It’s 5:30 in the afternoon and already dark as I walk to the music uni, feeling tired and a little discouraged. Along the way, I am mulling over the latest encounter with our neighbor over the piano. Although I couldn’t catch much of her fast-paced German, I am sure she said that having a piano above her is a “Katastrophe.” Ouch! …Practice room key in hand, I unlock the door and hang up my coat. A bit of slanting italic in blue ink on the wall catches my attention: “‘Seid fröhlich in Hoffnung, geduldig in Trübsal, haltet an am Gebet’ (Römer 12:12).” It’s small print, but the message is a sweeping gesture of grace that’s the last thing I expected to see and the perfect antidote to weariness and self-pity: “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”
Last post I promised an account of the fall holidays. After spending the first half of the week in Vienna catching up on things, practicing the piano, and have a lesson (with my professor’s assistant, a Japanese woman who mostly spoke German!), I headed off for a few days to visit friends Tobi and Beth Kley in Schladming. Nestled amidst the Alps, it’s a popular ski town (home to the 2013 world ski championships) retaining village charm. It’s also home to Tauernhof (connected with Capernwray Bible School, for those of you familiar with the Torchbearer Centres).
In addition to catching up with the Kleys and their growing family, I had agreed to help out at the Bible school two mornings in exchange for room and board. I had no idea how much fun that would be — a morning in the kitchen included laughter and conversation, as well as tempting smells of soup and Kaiserschmarrn. Even a morning of cleaning student rooms wasn’t bad in good company!
Two afternoons I took lovely walks — reveling in the mixture of lingering gold in the trees and of mountains standing grandiose in freshly minted snow. Wanting to enjoy as much scenery as possible, the second day I managed to catch the last sun on the vista below — and then was caught still hiking down in fast-gathering dusk.
Back from Schladming, the holidays seemed to have flown by and the new week of school all-too-soon arrived! After an intense week of teaching, piano practice, and special festivities (next post!), I realize that not only am I on the eve of another new work week — but that tomorrow is two months already since I arrived in Vienna. Many thanks for the emails and skype calls and letters in the mail box that have helped bridge two places I call home!