Monday, January 5, 2009

Home... at last!!

wow... that's all i can say!

is it weird that sitting at my desk at work catching up on the hundreds of personal emails and what seems like thousands of work emails that i have selfishly neglected for months, feels like the most fun i have had in just as long?!?! ok, not really, but it feels great to be back in the living, contributing to society (side giggle, since most would argue that phd candidates do little of the sort), fighting traffic, consoling the bleeding cracks on my dried-out hands, and developing blisters on my finger tips as i relentlessly reply to all un-answered emails! europe was amazing... no wait, i think the blog-worthy-enthusiastic A-MA-ZING is more appropriate... but it is nice to be home.

officially, i have been back in the land-o-prosper for 13 days, have spent approximately 16 hours in the car, ate 1 pant size worth of chocolate and turkey, skied around 30 runs in fernie, drank at least 3 bottles of champagne (myself), smiled at cam about a zillion times, and laughed at english jokes until my sides hurt... all the while developing tremendous shoulder and bicep definition in my left arm from carrying around a HUGE ROCK ON MY LEFT HAND!! yup, that's right, ian and i are officially getting married!!

some say distance makes the heart grow fonder. well, the end result for ian and i would suggest the same thing, but suffice it to say, that the road of separation was wrought with miscommunication, missed calls, lonely birthdays, nagging voices, long distance arguments (without the make-up sex), and plenty of what-ifs. considering our perseverance through 7 weeks of not-so-easy separation, i think distance makes the heart grow more secure. being home with ian (my fiance... sorry, just trying that on for size cause it isn't a typical word in my vocabulary) has felt right. easy. sigh-of-relief. happy. silly. sexy. fun. intense. lighthearted. bliss. those are not just words of an excited bride-to-be, but a sign of security of a wife-in-the-making. i feel secure in ian's love for me, his pursuit of our happiness, his abiding commitment to our goals and dreams. i feel secure in my match in ian, my intense vision of our companionship, my commitment to elevating our relationship by being the best woman i can be. yes, distance makes the heart more secure.

sharing our engagement with family and friends over the holidays has been an exciting, albeit intimidating, experience. intimidating? well, yes. as it turns out, i am not comfortable in this role of 'bride'. the limelight doesn't really suit me. this surprises me. full stop. no seriously, at times i have loved attention. but in reflection, i realize most of these times have been related to someone elses successes/milestones. confused? stick with me. i loved being a bridesmaid at my sister's wedding. i loved that attention. why? i loved knowing that i was being linked to the amazing woman that is my sister, on one of her most important days. i love the attention i have had most recently for being an aunt... who wouldn't love attention-by-association to the most precious little boy i know (proud auntie is not something i am ashamed of!!). but attention for me, just cause i am me, and happy, and engaged, and a 'bride'?? not so much. UN-comfortable. so, i have a mere 8 months to try to avoid the limelight (well, at least up until the wedding day, and then i am sure ian and i will be ready to soak it all up!). is this possible? maybe i will develop an alter-blog-ego, where i am a confident, driven, visionary of a bride... and all blogger-brides will swoon... wow, she's such a confident bride! i am blushing just thinking about it!!

i hope the new year is exciting, lovely, happy, successful, safe, and SECURE, for you and your families. 2009 will be a great year. there may be losses (inherent considering the state of our economy), but nothing that is lost can not be regained in some way/shape/form by nurturing our relationships with those most dear to our hearts.

happy new year!!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

I'm back... and I'm a year older?!

so, it has been a while since i last updated you all (my faithful 5 readers) of the happenings here in Rif. well, it has been happening all over austria and elsewhere, not just in my quaint little village. in the last 10-ish days, i have been blessed to have family time in vienna, and also in prague. it has been a dream to be surrounded by my most special people, and to soak up the euro vibes with my nephew in tow?!?! what a trip! he is doing amazingly, and i have been so lucky to get to watch him on his first big world adventure... you know there will be many more in his future! the simplest treasures have made my heart the warmest... wine in a cafe after a day of pounding the cobblestone, hearing the boy's giggles first thing in the morning, watching the photo hunters capture their favorite image, momma ordering wine when the rest of are drinking beer! the thing about family is, whether at home or across the world, these simple wonders never change, and even if they have been seen/felt/smelled/heard a million times before, they still stir up a wonderous satisfaction. yes. some things never change.

the other thing that happened since my last post, is that i aged by a year... can't say i'm too happy about it either. 28. nearly 30. way past 20. wow, how did that happen?? the numbers seem to hurt a bit more each year. just think, i have been in school for at about 25% of my entire life... i'm talking of my life expectancy?!?! that's a long time!! i know that i have lived these last 28 years to the fullest (at least the ones i can remember), and have made memories that no one take away from me, i guess i am having a bit of trouble accepting the fact that i am 28. in school. no kids. WHAT?! ok, let it go. you're gonna be an older mom, and that's ok.

on to the work related update. tomorrow is my first day on the hill!! in my 6th week here, i am finally collecting the data i came to collect. there have been some roadblocks along the way, and let's hope the snow will hold until the end of next week, but overall, the project is moving forward. the lab tests were completed last week, and now onto the good stuff. i hope everyone has some fingers crossed for me that it will go well, and rest assured, i will update with news of how it all goes.

so until then, i hope everyone back is home happy and healthy. the christmas spirit is alive and well (actually very loud) here, and it is such a delight! i can't wait to come home and share that holiday warmth with all of my dearest friends and family.

happy holidays

Friday, November 21, 2008

for those of you not on facebook... here's some pics!

did you know austrians speak spanish too?!

so last night i got invited to a slide show of my neighbours adventures this past summer in norway and sweden. i met christian in the hallway when i saw his ski boots out drying. since we have spoke about snow when we have seen eachother, and he seems like a very cool guy. so, yesterday, i was coming in from my run and he told me he was having some people over to look at pics, and that he "hoped i would be able to attend"... so polite! anyways, i was excited to get out of my room and meet some people, and it was great! there were about 8 of us, and most didn't know eachother which surprised me a bit considering how small this uni is... and i thought everyone in res knew eachother? the interesting thing was, when i was about to knock on the door, i could hear all these people speaking spanish?! sure enough, one of the guys (sergio... or something close to that) was from spain, and didn't speak any german. this apparently has been no big deal for him, cause everyone here speaks spanish too... i felt like a language lackey. all of these people were trying so hard to speak english for me, when i really was fine just listening to the swirl of languages all around me! ok, that's a new goal... spanish! i have felt horrible being here and not speaking german, but i think spanish is much more valuable of a language. i need a second language. period.

the real fun of the night was getting a glimpse of christian's passions... surfing, kite-surfing, skiing, and the main topic of the night, climbing! i was sitting listening to him speak of the emotional journey he went on over this 6 week climbing adventure with two best friends, and i thought to myself, self, this is life at the next level. this isn't feeling rejuvenated with a run through beautiful austrian country side, or a road-bike trip around p.e.i., this experiencing nature at it's extreme. his passion takes him to some of the most beautiful places i have ever seen in photos... and he was touching, breathing, smelling, tasting, drinking it all in. hanging from the face of a granite mountain, pushing yourself to the limit. his reality is so much different from my own. i have pushed myself to my limit before (first thing to come to mind is marathon), but last night reminded me that it is when you push beyond, that true greatness can happen. but do you have to risk your life to imagine beauty like that?
note: this picture was no one of his, but one i found online © Ingram Publishing / SuperStock

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

what a beautiful sight!!

as you can see, today is rainy, but the weekend is snow... sweet, powdery white stuff!! can't wait! in the mean time, here is a pic of some the snow that the mountains have had the last couple of days... this mountain has become my tracker of the weather, so i am sure you will recognize this picture!!

work is coming along, and hopefully my boots will be here today so i can get moving on the internal adjustments i need to make! i will take some pics if this happens, and keep you all updated. and as a sidenote, only 9 days till i get to smother my nephew with hugs and kisses.... can't wait!!!

Monday, November 17, 2008

hello outside world...

so it is official, i exist in the outside world. today, not even 5 days after it was mailed, i have received a letter from home... G&G i love u!! for some reason, even considering the mass amount of electronic correspondence i have been lucky to have with home, receiving a hard-copy version of mail (you know the kind, where pen is put to paper, envelopes are licked, and stamps... come on, stay with me, stamps, they're the square little stickers that you put on envelopes to make them go to where they are addressed... are affixed, and the package is then dropped in a red stand-up box typically in post-offices, once found on street corners) brings a smile to the face unlike any other type of e-versions of similar messages. i am oh-so-fond of the little bundles of joy that arrive in my e-mailbox (see: did you get it?), but knowing that i have an address, a correct one despite the strangeness of it, means i have roots of some sort, and roots provide connection, i guess life in some sense... ok tiff, that's taking it a bit far, but you get the idea. anyways, it's a happy morning, and i thank mr. mailman for that!

so here's just a random thought of the day. maybe living in ctown the last 3+ years has screwed up my perception of the forecast, but it amazes me every day that i wake up here to see the skies exactly as forecasted the previous couple of days. sunny means sunny, cloudy means cloudy, and rain means rain. today, the sun is here, as i was told it would be... thank-you forecast, for not letting me down. imagine if we could actually learn to trust our weather people... what an interesting relationship that could be. rather than 'tomorrow will be warm.'... to which we would respond 'ya sure, i'll believe it when i see it', could turn into, 'tomorrow the sun will shine', and we would respond 'interesting, thanks for the information, i will be sure to bring my sunglasses'. i'm intrigued! i will enjoy the valid forecasts for the next 5 weeks, after which i will come home, and be entertained by the necessity to be prepared for anything (and everything) on any given day.

i hope the weather you are experiencing at this moment brings a smile to your face. here the sun is glorious, but the forecast is bringing even better surprises my way... in the form of little white flakes!! yippee!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

displaced... yes! lost... not a chance!

for a displaced runner, at what point does a jog switch from an adventure to exercise? well, i will let you know if/when that happens! so far, exploring the rural area surrounding the university by foot has been pure joy. armed with my ipod and runners, i set out initially with the intention of burning some calories, feeling my body move/breath/sweat, and as an added bonus, to do some sight-seeing. well, the intent quickly shifted to being only about the adventure, the beauty, the absolute majestic qualities of the area, and any thoughts of calories, distance, pace, or heart rate are soon forgotten. i guess a runner is always able to find their way to a path, and without thought, never seems to get lost. i always seem to end up in a loop, with no pre-defined turning point... things always just work out. i guess with a river and mountains as markers, neither a map nor a plan are needed!

most of you know me as the self-proclaimed gym rat i have been for many years, and to be honest, i miss lifting weights on a daily basis. BUT, without a gym to use (the student gym is only available to students for a couple of hours a week??), the alternative is running and push-ups! the running is a past-time i have also enjoyed for years, so this is a natural habit to fall back into. the thing though that makes it so pure and lovely, is the excitement with which you breathe every breath, see every sight, and smell every passing breeze. every step brings more energy... around every turn is a sight that makes you think, 'ah man, i should have brought my camera!'. but you are easily reminded that this is your time, your moment... soak it up! the image will be forever captured in my heart, so although i won't be able to share the images with you all, i know they are burned in my memory.

i think of runs i went on while in oz, nearly 9 years ago, and i can remember details that today, seem like just yesterday. i remember the 1st run i went on after arriving, and the distinct clumsiness i felt crossing roads, trying to figure out which way to look for cars, which side of the road to run on! i remember the texture and taste of the humidity in the air, and the weight it added to each step. i can remember thinking about the dangers of being a tourist in mexico when i was running on this path near our resort, that was lined with the tallest bulrushes that nearly arced completely over the trail, as if a tunnel. my steps quickened, and my heart beat faster, almost a sense of claustrophobia. just recalling that memory makes me type a bit faster now! in new york, on a trip i took by myself, running up 5th ave and into central park, hearing the silence of the streets and the stillness of the air... ohhh new york!

feeling these memories so vivid and clear makes me remember how blessed i am to have my runners here in austria. i know that each new adventure i share with my heart and the soles of my shoes will be banked like secret memories, easily brought to the surface to enjoy again and again. i wish you all could feel the euphoria i did this afternoon, with the sun warming my face and the sounds of the rushing river quenching my thirst... but at the same time, i feel selfishly sinful keeping that experience and memory all to myself!

ahhh, austria