Hello from Texas

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Hello from the great state of Texas. I am readjusting to America day by day: free water, small talk, giant trucks everywhere! It’s been so nice to spend time with my brother and boyfriend. My parents return from their travels on May 8th and I can’t wait to see them too. These photos were taken on Easter. Don’t these guys look handsome?! Anyways, that’s me, folks. Leave me a comment about what’s new with you these days!

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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

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!

Life State-Side

IMG_4769And just like that, I’m back to life state-side.

I don’t quite know what to say. My brain is still fuzzy from jet-lag and German words keep popping up uninvited in my english sentences. Americans seem foreign and confusing in some ways, yet totally familiar and comforting in others. I moved straight into my house at school and hit the ground running with training for my job at the school newspaper and other fun preparatory stuff. It feel strange to be a senior. I see the bright-eyed, fuzzy tailed freshman wandering around campus and just feel plain old. But it is nice to already know what I’m doing and who my established friends are.

Here’s hoping it’s a great semester!

Aufwiedersehen Frankfurt!

 

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The day has finally come to say goodbye to Frankfurt. Who knows what the future holds after my graduation in May, but for now I need to return to school to finish what I started! This summer has exceeded my every expectation. And if leaving people and relationships can break a person’s heart, I’m certain leaving a place you love can too. Though I’m looking forward to seeing family and friends again, I can’t help but cry over leaving the new family and friends I’ve made here the past three months. But God is infinitely good and sovereign, he already has a good plan for me. I think this C.S. Lewis quote from The Four Loves fits my current situation quite well:

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”

I know it was worth every bit of pain, because I loved these people and this place deeply. I was vulnerable, I shared my life with them, and it made all the difference. Aufwiedersehen beautiful country, thank you for everything, again.

^A video I made of the entire summer!

Are You A Big City Person?

Screen Shot 2016-05-09 at 12.49.19 PMAre you a big city or a small town/country person? I grew up in a relatively small suburban town in the sprawling metropolis of Los Angeles. Downtown LA was only twenty or so minutes away, so we always had access to all the events and attractions a large city affords. As an eighteenth birthday/high school graduation present, my friend and I took a trip to NYC for a few days. I was immediately smitten and could totally picture myself living there one day. I could also see myself in places like Nashville, Seattle or Chicago. Of course I can appreciate the wide open spaces of the countryside or the intimacy of a small town, but at the end of the day I think I’d like to call a big city home.

A few of my favorite cities I visited while abroad were Berlin, Edinburgh and Hamburg. Oh, and naturally I fell head over heels for Paris (cliché but true)!

So what about you? What’s your preferred habitat?!

P.s. Photo via here

Spring Break Baby!

IMG_3683All I can say is thank god I made it to today. It was a crawl to the finish line. I am writing this from the comfort of my bed at home, somewhere I have not been since winter break. I can’t believe the semester is half over. I am going to be a senior…crazy. Anywho, just wanted to drop in and say have a wonderful weekend and don’t forget to unwind. I can already feel myself sinking deep into vacation mode, a state from which I fear I may never return.IMG_3678IMG_3679IMG_3681IMG_3682IMG_3692IMG_3693IMG_3695IMG_3698IMG_3676IMG_3685

 

Deck the Halls & Happy Weekend

IMG_2540Hello friends! How are you? I am finally home after a long semester, and man does it feel good. Home is always wonderful, but it’s even more so this time of year with all the festive decorations! I helped deck the halls a few weeks ago after Thanksgiving, but wasn’t around to help choose and decorate the tree. It was a fun surprise to walk in and see it twinkling, full to the brim with beautiful (and a few odd) ornaments! Below are a few pictures if you’d like to see:
IMG_2534IMG_2539^I miss playing piano when I’m away at school!IMG_2537^My great grandmothers nativity scene.IMG_2553^I picked this out for my mom at the Heidelberg Christmas market last year!IMG_2555IMG_2554IMG_2559IMG_2542^There she is.IMG_2543IMG_2544IMG_2546^Mine is the red one with the two angels because, you know, I’m an angel :pIMG_2550IMG_2547^Our snowman collection always lives on top of the mantel.IMG_2594IMG_2588IMG_2582IMG_2572IMG_2552IMG_2557^A lovely sunday school ornament featuring my little brother. Wasn’t he cute? What happened? ;pIMG_2567^Presents! Hopefully the big one’s for me.IMG_2608^Even our couch is red! We are always prepared for Christmas.

Tonight I am seeing Star Wars with a friend, so I am avoiding social media in fear of spoilers. What are you up to this weekend? Have a good one.

The Griffith Observatory

IMG_0754Since returning home from Germany three months ago, I’ve set out on a campaign to explore my lovely home city of Los Angeles. Sometimes I find myself longing for the mystery and excitement of life abroad, when every day was a new, foreign adventure. But then I remind myself that there is so much I have yet to explore in my own backyard! Adventure is a lifestyle, not a specific place or time. Getting out and finding beauty and wonder in your surroundings is always an option, no matter your circumstances.

And so, last Saturday, my little brother and I grabbed our cameras and paid a visit to the Griffith Observatory. Without a doubt, the Griffith Observatory offers one of the prettiest and most expansive views of the Los Angeles basin. You can see everything- the hills, the ocean, the skyscrapers of downtown, the Hollywood sign, everything. Although I’ve been here before, the view took my breath away the moment I stepped out of the car. Built in the 1930’s as a work project during the Great Depression, Colonel Griffith wanted to make astronomy accessible to the public, and insisted admission stay free, which it has more than 80 years later! Whether you are a ‘science geek’ or not, I would highly recommend a visit- it is as educational as it is beautiful.

Below are a few pictures of our time, if you’d like to see! IMG_0782IMG_0664IMG_0671  ^Doesn’t the observatory look slightly futuristic in this photo?! It reminds me of Star Wars for some reason… IMG_0771IMG_0752IMG_0792IMG_0745 ^The sunset was out of this world beautiful.IMG_0659IMG_0652IMG_0622  ^There she is, that famous symbol of this great city! gdfs IMG_0829IMG_0677IMG_0728IMG_0721
IMG_0814^I lucked out in the little brother lottery. Gonna miss this kid when he goes off to college next year! IMG_0817IMG_0812IMG_0808Question of the Day
Have you gone on any recent adventures in your home town? Do tell!

5 Culture Shocks I’ve Experienced So Far

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1. Bed sheets- The beds in Germany don’t have thin sheets- just a fitted mattress cover and a Decke, or comforter. I stared at my bed at home like What am I supposed to do with this thin little blanket thing? 
2. Driving everywhere– First of all, I think I might have forgotten how to drive after three months of exclusively bike riding! I used to ride my bike or walk everywhere in Hildesheim, no matter the distance. Here, we drive five minutes around the corner to the post office no matter the distance.
3. Louder voice volume- This is a stereotypical part of American culture, but it honestly is true in my experience! People’s average voice volume is louder than in Germany, and as a naturally soft spoken person, I’ve had to crank up the volume a bit to be heard!
4. Being able to understand everyone- In Germany, I could turn off my brain and completely tune out from a conversation if I didn’t feel like trying to understand. But now, I can’t help but understand, so I hear everything everyone is saying! I was sitting in a restaurant the other day and thinking why am I getting so distracted by the people next to me’s conversation?! Then I realized it’s because they were speaking in English!
5. Politics- I watched the GOP debate last night, and felt overwhelmed by culture shock! The political atmosphere here is totally different than in Germany. Not better or worse, just different. This is the first election I can vote in (scary for America, I know) so I tried my best to pay attention. P.s. if Donald Trump is president, I might just move back to Germany… :p

Also, a few photos from the other night at the beach. Love me some SoCal sunsets!
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Have you ever experienced Reverse Culture Shock? If so, what is an example?