A collection of grievances, memories, occasional musings, and everyday happenings


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The Beatles: Good for Your Heart, Good for Your German

Will got to be Paul... :-/

Will got to be Paul… :-/

I am a diehard Beatles fan. Like I really, really, really dig them. The Beatles have been my jam ever since I can remember and I have yet to tire of their sound, and because The Beatles were BRILLIANT they created albums that are perfect for any kind of day, in any season, for any mood. Very quickly, here’s my shortlist of go-to Beatles albums matched with their appropriate day types and moods:

Sunny day, positive mood: Please Please Me, Past Masters Vol. 1 (I recommend singing/yelling Long Tall Sally when you’re in an especially fantastic mood. It’s a good time.)

Cloudy day, contemplative and/or positive mood: Abbey Road, Let It Be

Rainy Day, negative or positive mood: Rubber Soul + Rain (obviously) from Past Masters Vol. 2

“It’s been a weird day” Day: The White Album

(Do let me know if you need further Beatles albums matched with various moods and days. The possibilities are endless.)

Having a moment with John at the Cavern Club, pre-Yoko.

Having a moment with John at the Cavern Club, pre-Yoko.

So yesterday was a little bit gloomy; not rainy but definitely grey and cold. I wasn’t feeling contemplative but I did feel positive. Begin: Let It Be. As I was trying to choose between Let It Be and Let It Be…Naked, I made a mind-blowing discovery. Beneath the Let It Be albums sat Past Masters Vol. 1 (wait for it…), and smack dab in the middle of the tracks were two songs with German titles: Sie Liebt Dich and Komm Gib Mir Deine Hand. I totally freaked out. I knew The Beatles had covered two of their own songs (She Loves You and I Want to Hold Your Hand) for when they toured Hamburg, but I had completely forgotten about them since, you know, at no time in my life was I learning German until now. Now these songs were relevant. I scrapped my focus on the Let It Be albums and tried my luck at understanding two of my favorite Beatles’ songs auf Deutsch. And… I understood all of the lyrics! I guess the lyrics are somewhat obvious, but I was thrilled nonetheless. I probably listened to Sie Liebt Dich and Gib Mir Deine Hand 5 times each so as to achieve my goal of memorizing both songs in their German form. I’ve always stood by the belief that The Beatles are perfect for any and all times in one’s life, and now I know it’s true!


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Enjoy the Schnee

Schnee: Snow

While Will and I were back in the States, we occasionally checked the weather in Vienna to make sure it wasn’t snowing without us. Unfortunately (and realistically), it snowed without us. Several times. Many, many times. Too many times – at least that’s how it felt while we complained of but secretly were O.K. with Oklahoma’s lack of winter temperature. The pictures of Vienna’s snow were gorgeous and it killed us that we couldn’t be there to take pictures of our own nor sit in our living room which we strategically set-up specifically for the ultimate snowfall-watching experience. The week prior to the day we left for Vienna, the city got a fabulous amount of snow. Feeling pessimistic and overly wounded by Vienna’s winter party, we assumed we missed the very last snowfall.

Turns out we were wrong. Vienna gave us snow our very first night back in the city, and since then it has hardly ceased if not but for a day or two. This past Saturday was a lovely one, and we made sure to enjoy it properly first by, of course, beginning the snowy morning in our living room with coffee in hand, and second by going to Stadtpark – my favorite park. Stadtpark is a daydream in every season of the year, especially in winter. Here are some pictures from our snow day adventure taken by myself and my husband:

Tobias watching it snow

Tobias watching it snow

Stadtpark

Stadtpark

Duck pond, Stadtpark

Duck pond, Stadtpark

Stadtpark

Stadtpark

Stadtpark

Stadtpark

Will

Cute husband Will

Snowy branches

Snowy branches

Cute husband Will

Cute husband Will

Narnia lamp post?

Narnia lamp post?


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Chinese Food Syndrome

Will is the one with his arms in the air like a crazy person.

Will is the one with his arms in the air like a crazy person.

Last Thursday night my husband took me to my favorite restaurant in all of Vienna: Wasabi Asia Grillhaus. I know it sounds crazy – an asian restaurant topping Austrian restaurants, but you have not had properly delicious fried rice until you try this place. It’s conveniently located a hop and a skip away from our apartment, and the restaurant itself is just across the street from Wurstelprater, an amusement park that is always a beautiful scene, especially in the summer time. The service is great, and for the last 6 months I’ve been attempting to befriend a waitress there who often seems to be in need of a friend. Basically this place has a lot going for it aside from its amazing food, but I digress.

Back to the other night. My husband took me to the restaurant on behalf of it being Valentine’s Day, and we hadn’t been yet since we’ve been back in Vienna. I ordered my usual Gebratener Reis mit Gemüse (fried rice with vegetables), my husband ordered whatever it was he ordered, and we ate happily – for a little while. Toward the end of our dinner, my husband began to feel overheated. Between the two of us he’s the one to often point out when it’s too hot in a store or in a restaurant, or in our home (an argument I rarely win), but this time it was obvious something was wrong. He started sweating and his face became flushed. Soon he was a little out of breath and very eager to pay and get home as soon as humanly possible. I felt fine.

My husband, desperate to cool off and lie down, went straight to the bedroom while I made plans to watch “New Girl”. Unfortunately FOX didn’t air any new episodes this week so I decided to read instead. After reading for about 3 minutes or so, the “feeling” – a feeling I’ve had twice before, both Chinese food related – started slowly spreading into my face and throughout my body. A minute later my vision blurred, my breathing became difficult, my face was numb and my head felt like it was shrinking while my brain was expanding. Like I said, I’ve been through this before, once in Vienna (same restaurant) and once in Croatia, but not to this degree. I wobbled into the bedroom and through wheezes told my husband, “Will! *heeeeeh* It’s happening again! *heeeeh* My face!” I fell down next to him and we laid in bed in multiple kinds of pain, contemplating the need of an ambulance. Concerned about our wellbeing but unable to figure out what on earth was wrong with us, Will rolled over to his phone and pulled up Google to try to solve our miserable riddle.

He typed “asian food face numb” into the search bar and up popped “Chinese Food Syndrome“, a reaction similar to an allergic reaction that is almost certainly but not conclusively connected to MSG, a chemical flavoring used in food. Symptoms include face numbness, sweating, headaches, difficulty breathing, flushing, etc. Bingo. So we had a bad case of CFS, and the website assured us there was no reason to go to the hospital. The site does say, however, that the only cure is to wait and let the reaction slip away on its own after some 2 to 3 hours. Will’s reaction faded pretty quickly. Mine stuck around for the full 3 hours. Happy Valentine’s Day to us.

Has this ever happened to anyone else? A bad reaction to MSG?


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There and Back Again

We’re home! (!!!!!!!!!!!!) We’re home and could not be happier. The early morning snow Tuesday morning definitely added to the fairytale that is Vienna as well as answered prayers as my husband and I often found ourselves earnestly wishing we were in our apartment, in our living room, listening to quiet music and drinking coffee while watching the snow fall. We were so afraid the snow would take a break and not stop back by for awhile, but it’s here and this morning we fulfilled our living room lounging, coffee drinking, music listening and snow watching wish.

photo copy 5Getting back to Vienna was an adventure in and of itself. My in-laws drove us to the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport early afternoon Sunday and had us there at the recommended “two hours prior” time. Our flight was scheduled for 4:45pm but upon checking in were told the flight had been delayed 15 minutes. Not a big deal. But by the time we made it through security and got to the gate, our flight had been pushed back all the way to 7:00pm. Will checked with the attendants to make sure we would make our connecting flight in London and was assured twice we wouldn’t have any problems, which always means we were about to have problems. The flight to London was the bumpiest, rockiest, most terrifying flight I’ve ever been on. I’m not a huge fan of flying as I tend to picture the opening scene of “LOST” every time I’m on a plane, but I do pretty well and knock myself out with Dramamine. This flight had me scared awake and sweating through my clothes. Every time I calmed down enough to watch my movie (If you haven’t seen Hotel Transylvania, you must. It’s so good.), the plane would shake and my water would fall over and slide across my tray and I would start praying and ask the Lord to please keep the plane in the air because there’s no way I could survive on a life raft in the middle of the ocean as I have a huge respect for the power of the ocean and all of its swimming, human eating creatures.

We landed, and I was thankful.

ea5e6d84769211e2a3d822000a1f9be5_6We landed in London a tiny bit later than expected, but Will and I, having been assured earlier that we’d have no problems, thought that our lateness wouldn’t cause trouble for us. We speed-walked through the terminal only to be stopped at a lengthy, extraordinarily slow moving security line. Everyone was in a huge hurry except of course the people working security. We put our bags on the conveyer belt and walked through the security door, and I was stopped because I’m always stopped even though nothing is ever on my person. I’ve been behind people who’ve walked through with dangling chains and giant winter coats and still manage to get stopped. At the precise time I was stopped, the security system that sees through your clothes (I don’t know it’s actual name) shut down. By then we only had 5 minutes to get to the gate. Will told the guards nearest him that we had to go, but my person had to be checked so we waited. I was finally “examined” and released with 1 minute to get to the gate. We grabbed everything and bolted for the gate which is the second worst thing that’s happened in these three months. Vienna really put us in great shape with all of the walking and bike riding and healthy eating we do here, but the States un-shaped us and made running a horrible business. We ran as fast as we could with our carry-ons weighing us down quite a bit. We made it to the gate while “CLOSED” was flashing on the screen. The gentleman working the desk laughed and said we were fine but that they had paged us a few times. We didn’t catch our breath till we were sitting in our seats on the plane to Vienna.

My orchids didn't survive our absence.

My orchids didn’t survive our absence.

Two hours later we looked out the window and couldn’t believe our 90 day wait was finally over. We were ready to get through the airport, find our luggage, and hug our friends’ necks. One of the six pieces of luggage made its way around the belt to us, but the other five were not in sight. Luggage from Rome and from Paris joined in and still our luggage was missing. Will went to the Help Desk and was told our luggage had not made the connection to Vienna and would be coming in at a later flight and returned to us later in the night. It wasn’t a huge deal at all, but after a lack of sleep and the initial stress of not knowing where our stuff was did make our “Welcome Home” a little… sleepier. When we exited the airport we were instantly met by our favorite little friends and their parents. In my head I had imagined this reunion to be a loud, ecstatic time on my part. I was going to scoop up all of the kids (one at a time) and scream when I saw Kim and Josh and Jake and Amanda, but my reaction was more like “This is a dream, right?” I guess I thought since I’ve traveled a fair amount that the transition back in to a place I wanted to get back to so badly would be an easy one, but really every redo of a transition is a pretty odd experience.

Our apartment was just as we left it: clean with a dash of “Eh… I’ll do this later”. We were reunited with Tobias which at first was heartbreaking as he didn’t really know who we were and took to hiding underneath the couch, but he came back out about 5 minutes later and he’s been normal ever since. Jake wound up staying over longer than he anticipated due to our heat not working. If it hadn’t been -3 degrees Celsius outside we would’ve waited to get it fixed, but it was and our apartment felt like the inside of a freezer. Jake worked some magic and our heat started working but probably didn’t fully heat up the place until sometime in the night. After he left, we were left in our apartment – a surreal feeling. We had sandwiches and went about our night waiting for our luggage which was delivered around 11:00pm. We went to bed, and it was the best night’s sleep we’ve had in 93 days.

Here’s to more adventures (the good kind).

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