Is it really the 4th of July next Wednesday? It’s hard to believe we’ve been living abroad for nearly a month. Reflecting on these first experiences, I’m realizing how little I was prepared for true city living. There’s no car; we walk or ride public transportation everywhere we go. As an adult, it’s ideal; Vienna is a wonderful city to explore on foot and the subway system in is incredibly efficient. For my suburban children, it’s a huge adjustment. I finally caved and bought a stroller for our weary three-year-old, otherwise we’d never make it out of the neighborhood. On the plus side, it doubles as a grocery cart, a necessity now that we’re lugging everything home. Our daily excursions are always accompanied by a trip to the supermarket to restock the pantry. Gone are the weekly Target runs and buying in bulk. The refrigerator in our apartment is only slightly bigger than the one I had in my dorm room. We have plenty of living space otherwise in a beautifully restored building. The neighbors are friendly and gracious, though I’ve been frantically buying rugs to muffle the sound of our children hollering from room to room. They’ve never lived in a building with shared walls. The biggest highlight for them by far is the elevator. Augie plays bellhop and takes requests, the three of them bursting into giggles as we stop on every. single. floor. (Thankfully, we never encounter other passengers). I’m always keeping an eye out for children their age, wondering how quickly mine will adapt to city life. Will they zip to school on a scooter by September? Will they ride public transportation alone someday? Will they ever speak at a normal decibel level? Our neighbors have a five and seven-year-old and I watch in envy as they leave the building on bicycles or politely follow their parents down the street. Like most Austrian kids, they appear perfectly composed. Though every once in a while, if the noise dies down in our own apartment, I can sometimes hear the sound of a complete meltdown and reader, it is music to my ears.