Salzburg & Bavaria

fullsizeoutput_4dc7This week and next week I have Fall break, so two other Fulbright ETAs and I hoped a bus down to Salzburg, Austria for a few days of fun. The trip didn’t start out so fun, however, as our train was late, which meant we had to SPRINT to catch our bus at the station. It was pulling out as I reached the door and pounded on it with big puppy eyes begging please let us on! Luckily, the driver was a really nice Jordanian who laughed and said “We arabs aren’t very punctual either” and opened the door. My heart was racing for the next twenty minutes but it was worth the work out. We made it down to Salzburg that afternoon and began exploring. It is such a pristine city filled with elegant facades and castles perched on hills. I think my favorite part of the city was the cathedral in the Altstadt.

We stayed in a hostel that showed The Sound of Music movie every night at 8pm. Every. Single. Night. I asked the receptionist if he stilled liked the movie and he just rolled his eyes no– ha! Below are a few photos if you’d like to see 😉fullsizeoutput_4dbffullsizeoutput_4dc0fullsizeoutput_4dc1fullsizeoutput_4dc2fullsizeoutput_4dc3fullsizeoutput_4dc4fullsizeoutput_4dc5fullsizeoutput_4dc6That domed building is the cathedral!fullsizeoutput_4dc8fullsizeoutput_4dc9Casual castle on a hill.fullsizeoutput_4dcafullsizeoutput_4dcbfullsizeoutput_4dccfullsizeoutput_4dcdfullsizeoutput_4dcefullsizeoutput_4dcffullsizeoutput_4dd2It’s always IceZeit (ice cream time). fullsizeoutput_4dd0fullsizeoutput_4dd3Love Lock bridge, like in Paris!fullsizeoutput_4dd4fullsizeoutput_4dd5fullsizeoutput_4dd8fullsizeoutput_4dd9fullsizeoutput_4dddfullsizeoutput_4ddefullsizeoutput_4ddffullsizeoutput_4de0One day we went to Berchtesgaden, a town in Bavaria where Hitler held his summer residence. The actual residence is called Berghof/Eagle’s Nest, and you can take a bus up the side of a HUGE Alp to the tippy top. The view is other-worldly. fullsizeoutput_4de1fullsizeoutput_4de2fullsizeoutput_4de3fullsizeoutput_4de4fullsizeoutput_4de5fullsizeoutput_4de6fullsizeoutput_4de8fullsizeoutput_4de9fullsizeoutput_4deafullsizeoutput_4debThis is at the Königsee, a lake in the national park just below Berghof/Eaglesnest.fullsizeoutput_4decThe next day we went to Fuschlsee, a dreamy alpine lake near Salzburg. It almost looks like a green screen or some sort of party photo booth backdrop! I was speechless.fullsizeoutput_4dedfullsizeoutput_4deefullsizeoutput_4deffullsizeoutput_4df0fullsizeoutput_4df1fullsizeoutput_4df2fullsizeoutput_4df3fullsizeoutput_4df4Smolderfullsizeoutput_4df6fullsizeoutput_4df8fullsizeoutput_4dfcfullsizeoutput_4dfdfullsizeoutput_4dfefullsizeoutput_4dffWHAAAATTTTTTfullsizeoutput_4e01fullsizeoutput_4e02fullsizeoutput_4e03fullsizeoutput_4e04fullsizeoutput_4e05fullsizeoutput_4e07fullsizeoutput_4e08fullsizeoutput_4e09fullsizeoutput_4e0afullsizeoutput_4e0cfullsizeoutput_4e0dfullsizeoutput_4e0efullsizeoutput_4e0ffullsizeoutput_4e11fullsizeoutput_4e12fullsizeoutput_4e13fullsizeoutput_4e14fullsizeoutput_4e15fullsizeoutput_4e16fullsizeoutput_4e17fullsizeoutput_4e18We were color coordinated for these photos apparently!

This trip did the soul some good. Now I’m headed to London for a few days to visit my dear friend who is getting her Masters in Human Rights there because she is a boss who will change the world.

Have a good one, friends!

Fulbright Month One Video

Hey friends, how are you? I finally got around to compiling my video clips from the last month into a complete video. I really enjoy capturing my life in this format, but I must admit this time around I’m feeling a little wary of posting. Not because these clips aren’t great or accurately representative of my life, but they simply don’t tell the full story. Sometimes I decide not to post photos or videos to Facebook because I don’t want anyone to feel like their life is less than or negatively compare their story to mine. While living and working abroad has been an incredible experience this far that I wouldn’t trade for the world, I also just want to be honest and mention a few of the many things that aren’t featured in this video, such as:

Frustrations with Visa paperwork
An endless struggle to get internet at home
More than a few missed trains and buses
Trying to decipher utility bills in German
Insecurity about my language ability

And so much more. So while I hope you thoroughly enjoy this video, I just wanted to say that whatever you’re going through, you are not alone. Everyone, without exception, struggles. Social media may make life look shiny, but at the end of the day we are all trying our best to make it one step at a time 🙂 Wishing you a good one, friends!

little brother

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little brother,

you know my favorite thing about you? yes, i think you do, i’ve told you many times. it’s your eyebrows. why, you ask? well, i’ll tell you.

mostly because i’m jealous. that’s right, I’m positively green with jealousy. they are so thick and luscious and brooding. about five years ago, society became hyper aware of people’s eyebrows and it became stylish to have thick ones which, unfortunately, i do not. stupid off-trend genes. anyhow, i think yours are just fabulous and it makes me angry that you don’t properly appreciate them. if i were you, i would stare at them in the mirror everyday and thank the eyebrow gods for their generosity. no one else in our family is as blessed in this regard, so please don’t take them for granted.

but on a slightly deeper note (though perhaps not as important), i have many more favorite things about you. for example, your creativity. or your kind disposition, or your heart for social justice and desire to understand the bible and to really see people and learn how they function. you are always my favorite company, and i miss you quite a lot.

oh, and don’t even get me started on your long eyelashes, which you also don’t properly appreciate. that would just make me all sorts of mad.

-big sis

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One Month in Germany

39F327D6-B4BA-4339-96B1-ADF49853BE29.jpgI can’t believe I’ve already been here one month. It feels like it has gone by both lightning fast and also incredibly slow. There have been so many hurdles to cross (even now I’m writing this on a German keyboard and I have no idea where any of the letters are, so it takes an eternity!). One second I feel on top of the world, like I could conquer anything and excel at life, and then the next second I feel totally helpless and uninformed. Expat life is quite the rollercoaster.

But recently I took a breather and spent a few hours walking around a beautiful park in Mannheim, watching the bright orange leaves fall gently to the ground. Fall is here and I’m lucky enough to be here to experience it. Below are a few photos and stories from the past few weeks. Enjoy!jIMG_4681My first day in the city of Weinheim, by beautiful new home.IMG_4688Some of my colleagues from school and I went to an alpine slide after work. It was so much fun and the view wasn’t too shabby either.IMG_4717The children in the language intensive classes at my school worked together to perform a play. They come from over ten different countries and speak many different languages. Many of them are refugees who have not lived in Germany more than two years. But they performed incredibly well in German, and it was obvious they were proud of themselves. The whole show brought tears to my eyes. It was touching to see people from such different backgrounds coming together to make something new. The play was covered in the newspaper and hopefully this experience will be replicated in other schools in Germany.Processed with VSCO with t1 presetIMG_4760CofffffeeeeeeeeIMG_4785Met up with another Fulbrighter for a day in Heidelberg. That place NEVER gets old.IMG_4813Moore Haus will always have my heart.IMG_4851Hope you’re doing well!

What I’ve Learned

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It’s okay to be overwhelmed.

German kezboards are very different than American ones and zou need to proofread zour emails.

French press coffee is deceptively difficult to make right.

Sometimes you can buy a jacket at a flea market for fifty cents. Reader, FIFTY CENTS.

Deep breath, it takes time to make friends.

People probably arn’t thinking about you as much as you think they are.

Living on your own for the first time is quite a learning curve.

Fall, and I mean real fall, is some kind of magic.

30 minutes is not enough time to get ready in the morning. For the love of God, please give yourself 45.

P.s. this post inspired by this article and photo from here

Lists of Note

Processed with VSCO with c1 presetThings I will miss when I die

Coffee

Crawling into fresh sheets

Violin music

Texting my brother

That satisfied feeling you get when you finally break through the ice with someone

Taking polaroids

Ayrick

Kissing

Things I won’t miss when I die

The insane amount of paper work required in Germany

German pronouns

Uncomfortable bras

Rejection

Dirty dishes

 

 

A Beautiful Passage

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I love being horribly straightforward. I love sending reckless text messages (because how reckless can a form of digitized communication be?) and telling people I love them and telling people they are absolutely magical humans and I cannot believe they really exist. I love saying, “Kiss me harder,” and “You’re a good person,” and, “You brighten my day.” I live my life as straight-forward as possible.

Because one day, I might get hit by a bus.

I could be walking down the street one day, blasting Rihanna or Fleetwood Mac, jamming so hard that I don’t see the bus coming. I could be walking with a book in my hand, reading until the very end. I could be paying total and complete attention, imagine the impact before it arrives.

And I’d really, really rather not die with some confusing statement I said sitting in the phone or the thoughts or the memory of someone I know, care about, need.

I know how it is—we all want to be mysterious. None of us want to get hurt. None of us want to look desperate. So we wait to respond to texts, phone calls, emails, Facebook messages, Tweets. So we communicate our emotions in how we end our messages (no period this time? Really gonna get them.). So we say vague, half-statements and expect people to read our minds.

But what if we died?

What if the last thing you ever texted that girl was, “I don’t know, whenever,” when she asked when she should come over, even though you really really wanted to see her right now? What if you were head-over-heels in lust with some beautiful human in your Lit. class but you chose to wait 15 seconds before texting them back, only to never get the chance to text them at all?

Maybe it’s weird. Maybe it’s scary. Maybe it seems downright impossible to just be—to just let people know you want them, need them, feel like, in this very moment, you will die if you do not see them, hold them, touch them in some way whether its your feet on their thighs on the couch or your tongue in their mouth or your heart in their hands.

But there is nothing more beautiful than being desperate.

And there is nothing more risky than pretending not to care.

We are young and we are human and we are beautiful and we are not as in control as we think we are. We never know who needs us back. We never know the magic that can arise between ourselves and other humans.

We never know when the bus is coming.

(So go text them back.)

– “Tell the People You Love that You Love Them”, Rachel C. Lewis

 

Germany Week 1

fullsizeoutput_4cf6Hello friends! I apologize for the radio silence around here lately– I’ve been busy readjusting to life in Germany. My brain is on over-drive trying to speak German and remember all the little ins and outs of another culture. It’s been both challenging and rewarding. Below are a few photos from the last week and a half in Frankfurt if you’d like to see 🙂IMG_4409Strollin’ around the Altstadt with a friend. Are those building gorgeous or what?IMG_4429IMG_4467IMG_4469I love the mix of old and new architecture in Frankfurt. Fun fact: it is the only city in Germany with a big, recognizable skyline.fullsizeoutput_4cf7Processed with VSCO with b1 presetThe Alter Oper, or old opera, is one of my favorite spots in town.IMG_4506IMG_4507My friend and I at the indoor market. IMG_4509IMG_4510IMG_4511IMG_4512IMG_4513The flower market is so beautiful. It made me want to have a garden like a good German!IMG_4515IMG_4525IMG_4527Friends at small group. It was so nice to reconnect. The little boy above has grown so much in the last year and his German is better than mine now. It blew my mind.IMG_4529IMG_4546This kiddo turned one years old. I went with a friend to his birthday party in a small town just outside Frankfurt. I want a cake like that for my 23rd birthday this year!IMG_4555Now I’m off to Cologne for a week of Fulbright orientation. Wish me luck!

I’m comin’ for ya, Germany!

21034614_10214094112849154_1542056307746449990_n.jpgGermany round FOUR, here I come! Are you ready for me?

I’ve been overcome by a strange, vague sort of homesickness. I feel a longing– but for what, where, who? I can’t pin it down exactly. These past few months have been a huge season of transition in my life. My parents moved, I graduated university and moved to Texas for the summer, and am now moving to Germany for at least a year. My sense of home is certainly out of sorts. It must be redefined.

When I first set foot in Germany at age 19, I felt as though I was coming home to a place I’d never been before. And the same is true now. I’ve missed this country more than I can articulate in a blog post, or at all really. It has settled deep in my bones and won’t leave no matter what I do or how long I’m away.

So, at the risk of sounding terrible cliché, today feels like the first day of my life. Let’s do this. 20954078_10214094112689150_3685987330583897698_n.jpg