Sunday, September 15, 2013

It's hard to screw into brick...

Today's exercise in frustration is a perfect metaphor in the difficulties of expat life in Europe.  Don't get me wrong, it won't paint a particularly intelligent picture of me as an American either:)

Jackson, our lovely, well traveled 13 year old yellow Labrador had an accident this morning, bless his poor little heart.  So Jon took out the trash after the initial clean up while I mopped the floor with our very cool honey scented wet swiffer.  Then Jon took the dog out, and so I thought I would hang some things on the walls, to make it seem homier and more organized.  

Great thought, right? Oh, we are so simple minded! My friend, Iris, had told me that the reason houses were so expensive here was because they were all made of brick.  But of course, I didn't necessarily understand that this fact included apartment buildings.  

So, as I am screwing Jon's tie rack into the closet wall, I am noticing that you can really work up a sweat doing home improvement.  Then I notice that the tie rack isn't getting any closer to the wall.  And Iris' comment amount the brick buildings pops into the forefront of my mind.  But I don't stop trying to screw the tie rack in.  Surprisingly, plaster and wallpaper can hold up more than you think.  Pretty soon the tie rack is actually getting further away from the wall.  Great.

Being the obviously sensible person that I am, I finally give up on the tie rack.  I now move to the hall off our entry way, where I want to put up these cute little horse head hooks from my late father.  They are fashioned out of old, polished horseshoes.  I figure they will be excellent wall hangers for the dog's leash and maybe an extra jacket or something.  

I assure myself that because these screws are shorter, it would work, no problem. But guess what? Not so much.  So now, my husband comes home with the dog, and I am sweaty and grumpy with no successful home improvement projects completed.

Now, you might ask, why is this a perfect metaphor for a couple of Americans moving to Austria? Well, because, everything here is harder to accomplish than we plan on. But, what might even make it slightly more frustrating is, it still all makes sense.  Even if we don't realize until after we've started to screw a tie rack into a brick wall...

One of these days we will settle into this other rhythm, where life is slower but has more richness to it. But until we make that graceful change, expect more entertaining stories of two Americans who often make things harder than they need to be:)