I met Anesu through a friend and was instantly drawn by her soft voice and quiet, yet confident nature. She has one of those smiles which starts slow, but is like watching the sun rise- you have to smile with her. I hope you will enjoy reading about her journey to Vienna and what she is doing here- just as I enjoyed hearing about it. Also, make sure to check out her poetry!
I originally came to Vienna because my mom worked for the embassy here. She left around 8 years ago and I stayed here. I’m from the Zimbabwe- there’s actually a weird story about our house. My mom bought the property really cheap, but it was because it was close to a prison. So we lived in the city, but at the edge, close to a prison. It was interesting.
I lived in Botswana until I was about 6 years old because of my mom’s work. Then I lived in my country for 4 years and then I came to Austria. I stayed here because I didn’t want to travel anymore, but now I miss travelling actually. As a kid traveling isn’t fun because you always know when you make friends that you are going to have to say goodbye soon. I was ten when I came to Vienna. When you are younger it is easier to learn a new language and we were basically surrounded by it, so I learned German the easy way, as a child. I feel like my home is in Zimbabwe. I’ve lived here double the amount of time I’ve lived there, but there’s just a feeling like you belong when you go there.
Now I am studying medicine. It was always something I wanted to do, even as a child. Ever since I was nine, I used to stich my teddies up with they had “injuries”- when the seams burst. I just always wanted to be a doctor. I actually couldn’t really decide between medicine and arts because I- sometimes I feel like I am of two minds because I love everything to do with art, but I also like medicine. In the end I chose medicine, but I still do art as a hobby.
I think another deciding factor of not doing art in university is that my mom would always tell me that I would have a hard time finding a job. That’s actually really sad because I think- I can’t describe it- but it’s much more free, much more freeing to do art. It has no boundaries- science has a lot of boundaries. I think everyone understands art. If you see a painting- there is no language, but everyone understands it. It may mean different things to different people, but it still has a message.
I’m really interested in spoken word poetry. I love to preform poetry pieces with music in the background. I haven’t taken part in a poetry slam yet, but I do spoken word performances in Vienna sometimes. If there was a poetry slam in English, I would do it, but I’m too intimidated to do it in German. I haven’t found anything in English yet, so I think I need to create something with a friend. I think it would be fun.
I tend to write about darker topics, but I think it’s because I feel more inspired when I’m sad. Sometimes I write about things I see in the news that affect me or anger me or irritate me. For example, one poem I wrote is about skin bleaching- it’s really prevalent. For example, in the black community there’s a lot of bleaching. Sometimes I write about mental illness or depression. Because sometimes I think mental illness is often treated like a taboo topic and no one really wants to talk about it, but it’s the same as any other illness. I also write about typical heartbreak and relationships.
My dream is- actually I have two dreams. One is to go back to Berlin- I visited it once and I fell in love with the place. I was on a school trip with a friend. I remember we snuck out once and we went through the city, the teacher didn’t know. And I just loved the city. I love it. It has such a nice energy. I would really like to do my specialization there. I wouldn’t mind working in Austria, but as a student I would like to go to Berlin. When I am old I would like to have a house on the beach in Mozambique or something.
What I like about Vienna is it’s such an easy going place, everyone seems so relaxed here and the quality of life is very good. There’s not much I don’t like- I don’t like the humidity in summer. But that’s about all. There is always so much to do. Also culture wise, there is never a shortage of things to do. There’s the opera, museums, they always have events for their citizens as well. I was actually watching an opera yesterday. I love it. Another thing is the Viennese humor. It’s this very dry, sarcastic humor and if you don’t understand it, like me in the beginning, it’s easy to get offended. I often wanted to start crying. But it’s actually a very nice dry humor, once you figure it out.
For clubbing in Vienna I like run down places- like those really shady looking clubs. Like Electro Gönner. It was an old electronics store and now they’ve turned it into a club. It’s seedy looking, but it’s nice. Or Werk or Flex. I really like this industrial, run down vibe. I can’t stand the posh places like Passage, I hate Passage. The canal is nice and the MQ is also nice in summer. Just to chill on the benches there.
Dating in Vienna is difficult. I think it’s easier to date a black guy, because they approach you more. All you have to do is smile and they’re like, “Hey, can I have your number?” With Austrian guys it’s not like that. You have to be more active and I’m really shy so it’s hard. And a lot of times I get the question, “Do you date white guys or?”
The first time I ever did a poetry performance was during a beauty pageant. I didn’t think people would like it because the other contestants were doing dances and singing and I just came up with a poem. But actually a grown man started crying in the crowd during my performance. It was a poem about how we should be proud of being African and forget the negative stereotypes and be strong. He was African too. He just started crying and that really touched me so I started doing more performances.
In the beginning, because I was so shy, I would have moments where I would black out. I would be so scared on stage. I’ve messed up some poems, but it’s getting better. The more I practice, the more I’m ok with it. I try to memorize the poems. The thing with spoken word is it’s not just about the poem; it’s how you deliver it. So I’m still trying to learn how to deliver the poem. I try to memorize the poems and practice at home so it fits with the music. Because if I have a blackout and the music keeps playing, the climax of the song comes and I’ve missed it.
What I feel is important when I read something or when I write something, I think the reader is important. No one wants to read something that is you, you, you. I think they have to be able to relate to it somehow. So when I write something personal, like about heartbreak or something, I try to make it in a way that it’s not about my, but in way that someone else could identify with it too. So most of it is non-fiction mixed with fiction. Inspired by real life.
When I was in high school I had no friends. I had a group of three best friends, but now one is in Amsterdam and one is in London. We still have reunions every once in a while. After high school though, it was like I blossomed and I started meeting a whole ton of people. But I would say they are more like acquaintances. My group of friends is still the same. A group of four.
I’m having horrible flashback memories of high school now. I was just really awkward. I remember this time I was in the library; there was a partition and my classmates were talking, but they didn’t know I could hear them. They were saying like, “Anesu will never get a boyfriend, she is so weird”. It was so mean. But my mom always said that there is a silver lining to everything. I think going through that, I am not afraid to be me now. I’m still shy, but I know you can’t please everybody, so you just have to be yourself.
I’m really interested in people. My mom had- my mom again- she had this analogy. She says people are like books. For example, if you meet someone and they are twenty-one, then they are like at chapter twenty-one of their life. To find out what the other chapters are like, you have to ask them and get to know them and talk to them. You have to learn about those other chapters. And once you know someone, you can experience the new chapters with them as they come.