The first day of 2014 and my head is filled with so many different emotions. There is excitement and hope for new beginnings, in another country, a new home and a wide possibility of new posts to write about. There is also fear of not adapting as well as I have in Mexico. And when I think of Mexico I am on the verge of tears. Before today, I always said next year we would leave Mexico but now, the year has arrived. Suddenly I’m forced to face the sad reality. Although our move will only be in summer, time tends to fly when you least want it to.

I’m lousy at goodbyes, I just can’t handle them when they mean so much. Yesterday, when I was thinking about Austria and Portugal and what we eat on New Year’s Eve, it was interesting to compare and realize we are not that different. Both countries have the tradition of eating suckling pig and in Austria carp also joins the celebration as do different types of seafood in Portugal. Although we may have similar traditions we are not the same. I confess I admire sometimes the reserved nature of the Austrians, they seem to handle suffering and sadness better. In Portugal it is all about emotions and feelings and “saudades”, the longing for something you love and lost. That is why I seem to have identified so much with Mexicans, they have a similar spirit to the Portuguese. And when they show you how much you mean to them, you know it is for life. So I still don’t know how I will handle leaving my Mexican “family” who mean the world to me and who, during these four and a half years have been there every step of the way with us.

With all these mixed feelings, I needed to go somewhere quiet and spiritual today. I had never heard of the Cistercian Monastery of Heiligenkreuz. It was founded in the 12th century and is still inhabited by Cistercian monks who also manage their own University. It is only half an hour from Vienna and such a beautiful, inspiring place.

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Everywhere you look there is such beauty

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And when I was walking through the cloisters, I was saying my goodbyes to last year. A year full of events, some happy and special, some bad, many travels and a health scare almost at the end that made me appreciate life so much more. That is when I found her, so beautiful, with her son in her arms. A birth is always a new beginning and I felt grateful for my daughter and the joy I experience everyday to see her grow into such a clever little person. She is a major part of my new beginning this year.

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I wish you wonderful beginnings, may this new year bring you all much health, love and many beautiful moments.

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Maria

Maria

Welcome! If you love travel and photography and are looking for new places to explore, this is the right place for you! And of course a person gotta eat so why not follow in my footsteps, visit some exotic markets, get inspired and enjoy original and healthy recipes from my extensive collection of cookbooks.

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