Awkward & Awesome

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Awkward

  1. When you’re at dinner with your colleagues and someone tells a joke in German that you don’t understand, and everyone is rolling on the floor laughing– TEARS WERE SHED here people. And you just sit there and chuckle along nervously, pretending to understand and then begin to silently panic…
  2. Forgetting to turn off your livingroom light before you left for an entire weekend.
  3. Not understanding your boss’s instructions in German to eat lunch on your own time before the museum tour, so you don’t eat anything, and then STARVE to the brink of death for the next six hours.
  4. Asking the woman at the supermarket which vegetables are zucchini and which are eggplant because you can’t tell the difference and don’t know the different words in German and your cooking repertoire up till now includes ramen and spaghetti, and she stares at you like you’re an idiot and points them out. Who knew one was purple and one was green? Not this girl.
  5. This photo your friend took of you posing in the woods. Believe it or not, you were trying to act natural:IMG_5747.jpg

Awesome

  1. Teaching a class about California and the Cali lifestyle– it really is a great state 🙂
  2. Rearranging your furniture to make it feel like a whole new space.
  3. Looking forward to two friends visiting on Saturday.
  4. When your homie from college books a flight to see you in December!
  5. The fact that your parents will be here in one week 😮

iPhone Photos from Life Lately

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I spent five days in London over fall break, visiting a dear friend from college who is killing it in her masters program at University College London. I spent one month in London after my freshman year of college, so I had already done most of the typical “touristy” things. This trip was all about immersing myself in life as a local. I tried to envision what my daily routine might look like if I lived there. It wasn’t hard to picture- I’ve always been drawn to the city and could easily imagine moving there one day. Who knows?! That seems to be a big theme in my life these days: who knows? 

It was so wonderful to have deep, meaningful conversations with an old friend. I miss close friendships with peers. I know it takes time to develop these in a new place, and I just have to be patient, but it’s hard to wait. I want to have best friends here right now…and yet, I’m okay. Day by day, moment by moment. Trips like this sustain me until those new relationships take root and begin to grow. Can you relate?

Below are a few photos from my iPhone because I was too lazy to lug my nice camera around in the rain on that trip. There are also a few other photos from the past few days. Enjoy!fullsizeoutput_4e1dLook at this smart lady! She could defend me and my human rights anywhere, anytime.IMG_5345Sometimes you just have to geek out and play tourist.Processed with VSCO with b1 presetIf I look cold, it’s because I was.IMG_5383The Wheel of Fortune, otherwise known as the London Eye.Processed with VSCO with m5 presetIMG_5401IMG_5409IMG_5423Knotting Hill!fullsizeoutput_4e1eIMG_5447Dr. Who fans, where you at? This is the location of the original Tartus in the show.IMG_5452My new university ID. Never mind that I look like a Chinese boy…

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My new friend Ian, with whom I take classes at Uni. We are always struggling with Wifi connections but it makes for a funny time.IMG_5557My colleagues and I at a dinner during our trip to Flossenbürg, the concentration camp in Bavaria where Dietrich Bonhoeffer was killed.IMG_5558Famous Nurnberger sausagesIMG_5568Processed with VSCO with c1 presetIMG_5588I’m always on some train or other. This one was bound for Frankfurt, where I went out with a few friends for Halloween.IMG_5590Processed with VSCO with x1 presetIMG_5595This photo pretty much sums up how Halloween ended…yes, I do know this person. It was fun 🙂

Have a good week, friends!

Germany Week 1

fullsizeoutput_4cf6Hello friends! I apologize for the radio silence around here lately– I’ve been busy readjusting to life in Germany. My brain is on over-drive trying to speak German and remember all the little ins and outs of another culture. It’s been both challenging and rewarding. Below are a few photos from the last week and a half in Frankfurt if you’d like to see 🙂IMG_4409Strollin’ around the Altstadt with a friend. Are those building gorgeous or what?IMG_4429IMG_4467IMG_4469I love the mix of old and new architecture in Frankfurt. Fun fact: it is the only city in Germany with a big, recognizable skyline.fullsizeoutput_4cf7Processed with VSCO with b1 presetThe Alter Oper, or old opera, is one of my favorite spots in town.IMG_4506IMG_4507My friend and I at the indoor market. IMG_4509IMG_4510IMG_4511IMG_4512IMG_4513The flower market is so beautiful. It made me want to have a garden like a good German!IMG_4515IMG_4525IMG_4527Friends at small group. It was so nice to reconnect. The little boy above has grown so much in the last year and his German is better than mine now. It blew my mind.IMG_4529IMG_4546This kiddo turned one years old. I went with a friend to his birthday party in a small town just outside Frankfurt. I want a cake like that for my 23rd birthday this year!IMG_4555Now I’m off to Cologne for a week of Fulbright orientation. Wish me luck!

San Francisco

fullsizeoutput_4997These past few days I was in San Francisco, where I met up with a friend from Frankfurt, Germany! She was attending a conference in the states, so we decided to make a little trip of it. We were lucky enough to stay with two of her friends, who quickly became mine as well. They were so kind to show us around the city and give us the royal San Francisco treatment. I’d been to the city twice before in my life, but it never gets old. It’s so artsy and unique, I could definitely envision myself there one day. I say that about a lot of places, but it’s true! Guess I’ll just have to live everywhere 🙂 fullsizeoutput_4998fullsizeoutput_4999fullsizeoutput_499afullsizeoutput_499bfullsizeoutput_499cfullsizeoutput_499dfullsizeoutput_499efullsizeoutput_499ffullsizeoutput_49ebfullsizeoutput_49a3fullsizeoutput_49a4fullsizeoutput_49a5fullsizeoutput_49a6fullsizeoutput_49a9fullsizeoutput_49eafullsizeoutput_49aafullsizeoutput_49abfullsizeoutput_49affullsizeoutput_49b0fullsizeoutput_49b1fullsizeoutput_49b2fullsizeoutput_49b3fullsizeoutput_49e9fullsizeoutput_49b4fullsizeoutput_49b5fullsizeoutput_49b7fullsizeoutput_49bbfullsizeoutput_49befullsizeoutput_49bffullsizeoutput_49c2fullsizeoutput_49c3fullsizeoutput_49c4fullsizeoutput_49c7fullsizeoutput_49c8fullsizeoutput_49c9fullsizeoutput_49cafullsizeoutput_49e8fullsizeoutput_49cbfullsizeoutput_49ccfullsizeoutput_49cdfullsizeoutput_49cefullsizeoutput_49cffullsizeoutput_49e7fullsizeoutput_49d0fullsizeoutput_49d1fullsizeoutput_49d2fullsizeoutput_49d3fullsizeoutput_49d5fullsizeoutput_49d7fullsizeoutput_49d8fullsizeoutput_49d9fullsizeoutput_49dafullsizeoutput_49dcfullsizeoutput_49ddfullsizeoutput_49defullsizeoutput_49dffullsizeoutput_49e0fullsizeoutput_49e6fullsizeoutput_49e4fullsizeoutput_49e5

Boston

fullsizeoutput_489bHello there. How are you on these summer days? I’m writing this from NYC (!!) where I’m attending a conference. But today I thought I’d share a few photos from my afternoon in Boston, MA, last week. I fell hard for this gorgeous old city. Every building is a work of art. I especially loved the Beacon Hill area, with it’s tall brick row houses. And I was lucky enough to meet up with a friend from school for a cup of coffee. She is studying at a seminary near the city and I couldn’t be prouder. Below are a few snap-shots if you’d like to see 🙂fullsizeoutput_489cfullsizeoutput_489dfullsizeoutput_489efullsizeoutput_489ffullsizeoutput_48a0fullsizeoutput_48a1fullsizeoutput_48a2fullsizeoutput_48a3fullsizeoutput_48a4fullsizeoutput_48a5fullsizeoutput_48a6fullsizeoutput_48a7fullsizeoutput_48aafullsizeoutput_48abfullsizeoutput_48acfullsizeoutput_48adfullsizeoutput_48aefullsizeoutput_48affullsizeoutput_48b0

My Brother’s Wedding

fullsizeoutput_40b4It’s official– my big brother is married! We couldn’t have asked for a better celebration with family and friends. Everything was gorgeous and, as cheesy as it sounds, love was definitely in the air! Thanks to everyone who came in from near and far to encourage and support this amazing couple on their big day. Below are a million photos from the rehearsal dinner and the wedding day.fullsizeoutput_4073fullsizeoutput_4074^Fun photos of Luke and Hayley through the years at the rehearsal!fullsizeoutput_4075fullsizeoutput_4076^It was so sunny, I couldn’t stop squintingfullsizeoutput_4077fullsizeoutput_4078fullsizeoutput_4079^We went with an Italian theme for the rehearsal decorations and food fullsizeoutput_407afullsizeoutput_407bfullsizeoutput_407c^We had a little mishap with the candles and one of the photos…good thing we caught it before anything else burst into smoke haha!fullsizeoutput_407dfullsizeoutput_407efullsizeoutput_407ffullsizeoutput_4080fullsizeoutput_4081fullsizeoutput_4082^Family from the Midwest!fullsizeoutput_4083fullsizeoutput_4084fullsizeoutput_4085fullsizeoutput_4086^Baby cousin! This was my first time meeting her 🙂fullsizeoutput_4087^My new in-law who I’ve known since fifth grade 🙂fullsizeoutput_4088fullsizeoutput_4089fullsizeoutput_408afullsizeoutput_408bfullsizeoutput_408cfullsizeoutput_408dfullsizeoutput_408efullsizeoutput_408ffullsizeoutput_4090fullsizeoutput_4091^Love this one so muchfullsizeoutput_4092^Getting ready the morning of the big day 🙂 fullsizeoutput_4093fullsizeoutput_4094fullsizeoutput_4095fullsizeoutput_4096fullsizeoutput_4097fullsizeoutput_4098fullsizeoutput_4099^The details were stunning 🙂 fullsizeoutput_409afullsizeoutput_409bfullsizeoutput_409cfullsizeoutput_409dfullsizeoutput_409efullsizeoutput_409fIMG_6285fullsizeoutput_40a0fullsizeoutput_40a2^This flower girl was a pro. She took her job very seriously.fullsizeoutput_40a3fullsizeoutput_40a4fullsizeoutput_40a5fullsizeoutput_40a6^Waiting to see the bride in her dress for the first timefullsizeoutput_40a8fullsizeoutput_40a9fullsizeoutput_40aafullsizeoutput_40abfullsizeoutput_40acfullsizeoutput_40ad^Groomsmen lookin’ sharp fullsizeoutput_40aefullsizeoutput_40afIMG_6371fullsizeoutput_40b0fullsizeoutput_40b2fullsizeoutput_40b3fullsizeoutput_40b5fullsizeoutput_40b6fullsizeoutput_40b7^My unofficial sisters 🙂fullsizeoutput_40b8fullsizeoutput_40b9fullsizeoutput_40b3Congrats all around! Can’t wait for many more years of joy and laughter. I finally got that sister I always wanted, and I only had to wait 21 years ;p

Disneyland with Mom & Dad

fullsizeoutput_3facYesterday I was reminded of why they call Disneyland the happiest place on Earth. Everyone was smiling– little babies, kids dressed as their favorite character, parents, grandparents, you name it! Walt Disney once said, “There is no magic in magic, it’s all in the details.” I forgot just how beautifully detailed every inch of the park is and how much care is taken to make sure you loose yourself in the enchanting environment. I felt so lucky to spend the whole day there with my precious mom and dad. Below are a few photos if you’d like to see!fullsizeoutput_3fd9fullsizeoutput_3fdbfullsizeoutput_3fa8fullsizeoutput_3fa5fullsizeoutput_3fadfullsizeoutput_3faefullsizeoutput_3fb1When I was younger, I thought this aesthetic was simply Fairytale architecture. That is, I didn’t think it existed beyond the pages of a story book. Then when I got older, I realized it actually does exist…in Germany! So much of the style in Fantasy Land is based on real life German architecture! Walt Disney travelled extensively, and was particularly inspired by Europe (ahem, hello Matterhorn). fullsizeoutput_3fb2fullsizeoutput_3fb3fullsizeoutput_3fb4fullsizeoutput_3fb5The flowers were absolutely stunning. I couldn’t stop snapping photos. fullsizeoutput_3fb6fullsizeoutput_3fb7fullsizeoutput_3fb8fullsizeoutput_3fbaCare for a cup of tea anyone?fullsizeoutput_3fbbfullsizeoutput_3fbcfullsizeoutput_3fbefullsizeoutput_3fbfI get the sense Walt Disney was a big fan of Mark Twain. They both grew up in small towns in Missouri. I definitely share his affinity, as Huckleberry Finn is one of my favorite books.fullsizeoutput_3fc0fullsizeoutput_3fc1fullsizeoutput_3fc2fullsizeoutput_3fc3fullsizeoutput_3fc4fullsizeoutput_3fc5fullsizeoutput_3fc6fullsizeoutput_3fd2It’s a Small World has been updated since last I visited. Now it’s an even brighter, cheerier world ;pfullsizeoutput_3fd3People say we look alike– what do you think?fullsizeoutput_3fd6fullsizeoutput_3fcffullsizeoutput_3fc7^I randomly ran into my friend Meredith on Main Street! We couldn’t have planned that better if we tried.

Thanks for a lovely day, Mom and Dad! I felt spoiled 🙂 Have a good one friends.

If I were to give a commencement address to the Pepperdine class of 2017…

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…I would say:

English doesn’t have a word for the opposite of loneliness. Love isn’t right. Community or fellowship don’t quite fit either. Rather, it’s the sense that there are people beside you who are in this thing with you: When the movie ends and you stick around to discuss it. When you’d rather sacrifice a few hours of sleep to stay at the party. That night, with the guitar. Those mornings with the bottomless cups of coffee. This very moment with a sea of identical black hats.

Tomorrow, we may wake up and feel the tug of actual loneliness. This scares me more than anything. More than landing a good job, more than moving across the country or world, more than finding the perfect spouse.

This is not to say I have never been lonely before. I have, many times. I can recall sitting in my Freshman dorm room as my parents drove away for the first time and thinking, well, what the heck am I supposed to do now? But during times like this, I think back to moments when I was overcome by the opposite of loneliness. Moments like today. And it makes me confident they will come around again. They always do.

Of course there are things we wish we’d taken the time to do these past four years: sleep, attend Convo, that cute boy across the hall, for instance. And that’s never going to change, no matter how old and wise we grow. But that’s okay too. The things we did do: write for the school newspaper, study abroad, ask a professor out to lunch– are what matter in the end.

Let’s not buy into the cultural notion that college was “the best four years of our lives” and everything’s downhill from here. I believe leaving college is not a loss, but an infinite gain: it forms the foundation for a happy, healthy life as an adult in this great world, a gain so few are fortunate enough to count. As one of my favorite characters from The Office, Andy Bernard, or Nar dog, said in the series finale, “I wish there was a way to know you’re in the Good Old Days before you’ve actually left them.”

Some of us in the crowd today know exactly what their immediate future holds: Med school, starting a non-profit, striking it rich in Silicone Valley. If that’s you, I say both congratulations, and you stink. If you don’t have the faintest clue what’s next, that’s not important. What is important is that you never stop being foolish enough to believe you can change the world.

That, and never stop believing in something bigger than yourself. So often society tells us that if we only believe in ourselves, we will succeed. My four years at Pepperdine have taught me that this couldn’t be further from the truth. I fail. I mess up. I make bad decisions. Luckily, I’m not my source of hope. Find something infinitely bigger to place your hope in– be it religion, family, a social cause, what have you– and race towards that with all your strength from this point forward.

If we do this, I’m confident we can and we will make an impact in this world.

So here’s to you, Pepperdine class of 2017. Thanks for being my friends, my mentors, my role models, but unfortunately not my boyfriends. Language fails to describe the way I feel today. So, although it’s not particularly eloquent, let me end with this: Above all else moving forward, I wish you the opposite of loneliness. 

P.s. This post was inspired by this amazing essay if you’d like to take a peek 🙂

 

 

A collection of thoroughly random photos from life lately

fullsizeoutput_3d2efullsizeoutput_3d2d^Pepperdine’s annual Spring Concertfullsizeoutput_3d2f^When you’re bored waiting for the concert to start and you get creative with the camerafullsizeoutput_3d30fullsizeoutput_3d31fullsizeoutput_3d32fullsizeoutput_3d34fullsizeoutput_3d35^I should have been an actress. Or a model. Maybe there’s still time.fullsizeoutput_3d37fullsizeoutput_3d38fullsizeoutput_3d39fullsizeoutput_3d3afullsizeoutput_3d3bfullsizeoutput_3d3cfullsizeoutput_3d3dfullsizeoutput_3d3eIMG_5228^As you can see, we take ourselves very seriously.fullsizeoutput_3d3ffullsizeoutput_3d40^Would you hire me if this was my LinkedIn profile pic?fullsizeoutput_3d41IMG_5260fullsizeoutput_3d42IMG_5263fullsizeoutput_3d43^No idea what’s going on herefullsizeoutput_3d44fullsizeoutput_3d45^Is it just me, or do I look like I’m ascending to Heaven? Follow the light…!fullsizeoutput_3d46fullsizeoutput_3d47^There are no words.fullsizeoutput_3d48fullsizeoutput_3d49^Laura! She was the birthday girl this week.fullsizeoutput_3d4afullsizeoutput_3d4b^Be still my heart.fullsizeoutput_3d4cfullsizeoutput_3d4dfullsizeoutput_3d4eIMG_5319^We couldn’t resist a spin on the ferris wheel.IMG_5330IMG_5331^St. Lucia performed– they were so fun!