Thursday, 3 September 2015

Back After A Year | Impressions

While being in Scotland for a year, living in Vienna has changed for me. Sometimes I walk out of the house and am confused about how to do something  - even if it's something I've been doing on a daily basis throughout my whole life.
I thought I'd give you some examples to show you how different those two cities are and to let you know what I prefer. This is a long post with lots to read, so better grab yourself a cup of tea! :)

PUBLIC TRANSPORT
Public transport is probably the first topic I can think of when I get asked about how life is like in the UK. I have to say that I was pretty annoyed with the system in Edinburgh. It's true that there are so many different bus services and there's even a tram( that only has one route), but that was still a letdown for me. Going to College took me usually about 40 to 50 minutes because I had to take two buses and they only come every 10 minutes if not even later at some points. Going back home was even worse because of the traffic - I was usually home in about an hour and 10 minutes.
Also, waiting for the buses was torture at times because the shelters are not really thought through and since it's INCREDIBLY windy there, you can't even hide properly to not get too cold or wet when it's raining.
People also queue to get on the bus and everyone has to show their buspass to the driver (there's only one entrance!), which makes the whole getting-on-and-off-process so long! Sometimes it drove me crazy!
Here in Vienna, I am happy to have all the different underground trains, trams, fast trains and buses. You can literally get everywhere within minutes! No matter how busy it is, and let's not forget how big Vienna is compared to Edinburgh and how many people live here. This is a huge plus because I don't need to get up 2 hours before work/school to get there on time.


HEALTH
In Edinburgh I felt really good at first, but once winter came I began being ill very often - you could even say I was ill constantly. For that reason I visited the GP so many times throughout that year- I can't even remember seeing the doctor so often here in a year!
And the worst thing about it is that you always have to make appointments. At times I was already so sad that nobody could check on me that it made my cry. I felt terrible and really wanted some help and all I heard was that there are no appointments left for the whole day and often I even heard the same thing the next day too. How is it possible to call in at the time the practice opens, just to hear that all appointments are already booked? I will never understand.
Going to your GP in Vienna is easy- you just go whenever the practice is open. It's good to get there as soon as it opens because you won't need to wait for too long, but you will always see the doctor without making an appointment before and this is great.
Another aspect of health is medicine. In the UK it seems to me that people don't get that ill. Usually they only get bugs or a cold and then they get well again after a few days. From what I know about Austria and Poland, people do get all possible illnesses that are really uncool and they have to take antibiotics, and will get well within a week or two.
So, I figured out that doctors in the UK prefer prescribing you Paracetamol or Ibuprofen only, and hope that you'll be fine. I had tonsillitis for basically three weeks and went to the GP every week because it only got worse and worse, and then finally after two weeks I got antibiotics!
A good thing there is that you don't need to pay for any kind of medicine when you got it prescribed.
In Vienna you do need to pay about 5 Euros for a prescription - which still is alright, but I preferred the UK system.
In Edinburgh I had an amazing dentist ( and I have a terrible phobia, so I was so happy there) and I decided to make sure all my teeth are healthy. Ater every visit I had to make another appointment for a check up in 6 months. A few days ago I went to a doctor here and then I asked if I already have to make an appointment for the next check up next year and she was like "Um, no. Just a few weeks before the year goes to an end". And then I remembered again that Austria is not that much about appointments and felt a bit dumb.


PEOPLE
I am used to many people because I live in a pretty big capital, with people from around the world and also tourists from everywhere. When it comes to groups of people that you see very often in Vienna, I'd say there are many people from the Balkan or Turkey and those areas. In Edinburgh though, I felt like Polish people where literally everywhere! Apart from them there are also many Indian and Pakistani people. Also, in Austrian supermarkets you can find Chinese or Turkish food for example, whereas in British supermarkets you find all possible Polish products. I am not trying to offend any culture here, it's just something I realised when comparing living in both cities and I think this is just interesting.
People in the UK in general are also more happy, friendly and helpful. Strangers will smile at you and even start random conversations. I remember when Eryk smiled at a woman in Vienna and he was confused why she didn't smile back. But here people are more like "Do I know him/her? What's wrong with that person?" Eryk probably seemed a bit dodgy to that woman without a reason really.
At work we were basically forced to speak to customers at the tills because either they'd start talking or you had to ask them how they are. Customers would even say "How are you doll? Thank you love" and such things. And I felt so strange because at first I couldn't really tell if men were being flirty or just kind. Here cashiers don't talk to you. They only tell you how much you pay and you're done.


DOCUMENTS
I never actually needed to sort out any documents for myself because my mum would look after such things, and then when I moved out I had to do everything on my own. Basically without any help. My mum would tell me what to do but she wouldn't understand that everything is different in Edinburgh. I still have no idea how to get a normal insurance in the UK- I only got an Insurance number and I don't even know what it is for, I'm pretty sure it's not an insurance already...
When I had to sort out things like the Insurance number, getting a phone, setting up a bank account, having problems with my bank account or my phone - everything I got told to do was to call them! When I wanted some information about the Uni, I couldn't just go there and speak to someone, I was told to call in. I also never got to fill in difficult forms that are 200 pages long. And over here, I see my mum always filling in so many forms, writing letters and going to all different places to get something done. I hardly ever see her sort something out through the phone.
Being here already worries me because I am not sure if I'll understand all those things and if I'll do everything right because it seems to be so complicated.

WEATHER
This is weird, but I am so surprised myself so I wanted to include this too.
First of all- it is nearly always cold in Edinburgh, and it is always so windy! It doesn't rain as often as I thought it would though, but there's less sunshine than I thought. But now, imagine being in town when it starts to rain and you want to use your umbrella but you just can't because of the hurricane-like wind. Great, isn't it? Sometimes I would come to work soaking wet and I couldn't even change my clothes or anything.
And even though it is always cold I would still go out and explore or do the shopping even though I would freeze so much I'd like to cry.
I'm basically used to warm temperatures and I already missed hot weather so I was more than happy to come home and get to feel a very hot summer this year. And now that it's been a bit rainy over the last two days I'm like trapped at home because I think to myself "Oh my god it's only 16 degrees outside, it's so cold and cloudy and rainy" Well. Some months ago this was my everyday-life and I still left the house without complaining.
The Scottish winter was amazing to me because we never really had temperatures below 0 degrees and it wasn't snowing too much either. So even in December I'd wear dresses with tights and my furry coat and be perfectly fine. Now that summer is coming to an end and winter will be coming soon, I am terrified about the temperatures in Vienna. It may not be that terribly cold but I will still hate it most likely.
What I absolutely miss now is that the days are so bright for so long in Edinburgh. I think it's because it's so high in the North. During summer it is still bright outside at 10 pm - I'm not even exaggerating! And even at night when I woke up, I couldn't really tell if it was still bright or already bright. And the brignth orange/pink/red sunsets are just BEAAUTIFULLL!I absolutely loved those "longer" days because here it is pitch black at 8 and I feel like it's so late that the only thing I can do at that time is going to bed. I also used to pick up Eryk from work at 10 or 11 at night and I was never scared and here I'm like "nope, definitely not" when I think of going out alone at night.


OTHER
UK: People often start work at the age 16, whereas in Vienna I never saw my friends work at that age! My first job was the one in Edinburgh and when I told the managers, they were shocked.
UK: When I was ill I didn't get paid for the hours I didn't work, which to my mum was strange because apparently in Austria you do get paid when you're sick.
UK: Every flat/house has its walls painted in the exact same colour- it's called Magnolia. And then you also always get old, disgusting carpet floors. As if laminate flooring wasn't easier to keep tidy and good looking? In Vienna you usually see white walls and wooden floors.
UK: A very cool thing is that in Edinburgh you mostly get detached/semi detached houses instead of tall blocks of flats, which means that most likely you have a garden and no loud neighbours everywhere around your flat.
UK: Supermarkets and drugstores seem to be usually very big and they have all the things you could possibly need. Drugstores in Vienna disappoint me a bit because they usually only have about 6 brands of make-up.
UK: You don't need to get your mail from a mail box outside your house/flat - you get it delivered to your home, which is great!
UK: I love self-checkouts in shops! Please bring them to Vienna!


For now I can't really think of anything else that might be interesting, but I'd love to answer all your questions so feel free to ask whatever you'd like and I'll try to answer them in a video ( if you'd like) - Just make sure to ask enough ;)

-Olivia

~03.09.2015~

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