After eight months of being here, it’s time to get my blog rolling. I’ll start with a little geography.
We live in the southern state of Styria, or Steiermark in German, which is known as the ‘The Green Heart of Austria’ for the beauty of its land and the warmth of its people.
The nearest city is Graz, a 25-minute drive away. Graz is the capital of Styria and the second biggest city in Austria, although with a population similar to Cincinnati, Ohio I’ll leave it up to you to decide if that’s “big.” Vienna is 2 hours to our north, and Slovenia is about 40 minutes to the south; one of my co-workers commutes from Maribor to Graz and says it’s quite easy. If you drive an hour and a half east, you can go to Hungary, like my mother-in-law does every few months to get her hair done.
Our proximity to the Graz has proven to be an important part of my transition to life here. City culture is part of my psyche. And while it’s no major metropolis, I still rely on my frequent trips into Graz to vibe off the people and wander in the freedom of anonymity.
Despite being so close, the area immediately outside of Graz is very much the countryside. Our village is called Empersdorf, and it has approximately 1,325 1,326 people. It’s decorated by forests, cornfields, pumpkin patches, and rolling hills. Family-owned farms are prolific, many of whom are our neighbors. Aside from the highway, the roads are mostly unnamed, or at least not referred to by name. There’s an elementary school, a fire house, and a municipal office but not one shop, traffic light, or gas station.
I remember first visiting here and marveling at the 360 degree view of vast stretches of land. Having been so accustomed to flat elevation, I love how each hill offers a unique vantage point. In Empersdorf, no two houses have the same view.
Here is the view from my balcony every morning. Isn’t it beautiful?