(okay, yes Mom and Kaley, it IS my birthday, and now, yes, I admit that I am officially OLD, but that's not really what I'm talking about)
Three years ago tomorrow I landed as a scared, excited, and wide-eyed BYU study abroad student in Vienna, Austria. Over the course of three and one half months, what I experienced there and in surrounding countries opened my eyes, enlarged my vision, softened my heart, and strengthened my testimony that we are ALL children of a loving heavenly Father who has a plan for each of our lives. Vienna was, for me, a precious gift given by God, scholarship/grant donors, and wonderful other people. It is a gift and package of experiences that are sacred to me and honestly changed the course of my life. I met and interacted with angelic people. I saw and did amazing things. I was blessed beyond measure to travel to beautiful places I still can't believe I've been to. It was there that I learned to have confidence in myself as a person, as a German-speaker (millions of failures have to bring some success, right?), and as a contributor in the building of the Kingdom of God. Those I shared those experiences with, the 37-odd individuals I have tucked into photo albums and journal entries and precious, precious memories, are still some of my best friends. It was one of the greatest privledges of my life to represent my home, my family, my University, my country, my religion, and my personal convictions during that wonderful fall 2008. Truly, with such blessings strewn along the path of our lives, we really do have great reason to rejoice!
"IMMER WIEDER, IMMER WIEDER, IMMER WIEDER ÖSTERREICH!"