CULTURESHOCK, intense and unexpected assaulted me for the first several months of my life in Vienna, Austria. Previous blogs have highlighted some of my disparaging feelings on specific aspects of this culture shock extravaganza. I will be home to Texas all too soon. Consequently, this is the perfect time to reflect on some things I have grown to love and cherish about my new found European home. Join, read on and maybe, just maybe you will smell a smell, taste a taste, or hear a heart-thumping beat of the timeless rhythm of Vienna.
what is vienna..?
Hundred year old buildings hiding history- victories and defeats of almost forgotten laughs and tears.
Majestic wrought iron lampposts illuminating the old downtown.
Gothic cathedrals and tile roof ceilings destroyed once by bombs and rebuilt to tell a new story.
Fire engine red street trams free of air conditioning and gasoline.
Streets dedicated just to walking, and lanes just for biking.
Horses in blinders pulling freshly painted wagons of tourists.
Stoic, wintry Austrian faces that slowly blossom into spring time grins.
The German language- prematurely considered harsh and halting but now uniquely melodic and exciting.
Old men and women walking into their eighties, outfitted impeccably in subtle accents of their traditional Trachten attire.
The Wienerwald (Viennese woods) atop rolling hills surrounding the city inviting, inviting, inviting.
Little roads and still smaller cars circling and winding amid districts 1-23.
Discount airlines whisking passengers away to places like Paris and Prague for something like $65 dollars.
Grand, ancient operas in evening and old, overgrown cemeteries leading to Mozart's shared public grave.
Friendly Turkish kebap stand owners and the tingling taste of a cool, crisp Almdudler.
Loud and tasty aromas winding and ascending up and through the tiny Naschmarkt walkways on any given Saturday morning.
Emerging into open air fleamarkets for a healthy dose of bargaining and bartering.
Italian neighbors, Romanian roommates, and friends from the world over.
Sprawling country palaces and imposing city residences.
Ancient Vindobona's ruins from past Roman time and the flowing, winding Danube cutting the city in two.
Dazzling Austrian Alps and resulting clear, cold tap water pumped right into my faucet.
GrüßGott greetings and Auf Wiedersehen farewells.
Sunday store closings offering a Sabbath rest long forgotten by Americans.
This, my friends, is Vienna.
Today my adventure was to Stadtpark with blanket, bathing suit, and book in tow to join the local Saturday sunbathers. Blue sky contrasted green grass blankets specked with tiny white daisy dots. Bouncy accordian tunes coming from a street musician invited me to stay longer and longer. Soon enough though, his distant music was drowned out by another. Floating sweetly over walls of fresh green bushes wrapped up in old wrought iron gates came the nostalgic "Edelweiss" performed by a hidden choir of lovely Austrian voices. And in this moment, I was taken in by a country not my own and a people foreign to my head but familiar to my heart.
Wien, Wien, Wien. Du bist meine Liebling. Ich komme aus Texas aber mein Herz ist in Wien.
"So each generation should set its hope anew on God,
not forgetting his glorious miracles
and obeying his commands.
Then they will not be like their ancestors--
stubborn, rebellious, and unfaithful,
refusing to give their hearts to God." Psalm78:7-8
God, bless this city, your city. Romance its people, your people. May your face shine on its past, its present, and its future. Only then will she become truly glorious with the glory that is only in your name. Jesus, please do not forget Vienna. Do not forget your Austria. Come after hearts so that they may be reminded of the hope found in your love.
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welcome Audrey DeFord is an artist, illustrator, wife, momma, believer. But not in that order. She currently resides in Texas with her husband Sam, baby girl Flora, French bully Shortstack, & 12