Comfort is a funny thing. I can pretty confidently say I’m starting to get comfortable in Vienna. With the people, the ways to get around, the feel of the city itself is really growing on me. I love our little stretch of shops, the familiarity of walking past the same chemist where i’m recognised as “Australian girl” and looked after, seeing the fresh fruit and veg man everyday and giving the acknowledging smile, knowing exactly where the special type of canned tomatoes we use in Bolognese are in the supermarket. Little things, details, make all the difference and start to make a city feel like home.

Sometimes though, its the equally little things that can tip you over the emotional edge. I was a bit fragile on Saturday night (not what you’re thinking, Sober October still going strong!!) and the tiniest, vainest little things combined making me crack and despair about being able to get by here. Lady things. Vanity things. That being, I hated at that exact moment – 11pm on a Saturday evening, after a duvet day in bed while S recovered from his cold – my haircut. In my hairdressers defence, sitting in bed watching Dexter for hours doesn’t do a haircut any favours but still, I was convinced mine was a disaster. Second disaster, I couldn’t find nor afford a decent English speaking waxing lady. Again, if i’d thought about it, most waxing ladies i’d visited barely spoke English anyway so this was hardly earth shattering. Rationality is not a strong point when you’re despairing that nothing is ever going to be easy again. My whole world outlook had come down to the fact that I would never get a decent haircut or waxing and therefore nothing in my life here was ever going to be easy. Disaster.


The problem is, after 23-odd years in Melbourne, I’d gotten it all under control. I HAD my perfect hairdresser who knows how to deal with my ridiculous curly hair, I had the perfect wax lady who makes the most painful procedures seem bearable – with what I can only assume is a potent mix of wizardry and high grade wax. I was SORTED. The little things weren’t hard, I didn’t have to think about where the best coffee could be found, or how on earth to find a gym with group classes in English, let alone a pilates or Zumba class. I didn’t have to write down word for word the kinds of medicine I need for a common flu when going to the chemist. These things were known, quantifiable and able to be expressed without hesitation.

But that’s the delicious Alanis-irony. It was precisely because everything was so known to me in Australia that I left. I wanted to discover the unknown, because I hated the feeling of being settled, stagnant, unmoving and locked into my lifestyle. I know myself as a creature of habit – the first time I brought Muesli in the local Spar I literally took 5 minutes to decide because I knew unless it was putrid I would habitually purchase the same brand for as long as we live here. That’s just how my brain works. Find the comfort in habit, control the things you can.

In my current situation, there is very little left in my control – my Visa status, my job opportunities, my ability to communicate. So the comforting details are taking on huge significance.

The soloution to all of this existential crisis? Comfort food. Spending my Sunday nibbling on Weetbix, Nutella and Pizza for dinner ebbed away my fear of ‘nothing will ever be easy again’. Cliche? Yes. Unhealthy? Absoloutely. Effective? Damn right.

Come Monday morning and guess what? The haircut ain’t so bad, the snow has started to fall and my documents from Australia arrived in the mail for the Visa. Life’s looking up.

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