I really, really miss home. I miss my mom, and I miss my sisters, and I miss my grandma, and I miss my niece, and I miss so many other people and things that I could go on about it for several paragraphs. But I won’t. (You’re welcome, by the way.) Instead I’ll tell you all about how much fun I had seeing my family (or a few select representatives of the family) for the first time in almost three months.
When I went to pick up my parents and sister from the airport on April 6th, there were a lot of happy tears. It was so nice to see people I knew that aren’t in the choir and therefore around me all day everyday. Honestly, I could have done absolutely nothing with them for the 12 days they were in Europe and been perfectly happy. That would have been dreadfully boring though, so instead we went to Austria for the weekend.
First stop: Vienna. We got there, checked into the hotel, dropped off our bags, had about forty five minutes of rest, and then went on a bus tour of the city. It’s a beautiful place, but definitely not my favorite part of the trip. I just enjoyed spending time with my family, even though it was raining and we all got a little bit hangry by the time the tour was over. We did get to see the palace that Maria Teresa lived in (the summer palace), which definitely peaked my curiosity in European history – and made me want to buy a bunch of new books so I could learn more about it. I didn’t, mostly because I know my mom would kill me if I bought more books right now.
Day 2 in Austria took us down the train tracks to Salzburg. We got giant pretzels, I sang Do Re Mi on the stairs they used to film the scene in a classic film, took a picture on the fountain everyone skipped around during the same song, and on the city tour we got to see the house they used for the external views and for the lake scene (when the canoe flips over, also from the same movie). Did you guess the film yet? Growing up, I watched The Sound of Music at least once a month, so it was pretty surreal to actually be in these places and to sing the whole song in the same place that Julie Andrews once did. We also got apple strudel and hot tea and ate it while overlooking the city from the top floor of the modern art museum (the strudel was included in the tour, we didn’t just decide to go see some art). From there we did some souvenir shopping, strolled around the city for a while, and then got on the train back to Vienna.
On our last day in Austria we went into the center of the city to find some Easter markets. We ended up first at a large fair mostly consisting of beer and food, but the people were wearing the traditional dresses and lederhosen and I was living for it. Unfortunately I couldn’t find a place to buy a dress for myself, but I do have a tailor back in the states who might be able to work a miracle and make me one. We kept wandering and found a market much more like what we were looking for in the first place. There were the cutest hand-painted egg shells, so naturally Mom and Dave bought an egg for everyone in the family. (It’s part of their Easter tradition to hang the eggs on a tree/tree branch that’s been blessed by a priest.) Natalie bought a ring (surprise, surprise; that girl loves her jewelry), Mom and I bought magnets, and there were a couple other random things purchased as well.
From the markets we decided to head over to see the amusement park that’s situated in the middle of Vienna and ride their famous ferris wheel. We rode the wheel, I was bored once we got to the top and really just wanted to get off, then Natalie and I rode a roller coaster that we both thought we might die on – it was still pretty fun, not gonna lie. After that we got some snick snacks and walked around the park to the other side. We got on the metro and headed back to the hotel to pick up our things and go over to the train station. On the train ride back, we played Oregon Trail (it’s a card game now. 10/10 would recommend), got into an almost 2 hour game of War, and played Phase 10 for I think the 4th time on this trip as a whole. All in all, it was a great weekend, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything, mostly just because I got to see my family for the first time in what feels like forever. Living abroad for the rest of my life is definitely not for me.