A Nice Way to Wrap Things Up

(actual link here, page 12)

Last week a journalist from the paper here in Graz, Kleine Zeitung, e-mailed me about doing a short story on me and my blog (her colleague had told her about it) in their Sunday excerpt section.  I met her for coffee the next day in the midst of all the packing and furniture selling and had a good time reliving and reviewing my experience here in Graz through our conversation.

The sign I'm holding says "My Story"...a weekly feature they do on a Graz resident.  I never did say I was a cowgirl because I most certainly am not being city girl from Houston, but people can't help themselves when they hear 'Texas'. :)

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English translation:

Traveled to the Past 
A full-blooded American moves to Graz and becomes a Styrian. Proof: her blog.

TEXT: SABRINA LUTTENBERGER, PHOTO: Gernot Eder

On her wrist Carolyn Valentín wears a wooden bracelet adorned with many little Edelweiss. Three and a half years in Graz, and even a well-kept cowgirl from the very conservative Texas now lives white-green. Initially: unimaginable. "Honestly, I did not even know what language you spoke here. I just googled it" said Valentín, grinning. Typical American, that's clear, but that was then.

In February 2009, Valentin's husband took a job at TU Graz University, and together they moved to an unknown land to them, to a city of which they knew nothing. The American created a blog for her family and her friends, and later got many questions from strangers who were interested in living in the city. The first entries were about Valentín handling the culture shock. "It felt like we were traveling back in time. Graz kind of looks like 1950." Today the 32-year-old still sees her second home as old-fashioned, but now appreciates this charm. You can live a life here, she says, that one can also very much enjoy. We learned to appreciate little things again. And suddenly their old ways of living sometimes seem strange to them: "Everybody drives big cars (in Texas) so you are rarely walking and almost always sitting."  In her time in Graz, Valentin has enjoyed the walking,  the fresh bread and the Austrian coffee house culture. About herself she says: "I'm basically still the same person - only more open and less judgmental." An American 2.0.

Next week, the current web designer, her husband and the baby in her belly move back home. Next Residence: Pittsburgh. What they'll miss: the Schlossberg and the medical care. Really looking forward to: more choice in supermarkets and their family. There is only one thing the blogger regrets: to have never really learned German. Without fixed employment, it was almost impossible". "It was one of the best times of my life" They would like to visit again - she says it's a "must". Her husband already has plans to retire in the Styrian wine country.

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Thanks to Sabrina for the feature!  It was a treat and a great keepsake.  

We'll miss you, Graz!

We fly out tomorrow!

16 comments:

Juliette said...

This is so fitting: an expat inquiry of yourself at the end of your Graz time! Love it! (and the Germans would do the same thing with Texas and cowgirls, ha ha!) Happy trails you 3!

Katrin said...

Lovely article, that does you and your great blog justice. Hope to hear from your adventures in Pittsburgh. Save journey! Shame we only me twice for a coffee. Hugs!

Anonymous said...

Love your blog! Hope you keep it for a while in the web! Wish you all the best for your future!

Anonymous said...

Carolyn, Congrats! This is an awesome way to exit your Graz experience. You really had a great time in Graz. Hugs, Monika Detroit

Monica said...

I'll miss my Texan cowgirl ;-)

Anonymous said...

Gute Reise Carolyn. I have so enjoyed reading your blog over the past couple of years. Have a safe trip and I wish you the best in your new endeavors in Pittsburgh:)

Simply Bike said...

Hi Carolyn,

I usually just lurk and don't really comment but I wanted to say what a wonderful end to your time in Graz and to wish you a safe journey to your new home in Pittsburgh. Will you continue to write about the next stage in your life?

Best wishes,
S.

Rachel in Heidelberg said...

Yay! You finally become famous! I told you the publishing deal is just a whisker away then you can do a sequel when you & Art move to the Styrian countryside & open your own Buschenschrank selling Tex-Mex-Sytrian delicacies :p

Anonymous said...

http://vimeo.com/36539711

Molly said...

SEE YOU SOON, SIS

:)

Elke said...

Hi Carolyn,
I was that 'colleague' (actually I'm 'just' a proofreader at the Kleine Zeitung) - as a former exchange student to Ohio I've been enjoying your blog and thought it would be an interesting story for G7 - and it was. Glad to see it also turned out to be a nice wrap up for you and hope you'll continue sharing your impressions of life with us - even if it's not life in Graz...!

Kim aus Kanada said...

Hey! I'd go to a Buschenshank that offered honest-to-goodness queso! :-D

Great article and very fitting end to your Life in Graz! Looking forward to reading about Life in the Pitts! Or 'BurgherLife! Or....hmmm...well...good luck figuring out a new name for your blog! :-)

xo Kim

esd said...

I loved following your journey. All the best to you and the family on your trip back here to the states!

Marlies said...

Wish you ALL the best!
And thank you for enjoying Graz! ;)

jja said...

All the best for you and your familiy :-)
And...you can learn german in 2-3 years pretty good, you just have to find german friends.

Braden S said...

I enjoy your work very much. I have looked at most of your portfolio and I was hoping you would work your creative sort of magic on my site. I was shopping around for quotes until I came to see your designs. I am very particular, but your minimal style and great attention to detail is what I have been looking for. I sent an email, and I am sorry for pestering you like this on the comments, but I am excited to receive a quote and see if you have time to fit me into your schedule.

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Thanks for leaving me a comment! You know I love it so.
- Carolyn