Overcoming obstacles with Optimism

Just over a year ago my family moved to Sicily. Since the spring of 2017, we have spent time in five different countries – a few we went back to again and again…and again. We left America and settled in our temporary, new home. After that, we fell in love with Germany. It was so beautiful in the summer that we decided to go back and see it transformed in the winter. Every morning we looked up at Zugspitze, the mountain that has the highest elevation in Germany. It was majestic during both seasons.

Zugspite in the winter

Zugspite in the winter

 

summer mountain

Zugspite in the summer

 

 

We visited Austria and saw the town that brought “Sound of Music” to life, Salzburg.

Salzburg

Residenzplatz in Salzburg, Austria

 

 

Windmills in Zaanse Schans, Ntherlands

Dutch town of Zaandam, near Amsterdam

 

On the next trip, we went to Netherlands and saw how they make wooden shoes. We had our breath taken away by watching windmills turn along the waterfront and saw tulip fields just starting to bloom.

 

 

 

 

Flower Fields in Keukenhof

Flower Fields in Keukenhof

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our children are enrolled in an American high school here. We, as a family, have flown on more planes this year than we had in many years combined back in America. A three hour plane ride here can take us above several countries. We’ve learned the skill of backpacking. We board a plane with only one backpack each. There is little we need besides comfortable walking shoes and layers of clothes that help us adjust to the fluctuating temperatures.

There have been challenges along the way, of course. My children were at a school with about 1,600 students before they moved. The school here, 6th-12th grade, has under 200. Having prosopagnosia created a feeling of isolation when we moved into our community. It’s hard to get new friends to understand why I reintroduce myself over and over and over again. My tremors are worse and my eyesight is no better.

Yet, even with these challenges, I would not give up this experience of living abroad for anything. We are seeing the world. We are meeting new people and learning new things.

 

To the friends I met in Germany, “Hallo, wie geht es dir”. One of my children always helps us learn new phrases to say hello when we visit a new country. After all, we are in their country. Some speak English, some do not.

To the wonderful people of Netherlands: Thank you for spending so much time with the tulip fields in Keukenhof. It is no easy task to plant seven million tulip bulbs!

To the people of Italy and my new friends in Sicily, “Grazie mile for making me feel at home.”

Mt. Etna

A view of Mt. Etna from near our house – Sicily, Italy

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“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”  – Mark Twain

 

“Travel far enough, you meet yourself.”  – David Mitchell

 

Adventure

 

“The purpose of life, after all, is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”  – Eleanor Roosevelt

 

“To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted.”  – Bill Bryson

 

“I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again.”  – Eric Roth, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

 

“Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far they can go.”  – T.S. Eliot

 

“We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures that we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.”  – Jawaharlal Nehru

 

“Anytime I feel lost, I pull out a map and stare. I stare until I have reminded myself that life is a giant adventure, so much to do, to see.”  – Angelina Jolie

 

Adventure should be 80 percent ‘I think this is manageable,’ but it’s good to have that last 20 percent where you’re right outside your comfort zone. Still safe, but outside your comfort zone.”  – Bear Grylls

More

“Waste your money and you’re only out of money, but waste your time and you’ve lost a part of your life.”  – Michael LeBoeuf

New Year

Stepping Stone Stumbling Block quote

This picture is of the Temple of the Olympian Zeus in Agrigento, Sicily. Can you imagine the obstacles they faced building temples around 600 BC?

 

“Your initial idea may or may not work, but you have to remember that a failed idea is nothing but a stepping stone to a bigger success.”   Naveen Jain

 

 

“The best way to treat obstacles is to use them as stepping-stones. Laugh at them, tread on them, and let them lead you to something better.” Enid Blyton, Mr. Galliano’s Circus

 

 

“Failure is not the end of the road, it’s a stepping stone to do better!”   Hopal Green

 

 

“Develop success from failures. Discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping stones to success.”   Dale Carnegie

 

 

“Use missteps as stepping stones to deeper understanding and greater achievement.”   Susan L. Taylor

 

Stumbling Sone Setback Quote, Robin Sharma

 

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