Why I Love Austria…

three vignettes showing Austrian landscape, Vienna cityscape and a Viennese palace inside

Cultures differ not only in things like dress, in former times especially. Or their language(s). People’s outlook on life is determined by the culture they have been brought up in to a great extent.
The culture we live in – or with – later has a powerful influence too, though.

When I was still rather young, I came across the book by Bahman Niruvand, a Persian refugee from his original country to Germany. It’s called “Leben mit den Deutschen” / “Life with the Germans” and reflects his experience of differences in outlook in some striking and well-painted colours.

One little anecdote he recounts I remember to this day although it must be close on 20 years that I read the book. He stated that whenever exiled Persians met on one of their conventions, the passing of years showed more and more clearly in their behaviour and outlook, which country of refuge they came from.

He named Italy and Germany as examples and put it like this:

    • Persian exiles living in Germany were always extremely well-informed, organized – and a tad depressed.
    • Persian exiles living in Italy were less well or almost not informed, a little unorganized – and usually happy.

Michael Niavarani, director of the famous traditional “Kabarett Simpl” in Vienna once put an idea about Austrians this way:

“They say Austrians are the half-successful attempt of Bavarians to become Italian.”

I wonder if that isn’t true, after all…

I love this country of Austria, I am a German by birth and education and have spent a lot of my life among Persians. I found the mixture of realism and at the same time romantic, emotional outlook on life among Persians most intriguing, and still do.

And the closest I see people getting to that outlook are Austrians: they look on life with all a romantic can bring to it and at the same time grumble and complain, when irritated at things not working as usual…

Most striking of all seems to me the ability to just sit and ‘be and relish the moment’, in meetings, at desks, or after work, together with friends or colleagues, having the occasional glass of those wonderful Austrian wines – or a beer…

Vienna November 2020 – Now, Again, Forever: Peace!

peace dove drawing

The events in Vienna are dreadful and tragic. My heart goes out to all who are affected!

Let’s take care that in everyday life, each day, we know that such deeds never exist in mid-air, unrelated.

(Neighbourly) love, peace and equality are the basic ingredients of a truly peaceful world, some day, hopefully soon.

Self-esteem, appreciation for all around us will help to spread what is good.

And voting for all those politicians, who want better things than just power and money at the expense of many, for the benefit of few. In truth and clear-headed knowledge.

Peace!

Vienna – A Paradise Lost and Won

I live in Vienna, the city of my childhood joy and adult dreams.
I am not your typical dreamer: I know about people and about life, more than most. I have read a great lot; I have thought a lot. I have worked in many jobs during my studies. I studied literature and culture of the US, UK and Persia. I have read about many more. I have an M.A. to my name.

Yet, Vienna, the long and relaxed cultural tradition of mixed heritage, the faint glimmer of a monarchy that ended a century ago but was hundreds of years in place; the older and newer places in the town and city, the gardens and parks, and last but not at all least, the people:

Vienna is the city where you still feel the pace of a more human speed, as I put it earlier, in German: “where you are – elegantly – never in a real hurry.”

Milton called his epic masterpiece ‘Paradise Lost’. It is based on the Christian religion.

Vienna never was a paradise, if you looked closely enough: it has an old-world charm and flair though that is as unique as that of Paris, France, or that of Prague, Czechia.

Artists, musicians and writers lived and died here. Mozart, Beethoven, Haydn, Strauß, father and son, Schubert and Brahms, to name just a very few, composed world-famous musical pieces, concertos and operas people have listened to and loved (or hated…) for centuries.

I worked in the so-called ‘Wienerwald’ for two years, a region that is surrounding Vienna and is a real forest in many places: the air in Vienna and in that forest is of a certain balmy nature you may feel making you almost dizzy, like a glass of champagne.

I am not exaggerating, if you ever get the chance to come here and are the least bit sensitive to that kind of impression, you will know. And it is that one-glass-of-a-good-wine-feeling, such as wines you find around here in abundance too, not a drunken kind of state, at all.

All this is true. As well as the truth about people, who are often very similarly human inside of a region, a culture – or inside and out of ‘business’. Ideas and points of view are similar.
So, Vienna as well is very human. It’s not a paradise in the fairy-tale sense.

It is a paradise in spite of and because of the slightly frayed seams of its dress.

I love it.