I made it home exhausted tonight after a 6-day trip to Europe (which I decided to go on 4 days before I left!). As you can probably tell by the fact that we're wearing the same clothes in both pictures (though you might notice a change of boots, luckily the pair I had broke so I had to buy a new pair in Italy) our little group hit Rome, Florence, Milan, Geneva, Paris and London armed with only our backpacks. Though I've been to Europe once before, I laid eyes on The David (which will knock your socks off); the neighborhood of Montmarte in Paris; Gevena, Switzerland; Musee D'Orsay; and the Eiffel Tower for the very first time. I feel refreshed, grateful, happy and ready to give back a bit more to the world I live in.
More to come in an upcoming travel post, but I thought I would share a few thoughts while they are fresh in my mind. My friend Katy has a tradition I love. After every trip, while she still has that open feeling and sense of renewal, she writes a list of to dos based on the experiences that have inspired her throughout her trip. We all know how easy it is to lose those good thoughts the minute we hit the grind again, I think this is a great way to preserve the most important pieces.
So, if you'll indulge me, here's my list from Europe, 2011:
1. Walk more. We walked everywhere in every city. Luckily we had an expert navigator in the group to keep us on track, but I'd like to realize the potential of these two legs in my very own city.
2. Everyone needs a home. Home is the place you feel totally comfortable and where your heart is. Those are cliche thoughts but they hit me hard when someone said them on this trip. I asked myself where is my heart? And is there anywhere that I feel truly deeply comfortable the way I did when I was a kid? I want to make some decisions that will help me to feel more at home.
3. Group prayer and spiritual experiences can be really powerful. Though I don't have my own family right now, I was reminded due to our morning and evening prayers, that the support of my community in religious practice strengthens my connection to God.
4. I love new socks. (Especially nice bright polka dot socks that no one can see.)
5. Throughout life our testimonies are refined. God helps us clean out every corner and expose every falsehood so we can be happier. These trials are overwhelming, and are meant to overwhelm, we have to come to the realization of our own "nothingness" in the sense that we know that we need a Savior. Seeing so much religious art, having a look into how others have related to Heavenly Father and their struggles had a powerful affect on me. We are certainly not alone in our struggles, every person on this planet has gone through them since the beginning of time.
6. I'd like to learn to cook like the French. Oh my.
Very grateful for this beautiful world of cultures, dear friends and refreshing experiences. xo! Liz