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The life of a visitor and the life of resident are so different, that sometimes only the guests in our open our eyes to the work of art in which we all live.

I am not the type of person who is likely to be described as stuck in her ways. I smell flowers, wear rose-colored glasses, literally, and try to be constantly in awe of beauty. None of this, however, prevents me from becoming acclimated to the things I see every day, or from complaining about the flaws I have found in any of the places I have lived. It took a recent visit from a friend to help open my eyes again to all the wonder of Nuremberg.

Sometimes it takes spending all day sitting in a park with friends to make me appreciate the beauty of having everything closed on Sundays. Sometimes it takes a visitor commenting on the beautiful cobblestone streets for me to linger fondly on memories of a passeggiata around the square, slowly devouring ice cream cones, while my hair is caresses by the warm breeze. Sometimes it takes the awe of a visitor to remove me from the supermarket runs, the bills, the spreadsheets, and the homework. Sometimes, I need remind of the simple fact that after 27 years I left my homeland and made a life across an ocean.

I believe we all need these awakenings, even if there isn’t biergarten on our corner or a 1000-year-old church in our backyard. We all need to see our own lives from a distance in order to find the beauty within all the mess. Despite what it may feel like, life is not a string of workdays, or a succession of bank statements. Life is what we see when we take a step back from examining the everyday minutia. In the end, life is a painting, not a brush stroke.

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