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We have arrived at my last week in Austria. It isn’t even a full week; I graduate on Thursday, and board a plane on Friday. I don’t know when I’ll be back. On the one hand, this is a good thing. I’ve successfully completed my degree; I’ve spent ten months studying and meeting people and generally expanding my horizons (and playing a lot of pool).

On the other hand, I really love this place. I love having great public transportation that isn’t expensive. I love the food (oh, how I love the food). More than anything, I love how beautiful the whole place is. You just step outside your front door and you’re surrounded by gorgeous architecture—buildings, fountains, cobblestone streets. I mean, my school is housed in what used to the Hapsburg summer palace. It’s enough to make your heart hurt.

But still, needs must, and it’s time for me to go. I will pack up my things, and move back to North Carolina—which is great because I have a job lined up that I think I’ll really like, and that’s nothing to sneeze at. As we’ve previously established, though, I’m not great with change. Particularly now: I mean, coming back to Vienna was all I wanted for a really long time, and then I got it, and now it’s over.

So now what? I’ll start my job, and I think I’ll be good at it (I hope I’ll be good at it). I’ll do Foreign Service prep, depending on my test scores. I’ll save money, and start paying off my loans, and hang out with my bestie from college, who’s also moving back to town (yay!). And I will work and scheme so that hopefully, I can come back again, and next time…

Next time, I’ll live in an Altbau with original floors and window casings reasonably near a subway station. I’ll have a real job, so I can occasionally shop at the nicer grocery stores and go out to Vienna’s amazing restaurants more often. I’ll go to the opera and the orchestra and the movies. I’ll finally understand what is with the European scarf obsession (anybody have any ideas? Anyone?) And I’ll keep building the life I want.

But that comes later, much later. This week, I have to give my final presentation and do the oral section of my German certification exam. I have to pick up my sister and her husband from the airport when they come to visit, and show them around this beautiful city that I love so much. I have to graduate, and pack up all my things, and leave this town behind me.

For now.

Soon. (via Wikipedia)

Soon. (via Wikipedia)

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