When I was young, I would sit at Omie’s counter eating Griessnockerlsuppe. Sitting on the counter she had a small snow globe with the Wiener Riesenrad ferris wheel inside, located in the heart of Vienna where she grew up. As I ate my soup, I would shake the snow globe and watch the flakes fall onto the beautiful red and gold ferris wheel. She would say to me, “That ferris wheel is so big that the seats are basically inside of train cars! You have to see it during the winter because I promise you there’s nothing more beautiful. I’ll take you one day, I promise. “
There are few promises in my life Omie hasn’t kept. In fact, I can’t think of a single one except this. As I stood at the bottom of the Wiener Riesenrad, staring at this giant structure I’ve spent the better part of my life curious about, I started to cry. I probably stood there frozen for 30 minutes. I watched the ferris wheel go round and round throughout the night. It was cold outside, but there wasn’t any snow. I reached in my pocket for a manner (an Austrian wafer), a taste that brings me comfort and security. I blasted Mozart in my ears, put my hood up and walked through the park.
I realized something that night. . . 20 years later, I would finally make my way to Vienna, a place that is so dear to my grandmother’s heart. Only she isn’t with me as she promised. This isn’t her fault, of course. But if I had one wish in my entire life, it would be that she was standing next to me at the bottom of that ferris wheel, listening to Mozart, sharing a manner bar with me.