Europe: Expectations vs. Reality

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Expectations
Sitting in a cafe for hours on end, drinking coffee, talking philosophy, watching bike riders pass by with flowers in their basket, happy people with free health care strolling down sunny cobble stone streets, staring wistfully out of train windows while fitting emotional music plays in the background.

Reality
Running late for the bus, sweaty, running late for the train, sweaty, climbing four flights of stairs to my apartment, sweaty, lugging backpacks full of groceries on my bike in the snow, cold and sweaty, emptying the food leftovers from the sink to the waste bin because there’s no garbage disposal, sorting my trash into six specific bins, everyone dressed in black from head to to because we haven’t seen the sun in five months.

Funny how life has a way of surprising us, isn’t it? I am somehow who sets her expectations very high (curse you, American idealism!!), and constantly has to check them and reassess.

I complain sometimes, especially in winter, but still have a huge soft spot in my heart for you, Europe. Thanks for being a continent.

Hello February

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Good riddance, January! I’m sorry, but January is just the worst. The holidays are over, it’s cold, I already failed at most of my resolutions. I am so glad to usher in February. Granted, February is not my favorite month either. But at least it’s not January. Plus, there are only 28 days in February. And after February, Germany starts to thaw and signs of Spring begin to slowly appear. I’ve decided to make a February resolution: write something every day. A blog post, a paragraph of a story, a letter. It doesn’t matter, I just want to try to do something creative consistently for 28 days. I may fail, but it’s worth a shot.

Do you have a February resolution?

Life Lately

Winter is hard for me. It always has been. I think I need to live in Hawaii ;p

I’ve been trying to enjoy the few sunny days by biking around the lake, taking long walks through the neighborhood, and photographing my favorite houses. I also took up needlepoint to help pass the long, dark days. I am making a bike right now, very appropriate seeing as I ride my bike everywhere.

How have you been? What’s new? I’d love to hear in the comments below.

“Those Winter Sundays”

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Sundays too my father got up early 
and put his clothes on in the blueblack cold, 
then with cracked hands that ached 
from labor in the weekday weather made 
banked fires blaze. No one ever thanked him. 

I’d wake and hear the cold splintering, breaking. 
When the rooms were warm, he’d call, 
and slowly I would rise and dress, 
fearing the chronic angers of that house, 

Speaking indifferently to him, 
who had driven out the cold 
and polished my good shoes as well. 
What did I know, what did I know 
of love’s austere and lonely offices?
-Robert Hayden
This is one of my favorite poems. Yesterday was a chilly, melancholy winter Sunday. Today is better. What do you make of this poem?
P.s. Photo from my trip to Switzerland last year

Happy New Year!

Processed with VSCO with hb2 presetHappy New Year! Two days in and I’m already feeling like it’s going to be a big one. My head spins when I think about all the things that happened in 2018- finishing my Fulbright, moving to Texas for the summer, meeting my boyfriend, moving to Muenster for grad school, making many new friends, etc. 

I read that January is a hard month for many people. It is dark and cold without holiday festivities. Plus, there’s the feeling that you can change things about your life with a fresh start to the year, but often those changes or goals go unmet early on.

This year I am keeping things simple. I want to knit a scarf, read a book a month, keep up with my homework more consistently, and a few other small things. I hope that I can continue to create healthy habits that will last throughout the year.

Have a happy start, friends!

Muenster, Texas

Processed with VSCO with hb2 presetYesterday we took a quick detour to stop in Muenster, Texas, a small town in the middle of farm land that was settled by German immigrants from Muenster, Germany (where I study) in 1889. It was so fun to see German heritage in my home! Processed with VSCO with hb2 preset

Leiden, Netherlands

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My grad program had a conference in Leiden. It is like a mini Amsterdam with less tourists and less fear of getting hit by a bike at all times.

Enjoy a few photos!

My German Television Debut

Processed with VSCO with c1 presetSo I started singing in a choir a few weeks ago. Then one day at rehearsal they said, “Hey, we have an extra spot for this competition thingy. Who wants it?” I didn’t have anything to do that weekend, so I said ‘I do!’ Well, two days later I was sitting in a chair getting professional hair and make-up and rehearsing for my German TV debut! We competed in the semi-finals of the ‘Best Choir in the West’ competition on public TV haha. It was really fun. There was catering and a green room and a tour bus. The high life. We got out unfortunately but I was just along for the ride. It only took me three months to get on TV in this country– a sign that I’m a true star? Perhaps… ;p Then again, I’ve never made it on American television. Maybe that is my next goal!

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