Sunday, November 30, 2008

This is Home

I've come to LOVE the beautiful city of Vienna and the WHOLE country of Austria, actually. I have had so many wonderful experiences this semester. If you would have asked me about two or three weeks ago if I was ready to go home, I would have said YES, in an instant. I'm SO grateful to say that i've reached the point where i'm not very excited to come home.

Granted there are things at home that I am very much looking forward to. 1. in n out burger 2. mexican food. 3. rootbeer. 4. my bed. 5. my pets. 6. the beach. 7. warm weather. 8. my parents. 9. returning to BYU (mostly to be with my girls, from before and my new girls.)10. to take an ASL class. --- No particular order, and there could be other things I'll love to have again in addition to these.

I don't know if could pick one particular thing to name as my VERY favorite. Some of my favorite things have been 1. bike riding 20 miles along the danube river. 2. the 2 hikes we did in Dorfgastein, one in the snow, and the 2nd straight up hill (and i did it in flats!) 3. the cute island of burano in venice, with the colorful houses. 4. playing soccer with the youth and JAE of the Vienna area -- and taking 3rd place. 5. temple in London. 6. the bath's in Budapest. 7. the Austria/Turkey soccer game -- learning the cheers, and loving the Turkish fans in front of us. 8. the friendships I've developed, with people in my program, my host family, and other members of the church here -- I think this is what I will miss the most. 8. the love I've gained for the german language. I can't imagine forgetting all that I've learned here. --- No particular order again.

I'm only glad to say that I will MISS so many things about Austria. I KNOW I will cry when I leave. I am grateful that I feel this way, because that means this place, this foreign place, really has become home to me. Even some of the things I hate here, I think I will miss. 1. The Scheibenwiese -- (this is our name for our bus) it comes early about every other day, and we often miss it by about 30 seconds. 2. Not understanding the language -- I loved going to Czech or Italy or wherever and hearing German, it was finally something familiar in those EVEN more foreign lands. 3. The strange food -- though there are MANY foods I miss eating here, I will miss the tasty treats (pastries, icecream, chocolate, usw) that Wien has to offer me -- even if they cause me to get a gut (ha -yotekaw)

"I've got my memories AlwaysInside of me But I can't go back Back to how it was... I've come to far... This is home Now I'm finally Where I belong... I've been searching For a place of my own Now I've found it... And I got my heart Set on
What happens next I got my eyes wide It's not over yet We are miracles And we're not alone And now after all My searching After all my questions I'm gonna call it home I got a brand new mindset I can finally see... And I won't go back Yeah, this is home" (parts of 'This is Home' -- by Switchfoot)

"Now we're back to the beginning It's just a feeling and no one knows yet But just because they can't feel it too Doesn't mean that you have to forget Let your memories grow stronger and stronger Til they're before your eyes You'll come back When they call you No need to say good bye" (parts of 'The Call' by Regina Spector)

Both of these songs are from the Chronicles of Narnia, Prince Caspian. I feel like they embody my feelings almost perfectly. Wien is where my heart is now. Few others will ever know how much of an affinity my heart has for this city. I am so grateful for memories, and I hope I can hold these memories in my heart forever. Thank goodness for pictures to help with that.

My parents will be here in 12 days. 23 days till I am home to California. It might be quite a struggle for them to get me on that plane. I DON'T want to go.

Thursday, November 20, 2008


Can I just tell you how much I absolutely loved the Fußball Spiel last night? Okay, so really, I've never been the BIGGEST soccer fan. Don't get me wrong. I really do love it. But I would never go out of my way to go to a soccer game. And, I haven't even been to that many. I'm the girl to get so pumped for a football or baseball game. But I think, I may have to become a HUGE soccer fan.

Okay, reason 1. I absolutely love playing soccer. Though I'm really not very great at it. I "stink at it" (if you will ;) 2. Soccer boys, honestly are probably the cutest of all. I just love their nice calfs - haha. 3. I'm positive if I lived here permanently I would be SO into it. The fans here are so heftig (fierce/insane). They had fireworks! (That would so, NOT be allowed in the USA)

The group in front of us was mostly Türkei fans, probably ages 8 to 14, except for one stalwart little boy, decked out in his Österreich gear. They were all so cute though. And they loved tormenting us that Turkey was winning. They were just having so much fun with it, and I loved watching them. One boy was friendly though, he kept giving us high 5s and he said "Österreich und Türkei. Es ist ein Freundschaft" (it's a friendship) and nach das Spiel (after the game) he told us to have a "schönen Abend doch" (pretty/nice evening however) One guy sitting behind us was nice enough to put the Austrian stripes on our faces. He had the sweetest facepaint stick thing, with the colors, it was like MAGIC.

The final score was 4 to 2, Türkei. But, it was still one of my favorite nights here in Wien. And thankfully, it didn't dissapoint at all. Because Claire and I definitely built it up before hand. But it was even BETTER than I could have hoped. We learned all the songs. I was hoping to lose my voice from screaming loud enough, but realized I couldn't shout as loud as I wanted because of how low the melodies were sung. Scade.

"Immer wieder, immer wieder, immer Wieder Österreich"
"Wir singen ROT, wir singen WEIß, wir singen ROT, WEIß, ÖSTERREICH"
"Lalallateedalala" (Not sure exactly how it goes, but they didn't really say anywords, it just seemed to be random nonsense. Though Georg got after me for singing it wrong --- somehow?)
"Wer nicht hopf, er ist ein Türkei"

Anyway, we were in the 5th row. And it was absolutely AMAZING. There is an Österreich Wien vs. Rapid Wien game on December 6th. Und ich glaube, dass ich gehen MUSS.

Monday, November 10, 2008

picture favorites -- London edition

Well, I will write about our Dublin and London adventures another time, maybe. I haven't even written about them in my journal yet. But because I am attempting to stay off of facebook for another week, till next Sunday (or I at LEAST have to survive till Wednesday) I decided I could post a few of our wonderful adventures here, via picture. I think that will please mother the most, and maybe it will help appease my addiction of FB and pictures.

The gorgeous London, England Temple and its reflection. This temple has the 2nd largest plot of land (compared to the other temples) , 28 acres. I am curious to what temple has more land.
We were bored waiting for the fireworks to start. So, we started 7X7 (hah), we set my camera on continual to take about 7 to 10 pics and made faces. This is the only picture we got with the 4 of us smiling, out of about 50 pictures.

 The firework show for Guy Fawkes night was VERY impressive. Maybe the best show I have seen in my life.

The Tower Bridge behind us. We went on an "exhibition" there and watched a little movie on the history of the bridge. We also got to walk across the bridge at the top, and enjoyed the view. (me, Melissa, Ali and Mirielle)

Big Ben (is actually the name of the bell inside the clock) and Parliament and the London Eye.
Windsor Castle is the size of 268 tennis courts. But if you ask Ali, she will tell you the queen has 268 tennis courts. The queen lives at Windsor Castle on the weekends. And this was completely one of my favorite things to do in London.All of us girls at Windsor Castle. We were able to get the Audio Guides, though we didn't want to walk that slow so I only listened to about the first half of every talk on the locations.
I thought this was a sweet picture through the golden gates (surrounding Buckingham Palace) of the trees in Green (?) Park.
Our wonderful double decker Bus ride in London. And it was probably the best double decker ever, with a door in the back, and the stairs were connected to the right outside and while he was stuck in traffic we just jumped right off.

We got to Trafalger Square again and saw a wonderful rainbow there. I was also very happy that the rain had finally stopped.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

blessings from the Lord

Last Sunday I asked Bruce for a blessing because I was not feeling very well. I had the 3 random bumps on the back of my head/neck plus this growing rash on my neck. Plus, I was EXTREMELY homesick. Bruce asked me to explain the situation a little, and I had to hold back the tears. He gave me a wonderful blessing of comfort and of health. One week later and the bump on my neck is totally gone and the 2 on my head behind my ear have shrunk immensely. The rash on my neck is almost gone as well. Shingles are supposed to last 3 to 5 weeks. But I am almost 100% positive that is what I had. The rash was pretty itchy most of the week, but doesn't itch any more and my ear isn't bothering me any more either. The Lord really is watching out for us, especially when we put our faith in Him.

Look how much better it looks today!

On Friday we rode the tube to Green Park and as we were walking through the park to Buckingham Palace Mirielle discovered that she didnot have her camera. She hadn't seen her camera since we were at Windsor Castle a few hours before because she was trying to conserve battery and take less pictures. She searched all of her pockets and her bag and could not find it anywhere. She went back to the tube to see if she could find it somewhere there. I said a little prayer to the Lord that she would be able to find it. Mirielle and Melissa came back a few minutes later with the camera in hand. She had found it in the middle pocket of her sweatshirt. Very likely the camera was there the whole time, though for some reason she couldn't find it before. But it is always good to remember that the Lord is watching out for us, and He did bless her that she found her camera, almost right away.

Saturday we were planning on leaving our hostel 3 hours before our plane was scheduled to take off. We figured that with an hour and a half travel time that seemed like a good amount of time, to check in and find our gate, and wait a little before the plane took off. We ended up not leaving our hostel till about 45 minutes after planned and then Melissa and I have extra pounds so we wanted to run to a grocery store to spend a little of it at least. We ran through the grocery store and grabbed a few things. The lines were a little long, but nothing to worry about from my point of view. Though Tony and Michelle were outside the grocery store immensely freaking out that we wouldn't make it to our flight. A few minutes later we got on the tube and made our way to a trainstation. Mirielle said she checked on line, and told us a station that we could catch a train at to the airport. But when we got there a man working there told us we needed to head to Liverpool street. Which was about 11 stops away. Luckily we didn't have any transfers and could take the "circle line" directly from where we were. The tube was extremely crowded but we HAD to get on anyway and jam ourselves in with our luggage. While we were on the tube I prayed, begging the Lord that we would make our flight in time. Otherwise, how were we going to get home?! We made it to liverpool station with about an hour and a half till our plane was going to leave. We caught a train that was leaving in about 5 minutes, and it was a 45 minute ride to the airport. Ali told us not to worry, because stressing doesn't help anything, and there was nothing we could do about it at that point. The whole time, I kept a prayer in my heart that we would make it in time. We got to the airport at about 6:10 and our flight was scheduled to leave at 6:55. We ran through the airport and got to the kiosk where the lady told us to check at the computers a bit away. I typed my confirmation number into the computer and it said "it is too late to check in. please seek assistance." I ran back to the woman, and a man was there also and told us we could check in with the people. Though the woman still didn't seem to understand and wanted us to go to the computers again. We hurried through security, and they stopped Tawny because she accidentally didn't take her toothpaste out or put it in a plastic bag for liquids. Mirielle and I were the first through and we continued to run through the airport to our gate. Our flight was supposed to leave in about 25 minutes and we got close and I saw on a screen "final boarding call" we got to our gate and there were still lots of other people boarding. Wow, what an answered prayer. We all were able to get on our flight just fine, and we were almost all able to sit CLOSE (not necessarily right next) to each other. It was nice not to have to sit at the airport for 2 hours before I flight left, but I think I'd rather take the wait then the stress I felt last night.

We also didn't know if the Ubahns would be running when we got back into Vienna, but luckily they still were. The bus dropped us off at the Erdberg station on the U3 and I just had to ride the U3 all the way home. Of course I missed my last bus, but its not TOO far of a walk, and I just hurried home from the station. Though that WAS A little difficult with my LARGE bag, stuffed to the brim and my purse. I made it home from the station in 20 to 25 minutes and the Lord was kind enough to answer another prayer and keep me safe all the way home.

I am so grateful for how much the Lord is watching out for each and everyone of His children. I just need to remember not to take advantage of Him and to give Him thanks for those blessings. Of course after each of these incidences I offered a prayer of gratitude.

Sunday, November 2, 2008


When I was in 1st grade I was infected with Herpes Zoster (shingles).

The infection with the varicella zoster virus which causes chicken pox. Sometimes the virus is not completely eliminated from the body, but can come back to cause shingles many years later. Usually shingles is more prevalent in those over 50 because of their weaker immune systems. Some of the symptoms are sensations of itching, burning, oversensitivity, etc. After a couple of days the initial phases are followed by a rash. This is limited to one side of the body and does not cross the midline. Zoster is more likely to occur in people who's immune system is impaired or because of stress. The rash and pain usually subside within 3 to 5 weeks.

That still doesn't explain my (now) 3 bumps. Two behind my ear, one in my hair and one visible, and one on my neck. Mom talked to a doctor today and showed him the picture of my neck, and he said the large bumps could be related to the "shingles" as well. We are assuming, or at least I am, now that my shingles have come back. I had been sick for a while, causing me to have a weakend immune system as well, plus I probably was pretty stressed this week, though I didn't really notice the stress until after the rash and bumps had already been appearing.

Actually the rash first looked like a bug bite. Just like it did when I was 6 years old. Except that time, once it broke out into blisters like it is now, I went to the doctor because we had no idea what it was.
My neck.

A picture of shingles from Wikipedia. --- They look similar, no?

Unfortunately the virus caused two of my little cousins to be infected with chicken pox. One was just a baby too. I really hope Matthi doesn't get them from me this time. I was holding him for a few minutes today because Birgit was finishing getting ready for church and he was crying a lot. Most of the time I was holding him out with my arms and bouncing him up and down. It was really difficult because he is so chubby and heavy (but its a good arm work out right?) I leaned him against my chest a couple of times, but I'm hoping because the bubbles have not popped yet that it will be okay. Maybe it will be good that I am gone this week for that reason, I do NOT want to get him sick.

Also, I don't particularly want my neck to be pussing, but I guess that gives me more of an excuse to wear my scarfs this week.

Sometimes after severe blistering, scarring and discolored skin remain. Fourteen years later and I still have a scar on my right thigh. Though thankfully it has faded a lot since I was in first grade. I'm praying my neck won't be as bad and won't scar, cause that might not look to pleasant.
My scarred thigh :(
I got a blessing from Bruce today. It was mostly for comfort but also to give me health. I know it will work. I have faith, and I know the Lord is watching out for me and I will be okay.

I am so excited to get distracted from everything this week, in Dublin and London and to just completely be loving life, again. I loved life this weekend mostly. And then I got sidetracked, but I'm trying to overcome that and focus on how amazing it was. This week will be even better!