Have you ever been to the Netherlands? I have been twice before, but this time was extra special. My parents picked me up in Münster and whisked me off to the tulip fields across the border. I don’t have a particularly green thumb (re: black) but I can appreciate gorgeous flowers as much as the next person. And man, these flowers inspired me to plant my own! These photos were taken at the Keukenhof garden, which is basically Disneyland for flowers. I was awe-struck and couldn’t help saying “Look at that, Mom!” around every corner. Below are a few photos if you’d like to see.Dad thoroughly enjoying the tulips…All in all, an inspiring visit! I’m off to purchase gardening supplies…
A wonderful trip with my boy! A few photos to capture many, many special moments. The last one in particular is dear to me- we were able to visit my childhood friend Jessie, who is living in Madrid, and have dinner (and wine!) together. I will remember these times always 🙂
Yesterday 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!
- What exactly is steel wool made of and why have I never used it before? It cleans dishes so well. Have people been keeping this a secret from me my whole life?
- My landlord is, well, not the best. How do I behave around her? What an awkward relationship.
- Dang, getting up every day at 6am for work is exhausting. I need to go to bed at 8pm.
- Where are all the young people who automatically want to be my friend? Pretty sure my personality didn’t change that much since senior year.
- Geez, going to the gynecologist in Germany sure is a blast…
- Oh, right, you’re my colleague, not my friend. Gotta remember that.
- Taxes. Which boxes to mark, that is the question.
- Are you free to hang out this week? This month? This year? Well, it was nice knowing ya.
- I have paid my rent on time for three months in a row.
- I have cleaning products I actually prefer. I literally have preferences.
- I cooked a well balanced meal tonight. Pasta was not involved in the making.
- I think this person is my friend. It only took a year of coaxing but, heck, we do stuff together sometimes.
- I own a blazer and slacks.
- My resume says I have skills. People ask me to be their friend on LinkedIn.
- I have a boyfriend. He has a job. Miracles.
- I think I can do this.
The Christmas markets are here! This is easily one of my favorite times in Germany. They make the cold, dark weather more bearable– dare I say fun, even. I walked around a few different markets yesterday with my fellow students, sipping Glühwein (hot mauled wine) and eating no small amount of unhealthy treats. Below are a few photos. Hope your Christmas celebrations are off to a great start!I love the little old grannies in the right corner. They always dress so classy here. Inspiration.A beautiful tree in front of Lamberti church. These wreathes hanging from shop archways are probably my favorite decorations in town. Germany does it right, folks.So many adorable trinkets, so little money! What’s a girl to do? ;pThe main street in town. How gorgeous?!This stuff is addictive, let me tell you. I will be sad when Christmas is over…might have to look up a recipe so I can drink it in January! Also, why am I the only one wearing gloves?!!!!Please note I am wearing two pairs of pants and two hats…yes, I am a wuss when it comes to cold.I always find myself wearing all black in winter. How very European of me.
Another year, anther missed Thanksgiving. Oops! I always miss home terribly this time of year, and I can’t wait to celebrate full force in future years. I will be a forced to be recognized with as I try to make up for all my missed celebrating! Below are a few things I am thankful for:
- A family that loves and supports me
- A sweet boyfriend with a great reading voice and rockin’ mustache
- The opportunity to use my mind in the classroom and further my education
- The chance to experience German culture
- Coffee. Always.
- My health
- My bed that is always there for me with open arms
- Old and new friends
- Chocolate chip cookies
- The chance to experience life. Cheesy, but true. Very true.
These days I am often busy reading long, esoteric texts for school, but when I have the chance to read for fun I always relish it! Below are a few of my favorite reads, both recently and throughout the last few years. Have you read any of them? Please let me know in the comments below, and make your own suggestions!
Originals by Adam Grant
The subtitle of this book is “How non-conformists move the world.” It is all about how to foster and apply creativity, originality, and progress both in your personal life and in a larger setting (i.e. societal movements, corporations, etc.). It may sound dry but I promise it is far from it! Grant draws on lots of studies and research but his tone is super conversational and engaging. My boyfriend (this is not a drill folks! I have a real life boyfriend) read it aloud to me via Skype the past few weeks and I ate it up.
The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid
I finished this about three months ago and am still thinking about it. The story revolves around a young Pakistani man who studies at Princeton and is recruited to work at a large firm on wall street. He is succeeding and doing well for himself in America, until 9/11 happens and everything changes (but not necessarily in the ways you might think!). I finished this book in three days.
Back Talk by Danielle Lazarin
A collection of short stories about girlhood, coming of age, and womanhood. They are sharp, witty, and quick to read. I loved the character development and related to many of the women in the stories.
Self-Help by Lorrie Moore
One of my favorite short story collections I’ve ever read! I love the second person POV she employs in some of the stories and drew a lot inspiration from her for a few of my own stories.
The Female Persuasion by Meg Wolitzer
Main character Greer Kadetsky is a quiet college freshman when she meets Faith Frank, the striking woman who has been a central pillar of the women’s movement for decades. She idolizes Faith and is drawn to work for her. She must also learn how to balance her love life, and try not to loose herself in the process. I devoured this book up! It is very modern and relatable.
Exit West by Mohsin Hamid
Hamid’s fifth novel, a finalist for the Man Booker Prize for fiction, deals with the
experience of modern-day refugees. But unlike many refugee novels, which focus on the journey itself, Exit West revolves around the struggles and realities of life before and after said journey. Main characters Nadia and Seid decide they must leave their war-torn home for a safer, albeit uncertain, future. They find a smuggler who shows them a ‘magical door’ that leads to an unknown Western country. They walk through and instantaneously emerge into an alien land, where they fight to cling to their love, their past and their sense of self. This was President Obama’s favorite book last year.
A Girl I Knew by JD Salinger
This is one of Salinger’s lesser known short story published in 1948. It is about a young man’s trip to Austria to learn German to be of use in his father’s company. There, he meets and befriends a beautiful, jewish girl who teaches him German. They are separated during the war, and I won’t spoil the ending but it is, well, a little heartbreaking. You can see why I love this one– I relate to the struggle to learn German!