Hi Friends– an Important Note!

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Hi friends, how are you? It’s been a hot minute since I last wrote. Speaking of hot, southern California has been experiencing a heat wave the past few weeks and we are all weather wimps out here ;p It’s finally cooling down and I am settling into America again. I still have random bouts of culture shock, though. For example:

The light switches are on the outside of the room in German, but the inside in America. I keep trying to turn on the lights from the outside and can’t find the switch haha!

People here are so smiley and greet each other on the street. I have to remind myself to smile back and make small talk!

Driving a car in a crazy thing. Like, what a concept.

Messaging via normal SMS/iMessage instead of Whatsapp is strange.

I keep saying German words instead of English as vocal fillers lol!

Anyways, all is good. A note: I am not renewing my domain name passportsandpaintbrushes.com. It expires tomorrow and will return to the free version: passportsandpaintbrushes.wordpress.com. Your girl is a cheap skate who can’t be bothered to pay the fee haha! So please visit the latter URL when you want to check out this page from now on. I don’t think it will be automatically rerouted so you will need to type in the new address manually. Then again, who knows. I defy the stereotype that all millennials are tech-savvy. I don’t want to loose any of you lovely followers.

I hope you are having a lovely summer and please leave a comment below just to say hi!

A 2017 Photo Review

IMG_1691Hi friends! Sorry for the radio silence. It’s been a full few weeks. I’m on break right now, soaking up the extra sleep and eating my weight in Holiday sweets. Below is a photo review of the many things 2017 brought my way. Enjoy!Jan 2.jpegIn January, I started the year off by participating in the LA Women’s March with two other friends. We joined over 500,000 people that day. It felt good to do something.Feb 2.jpegFebruary was spent with this little munchkin as my Valentine. She is beyond words adorable and I miss her so much!Mar 2.jpegMarch brought a Spring Break trip to Texas with Jessica to visit my parents. It was so fun to explore a new place with my girl by my side!april 2.jpegApril was a big one. I found out I got the Fulbright to Germany (hello employment) and graduated college!may 2.jpegMay was a chill month of work in Malibu. My parents and I went to Disneyland one day to celebrate my graduation– happiest place on Earth, after all.jun 2.jpgJune was no small undertaking, what with my brother’s beautiful wedding and moving myself across the country to Texas. Oh, and my 22 birthday!july 2.jpegJuly saw a girls trip to San Francisco and a few days spent in El Segundo with old friends.aug 2.jpegAugust was family time. I hung out with the cousins in Iowa on the farm 🙂 They are so funny!sept.jpgIn September I found myself back in Germany! My Fulbright started and I hit the ground running at full speed.oct.jpegIn October I took a much needed vacation to Salzburg, Austria with two friends, as well as London to visit a Uni class mate. The scenery was breath taking and the company was even better!nov.jpgI saw my lovely parents in November and boy was it great! I had fun showing them around my stomping grounds.dec.jpgDecember brought Christmas and my stunning friends Mele and Annie. I feel grateful to have friends who will come all this way to see me!

Here’s to a crazy, whirlwind year! I learned to much, sometimes the hard way, but I’m looking forward to 2018. I will turn 23, probably start a new job or school and possibly move. I can’t wait to see what God has in store. Happy New Years, friends!

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

Before the Internet

fullsizeoutput_4bb8Before the internet, you would stand in line for the bathroom and stare off into space without fear of looking pathetic.

Before the internet, you would make a music video to a Brittney Spears song and then leave it on the camcorder for your parents to laugh at when they found it one day in the future, because there was nowhere to post it.

Before the internet, you would move from one city to another and no one at your new school would know anything about your past unless you told them. They would have no idea you used to pee your pants when you laughed too hard or that your best friend had been a Barbie doll named Starlet.

Before the internet, if you had a disagreement with your cousin about the names of the Seven Dwarfs in Snow White, you had to simply agree to disagree, unless one of you happened to have a book on the subject on hand or could run to the library to check one out.

Before the internet, you went to the movies to see Shrek, and no one took your picture unless Mom dusted off the point-and-shoot camera and lugged it to the theater, which she never did.

Before the internet, you would write your best friend Jessica a letter and cross your fingers that she still remembered your inside jokes by the time it arrived.

Before the internet, you spent hours practicing your signature for the back of your library card, only to mess it up horribly in permanent ink and be overcome by deep regret every time you spied it in your velcro wallet.

Before the internet, when someone asked you out, you just had to use your best judgement as to whether or not they were a psychopath and go from there.

Before the internet, you would watch You’ve Got Mail on VHS every summer on repeat at your aunt and uncle’s farm in rural Iowa because you’d already exhausted conversation with all your family members and walked around everywhere and played all the games you knew.

Before the internet, you’d play Detective Agent on CD Rom every Saturday morning until your little brother scratched it beyond repair and your mom forgot where she bought it, and she couldn’t just order another one.

Before the internet, you’d sort of just sit on a park bench and hum a little ditty to yourself that you overheard while in line at Block Buster.

Before the internet, when you visited your grandmother at Christmas, you had to fill her in on everything that had happened during the last year when she asked, but could probably only truthfully recall about 10 percent and had no way of remembering the rest.

Before the internet, you’d spend your playdates creating a newspaper about the Olympics, featuring articles about gymnasts from countries you were pretty sure existed in real life because you’d overheard their names but couldn’t know for certain.

Before the internet, if you missed the newest episode of Veggie Tales on Friday night, oh well. Tough. You’d just cry and go to bed without a Silly Song from Larry.

Before the internet, the only ordering you did was off a menu.

Before the internet, when you broke up with someone, you could easily just assume they led a terrible life without you and leave it at that.

Before the internet, the only stocking you did was following your attractive older cousin around from a safe distance at every family function.

Before the internet, you almost always got lost on family road trips because your dad wanted to take the “Scenic Route” and there was no way of looking up what exactly that entailed.

Before the internet, you couldn’t really do much of anything. And it was lovely.

P.s. This post is an homage to this article from The New Yorker. And the photos are from a recent visit to my cousins’ in Nebraska.fullsizeoutput_4bb9fullsizeoutput_4bbafullsizeoutput_4bbbfullsizeoutput_4bbcfullsizeoutput_4bbefullsizeoutput_4bc0fullsizeoutput_4bc2fullsizeoutput_4bc7

 

Iowa with the Cousins

fullsizeoutput_4a41This past weekend I took a quick trip up to Iowa to visit my cousins. They are the cutest little munchkins you ever did meet, and I am so glad I got to see them one more time before I leave for Germany in a week (!!?!). There’s something so incredibly special about spending time with family. I can’t even really put words to it– I’m sure you already know exactly what I mean. As I’m about to leave for a whole year, I am reminded of how much I love and care about my relatives. I think leaving for a while makes you appreciate home that much more. But I won’t get too mushy just yet, I’ll save that for the airport ;p Below are a few photos if you’d like to see!fullsizeoutput_4a42Estelle is hilarious. She has personality to burn and a deep, hearty laugh that makes me crack up every time.fullsizeoutput_4a44fullsizeoutput_4a46fullsizeoutput_4a47fullsizeoutput_4a48fullsizeoutput_4a4bEvelyn seemed so much older and more mature this time. She knew so many facts about nature and life and reading. I was pretty dang impressed.fullsizeoutput_4a4cfullsizeoutput_4a4eAnd Lars. This boy is a real stunner. He has this serious smolder that makes your heart melt.fullsizeoutput_4a51fullsizeoutput_4a52fullsizeoutput_4a54Taking the golf card for a spin.fullsizeoutput_4a55fullsizeoutput_4a56fullsizeoutput_4a57fullsizeoutput_4a58fullsizeoutput_4a5efullsizeoutput_4a5ffullsizeoutput_4a60fullsizeoutput_4a61Love the Iowa farm aesthetic. It definitely has a Scandinavian feel, which makes sense because this region is home to a large Danish-American population.fullsizeoutput_4a62fullsizeoutput_4a63The house my dad grew up in until the age of 10!!!! fullsizeoutput_4a65fullsizeoutput_4a66When I arrived, this swing did not exist. But by the end of the day they had just, well, constructed it! These people are seriously so handy and I admire them for it.fullsizeoutput_4a67fullsizeoutput_4a68fullsizeoutput_4a69fullsizeoutput_4a6afullsizeoutput_4a6bfullsizeoutput_4a6cfullsizeoutput_4a6dfullsizeoutput_4a6ffullsizeoutput_4a70IMG_9273fullsizeoutput_4a72Someone drank a lot of punch…fullsizeoutput_4a73fullsizeoutput_4a74Not sure what’s happening herefullsizeoutput_4a75fullsizeoutput_4a76fullsizeoutput_4a77fullsizeoutput_4a8ffullsizeoutput_4a90fullsizeoutput_4a91fullsizeoutput_4a92fullsizeoutput_4a95fullsizeoutput_4a96fullsizeoutput_4a97fullsizeoutput_4a98My grandfather’s name in the barn.fullsizeoutput_4a9cfullsizeoutput_4a9dfullsizeoutput_4a9efullsizeoutput_4a9ffullsizeoutput_4aa0fullsizeoutput_4aa1fullsizeoutput_4aa2fullsizeoutput_4aa3fullsizeoutput_4aa4fullsizeoutput_4aa5Have a good one friends!

Little Letter

IMG_6767Dear Succulents,
I tried not to buy into the succulent craze that has swept the nation in recent years, but I officially give in. You are SO cool. My friend took me to a succulent nursery the other day and I was amazed. I need to get some of you for my room in Germany.

Dear Rob Bell,
You are a great author and speaker. I’m currently reading your book “What we talk about when we talk about God” and it does not disappoint.

Dear Little Brother,
You are such a tease. I only got to spend a few hours with you yesterday before you were off again! But I sure to love the time we have together 🙂

Dear Germany,
Two and a half weeks. I’m coming for you.

Dear Hair,
Not sure what to do with you these days. Any thoughts?

Dear Summer,
You simultaneously flew by and took your sweet time.

Dear Tattoo,
That’s right, I got a second tattoo. You look more and more beautiful to me each day. I hope I’m not getting too addicted to tattoos…;p

P.s. photo from the Grand Canyon this past June

San Francisco

fullsizeoutput_4997These past few days I was in San Francisco, where I met up with a friend from Frankfurt, Germany! She was attending a conference in the states, so we decided to make a little trip of it. We were lucky enough to stay with two of her friends, who quickly became mine as well. They were so kind to show us around the city and give us the royal San Francisco treatment. I’d been to the city twice before in my life, but it never gets old. It’s so artsy and unique, I could definitely envision myself there one day. I say that about a lot of places, but it’s true! Guess I’ll just have to live everywhere 🙂 fullsizeoutput_4998fullsizeoutput_4999fullsizeoutput_499afullsizeoutput_499bfullsizeoutput_499cfullsizeoutput_499dfullsizeoutput_499efullsizeoutput_499ffullsizeoutput_49ebfullsizeoutput_49a3fullsizeoutput_49a4fullsizeoutput_49a5fullsizeoutput_49a6fullsizeoutput_49a9fullsizeoutput_49eafullsizeoutput_49aafullsizeoutput_49abfullsizeoutput_49affullsizeoutput_49b0fullsizeoutput_49b1fullsizeoutput_49b2fullsizeoutput_49b3fullsizeoutput_49e9fullsizeoutput_49b4fullsizeoutput_49b5fullsizeoutput_49b7fullsizeoutput_49bbfullsizeoutput_49befullsizeoutput_49bffullsizeoutput_49c2fullsizeoutput_49c3fullsizeoutput_49c4fullsizeoutput_49c7fullsizeoutput_49c8fullsizeoutput_49c9fullsizeoutput_49cafullsizeoutput_49e8fullsizeoutput_49cbfullsizeoutput_49ccfullsizeoutput_49cdfullsizeoutput_49cefullsizeoutput_49cffullsizeoutput_49e7fullsizeoutput_49d0fullsizeoutput_49d1fullsizeoutput_49d2fullsizeoutput_49d3fullsizeoutput_49d5fullsizeoutput_49d7fullsizeoutput_49d8fullsizeoutput_49d9fullsizeoutput_49dafullsizeoutput_49dcfullsizeoutput_49ddfullsizeoutput_49defullsizeoutput_49dffullsizeoutput_49e0fullsizeoutput_49e6fullsizeoutput_49e4fullsizeoutput_49e5

A few more photos from the wedding

LEXA4564Lambert-99When the bride first stepped out of the bridal suite in the big “reveal”Lambert-229Hayley improving the family gene poolLambert-253Mama pinning like a proLambert-333Look at those handsome brothers of mineLambert-756The families together at lastLambert-790This is probably my favorite. What caption would you write?LEXA4908Shoot, that sun flare thoughPILA9373Lex and the Lotus Photography is so talented! I absolutely love the way they captured this special day. I can’t get enough. Honestly, these photos should be in a bridal magazine, don’t you think?!