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September 2003 - Nr. 9


The Editor
Antje berichtet
Elizabeth Kuehn
Dear Mom
Rachel Seilern
Over the Fence
Music Toronto
25 Years Musik
KW and Beyond
City Elections
Top Honor in Venice?
Toronto Film Festival
Mustard Festival
Dick reports...
Sybille reports
Ham Se det jehört?
Financial Advice
The White Wale
Planet in Focus
After the Flood
Sahara-Touristen frei
Berlin Wall
Comics Fair
Rediscover East Germany
Literary "Wunderkind"
350 Years of Opera
"German Trilogy"
New Element


  Pictures supplied by Rachel Seilern

Rachel A.I. Seilern

The last time you heard from me, I was sharing my enthusiasm about culture! I had just taken a better look at my Hungarian background and the experience proved to me that culture was what excited me most.


Since then, I spent two weeks in Austria with my My Aunt Ingrid and I - the TravellersTante Ingrid (Szauter) and I have learned so much. What an incredibly memorable overwhelming, life-changing experience. Unfortunately, I would fill up all of Echo Germanica if I started telling you about my trip with all my thoughts and impressions. (We’ll have to save all those for the next time you are in the King City area! - I’d be more than delighted to share my journal and pictures with you.) But what was the highlight of it all was not the culture or even my happy adventures as much as it was family. I see now more than ever what family means. It is more special to me than anything.

My sweet cousins Tibor and Isabelle with Tante Ingrid and I at the SOS Children's Village's own summer camp on Caldonazzo, near Trento, ItalyAll my Seilern relatives live in Austria except for our little section here in Ontario. I have never really known a Seilern other than those of my immediate family.

Having had the privilege of spending some time getting to know my uncles, aunts and I and my adorable, hilarious yodeling tour guide Onkel (uncle) Christophcousins this summer has made me feel so much richer. I’ve gotten in touch with the main branches of my family tree and I feel so special to be one of its little shoots. And Love is like the bark that binds us now. Maybe the fact that there is a big ocean that divided our family all these years had made me not as sure about these things as I am now since I crossed it. I imagine it’s a common desire in the back of the minds of us youth who have grown up here in Canada (but feel in some way connected to Europe) to be sure we know who we are - "where do we really come from" not being only a geographic or cultural question.

On a hike to find some Italian pizza (Vasugana Valley)

I was also never able to meet my grandfather, Paul Seilern. But from all the inspiring, moving and delightful stoAunt Sigrid's place - "home base" for the whole family - 1000 m up a mountain in Kärntenries I’ve heard all my life, it’s very clear that he was a man worth knowing. We made a trip out to the towns of Schruns and Tschagguns in beautiful Vorarlberg, where my grandfather spent a good deal of his life. It was quite the feeling to hear any store clerk or passer-by we met, talk of "Herr Seilern, the artist" with wide-eyed wonder and with a sort of piety in their voice. His memory is very much alive.

At the Finkenstein ruins in Kärnten

IMy aunt and cousin at the Austrian Imperial "summer castle" Miramare at the Adriatic Sea could have never guessed how incredibly special that quality time with my relatives would be. I have such dear memories of our being together. They make me smile, make me feel cozy inside and give me strength for the future. I can’t help being overcome with sadness at times to think how far apart we are but I know Love has the strength to reduce oceans to puddles.

Rachel A.I. Seilern


Comments to: rachel@echoworld.com


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