Tuesday, July 19, 2011

In which I turn one year older and wiser too.

Today I am 21 years of age. It doesn't feel like that big of a change, because I've been telling people I'm 21 the entire time I've been here (I have this tendency to lie about my age sometimes...). But nonetheless, I am now a real adult. I have a history of being out of town on my birthday: 2 while I was at girl's camp, one in Yellowstone with Jessie, and now one in Vienna. It started with a package from my mother (which I forgot to take pictures of...oops), full of American granola bars (a staple of my life) and a cake mix that I shall make later today. I spent my morning learning about Klimt, Schiele, Mahler and Schonberg (PS did you know that Leonard Bernstein had like, the same life story but in reverse? Mahler was born in Europe, conducted the Vienna Phil, and then crossed the pond to conduct the New York Phil. Bernstein was born in America, conducted the New York Phil, and then conducted the Vienna Phil. Oh also they both were Jewish. So it's fitting that Bernstein kind of brought Mahler's music out of obscurity.)
I've always had mixed feelings about birthdays: I hate being the center of attention, and so I feel strange having a day all about me. But I've learned from experience that if I don't tell people about my birthday, it'll come out a few days later, and then instead of one day of birthday, I get a week of "Why didn't you tell us you had your birthday?" So I think I'm growing to actually like having a birthday and just appreciate the outpourings of love I recieve from friends and loved ones. Like the many sweet emails I got from parents and siblings today, or the Kinder Bueno (best candy bar ever. I'm serious) that my sweet friend Rachel gave me. 

I am relieved, however, that I didn't get any presents today, outside of the package from my parents. I love getting Christmas presents, but birthday presents sometimes feel weird to me because I'm the only one getting presents. Also, I will never put my birthday on facebook. I hate getting all the wall posts from people I barely know. I much prefer happy birthday's from people who actually love me.

Anyone have any good birthday stories? Worst present ever? Most awkward birthday adventure? I'd love to hear!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

In which I cross a pond.

So, you may not have known this, but I recently made the move from little old Utah to Vienna, Austria, to study German and Humanities for the summer. And I feel like I'm supposed to be documenting that somehow.
But documenting my life...that's never been the purpose of this blog.
I thought about making this into a travel blog, updating about every week with what I've been up to.
But I'm already writing travelogue-esque emails on a pretty frequent basis to my parents and to my boyfriend, and keeping a detailed journal. I don't really feel like writing out all my adventures in yet another medium. I'll hopefully be putting a big load of pictures on the book of faces pretty soon, for those who truly need to live vicariously through me.
So this blog will stay what it's always been. A place for me to share my thoughts and feelings when I feel like it, hopefully to the enjoyment and edification of those who read. (There will however, probably be more pictures from here on out.)

Somehow I expected that coming to Europe would have some magical effect on my emotional state, that I would  just feel happy and magical and adventurous all the time, because I'm in Europe. Not just Europe, I'm in Vienna, for goodness sakes. The historical center of art and music and architecture and all that is good and beautiful in the world. I should be running around in a haze of joy and wonder all the time.
In the past few weeks I've made an important discovery. I've discovered that I'm still just as responsible for my emotional state here in Europe as I was back home. And the emotional issues that plagued me back in Provo are still mine to tote around here in Austria. I thought I could leave them behind by crossing the Atlantic, but they somehow managed to sneak into my luggage, or hide in my pocket, or maybe just grow wings and follow me here.
I actually felt a lot of guilt over this discovery at first. "I'm in Vienna", I thought. "Aren't I supposed to feel all happy and magical all the time? Am I less of a person if I can manage to be sad in Vienna?"
But here's the thing: my issues may have followed me here. But my control over those issues followed me here too. I still can choose to be happy and optimistic. I will still be sad or anxious or PMS-y some days, but I can  choose to ride it out optimistically and do what I can to pull myself out of the lurch, rather than wallowing in my depression.
I just became fully cognizant of this discovery about 10 minutes ago, so I can't say I've perfectly implemented it yet. And I probably won't implement it perfectly. I'm sure I'll do plenty of wallowing in the next couple of months. But I know that I don't have to, and I'm going to do my darndest not to. After all, even though Vienna isn't magical enough to cure longstanding depression and moodiness, it is pretty darn special. Special enough that I want to enjoy it as much as possible and revel in the opportunity I have to be somewhere so wonderful.  Take a look:

Yes, I think that is all worth some emotional effort.