In my first days of living with an Austrian family, I’ve noticed a few differences from my experiences at home in the USA (besides all the German). Nothing bad or earth-shattering, but funny little things that I wouldn’t have thought about.
1. House shoes. I don’t think I have ever worn them before–isn’t that what socks are for? This may be more common in colder parts of the US though.
2. The kids drink from grown-up glasses. Anna Sophie, who isn’t even two yet, drinks her juice from a glass made of…glass. Without a lid. I was impressed.
3. Closed doors. I found that here, when you leave a room, you close the door behind you–and there are doors everywhere. In most American houses, I would say there isn’t a door between the family room and kitchen, or the foyer and the first room. But Doris explained to me that here, each room has separate controls for the heating, so it makes sense to keep the heat trapped in that room. I do get confused in the basement, though, where there are about six identical doors!
4. Trash is complicated. You’ve got your paper, your plastic, your “regular trash,” your compost, the little capsules that make coffee, and the glass, all separated. I haven’t even asked about aluminum yet…
5. No clothes dryer. Obviously, there are Austrian families with dryers, but not the H. family. It only takes overnight for the clothes to dry on the rack, so it’s no big deal, and way better for the environment–although it means I’ll have to iron Anna Sophie’s little clothes.
6. All the greetings. Whenever you enter a room, everyone greets you. If someone leaves and comes back, you greet them again. I have been just smiling to acknowledge these entrances and exits, but I’m wondering if I should be saying Grüß Gott, Servus, Griass di, Morgen, Hallo, etc every time.
I’ll let you know more as my impressions collect…I think I’m a little bit overwhelmed, especially with putting my German together, meeting all kinds of new people, and learning the ropes of a new job. But I’m happy to be here, grateful for the opportunity, and already in love with this little munchkin!