Stories of this Canadian girl's adventures exploring Europe...join me!

Friday, April 27, 2012

coming up happy?

Do you ever see graffiti written on a highway overpass, or scrawled on a high rock outcropping somewhere and think it was written to you? No? Huh. On Tuesday, after dropping dad and stepmum off at their rental car, I saw ‘Nina, I love you!’ scrawled, large and unglamourously on an autobahn traffic sign. Ok, immediately I knew it was not the work of great guy, if only for the obvious fact that he would have made sure it was perfectly spaced and even and clean looking. But, for a moment I decided that it was for me, from him, and I thought…well, how nice is that? And, it made me happy.

Do you ever get inspired by the flowers that burst out of the garden dirt, when you can’t quite tell it’s spring yet? I do. Especially this spring. These amazing creations are a wonderful role model for perseverance, energy, and strength, growing and growing and bursting open with colour…even when it’s freezing outside (well, not technically freezing, just bloody cold). Now, the tulips are tall, huge, rising higher and higher, and I don’t think they’ll stop. The sky is the limit…way to go you guys! I want to come to! They are power flowers.

Do you ever sit across from someone in a train (as I am doing while I write this) or a bus and totally wonder who this stranger is? My lady here is slim, maybe 49 (I’m horrible at guessing age), with dowdy, shoulder-length, mousy brown hair. She wears no jewellery, but has a scarf tied loosely around her neck, and she clutches her black, leather handbag as if it’s filled with diamonds or maybe wads and wads of cash. I want to know what’s in there. Should I ask why she’s holding on to it so tightly? (On second thought, maybe the weird woman constantly looking at her while typing away on her laptop is freaking her out). Who is she? Where is she going…on a much needed, long weekend getaway or just home? Does she love someone? And does he/she love her in return (that’s the tricky part, in my experience, to love someone who also loves you)? Is she happy? Should I ask her?

This quote makes me happy:

„When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote ‚happy‘. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment and I told them they didn’t understand life.“ – John Lennon

Great guy and I are on our way to glorious sunshine, snowy capped mountains and my dad. We are meeting him in Salzburg and then spending 4 days in Berchtesgaden, where he was born. I am ridiculously excited about this weekend away with great guy. He has been grumbling and moaning all week about how far the train ride is (7 hours) and yet the entire trip so far he has been so silly and sweet and lovely. Happy? Happy.
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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

just call me jane.

Jane Fonda that is. On Friday, I gave notice to Mickey that I was giving up the wine biz and taking up the fitness biz. He got very excite, not that I was leaving thankfully, but because in his mind I was now going to (somehow magically) morph into Jane Fonda. You know, the aerobics-doing, big hair-having, unitard-wearing Jane from the '80's. Uh-huh. On so many levels, that is not going to be happening.

Mickey kept calling me Jane Fonda, well actually, he kept calling me James Fonda (funnily enough) until Minnie corrected his pronounciation. He would flit into the office, where I was attempting to work, with arms out-stretched, doing a couple of jumping-jacks beside my desk, with a crazy grin on his face...more Joker, less Jane if you ask me.

Anyways, I have now started, officially working with Ricky, and unofficially with Steffi Graf. She's our spokesperson/model, on every single piece of print material - not really the worst role model. She's only one of the coolest, fittest women in the whole wide world.

So, along with business and kiddie english classes, I am now trying to blab a lot in German about working out and getting fitter. On that note, my half of a half marathon training (doesn't that sound way better than just 10 km?) has kicked into full swing. Except that great guy thinks I'm soooo out of shape that there's no possible way I will be able to finish (such a lucky girl to have such a supportive b-friend). He says he'll stand on the sidelines yelling 'booo, boooo'. I have now hidden all the calendars in the house so that he hopefully doesn't find out when the 'race' takes place.

If I could have one wish, I would fly my dear friend/running partner, Bob, out for the day to just walk/talk those 10 km with me. What fun. And, if he wanted to call me Jane I wouldn't even care.
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Sunday, April 8, 2012

good morning jesus

It sure is pretty here. This morning I wake up first, go upstairs to make breakfast, complete with cute, easter bunny, egg-cozies and easter chocolates. Great guy lies in bed, snoozing longer, exhausted from the past days of reno work.

As I sit drinking my coffee, staring out the window, the buns warming up in the oven, I'm struck by the beauty of this place and of this morning. The sun is shining brightly, through a pale-blue sky, dotted with a few, pillow-y clouds. Their is a slight breeze, bringing life to the stillness here.

The view of the river and our riverbank is only interrupted by our massive, blossoming cherry trees. Huge, branches, filled with fist-sized, white, puffballs, drape and lean, seemingly sagging under the weightlessness of the never-ending blooms. It's spectacular.

A tiny bird, sits on our doorstep, just feet away from me, meticulously culling the fluff from the fringes of our doormat. He/she/it has been a constant companion for the past days, working hard to line it's nest with new bedding...must be our equivalent of heading to the mall to buy new spring linens.

I open the door to breath in the fresh air and at that moment the cathedral bells across the river start to ring...and ring...and ring. They have been ringing for an hour now. Oh, good morning, Jesus.
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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

running to goethe

I have been running towards Goethe. Through the dark woods, on soft gravel, along lanes of fluffy, cherry blossoms, through the rustling of leftover leaves, on a high hill overlooking the wide, lazily flowing river, lastly past the massive, gothic cathedral. And there he is. Goethe.

Huffing and puffing, I stop. A landing place. A place of rest. Simple, strong, quiet. I imagine him here, writing, drawing.

Goethe is ubiquitous here. He’s like Germany’s golden boy. A scholar, a poet, an author, a lawyer. Statues in his honour, streets and town squares bear his name. And, writely so. He seems to have been brilliant, but a little strange. Women liked him, and he fell in love a few times, but he didn’t like formal commitment. He was described, by the fiancĂ© of one of the women he loved, as being bizarre, but that he had a kind of genius which children and women found fascinating. He did what he wanted, felt no need to conform or to follow trends, and he wasn’t too concerned with what others thought about him. He also hated pressure; from his father, from society, or from women. Sounds like one or two German men I know.

I’m fortunate to recieve daily quotes, compiled and sent from the desk of my favorite octogenarian. They lie in a folder called „John’s Jems“, which seriously must have over 500 entries. Recently, one of those gems included the words…“More powerful than the will to win is the courage to begin. What you can do or dream you can do, begin it; boldness has genius and power and magic in it.“ [Johann von Goethe]

The words hit me, like some words do, sometimes good and sometimes bad. What you can do or dream you can do. Begin it. Be bold. Try. Just do it…okay, that’s Nike, but still it‘s inspiring. Now what to apply it to? New work, current relationship, old dreams? Be courageous.

And now, it is coming on Easter. I really want to be around family, and it doesn’t even need to be mine! My nephew turned one, far far away. He talked to me on the phone, kept spurting out enthusiastic „HI’s“. Heart-breakingly cute. My brother sounds so proud to be this little guy’s dad. There’s nothing more courageous than choosing to be a parent.

Personal note: It has been a hard go of late, I won’t lie. I write a lot but feel like nothing is quite interesting enough to post. My cousin's husband committed suicide at home, a few weeks ago. She says it's the worst time of her life, and yet she still invited us for Easter - how incredibly kind of her. I can't imagine the horror, the despair, the sadness, the anger. I think a lot about that family. I want to hang out with my brother so badly I cry. And somehow it feels like in my everyday, all which I do, say, feel, seems to be wrong. I’m not sure what or where the future is for me, and at this point in my life, I had really hoped this would be clearer. If you are reading this, then you must be a friend and I thank you. I think of you each day, knowing that I want so desperately to talk, but not really knowing what to say. Thanks for staying tuned. I’m continuing to write to you, for me. And, I’m going to keep on running…
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