In the past few days I think I finally learned why people say that studying abroad changes your life. When I first got here it was kind of miserable. I was living with 24 people that I barely knew. I was supposed to be friends with them. Live with them. Go on weekend adventures with them. At first, I didn’t want to. These people and I… we weren’t cut from the same cloth. They were well versed in alcohol consumption, whereas the most alcohol drinkage I’ve had was a sip of wine at communion. They were also more relaxed about certain things too. Yet somehow over the past five weeks these people have grown to be my family away from home. We laugh together, cook together, travel together, and take care of one another. In living with them, I’ve learned how to come out of my shell and make friends with people who I never would have dreamed of knowing. They’ve shown me that being relaxed is okay, and I’ve found that it can balance out the intensity at which I tend to do things. They’ve allowed me to be myself, and in doing so I’m beginning to embrace who I am, while also being able to evolve into someone who is able to embrace people who come from completely different walks of life. I think I’ve grown up more here than I could have in a year back home. Maybe it’s the 9 hour time travel airplane jump that makes the difference.
At any rate, I do know 100% that I am extremely blessed to have been able to go on this trip of a lifetime. Yes, maybe if I were home right now I would have been able to dance and exercise for hours a day. At the same time, I think I would have lost my appreciation for the things that make me feel so alive. Not dancing everyday makes me that much more excited to practice when I get the chance. It motivates me to do any little thing I can when I have the time, be it abs in the morning or wall sits when I have a few minutes. I admit, I haven’t been as good about doing these things since coming back from Vienna, as my days have been packed and I’ve been feeling overwhelmed. Writing right now is kind of helping me though.
Speaking of Vienna, I’d like to share some of the photos I took last weekend. I must say, I am not a city person. I’d much rather go on vacation to the mountains or the beach and I’d much rather live in the suburbs or the country than the city. However, Vienna changed everything. It is the most beautiful city I’ve ever been to in my entire life. It’s so open and clean and the architecture is stunning and the culture is everywhere, yet it is welcoming and not overbearing. I think I want to live there for a little at some point in my life.
I honestly don’t know what this place is called. I think it might be a palace, but I’m not sure. Either way, it’s where our Vienna trip began and I must say, it was an awesome way to start a trip.
After going on a cafe crawl for breakfast and moseying around the city, we grabbed some lunch and ate at Belvedere Palace… the gardens if you wan’t to be really specific. It’s kind of incredible to think that this was someone’s house and backyard.
The plants in the gardens were minimal, as it was mostly gravel and fountains. However, the flowers that were there were beautiful. In the background is the palace itself.
As the day progressed we wandered around the city, went to a park, ate gelato (I think I’ve eaten gelato every day this week. No, I don’t have a problem with this… I get the small 😉 ), and people watched. After dinner my friend and I were walking back to the hostel and I saw this. I thought it was a really cool blend of old and new.
The next day we went to Schönbrunn Palace. If my jaw dropped at Belvedere, I’m pretty sure my face hit the floor when I got to Schönbrunn. It was absolutely stunning both in architecture and the sheer magnitude of it. I can’t believe that this used to be someones summer home.
Take note, this is only 1/4 of the backyard. There’s a Grecian style pagoda behind me, a rose garden and a maze in the left section behind the statues, and there’s a zoo to the right. There’s also a large front yard too. On the way to the pagoda I took a side trail and walked through part of the forest that boarder the grassy hills. The lighting was splendid.
After Schönbrunn I didn’t have much time to take more photos, as we had to sprint 2 miles back to the hostel, grab our backpacks, and sprint to the train station to find our platform and get back to Salzburg… in 30 minutes. I’m happy to report that we did make it. Since everything was so rushed I didn’t eat very much at all, so I splurged on some amazing Indian curry that they sold in the train’s restaurant car. It was such a good decision.
So, that’s Vienna in a very, very small nutshell. I might write again tonight about some of the trips we went on during the week, as everything is just tumbling around in my head right now.
Have a splendid day 🙂