An Engagement!

IMG_8661So…my brother and his girlfriend Hayley got engaged on Saturday! WOO! They dated for two years in high school, then got back together after college and have been together for another two years now. Our families basically grew up together in El Segundo, and I went to high school with both her and her younger sister. I’m so glad I was back from Germany in time for this special moment. Congrats you two!IMG_8614^The mamas were so nervous as we snuck through the park to the designated hiding spot in the bushes. IMG_8617IMG_8619^Hayley’s sisters are so sweet! It was fun to share this experience with them. After we gave Luke the secret signal that we were in place and video taping, he got done on one knee and popped the question. Hayley said she wished her family could have been there, to which Luke replied, “Turn around,” and we all came running towards her! When I watched the video I took, all you can hear is me saying “Oh my god, oh my god…” and shaking hahaIMG_8628^You could say tears were shed.IMG_8630IMG_8631^Admiring the rock!IMG_8634IMG_8637^He was so relieved. I don’t think he slept for a week before hand. Poor guy!IMG_8642IMG_8644IMG_8646IMG_8647IMG_8656IMG_8657IMG_8660IMG_8663IMG_8665^Such a beautiful couple!IMG_8668IMG_8672IMG_8675^Lookin’ good LukeIMG_8697IMG_8706IMG_8709IMG_8714IMG_8721IMG_8722IMG_8724IMG_8725IMG_8735IMG_8743^Then we headed back to Hayley’s house for a ‘little’ engagement party. I think 60 plus people showed up– these two certainly are loved!IMG_8748IMG_8754IMG_8755IMG_8761IMG_8769IMG_8771IMG_8779^I like this picture of all the ladies oohing and awwing over the photos🙂IMG_8800IMG_8807IMG_8813IMG_8814I’m so glad I finally get that sister I always wanted. Can’t wait for the wedding. If Saturday was any preview, it’s going to be one heck of a party!

Life State-Side

IMG_4769And just like that, I’m back to life state-side.

I don’t quite know what to say. My brain is still fuzzy from jet-lag and German words keep popping up uninvited in my english sentences. Americans seem foreign and confusing in some ways, yet totally familiar and comforting in others. I moved straight into my house at school and hit the ground running with training for my job at the school newspaper and other fun preparatory stuff. It feel strange to be a senior. I see the bright-eyed, fuzzy tailed freshman wandering around campus and just feel plain old. But it is nice to already know what I’m doing and who my established friends are.

Here’s hoping it’s a great semester!

Iceland

jhygtfrdWow, Iceland took my breath away. I had a quick two day stop before I head home to California today and I must say, two days is certainly not enough to discover this incredible island! I’m not even sure an entire lifetime would be enough. Below are a few photos from my tour of The Golden Circle and my day exploring Reykjavíc. Enjoy! asdUntitledsdafsdszvc^Our first stop was a hollowed out crater-turned-lake. I’m not even going to attempt to write the names of all these places because they are incredibly complicated. Icelandic is such an interesting language. It reminds me of German in some ways, but is considered one of the most pure languages on earth– since the island was so isolated for so long, the language has changed very little from the viking days! asdcvbasdfvsfdghvj^Next was this beautiful waterfall on someone’s private property! Imagine having this in your backyard. Iceland is definitely the land of a thousand waterfalls.cvcxvbnm^Reminds me of Montana or Wyoming!dsdgfhgjfdssfggfsd^This national park was probably my favorite stop of the day. It is the sight of the first parliament of Iceland, back in the days of the vikings, as well as the place where the European and North American plates collide! rtuyihureagfdlk^You can actually walk between the two continental plates! So cool. It seemed symbolic of my life right now– half european, half American haha.IMG_8148kdfgjhkdgfhjflsdfgh^Geysers that go off every five minutes or so. The temperature of the water was between 80-100 degrees Celsius, but I still wanted to take a bath in it. sdfgzfxgfchvcfghj

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset^I even got to walk on a glacier. This is the second largest glacier in Europe and third largest in the world. I felt like I was floating on clouds (and I got really sunburnt!).

sdfgc^Waterfall from glacial run-off! fgs^Downtown Reykjavic is so colorful! I enjoyed the Scandinavian design aesthetic. fsdxz^Cool photography shop!gfdsgfdsda^Arresting views from the Hallgrimskirkja, the famous church in town.ghfhgfsdmjnbghfvhnfgdcsikojujhgjhgfdkujgtgfdsuikyjghfgdfsdThanks for the fun times Iceland! I’ll be back one day, but for now I’m off to sunny Southern California🙂

Aufwiedersehen Frankfurt!

 

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

The day has finally come to say goodbye to Frankfurt. Who knows what the future holds after my graduation in May, but for now I need to return to school to finish what I started! This summer has exceeded my every expectation. And if leaving people and relationships can break a person’s heart, I’m certain leaving a place you love can too. Though I’m looking forward to seeing family and friends again, I can’t help but cry over leaving the new family and friends I’ve made here the past three months. But God is infinitely good and sovereign, he already has a good plan for me. I think this C.S. Lewis quote from The Four Loves fits my current situation quite well:

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”

I know it was worth every bit of pain, because I loved these people and this place deeply. I was vulnerable, I shared my life with them, and it made all the difference. Aufwiedersehen beautiful country, thank you for everything, again.

^A video I made of the entire summer!

Nice, France

IMG_7792I spent the past five days in Nice, France on a little solo vacation! My internship supervisor was at a conference, so she gave me the green light to travel, and I knew I wanted to spend time lying on the beach somewhere. A few friends of mine had visited Nice during our time in Heidelberg, and had nothing but good things to say about it. I had been to France three times before, but never to the Riviera. It is truly another world– sailboats gliding in the bay, kids splashing in the water, beautiful French people dining in beautiful French cafes. They struck me as such an elegant people. One day I want to learn french! My three years of spanish helped a bit, but luckily nearly everyone spoke english. The town was pretty packed with tourists, but I didn’t mind. In fact, I loved hearing all the languages and watching people interact. People watching is one of my favorite hobbies. Below are a few photos if you’d like to see!IMG_7701IMG_7714IMG_7717^The old town is the definition of classy. French architecture is so exquisitely detailed.IMG_7730IMG_7744IMG_7752^One of my favorite squares in town, called the Promenade de Arts, because it’s lined with numerous museums and galleries. I visited a gallery with a photography exhibition about Princess Grace of Monaco, the Contemporary Art Museum, and the Matisse Museum.IMG_7791IMG_7808^French flags could be spotted flying everywhere. There were even flowers and candles in memorial to the victims of the recent terror attacksIMG_7819IMG_7821IMG_7876^This view was worth the long, sweaty hike to the top of the mountain!IMG_7881IMG_7889^That water though…IMG_7893^The portIMG_7907IMG_7912IMG_7920^Loved all the colorful boats, big and smallIMG_7962IMG_7969Ce la bon vie! Life is good. What do you think, would you travel to Nice? I’m back in Frankfurt now with a slight tan and a lighter wallet…haha!

Marbourg

IMG_7552Last weekend a friend from church invited me to come stay with her in Marbourg, which is about an hour away from Frankfurt. She works for the Compassion International office there, and lives in the most adorable old apartment. My brother’s girlfriend studied abroad in Marbourg back in the day, so I had heard about how charming it was, but I was completely blown away when I arrived! It is the quintessential German town, complete with a university, a river, a castle and everything else you could imagine. I had so much for exploring this part of Hessen (the German state/region) and would gladly return again one day if the opportunity arose. IMG_7409^The old town is on the side of a hill, which really reminded me of Heidelberg. IMG_7412IMG_7416IMG_7424^The adorable second-story apartment my friend lives in!IMG_7426IMG_7435IMG_7443^The university library. Doesn’t it look like Hogwarts?!IMG_7446^The Lahn river is small but cute🙂IMG_7450IMG_7498IMG_7506IMG_7508IMG_7510^Posing awkwardly at the castleIMG_7511IMG_7529IMG_7501IMG_7403^These animal heads are from a Grimm Brothers fairytale. One of the Grimm brothers lived in Marbourg for a little while, so they claim him as theirs!

Until next time magical little city!

Main Fest

IMG_7314The Germans know how to throw a good party, let me tell you! And not just the stereotypical Oktober Fest, but all kinds of parties at all times of year. They know how to work hard and then play hard, and they celebrate things just for the sake of celebrating, which is something I’ve really grown to appreciate. This past weekend was the Main Fest, a big fair/festival along the Main river simply to enjoy summer in the city. The auto focus on my camera lens is currently broken (*sob*) so the pictures turned out a little blurry. Plus it was dark and all the rides were spinning crazy fast and the huge crowds were moving– let’s just say the blurriness adds to the festive atmosphere, shall we?! IMG_7240IMG_7243IMG_7251^We got deep-fried candy at a food truck called “Deep Fried Shit.” We couldn’t resist.IMG_7256IMG_7261IMG_7269^The classic German sweets stand, a staple at every Christmas marketIMG_7277IMG_7284^Helea and Franziska are goof ballsIMG_7293IMG_7295IMG_7305^Eying the children’s Merry Go Round like no one’s business…who cares if the age limit was ten?IMG_7321IMG_7328IMG_7329^I wanted a minion stuffed animal SO bad, but alas it required like 12 million prize ticketsIMG_7330IMG_7345IMG_7354^We may have sung karaoke at a bar afterwards…I’m glad no one recorded the evidence.

Have a good day friends!

 

A Garden Party

IMG_7002Yesterday was the beautiful Sue’s 60th birthday party! We spent the whole day in her garden eating, drinking, climbing trees and laughing. Sue is the kind of person who deserves to be celebrated 365 days a year, but I’m so glad I was able to be there for her actual birthday. I had so much fun mingling with people and sneaking around taking their photos like an annoying paparazzi. Nothing says summer like a day in the garden! Below are a few photos if you’d like to take a look.IMG_7005IMG_7006IMG_7023IMG_7025IMG_7030^Bubbles were a big hit, and not just with the little kids.IMG_7040^Up close and personalIMG_7032IMG_7033^Caught in front of the camera for a changeIMG_7037IMG_7054^Did I mention there was lots of cake? Germans do baked goods rightIMG_7059IMG_7075IMG_7077IMG_7083IMG_7088IMG_7089IMG_7090IMG_7095IMG_7097^Grown ups like to climb trees too! I think all my rock climbing practice this summer finally paid off IMG_7107IMG_7111^These clowns crack me upIMG_7136IMG_7140IMG_7146IMG_7147IMG_7150^The after party got a little crazy once the sun went down ;p13880220_1014328885329327_2361287229538089076_n^A photo stolen from Facebook

Well, hope your Saturday was great as well!

Rock Climbing!

IMG_6819I’ve never been someone who just loves to exercise and can’t live without it. If I were given the choice between laying in bed or going for a run, I would choose laying in bed every single time without fail. I always wanted to be one of those people who is naturally, internally motivated to get out and move, but I’m just not! So I look for opportunities to exercise in fun, creative ways with friends. I like it best when I am distracted and forget that I’m exercising all together! So when two of my friends here suggested I join them at the rock climbing gym, I knew that was a form of exercise I could get into. I’ve been three or four times this summer, and I can definitely see improvement every time. My fingers ache and my legs are sore afterwards, but I feel like I accomplished something and worked out in the process. Below are a few photos if you’d like to see:IMG_6822^It’s true, I do love Frankfurt. And aren’t these climbing shoes just so stylish…?IMG_6827IMG_6830^This gym is free climbing, without ropes. But don’t worry mom, the floor is really padded :p Every color rock is a different course with varied difficulties.IMG_6832^Chalk really helps with grip!IMG_6835IMG_6839^Rejoicing that I made it to the top without killing myself!IMG_6841IMG_6852IMG_6857^They also have slack lines to improve balance and focus.IMG_6862IMG_6865^After about an hour or so all your energy is completely gone and you can’t help but lie on the floor like a corpse!IMG_6867IMG_6873IMG_6878What do you think– would you try rock climbing? I am definitely going to look for a climbing gym when I get home to California. Have a good one friends.

Another Lesson Learned in Heidelberg

IMG_6584This summer has undoubtedly been the most violent, tumultuous periods of time in the world that I can remember in my life. It seems like every day there’s a new shooting, bombing, or terrorist attack of some kind (if not multiple). Many of these incidences are centered in Europe, and now in Germany in particular, and it breaks my heart to watch them unfold. Reading the news has become even more depressing than usual, and often leaves me posing the exasperated question, “What is this world coming to?!”

This weekend I returned to Heidelberg, the city where I studied abroad for eight months my sophomore year of college. It is such a magical town, a town that fills me with incomparable joy every time I step across its boarders. I still can’t believe I was privileged enough to call this place home. The sheer beauty of Heidelberg is enough to take my breath away. As I strolled the charming cobble stone streets munching on a sweet from my favorite local bakery, my body was flooded with an overwhelming sense of peace. I realized that even if I were to be killed by a terrorist attack today (which is a real possibility), I would be satisfied. I have been able to experience more in my short 21 years on this earth than many people are able to in their entire lives. I am richly blessed, and all I have to do is look around to know it.

As Paul wrote in Philippians 1:21, “To live is Christ and to die is gain.” I don’t know the future, but I do know it is my duty to appreciate the present. As Christians we are set free from the crippling fear of death, for Christ says in John 10:10, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” The darkness and devastation in our world are real, and should not be overlooked, but take comfort in the fact that we can have abundant life despite the present darkness.

Thanks again Heidelberg, for teaching me exactly what I needed to hear at the exact moment I needed to hear it. You never cease to amaze me. Until next time little city!IMG_6595IMG_6570IMG_6573IMG_6579IMG_6591IMG_6604IMG_6608IMG_6617IMG_6624IMG_6628IMG_6632IMG_6639IMG_6640IMG_6655IMG_6689IMG_6693IMG_6699IMG_6705IMG_6732IMG_6739IMG_6744IMG_6753IMG_6760IMG_6768IMG_6764