50 Little Things That Make Me Happy

IMG_3616.jpg

  1. Crawling into my soft bed after a long day
  2. Painting with watercolors
  3. Sipping a Chai Tea Latte
  4. Reading before bed
  5. Sunsets
  6. Coffee dates with friends
  7. Playing the Piano
  8. Late night chats with my mom
  9. Browsing my favorite Blogs
  10. Taking photos with my DSLR camera
  11. Editing said photos
  12. Messing around on the guitar with my little brother
  13. Traveling
  14. Long car rides
  15. Making a new iTunes playlist
  16. Writing this blog!
  17. Twilight walks
  18. Rainy afternoons
  19. Binging on Gilmore Girls episodes
  20. All things Mango-flavored
  21. Listening to an especially good sermon
  22. Organizing my room
  23. Bear hugs
  24. Family vacations
  25. Creating little Films
  26. Discussing Literature
  27. Sending letters/postcards
  28. Celebrating Birthdays
  29. Buying the perfect gift for someone
  30. Watching Elf on Christmas Eve
  31. Doodling during class
  32. When people absolutely love their job
  33. Biting into a crunchy piece of watermellon
  34. Fireworks on the fourth of July
  35. Parades and Festivals in my home town
  36. Visiting my extended family in Iowa and Nebraska
  37. My older brother’s laugh
  38. Church Potlucks
  39. Summer camp
  40. Family dinners
  41. Card Games
  42. The changing of the seasons
  43. Coffee-flavored Gelato
  44. Finding a Bible verse that really speaks to my heart
  45. Journaling
  46. Crafting!
  47. Scrolling through Instagram when I first wake up in the morning
  48. Friday afternoons right after I finish class for the week
  49. Hearing the waves crash on the sea shore
  50. Discussing deep, philosophical issues with my dad
    IMG_3601IMG_3623IMG_3605IMG_3609IMG_3629IMG_3628
    ^Neuschwanstein Castle makes me pretty happy too! Especially when you can actually see it :p

When in Rome

IMG_3330

When in rome…eat as much gelato as possible! Thats how the saying goes, right? Well, that was my motto this weekend in Roma anyways. I was one of the only students in my group who hadn’t been to Italy yet this year, and I was determined to remedy that situation! So three good friends and I hoped on a (long!) train to Rome after class Thursday night. IMG_3515IMG_3492IMG_3500IMG_3469IMG_3266IMG_3260

The first thing we saw when we stepped out of the metro station was the Colossuem! BAM- I fell in love that quickly. The Colossuem is truely breathtaking. Not only is it a site of great historical significance and architectural mastery, but it is also an important part of Christian history. Built in 70 AD by emperor Vespatian, it was used for gladiator contests and public events. The thought was, in order to keep the people from uprising, all one had to do was give them bread and entertainment. That’s where the Colosseum came in!IMG_3315IMG_3319

Next stop: the Trevi fountain. I’m sure it was gorgeous, under all the scaffolding! But we technically saw it, and I threw a coin in the dried out fountain for good luck. I’m pretty sure it still counts! IMG_3407IMG_3348

Then we jetted off to the pantheon, an ancient temple designed famous for it’s large domed ceiling. The Italian’s ceiling game is on point. They do ceilings right, the rest of us could learn a thing or two from them. The dome on the pantheon has a round hole in the top through which you can star gaze! IMG_3393IMG_3369IMG_3357IMG_3461

Then to bed, and up early to see more incredible things. First stop on day two: none other than the Vatican. Am I allowed to count that as another country I have visited? I think yes. When we arrived at the entrance to St. Peters Piatza, the main square in the Vatican, there was a huge crowd pushing to get through the gate. We didn’t know what it was for, but we figured it must be something good, so we pushed our way in! Turns out, a ceremony celebrating the anniversary of a saint’s death was taking place, which culminated in the appearance of THE POPE!!!!! Thats right, I stood five feet away from Pope Francesco!!! I screamed ‘VIVA IL PAPA’ with thousands of other Italians as the pope waved from his convertible. And then I died in peace because my life was complete. IMG_3334IMG_3350

Experiences like this remind me that sometimes the best moments are the ones you don’t plan. Ask anyone, they will tell you I am planner to the T. I like to know exactly what I’m doing before I do it. But if we had stuck to the plan, we never would have seen the pope! This year abroad has taught me to take a deep breath and be flexible- you never know what fun God’s got in store for you today, so don’t let your plans get in the way!

IMG_3421After I regained my composure (Papa Francesco is a big deal, people), we saw the Sistine Chapel and St. Peters basillica. As a painter myself, I was stunned speechless by Michaelangelo’s masterpiece. The attention to detail is mind boggeling. He worked on the chapel for four straight years! How did he know when to call it quits? What was the finishing touch? How did he stay inspired for so long?

St peters basillica houses the supposed bones of Peter the apostle, who was crucified in Rome. It is hands down the largest and most ornate church I have ever seen. And I’ve seen a lot of churches. My favorite part was the basin of holy water that is blessed by the Pope. I filled up a flask I had bought for this sole purpose, and will keep it forever as a tangible reminder of God’s favor and blessings on my life.

IMG_3488Last but not least: the Forum, an area of ancient roman ruins that used to be a warehouse, then a marketplace, and finally the Senate. Julius Caesar was actually assasinated outside the senate in the Forum (apparently William Shakespeare got it wrong. Way to go Will). The apostlePpaul was also executed in the forum, as it was the center of roman life at the time. It was unlike anything I had ever seen or will ever see again. We were there at sunset, which casts a magnificent glow on the ancient columns, tomb stones, arches, etc. By the time we sat down to dinner that night, I knew I was head over heels for this city, which made it ten times harder to leave for home that night! IMG_3513 All in all, my weekend was crazy good. There is so much more to see in Rome, and this trip only wet my apetite. I wil return one day Italia, mark my words! Ciao for now friends.IMG_3446IMG_3256

P.S. If you’d like to follow my blog, just click the grey ‘Follow’ rectangle in the lower right corner. I’d love to have ya’!

Ten Things I Will Miss About Germany

372fbca1-75a7-4bda-8246-22cdcd08e1ab.jpg1. Church Bell Tolls- The bells of the main protestant church in Heidelberg ring daily on the hour! As someone who always forgets to wear her watch, I find them both beautiful and helpful!
2. Punctuality- If the schedule says the bus is arriving at 3:02, you can bet your money that it will be there exactly at 3:02- not a minute before, not a minute after. Coming from Southern California, where time is never of the essence and nothing starts until thirty minutes after the listed time, I used to find this frustrating. Why couldn’t the bus just wait two minutes for me, can’t the driver see I’m running to catch it? But now I find the punctuality incredibly refreshing and useful. I’ve learned to be more punctual, and it takes all the frustration and confusion out of travel.
3. Coinage- The Euro does not have bills under five euro, so all the small numbers are in coin form. Back home, I would never use my pocket change for anything other than parking meters, but here every cent counts. I always pay in exact change, and hardly have spare coins weighing down my wallet. Plus, it makes you feel like you aren’t spending as much money, even though its exactly the same in reality!
4. Cafe Culture- When you sit down at a cafe, you have that table as long as you want. There is no rush to make way for the next customer. It is not uncommon to lounge around for an entire afternoon, ordering multiple coffees or simply people watching! The waiter will never bring you the check before you ask, so as not to hurry you along.
5. Seasons- If you’ve read my blog for a while, you will know how much I love seasons. Sure, sometimes they make things a bit more complicated, but I embrace them just the same.
6. Cold Mornings- Call me crazy, but I prefer cold morning to warm. The crisp air helps me wake up, and I love seeing my breath as I walk to class. Plus, a scarf and a hat complete any outfit.
7. No Small Talk- I never realized how much Americans small talk on a daily basis. Although I grew up with it, I was never very good at it! Germans don’t possess small talk skills, and would rather jump right in to the big stuff.
8. The Language-  Sometimes functioning in a society that doesn’t speak your language is exhausting, but most of the time I enjoy the challenge. I find the German language beautiful, and try to embrace every opportunity to speak it! Plus, it is much easier to tune out background noise when you can’t understand it!
9. German School Children- They really are the cutest. I pass an elementary school on my way to class every morning, and I love hearing their excited squeals as they climb on the playground. They have brightly colored, boxy backpacks, and adorable hats and mittens.
10. Train travel- Trains were a very foreign concept to me when I first arrived. I didn’t understand them, and longed for a good old fashioned car. But I slowly grew to love and appreciate the ease and convenience of the rail system!

 

A Day in the Life

Top of the morning to ya’! The other day I was scrolling through my blog archives, rereading some of my past posts. And it struck me: I always write about my grand weekend travels to far off places, but I never write about my daily life here in Heidelberg. And that’s a travesty, because even if I never traveled anywhere else in Europe, I would still be content staying in this gorgeous city I call home. When I look back on this year, I want to remember to little things just as much as the big things! So I plan to remedy that with this post of pictures from my day-to-day life. These were taken with my iPhone, and capture the most important parts of my Thursday. Enjoy learning a bit more about my boring normal life!

7:30am: Rise and shine, ready to conquer another day. I am not a morning person- it’s nearly impossible to hold a conversation with my before 9am. ^This picture is of the view from my bedroom window. I can’t complain about waking up early when I have a view like that!

8:00am– Rush down to the ‘Breakfast Room’ to enjoy some delicious oatmeal, curtsey of my Mom’s care package. I love the Breakfast Room because the walls are filled with photos of past groups- my mom, brothers, and cousin’s groups are hanging proudly!

8:15am– I snapped this pic after walking out the door for class. Isn’t it a gorgeous house, one million stair and all? I can’t believe I live here.

8:30am– Let the Intensive German class begin! This is my favorite class, as it is very interactive and informative. We learn about German culture in addition to language, and my professor always  knows how to make it fun!

11:00am- We have Convocation once a week, which is a time when a speaker gives a devotional, people make announcements, and recap the past week. I love Convo, as it is one of the few times we are all together and on the same page. Plus, my friend Jack makes the powerpoint each week, and includes funny photos and videos. This past Convo, the visiting Dean of International Programs spoke about the reality of who we are versus who we want to be. I was riveted!

12:00pm– After staring out the classroom window all morning at the gorgeous spring day, I couldn’t help but spend my lunch break outdoors. My friend Lauren and I took a stroll to the other side of the river, and sat in the sunshine smelling the wildflowers. Days like this make winter worth it.

1:00pm– I am in a love-hate-relationship with the next two hours of my day. Stats class. I am a writer, not a mathematician! But if I have to take math, stats really isn’t too bad. It is a very tangible, practical math form.

3:00pm- I lead a weekly women’s bible study, and we are learning how to be more intentional with friendships. So we started this program called “Chick-Chats”, where each week we draw another girl’s name out of a hat and go on a coffee date to get to know them better on an individual level. So after Stats, my friend Evelynn and I sat in a coffee shop for a few hours Chatting.

5:30- And now comes dinner at the infamous Essighaus. Pepperdine has been eating here since the dawn of time. While it’s not my favorite food per say, it holds a special place in my heart, filled with warm memories of friends and laughter.

6:30- A gelato night cap! The gelato shops recently opened back up for the Spring/Summer season, and I’ve been celebrating with daily gelato. Don’t judge until you’ve tried it.

And that’y a typical day in the life of Micah. What do you think, does it sound normal? I hope your day is filled with the perfect mixture of routine and excitement! I’m off to class now to start it all over again.

 

¡Barcelona!

IMG_2821 

Hola amigos, how’s it hangin’? I apologize for the radio silence around here recently, but I just returned from a week in Barcelona with my Pepperdine group on our Educational Field Trip! I was excited for this trip all year, so when the day finally rolled around, I packed my bags, dusted off my high-school Spanish, and boarded the plane with high expectations. And guess what, friends? Barcelona exceeded them a hundred times over! The city is impossibly dynamic- ever changing and constantly moving. Barcelona is in the Spanish province of Cataloña, which speaks a mix of Catalan  and Spanish (commonly referred to as Catañol) and is currently fighting to succeed from Spain! Keep reading for a more detailed account of the week’s happenings.IMG_3115

First things first- I drank my fare share of delicious Spanish coffee. Priorities. IMG_3190IMG_3079IMG_3094IMG_3082

On the first day, I walked to St. Joseph’s Street market- a large covered market filled with stalls of all sorts selling fruit, fish, vegetables, baked goods, you name it! I have been slightly fruit deprived here in Germany, so I made sure to get my fill. IMG_3046IMG_2798IMG_2993

The following day we took an excursion to the Salvador Dalí museum, as well as the medieval town of Girrona (pictured above). I was familiar with Dalí’s surrealist artwork, like the melting clocks, but I did not realize how versatile and varied his style actually is! He also mastered realism, impressionism, abstraction, sculpture, and much more. Dalí designed the museum himself to match his quirky, unique taste- it kind of felt like I had entered Willie Wonka’s Chocolate Factory, to be honest!IMG_2742IMG_2827IMG_2946

Up next, the beach of course! Sure, it is February, but we didn’t let that stop us from soaking up some sun. The locals gave us some strange looks, but we didn’t care- we were just glad for a taste of home. We are the Pepperdine Waves, after all. IMG_3127IMG_2925

You can’t talk about Barcelona without mentioning Gaudí, the famous Barcelonan architect who took the city and made it his. Everything from the street lamps and side walks to the massive cathedral Sagrada Familia were designed by Gaudí. He called ‘nature his master’, and found inspiration in the organic shapes and forms around him. Pictured above is La Casa Batllo, an ocean-inspired apartment building designed by Gaudi in the early 20th century. Unlike anything you’ve seen before, right?IMG_3232IMG_3214

The five spires of La Segrada Familia are an iconic part of the Barcelona skyline. This cathedral has been under construction for over one hundred year, and is estimated to be completed in 2026. Gaudí oversaw the design and construction for over 40 years of his life, and considered it his masterpiece. I can see why! Way to go Gaudí. The outside is unlike any other, and the inside is equally stunning. The stained glass windows (pictured above) refract rainbow light all over the interior, setting it apart from many dimly-lit cathedrals.

IMG_2857

My home-girls Sarah and Laura. You can see the Sagrada Familia in the background!IMG_3067IMG_3035IMG_2787IMG_3010On the last night, we saw a Flamenco show! The captivating dance moves, colorful dresses, and fiery guitar music made for an unforgettable experience.This trip was definitely one for the books. I don’t know if I will be able to top it this semester, but I’m sure as heck going to try! Adios, amigos, I hope you drop by again soon.
Continue reading “¡Barcelona!”

Barcelona Video

¡Hola Amigos! I recently returned from a week in Barcelona with my Pepperdine group. Each International Program takes one Educational Field trip per semester, and we were lucky enough to visit Vienna in the fall, and Barcelona in the spring. I can’t praise this magnificent city enough- it’s colorful architecture, unique language, and amazing landscape easily make it one of my favorite destinations this year. I’ve captured a few moments from our trip, and complied them into a short video. Stay tuned for another, more detailed post with pictures coming soon. Enjoy!

Switzerland: Lausanne & Zermatt

IMG_2535IMG_2536IMG_2547IMG_2552IMG_2575IMG_2595IMG_2603IMG_2618IMG_2626IMG_2631IMG_2637IMG_2670IMG_2679IMG_2702
Hallo meine Freunde! I thought I’d drop a line or two about my recent trip to Switzerland. We spent a day in Lausanne, home of another Pepperdine International Program, and a day in Zermatt, home of the Matterhorn. Both towns exceeded my expectations. The alps are breath taking! Their sheer height and steepness is arresting, yet strangely etherial. Lausanne is on the banks of Lake Geneva, and the alps rise sharply on the opposite shore. When I gazed across at them, I couldn’t help but think God is the master artist. Zermatt is a quaint little ski town, dominated by the infamous peak of the Matterhorn. Let me tell you, the real thing is a million times better than the Disneyland Version- and that’s saying something! I adore Switzerland, and know I will return again one day.

The ABC’s of Me

IMG_5497Hey friends! Glad you stopped by. Recently, I’ve seen ‘The ABC’s of Me’ floating around the blogosphere, and I thought I’d give it a shot. I hope you enjoy learning a few random fun facts about me!

Age– I am nineteen! My 20th birthday is in June (Gasp!). Goodbye Teen age years, it’s been real.

Best Friend- I am blessed to have many dear friends in this life, but one in particular is Laura. Laura and I go way back. We attended the same church growing up, which meant summer camps, youth group retreats, and mission trips together. When we both decided to attend Pepperdine, rooming together seemed like a natural transition. People often say you shouldn’t room with your friends, but Laura and I live together seamlessly! She is one of the most passionate, talented, and considerate people I know. She is in Heidelberg with me this year, and we ended up pulling each other’s names out of a hat to be roommates again- if that’s not a sign we are support to be life long friends, I don’t know what is!

Cake or Pie– Cake all the way. Yellow cake with chocolate frosting, to be exact. I ask my mom to make it every year on my birthday, and she never fails to deliver.

Day of Choice- I am a Tuesday kind of gal. Tuesdays are past the groggy Monday morning start, but haven’t reached the Wednesday hump yet. By Tuesday, I am settled into my weekly routine and feeling good.

Essential Item- My DSLR camera! Since I started this blog, I’ve become obsessed with capturing every single thing I lay eyes on. Sure, my camera is a bit bulky, but I wouldn’t think to embark on a  trip without it.

Family– My mom, dad, older brother and younger brother make up my immediate family, and then there’s the amazing crew I call my extended family! Twenty-some odd members on my dad’s side spent this past Christmas together in Nebraska,  laughing, eating, and playing in the snow. Did I mention eating? There was a lot of that. I love my family, and feel grateful to be able to spend the rest of my life making memories with them!

Game- I am a pretty pathetic sports fan, although I enjoy playing a pick up game here and there. In terms of “Game-Night” type games, some of my favorites include Fish Bowl, Telephone Pictionary, The Animal Sign game, and the card game Scum.

Hometown– The one and only El Segundo. Although I didn’t move to town until fifth grade, El Segundo has worked it’s way into my heart and claimed the title of Home. With it’s quaint Main Street shops, abundant parks, good schools, and proximity to the beach- what’s not to love? You should definitely come visit sometime 🙂

Indulgence- Chai Tea Lattes and Music. I am generally a frugal/thrifty person, but when it comes to my Starbucks drink and my tunes, I am willing to bust out my wallet!

January or July- After experiencing my first real January in the cold, I must admit it wasn’t as bad as I expected. I bundled up, sat by the fire, and enjoyed a slower pace of life. But alas, I still prefer July, and all the fireworks, watermelon,  and sunburns that come with it!

Kid Photo- Yeah, I was cool.

Life isn’t Complete Without- My faith in Jesus! My faith gives me the confidence to move forward, knowing my past sins are forgiven and my future is in good hands.

Nickname- My parents often call me Missy or Sweetgirl. My friends have come up with some crazy pronunciations of Micah, like Me-Huh, Me-Ka, Me-Kak, Moi-Ka (don’t ask me how these came about. My friends are weird.)

One wish- That everyone who wanted to travel the world would have the opportunity, as it really is life changing and our world would be a better place if we all saw a little more of it!

  Pet Peeve- (When people forget to include the closing parentheses on their thought…

Quote– “Grow where you are planted.” I am not sure of the origins of this saying, but it has really stuck with me this year. In my life, it means learning to be satisfied with your current situation or circumstance, and blessing others in what ever ways you are able!

Reason to Smile- I am studying abroad in the most beautiful place in the world (I’m not bias)! It’s not always easy, but it is undeniably rewarding and worth it.

Season of Choice- This year is my first time experiencing actual seasons, and I must say Fall stole my heart! The crisp air, colorful leaves, and pumpkin spice lattes are simply unbeatable!

Tea or Coffee- COFFEE. In fact, I am drinking a cup right now. I don’t have a problem…I could stop anytime. Coffee is my comfort drink!

Unknown Fact about Me- I was an Irish dancer for seven years. I wore the sparkly dress, curly wig, special shoes, and everything! Irish dance is the longest sport I’ve ever stuck with, and it holds a fond place in my heart. I can’t wait for my trip to Ireland next month- you better believe I’m going to be dancing the jig the entire time!

Vehicle– The only vehicles I am riding these days are trains! In high school, I drove my parent’s cars, but I plan to buy my first set of wheels this summer.

Worst Habit- Eating late at night. I know I should stop, but midnight snacks are just so deliciously satisfying!

Xray or Ultrasound- I couldn’t think of any other X-words, so X-ray it is. I have broken my wrist three times, and had three X-rays!

Your Favorite Trip- Last semester I really enjoyed my trip to Berlin for the 25th anniversary of the falling of the wall. So far this semester, my trip to Normandy sticks out in my mind as particularly special.  The landscape was gorgeous, the group was cohesive, and the history was moving. What more could a girl ask for?

Zodiac- Gemini- Obviously! Just kidding. According to the stars, I am inquisitive, loving, caring, flexible and easygoing, and can communicate ideas well. What do you think, accurate?

Normandy Video

As promised, the debut of my newest short film, “Normandy.” I am falling more and more in love with videography, as I find it captures my memories better than any photo ever could. As I film and compile these videos, I tend to over-criticize my work- it’s too shaky from the wind, the lighting isn’t right, my lens isn’t clear enough– but in the end, none of that matters. All that really matters is that I am able to convey my experiences to an audience, and tell a story that demands to be told. I hope you enjoy this little taste of my weekend in France!