even from 3000km away, and I know the city I am in.
But I am not brave.
A few weeks ago my Mum told me on the phone how proud she is of me…and I just don’t understand why…to me, I’m not doing anything special… I know I moved countries without knowing what to expect…but I knew the city..I knew the country…and even though I had a romanticized view of Vienna (of the time my aunt was still alive), I don’t think I did anything that brave… I know people who moved to a country they didn’t know…heck my Mum did it back in the 80’s! That is brave!!! She moved to a country she didn’t know…where she didn’t know the language and the culture…that’s fucking bravery, not what I’m doing! I chose the one country I know…I don’t think I would have ever moved somewhere I didn’t know the culture or where I didn’t know anyone… I’m a chicken…let’s face it…
Most of the months I end up fearing to run out of money (thankfully it hasn’t happened yet!) or food (also not) or worse, not being able to feed Cookie. The day I got fired I had 2€ in my wallet…and I used it to buy Cookie food. She was my priority, my first thought, my number one thing…she’s my baby after all..
I don’t feel like I’m brave…at all…most of the time I don’t know what I’m doing! I find myself crying over the smallest things, like when I smell my Mum’s perfume in the street (and I really don’t like that perfume! =P) or when I see the ships in the Danube river and I suddenly remember something my Dad taught me about ships when I was a kid (he is a Captain).
Truth is, most of the time I put on a brave face, but deep down I’m fucking scared as a baby! But I don’t want to worry my parents and my friends…especially my parents.. I know my Mum knows what I’m going through, but I still don’t want to seem…weak. And sometimes that’s how I feel. And I hate that feeling.
I know I reached a lot in these 5 months. I know I managed to do more than many people! I got a job, I got an apartment, I fell down and I pull myself back up…and all along I kept thinking about something my Dad wrote me on my graduation cap…”Life is like a ladder”. It’s stuck with me since the day I read it. You start from the bottom…sometimes you fall down and are back at the beginning, but you can never give up. To me it’s not an option. Going back to Portugal isn’t an option, not because I don’t love the country…not because I don’t want to be with my friends and family (I would want nothing more than being with them!), but because the situation there isn’t ok right now and I don’t see it getting any better. Because I love this country and part of me was always here (my Dad was born here after all and my aunt lived here all her life). I love Austria…well, I love Vienna (I don’t know anything else from Austria xD) and when I decided I was gonna come here, I knew it would be permanent. Or at least, for the next 10 to 20 years.
But even though I see how much I’ve achieved…how much I grew in these few months (sometimes I feel like I’ve grown 30 years in such a short time!!!), I still feel like the silly little girl who smiles at every dog she sees and laughs way louder that she should (usually in the most inappropriate times) and makes weird jokes that no one gets because she’s got a weird humor. I still feel like a kid sometimes. And I still need my parents, no matter how far away or how old I am, I’ll always need them and I’ll always call them with the stupidest excuses. (and yes, sometimes I make up reasons just to call so I can listen to their voices.
Maybe I am brave. Maybe I’m not. But in the end of the day, I’m me..and I think I’ll always be the small little girl from Portugal, who loves the seaside and runs away from spiders.