Slightly Homesick…

This week has been kind of weird. Fall weather is setting in here in Vienna, and for some reason, that was the trigger for me to feel a little homesick for the States, Virginia in particular.

I don’t know why I was surprised, actually. It has happened every time we have been overseas! There just aren’t many other places in the world that have a proper fall. You know, with the leaves turning, the weather gradually getting nippier, and all the right foods and treats appearing on the table.

In Europe, it just gets colder and wetter. It’s really not a nice time of year. You spend a lot of time looking forward to it getting colder so at least the rain will turn to snow and things will be pretty. Seriously, I have even heard Europeans admit to this. Why do you think they have Christmas markets? To give everyone something to look forward to until it snows!

And they don’t have Halloween (not really) or Thanksgiving. Just a bunch of Catholic holidays that I don’t celebrate. I happen to love Thanksgiving. It’s all about food: one of my favorite subjects. And the being thankful part is nice, too. OK, I may actually enjoy having a break from cooking for the multitude the first year here. But I think after that, I will probably have to invite people over just to have someone to cook for.

I like fall food, too. I miss the farmer’s market. I bought a pumpkin the other day here and made soup. It was good soup, but that wasn’t a pumpkin. It was a squash. It was orange when I bought it, but it tasted like acorn squash and cooked up yellow. Maybe I can find a real pumpkin here, we’ll see. I wonder if I could grow one in a really big pot on my balcony next year? Maybe just the little pie pumpkins? It would be interesting to try.

Better than no pumpkin (not my photo).

All this probably has something to do with the winter blues. About halfway through our tour in Prague, I figured out that being stuck inside most of the time, and freezing my behind off whenever I was outside kind of got me down. Not to mention that stiff neck thing that happens to me every winter from fighting the cold. DUH.

I refuse to call this “seasonal affective disorder.” How is it a disorder?  I think it’s perfectly rational!

My husband actually likes cold weather, even the rain. I attribute this to his being of Slavic origin. I, on the other hand, am out of my native environment and it only stands to reason that I would have trouble adjusting. Not to mention I am hypothyroid and I really am cold, so there!

But, forewarned is forearmed. This time, I stocked up silk long johns before moving to Europe. This time, I have good coats, boots, hats, and flannel jammies to keep me warm. This time, I will have my “happy light” fired up and ready to go the first fall of the first year of the tour. And, this time, I live in a rooftop apartment with lots of light, not a badly-designed dark house in an expat ghetto!

I’m thinking of new strategies, too. Today I went out and bought bird seed for feeders that I hung outside the window. I love to see birds in the winter. We always had tons of them flocking around our feeders in Virginia. They keep the cat entertained, too. I’m just hoping we get a few songbirds here, and not those giant scary crows.

Poor kitty crouches down and tries to disappear every time one of these things flies over our balcony (not my photo.)

I also bought a German book on container gardening and an Austrian garden diary with planting times etc. It will be fun to try and read them and plan a garden for spring. I really do miss having a yard, but I’m going to make the most of these terraces, and I expect I’ll learn a few things in the process. We have big, west-facing windows in the dining room, too, so by March my dining table may be covered with little greenhouses.  I can sit there and pretend I am outside, lol.

And this country has decent, if expensive, gyms. (Oh, the perks of living in the first world!) We are going to join one soon. There is nothing–nothing–better for the winter blues than a few miles on the elliptical. I haven’t been to the gym in months. I know it’s going to hurt, but I’m looking forward to getting back in the groove.

So, big, bad, cold, wet, dark, Austrian winter, look out. We have ways of making you warm!


  1. growing pumpkins is kind of cool. You will want a big shallow pot, and a bunch of others that you can drape the vine over, so it will grow more roots and allow it to get bigger. A pumpkin plant took over our deck the year we grew it. We draped it up the steps and kept going. Then you can have the joy of plant sex (with a paint brush) once it starts flowering. I wish we could grow pumpkins here.

    Oh. Your homesickness is right on schedule you know. You may have to deal with SADD, but the homesickness is just that you have moved.


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