One Month in Germany

39F327D6-B4BA-4339-96B1-ADF49853BE29.jpgI can’t believe I’ve already been here one month. It feels like it has gone by both lightning fast and also incredibly slow. There have been so many hurdles to cross (even now I’m writing this on a German keyboard and I have no idea where any of the letters are, so it takes an eternity!). One second I feel on top of the world, like I could conquer anything and excel at life, and then the next second I feel totally helpless and uninformed. Expat life is quite the rollercoaster.

But recently I took a breather and spent a few hours walking around a beautiful park in Mannheim, watching the bright orange leaves fall gently to the ground. Fall is here and I’m lucky enough to be here to experience it. Below are a few photos and stories from the past few weeks. Enjoy!jIMG_4681My first day in the city of Weinheim, by beautiful new home.IMG_4688Some of my colleagues from school and I went to an alpine slide after work. It was so much fun and the view wasn’t too shabby either.IMG_4717The children in the language intensive classes at my school worked together to perform a play. They come from over ten different countries and speak many different languages. Many of them are refugees who have not lived in Germany more than two years. But they performed incredibly well in German, and it was obvious they were proud of themselves. The whole show brought tears to my eyes. It was touching to see people from such different backgrounds coming together to make something new. The play was covered in the newspaper and hopefully this experience will be replicated in other schools in Germany.Processed with VSCO with t1 presetIMG_4760CofffffeeeeeeeeIMG_4785Met up with another Fulbrighter for a day in Heidelberg. That place NEVER gets old.IMG_4813Moore Haus will always have my heart.IMG_4851Hope you’re doing well!

A Case of the Screw-It’s

IMG_0526IMG_0528IMG_0529IMG_0540IMG_0544IMG_0554IMG_0555IMG_0559IMG_0562IMG_0570IMG_0574IMG_0595IMG_0604IMG_0607Have you ever woken up with a case of the Screw-It’s? Symptoms include apathy, procrastination, and generally not giving a crap. Severely afflicted patients may feel the urge to stay in their pajamas all day and watch Netflix on the couch instead of being productive. It’s serious stuff. Unfortunately, I think I’ve recently fallen ill with a case of the Screw It’s. I show all the signs:

Research paper due tomorrow?
Screw it.
Bedroom is so messy it looks like a hurricane hit? Screw-it.
That rats nest I call hair hasn’t been brushed in two days? Screw it.

I am terribly ill indeed, and showing no signs of improvement. In fact, I’m not sure I want to fully recover. You see, I’ve been caring about things too much my entire life. I work myself up over the most trivial matters until I’m stressed out of my mind and so paralyzed by anxiety that I can’t accomplish anything.

I’ve always been obsessed with my grades. Actually the word addicted is more accurate, because I can’t quit the grades ‘Stress Cycle’ no matter how hard I try. The logical side of my brain knows that getting a sub-average grade on a quiz or paper is not that big a deal, but the emotional side of my brain can’t get with the program!

Maybe if I cared a little less, I’d be healthier and happier. Now, I’m by no means advocating total apathy or indifference in life, but I am recognizing the danger of caring so much it  harms instead of helps. Passion and ambition and investment are all wonderful qualities to have. But they are finite resources- you only have so much of them to use before you are spread too thin. Maybe instead of trying to care deeply about everything I do, I should only care about a few specific things and let the others sort themselves out. Not every paper I write has to be A+ material, I don’t have to apply for every internship on the face of the earth, I don’t have to be über close with all my friends. Being able to discern what is truly important to me in life and what I can safely say Screw-It to is the key to success!

Perhaps being infected with a case of the Screw-It’s isn’t so bad after all. I hear it’s contagious- you might just come down with it one of these days. If you do, don’t hesitate to join me in my crusade against over-caring!

P.s. These photos are from my time at the Malibu Pier!

Question of the Day
Do you ever care so much about something it stresses you out? Please tell me I’m not alone!

Happy Weekend!

IMG_2334.JPGHello friends, I hope you are enjoying a slow Saturday morning, sipping coffee and watching cartoons (do people still do that? I hope they do)! I’m taking my sweet time this weekend after a crazy busy week of school, work and rushing for a sorority!

Last night was my definition of a perfect Friday night. No, it didn’t include any wild toga parties or big adventures, but it was just what I needed. A friend and I ate dinner at Chipotle, grabbed McFlurries at McDonalds, and headed to the beach to watch the sunset (pictured above). There’s something about being near the ocean that makes for good conversation, don’t you agree? Then we went back to my house and sat on my balcony laughing and talking for a long while. It was chicken soup for the soul, a deep breath, a moment to reset. 

What are your weekend plans? Can you believe it’s almost October? I sure can’t. The holidays will be upon us before we know it! Have a good (relaxing) one friends.

3 Tips for Avoiding Overwhelm

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As exciting as the start of a new school year is, it can also be incredibly stressful and overwhelming. After my first few days of class, I’ve realized I am a little rusty at this whole school thing. I haven’t written an essay or read a textbook in over four months, even my handwriting looks sloppier! I am a born stresser– it’s one of my spiritual gifts actually. It doesn’t take much to overwhelm me, so I’ve had to learn how to minimize overwhelm in my daily life. Here are three practical steps I take when I have too much on the brain:
1. Do A Brain Dump- A brain dump is when you transfer everything in your brain onto a piece of paper or other device. I often find myself lying in bed at night unable to fall asleep because of the million future ‘to-do’s’ floating around in my head. But if I write all of those down onto a ‘note’ in my phone or a Post-it, I am able to relax, knowing I can address them again in the morning. Try it tonight- I promise you will instantly feel less overwhelmed!
2. Know Yourself- Are you more productive in the morning or at night? Do you thrive in silent or loud settings? Are lists helpful or stressful to you? Asking yourself questions like these helps you know yourself better and then set yourself up for success. If you place yourself in optimal situations, you are less likely to feel overwhelmed and more likely to perform at higher levels.
3. Get Moving- This is the simplest, most common advice you’ll hear from everyone and their mom: Exercise clears the brain! When you exercise, you aren’t thinking about anything, just getting through the motions. Afterwards, though, you can look at your to-do list with more clarity and practicality. If I’m in a slump or feeling over-emotional, I try to get outside and get moving. Even though it initially feels like I’m wasting time I could be devoting to my tasks, I do it anyways because I am always ten million times faster and more productive after exercise than before.

I hope you’re readjusting well to school/work life friends! Can you believe it’s already September? I sure can’t. Christmas break will be here before we know it!

Question of the Day
What tips and tricks do you use to avoid overwhelm? I’d love to hear- lord knows I need them!