I've been an expat for some time already, as I'm moving quite frequently due to professional reasons - Brazil, Austria, Netherlands...and now I'm moving to Switzerland. My brother used to say that I'm a "professional foreigner", someone who likes the butterflies in the stomach, to be out of the comfort zone permanently, and I guess he is right!
Being in a day-to-day routine in a country that is not "your country", speaking a language that is not "your mother tongue" and interacting with other cultures can be fascinating and scary at the same time. So many experiences, so many stories... My life is a patchwork of extraordinary pieces - some colorful, other not that much - but in a big picture I wouldn't change a thing.
Maybe an interesting story is about the day I discovered the pride that Austrians have about their water... It's everywhere - whether you ask for it or not.
The first espresso in Vienna... Oh… How elegant and charming to sit in one of the several different cafes in the city center. I was feeling special that day, then I ordered the espresso, and when the kind lady brought that to my table, there was also water and I told her - "I didn't order water".... and then she looked at me like I was the most ignorant person in the face of the globe. Well, it took me some time to understand that serving their water is almost like a gift - take it, it's pure, enjoy it like a nectar!
What I can say now is a glass of water was never the same to me again, in Austria or in any other part of the globe. I learnt to appreciate, respect and feel special to be served of a simple glass of water.
Tania Valera Cerqueira