On Community and Cinnamon Scrolls
Having lived both short and long term in 5 countries over the last 7 years, I often think about how community works and how you can become more heavily involved in the existing networks in the place you live.
One of the biggest challenges for people who aren’t native speakers of the local language, is finding out about events and organisations to get involved with. Often I’ve miss out on something I’d like to have participated in because I’m not aware that it was happening, or I was nervous that I wouldn’t understand what was being discussed around me.
I don’t really have any big advice apart from be brave and expect it to take time. I’ve now been living in Linz for almost 2 years and things are finally clicking into place. It helps that once you’ve started hanging out with locals, they tell you about the interesting things that are going on.
So on Saturday night we went up to Ottensheim to Otelo (Offene Technologie Labor) for an open “living room” held in their kitchen / meeting area. Ottensheim is a small village about 11km away from Linz and it’s home to some of my favourite people here in Austria. There are villages and then there are nice villages full of interesting people aka Ottensheim. If a flat became available there, I’d move straight away.
Probably one of the keys to community is food. The first time we went up to visit Tim’s friends in Ottensheim I mentioned that I’d been wanting to try Schmalzbrot (bread with dripping) as my mother had fond memories of it from when she was a child in Austria. One of the people sitting in the park with us disappeared and returned 30 minutes later to surprise me with a loaf of rye bread and some schmalz she’d hunted down at the local guesthouse. Friendly and delicious. Yum.
I managed to speak German spontaneously on Saturday and to participate in Activity, a Scategories style board game. And there was delicious food.
My favourite would have to be the very good cinnamon buns that someone produced towards the end of the evening. Cinnamon buns can get hard very quickly so they are perfect for a big group to eat. These however, were soft and light and very, very fresh with just the right amount of cardomom in the dough.