Tuesday, July 29, 2014

On My Own

***This was written in 1994. I wanted to write my own version of the song from Les Mis. And...it seems I was an angry little monkey.***


by 
Leah W.

So What?
I don't hear you,
I speak for myself.
I am myself!
Live my life on my own,
Keep your opinion 
to yourself.

This is my life,
my test,
my playground,
my prerogative. 
Stay away, let me be!
I don't need your ideas,
I am me,
I have my own.

So what?
Go away, give me space,
let me think
on my own.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Man

A 2 Voice Poem
by 
Leah W

The most horrible beast                    The most promising creature
   a carnivore of power
                                                              a vessel of love
   a being of hate
        hate                                                   love
We are empty and cold                     We are full of warmth
       kill or be killed
we steal, take, and pilfer                    we give, share, and own
life, love, and hope                            life, love, and hope
       we are blind                                      yet, we are blind
we cannot see that                             we cannot see that
     We Cannot Win                                 We Cannot Win
                                                          all must come to an end
we are killing ourselves
with the rest
     slowly                                                 slowly
                                                          we give our lives
     painfully
we die                                               and we die
for nothing
                                                         for everything
we are                                              we are
alone
                                                         one.






***I found a book filled with my poetry and stories from college. EXCITING! (These were mostly assignments in my various poetry classes. And now they will make my blog famous.......right? RIGHT?!) I didn't write dates on them. But, I do know that it was somewhere in the 2000-2004 range.***

Drama

Drama
by 
Leah Wuergler

Blood runs through your veins like a wild brush fire,
Your heart pumps excitedly in response.
Your head spins and you're sure your stomach will burst.
You run your lines through your head for the tenth time,
as the curtain opens with a slow melodic pace.
There they are, the critics, the families, 
the people you know and love, and don't care much for.
You are so sure they are scrutinizing your ever move,
your every breath.
You want so much to please, so much to entertain.
They roll through emotions with you,
with the person that is not you.
If you falter, it is lost.

The end has come, you made it through.
The drapes come, blocking the crowd from view.
Relief flows through you, like water killing the brush fire.
Pride and exultation wash your face.
Applause still echoes in your ears and in your soul.
Then you go to Denny's.






***I found a book filled with my poetry and stories from college. EXCITING! (These were mostly assignments in my various poetry classes. And now they will make my blog famous.......right? RIGHT?!) I didn't write dates on them. But, I do know that it was somewhere in the 2000-2004 range.***

Never and Always



Never and Always
by 
Leah Wuergler

I never sleep, for sleeping is not living.
I always sleep, for dreaming is my life.
I never live, for reality is my fear.
I'm always afraid, for reality is everywhere.
I'm never alone, for my mind keeps me company.
I'm always alone, for my mind is always gone.
I'm always happy, for life is good.
I'm never happy, for life is long.
I always smile, so no one knows.
I always laugh, so no one knows.
I always, for I never.


***I found a book filled with my poetry and stories from college. EXCITING! (These were mostly assignments in my various poetry classes. And now they will make my blog famous.......right? RIGHT?!) I didn't write dates on them. But, I can narrow it to 2000-2004.***

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Zurich.


PART II

My parents and I arrived in Zurich on Sunday. We took a cab to the hotel and I was once again overwhelmed at the beauty of European cities. I just can't get enough.
We checked into the hotel and got a corner room. The above picture is a view from one of the windows. I JUST CAN'T GET ENOUGH.
We got settled, ordered my tired Mommy some food, and my Pappy and I went downstairs to try "The Best Thai in Zurich". OH.......I'll be the judge of THAT! (I judged it. I was well pleased.)
It was during this dinner that I realized I could probably never return to Zurich on my own. Zurich is NOT cheap. And I can't seem to get it together in a monetary sense. I mean, unless I finally become famous. I just don't know how to do things that rake in the dough......and all the things I like to do are........

WHOA! I've derailed the post! 

Sorry. *ahem*

The rest of Sunday was chill and sleep time. Although, I did discover that my dad also shares my insomnia problems. 
*sigh* I love you sleep! Why don't you love my whole family?!?

Monday was the day! Monday was a day of such joy for me.....I just don't know what to do with myself. 
Monday was the day we went to see the Wuergler Farm. EEEEEEEE! 

My dad and I went back to the airport and rented a car. We got one of those WiFi things, so I could use my Google Maps. BRILLIANT. This might be old news to most of you, but I was not aware of Hot Spots. You could blame it on China, if you like. I feel like I was gone a lot longer than two years.
Anyway. WE WERE OFF to Russikon. Man, what a fantastic drive. I told my dad at one point that the whole country is a postcard. Switzerland is art.

Driving up to the farm...
Staring at the crops they grow for the cows...
Wandering the farm...
This is the view from one of the new barns...
The original part of the farm...and Pappy...

I'm sure they have done some work on the main building since the 1800's, but that is the only original building. The other three barns were added by the family that owns it now. They also built another small house on the property for the grandparents.

Anyway...my dad is a brave soul and is not afraid of strangers. :D We saw a woman in the garden as we were driving by the first time. So, my dad parked by a barn, used the German he has been going to Saturday classes for, and explained to the woman that his great grandfather was born at the farm. 
The woman got a huge kick out of that! They talked for a while and she showed my dad and I a plank of wood under the eave behind my dad in the picture. The wood said, in old German, that so and so had built the house for so and so on such and such date. (I'm sure my dad remembers what it said.) Well, my dad let her know that the man who built the house was the father of his great-grandfather's mother. 
(My dad later wondered aloud if the farm was built as a wedding present when the daughter married a Wuergler.)
The woman then introduced us to her husband and invited us in for lunch. SO NICE! While she was cooking, her husband gave us a bit of a tour of the farm.






The lunch was so good. The vegetables came from the garden above (except the potatoes) and the cheese came from their cows. Not the cows that live on the farm with them....the cows they have up in the Valley. So, they call it Mountain Cheese. SO GOOD!
The cows on the farm with them do make award winning milk and cheese though. They had awards in the kitchen going back about 15 years. 
They were absolutely lovely people. It would have been so cool to get there and find another Wuergler, but these people welcomed us into their home like we WERE family. It was beyond anything I could have dreamed. 


We left the farm, which is just outside Russikon, and went to one of the churches in Russikon. My dad told me that this is the church where my ancestors were baptized. 




My love for history is strong. And being INSIDE some of my family history was mind blowing for me. I felt lighter while on this family journey. It was easier to breathe, or I was floating. Maybe both.

LOOK AT MY CUTE DAD!

We then went back to the hotel to get my mom some dinner. My poor mom! She was such a champion on this trip, but she was tired and just ready to go home. Being sick is THE WORST. I want all my loves to be healthy and skippy. Let's be skippy together. (Where did I put that magic lamp?)
So, Tuesday, I spent the day with my momma. My dad had gone to the University to look through records with a man that has been helping him with family tree stuff. He had a GREAT day and found more family going back to 1774. (It might have been 1772. It was amazing, whatever the date...)
Dinner that night was a brat the size of my face with mashed potatoes in a pearl onion gravy. The butter brought to the table came from the Marriott Cow. Well, she belongs to the restaurant inside the Marriott, but our waiter called her the Marriott Cow. eCHo is the owner of “Gretli” and she grazes on the Alp of Hinterhuismatt. I didn't try her cheese, but she makes excellent butter.

Wednesday my dad and I returned the car to the airport and then took the train back into the city. I went back to the hotel, had some lunch, and then set off on my own little journey. There was a church that I kept seeing from the window and I decided it probably wasn't that long of a walk. So.......







I was right. It only took about 20 minutes. So, after I got done wandering around there, I decided to walk the rest of the way to the lake. 


I sat for a bit and enjoyed a guy playing a sax. But, the clouds started to look like they wanted to open. *sigh* It rained a lot on this trip. You'd think I would have been better prepared on this jaunt. NOPE.
So, I decided to make my way back.....but, I decided to do it on the other side of the river. Which was dumb. I mean, I got to see more of the historical buildings, but there wasn't as much cover after the sky did open. So. Soggy Leah.

Happy. Soggy. Leah.

The rest of the evening was drying off, reading, talking to my parents, enjoying the company of my parents, and trying to be tired. International Check-In is the pits! :D We had to leave pretty early on Thursday morning to get me to the airport. But, sleep did not come easily on Wednesday night.

And then, sadly, I came home. What an adventure. And adventure filled with some of my favorite things! Chocolate, family, cheese, history, and soup. 

I'm so grateful that I got to go on this journey. I'm just beyond. BEYOND!

Thanks for reading!










Friday, July 18, 2014

Cue the Music...

Sometimes, I am struck by the most random memories. I'm sure this happens to everyone. The memory can have nothing to do with what you are currently doing....so, I have no idea what reminds us of this event or thing....but, suddenly we are just hit with a moment.

I love random moments in memory, books, TV, movies, and everyday life. I live for random. :D That's what makes life interesting, right?

I was struck by a random memory at my brother's ring ceremony and it keeps popping back up. So, I'm going to write it down. Maybe then I can get the music out of my head.............

Are you ready to have the music stuck in your head?

Cue the music!

We were getting seated at the ring ceremony. Someone had told us which side was for the groom and which side was for the bride, and we were all getting settled. I was sitting next to my brother, Mark, and enjoying the amazing view of the beach and the city.

Suddenly, I was struck by the memory of my brother, Michael, getting his first guitar. I don't remember how old we were, but I think I was in the fourth grade.

Anyway, after Michael got that guitar, he didn't want to do anything but play it. (This is where the music comes in....)
In my memory, I was looking at a closed bedroom door. On the other side of the door you could hear Michael teaching himself to the play the guitar.....and Mark playing Nintendo.
Super Mario music and the plucking of guitar strings...............the music of my childhood.

And now you have the song stuck in your head too. I'm currently thinking of the sound it makes when Mario is getting coins. NOW YOU ARE TOO!

*sigh* Memories.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Portugal

My family recently returned from a trip to Europe. Some went to London, some went to Paris, my parents went to Geneva (to see Michael and Tanya right before they moved to Portugal), and then we all met up at the Lisbon airport on July 1st.
I went straight to Lisbon. I had already been to London and Paris...and while I would LOVE to go again, I wanted this trip to be about new adventures.

We were all meeting in Portugal to celebrate my brother, Michael, and his wife, Tanya. They got married on March 21, 2013.
Tanya's parents are from Portugal. She still has a lot of family there. So, she came up with the beautiful idea of having a wedding party/ring ceremony/reception in Portugal so the two families could meet/vacation/party/fall in love.

So, the party was planned for July 4, 2014. The whole family has been planning on this for over a year now.

AND IT WAS WORTH THE WAIT.

I was the last to arrive. So, everyone was waiting for me at the airport......


I met my new sister-in-law, Tanya, for the first time at the Lisbon airport. I also got to meet her sister, Nina. It didn't feel like Tanya and I were meeting for the first time though. (Thank you email, Skype, and Google Hangouts.) 

We then got on a bus that took us to Figueira da Foz. I was nervous about the hotel because of some past experience with European hotels....and my time as a travel agent. :D I was expecting a box with a sink in it.
But, the hotel was LOVELY! 
If you follow my blog, then you probably follow me on Instagram (LeahFederation) and you saw my view out the back of the hotel. This was my sister's view from the front of the hotel:


This beach went on forever. AND EVER. It might look like the beach is empty, but that's because you have to go to the end and then go downhill a bit to get to the people and the water......
Forever. :D

We went to dinner that night at a seafood place. (I had steak.) And then some of us got gelato on the way back to the hotel.

SIDENOTE: America.......you are doing gelato wrong. Unless I just don't know where to buy the good stuff. YOU ARE DOING IT WRONG.

On the morning of the 2nd, we woke up and got ready to go to the train station for a trip to Coimbra. First, we met Tanya's mom and went down the street to get breakfast. Tanya's mom, Maddy, is amazing. There are not enough nice things to say about this woman. It was an honor to meet her.

COIMBRA! I loved this city. 

I'm such a sucker for history. I love going to historical places and learning about the history from the inside. There is something magical about going to a place and FEELING the weight of age and knowledge. 
If that doesn't make sense to you...........then I'm sorry I GEEKED on you.

Coimbra, Portugal is home to the University of Coimbra. ESTABLISHED IN 1290. 

I'm yelling at you. I told you I love history. You were warned long ago. (If you know me. I'm sure I've also mentioned it before on the blog. GEEK.)

Here are some pictures from our adventure in Coimbra:



THIS IS MY NEW SISTER!









We got rained on quite a bit that day. But, I was too filled with joy to care. 

That evening, we had a Welcome Social at the hotel. Tanya's family, my family, and Tanya's friends all came together to chat. 
I am horrible at chatting. I should probably send letters of apology to everyone in attendance. I don't mingle. I mangle the mingle. But, it was a lot of fun. It was great to meet all of Tanya's people and laugh all night with my people.
(There was a cry circle toward the end. It was hard to do this trip without my older brother. But, we even laughed in the cry circle. Cause you can't talk about Todd and not remember all the funny. Heaven is lucky.)

There was sleeping in on the 3rd. So, I was a little late getting to breakfast. Sidney and I ventured out on our own and I discovered the breakfast of my dreams. 
Chocolate bread. 
I don't know what else to call it. It was like a squished croissant filled with chocolate cream. But, I'm calling it chocolate bread. No. Let's call it Breakfast Heaven.
NOM NOM NOM NOM.

Moving on..............Sidney and I decided to wander the beach to see if we could find any of our peeps. It was then that we discovered the true expanse of the beach. Sheesh. 
Huge. 
Gorgeous. 
Huge.

We didn't find anyone. Shocker.  

Thursday quickly became a free day. It was pretty much the only time we all split up to wander and do our own thing. Well, at least until that evening when we all got together for family picture day.

I. Cannot. Wait. To. See. The. Family. Photos.

I will share them with you when I get some.

So, a wander day and a photo day. I only took one picture of my wanderings......cause I'm not good at remembering why I have a camera in my bag.


Oh yeah! That night ended at Maddy's house for a barbecue. YOU GUYS! A barbecue in Portugal might be what people eat in paradise. (Well, when people in paradise aren't eating cheese or burritos.) It was almost like the food was in some kind of competition to make the last thing you ate taste inferior. Everything just kept raising the bar and blowing some minds. 
Granted, I'm sure this also has to do with the magic touch of all the people that made the food. *slow clap* 


I very rarely take pictures of food. Sorry. 
This should have been the night I changed my habit.....


FRIDAY! The day had come! It started with a breakfast journey for Tanya, Samantha, Brooke, Sidney and me. Then I went back to the hotel.........

I'm about to admit to something shameful. No. It's not shameful. It's just weird vacation behavior.

I went back to the hotel, sat in my favorite chair in the lobby.....and read a book. Well, I read a novella. I read half of it, realized that was weird adventure behavior, and went upstairs to see how my mom was doing. 

Many of you know that my mom has been quite ill for years. Well, SHE WAS A CHAMPION on this trip. I'm so proud of her.  

Anyway, I went up to hang out with my mom and then my dad took me to get a burger the size of my face. (I ended up having this burger for lunch three days in a row. Noms.)

Then, it was time to get ready for the wedding festivities. 

FANCY.

You guys. What. A. Night. 



It started with the ring ceremony. My dad said wonderful things and Maddy gave a lovely blessing. Then, you know, more pictures that I can't wait to see........

Then food. THE FOOD. Even the fish was good. I don't like fish. But, for the love of all that is holy, the fish was GOOD. 
Why don't I live in Portugal?

A woman, I never caught her name, sang for us for a while. I was asked to give a toast and spent most of the time she was singing making notes on my phone. I'm horrible. 
But, it was only my second toast ever and I was NERVOUS. Tanya's friend, Sarah, was a big help. But, I couldn't shake the feeling that I was going to totally botch it. 

I didn't. YAY!

Also, Tanya, THANK YOU. I am and was honored that you asked me to give a toast. It was my great pleasure. 

And I only got a tiny bit verklempt. My little brother is married, you guys! I got a wee emotional. It's allowed. (Even though he has been married for over a year. It's allowed.)

Tanya danced with her dad. Michael danced with our mom. And then we all danced. EVERY. ONE. DANCED. 

What. A. Night. It was the perfect celebration, I think, for two such wonderful people. It was beyond. And I'd like to take a moment to thank Tanya's family. I wish I could find the right words to tell you all how wonderful it was to meet you and feel AT ONCE connected to you. :D Must have been meant to be! 

Saturday, we all seemed to have lazy mornings (those of us that didn't go surfing) before it was time to head back to Lisbon. Saturday was our goodbye day. I hate goodbye. 

Did I tell you that Mark moved to Portugal too? Yeah. I hate goodbye. But, I'm so happy for Michael and Mark. They finally get to be together to start making years of dreams and plans come to fruition. It's going to be rad. 

So, we parted ways at the train station. Sunday was going home time for many people in our big group. But, my parents and I did not go home on Sunday. We continued our adventure. :D I'll tell you about it soon............

COMING SOON: Zurich