Wow, 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! ^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! ^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.^Reminds me of Montana or Wyoming!^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! ^You can actually walk between the two continental plates! So cool. It seemed symbolic of my life right now– half european, half American haha.^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.
^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!).
^Waterfall from glacial run-off! ^Downtown Reykjavic is so colorful! I enjoyed the Scandinavian design aesthetic. ^Cool photography shop!^Arresting views from the Hallgrimskirkja, the famous church in town.Thanks for the fun times Iceland! I’ll be back one day, but for now I’m off to sunny Southern California 🙂
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!
I 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!^The old town is the definition of classy. French architecture is so exquisitely detailed.^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.^French flags could be spotted flying everywhere. There were even flowers and candles in memorial to the victims of the recent terror attacks^This view was worth the long, sweaty hike to the top of the mountain!^That water though…^The port^Loved all the colorful boats, big and smallCe 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!
I’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:^It’s true, I do love Frankfurt. And aren’t these climbing shoes just so stylish…?^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.^Chalk really helps with grip!^Rejoicing that I made it to the top without killing myself!^They also have slack lines to improve balance and focus.^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!What 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.
This 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!