Bye - Welcome to the Heart of Europe

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Flashbacks do happen...
 They include memories of the past century.
Hello ...and Good-Bye!
Playing Memory. They do happen. More or less often. They are called flashbacks. A dramaturgical instrument in movies and books... well, and in real life. Know the game Memory? It is fun to remember moments, as we do once in a while by looking into old photo albums and have flashbacks of past times in good company, hopefully. In a way, this website is another picture book, a virtual one. Various images are connected by texts and thoughts, which occasionally jump wildly from one topic to another. Sometimes it is hard to discover the actual connection, which may be also due to the fact that several sections were compiled from bits and pieces that were written over an extended time frame. They are intended to share memories of things experienced and lessons learnt, sometimes the hard way.
Hello, How are you?
Saying Servus. "Hello – how are you. Have you been alright, through all those lonely nights..." Such is the beginning of the ELO song "Telephone Line" about ringing somebody up again after losing sight of each other. Traditional salutations in German language include "Guten Tag – Good day" and "Gruess Gott – Greetings with God," as derived from "Gott gruesse/segne Dich – God may greet/bless you." A short "Hallo – Hello" has emerged from usage in telephone calls to a common greeting. And there is especially the calm "Servus – Hi," a greeting among friends. Meaning "At your service," it originates from the Latin word for servant or slave. In China, one word makes the difference: "Ni hao" means "Hello" and "Ni hao ma" means "How are you?" On the phone, one would often say "Wei" for "Hello," Just like that "Szia" in Hungary, a word of the same origin as "szervusz" by the way, which can be used both for hello and good-bye. As the Austrian entertainer Peter Alexander had put it: "When you're leaving, say gently 'servus', not good-bye and not farewell, those words only hurt like hell. Yet the little word 'servus' is a lovely last salute, when one has to part for good..."
Take Care. Besides that joyous "Hello,” there is always that sad "Good-bye”, standing for departure, separation and loss. Despite of all opportunities to stay in touch, which are provided by new technology and online connectivity, people say good-bye to each other and are not sure, whether they will ever meet again in person in this life. There is a big difference between the hoping "Good-bye" and the ultimate "Farewell." Good-bye is derived from the phrase "God be with you." In analogy to "Good day," the word "God" had been replaced by "good." Good-bye leaves the possibility open to cross paths again, as in "See you again" or "Auf Wiedersehen" in German. Farewell however implies closure and that you may never meet again. Kind of like not just wishing someone a nice day, but a nice life. I will not forget a speech by a Viennese bishop, back then head of the Caritas, the Catholic charity organization named after the Latin word for merciful love. He mentioned, whenever he would use the sentence "Gell, Sie haben es auch schwer gehabt – You must also have had a hard life, haven't you?" in a conversation, people would sigh and pour out their heart to him. For they would sense that he cares, really.
As time goes by in our lives, so do some people.
We do not know, whether or when they will cross path again.
Final Thoughts. Departure usually doesn't make one happy. "The sun is shining, but it's raining in my heart,” as Buddy Holly used to sing. Or will it be like that promise in the "Alias"-TV-show: "We'll find each other. We'll always find each other." A resolution held on to in times of greatest despair following separation and loss. There was a famous wartime song in England, it goes like this: "We'll meet again, don't know where, don't know when. But I know, we'll meet again some sunny day." During these hard times, people wanted to think of nice things! A creative colleague wrote the following sentence for his mother's tombstone: "Earth's light has dimmed with your passing, but Heaven has a new star... its brightest ever." Some people feel that they can connect as they look up to the stars from different places, when they are lonely.
Post Scriptum. Now I was going to write more about heroism, unreal mysticism that helps escaping everyday life. Movies are full of this, condensed into entertainment-portions of one or two hours, fast, stunning, surprising, and still stereotype. Then I was going to mention books and the true adventures in the head, where pictures form of events, places, and people never seen, with fantasy unleashed, imagination without borders. But I won't elaborate on this any further, for life is too real and sometimes you have to face it, without escape, without comfort, without shining example, just yourself and no one else. It is true, sometimes cold, but can be so rewarding. Looking back is often great, looking forward is even better! As a kid you want to grow up as fast as possible to be "allowed" to do more on your own. As an adult you wish, you had some of the enthusiasm back that your memory tells you, you once had had. Is this word repetition required by the English language, or do I already stammer, as if getting nervous talking about it, or excited to face reality and future? Weird, isn't it? Maybe, but there are more important things now. Let's turn off the Internet connection and get started!
See you.
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