Here goes: How I came to be an Austrian in England, how I met my husband and more..
After a decade of being teacher's pet my mood and marks had slipped into oblivion in my mid teens.
I was attending business college and in my third year of five I found it impossible to pass all thirteen courses.
Let me explain: In Austria you pick between different types of schools at age fourteen: Business, hospitality, trade school, etc. Each comes with a rigid set of compulsory subjects pertaining to that field.
Unfortunately, if you fail one you retake them all. French was my Achilles heel.
French, and the mind numbing cocktail of psychotropics I was prescribed on account of my overwhelming teenage ANGST!
Well, when things started to look up regarding my nihilist teenage nightmare, I decided to switch to business school (business college light) which I could complete that same year. Au revoir Francais!
Business school left me with a slew of certificates, none of which qualified me to apply to university. So, with my parents' support I headed for England to study, and study the subjects of my choice only! But from the start I knew I would probably stay after leaving full time education. It only seemed natural.
Shortly before turning nineteen I boarded a one way flight to England and checked into a Cambridge youth hostel, which I called my home until I found more permanent accommodation. I worked as a cleaner in the very same over the course of that summer and became fast friends with the other staff. I'll have you know, nobody makes one hundred bunk beds quicker than me. ;)
Even after I moved out of the dormitories and swapped my cleaning job for full-time education that autumn (sixth-form college: the final two school years before university) I remained a permanent fixture at the house the youth hostel staff shared. I only left to sleep and go to college. See, what with a house full of shift workers it was always somebody's weekend, which led to a year round party. Somebody leaving for work meant it was home time for someone else. I wasn't the only permanent house guest either: There were others like me who didn't live there, but the neighbours probably thought we did.
One day a new face answered the door for me. I pushed past unceremoniously, explaining "I am furniture" as I disappeared down the hallway. The new guy, David, and I soon became close friends, initial rudeness on my part aside.
As for college: I was going to study two computing related subjects, 20th century American History and Mixed Media Art, but one of my two IT courses was overbooked so I signed up for Photography on a whim. Told you, chance is a beauty.
During school holidays I'd return to work at the youth hostel reception and after getting my A-Levels I took a year out working there full time.
Around this time David and I appeared to run out of things to talk about. Two years after I'd given him the furniture treatment, two years of constant chatter, and there we were, dumbstruck. Loooooooong silences.
One day I waved to him from the first floor window as he was leaving for work. In one swift movement I knocked my glasses right off my nose. My specs fell out that window, bounced once and were no more. I was stuck in a blurry, distorted world that day. No spare pair you ask? Well, I did have one, but I had recently broken those when knocking myself over the head with a hoover. That evening David took me out in a feat to distract me from half blind gloom. We'd spent most evenings together for the past two years, but this time it was a date. And that was that.
The following year we moved up North together, where I studied for my BA (Hons) in Photography and Digital Imaging. After graduation we returned to Cambridge and got hitched. At the Youth Hostel of course. :D
After uni I returned to work at the hostel one final time and over the course of a year I took hundreds of portraits of the tourists and migrants passing through. Check them out here. Once I had completed my project I took a job in Drug Safety and that's where I am still to be found from nine to five.
I chose not to make photography my bread and butter as I was worried I wouldn't find the energy to create personal work if I were already spending all day on assignment. Now that I'll soon have space to break out my studio gear once again, I am stoked to get back into the swing of it.
It's hard to believe I've been in this country for over a decade already. That also means I have been "officially all grown up" for just as long. I expect it'll never stop feeling like I am only pretending to be an adult. I sure wouldn't want that. Growing up is for kids.
dress & cardi clips:etsy