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And then, this happened…

engagement_06062016

To me, 06 June 2016 was a simple Monday morning, a day off between a row of late shifts at Austrian Airlines, a day off from sitting in front of a computer and typing away. I know, I wanted to get out — into the nature to take in some sun rays and fresh air. A good view would be the cherry on the top. About two few weeks before, Y and I had talked about returning to one of our first ever date spots – Himmelwiese. I brought him there when we were dating for only a few weeks to show him the most beautiful view over Vienna. So, when on this Monday, Y suggest we take a mini-trip there and have a picnic, I was so excited to finally go.

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Lifestyle

‘Tis the season! 

Mulled wine, chestnuts, gingerbread, spiked tea, hot chocolate with rum, cookies, and so many great smelling treats! It’s just the most wonderful time of the year!

It’s the time to read your new books while sitting at your favorite spot in the house, rewatch all the old but great films, and cuddling up in front of the fireplace with your better half.

And it’s also the time to decorate the home. While interior design is one of my favorite past times anyway, the Christmas season brings out so much creativity in me! Below you can see my photos of this year’s Christmas decoration.

In this sense, I wish you a wonderful last few days in 2015 and hope you all spent a joyful and relaxing Christmas season.

Mine was just so delightful. We celebrated with my family in the countryside and it was such a treat to see them all again. The two newest additions, baby Pauline and baby Miriam, as well as little David where the stars of the festivities. It’s so adorable to see the kids’ eyes light up! So beautiful having everyone come together to share old stories and celebrate life!

And now, we’re off to see my boyfriend’s family in North Carolina! I feel so lucky that we get to see everyone we love this year.

 

Lifestyle travel

Elections in Burma: A Traveler’s Thoughts

As a translating and interpreting graduate and political science student who has worked with the United Nations Association in Florida promoting Human Rights, as well as with the Florida Holocaust Museum to educate about genocides, promoting tolerance and inclusion, it is only natural that, to me as a traveler, the social and political situation of a destination is a big interest.

To me, traveling also means informing yourself about the current situation, both political and social, of your destination country. By doing so, I make sure to not put myself in awkward, offensive, or even perilous situations.

In the summer of 2013, my boyfriend and I traveled to Burma, or Myanmar. Getting a visa and entering the country is difficult. Certain professions, such as journalists, are denied the visa right away. The feeling of being watched by government can’t be shaken off. Certain areas were (and probably still are) inaccessible to tourists in order to conceal human rights abuses. Traveling through Burma, we made the conscious decision to use transportation not owned by the military government, in order to avoid supporting the military regime as much as possible and making sure that our money would support locals. During our 10 day trip, seeing with my own eyes so many friendly and and hospitable adults and children scared of their own government was terrifying and incredibly sad.

I have often been asked why I would travel to a country like this. Traveling to Burma, or countries with similar issues, is often seen as dangerous and irresponsible.

Hence, the news of Aung San Suu Kyi’s party winning the first democratic elections in Burma bringing worth some happy feelings.

Under house arrest for 15 years, Aung San Suu Kyi has been adored by so many Burmese and has given them hope for a better future. For her non violent struggle for democracy and human rights she received the Noble Peace Prize. The world looks up to her.

>Now, with her victory, she has such a great opportunity to pick up the momentum and turn this stunning country into a wonderful home for all. What I wish to see most? I want her to promote human rights and inclusion for all, especially for the Rohingya people, a Muslim minority group whose Burmese citizenship was revoked in the early 1980s. This action led to grave Human Rights abuses towards the Rohingya people culminating in ethnic cleansing and genocide. It really is a tragedy!

However, with the defeat of the military government and the world watching I am positive that the situation in Burma will change for the better in the future.

Lifestyle writings

“It is just gone” – Why Traveling NOW is Important to me.

I travel because I care a lot for the beauty of our world and I am often asked why I feel the need to do it all now. I am told I have all my life to see the world, that I shouldn’t feel like I am missing out on something. However, to be realistic, we don’t have time and I have already missed out!

A few years back I had made plans to travel to Syria to see the beauty and majesty of this ancient country, feel the magic of bustling souks, photograph thousand-year-old landmarks and see the smiles and happiness in peoples’ faces as they proudly walk down the streets of their cities and towns.

It breaks my heart in a million pieces that this plan fell apart due to personal reasons. So did the cities, the world heritage sites, as well as the people – they all fell apart.

And it broke my heart even more reading the four words “It is just gone” in a New York Times article, because that’s exactly what it is: Gone! None of us will ever see Syria and Iraq like it was. It does not exist anymore. It is simply gone.

Some people take pride in scars and say they tell stories, but in war, scars are just the destruction of stories, the destruction of lives, and the destruction of a connection to the past we try so hard to preserve.

Lifestyle photography

Why I love photography

Sometimes people ask me why I am so passionate about taking pictures. If they wanted to have a one-sentence answer, this was definitely the wrong question to ask.

I have always been a curious person, and taking a closer look at things was always in my very nature. Photography has given me an opportunity to capture the world through my eyes and make people see what I consider stunning, what attracts my attention, and what touches my heart.

Photography constantly changes how I see the world. Going out into the street and being able to see colors, shapes, architecture, flowers, people, and happenings no one else pays attention to makes the world a bigger place for me. As a photographer, you have access to viewing the world from various angles—a different perspective of beautiful.

I have always been an adventurous person. Photography challenges me to change perspective—not only while taking pictures but also in viewing the world. Isn’t it always about perspective? Everyone sees the world around them a little differently and has another perspective of the world. To me, it is the most interesting thing to get to know as many perspectives as possible.

In a world which is governed by stress and speed, photography has given me a possibility to take a step back and inhale the presence of a special moment. Photography opens up a whole new world for me—a world rich of smells, impressions, and sounds. Photography ignites the passion in me to truly immerse myself in my surroundings.

I have always been a person who was very fond of memories. Photography gives me the opportunity to truly indulge in the present while capturing the future past. For this moment, when I capture pictures, my thoughts are focused only on this perfect moment I find myself in. There is much more beauty in everyday life than one might think. Beauty is omnipresent in places and in people. We just have to take a closer look.

I have never been the traveler to buy ridiculous little statues to put somewhere or who has to have something typical of the country travelled to. Rather, for me, the best souvenir is a photo, because it can contain so many personal feelings. Photography stirs emotions: cheerfulness, contentment, nervousness, motivation, or sympathy. Photography connects me to the people around me.

But what I value the most is that photography allows me to be myself. Photography inspires me to travel to places I have never been and try things I have never tried. Photography makes me smile on days when I need it.

Photography is my passion.

“To me, photography is an art of observation. It’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place. I’ve found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.” – Elliott Erwitt