Fernweh

origin: German definition: a longing for exploring far-off places away from home; “farsickness”. antonym: Heimweh (“homesickness”). closest English equivalent: Wanderlust

How time flies – around the same time two years ago,  I was enthusiastically packing my bags. Soon after I was enjoying spring time in Vienna!! Unglaublich!! I first drafted most of this post shortly after returning to Malaysia, but have not had the time to polish it. The memories are as fresh as ever, like it was just yesterday when I flew back 😦 Two years later, I miss Vienna more than ever.

The irony is… to know your own country better, you have to first know other countries. Sure, many leave for greener pastures because “Malaysia lacks this, Malaysia lacks that”, as people say. I’ve realised even more than before, that it’s not all sunshine and rainbows in Austria and not just doom and gloom in Malaysia.

Things I like more in Malaysia

Shops and mamak stalls that are open 24/7 😀  In Austria, shops are required by law to close on Sundays :/ There is no such thing as shops that are open 24/7, like 7-Eleven or mamak shops. A select few shops in U-Bahn or train stations are open (e.g. the big Billa at the Praterstern, and Okay! at Schottentor) and these places are always sooo insanely crowded with people on Sundays!!!! On Saturdays, the only day of the week when people actually have more time, shops are closed at 6pm :/

As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, banking seems to be much more straightforward in Malaysia. On the same day as you open an account, you get your ATM card and PIN-code. Instead of waiting for days for the ATM card and then the PIN via snail mail.

I feel that Malaysians seem like a warmer lot. In Vienna I’d be crazy to call a stranger ‘Uncle’ or ‘Aunty’!! At least in Vienna, people seemed rather reserved and formal, while here it’s much easier to form the initial bond with others. It doesn’t help that I am already a rather reserved person.

Things I like more in Vienna:

Being able to drink straight from the tap!! Upon landing in KLIA I was desperately thirsty after a 12 hour flight. As I headed to the nearest WC, the first thing that hit me was that you couldn’t drink from the taps anymore!! Nooo! (Luckily there are drinking fountains in KLIA near the boarding gates, but that’s beside the point.) Since I am such a waterholic, this is a convenience that I sorely miss.

The food and drinks! Already missing my daily Wiener Melange, Römerquelle prickelnd, Apfelsaftgespritzt, Ottakringer Radler………! The best thing is that the drinks were less sweet there unlike the diabetes-inducing ones in Malaysia. Oh and the range of cheap and good dairy products! Like the cheese and whipped cream!

Great public transport; everything is always orderly. Alles ist immer in Ordnung. The connections by tram, bus and U-Bahn People mind their own business. On one hand this seems to contradict my previous point. However sometimes this can be a welcome change.

Spring time. I miss the row of trees with pink flowers along Währinger Straße (in front of Votivpark and Sigmund-Freud-Park). I miss spring weather. I miss spring fashion.

20140328_173133
On the way to uni – along Währinger Straße on the left & Votiv Park on the right

The city is so human-friendly. Lush public spaces to relax, public WiFi, low crime rate, pedestrian lanes… I didn’t have to worry about turning into a slab of Schnitzel myself!

Most of all I miss feeling at ease, as though I have known the city for far longer than I have been here. It was not too big but not too small, not too hectic but definitely not boring. Everything felt nice. And over time I learned to appreciate the Viennese sense of humour. Three and a half months was too brief. As clichéd as it sounds, I have left a piece of my heart in Vienna.

The adventures I have had have inspired me to have itchier feet and instilled an incorrigible curiosity for the world out there. Faraway lands (and neighbouring islands), here I come!! (As soon as I submit my thesis!!!)

 

Disclaimer: these are based on my observations and opinions, and are not meant to be presented as facts

 

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