Joshua Tree National Park

fullsizeoutput_40d1Last week I packed up everything I own in my car and set off for Texas with my dad. The trip from California to Texas is beautiful and, well, long. We stopped in Joshua Tree National Park in the California desert to explore for an afternoon. It is one of my dad’s favorite places in the world, and he tries to go at least once a year. But this was my first time! We are going to the U2 concert in a few weeks, which celebrates their seminal album “The Joshua Tree,” inspired by this place. They don’t have anything like this in Ireland, so I can see why it captured the band’s attention. The landscape is so harsh, yet strikingly gorgeous. Below are a few photos if you’d like to see!fullsizeoutput_40d2fullsizeoutput_40d3fullsizeoutput_40d4fullsizeoutput_411ffullsizeoutput_40d5fullsizeoutput_40d6^The valley stretches on for miles and miles, as far as the eye can seeIMG_6477fullsizeoutput_40d9fullsizeoutput_40dafullsizeoutput_40dbfullsizeoutput_40dcfullsizeoutput_40ddIMG_6528fullsizeoutput_40de^Selfies with my DSLR are always an interesting experience hahafullsizeoutput_40e1IMG_6575fullsizeoutput_40e3^My prized possession 🙂 She’s done really well on this long trip and it makes me proudfullsizeoutput_40e4^Trying to pose like Bonofullsizeoutput_40e5fullsizeoutput_40e6^Couldn’t resist the filters on these last two! I’m still stuck in 2010 apparently (lol)fullsizeoutput_40e7fullsizeoutput_40e8^We passed through this tiny town that reminded me so much of the movie “Cars.” The little motels, the signs, everything! I was looking around for Lightning McQueen ;pfullsizeoutput_40e9fullsizeoutput_40eaHave a good one friends– I’m off to drive another couple hundred miles today…

P.s. Stay tuned for photos from the Grand Canyon and Santa Fe

A Sunday Tradition

img_1397Yesterday afternoon my housemate and I decided to go on a hike in Malibu Creek State Park. We’ve been wanting to spend more quality time together, and it was so much fun that we are determined to make it a Sunday tradition! Sometimes the week is so stressful I don’t make it off campus until the weekend. It is important for my mental health to get out of my room and explore the beautiful world around me once in a while! Below are a few pictures if you’d like to see.img_1398img_1406^I don’t know if I’ve ever seen California this brown. We need rain desperately!img_1409img_1411img_1417^Hope is a great model 🙂img_1419img_1430img_1435img_1437img_1439^This outlook was stunning. I forget how mountainous this area is!img_1448^Then we stumbled upon a watering hole of sorts– a small lake with people swimming, paddling around in row boats, and even slack-lining. img_1451img_1452img_1454img_1455img_1456^I slack-lined quite often at the rock climbing gym in Frankfurt this summer. But never this high up across a lake! These guys were intense…img_1457^Whoopsy daisy, time for a little swim!img_1459img_1468^The second watering hole we visited reminded me of the mermaid lagoon from Peter Pan. Anyone else get those vibes or is it just me?img_1475img_1478img_1479img_1438Have a great week friends!

Happy Weekend

IMG_4468The other day I was walking around downtown Malibu (I use the word downtown loosely here) when I noticed this beautiful field of yellow flowers! For some reason, I don’t remember spring in Malibu very clearly my freshman year, and then I was gone last year, so this is the first time I’m fully experiencing and appreciating it! These yellow flowers really reminded me of the fields of rape seed in Hildesheim, Germany last spring/summer. I always miss the nature of Malibu when I’m home in El Segundo, because it’s very urban and compact. However, yesterday when I was downtown I saw that they cut all these flowers and now it’s just an empty field. Oh well, I’m glad I snapped these pics when I got the chance! This weekend includes homework, a volleyball tournament for my sorority, and a Sunday night concert. What are your plans?IMG_4458IMG_4471IMG_4467IMG_4465IMG_4464IMG_4462IMG_4461IMG_4460

The ABC’s of Hildesheim

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I hope you’re having a happy day friends! If not, perhaps this post will make you a little bit happier. A few months ago during my time in Heidelberg, I wrote a post called The ABC’s of Heidelberg, in which I chose one experience/thought/thing in my current life to represent each letter of the alphabet. It was one of my favorite posts to write, and also one of the most popular. So naturally, I figured it was time to write The ABC’s of Hildesheim, broken up by a few photos from life lately. Enjoy!IMG_5571.jpg
Au Pair- I am living with a German family and working as their Au Pair, or nanny. I help the mom with the three small children during a portion of the day, and make life easier in any way I can. This is my first time doing something like this, and so far so good!
Birthday- I recently celebrated my 20th birthday, which you can read about here. I was a bit nervous because, other than the fact that I’m no longer a teenager (yikes!), it was my first birthday away from my family. But the community I’ve found here made sure my day was filled with nothing but joy and celebration!
Church- I am also interning for and attending a local Church of Christ, and Sunday mornings have quickly become my favorite part of the week. I look forward to interacting with the lovely church members and being spiritually rejuvenated. There is something special about worshiping the same God in another language. It reminds me our God is not American, he is universal!
Daria- Daria is the three year old of the family. She has taught me more German in the past month than in the past two years combined! She is sassy, energetic, and creative. She loves to help cook in the kitchen and take care of her dolly. I’m already dreading saying goodbye in August.
Erdbeeren- This region of Neidersachsen is known to grow some of the best strawberries (Erdbeeren) in Germany. The family and I plan to go strawberry picking in a nearby field one day soon!
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Friendship- Making friends can be hard in general, but making friends abroad is a whole other ball game! Add in the language barrier and cultural differences, and you’ve got yourself a recipe for some interesting situations. It definitely took time and a few steps outside my comfort zone, but I’ve made some wonderful friends here whom I will cherish always.
German- The German language and I have a love hate relationship (read more here). Everyday is an adventure, filled with small victories and failures! Some days I feel nearly fluent, and other days I feel like I don’t know a single word. Never the less, I’m confident I am pursuing a worth-while goal and I wouldn’t quit for anything.
Hamburg- My friend from home is visiting my this weekend as the final stop on her European tour! I can’t wait explore the port city of Hamburg together. Stay tuned for a post all about this adventure.
Inclusion- One thing I was initially nervous about was feeling lonely. I wasn’t sure I would be able to make friends and have any sort of social life. I’m thrilled to report that people have been incredibly welcoming and inclusive. For example, the other day I was sitting in the mall when a girl about my age approached me to ask me to take a survey. We ended up talking for a while, and she invited me to the movies with her and her friends! I went and had a great time, and it was a reminder that I usually have more in common with people than I think!
Julius & Jakob- Julius is the one and a half year old in the family. He doesn’t talk so much as grunt, which I find incredibly endearing. He is a huge fan of all moving vehicles and building things for the sole purpose of destroying them. Jakob is the one month year old! While we haven’t had too many great conversations yet, I love to cuddle and snuggle him when I get the chance.

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Kultur- (Culture) Hildesheim is a culturally rich city! There is always a festival or exhibit happening, so it’s impossible to be bored. This summer, the city is celebrating its 1,200 year anniversary with a giant jubilee!
Lets Start Talking- Lets Start Talking is a mission-focused organization that helps people practice their conversational english through reading the Bible. A team of five people from Oklahoma Christian University worked with the church here to ‘read’ with people in the local community. They stayed for six weeks, and I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know them and bonding over our experience as Americans in Germany!
Mädchen- (Girls) The main focus of my internship with the church is to get to know the middle school and high school aged girls in the youth group. I have held movie nights, ice cream dates, and game days to connect with them thus far, and I can’t wait to see how those relationships develop further in the coming weeks.
New experiences- It might surprise you to hear that I tend to stay in my comfort zone. My introverted nature often makes me hesitant to step outside my bubble. But now, every part of my day forces me to take a step further into the unknown! For instance, tonight I forced myself to attend Zumba at the local gym. I was so nervous I wouldn’t understand the instructor and totally embarrass myself, but I went anyways, and LOVED IT! #noregrets
Open mind- “Don’t tell me how educated you are, tell me how much you have travelled.” -Prophet Muhammed. This quote rings true in my life, and pushes me to travel and see as much of the world as I can.
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Parties- Let me just say, the German people know how to party! It seems like every other day is some sort of party, whether that be a BBQ, lake side bonfire, birthday party, or movie night. I adore how hospitable and generous they are, and how they love inviting people into their homes.
Questions- I recently wrote about my thoughts on my future career. I’m half way done with college, and sometimes it feels like I should know ‘what I want to be when I grow up’ already! But to be honest, I still have no clue…and I think that’s okay.
Raps Feld- Raps Feld means rapeseed field in German. Rapeseed is the colorful yellow plant pictured above used for canola oil and animal feed.They completely cover this part of Germany, and provide the perfect backdrop for photo shoots!
Skype- Sometimes I think people either have the ‘homesickness gene’ or they don’t. Unfortunately, I think I’m one of the ones who has it! On the other hand, it means I come from a home worth missing, which I am always grateful for. Lucky for me, there are plenty off ways to stay in close contact with friends and family back home such as Skype, Facebook, or this blog!
Travel- If you’ve been hanging around this blog for a while, you know I traveled every weekend while in Heidelberg. And although that was amazing, it wasn’t a sustainable pace. Now I’m trying to live the normal ‘German lifestyle’ and experience the every day culture. But I’m not completely traveled out- I’ve visited Hannover and am planning trips to Hamburg, Amsterdam, Heidelberg, and possibly Belgium. Once the travel bug bites, you just can’t stop itching to go!
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Understanding- Most of the time I don’t understand what is being said, but I have developed a deeper sense of understanding for this world and the people in it.
Verse- My ‘life verse,’ that is, a verse I’ve chosen to encourage and inspire myself, is 1 Peter 3:3-4: “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.”
Weather- The calendar says its summer, but you would never know by the weather lately. It went from summer to winter in one day, completely skipping over fall! But I must admit, I kind of enjoy staying at home snuggled up under a blanket while its pouring rain.
EXtremes- I go back and forward between feeling extremely comfortable and settled in a new culture and feeling completely confused!
Youth-group- I have been loving working with the youth group and being a part of the young adult group here!
Zzzz- I’ve finally reached the end of the alphabet, now it’s time to go to sleep. Goodnight friends, thanks for reading!
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What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up?

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Once upon a time, there was a little girl named Micah. She was your typical little girl- silly, energetic, curious. One day, someone asked her, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Smiling up at them, she replied without hesitation, “A Princess, of course!” The person laughed and patted her on the head. “Don’t we all,” they chuckled. In that moment, Micah’s dream of being a professional princess was shattered. Perhaps she would have to find something else to do when she grew up. But what?

As she grew older, her peers began letting go of their “princess dreams” and striving for new ones. Some wanted to be doctors, others teachers, lawyers, therapists. And while Micah eventually realized she too must relinquish her princess dream and replace it with a realistic career, she had no idea which one fit her.

Fast forward to high school graduation. Waiting in line before the ceremony processional, Micah hears fellow classmates chat excitedly about their plans: pre-med, art school, theater programs. Everyone seemed to have their major and corresponding career path figured out. In fear of being asked, what are your plans?, Micah hides under her over-sized graduation cap.

And now’s the part where I switch to first person. If you haven’t guessed, this story is about me! During my time here in Germany, I’ve often found myself thinking about my next two years of college and the future beyond. And while I am a notorious worrier, my recent thoughts on the subject have not been worries so much as questions. 

I’m almost grown up, but I still don’t know exactly what I want to be…what does that say about me?

I think it says a few things. First, the fact that I could never envision myself with a typical job title like doctor, teacher, or lawyer means I don’t want an already established career. I want a job title with multiple words, something that takes a bit of explanation, something like, “Creative Director of Content and Photography” or “Editor of Written Communication.” What the what do those even mean? Exactly.

Second, titles like that aren’t attained through a traditional career path. I see myself following a circuitous path, full of twists and turns and trial and errors. Some people love following a step by step path to their future career- first college, then graduate school, then training of some sort, and then work. But I’ve always been okay with uncertainty where my career is concerned. I like not knowing what my post-graduation plans. It is strangely liberating and exciting! It allows me space to be my creative, unique, crazy self.

Lastly, I don’t want to mold myself to fit a career. Sometime people change themselves to fit into the ‘doctor mold,’ for example, adjusting to what they think a doctor should be. But I want to be myself, and mold my career to fit me. Now I know that’s not always possible, or at least not right away. I will undoubtedly have to go through a few jobs that don’t quite fit until I reach the job that fits me like a glove. Sometime you have to figure out what you don’t want to do first before you can figure out what you do want to do. I’ve already checked quite a few options off the list, and continue narrowing it down with each new experience.

So, in conclusion to this ridiculously long post, I want to offer a few words of wisdom to my past self. Little Micah, it’s perfectly okay to have no idea what you want to do. You will likely spend the rest of your life figuring it out. But chances are, you won’t become a professional princess. That’s too conventional for you anyways.

Thanks for reading friends, have a great week!

Let The Dog Days Begin

IMG_5723.jpgHello friends, how are things?

I’m feeling pretty great, because summer has officially begun! Ok, maybe it doesn’t technically start until June 21st, but I declare the season officially open none the less! Let the Dog Days of summer begin.

What exactly do I mean by the Dog Days?

You know, those lazy, unproductive summer days filled with sweaty clothes, sticky hands, and happy hearts. While the year calendar might end in December, every school child and parent knows the year actually ends in August and begins again with the start of school in September. Summer is the reward for everything you’ve accomplished and all the effort you’ve exerted throughout the other nine months. After surviving the cold German winter, Germany has rewarded me handsomely with a gorgeous summer!

Maybe it’s because I grew up in Southern California, land of eternal summer, that I am suddenly so appreciative of the lovely weather. I jumped for joy on the first sunny day in May, and cherish each warm day like it could be my last! I particularly enjoy the twilight hours, after the heat of the day has settled and the sun begins to sink slowly towards the horizon. Sunset isn’t until around 10pm here, so I’ve found myself turning into a bit of a night owl.

But my favorite part of summer is the change of pace. Everything slows down, including my brain, and I can finally take a deep breath. Previously frustrating or worrisome things somehow become less complicated. Life is divided into seasons- seasons to work your butt off and stay busy, and other seasons to take a break. Neither pace is sustainable the whole year- I would burn out from school if it were any longer, but I would feel bored and unproductive if summer were any longer. Our God designed this life we life perfectly, don’t you think?

Anyways, enough of my pointless rambling. I wanted to share a few photos from a recent visit to a playground/natural hiking area here in Hildesheim that I visited with the family I’m working for. This day in particular sticks out to me as the official commencement of the Dog Days of Summer- enjoy!

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^I may or may not have frolicked in this field. Just a little.

IMG_5672.jpgIMG_5701.jpg^The little Mr. deep in thought.IMG_5702.jpg^Make a wish!IMG_5706.jpg^Straight chillin’.IMG_5716.jpg
^Over the hills and through the woods!

IMG_5723.jpgIMG_5740.jpgIMG_5678.jpgIMG_5697.jpgI hope you’re enjoying these Dog Days as much as I am friends! Have a good one and I’ll see you ’round here soon.IMG_5632.jpgIMG_5601.jpgIMG_5633.jpg