Photos from life lately and not-so-lately

IMG_6986.JPGMy boyfriend and I recently did a little photoshoot with a tripod and my DSLR camera. It was so nice to use my big camera again. iPhone cameras have gotten so good that I often just use my phone. But honestly, there’s something so special about a tactile camera. I’m grateful for the reminder.IMG_6991.JPGIMG_6988.JPGIMG_6984.JPGBelow are a few photos from Washington last September. I also used my DSLR camera and I love how they turned out. There’s something really special about capturing candid moments with my family. B2393542-016F-4F47-8447-A505EE4F798E.JPG577FA579-ED35-4222-895E-EF243E88C77B.JPGE1C1928E-00DC-4996-B839-2B17809AE995.JPG17D2C0FB-442D-479C-AB3D-08AE749C5694.JPG1C77E201-4F95-4C3C-8F0F-CACF727B7EC3.JPGFDCE1AB2-BBB6-437A-A73F-573331FC9311.JPG8E6146E3-648E-4187-A469-B03D642C9FF4.JPG

My New Home in Münster!

bce857d3-0b3d-4f2e-b2b6-9b7d181197b4I spent my first full day in Münster today. It was really great! My flight was, well, less than great. But I got through it and now I am enjoying the beautiful fall weather here in Germany. I love my flat and my flatmates, and am slowly starting to discover the city. Below are a few photos. Miss you already!50e22b96-3b36-4194-84df-f0bd05c4a96ae25d6545-1d8c-45c7-b43f-ffca367f14adde0c5909-0263-4a64-9539-9620db1bbb44b2b083ea-c3da-458e-a1b3-d9aae4d852dc2c8af37b-a6f6-4e31-b05a-db82bfb921c1The main university building. It is literally a castle. No joke.Processed with VSCO with c1 presetMy room. It is soooooo cool. I don’t know if I’m cool enough for it to be honest ;pProcessed with VSCO with g3 presetMy apartment buildingProcessed with VSCO with m5 preset5928d860-05d9-44a1-b6f9-30fef0be7a0f

Hey there, remember me?

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Hey there! Yes, I’m still alive. I have been relaxing this past month, but also trying to check a million random things off my check list before…wait for it…I GO TO GRAD SCHOOL IN GERMANY. More info on that soon 🙂 I wanted to share a few photos from my friends’ Laura and Ruth’s weddings. I was a bridesmaid in Laura’s and a guest at Ruth’s. It was so great to see old friends and party it up.

Have a great rest of your summer!

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!

Today I Turn 23!

Processed with VSCO with g3 presetToday I am 23!

The typical response I hear is, “That’s so young!”

And while yes, it is young, I can’t help but think of all the millions upon billions of things that have happened in these 23 short years. And when I do, it actually feels quite old.

In the last 23 years…

I was born.

I grew up in Malibu, surrounded by two kind, handsome brothers, a mom who packed stellar school lunches and plans vacations like a pro, and a dad who’s easy laugh makes everyone love him. I passed afternoons playing in the Santa Monica mountains and summers swimming in the salty Pacific.

I moved to El Segundo, where I learned to drive, kissed a boy for the first time, attempted geometry and politics and biology but discovered the only thing I really like is writing.

I attended university, where I had an endless turnstyle of rooms and roommates and unrequited crushes. I learned to speak mediocre German and studied abroad in Heidelberg, where I was introduced to good coffee and train travel for the first time.

I graduated and moved to Weinheim on my own with two suitcases and tried my best to figure life out. I found an apartment and held a job and attempted to teach kids and get to know my coworkers. I cleaned a cooked and shopped and budgeted for myself. I rode a childs-sized bike everywhere in all manner of wild weather and dreamt longingly of my Honda CRV. I paid bills and made a few friends and deciphered what it means to feel simultaneously like a kid and an adult. I experienced genuine loneliness and joy and depression and elation and anxiety and triumph and love, to name a few. I felt the kindness of strangers and friends alike, who stuck with me through it all even when it might have been easier not to at times.

Thank you to so many people, near and far, who have supported me this year. From the friend who sat with me in a cafe when I was depressed and just listened, to the neighbor who brought me furniture when I had none, to the girlfriend who sent me a letter just because, the mom who mailed me socks when my feet were cold, the family who flew across oceans to visit me, the coworker who bought me american peanut butter, and so many others. I know without a doubt that I couldn’t have done it without you.

And that’s just scratching the surface! So yeah, can you blame me for thinking 23 is actually quite old in the grand scheme of things?! Even though there were times when it wasn’t easy or fun, I’m so grateful to have had the chance to do it all. I don’t deserve these blessings but hey, look, there they are anyways. I think maybe, just maybe, I am finally learning the meaning of gratitude at my advanced age :p

So here’s to 23+ more years of living in and learning about this beautiful world and trying my best to do myself and others proud. What a gift.

Córdoba!

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Spending a bit of time in the south of Spain with my brother and a few friends. My high school Spanish is a bit rusty but I am trying! I loved visiting the Mesquite Cathedral here in Córdoba and seeing the intersection of Christian, Muslim and Jewish architecture in the city. So cool!

iPhone Photos from Life Lately

IMG_5928Hello there, how are you? These last few weeks have been a whirlwind in the best ways. My parents just left this morning (*insert tears here*) after a wonderful ten days together. It was so nice to show them around my stomping grounds and give context for my life.

Above is a photo from a great breakfast I spent with some new friends in Königstein last week. Arn’t they lovely? And below are a bunch more photos from life lately. Enjoy!IMG_5902One of my favorite students goofing around after a school assembly on cyber safety. I was definitely scared to go on the internet for like two days afterwards…IMG_5925This waffle house takes the cake (or, um, the waffle) because of the beautiful writing on my plate!IMG_5948The family that freezes together, stays together.Processed with VSCO with c1 presetWe spent three days in Rothenburg ob der Tauber, a magical old city from the Middle Ages. I’ve been to so many German towns, but this one really is some kind of enchantment. Processed with VSCO with c1 presetProcessed with VSCO with c1 presetIMG_6006IMG_6011Selfie with my girl Lara!IMG_6025IMG_6029Dad in his inadequate jacket! IMG_6034Then I took my parents to work for my very own “take your parents to work day.” The students asked them some funny questions, and we laughed at this mural from a graduating class. Can you spot the grammar typo?IMG_6036IMG_6046When you tryina’ show your parents a good time and they fall asleep on you…IMG_6050IMG_6051IMG_6058IMG_6068IMG_6075IMG_6077IMG_6085IMG_6087Processed with VSCO with p5 preset3C06B5F4-1165-4A37-824E-ABD3FB8E3CBCOf course we had to spend Thanksgiving at the Heidelberg castle because, well, duh! My mom and I both studied abroad here and it holds a special place in our hearts. I am so thankful for this city.Processed with VSCO with g3 presetIMG_6128IMG_6129An afternoon walk through Weinheim!IMG_6138He was posing on purpose, don’t worry…so cultured and European ;pProcessed with VSCO with x1 presetIMG_6152IMG_6168Just noticed this busty lady watching over my school. What kind of German diet do I have to go on to get this figure?!! IMG_6174We decorated my apartment. Can you say “Baby’s first Charlie Brown Christmas tree?”Processed with VSCO with c1 presetProcessed with VSCO with c1 presetProcessed with VSCO with g3 presetMuch Glühwein was consumed at the Christmas market.Processed with VSCO with g3 presetI brought my Polaroid to school and the kids were convinced it was magic! I loved sharing my hobby with them and creating tangible memories.IMG_6225Still a few colorful fall leaves left….please don’t snow yet, I’m not emotionally prepared!!IMG_6226Have a nice week, sweet friends!