Love, God, Church, Faith, Gratitude, Travel, Beauty, Life, Austria, Vienna, Rust, Return, Salzburg, Wörthersee, Schönbrunn, Germany, Pew, Kaiserin Elisabeth Hotel, Kartnerstrasse, Klagenfurt, paella, Wein, Bier, Wien, Sparrow, Fountain, Garden, Shabby Chic, Courtyard, Whimsical, Enchanting, Tranquil, Serene, Vacation, Amorous, Wholeness, Growing up, Lessons, Change, Cathedral, Stephansdom, St. Stephen's Cathedral, Melk Abbey
Well, I’m not at the place yet where I am writing as regularly as I’d like. Or, making good on all those “To Be Continued” posts, for that matter. I look forward to that time. Very much. In due season, eh? For now I’ve accepted, though reluctantly, this is probably not that season and writing and posting at all is enough.
I’ve also decided I would rather complete and post pieces begun ages ago rather than keeping them forever in my “Pending Posts” folder. Amazingly, I find pending posts from months past to be very much on point with something going on in my life at the present. Lessons or reflections I think are new I realize I experienced months prior. It is often my circumstances and sense of self that make them seem new. As one of my friends said, our lives are less linear and more like a corkscrew. We journey in circular movement and we revisit experiences, but unlike a circle and more like a screw we encounter them on a deeper and deeper level each time we come back around to them. I’m finding that to be quite true. I’m also just forgetful. I might do well to reread my journals… Or just revisit and complete pending posts.
So, here we go on a time travel adventure back to last summer as I was leaving Austria!
I’m on my way home. Though, it feels I’ve made a second home for myself. I didn’t know I could fall in love with a place so deeply so quickly. I sorely miss Austria already.
I wonder at my amorousness. Is it because I got to know the country by planning for it so thoroughly beforehand and then lived those plans out? It was, in fact, the first trip I’ve planned on my own—a big deal—and incredibly satisfying, especially since my plans proved well-laid and successful.
Is my affection toward this place so strong because of my current state in life—because of who I now am? I am more self-accepting, loving, gracious, relaxed, patient and open. All really helpful qualities when plans are prone to change due to reasons beyond one’s control and when flexibility and problem-solving/creativity become key.
Or, is it because of the lens I had on? A lens in which I was expecting to meet God? Not looking, as much as recognizing. Awareness. Is my affection a result of having shared the travel experience with my closest loved ones? Then again, perhaps it is because along the trip I played out a new chapter in my life. A chapter of healing, of being frequently challenged to be wholly me. To not mold myself to what I perceived would make others happy or like “me” more. To trust others’ authenticity and acceptance of me. To not be affected by others’ energy in relation to me. And, to my awe and affirmation, I was so fully accepted just as I am.
Is it because I stayed in some of the most sumptuous accommodations? Take Hotel Kaiserin Elisabeth, its rooms covered with elegant white, textured wall paper, its floors adorned with oriental rugs and ceilings lit by crystal chandeliers. Marvelous; but not overstated. I also happened to be in a prime location, right off Kartnerstrasse at Stephensplatz (where St. Stephen’s Cathedral is located). Three times during the course of my month-long travels I got to stay at this same hotel! I am in still in awe. My frequency of stay here may have been one of the most valuable pieces to the whole of the trip. Each time I returned it re-grounded me and I was then reenergized for the next leg of my travels. It felt like I was coming home. I had come to know most of the people who worked the front desk and so whenever I left and returned, whether for the afternoon or a week, they greeted me with such joy and gladness. The last time I left they assured me of their confidence I would one day return. It is my hope.
Of course, then there was the Umlauft summer-stay on the Wörthersee… Who couldn’t immediately fall in love such a homestead, with a freshwater lake of clear aqua which was so cold yet so enlivening you felt desperation and invigoration with each gasping breath? Truly magnificent, and all in the embrace of tree-covered mountains and the snow-capped Alps beyond.
Perhaps it was the overall rhythm of life in Austria that captured my heart so. And holds it still. A rhythm where people enjoyed bike riding for both pleasure and practicality and where public transportation was not only earth-friendly, but the norm. Or, perhaps knowing me, it was the food. Here, my basics: rye and spelt (varieties of wheat) – obscurities in the U.S. – are standards on the market shelf and breakfast table. Here, I can enjoy milk products without reserve or stomach ache. Here, organic is everywhere and practically everything is preservative-free. Here, I can drink water from any tap without question. Here, taking a break for coffee at an outdoor café after work before going home is common-place. Here, drinking alcohol is not the main event when going out with friends, it really is just a beverage to be enjoyed and appreciated alongside good conversation and a pleasant atmosphere. Here, I live so healthy and freely.
I know it is a mix of all these experiences and more. It is also the enchanting and tranquil atmosphere of TiMiMoo in Rust. It is waking up to the warm sun flooding my room and being rushed by nothing. Nothing except an empty tummy anticipating the welcome of the lush, green beauty of TiMiMoo’s serene courtyard where I take my morning meal. Where I bask in the sunshine while I wait for my healthy, bountiful breakfast is brought to me, in courses, on sweet, pale pink, blue and yellow printed china. Where I am served fresh apricot and raspberry preserves, meats and a hard boiled egg in a dainty eggcup.
Yes, it is these places, these experiences, these people who are the faces of my amorousness. My heart is more full, open and beautiful because of them. My being is more whole and alive because of them. And in thanks, I offer myself back to them; to inspire and encourage this world with beauty and wholeness.