My name is Denise Fortin. I have lived for 5 and a half years in the 9th district (yeah, Niners) but in June, I will return to the DC area. When I arrived in Vienna, I was so busy setting up my apartment, acclimating my kids to new schools, and learning German in an intensive course. I was exhausted and unhappy. After two months of this terribly boring routine, I decided to join AWA and heed the call for Mahjong players, new and old. My life here in Vienna changed in one day. I met several women (Ruth, Deirdre, Kathy, Kim, Darlene) whom I now consider my dearest friends.
I started attending more AWA events and met more lovely women from so many different parts of the world and I learned about life in Finland, the many languages of Luxembourg and more than one way to say "balls" in British Slang. One night, I was invited to dinner at Kathy's place and she plied me with enough alcohol that I eventually agreed to write the Community events for Highlights. For the last two years, I have been spewing my knowledge of upcoming festivals and shows to the point of obsession (Eurovision). I apologize to those that graciously listened to me ramble on and to those I threatened if they didn't read my section.
What I love about Vienna is that, in the last five years, it has changed so much and yet still kept its old world charm. I’m always excited to see the new façade of a building after the scaffolding comes down or when a new store or restaurant opens up. I often take different ways to get to the center just so that I can note the changes. This year the city has outdone itself with the most beautiful tulips all over town. I also love that the Viennese hold so many outdoor festivals from the bike show to the brass band parade. My favorite event is the Weinwandertag at the end of September when you can walk through the vineyards and taste the local wines.
I will miss living in Vienna and everything it has to offer but, most of all I will miss the AWA and its merry band of women.