Outfit: Winter Blues

It’s starting to get mighty chilly in Vienna this week. And knowing that there is only more coldness to come I decided to wear the last of a late summer outfit while I still could.

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A simple shirt & jeans and a dirty pair of converse would usually be a late summer fall outfit but by adding a coat, a wool scarf and a cosy vest singlet underneath I managed to stay a toasty warm and avoid another sweater. Because sweater after sweater day after day can be so boring and claustrophobic for someone who likes a little variety and lightness in their clothes.

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How about these converse. Too dirty? Or just dirty enough? Did I mention that 90% of my closet is in storage. And in a fit of trying to pack light I decided to 2 pair of shoes would be enough for what will be  now till the end of the year. And all my winter boots & shoes are in a box under a pile of probably 20 other boxes. 2 pairs of light type shoes in November & now December? What was I thinking?

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Stripe Dress

Sometimes you need a quick outfit pick me up. Sometimes they include stripes. I grabbed this oversized stripe t-shirt dress on the cheap at H&M recently.  Thinking it would be the perfect dress to throw on over a swimsuit and for basic spring time bumming around.

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I love stripes. Especially blue ones. Thin stripes. Thick stripes. Whats great about this dress is it has some nice vertical stripes happening. Which adds a little but much-needed length and height.

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There is something about stripes that just screams summer. Beach. Ice cream. Boats. Basic all round good times.

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I am also obsessed with this H&M nail polish find – hopscotch. Which is a really pretty neutral grey blue color. I can’t find it online but have a look in store. I have only good things to say about the H&M new nail polishes. They have awesome colors.  They have nice wide brushes and don’t chip too easy if you apply a proper top coat.

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A vintage hat. A white pair of converse and this may be my new go to summer uniform.

 

Babe You Got This

Vienna does this magical thing every spring. It’s like you dropped a whole bunch of hallucinogenics and the sky turns blue. The grass is green again. Flowers start blooming.You litreally hear birds chirping like you are starring in your own Disney movie.  Coming from a country without real seasons. I can only compare spring in Vienna to maybe what was like seeing color TV was the first time.

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And you know you have survived another winter which is like a real life version of the game of thrones threat. It’s a weird transition. You filled with joy and outside becomes a pleasant thing again. But it’s like sudden bang. Then you don’t trust spring. Is it really here? You keep checking your weather app to see if tomorrow is really going to be 19 degrees. Can I wear sandals at 20 degrees?  What if it gets cold again?  Can I really trust this? Can i finally feel relaxed and breathe sunshine?

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Basically if you are a warm weather expat Winter in Vienna you are in survival mode. You start counting the months left to warmer weather like a retirement from the worst job ever. March is the hardest month for me. My vitamin D level must be dangerously anorexic. I feel like I have made it through the worst of the winter. My flight or fight response. Is to fight the winter like a very cold lion warrior. But come March I retreat to flight like a an anxious poodle with an excited bladder and anxiety issues. I surrender very non graciously usually in a hysterical puddle.

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But then Spring finally comes and I finally feel like myself again. I start to feel that connection to earth and nature. I want to hug strangers and dance naked.It is literally akin to what I imagine is bi polar. (undiagnosed) thank you! It is a really beautiful rebirth but its a very stark contrast.

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I havent looked this happy since September!!!!! I picked up this shirt at H&M on the super cheap last week. Babe you got this. To be interpreted as in an empowered “I have this on lockdown” or as in “Please pay for dinner lover”. Take your pick I am going with the empowered version! I am going to ride this magical dragon of spring. Renewal. Rebirth. Sunglasses & skirts.

In the infamous words of Robin Williams-

Spring is nature’s way of saying, ‘Let’s party!’

 

 

 

Incognito

Call me crazy?  But I sometimes pretend when I am choosing what to wear some days. That I am terribly famous. Like lady Gaga, JK Rowling, Kanye West type famous. And I am trying to look undercover cool so I don’t get papparazzi’d. But if i did i would look effortlessly chic and end up in a “how to travel in style and stay comfortable” in some trashy magazine article. #goals

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I obscure theme dress daily. It’s like day dreaming but with fashion. Sometimes before falling asleep I will mentally pre pack my wardrobe for Paris fashion week. Or for my non existant trip to the Greek islands. When in reality all I am going the next few days is to the nearest supermarket and Starbucks.

This look is called “You kinda don’t want to be seen but you want to look good not being not being seen” This look comes in handy for hangovers, doctors appointments, dirty hair & fat days.

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Hat here
Top & Scarf – Vintage
Pants- H&M

 

Confessions Of A Hypochondriac-Who Lives Overseas

Confessions of a hypochondriac who happens to live in a foreign country

So true story a few years ago I had been having the sorest throat imaginable. The kind where it hurts so much all you want to do is eat ice cream and curl up in a ball and sob for your mother. So after a few days of pain I head off to my fairly fluent English-speaking GP Doctor here in Vienna. She took one look at my throats and says very bad angina. Pronounced an- gee-na. I start to panic. What the fuck is in angeena? Is it fatal. I start searching my brain for a translation and come up with angina. As in an- gine-a. Kinda like vagina but drop the V and add a N.

I think ANGINA I think has vaguely something serious to do with my heart. What’s wrong with my heart it’s my throats that hurts? Is that a symptom of some bigger problem?

I ask her again what do I have? She tells me she doesn’t know the English word. She writes me a script for antibiotics and a sick note. Shakes my hands and dismisses me from her office.

I leave completely confused feeling out of control, alone and feverish. It wasn’t until I read my sick note and notice the word strepdocockal something did I realise I had strep throat.

Seeing a Dr at the best of times is a struggle for me. I am not the kinda hypochondriac who gets every test under the sun. And wants second opinions. I am more the avoidance type of hypochondriac that puts of  pap smears for years. Have managed somehow to not get blood drawn in 10 years. 

They call it white coat syndrome.

I have had a few health issues in the 5 years living in Vienna Austria. From basic sinus infections to hip bursitis. And it had been incredibly challenging to navigate a completely foreign health care system.

When I have something wrong with me medically. It helps my anxiety to be given all the information and feel like I understand it. I need a patient and understanding dr.

And TRUST me when I say Austrian dr’s are not known for their bedside manner.

The solution sometimes is to bring my partner to dr appointments. And while it’s incredibly helpful to have a translator. It’s also really un empowering. It makes me feel childish and dependant.

I had a friend who had to get her first mammogram here in Austria. Now a mammogram especially your first one can be completely harrowing. Even if you don’t suffer from any form of health anxiety. Maybe back home you would have your older sister go with you to the appointment. Or perhaps you have a lovely family doctor that you trust to walk you through something like that.

But being an expat you have to put your big girl pants on and fly solo .

Your thinking why don’t I just speak better German ? But when it comes to my health and perhaps a medical emergency where I don’t want t have to search for words. If I am already at the doctors or hospital or optometrist I am usually feel sick and scared.  I don’t want to leave my health down to  grammatically a margin of error.

Here are my biggest tips I have learnt on how to cope with accessing health care as an expat.

Try to find an English fluent dr. They all say English fluent. But look for a dr that has studied medicine abroad. Or a native speaking dr. (The only problem with this is most of these kind of dr’s seem to be the private kind) So consider getting private health insurance or paying out-of-pocket.

Find a fairly fluent pharmacist who can communicate with you on how to take any medicines. When. With food. Not food and any possible interactions.

Lean on your expat friends. They are all in the same boat. Some have been here longer. Know a good Orthopedic or a great gynecologist. They are your sisters from another mister. They are happy to support you.

If you do suffer from health anxiety be honest and upfront with your dr’s. Ich habe angst. Tell them they need to add a little more reassurance and understanding to your appointment.

And just be kind to yourself. And take pride you have the strength to live abroad. A lot of people couldn’t. Or wouldn’t. And here you are getting mammograms along with your schnitzel.

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