Molly and I took Soraya to feed her beloved goats at the Gasthof Kleefeld Family Farm in Wolfgangsee last week.
“Hallo!” from Austria, or “Grüß Gott” as the greeting is in this beautiful country. I love the translation: “God greet you!”
You may or may not know that I am here in Austria to support my daughter, Molly, and her family as we await the arrival of my granddaughter’s little sister who is due in two weeks. This unique time with Molly and Soraya is being recorded deep in the center of my heart forever. I feel profoundly blessed to be here and to be extended the generosity of Molly’s husband’s loving Austrian family and their home. (Note: Molly has spent a good part of her pregnancy away from their own home in Fiji because of the Zika outbreak there. Her husband just arrived here two days ago. Hooray!)
My life here is completely different than my life back home. I’m packing snacks for Soraya’s mornings in nursery school, making yogurt popsicles, doing laundry, preparing meals, enjoying doing Nia with my granddaughter, doing laundry, taking my daughter to doctor’s appointments, changing diapers, (did I mention I am doing laundry–AND few people have dryers here?), teaching Soraya songs while she plays in the bathtub, reading to her, learning to use strollers and car seats made in the 21st century, and well, you probably get the picture!
All of this fills me with love. And it hasn’t all been magical and roses and easy. I do tend to focus on the love though, and it makes everything worthwhile and treasured.
I am learning a bit of German, driving along country and city roads, and eating foods readily enjoyed by people in this part of the world. I will be in Austria for a good two months so I’ve found that I’ve settled in here and consider it “home” at the moment.
Home–this word has new meaning for me. The saying “Home is where the heart is” now has a more expanded significance. At this time in my life, I feel deeply that, “Home is where love is.” I am learning to be at home anywhere. I can do this if I just remember to pack the love in my heart and then unpack it wherever I go. When I forget, things can get difficult.
My childhood home was in the countryside of Western Pennsylvania–about 30 minutes from Pittsburgh. After graduating from Penn State in 1971, I married my high school sweetheart and moved to Youngstown, Ohio where my husband was finishing his last year of college. That was home for several years.
In 1979, the three of us (we now had a 3-year-old son, Zachary) moved to Free Union, Virginia–just outside of Charlottesville. Molly was born there a year later. It was home for 20 years and the place where I also “grew up” as we raised our children and filled our home with love.
While there, I was a health teacher at Charlottesville High School and then worked for almost ten years at the University of Virginia as the Director of Health Promotion and assistant professor in the School of Medicine. I loved it there–my family, my friends, the community, the Blue Ridge Mountains, my colleagues, my life. I discovered Nia there and taught my first Nia classes there too.
In 2000, several years after our 25-year marriage ended, I followed my soul’s calling to move to the Seattle area. It has been home, a treasured home for me, for over 16 years.
And now it’s time to move again. It seems that the unexpected closing of three Nia studio doors in the past year has opened up a path that is guiding me to return to Charlottesville. I will be moving there on December 1. I had heard that when God closes one door, He opens another. But THREE doors? Believe me, I am paying attention! This decision to move is a big surprise to me. I am clearly letting the Divine take the lead on this one.
It feels like my work in Seattle is complete and my soul is beckoning me to this next season of my life. As I write this it feels both real and surreal. Seattle will always be a home to me–and the people I met there will hold a dear place in my heart. My gratitude is deep and my heart is full.
As I reflect on my professional life in Seattle, I smile about some of the things I accomplished:
I created Washington Wellness Associates (re-branded as www.susantate.org) and expanded my work to reach across the globe . . .
Earned my black belt as a Nia teacher and taught Nia classes weekly in Seattle and offered workshops across the United States, Canada, Mexico, and in Europe . . .
Joined Team Northrup and added a global nutritional product partner to share information and products to support the health of others . . .
Wrote two editions of Wellness Wisdom: 31 Ways to Nourish Your Mind, Body, & Spirit . . .
Wrote the 3rd edition of my first book, Into the Mouths of Babes . . .
Offered hundreds of hours of holistic wellness coaching sessions, both in person and through telephone or Skype across the globe . . .
Became an ordained wedding officiant and married 13 couples in various cities across the United States . . .
Studied at Sanoviv Medical Institute, a functional medicine hospital in Rosarito, Mexico to become a Certified Nutritional Advisor . . .
Presented over 50 work site wellness presentations in the Greater Seattle area . . .
Led retreats and wellness workshops across the globe . . .
And I “grew up” a bit more as I learned to love even more deeply.
As I move in between homes, I respect the opportunity to connect with you through the many wellness services I offer. Thank you for allowing me to serve you.
What will I do in Virginia? I am not sure exactly, but I feel lucky to have created a wellness business that is portable, and even global. So, I’ll pack up www.susantate.org,
pack my love, and be on my way.
Home–where is it for you? Is it a physical structure that you move in and out of? Is it where your love is? Can you take your love and pack it with you when you go to the store, or to work, or to the park, or on a plane, or to a different country? I’d love to hear your thoughts about home. Feel free to leave a comment here!