It's been roughly a year since we moved from Vienna to a picturesque village in one of Tyrol's many valleys. I am not a village-compatible person, I'm afraid. One year in, I have failed to start conversations with the folk, which I tell myself is because of corona - but I know the truth deep within. It's because it's almost impossible to "get in" to a Tyrolean village.
There are some bespoke customs, days, even daytimes you only understand when you've been "indoctrinated" with the folks' customs from very early on. Ways to speak, how to greet, whom to avoid, when to greet - every little piece of code the villagers are intrinsically aware of is a mountainous task to master for everyone looking in from the outside. Unspoken rules, rituals and customs rattle your everyday life, as you fail to grasp why the marching band is playing now at five am in front of your window. Why the children don their finest clothes, or who has mowed their lawn on a Sunday.
I don't mean to be condescending or disrespectful - it's just like being thrown in a jungle without knowing the rules, without knowing how things are done. And with a very little radius for gossip to travel, you know your fail to grasp the village concept may be living room gossip in a day or two.
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