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!

Showered!

Receiving the lederhosen onesie I posted way back when I was first preg.  It's pretty dang cute!

So, my wonderful friends here threw me a surprise baby shower last week.  I thought I was going over to my friend's house early to help her out with a little Farewell BBQ we were having.
I walked in and my friends all greeted/surprised me. 

the delicious and pretty goodies

How many cookies is that now?  Save some for fatty.

Amber, Monica, Wendy and Katelyn

With Amber, my American counterpart

I must have said something hilarious.

All my girls.

Lee does crazy things.  I love it.

Later all the husbands came for the BBQ.  Here with Claire and sweet Tristan.

Blurred up with Monica and Andreas.
Art and Andreas work next to each other...Monica and I are besties.

With Katelyn and Joe...former Pittsburghers that very well may be our first visitors.

Kim (hostess with the mostess), me, Cecile and Lee

Thanks so much, girls!  It meant the world to me.  I will miss you all dearly!!!
Surely Pittsburgh doesn't have a Ratpack like this. :)

The Final Stretch


Third trimester is here!  2 down, 1 to go.  I have a feeling this one will feel the longest.  Sleeping is already getting a bit uncomfy and the tinkle trips are multiplying at a rapid rate.  I got my hair darkened yesterday as it was getting over-highlighted and lookin' crusty...can't have no trashy highlight mama.  Gotta pamper yourself a bit when the rest of your bod is sufferin'. 

Our apartment is almost bare.  It's kinda sad and echo-y in here.  We've sold almost all of our furniture and are living in chaos...this kinda of thing gives me anxiety...I feel like my life is discombobulated and it kinda is.



In a week we'll be flying over the Atlantic.  Kinda ready to get on with this business, so I can set up shop in this new Pittsburgh town and have our babe!

And let's not forget eat at American restaurants...Mexican, sandwich shops, hamburgers...oh my.

IWA English Book Fair in Graz

For all English-speaking and reading Grazers:

As you know, English books aren't super easy to find here and they're expensive.  The IWA (English Women's Group) Book Fair will have used English books on sale this Saturday for 2 Euros. It's a good way to stock up on some summer reading.  There are desserts, children's toys and lovely ladies there too.

Join us!

Only a Month Left!

I can't believe we have less than a month left in Graz. It won't really hit me fully until we are gone and unpacking in a new unfamiliar city. We're trying to see our friends as much as possible before we leave (in between packing and working). I remember when I was upset the first 3 days we moved to Graz and it was rainy and cold and I was having second thoughts, Art said, "When it's time for us to leave here, which will come sooner than you think, you'll be sad to leave all the great friends you'll have then". I might have shrugged him off and said "but there's an Alf sticker saying something in German on our bathroom door...I mean..does it get worse than that?"

Our Aussie friends, Lee and Andrew, took us to brunch at the Opera House today..a monthly occurrence there. It was delightful.



We had a nice little surprise concert from an Australian violinist.


Tuesday was a holiday, May Day, and we spent it with our new American friends, Wendy and Eric, who've been here about a month now.
I'm sad we didn't get to spend more time with them.  As you can imagine, we have lots to discuss...it wasn't long ago that we were in their position.

Tuesday was also my mom's birthday.
My sister Molly did a cute tribute to her on her blog.

My mom, dad and Molly will all be in Pittsburgh when we arrive!  They will get our dishes, towels, bedding, etc. and set up our apartment a bit before we get there.  Also bringing lots of our brand new wedding gifts from 3 years ago that we've never used.  Hello All Clad set!  ha.  We can't wait to see them!


The Beginning of Best Buds


She has always been a snuggler (aka: leech), but recently she does seem to want to rest her head (and sometimes her whole 33 lb. self) on just my belly.  Will there be jealousy?  For sure.  But I think it will quickly turn into love.