29 March 2017 – 13:30:00 CEST – The Letter

For a little over a week the date of Article 50 being triggered had been publicly known. The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom would end the speculation about the triggering of Article 50 – and delivered within the promised time-frame, i.e. before the end of March 2017.

I was in the office early, and busy working on a project that was just beginning, and I knew that I would be kept busy and that 13:30 would likely come and pass with no real discernible impact for me. As I got on the tram home, my plans for the evening had been fixed. The pleasant late-March sun meant that I would be barbecuing and would have a pleasant evening with my wife, enjoying steak with a glass of red wine (from our tame local wine maker) and with roasted potato wedges, with some Italian-style Salsiccia from our trusted sausage maker (another Briton in Vienna) for good measure. All very much business as usual, or rather a typical dinner at home.

However, the triggering of Article 50 was monumental in that it was the approach of the letter that would make me decide once and for all to commit to my host country, Austria, a country I had first visited in the Summer of 1988, as an 11 year-old. I returned for a Year Abroad, spent in the Murtal between September 1997 and June 1998. Then in July 2000, when a job in Brussels fell through, where I had spent two summers working for a now defunct American telecomms company, I boarded a red-eye flight from Stansted and set up shop in Austria. From a small garret in a hall of residence, via a flat-share, through to my own apartments, first rented, then owned, I had gradually cemented my host country in my affections. Marriage and fatherhood followed, and after two parallel jobs for 11 years, I became an in-house translator for a government authority. My allegiance to Vienna had been tested on occasions – I once went about 7 months without spending a weekend in the city – but thereafter soon met the love of my life, and any foolish thoughts of upping sticks and moving on were consigned to the past.

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