Wednesday, January 1, 2014

And so the New Year Begins...

Here it is another year, and the Twitter feed is full of people asking what travel destinations, bucket list items, and new year resolutions everyone has planned. All that is well and good, but what about enjoying the season?  I know there is a lot going on, but everyone seems so rushed to move on. What happens to all those great moments we spent, celebrating the Christmas spirit and ushering in the New Year? Do they just get lost in a sea of checking items off a list? Isn't the point of having memories being able to pause, look back, and reflect on those special moments?
Don't get me wrong, I have plenty of travel destinations in mind myself for this brand spanking new year.  We will head to Portugal for the wedding of two dear friends, and we are planning to head back to the US to visit Jon's family in December.  No doubt there will be many more trips throughout the year: I have my heart set on showing Jon some of Italy, and we are dying to visit Prague.  Skiing would be fun as well, since we are in Austria and all. 
But I think it is important to fully take the time to cherish these moments we experience in life. For example, last night my mother, my husband and I made our way through a misty evening in downtown Vienna to the dramatically lit Palais Auersperg. We were ushered into a vaulted oval performance hall lined with rose marble walls and exquisite crystal chandeliers, where we listened to an orchestra featuring a famous antique violin known for appearances at the esteemed Viennese Philharmonic Silvester.  At Intermission we sipped champagne and strolled among the oil paintings on display, undaunted under lavish chandeliers. 
The performance featured an opera duo as well as a ballet duo, and Jon was really enthralled by the opera pieces. At the end of the evening, there was a last piece that featured the opera singers, who had been singing in Italian. This last song was fast and in German, and involved champagne toasts, but I think it was an Austrian tradition, kind of like their version of Auld Ange Syne.  
We headed home to check on our nervous yellow dog and were met by a constant barrage of fireworks. They were everywhere, flickering against the night clouds, sounds exploding all around.  As midnight came and went, people set so many store bought Roman candles off from the street that we could see them just sitting in our 2nd floor living room with the blinds open.  We popped some tiny bubbly bottles that Santa had left in our Christmas stockings and rang in the new year watching the crazy fireworks with Castle on in the background.  For New Year's Day we have tickets to a hockey game near the house, and we are starting our own tradition of New Year's shrimp cocktail and split pea soup with ham. 
This holiday season has been fun, but I think next year we will make some New Year's plans to be out of the city.  The trains apparently don't run, so you have to leave early or drive yourself. And as I much as I enjoy fireworks, I think last night we all felt like it was a WWII reenactment.