5 Viennese Stories

Christian was a lonely 12 year old. Biki decided that she needs some time alone. Nathaniel could never stay put. Lisa decided to leave everything for one year. Ali was tired of all the hate in his homeland. These are stories from and about 5 of the individuals we met in Vienna. Stories of personal quests for connection and affirmation. Maybe all human stories are essentially that.

All the names have been changed for privacy reasons.

Shay’s name was not changed.

Christian was a lonely 12 year old. He joined an exclusive smart people’s club just so he could have friends. They were all much older then him, but accepted him as one of them. As he grew up, while appreciating their friendship and influence, he found something lacking. That was no environment for a teenage boy. So he joined other clubs, societies, and organizations. He used his family’s connections and money to give unto others and contribute to the world. But no group ever seems to fit entirely well. Maybe the next community he’s considering now will be the right one for him. Maybe there he’ll feel that he’s reached home.

Not a cure for loneliness: taking pictures of squirrels in your fancy attire.

Biki decided that she needs some time away from her husband. While they are consensually in a polyamorous relationship, it seems that they have a very different view of what that means. She seeks stability, an ability to grow and explore while still having the support of her husband, and his cooperation. But while she joins in his activities, sometimes only to show support and be with him, he refuses to give up any of his whims and “freedom” for her. He won’t be convinced into any organized schedule or agreement. Her needs go ignored, sometimes scorned.

A week apart, in different countries, seems to have done them well. She’s finding her own path, reaffirming her wants and needs. Feeling more confident, less dependent on him. From that place, it seems that the communication between them grows deeper. With less pressure on each other to live like the other expects them, they can be who they actually are. She’s willing to let him be part of her life, but she won’t give in to his needs without considering her own as well. Love cannot conquer all, but maybe this relationship has a chance after all.

Some time to hang out with the girls can help.

Nathaniel never could stay put. Ever since he was 17 he was on the move, challenging himself to find his place in society. Slowly, pursuing change itself became a target. Change of landscape and people, but also a change of society. He saw a lot that he didn’t like, and strives to change it. Instead of owning a car he cycles the city, and hitchhikes the world. Instead of a 9 to 5 in an office he only works when he wants to, or has to. Instead of buying food he goes dumpster diving. For variety in relationships and connections, he invites fellow seekers and travellers to his little apartment, sharing everything he has without expecting a return. Always on the move, always in the now, it seems to make him happy.

Don’t be afraid to be unusual, if it makes you happy.

Lisa decided to leave everything for one year. She had the means to buy an apartment, but decided that travelling was a more worthwhile way to use her hard earned money. She set out to see the world, and she doesn’t plan on missing out any part of it. Travelling from one city to another, looking for people and parties, she enjoys the location for a day or two, and then rushes to the next location. Vienna was a longer stop than planned because she got sick here. Her urgency to hit the road again was strongly felt, but so was her insistence to make the best of it.

Must see all monuments, but also chill with new friends.

Ali was tired of all the hate and fear in Palestine. Eleven years ago he came to Vienna to study, hoping to find peace here. For him, all people are equal, and concepts like borders and nationalities serve only to create conflict. Luckily, after a few years here he received a local nationality. Now he works here, doing what he loves, and living with his Ukrainian girlfriend. He only goes to Palestine to visit his family. He can’t imagine himself living there anymore.

It was bitter-sweet talking to him about shared landscapes from home. How easier it was for us to meet here than it ever was back in Israel. How we grew up so close, yet so far apart, for no real reason.

A peaceful, dignified life.

Interestingly, none of the people mentioned here are originally from Austria. Vienna is a great hub for people from all over the world to meet, and so our focus here changed, from sights and attractions to human encounters. This is where our lives intersected for the first time, but maybe we’ll meet them again sometime, somewhere…

Another week in Vienna awaits us. Who will we meet today?

We met a squirrel.

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