Expat Resource Centre

Expat Stories: Tania in Vienna

In the Summer Edition 2016 of Your Health Matters, we invited our readers to take part in an exciting competition and share their ‘first day’ stories about life abroad. We received entries from many people all over the world, and we are delighted to share here our winner submission! The winner of this competition was Tania Valera. Take a look at Tania’s winning entry below, where she told us a bit about her life abroad, and the first espresso she had in Vienna.

Vienna skyline

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