Tuesday, December 30, 2014

There's Something About Prague

I may have mentioned before that you don't need to twist my arm to get me to the Czech Republic.

Trust me when I say it was a no brainer decision to spend our Christmas in Prague.

Yes, we live in Vienna and it is a beautiful city.  In comparison, Prague's beauty glows.  This particular place draws you in and wraps you in a warm hug with a big smile.  Then it serves up a large hunk of street ham, with a side of potatoes and cabbage, washed down with hot red wine, topped off with this addicting warm, rolled, cinnamon sugar pastry named Trdelnik.  Then you get another hug and a smile.  Leaving is never easy.

So we celebrated Christmas Day with the throngs of joyful visitors from around the world at the Market in the Old Square.  The Nutcracker at Prague's National Theater was enchanting from the nose bleed cheap seats.  Our holiday celebrations have officially become traditional in their non-tradition.  Should you decide to skip your Christmas tradition and embrace the non-traditional, go to Prague.  The city waits with its warm hug.  We will be there too.

Bless Us, Every One.  May Your New Year be Filled with an Abundance of Joyful Moments.
The Family Johnson

Saturday, December 13, 2014

We Are The World

I'm a member of the United Nations Women's Guild (UNWG) of Vienna.  In January 2014, I volunteered to be the Manager of the UNWG Kiosk.  The Kiosk is a small shop located at the Vienna International Center where we sell a variety of items sourced and donated from around the world, along with Austria souvenirs, T-Shirts and handmade jewelry created by our volunteer staff.

The money from the sales go directly into the UNWG Charity Fund.  In addition, proceeds from other fundraising activities, like the UNWG International Bazaar, are distributed annually to charity projects supporting women and children around the world.  

In 2014, the UNWG Vienna allocated 237,778 euros (about 300k dollars) for 37 projects in 28 countries.

When I was little, this was one of my favorite toys:

If You See in a Thrift Shop, Buy for Me!  The Tom Thumb Pink Cash Register.  Beloved by this Child of the 1960s.

Now you know why I've loved working at the Kiosk and also why a career in sales was a great way to spend more than 15 years of my professional life!

The UNWG Kiosk enjoyed a very successful 2014, so proud of our team, appreciative of the guidance from our more experienced volunteers and confident we will continue to grow in 2015.  In addition, I was just elected to serve on the UNWG Board of Directors.  In this regard, I am my Father's Daughter.  Find a group you like, then work from within to bring continued success through service, process improvement and innovation.  Looking forward to the opportunities ahead.

UNWG Kiosk Bazaar Stall 2014

UNWG Kiosk Bazaar 2014

During the last weekend in November, I had my first experience at the UNWG International Bazaar.  The World was there, literally.  Stalls stocked with items for sale, representations from each participating country.  Food and drink from all points across the globe.  Entertainment and music filled The Austria Center.  Just in case you decide to visit, Bazaar weekend is incredibly fun.  Shopping, eating, drinking (did I mention the Cubans were making mojitos and the UK had a whiskey bar?) all in a single stop.  A joyful event, outside of Disney and the Olympics, when it's really a small world after all.

The Treasures of Egypt

Saudi Style

The World is Here!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Because The Night

It's Christmas Market time again!  We've made our rounds and consensus is the Medieval Market at the Arsenal remains a favorite.  We wish it lasted longer than one weekend, but feel thankful we braved the rain to make it out this evening.  We walked through Belvedere, to get a glimpse of how the "palace people" were celebrating, before heading to the Arsenal.......where they have fire, cauldrons, swords and troubadours.  Our kind of folk.

Belvedere Christmas Market

A View to the Belvedere Market

Arsenal Medieval Market

Cauldrons of Good Stuff

Troubadours? Minstrels?  They were Rocking!

My Name is Inigo Montoya......

Making Shoes, the Old Fashioned Way

Oh Little Star of Arsenal.....

Fish Over Fire

Because the night belongs to us.