Friday, September 28, 2012

Blossom of Snow may You Bloom and Grow

I saw an Edelweiss!!!  As you know, you can see this on everything when you arrive in Germany, Austria, or Switzerland.  But have you ever seen one in person growing in the wild??  They are quite rare and you can only see them high up on the mountaintop.

In our family they are very eyes watered a bit!  It was a good send off back to start the year in Vienna.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

We were meant to shine

Last night, my best friend from college and I were venting back and forth via text about the little slump we've been in.  Unfortunately, we weren't able to have our usual 2 hour phone conversation because she was tied up on a Friday evening and miserably trying to study.  She is my hero-I've never met anyone so dedicated and hardworking.  And the hard work will pay off because she actually does love what she does and is very passionate about becoming a nurse anesthetist.  Although, one of my biggest faults and her as well is that we don't give ourselves enough credit.  We are our biggest critics, too humble to know how we shine, too concerned with our performance and what others might think.  Sometimes you meet people and you know they can change things.  Well, I think she'll change things without even knowing how great she is.  Humble and gracious to the core.  I know she'll simply be happy helping others.  Perhaps it's difficult to grasp what we as individuals are capable of?  

But while enjoying my routine morning coffee and banana and rasberries, I came across this quote and I think it's something that I and many others can benefit from:

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.  Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.  It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.  We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?  Actually, who are you not to be?  You are a child of God.  Your playing small does not serve the world.  There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you.  We are all meant to shine, as children do.  We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.  It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone.  And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.  As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."

In my opinion, it's our glowing hearts deep within us hat will let us shine but we're too scared to show it.  We don't want the vulnerability.  If we trust ourselves and believe in ourselves then we will be capable of things that we couldn't have imagined :)

These days there are so many incredible empowered women. Here a few ladies that have inspired me through their warmth and compassion:

My sister and mother

Grace Kelly

JK Rowling

Julie Andrews

Princess Diana

Friday, September 7, 2012

All My Single Ladies

No rush. No rush.  We all get tired of the game of love but always keep this in mind... ;)

So this Autumn I plan to "Keep Calm and Study On"

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer's Day?

Thanks to inexpensive airfare from Innsbruck to London, I was finally able to visit Elizabeth, one of my best friends from home who has just recently completed a masters of Human Rights in London.  My second stop was to see some of my beloved Brits that I became close with over my first year of teaching in the province of Carinthia (Kärnten), Austria.

If any of you know, I love depicting places in often unrealistic amazing ways...And this is how I see England:

A.  The Countryside: compliments to the TV series Downton Abbey

B.  Londontown: Gwyneth Paltrow is my alter-ego

C.  Harrods: 1970s buying a lion cub like"Christian the Lion" while wearing bell-bottoms and having feathery hair

D.  Indian Culture and "Footy":


Part One: Visiting Elizabeth

 London is brilliant and bustling -there's so much to do but I only had a few days so I was just going to soak it in pretending to be a local with Elizabeth-unfortunately, our accents kind of gave that away.  And trust me, if you've heard my impersonations, I'd only be saying "Shall I compare thee to a sommer's day?" or "Ahhh What are you liiike? and my classic go-to word, "Dahhhling".  In my head I sound like Natasha Richardson in the Parent Trap.  She's just so classy.  May she rest in peace.


Anyway, I jumped off the plane and the first thing I did after customs was buy a celebratory bottle of Beefeater from the duty-free shop.  Elizabeth and I would be catching up enjoying G&Ts.  Where's the Waterford crystal when you need it?? We used plastic cups.  That night we went out with her friends to what used to be horse stables-How English!

After our night out with Prince Harry (harhar) and a bit of damage control the next morning, Elizabeth showed me around her London.  I wasn't in a rush to do everything touristy because within 4 days that's a bit impossible to do-especially if you have a friend like me who MUST take 1000 pictures trying to get the best "artsy" shot.

Here are some of the highlights:

Borough Market:

It's only one of the nicest markets I've visited.  Elizabeth and I went in the morning, bought some coffee from a small little place across the way where they grind and press everything for you on the spot, and then started to eat our way through the market for breakfast/lunch.  We love our free samples!


 Elizabeth browsing:  Here she's thinking "ugh not another photo!"

Gluten-free Hot Crossed Buns:  Although understanding the health benefits, I decided to opt for the original.  

Turkish Delight: No we didn't catch Edmund there!  He must be in the wardrobe...

Around town: it was sunny and warm (in April, mind you!) so we really wanted to spend a lot of time outside.  I happened to hit a good week for no rain.

Notting Hill:


Pub Culture:  An After-work Ale

Before a beer....
And after a beer...  

Part Two:  Reuniting with my Brits

Helen, my dear friend and English Rose picked me up for the train ride.  Knowing one of my most favorite animals, she made me do this on Trafalgar square.....

Smitten Kitten

To fulfill my other vision of ideal English living, I reunited with my English friends who became as close as family while we taught English in Austria.  For once our activities weren't centered around hiking, skiing, farm animals, and chatting about the reintroduction of bears in Austria!  But because we all share a love of the outdoors and agriculture, we all met in Rob's village, Sherborne St. John (an hour or so away from London), to see his home and his self-run, self-bought 1/4 Acre Farm.

The Quarter Acre Farm:


It's really special to see a friend do something they truly love and have proven to do something many might see as over-reaching.  Rob, more endearingly referred to as "Ro-bear" for his grizzly-like qualities, bought a piece of land with his own earnings a student might have and started his own farm of chickens, pigs, and other crops.  We all felt pretty proud to share the experience with him.

So of course, we played with the pigs:

Lucy, speckled Fitzgerald, and Kathy

Kathy and Kathy...yes, the first thing I have named after me is a pig.  Marvelous

The boys in their element

And the girls pretending to be in Pride and Prejudice

That night we grilled over a campfire...

The Stately Life:

Because they know how much I love Jane Austen (what girl doesn't) and period pieces, we went to a beautiful home in Rob's area

Having "Cream Tea: scones, clotted cream, jam, and naturally tea

Relaxing in the grass

Although the trip was short, it was sweet...and full of English cheekiness

our little group altogether on the farm

Our last outing was to Rob's local pub, The Swan

Returning back to London to see Elizabeth, we had a special last dinner of bone marrow at a "snout-to-tail" restaurant.  A choice Elizabeth would be inspired to do.  It was really good!  I'm pretty sure Anthony Bordain has either been to this place and if not, he'd love it.

And on cue, it began to poor in London