Why I'm taking this Europe trip

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Okay, so I have a schedule (semi-tentative) Munich--> Vienna--> Prague --> Berlin --> Amsterdam --> Brussels --> Cologne --> back to Munich.

I have two weeks off around the holidays (thanks MLB!), so it's perfect timing and I'm in a good place financially to make this all work out. I know what inspired me to take this trip, but I knew that I would never make it happen unless I JUST DID IT.

Here's where it all comes from:
I have about 100 postcards that belonged to my grandmother in a box under my bed. I've had them for years. When I'm feeling like I need to get out and explore and see new things, or just get inspired, I look at her postcards and wish so much I could go to all of the places that she's traveled to. Her late husband (my grandfather, whom I never had the chance to meet) worked in the Airline Industry for over 25 years and when he passed away my grandmother had the opportunity to travel all over the world at no cost. She traveled alone and with travel buddies as well. She used to tell me stories growing up about all of the places that she frequently visited. Some of her favorites were Germany (she's been to every little town in this country) Belgium, the Netherlands and more importantly Ireland. (I'm saving Ireland for a trip all it's own. She loved this place dearly.)

I'm choosing to go to some of her favorite places on my trip. Brussels being at the VERY top of my list. Ever since I was a little girl I've wanted to go to Brussels and when I was in college, I was so amazed and inspired by all of my Art History courses and the amazing art nouveau in this city. I always knew that when I make it there someday, it is going to be amazing. I'm choosing to spend my last day of 2008 and first day of 2009 in the city of Brussels. I always try to do something great and amazing on New Years Day to start off the year right. Which is something that I think she would really love :-)

When my grandmother passed away back in July, I received a very long letter from my Great Uncle Ed (her younger brother). This letter will later change my life forever. Ed details all about her and memories of growing up with this amazing woman. He told stories of her exact seat at the dinner table, her boyfriend that left for the war and how she bonded with her future husband over baseball (which is when Ed knew he was the one for her). Here is something from his letter that really stands out in my mind from her childhood...

"Her capabilities were demonstrated one day while playing a game with the boys on Trafalgar Street in front of our house. One Sunday afternoon while batting opposite our front door (home plate), she hooked a long drive three houses down the street through a glass enclosed front porch. None of the boys could hit the ball that far. Hearing the crash, my father came running out of the house with wallet in hand to meet and pacify the approaching excited home owner. Those are things that create legends."

I never knew my grandmother to play sports; to me she was always a very classy lady born and raised in upstate New York. To learn this and many other wonderful things about her, has helped me to realize so much about myself and give me great confidence in myself. I read his letter about a hundred times, cried a lot and called my dad a few times in Boston. I finally got the confirmation that I needed. For the first time in a long time I knew for certain that I am right where I am supposed to be and the world is unfolding just as it's meant to be, whether I understand it or not. Although I was sad she was gone, I was happy to feel like I am doing exactly what I am meant to be doing.

It's very hard for me to explain this... She was so ill from Alzheimer’s for nearly 9 years, but a week after she passed away and I got that letter, I had never felt closer to her than I had at this moment. Maybe it's because she raised such an amazing man who is my father, whom I'm very much alike and talk to on a near daily basis. I don't know. But for whatever reason, I am grateful for my family. AND I'm so very grateful for my Great Uncle Ed, because he knows so much family history of everyone growing up on the East Coast and happily shares with me everything that I want to know (and if I want to have a conversation about sports, he pretty much knows more than ANYONE I have ever met!) He's amazing!

Being connected to all of these great people (past and present) shows me exactly where I come from and why my interests are what they are. How can I be so girly and artsy, but sports is so important and such a defining factor in my life? I know that if my grandmother were still alive and well she would be so proud of me and all my accomplishments. She too would know that I'm doing what I'm meant to be doing. It's been a strange path to get to this point (so many twists and turns). I'll never look back and say "what if this, or what if that..." because I know it's all happening as it should and I should never question it.

WOW, I was talking about my Europe trip, right? Well those are all my reasons for taking my trip to non-western cultures. I hope you've enjoyed this post. It's not really easy for me to talk about this yet... but I will say that I am a much better person for having her in my life. She's an incredible woman and I miss her everyday :-)

2 comments:

  1. Wow Holls! What an amazing revelation to have at still such a young age. I'm proud of you for just GOING FOR IT! You're going to have an amazing time :)

    Jess C.

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  2. I love Europe for millions of reasons (at least). Paris is the most beautiful city in the world. The joie de vivre in France and Italy especially is very real. emigrating to canada has one of the highest per capita immigration rates in the world. Plus Europe has a far longer history and Renaissance art and amazing palaces and castles and manor houses to explore.

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