Exploring Vienna

This Thursday marks the third month since my move to Vienna, and I still feel I’m just brushing the surface of things to see in this city! This week, we visited the artsy, bohemian Hundertwasserhaus Village and walked around the amusement park at the Prater.

The Hundertwasserhaus neighborhood is a beautiful gem for those who love modern art — and even for those who don’t. Hundertwasser designed each sloping building with such intricate detail; even the stones are cut in a way that seems “shattered” yet perfectly put-together at the same time. Complete with a shopping center and charming cafes, the Hundertwasser Village made for a lovely afternoon.

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The Wiener Riesenrad, Vienna’s famous, giant Ferris Wheel, stands as the focal point in the Prater amusement park area. The park itself is open year-round, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week… so there is NO excuse to miss this gorgeous attraction!

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I’m in the process of compiling a “Vienna Bucket List” — things I absolutely must do or see before the year is over. Though I’ve seen quite a bit, there’s still a lot left to do! Now that work has settled in a bit more, I’m really looking forward to experiencing all this city has to offer.

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Karlskirche

Yesterday, I visited the Karlskirche for their 11 a.m. service. Though Stephansdom is (from an American’s standpoint at least) the better-known of the two, the Karlskirche has a breathtaking beauty of its own. For church-attending purposes, I actually prefer the Karlskirche due to the more intimate seating, but that is only my humble opinion.

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The Karlskirche was built in the 18th Century under the supervision of Emperor Charles VI. The impressive, imperial style of the architecture reflects the grandeur Charles envisioned for the church that would bear his namesake. Though the church appears starkly different from many of the other, surrounding buildings at Karlsplatz, it doesn’t look out of place; rather, it makes the church seem even more like a priceless jewel.

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The service was lovely, and I followed almost all of it (it was entirely in German — great practice for me)! The recessional was an organ arrangement of the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel’s Messiah — it definitely felt appropriate.

IMG_2895For more information, visit the Karlskirche website! http://www.karlskirche.at/

2015

I have been SO bad about updating my blog over the past few months. Since my last post, things have happened at a whirlwind pace: I traveled back home to the USA, I celebrated a birthday (24 — does this mean I’m mid-twenties now?), I performed the soprano solo in Mozart Requiem (a bucket list piece!!!) at my Alma Mater, I subbed for a week in the Fine Arts department of this really amazing private high school (that I wish I could rewind and attend as a teenager), I was visited for a week by my sweet Jacco and by my best friend who lives too many states away, and I started the advanced classes in the yoga app on my phone (shamelessly adding this as a “hashtag humble brag” moment — I’m just pretty proud of this accomplishment).

One of my most exciting updates is that I’ve been hired to sing Susanna in The Marriage of Figaro (auf Deutsch!!! yayyy Germlish!) in Vienna, Austria, this coming year, and to make things even more miraculously wonderful, Jacco has been hired to play in the orchestra, which means we get to be together — and really be TOGETHER — for at least nine months this year. We’ve said a lot of prayers last year that we wouldn’t continue to be kept apart in 2015 due to life’s many obligations and necessities, and we’re very thankful for this opportunity. Things have seemed to fall into place beautifully — and not to sound pessimistic (I like to think of it as realistic, thank you), but I’ve had this persistent thought in the back of my head that something is bound to go wrong at some point, since things have seemed so right.

Sadly, my grandmother was diagnosed with advanced brain cancer last week, which makes the prospect of leaving soon seem very bleak and uninviting. I’m constantly amazed at how much willpower this woman has — she is still as sassy, funny, and sweet as ever, and she is determined to fight this thing out as long as she possibly can. I’m so inspired by her, and always have been, but these past few days have made me realize that, as someone who is carrying her genes, I have an obligation to my family to remain strong, positive, and thankful for God’s blessings as long as I live. I recently gave her a hard-carved Christmas decoration from Dresden, which she thankfully loved, and she told me with a wink to bring her another one from Austria next year. She’s never flown in a plane, let alone been to Europe — but she has arguably been the most supportive person about my travel experiences over the past few years. She told me she would live vicariously through me this year as I explore Austria, so I intend to have the fullest adventure I possibly can, if only to tell my grandmother the stories when I get back.

So, here’s to 2015! I look forward to the adventures you bring.

Hiiiii again!

So, it’s been a while since my last post. Things have been a little crazy over this way! Jacco and I just got back from an 8-day trip to Bavaria — my first experience in that part of the country. We stayed in a small village called Füssen, which almost sounds like the German translation of the word feet… Possibly named because Füssen is located at the foot of the German alps, but I thought it was ridiculously cute that the town’s crest consists of three legs/feet making a triangle. Puns are great. It’s the little things…

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So, although it was a work trip for Jacco (the orchestra performed all week at Neuschwanstein Castle), we really had a great time. We got to explore the castle and see many of the incredible sights in the area. Every day was like living in a fairy tale. The mountains were just AMAZING. Inspired by the Hollywood-worthy view, I even climbed up on a rock one day and started (loudly) singing that Lonely Goatherd song from The Sound of Music — I thought I was alone, but wouldn’t you know it —- I wasn’t. I glanced over my shoulder to find a pack of tourists. Awesome. So, I kind of awkwardly walked away but was comforted when one of the older men continued the song after I left. (I was later to come across many, many American tourists singing songs from The Sound of Music — I’m telling you, it ain’t hard to pick out the Americans in this neck of the woods).

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On Saturday, we hiked into Austria. That was a big highlight of the week for me — a new country to mark off my bucket list!
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Our trip was unforgettable to say the least. I’m feeling super blessed to have the opportunity to explore new parts of the world. Now that we’re back in Dresden, it definitely feels like we’ve been jolted back into the real world! Jacco is preparing for the premiere of Die Tote Stadt by Korngold, and I’m hitting my practice time hard in preparation for my audition this week. Exciting, but busy! Just the way I like it.