In August (yes, this is being posted a little bit late...), I took a trip to Wels, Austria to visit Eva's family. She and I were still interning together at the Embassy at the point (oh, just thinking about this makes me miss her so much!) and it was my last weekend in Austria before leaving for Poland (and then Germany, eventually). It's just a quick direct train from Vienna to Wels and Eva (who had gone a day before me) picked me up at the station. It felt so weird riding in a car with her....in Vienna - as well as mostly all of Europe -, we got around using only public transportation so I don't think of my European friends as being drivers.
Anyway, I spent NO money the entire weekend. Her parents own a hotel and restaurant and we were treated to every meal - so nice. I kept offering to buy groceries and cook and Eva kept saying, "Why? We own a restaurant." It was too funny. We'd just walk in and sit down and order whatever we want and then walk out without paying for anything.
One thing I love about Eva is how much she loves her parents (pictured with them in the above photo). This girl treats her parents so well - a rarity with my generation, it seems. I admire her so much for that. She just respects them so much and helps them without a word of complaint; it was really encouraging to witness and made me want to be a better daughter. Her parents don't make it too hard, though - they are awesome! Her mom is one of the most beautiful women I've ever seen in my entire life. She had breast cancer a few years ago and the chemo and radiation really altered her appearance in the long run....but in my opinion, for the better! Maybe it is because she is living a much healthier lifestyle after her recovery. Ironically, though, I say the same about my mom (who has had cancer twice in the past 5 years and, in my opinion, looks amazing today!). But back to Eva's family -- the entire town of Wels knows who they are. Just walking down the street or walking into shops, people would greet them by name. It's obvious their hotel and restaurant is a hot spot in Wels.
One of my favorite parts of the weekend was looking through Eva's scrapbooks and yearbooks from America. She studied abroad in Missouri when she was in high school (which is why her English is AMAZING and she has absolutely NO accent - this is crazy). She keeps in touch with her American high school friends on a daily basis. Her mom and dad (who don't really speak English so this was a German langauge weekend) told me that Eva is the most loyal friend and when it comes to communication, she is so dedicated - going to all sorts of extremes to maintain friendships. For example, she hasn't lived in America since she was 17 (she's now 25), yet she has been back every year since her departure to visit her American friends. Even though we are no longer coworkers (plus she lives in Hong Kong now), I'm not worried about our friendship. :)
Anyway, these photos were finally developed from my lomography camera (like I said, a few months late). Her parents took us on a mini-hike in the mountains. Unfortunately, the fog is covering the majority of the mountainous skyline. Oh well, next time! I can't wait to see Eva again. She has already emailed me about wanting to book a flight to America the next time I'm there. She listened to so many stories about my parents and feels like she knows them. She loved listening to my side of every phone conversation I had with them this summer (free calls to America, working at the Embassy). Her favorite little anecdote was that my mom was taking a quilting class but she also loved that my dad has honeybees. She always asks, "Are the quiltmaker and beekeeper ready for me to visit?". I think they are!