Hehe, not exactly. This photo, along with all the other ones in the post, was taken in January. Don't have my photo-uploader-thingie with me, so updated photos to come.
Ah, being back in the US. The trip was ... well, it was wonderful to get away from everything in order to get some perspective on life. It took me almost 2.5 weeks to realize how tightly wound I'd become during this past year. I mean, I'm generally one of those people who strongly advocates for an increased emphasis on quality of life, on taking time out for the small things, on finding a good balance, on making time for hobbies and pleasure. And yet, when I landed in Hamburg, Germany - to see people, families, friends, actually living out a balanced life ... I have to admit, it freaked me out.
Yes, it freaked me out. And it wasn't until the end of the trip when I hit Geneva [in the French part of Switzerland, so, lots of outdoor cafes with people sipping tiny cups of coffee] that I began to truly enjoy just that - people actually savoring the moment. And to jump into that, to order myself a tiny cup of coffee and sink into my chair along the sidewalk and journal intensely for an hour, absorbed in the rhythm and flow of putting my thoughts down onto paper.
It took 2 weeks to actually get into it. To accept it. Until that moment, I hadn't realized how tightly wound I had become. How much more Type A my personality had shifted. How much I had absorbed that hard-working, Puritanical work ethic on which our country was founded.
Not that there's anything wrong with a hardworking work ethic. For that which you love, I think it can sometimes be necessary, and especially when it is that which you love, often it no longer feels like work, because this is something that you want to devote so much time and energy to. But to constantly feel like you must be on the go - "what's next? What's next? What's next?" - in an almost A.D.D. fashion, I started to wonder: have I numbed myself to much that life has to offer, bec0me immune to what can be appreciated from the moment?
So anyways, I come back with a renewed resolve to try to slow down and appreciate the small moments of life. But I know that this resolve, despite the best of intentions, could disappear in a matter of weeks, if not days. So it is just as important to find partners-in-crime, those who share the same desire to create small oases of calm in this crazy day-to-day life. We can swap ideas, share moments together, keep each other inspired, and generally remind one another of these very important ideals.
Anybody up for the challenge?