Sunday, October 31, 2010

Life and Death

A full week it has been.

Diane Griffin arrived on Saturday (10/23) and Nancy Wells arrived on Monday (10/25) -- our travels together filled Germany, Austria and Italy with the laughter and conversation that comes from knowing one another for ages - through good and sad times.  We, in turn, filled our hearts with friendship and our bodies with all sorts of good eats - speck, goulash, spatzle, vegetable strudle, Weiner schnitzel, cheese(s), breads, torte, tea, coffee, wine, and beer.  South Tyrol embraced them and they wrapped their arms around Emma and Gottfried.  Of course, it was castle, burg, cathedral, church at every turn and then snow to boot.  Magical moments - the fullness of life.

And then ... on Thursday (10/28), we learned that Lindsay died from her own hand.  She lived with us for a little over two months in 2009 shortly after arriving in Boone and while waiting for repairs in her apartment to be completed.  A lovely young woman, seemingly overjoyed by her love for Jake and happy about her friendships.  At twenty-nine, she was too young to know that time, love, and friendships smooth out the raw and jagged edges of life.

So, I leave you with an inspiring story that encourages us to live long and in love.  Take time to see.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Finally figured out how to post pictures!

So here is our apartment in Erlstätt.  Your room awaits!  (It is the one with 2 single beds.)

Through the eyes and ears of friends

Sharing a place I love with people I love deepens my feelings for both.  Stone patterns, fields, houses, and people are seen differently by others.  They call my attention to places and moments I have seen a hundred times and can now see newly again.   Diane's visit has been a gift!

And today - three year old Katarina visited us. At one point, she looked at me very deeply and finally asked, what happened to my face?  I was a little confused and asked her what she meant.  She took her fingers and touched my cheeks - where the little red veins show through my very pale skin.  I asked her, "what did she think happened?"  She responded that a bird must have that flown down and pinched them hard.  I could think of no reason not to agree.

Later, she sat in my lap and demanded that I read her book "faster and louder." It didn't matter to her that I was clearly out of my element. The book was The Little Pigs and it was written in Italian;  maybe I should have used Pig Latin!?  In the end, she made clear was that as long as I was holding her and we were involved with the book, she was happy.  Simple pleasures transcend language. 

Friday, October 22, 2010

Freedom ... the internet and a telephone number

Jimminy Christmas!  What was I thinking? 
"Let's detach," I said.
"Let's step away and see what really matters to us," I implored.
"Wasn't it lovely to be in the Grand Canyon for a whole week and be concerned with only what was happening in the immediate?"  I asked superiorly.

I'll tell you what is important to me.  I need the instant gratification of information and communication.  I love asking a question and then putting it to Google to satisfy my query.  I want to call my Dad every week and learn that my sisters and brother are the same and to hear my Dad say he loves me.  I love doing this without standing at a public phone with a flashlight and phone card or spending $50 to hear the voice of a friend when I have finally decided that my German isn't good enough to appreciate the NRP-like commentary on the Bayrisches Rundfunk.  And, while I resisted the Kindle when I received it last Christmas, it has been the most amazing friend ever.  Swiftly and quietly sending me books to devour so that my mind won't turn to poo.  Reviews for Freedom (Franzen); Room (Donoghue); A Dog's Purpose (Cameron); and Same Kind of Different as Me (Hall and Moore) will be posted soon.  Peter is writing every day ... and I am seeking stimulation from the minds of others. 

I can only say that today, Deutsche Telecom answered my prayers and liberated my soul.  See my fingers dance!