Normandy & Mont St. Michel

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Just as I did not fully comprehend the significance of the Berlin Wall until I visited Berlin, I did not fully comprehend the magnitude of the D-Day invasion during WW II until I visited Normandy. I knew from the second I left Paris that I wanted to visit France again. So, my friends and I began scheming about places, and we decided on the Normandy coast line, as well as a day trip to the Monastery-island of Mont St. Michel.
Friday morning rolled around, and we hoped on a train to Caen, the largest city near the beaches. When we arrived, without skipping a beat, we picked up a nine-passenger van we’d rented, and drove the hour and a half to Mont St. Michael to catch the sunset. And boy let me tell you, it was worth it. Although it was freezing and windy, I could have stood staring at it forever. Legend has it, the archangel Michael visited a french bishop in a dream and instructed him to build a house of God on the island. It has served as a source of inspiration ever since, and even inspired the castles in the Disney films, “Tangled” and, “The Little Mermaid.” I fell in love with the unique site, and am so glad to be able to cross it off my abroad bucket list.

IMG_2514IMG_2495IMG_2480IMG_2361The next morning we woke up bright and early and drove to Omaha beach, one of the sights of the American invasion. As I walked along the wind-swept shore, I couldn’t help but imagine the thousands of young men in boats on their way towards an uncertain future. Most of them were not much older than me at the time, yet they were about to partake in one of the brutalist battles in history.

IMG_2376My dad, a self-proclaimed history buff, would have loved this trip. I couldn’t stop thinking about him, so I wrote his name in the sand!

IMG_2442IMG_2429IMG_2426Next, we hoped on over to the American cemetery, where the majority of deceased D-Day soldiers are buried. The museum is incredibly well done, and I enjoyed walking the grounds. It was a sobering experience, to say the least. It astounds me that people can be convinced to give their lives for other people. Bravery and courage emanated from every tomb stone.IMG_2351IMG_2316IMG_2277IMG_2293
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Lastly, we visited Utah beach, another American landing site. One of the main reasons the Allied powers won the battle was because of sheer numbers. They had everything going against them- yet somehow they were able to turn the tides of war. The landscape of Utah beach reminded me of the east coast, particularly North Carolina. IMG_2520

All in all, an incredible, educational, and down right fun weekend. This trip is definitely worth while, and I hope I can return one day with my family. Stay tuned for a video of the trip, coming soon to a theater blog near you!

Life Lately

IMG_2171IMG_2174IMG_5053 I don’t have much to report on these last few days, but I knew I just wanted to write a post. Sometimes words demand to be written. So what can I tell you about my life that would be worth reading? Well, for starters, there’s the Listening Summit. What is that, you ask? The Listening Summit is an annual conference each Pepperdine International Program puts on that provides a time for local university students to meet with Pepperdine students and discuss important topics in the world today. Seven German students from the University of Heidelberg and twelve American students from our program spent the weekend together in an amazing hotel in the village of Langweiler, talking about immigration in our respective countries. Differences, similarities, problems, solutions- you name it, we covered it. The conversation was extremely interesting and informative- I think my IQ went up a few points! The above picture was taken from the conference room during one of our sessions, as fluffy white flakes blanketed the dormant vineyards. The photo below was taken in between sessions during a much needed coffee break! I am so glad I was able to enter into a genuine dialogue with people my age, who see the world in a different light and can offer new perspectives. Other than that, my week has been pretty typical. What about you? Any new news? Tschüss for now friends.
xoxo,
Micah

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Ten Facts About Me

IMG_8742.JPGI have been blogging for over a year now, and have gained a few new followers along the way. Of course new readers can always pop over to the ‘About’ page to get a brief over view of the writer behind this blog, but I thought I would take a moment to go into more detail. So, here are a few useless fun facts about your’s truly:

Favorite Color: Green all the way. My room at home is painted ‘Asparagus green’, to be exact.

Favorite Book: This question is like picking your favorite child, but if I had to, I would choose, “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald. I read it for the first time in High School,  and didn’t think it could get any better. That is, until Leonardo Di Caprio starred as Jay Gatsby in the movie! Everything is better with Leonardo.

Current Favorite Song: I have been playing “Budapest” by George Ezra on repeat these days. I should be tired of it by now, but the opposite is true!

Siblings: I am the middle child in between two brothers- the princess, if you will. My older brother is graduating college this year, and my little bro is straight chillin’ as a junior in high school.

Favorite Holiday: Christmas. Cliché, I know, but it’s just so magical! I love snuggling up under a blanket by the fire, sipping something warm, and playing christmas carols on the piano. This Christmas season was especially memorable, as I got to experience the Christmas Markets here in Heidelberg, before visiting family back in America. Here is a link to a video I made of my time in Nebraska with family, and below is a pic of me at the Christmas markets, drinking a cup of oh-so-delicious Gluhwein.

Dream Job: Big surprise, I dream of becoming a professional blogger. Over the past year, I’ve fallen in love with the blogging world, and don’t plan on going anywhere soon. Blogging is a new industry, and there is no clear cut path to success, but what’s a girl without a crazy dream or two?

Best Friend: I think the word soulmate is more appropriate for this answer! Jessica and I had no choice but to be friends. Our moms grew up together, both sets of parents roomed in college, and had children at the same time in the same area. See what I mean? It’s a good thing Jessica and I adore each other, because we’d spend a lot of time together either way! Jessica is witty, intelligent, loyal, and humble. She is a talented writer, and has already written two full sized novels! I can never spend enough time in her company.

Guilty Pleasure: Gilmore Girls. I’ve watched the series multiple times, and it never gets old. The dialogue is lightning fast and unbelievably witty, and the acting is superb! I kind of have a girl crush on Lorelei…can you blame me?

Proudest Accomplishment: Deciding to study abroad for a year in Heidelberg, Germany. This has been the most challenging yet rewarding year of my life, and I am proud of myself for taking the plunge. Living in another country has taught me invaluable lessons about other cultures, as well as fostered a deep appreciation for my own culture and heritage.

Favorite Travel Destination: Last semester, I was able to travel to Berlin for the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Berlin fast became a favorite, because it is filled with such interesting history and people. The architectural juxtaposition between East and West, old and new Berlin is fascinating, and adds to the city’s unique atmosphere. I hope I can return to Germany’s capital again some day!

Well friends, there you have it, ten useless facts about me! I hope this gave you a bit more insight into my life, and what really makes me tick. Have a great day and don’t hesitate to comment!

Budapest

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Hallo meine freunden, long time no post! Things have been a bit crazy around here lately, as we settle back into our school schedules and daily routines. But before I knew it, two weeks had flows by and the first official travel weekend was upon us.  A group of girl friends and I decided to pack our bags for Budapest, Hungary! I had heard enough people praise the ‘Pearl of the Danube’ to know it was worth seeing, and now it was my turn to experience it first hand. One sleeper train and thirteen hours later, I found myself in the heart of this gorgeous city. Budapest is actually two cities stratling the Danube river- Buda and Pest- that have grown so large they’ve combined into one. It is the capital of Hungary, known for its unique architecture and rich history. By rich, I do not mean peaceful or easy. Budapest has been occupied time and time again, most notably by the Nazis and then the Communists. They have fought to overcome incredible hardship, and that resilience is apparent in the people’s demeanor. They are determined and tough, yet helpful and accommodating.
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We arrived at our airbnb Friday morning, a bit groggy but ready to conquer the day. Budapest is built on a network of sandstone caves, and “caving” is one of the top tourist attractions. So yes, we spent three and a half hours underneath Budapest! It was definitly a test of my strength and flexibility, not to mention my comfort level with tight spaces- but I emerged victorious. That night we ate traditional hungarian Goulash and called it quits fairly early. Being a groundhog really takes it out if you.IMG_1976IMG_1980IMG_1985IMG_1992^The parliament building, on the Pest side of the river
IMG_2076IMG_2011IMG_2008IMG_1994Saturday morning we headed to the river front to take pictures of the lauded parliament building. It is truely a piece of art. Every detail is painstakingly executed to perfection. Next, we crossed the oldest bridge in town to visit the Buda Castle and St. Mattheus cathedal, both picturesquely perched atop a mountain on the Pest side of town.
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By this point, the rain really started to pour down, so we opted to duck into a cafe. But wait, not just any old cafe. A CAT CAFE! That’s right, the entire shop was cat themed, with dozens of real live cats roaming about while we sipped our CATpuccinos. It was definitely a highlight of the trip.IMG_2108IMG_2107

After we’d had our fill of warm fuzzy kittens, we hoped over to the famed bath house. The caves under the city are formed by natural hot springs, which bubble to the surface to create natural baths. I ran in, and instantly felt the stress of a long day melt away. The cool rain provided the perfect juxtaposition to the heavenly hot water, and I emerged two hours later as one pruny yet content girl!
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The remainder of the trip whized by in a blur of packing and train transfers. As amazing as this trip was, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of relief when our train pulled into the Heidelberg station. I am writing this post at the desk by my window, gazing out on another beautiful city. I still cant believe I get to call this one home.

Tschuss for now friends, have a wonderful week!

 

(Kind of) Neuschwanstein Castle

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Guten Morgen! I am fresh off a crazy day of travel, and thought I’d take a moment to tell you about my time at Neuschwanstein Castle. As you may know, Neuschwanstein is the castle that inspired Walt Disney to build the original Disney Castle in Disneyland. It was built in the 17th century for the king of Bavaria, who never lived in it because he died before it was completed. It is perched onto of a hill in the south of Germany, overlooking a valley of rivers and waterfalls. I describe it this way based on pictures I’ve seen, because we didn’t actually get to see the castle yesterday. Unfortunately, the snow storm was so fierce, everything was completely whited out and hidden from view. Oh well- we had fun playing in the snow next to the castle! I hope to return another time in the summer to see it in all it’s lush grander and glory. Below is a picture of the castle in June! After our snowy adventure, we made our way to Munich for dinner at one of the famous Brew Houses. This was my first time to Munich, and I was thoroughly impressed. It is a large city with quaint, quintessentially German character. All in all, a cold but enjoyable experience. I shall return for you again, Neuschwanstein- mark my words!

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2015 Travel Wish List

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I’ve made travel wish lists in the past, but the difference this year is that some of these wishes could actually come true! While I am trying to stay flexible this semester and not stress out when travel plans change or fall through, there are a few places I am determined to see before hoping on the plane back to America. Here we go:

Amsterdam
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I have always been fascinated by Amsterdam, even before it was made popular by the book/movie, “The Fault in Our Stars.” Several people in my group went last semester, and while I would have loved to see it in the fall with all the colorful leaves, I am excited to visit this Spring when the Tulips are in bloom and I can spend time outside wandering the canals.

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I think the picture says it all. Italy is such a large country with so many gorgeous places, but if I have to pick just one this semester, I choose you, Rome! The history, the architecture, the language, the gelato- I could go on for days about what makes this capitol city so special. My friends and I are planning a trip for the end of February, so hopefully my dream will become a reality.

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There is something mysterious and magical about Scotland. Ever since I watched “Braveheart,” I’ve longed to see this enchanted country. Or was it just Mel Gibson? Doubt it. A classmate of mine visited last semester, and ranted and raved about her experience! I quote her directly, “It felt like I had been there before because it was the place I’d always dreamed existed.” Pretty persuasive, eh? My girlfriend and I are imagining a trip in late March, when the weather is nice and we can take a bus tour of the Highlands. My life would be complete.

So now that you’ve read my 2015 Travel Wish List, it is your job to hold me to it! I feel so blessed to have the opportunity to make these dreams a come true. And even if they don’t, I am content just dreaming about all this world has to offer. Bon Voyage and I hope all is well, my friends!

Heiligeist Kirche

This past Sunday, all the evangelical churches in the Heidelberg area met for a conjoined service at the large Heiligeist Kirche (Holy Ghost Church) in the middle of town. It was amazing to see over eight hundred people gathered in one place to worship God. And even though I could not understand the majority of the German, I know they are reciting the same prayers to the same God, and it made me feel connected to my church Family back home.

The atmosphere was relaxed, and I particularly enjoyed the band, which included one of my favorite instruments, the  cello.  I recognized some of the songs, and tried to mumble along. I am traveling most weekends, and do not make it back in time to attend a regular church service. Although I go to house church and bible study, I’ve realized I miss the community of faith believers only a home-church can provide. The experience of pursuing faith on my own this year has make me stronger in many ways, and also made me realize why Jesus says, “Where two or more are gathered in my name, I am there.”

Hallo Heidel

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Oh hey, how’s it hanging back in America? Things here in Heidelberg are cold, rainy, and wonderful! Yes, jet-lag is killer and the general adjustment period is a real thing, but I am thrilled to be reunited with my fellow Heidelbergers. All the snow has melted, except a few patches here and there left over to taunt us. But I have faith it will snow again soon! We had a mock-class schedule today, where I sat in on all four of my classes and read the syllabus. While I can’t say I’m overly excited about my classes, which include Economics and Statistics, I am excited to get to know my classmates and professors better.

Unfortunately, one of my group members slipped and fell the first day and broke her arm. She has surgery yesterday, and is doing as well as can be expected. I visited her and brought her orange “Pepperdine” flowers, and plan to visit again tomorrow, which happens to be her 20th birthday! It will definitely be an unforgettable birthday, to say the least.

Other than that, we are all happy and health, albeit exhausted. I can’t wait to travel to Neuschwanstein next weekend and snap some gorgeous photos, all of which I will be sure to share in a post. Have a great weekend friends!

Tschüss America

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Tonight is my last night in America until April! My mom and I took a walk on the beach at sunset, where I snapped this photo. I could see the lights of the Pepperdine campus twinkle in the distance. I’m going to miss this view! But in a few short hours I will be enjoying the below view from my window in Heidelberg. The two couldn’t be more different, but both are beautiful in their own unique way. It’s bitter sweet to leave, but it’s also time to get this show on the road!

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