Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day and Communism?

Today was a special Memorial Day for me, my first Memorial Day outside of the United States. When I look back, I will be able to say that Mr.C. and I spent the day in a very unique and meaningful way.


Mr. C. and I arrived in Hungary last night and headed out to Memento Park early this morning, early on vacation = 9:30 am. Hungary, one of the former Soviet states has removed all plaques, statues and the red star is forbidden to be displayed in the country.


Rather than destroying the removed plaques and statues they were all moved about 30 minutes out of the city to Memento Park.


The children in this sculpture represent ages 6-10. They were enrolled in the communist youth program’s when they entered school. According to the guide they were taught the values of the communist parties, and taught to worship Lenin and Stalin. Can you imagine your 8 year old?

At the park you can see a variety of collected items and statues, watch secret police training videos, and shop vintage Soviet era items. When you first pull up to the park, don’t be surprised if at first it looks a little disappointing. The park is not flashy, or full of beautiful buildings but is a raw description of life under a Communist state occupation.


The red star is allowed as a museum item.

Where the park is not flashy, it is thoughtfully and wonderfully designed. When you first arrive you will see a grand entrance built in Soviet era architecture with no building behind it, to symbolize that communism looks great from the outside but has no substance.


The main door of the façade is closed, you enter through the side. It is meant to symbolize that you can only survive communism by looking for the loopholes and secret doors.

The walk among the statue’s is called the endless road and shaped in the sign of infinity to show that while you think you are moving forward you really are moving in circles.


This statue of Lenin was originally outside of a factory, it was meant to inspire the workers.

While the park and tour gives you a better understanding of what life without a people’s voice and democracy can be like any day of the year, it is especially poignant on Memorial Day.


Meant to symbolize Hungarian and Soviet friendship, but notice that the Hungarian is portrayed as shorter and clasping with both hands.

It reminds us to thank all the men, women and families who have sacrificed so much to stand up for democratic ideas. To think of how different the world would be without their great sacrifice, and how thankful I am to be a citizen of a country where I can live my life in freedom from oppression, rather than fear.


Happy Memorial Day…from Hungary…

An Engagement to Remember

Four years ago today…after two months of dating Mr. C. asked me to marry him. Sometimes it seems strange that four years have already passed. I feel like we have been together forever and at the same time that we could not possibly have spent four years together!

It makes me wonder how I will feel four years from now, and then ten and so on. When I ask other couples if they feel the same whether they have been married ten years or fifty years I always received the same answer…that it feels like forever and only yesterday. So while it has only been four years, I wanted to give my sweetheart the reasons I love him…at least the top ten!
I love you Mr. C., thank you for asking me to become your wife. – Mrs. C.

Buda Baby! (and Pest too)…

So today started a little rough…speaking slides to prepare, work assignments to complete and by the time 3 o’clock came that last thing I wanted was to pack for my 5 o’clock airport departure. Now I am in a gorgeous hotel…with beautiful views…laying on the rug with a complimentary bottle of wine and can fully certify it was worth it!


When Mr. C. and I entered the hotel room we were both instantly in awe of how gorgeous it was…take a look at the lighting in the room foyer!


The only thing better than the hotel (and being in Hungary) is walking outside of our hotel to see these views.


Today has been full of experiences in learning the importance of perseverance, and doing the hard work to gain a reward. Though I don’t think every rough morning of hard work I have will be followed by wine on a floor in a foreign country, I definitely think it would be nice!


Note to self: Mr. C. exited the airport tonight and let me know how extremely “Hungary” he was and that he needed a snack…I didn’t get the joke for a few minutes…I hope it takes someone reading this at least a few seconds to get the joke…then I won’t feel so alone!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

The Max Mini-Album

About a week ago I posted a teaser of my next upcoming project here. I am sure many of you saw the letters for, “MAX” in the middle of the pile and assumed it was for a little boy album, and in a way it is with pale blue accents and soft baby colors. In actuality it’s a book of my thoughts on becoming a first time Aunt to a little boy named Max.
Wearing a hat made by his Aunt Jessica.
When I saw the photo’s of my new nephew Max with my five sisters, his new Aunt’s and Mom I knew I needed to capture the moment somehow, to remember our excitement, nervousness and feelings. To remember flying to the States just to greet him. To let him know how lucky he was to be born into a family that loved and wanted him sooo much!
We created quite the stir when we walked in wearing our matching shirts!
As I started assembling items for the book I thought, wouldn’t it be great to talk about becoming a first time Aunt rather than just a photo book on the baby? I started recalling arriving at the hospital, celebrating with friends in preparation while my sister was in labor (not very nice ehh? but I had an entire place cheering his name when he was born a pretty nice welcome if you ask me!).
Little Max recieving some cuddles from Aunt Olivia.
I resorted the photo’s and began picking ones that showed our new little Max with his Aunts. So far I have created six pages and wanted to share some of the process them with you. 
More to come on the mini-album this week, along with the Budapest travelogues!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Vienna Ostern Market’s

Vienna…I am not exactly sure of how to start discussing this city, it is so lovely. If you are looking for beautiful architecture, good food and a nice clean city you should definitely check out this destination! Mr. C and I visited on Palm Sunday weekend to take a look at the various Ostern Markts, aka Easter Markets in the city.
Mr. C. and I skipped watching the Detroit Tigers play on opening day for the trip, so we decided to represent!
Me listening to the tour guide… Mr. C. might say, avidly.
We started the day as usual with a city tour, which was very informative. I cannot stress how worthwhile it is to invest time on a tour of each city you visit, usually less than an hour and a half and no more than 10 euros I guarantee you will look back happily on the experience, or if you get a bad guide at least it will be funny. During the tour we were able to see the Lipizzaner horses in their stables, I cannot wait to go back and watch the actual shows rather than viewing them in their stables. Did you know that a Lipizzaner horse is born grey and as it ages it slowly turns white? If you do then you are more informed than I was before my visit to Vienna! I was also impressed at the various moves a Lipizzaner horse executes and what they are called. The mezair, courbette, levade and capriole take a visit to the Lipizzaner site to see them all,
We also took a visit to the St. Stephen’s cathedral, and saw the largest pipe organ I have seen yet! We noticed as we left that concerts seem to be offered regularly and if you take a visit I would try to research the times before your visit so you could possibly view one, I am sure they must be amazing. One of the most interesting things I saw on the visit was the memorial to victims of the 1679 plague, Pestsäule aka Plague Column (German). The memorial built in 1693 was erected after a vow made by Leopold I who stated he would erect a monument if the plague would end.
The Pestsäule
After viewing the city we headed to our first Easter Market at the Schoenbrunn palace. On the way I was afforded the opportunity of using the Opera public restroom at the underground station under the Stephensplatz. While I would not describe this as a site not to be missed, if you are in the station and need to make a stop this is a pretty funny place to visit. Gaudy, overpriced with loud operatic music flooding the restroom it will definitely make you laugh. Besides the opera toilet I was also surprised to see how inexpensive a day ticket for the Vienna underground system is, and how easy it is to navigate. If you plan on visiting Schoenbrunn Palace during your stay the underground system is the best and cheapest way to get from the center of the city to Schoenbrunn Palace (unless you have eight children, then I don’t know what will be cheapest!) is by train.
The Ostern Markt at Schoenbrunn is gorgeous! During your visit buy some of the excellent food, we enjoyed bread dumplings, or Knödels fried with various veggies and spices with kraut and a glass of the fruit wine. After buying your lunch items unless you enjoy the hustle and bustle of the market take your food to one of the free public gardens around the palace and enjoy a small picnic.

After the Schoenbrunn Palace Easter Market we headed to the Freyung Easter Market…we arrived several hours later then we expected. Our delay happened because as we left the Rathaus underground station and rounded the town hall building we ran smack into the Spring Styrian Fest. Filled with benches and tables, live music, good food and plenty of beer we sat down to enjoy the sites.
Could you have a better view when you look up from your beer?
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Upon arrival at the Freyung market, after visiting a really bad flea market and sneaking into a café to use the restroom we realized that if the Schoenbrunn market was gorgeous we need an even better name for the Freyung market. While the Schoenbrunn market was well laid out and organized the Freyung market felt more chaotic and cramped, less accessible by tourists and more local. I also enjoyed the many food specialties available such as truffle oil, and a pistachio crème liquor that made it’s way home with us.
After our visits to the market we did one last walkthrough of the city and of course a Starbucks stop for Mr. C. before heading home. While we were exhausted I still managed to get out to take pictures of the city views at the top of the visit through the Austrian Woods, a simply beautiful location. Mr. C. happily remained warm in the vehicle.
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To summarize the day it was simply beautiful. It was also full of new friendship made, in fact most of our day was spent with a fellow traveler we met on the trip…at first I felt selfish and thought I want Mr. C. to myself today! However, the more we talked the more fun we had and I am so thankful the three of us had such a great time on such a wonderful day.
Things To Do On My Next Visit to Vienna:
  1. Visit the Sissi Museum
  2. Watch the Lipizzaner Horse show
  3. Take a tour of Hofburg (winter palace)
  4. Listen to a concert at St. Stephen’s cathedral
  5. Visit the Imperial Crypt, resting place of the Habsburg dynasty (even though it kind of weird’s me out)
  6. Go back to the Easter markets and buy eggs to make my own hanging Easter wreath. 
  7. Go Shopping! They have so many stores…
The next thing to think about? How will I due all of my pictures and stories creative justice? I am thinking about the Hopscotch Collection at Pretty Little Studio, what do you think? Do you have any idea's about collections?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Art Journals

So since I am taking time this week to slow down and enjoy my free time I thought it was a perfect time to write in my art journals.


I am really enjoying this process…though trying to capture my art on camera is pretty difficult with our current camera, I really need to start researching a new one! Any ideas?


Please help!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Life…Can Be So Crazy!

So the countdown to my new job has started, and my vacation time is almost over which is making me feel pretty stressed. It seems that I always start with a huge list of things to accomplish and as the time flies no matter how many lists I make seems to help with impossible list of tasks that I create for myself and I am left feeling…inadequate. These last few days have been especially rough with the addition of over 20 boxes of IKEA items to add to the already overflowing amount of boxes that we are still unpacking from the move. Every room is covered in items that used to be neatly organized and hung in our closets back in the U.S. but are laying around waiting for the closets to be built here in Germany. Today I gave myself a break and was looking through old pictures and found these from a hiking trip in the Alps Mr. C. and I took back in 2009 during a Germany visit.

To stop…and just enjoy life…

and staring at them for a few minutes rather than the boxes made me feel much better!






Sunday, May 22, 2011

Fruehlingsfest 2011

The Fruehlingsfest ended last weekend, though it earned a lot of money off of Mr. C and I! We ended up going with various friends four times this Spring (aka Fruehling). The Fruehlingsfest is a lot like the Oktoberfest. It is held on permanent fairgrounds has lot’s of local brews, live music, rides and is a great place to party!! Some differences between the two festivals that I noticed is that the The Fruehlingsfest is more local, unlike at Oktoberfest where you can find eleven different nationalities in one day! Yes…I can prove that is possible, we accomplished it back in 2009 *grin*. The music at the The Fruehlingsfest is also a lot more, shall we say diverse? You have the oom-pah bands and the drinking songs but we also had an Elvis impersonator and an upside down guitar player…it was great. The music made me get my dance groove on…Mr. C. was unable to resist…he had to start bench dancing as well.


Check out the costumes on these guys!


If you head out to the Fruehlingsfest next year go to the Grandls tent if you want a crazy party, but if you are looking for a better deal without sacrificing much bench dancing head over to the Göckelesmaier.

Whichever tent you choose make sure you have a reservation or ensure you arrive early (around 1pm on the weekends) to make sure that you can get in. If you forget this important tip you will be like the group that begged us to bring them beers while they waited in a line for a very…very…long time.


This is the first ride that has ever made me feel ill…it might be due to several hours in the Grandls tent prior to riding!
Rockin’ the post beer ice cream…
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