Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Science of Moving to Vienna

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NARRATOR: A job offer is taking a family from California...

It just happens to be that they need an obscure scientist.

...and bringing them a little closer to home in Austria.

Going back to Europe is kind of my dream.

A tight market...

VIRGINIA: My biggest fear is

that we're not going to find a place in time.

NARRATOR: ...and an incoming baby

are creating differing expectations.

It doesn't come with a washing machine. We'd have to buy one.

They are looking for something old, but we have the kid.

VIRGINIA: Oliver's only 3. I'd just be a bit worried about him with the stairs.

Like if he falls down the ultra-steep staircase?

NARRATOR: "House Hunters International" moves

to the City of Dreams -- Vienna, Austria.

So, there we go.

[ Doorbell rings ]

-- Captions by VITAC --

Closed Captions provided by Scripps Networks, LLC.

I specialize in very obscure science.

DARREN: I'm one of only 10 people

who do this exact type of groundwater age-dating.

NARRATOR: When Darren met Virginia, he felt the chemistry,

but she wasn't exactly blinded by his science.

I was a grad student back in London,

and one of the labs that they actually did

a radiocarbon dating was Darren's lab.

I took her for a tour around the mass spectrometer.

VIRGINIA: And I flew back to England, but he pursued me.

I finally said, "Okay, I will date you,"

and then five years later,

he was putting a ring on my finger.

NARRATOR: And as their family grew,

their idyllic California home didn't seem a perfect fit.

We live just outside San Francisco

on the Sacramento River Delta.

We've got a boat in the backyard.

I'm here as a stay-at-home mom during the week,

so raising a child on the water is a bit nerve-racking,

especially now he's getting to that adventurous age.

You be careful.

Since I had Oliver...

She's been interested

in moving back to Europe, closer to her family.

I really, really crave that support structure.

So I applied for a job.

And we get this e-mail.


And it's, "Oh, do you want to move to Vienna?"

VIRGINIA: Going back to Europe is my dream.

It just happens to be that they need an obscure scientist.

What would you like to eat? Chicken?



NARRATOR: No move is complete without the unexpected.

Oh, no.


NARRATOR: And this move proves to be no exception.

After we found the job, we found out that we're pregnant.

VIRGINIA: Everything's sort of happening at once, really.

My biggest fear is that we're not gonna find a place in time.

NARRATOR: It's just 6,000 miles away from San Francisco,

but that much closer to home for Virginia

in Vienna, Austria.

[ Doorbell rings ]

Born on the banks of the Danube River,

Austria's capital, Vienna,

has roots as far back as 500 B.C.

It has a long history of innovation.

Doctors, dreamers, and composers

have all waltzed through these historic streets

in pursuit of noble ambitions.

I'm just amazed

at the amount of greenery in a city like this.

Oliver's gonna love it here.


There'll be parks everywhere.

Anxious to get settled before baby number two arrives,

Darren and Virginia turn to rental agent Thomas Szoeke.

Nice to meet you. Welcome to Vienna.

Let's go into the place and have a quick chat.


THOMAS: Vienna's a great city for families,

and it's very friendly to new people,

but the real-estate market in Vienna

is moving very quick right now.

It's getting more and more expensive.

Please tell me what are we looking for.

I think from a practical standpoint,

we would like a bathtub.

We have a 3-year-old. It's easier to give him baths.

We've got another baby on the way,

so two of them in the bath would be nice.

It would be very nice to have laundry facilities

and a dishwasher,

and in terms of number of bedrooms,

probably at least two, ideally --

Ideally three or four, but it's a big city -- We have no idea.

We thought maybe even have a bit of play space in the house

in the form of a terrace or...

I'm not too keen on a balcony from a safety standpoint,

but if it's a safe balcony with room to play,

that would work for us, too.

And which part of the city -- which area are we looking for?

Probably somewhere near the center.

I'm looking for that European contrast

where I can walk to everything,

just feel like I'm living in Vienna

as opposed to on the outskirts.

Do you want to have a new building?

Coming to a very old country,

so it would be nice to feel like it.

As long as it's safe.

It depends -- What's your budget?

Our budget is about $3,700.

I mean, I don't really see difficulties,

but, of course, we have to check on that.

NARRATOR: Thomas is worried that in Vienna,

old-world charm doesn't mean child-friendly.

I think the hardest thing will be staying

in the middle of the city.

I mean, they are looking for something old,

but we have the issue with having a kid,

a second kid is coming up, so I have to think a lot

about finding the right apartment in Vienna.

NARRATOR: But he gives it a try

just outside Vienna's historic center,

and he knows house number 1 is priced to move at $3,700.

Public transportation everywhere,

four bedroom, two bathrooms, a large terrace.

I think you're gonna love the apartment.

Shall we enter?


All right.


From the living room, you can also enter the rooftop.

You can see you have a lot of space here.

So, please tell me about your furniture.

Do you think it's gonna fit in here?

It would fit in here. No problem at all.

Yeah, no problem.

VIRGINIA: I love the whole layout

of the family room with the fireplace,

and I can imagine nice, sort of cozy winters

with the fire on.

Well, we could put the TV next to the fireplace,

and the couch could go in that corner.

It's got nice parquet floors, as well.

The fireplace, you can use it

for the romantic evenings in the wintertime.

With the crying baby.

[ Chuckles ]


This is really nice.

VIRGINIA: The fireplace.

DARREN: The fireplace

and the gallery over top is extremely cozy.

You have the microwave,

you have the oven, you have the dishwasher.

As you can see, everything is brand-new.

Does it have a fridge?

Yes, of course. There you go.

Oh, big. Hmm.

THOMAS: The master bedroom.

I know you're used to having an American bed,

which is king size.


Our bed is quite big.

Our bed would fit in here,

but I don't know if much else would.

[ Chuckles ]

We would have to probably put it this way.

Would that leave us enough room to get into the closets?

It's a shame the bedrooms aren't a little bigger

and the living spaces are smaller.


THOMAS: It's a very nice bathroom.

Everything is new.

Good place to give Oliver a bath.

There's space for a washing machine.

Oh, so it doesn't come with a washing machine?


Okay, we'd have to buy one.

Another bedroom for children

just next to the master bedroom.

So you can still hear if something is going on.

Like if he falls down the ultra-steep staircase?

[ Chuckles ]

VIRGINIA: There are quite a lot of stairs in this apartment.

Oliver's only 3 right now.

I'd just be a bit worried about him

with the stairs in this room.

There's quite a lot of safety issues involved

with young children -- all those stairs.

Guys, I'm probably showing you the highlight of the apartment.

This is very rare.


We are in the center of the city,

and we have a 40-square-meter terrace.


This is nice.

This is very Europe to me with the roofs everywhere.

I like how it's all enclosed, as well.

It's nice and safe.


A nice breathing space, considering we're in the middle of the city.

Place to plant our own garden.

I love this place --

nice and cozy in the winter with the fireplace.


And our couch would fit.


Some of our furniture will fit.

[ Chuckles ]

Good places for kids to play,

although lots of stairs.

There are a lot of stairs.

There would be a lot of stair-gating for you to do.

And, really, all the bedrooms could be a little bigger.

But it's nice and bright and airy.

NARRATOR: Finding a more child-friendly layout in Vienna

isn't rocket science.

I'm gonna show you now a four-bedroom apartment

with a great big terrace, 360-degree view.

Or is it?

VIRGINIA: Off we go.

Look at this. Isn't this fun?

NARRATOR: What began as a simple job application for Darren...

He sort of jokingly forwarded the job posting to me

and said, "Oh, do you want to live in Vienna?"

...has given Britain native Virginia

realization of a dream.

She's always been interested in moving back to Europe.

You know, it's closer to her family.

[ Gasps ] Tunnel.

Ooh, a tunnel.

Look at this!

I'll probably be taking a step back to my past

and sort of going back to how I grew up.

All the shops close on Sundays.

I love it here already.

And you're forced to spend time together as a family.

I'm looking forward to it.

Virginia is also looking forward

to having a comfortable home

that's safe for the kids, as well.

But in this tight market, options are limited.

The first apartment was in a great location.

The apartment, is it walkable to this area?

Yes, it's very nearby.

Okay. That sounds good.

NARRATOR: But Virginia wasn't sure they'd be settled

before baby number two came along.

VIRGINIA: Oliver's only 3 right now.

I'd just be a bit worried about him with the stairs.

NARRATOR: Across town, Thomas tries his best

to find a more child-friendly layout with house 2,

but Vienna's old-world architecture has its quirks.

I'm gonna show you now a four-bedroom apartment,

360-degree view.

Shall we go ahead?


All right, in the front, you have a small dining room,

or you just leave it as free space.

Make a good office space with the shelves.

VIRGINIA: The actual entrance --

It's not the smartest, but...

Just a few steps away, we move forward,

you are already in the living room

with an open American kitchen.

There are steps going up from the hallway

into the living room -- They're quite wide,

so that might present a childproofing issue.

We have big windows,

and, of course, you can see the Danube, almost.

VIRGINIA: It's a shame the windows aren't a bit bigger.

We have to tiptoe to see it.

Let's take a closer look in the kitchen.

THOMAS: Fully furnished. We have an electronic oven.

VIRGINIA: There's a good amount of counter space.

A little bit dated, but...


...we could work with that.

It's an American style with a bar,

and I can look out and keep an eye on the children.

So that would be quite handy.

THOMAS: Your master bedroom.

It's big enough, I guess, even for American furniture.

Big windows. It's very bright.

You have a nice view.

Kind of a strange angle at the top there.

But that's...


Fitting in our bed might be a bit of a trick

because of the slanted ceiling.

We have a big sleigh bed,

so it's got quite a high headboard.

Will that fit? Will we have to have it at an odd angle?

See, you have a tub here.

Oh, wow.

I can imagine a nice evening in there.

That would suit me.

Two sinks.

And last, you can see it even has sauna built in...

[ Chuckles ]

...for the cold winter days.

DARREN: Wow, can fit us

and all of our friends in there at once.

[ Chuckles ]

You can even smell it.


It would be good in the winter.


And as you can see here, dryer and a washing machine.

DARREN: Once you get into the main bathroom,

there are some very neat bonuses.

THOMAS: A bedroom --

It's probably the best room for a child

you can even imagine.

I love the little play area down here

so he can have his own little place to play.

THOMAS: Very bright. You have a great view.

[ Chuckles ]

It's quite noisy with the traffic.


It's a pretty cool building, though.

We'd have to block this.

It's an amazing playroom.

It's like a little dream bedroom.

From here, you have a 360-degree view of Vienna.

VIRGINIA: Oh, wow.


The view takes your breath away.

There's room for us, and Oliver can have his own room

with the playing nook.

Oh, that was lovely.

And then once the baby arrives,

there's another room for her.

The kitchen's a little dated, but it's got good counter space.

We'd have to do a bit of work up here,

'cause it's obviously quite open.

I think it's got great potential.

So, what's the rent for this apartment?

$3,150. It fits into your budget.


NARRATOR: They want that Viennese feeling,

so now Thomas takes old-world charm

to new heights.

Run, run, run. Scoot, scoot, scoot.

NARRATOR: Darren and Virginia have taken their son

and moved to Vienna for Darren's new job.

We're moving to a whole new city with a whole new language

with a 3-year-old and another one on the way.

I'm anticipating a flood of panic,

but it hasn't arrived yet.

Virginia's done this before,

and leaving San Francisco for her native Europe

wasn't a hard choice.

VIRGINIA: Ever since I had Oliver,

I've felt an increasingly strong pull

to be back close to my family.

I really, really crave that safety net

of having loved ones around me

and just having that support structure.

NARRATOR: House 2 was full of the old-world charm

that Darren craves.

DARREN: Love the little play area down here

so he could have his own little place to play.

And Virginia is learning she'll have to quickly adapt

to the historic buildings of central Vienna...

VIRGINIA: We'd have to do a bit of work up here,

'cause it's obviously quite open.

NARRATOR: ...especially with the clock ticking

towards the arrival of their baby.

It's a very walkable place.


I'll be waddling soon. [ Chuckles ]

After searching every nook and cranny

of Vienna's limited rental market,

Thomas thinks he's uncovered the perfect home

on the other side of the city.

I think you're gonna like it. It's $2,500.

VIRGINIA: That's good.

We have four rooms, two bathrooms.

Going up to the apartment in the ancient elevator

with the really nice, tiled floors.

It has a Viennese feel, which is what we're after.

Wow, look at these ceilings.

THOMAS: This is a very typical building

from the early 20th century.

We have the high ceilings.

We have all these double doors

going straight through the apartment.

VIRGINIA: It has a very traditional feel about it

with the parquet floors,

and it had that nice, sort of sweeping palatial feel

when you can open up and look through all the rooms.

THOMAS: We have three rooms, which merge into each other again.

Further down, you can see this could be the master bedroom.


High ceilings with the big windows.

It's quite dark.

No noises -- I mean, we are on a main street,

and you can't hear nothing.

DARREN: Uh-huh.

I actually kind of like the light

coming in through the trees.

But, yeah, I can see it could be a little dark.

These are old windows, though.

It might be quite cold in the winter.

Well, but they're still double windows.

And I love these floors.


So it's got good period.

This is certainly big enough for our bed.


This would be a very nice master,

and it's got an attached bathroom.

That's a big Hollywood mirror.


And the lights.

And a gigantic tub.

That would be really good.

We could fit both children in there very easily.


The kitchen -- fully furnished.

We have the dishwasher, we have a gas oven,

we have here something for the garbage.

See, you don't have to open anything additionally.

DARREN: Oh, that's nifty.

Yeah, there's a fairly good amount

of cupboard space on the walls.

I like the gas. That's a huge plus for me, having gas.

I'm just thinking about heads banging...


...and all that sort of thing --

getting things in and out of the dishwasher.

But we could get used to that.

Nice-sized dishwasher.

I like the fact that it's an eat-in kitchen.

That's a huge benefit.

Yeah, we could make this work.


I like this hallway.

Oh, it's kind of...

Yeah, it's not the biggest balcony in the world.

Can we even get a chair out here?

It's still an outside space, but, yeah.

It's not really functional as a...


I think on paper, it fits the bill.

Um, I don't know.

I think I was after a bit more outdoor space.

I don't know. I really like this place.

It feels very elegant. It seems very Viennese.

I do like the price.

Yeah, it is well within our budget, so that's nice.

Plus, it's got these amazing high ceilings

and a really nice kitchen with gas.

That's true, and there's no question

about our furniture fitting through the doors.


NARRATOR: A home for baby

is only a decision away.

Walking along and seeing a church suddenly loom up.

NARRATOR: Darren's new job in Vienna

is bringing Virginia closer to her family

and the way of life that she grew up with.

I just want to take a picture. Hang on.

With the arrival of their new baby inching up on them,

they're desperate to settle into Viennese life.

So much attention to detail.

But the old architecture they're falling in love with

is adding some practical challenges of its own.

House 1 is a four-bedroom, two-bath apartment

on budget at $3,700.

Really, really lovely apartment.

Right number of rooms. Our furniture would fit.

DARREN: Great terrace.

But the layout concerns them.

VIRGINIA: Oliver's only 3. I'd just be a bit worried about him with the stairs.

NARRATOR: House 2 is a four-bedroom, two-bath apartment,

$550 under budget.

We'd have to do a bit of work up here,

'cause it's obviously quite open.

NARRATOR: But it does have creature comforts

they're reluctant to give up.

DARREN: Once you get into the main bathroom,

there are some very neat bonuses.

House 3 is a two-bedroom, one-bath apartment.

It's $1,200 under budget

and has the classical feel they're looking for.

Very Viennese -- The rooms were pretty big,

the ceilings were really high.

It didn't have a washer/dryer, though, and that balcony.

Can we even get a chair out here?

We probably should make a decision

and eliminate at least one of them.

For me, it's obvious from a practical standpoint

to eliminate the traditional Viennese one.

Although it felt like old-time Vienna, I agree.

So, two apartments.

Gallery apartment.

I like the fireplace.

That was lovely.

It had the right number of rooms.

Our furniture would fit in it.

Very European up there with the rooftops.

But you'd spend about a month childproofing the place.

And we'd have to buy a washer and dryer.

And the other apartment had both.

So the apartment with the Peter Pan window...

the master bedroom had that slanty ceiling.

It would be a little awkward to fit our furniture into.

We could orient our bed in there

in such a way that it would fit.

A nice, big bathroom with an enormous tub

and a sauna, which is cool, but quirky.

It's got that beautiful rooftop terrace.

A lot of childproofing to do up there.

There are some problems -- Kitchen that's pretty dated.

But, you know, it has plenty of counter space.

So, what one would you pick?

I really like both apartments.

It's hard to know everything beforehand, but...

So I think the one with the Peter Pan window,

that's the right choice for us.

Yay! We found a home!

House 2 strikes a balance between form and function.

They sign a lease for $3,150 a month.



I really expected there to be some culture shock,

but there really haven't been any.

We're both in German classes,

but, in reality, everyone speaks really good English.

So, one of the reasons we came to Europe

was to be closer to my family,

and in the past three months, they've already been over twice.

They're actually here right now.

It's great to have them. It's nice to see them play.

Come on, children. Schooltime.

The house is working out really, really well, actually.

All our furniture managed to fit in, which is great,

and there's even a really nice spot for Oliver's train table,

and he just sits and plays happily,

but I think my favorite place of all

has to be Oliver's bedroom with the round window.

We spend many happy hours in there

just sort of sitting, reading.

Vienna's surpassed every expectation I had.

There's an amazing zoo. There's the park.

There's just so many amazing things to do here.


We need egg.

How many eggs do we need?


I'm absolutely 100% happy with the move,

and we couldn't ask for any better.

So we're thrilled.

Absolutely no regrets about choosing this house at all.

It's just worked out brilliantly.

The Description of Science of Moving to Vienna