Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

21 Things That Studying Abroad Has Taught Me

Monday, December 8th, 2014

And now the fall semester is winding to a close, and as I look back on my summer semester abroad, I am reminded of all the things that studying abroad has taught me and has helped me grow as a person.  Although there are probably more things than what I have written about, this is what came to mind first.

 

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.  So throw off the bow lines, sail away from the safe harbor.  Catch the trade winds in your sails.  Explore.  Dream.  Discover.”  – Mark Twain

 

  1. It’s OK to be on your own sometimes.

    DSCF8307While living in Germany, I lived in an apartment with three other German girls, none of whom ever spoke to me. It was the equivalent of living on your own, but only in a one-room apartment.  Since I am an only child, the quiet didn’t seem to bother me that much, but when it did get to me on occasion, the fact that I was living alone just made me have to get out of my apartment and visit friends, or explore the city.  Travelling on your own gives you a chance to actually take in everything around you, instead of being distracted by your friends’ conversation.

  2. It builds confidence.

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    Whether it was figuring out the rail system, or looking for cheap and clean hostels, you learn to be confident in yourself and trust your own instincts.  Especially when everything is in another language, it can be a bit intimidating, but you have to know (or at least look like you know) what you are doing.

  3. Anytime is the right time for a Bratwurst.

    Anytime of day, whether it’s lunchtime, dinnertime, or almost midnight, you somehow find room for a €1 Bratwurst from Domplatz.  Even though some Germans said that they weren’t that great, they were the cheapest Bratwursts in Erfurt, and very rarely would you get a stale Brötchen – that only happened if it was almost closing, or if they were at the end of a bag…

  4. It’s never too late to discover new places.

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    Even during my last few days in Erfurt, I discovered a new park, and a new alternate route into the Altstadt!  Even after living in one place from years (or in this case months), you can still find new places to explore.  The world is such a fascinating place!

  5. Take advantage of the proximity to other European countries.

    Everything is relatively close together in Europe!  Use this to your advantage, and travel to other countries.  Since we were only allowed to miss two classes of each course, and each course met only once a week, you could technically skip a full week of classes and go backpacking!  This is exactly what I and three other friends did!  We skipped a week of classes and travelled to Rome!  With the help of cheap travel and accommodations, it was a relatively cheap trip!  We found round-trip train and airfare for less than €100, and 6 days in a bed-and-breakfast was around €250 per person!  If you walk around the city, you are really only paying for food and souvenirs during your trip.
    After classes were completed and before I flew back to the United States, I had a little over a week to carry out any last ditch travel plans, and that’s exactly what Anneka and I ended up doing.  It wasn’t really spontaneous, since we did have to plan in advance for this, but it was definitely worth it!  We bought a ticket that allowed us to use any train (including high-speed trains!) for 5 travel days within two months.  Our ticket package included Benelux and Germany, and we definitely took advantage of the opportunity in front of us.  We travelled through Luxembourg, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Germany: 11 cities within 6 days.  (I know it seems a little ambitious, but we did it!)  The cities we visited were (in this order): Luxembourg, Brugges, Bruxelles, Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Münster, Dortmund, Essen, Düsseldorf, Köln, and Bonn.

  6. Trains are almost never on time…

    I had many late trains while travelling abroad. You just have to be patient and know that you will get through this hassle.  From our Benelux trip, Deutsche Bahn was the only train company that was late. Trains in other countries were very punctual compared to Germany.  The worst train delay we had was on our return journey, from Bonn, back to Erfurt.  We had to travel from Bonn to Mainz, where we would catch a connecting train that would take us back to Erfurt.  However, there were MAJOR delays and our first train was over an hour late.  We had no chance of catching our connection and it was the last valid day for our ticket! AHHH!!  Since we had no idea what to do, we hopped on a train to Frankfurt, in hopes that there would be possibly more connections since it was a bigger city.  While on the train, we asked a ticket collector what our best option was, and thanks to her, we were able to catch a train the next morning back to Erfurt with very little hassle!  The downside to that, we had to spend another night in a train station.

  7. Sleeping in a train station is not ideal, but doable.

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    When you are in a bind, and the next train isn’t coming until the morning, if push comes to shove, you can sleep at the train station  Just be sure that you are travelling with at least one other person, so that you can take turns staying awake and keeping watch on your bags and surroundings.  If you plan on doing this as part of your trip, it can get pretty chilly at night, so either be prepared for cold, or pack an extra jacket.  Or both.

  8. HOLA is a great thing when you want to watch your American shows that are blocked by GEMA.

    No other explanation is needed.  This little app that works within your browser, changes the VPN of your computer to think that it’s in another country.  This was a life saver when I needed to catch up on Grimm and The Walking Dead while abroad.

  9. Making friends with other international students is one of the best parts of studying abroad.

    DSCF6020Most likely, they are in the same situation that you are, so they are your support system and understand what you are going through.  You will also have lifelong friends from all over the world once your semester/ year abroad is complete.

  10. Travelling pushes buttons you didn’t know you had.


    From my experiences abroad, I learned that I am such a pain when it comes to finding the hostel from the train station.  Anneka can vouch for this, since we have now travelled through 6 different countries together, and everytime, without fail, I would get fed up with the crappy directions that google gave us, and get really moody until we found the hostel.  Then everything would be fine.

  11. Wanderlust is an actual condition that you can never get rid of.

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    Ever since returning from Europe, all I can think about is when I will go back, and where I will go next trip, and which of my new international friends I will visit first.  Also since returning, I have been reading so many lists about travelling, and secretly agreeing with every point they make.  Here are some examples of what I’m talking about:
    EX 1
    EX 2
    EX 3
    EX 4
    I have then proceeded to look at maps like THIS and think, “Wow… I need to see more places and travel more within the United States.”

  12. Your travel companions will be your new lifelong friends.

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    Maybe this is because you bond over the same travel experiences, or maybe because you are all the other person has, but you definitely become very close friends and will always have a travel buddy, even once you return home.  Luckily for me, my travel buddy goes to the same Uni as me! (Talking about you Anneka!)

  13. Pack lightly when backpacking.

    The only way not to kill your back while travelling is to pack light.  The only way to do this is to wear the same outfit for multiple days.  No one will notice if you change your scarf or jacket for the pictures!  Other travelers will understand, and this is completely acceptable in my book!

  14. Keep a souvenir from each city you visit.

    Choose one method and stick with it.  For me, I have collected postcards from every city that I have visited, and now I can look back through them and remember all of the places I have seen and things I have experienced.

  15. Studying abroad is less about the studying and more about the experience in a foreign country.

    DSCF5441Much to the dismay of my professors, I spent more time travelling and exploring new places than I did actually studying for the classes I took.  All of my classes abroad were fairly easy, and the teachers were not as strict as the ones at my home university.  I think that they understood that we were international students and just wanted to get a side of education with our travels.

  16. A phone is really not that important.

    After living a full 5 months without a phone was a nice break from the electronic device being surgically attached to every other American at home.  It is why I agree with videos like THIS and THIS and believe that there is a world that exists beyond the 4-inch screen, 12 inches from our face.

  17. Culture shock does exist.

    I did experience some culture shock; however, mine was not when I arrived in Germany.  I had reverse culture shock when I got back to the States.  The only problem I encountered upon arrival in Germany was jet lag, and getting used to the time difference.  The biggest culture shock, which I had to overcome, was the workload at my home Uni.  The courses are so much more rigorous here than they were in Germany.  I struggled to manage my time and focus on how much work I actually had to do to pass my classes at home!  It has taken some time to get used to the workload again, but I think by next semester, I will be fully acclimated again.  There was also the shock of having to drive everywhere, when I was so used to taking the tram and train everywhere.  This shock I got over pretty quickly, though.

  18. In theory, a blog is a great way to document your adventures abroad, but in reality, I let mine fall by the wayside.

    When I first left the country, I blogged almost every week to try to keep my website updated.  Slowly my blogs began to be spaced further and further apart, until I started to fully neglect my blog around late June.  It was at this point that I just posted my pictures on Facebook, and neither posted pics, nor updated entries.  I failed to share about my experiences about Berlin, Rome, Benelux, and my ordeal with my return flight home.  Although I shared these stories with family and friends by word of mouth, these memories never made it to page.
    Long stories short: You need at least a week to experience all of Berlin.  Warm and sunny Rome was a nice change from rainy Germany and the Colosseum IS as great as they say it is.  Benelux was such a whirlwind trip that I would like to go back and spend more time in each city.  Luxembourg had an extensive system of Casemates that holds a lot of history for such a small country.  Belgium has great beer, chocolate, and fries.  The Netherlands have great cheese (Gouda!) and lots of tulip fields (although I did not get to experience these tulip fields, it is on my bucket list and I will definitely go back when they are in season!)  The Kölner Dom is huge, and the Rheinturm in Düsseldorf has amazing views at night.  You can see for miles from up there! (Although I was only up in the tower at night, I think you can see the Kölner Dom from there during the day!!)  My return flight was cancelled, and I was booked on another flight, compensated for a night in a hotel, upgraded to economy plus, then upgraded to Business class at the terminal.  (I would now recommend Lufthansa to anyone who asks! Such a pleasant flight, once everything was sorted out with United…)

  19. Trust your gut.

    This was the first time that I travelled internationally by myself, and it is a completely different creature than travelling within the United States.  You have to have faith in yourself that you can accomplish anything!  When my United return flight was cancelled, I was rescheduled on Lufthansa and upgraded to Economy plus.  When I got to the airport the next morning, security was more of a hassle than usual – Once through normal security, I was “randomly” pulled aside to do a full body scan, where they had to swab the screens of all of my electronic devices, and then I had to power all of them on (I was flying about 1 month after THIS new law was added).  Once getting through that hassle, of course my gate was at the VERY end of the terminal, and it was a 10 minute walk there, with the rolling walkways.  Once at the terminal, I proceeded to stand in the line for the people at the desk without thinking about it.  By the time I reached the front of the line thoughts of getting out of line versus staying in line had all run through my brain.  Of course I decided to stay in line, just verify that I was booked on this flight, since my previous flight was cancelled.  It was here, that the woman upgraded me to Business class, at no extra charge!  I was one happy camper once on the plane!  We got to board first, and then they served us drinks while Economy class was still boarding!  The 3-course meal was served on REAL plates and we had a choice for each course.  They also served us complimentary wine, if that was what we chose to drink.  I was smiling from ear to ear the entire flight, and there was nothing that could stop me!  Once we landed at Dulles, we deplaned faster than economy, which meant that the customs line was substantially shorter and I got my luggage and got through customs faster than my parents could get to the airport from work!  I ended up waiting on them! (That never happens with international flights!)  Was all of this just luck? Or was it because of a gut feeling?  Even if your gut tells you to stand in a line for no reason whatsoever, trust that feeling… It may get you a $2,200 upgrade at no cost to you!

  20. Have no regrets.

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    This one is a little hard for me, because I had one major regret at the end of my semester abroad.  In the middle of the semester, a group of friends decided to go on a road trip to Croatia.  It was a long weekend, and I had a paper due when classes started back up on Tuesday.  I stayed behind in Erfurt to write my paper.  I regret not going to Croatia with them.  From their stories and photos, they had a phenomenal time and I wish that I had gone too.  Instead of staying behind to translate one stupid paper, I wish that I had asked for an extension and went to Croatia with them.  For most people, even getting the chance to study abroad is a once in a lifetime experience.  Take advantage of every opportunity that you get.  Don’t let any pass you by.

  21. Never stop travelling.

    As I write this, I am saddened by the fact that I am no longer in Europe for all of the festive holiday traditions, including Oktoberfest and Weihnachtsmarkt.  I yearn for the day that I can return to Germany for the holiday season and experience the real thing.  I made so many great memories that will last a lifetime and many good friends, with whom I hope to stay in contact for years to come.  The world is such an incredible place and I just want to see it all!  I have grown and matured so much throughout my travels, and the more I travel, the more I hope to grow and thrive on this breathtaking planet we call Earth.  In the wise words of Saint Augustine, “The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.”  Never lose that wanderlust.

 

“Own only what you can always carry with you: know languages, know countries, know people.  Let your memory be your travel bag.”  – Aleksander Solzhenitsyn

So much to do, so much to see!

Monday, June 30th, 2014

I would like to publicly apologize for how long it has been since my last post… These past few weeks have been incredibly busy with schoolwork, travel, and sightseeing! I simply have not had enough time to sit down and write a post!

Anyway, where do I begin? How about where I left off…

The weekend of May 23 – 25, Anneka and I traveled to Innsbruck, Austria and Neuschwanstein! That’s right folks, we went to another country!! AUSTRIA! We left after our Friday class, around 13:30, and arrived in Innsbruck around 20:00. We had to change trains a few times, but we got there!

Off to Austria.. OOH!

Off to Austria.. OOH!

First impression of Innsbruck: smelly. Smell was not what I was expecting, arriving in a city that I had heard so many good things about! Anneka and I first had to find the hostel before we did anything else. After about a 45 minute walk and 2.3 miles, we finally found it. At this point, it’s almost 22:00, and we’re both starving. We found a cute little Italian restaurant and decided to eat there – a glass of wine and half of a pizza.. you can’t go wrong with that, can you?

Fancy dinner with Anneka

Fancy dinner with Anneka

We woke up early, so we would have all day to explore the city. The sight of the surrounding mountains was breathtaking!! I kept taking pictures of the same mountains because it was just so majestic! Once we left the hostel, we headed toward the city center, and we first encountered the Zeughaus museum, but we decided not to tour it, and we said we would rather spend our time seeing the sights of the city, than inside a museum. So we ventured onward. Next we had a look inside of the Jesuit church, and then out to look around town!

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VonTrapp escape route.. (For you, Dad!!)

VonTrapp escape route.. (For you, Dad!!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

We wandered into the Bundesgarten/ Hofgarten behind the Landestheater, and discovered a knarly tree, great for pictures, and a jumbo chess set! The chess pieces were in a covered shelter-type area. Since the floor was wood, there were no markings for a board, so we set up the pieces and just imagined the squares. Although our board was a little larger than it should have been — our was 8×11, instead of 8×8, woops! We actually almost played a full game! I was about one move away from checkmate when two men asked if they could use the pieces to play a game. Since there were two sets of pieces, we said yes, but then they started taking the pieces we were playing with! It was only then that we realized that the boards were just outside of the shelter, around a group of benches… It was time to move on anyway, so we just called it a checkmate and went on our merry way.

 

Giant chess!

Giant chess!

It was a gorgeous day! The clouds just seemed to float through the sky and the light breeze was quite refreshing! We decided to take a break from exploring and sat down in a cafe and had a cappuccino and cake! I ordered an Apfelkuchen and Anneka got a Sachertorte. We split both of them, and the Sachertorte was delicious! It was my first time eating one, so I was surprised at how much I liked it. For those of you that know me, you know that I don’t really like chocolate cake, or chocolate flavored things. (I’d much rather just have a bar of chocolate than a chocolate cupcake or chocolate ice cream.)

Afternoon snack - Cappuccino mit Apfelkuchen und Sachertorte.. YUM!

Afternoon snack – Cappuccino mit Apfelkuchen und Sachertorte.. YUM!

After visiting the Grassmayr Bell Company, we wanted to visit the Ambras castle, but on our walk there, we realized that it was too far away and we were too ambitious to try to make it all that way and back to town before our train left. However, along the way we did run into the Olympic Ice Stadium and Tivoli Stadium! The Olympic Ice Stadium was home to the 1964 and ’76 Winter Olympics, and although we didn’t go inside, it was cool to snap a picture of the Olympic rings!

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After a day of walking all over Innsbruck, it was time to head back to the train station to catch our train to our next destination: Füssen! Füssen is the village that is closest to Schloss Neuschwanstein. We arrived in the village around 23:30, so we didn’t really have any time to see the town before heading to the hostel. The next morning, we were up and out pretty early. Since it was a Sunday, not much was open. On top of that, it was about 07:30, so it was still too early for the places that would be open. Anneka and I eventually found a little cafe that was open, and grabbed a pastry and coffee for breakfast. After that, it was off the the castle! It was about 09:30 when we arrived, and we still had to buy tickets, then make the hike up the mountain to actually get to the castle.

Our tour was at 10:25, but only about 30 minutes long. Since King Ludwig II died before completion, construction ended abruptly, and the castle remains only 1/3 completed. I would’ve loved to have seen the unfinished parts of the castle and it also would have been interesting to see what the castle would have looked like if it was 100% completed. Neuschwanstein is already huge, but if it was three times that size, it would be gigantic! Sadly, you can’t take pictures inside the castle, but the view from up there was incredible! Although it was a little hazy, you could see for miles! (Or should I say kilometers?) After our tour, we made another hike, up even further, to the Marienbrücke, or Mary’s Bridge, which is from where most pictures of the castle are taken. Once we hiked back down to the bus pick-up point, we rode back to Füssen just in time to catch our train and start our long journey home. I would like to go back to Füssen and explore the village itself, because there is also a castle there (Hohes Schloss), along with a few other sites that I wish we had time to see. We also did not have enough time to visit Hohenschwangau, the home of King Ludwig I, A.K.A. the parent’s castle.

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For more information on Innsbruck, click here.

For more information on Füssen, click here.

For more information on Neuschwanstein, click here.

 

The following Thursday, 29 May, was a holiday and we didn’t have classes, so Anneka and I spent the afternoon in Saalfeld, visiting Feengrotten, which literally translates to “Fairy Grottoes.” Feengrotten is a cave attraction in southeastern Thüringen, so we were able to get there for free with our student IDs. It was a dreary day and it had rained all morning and continued to rain the entire time we were there. Even though we were underground in the caves, it was still cold and damp, so it wasn’t the best experience that i could’ve had, but I’m still glad that I went! There were great photos though! However, I do have to say that it was not my favorite cave system.. That would still be Mammoth Cave in Kentucky!

29 May was a holiday in Germany, so it was like another Sunday – almost all stores were closed and the only places open were bars, pubs, and some cafes. What holiday could this possibly be, you ask?  It would be Männertag, or in English, Men’s Day. It’s the German version of Father’s Day, but it is celebrated VERY differently. Here, it’s a day where men venture out and the women and children tend to stay inside. The men enjoy a day full of drinking and bar hopping. Some even pull wagons full of beer with them! Originally, the men would actually go hiking and camping on Männertag, but I think nowadays, most men just go out drinking. On our way home, Anneka and I did see some men with camping gear on the train, and we applauded them for actually camping on such a cold and dreary Thursday!

For more information on Feengrotten, click here.

On 31 May, I decided to explore a part of Erfurt that I hadn’t seen yet. Jill and I rode the tram to the old town, got off, and got lost in the streets, findings new places and discovering new things. It was such a lovely afternoon and the weather was just perfect! After exploring a part of the city, Jill and I met a few other friends in Nordpark to grill and we had a picnic!

9 June was also a holiday, and since it was a long weekend, a group of exchange students decided to take a road trip to Croatia! I really wanted to go, but sadly, I had a 10 page take-home translation that was due in a few days, so I opted to stay behind. Another group of exchange students decided to dress up and go out to eat, and so we have dubbed this as “Fancy Friday.” On 6 June those of us that stayed in Erfurt dressed up in fancy clothes, took lots of nice pictures, and then went out for burgers. That was probably a sight to see: fancy people chowing down on a big ol’ burger… The next day, Anneka, Katie and I spent the afternoon at a spa. It was such a relaxing day! Sunday and Monday, however, I spent all day working on my translation. I had to translate into German, so it required a lot of effort and time. Sunday and Monday were incredibly hot! It was at least 32 degrees here! (That’s roughly 90 degrees Fahrenheit, and I have no AC… yuck!) When I went to class the following Tuesday, a handful of the class wanted to turn it in late, and the instructor was completely fine with that! If I had known this before the others left for Croatia, I definitely would have joined them. Not going to Croatia is the one thing that I regret thus far..

The weekend of 13 – 15 June was Krämerbrückenfest in Erfurt. The closest comparison that I could think of was a Medieval version of a Renaissance Fair. It was all there: the dress, the festival food, the vendors, the masses of people, everything! I have never seen that many people in Erfurt before. I actually did not enjoy the masses either. After Krämerbrückenfest, it just reinforced the idea that I made the right choice in choosing to study in Erfurt! :)

For more information on Krämerbrückenfest, click here.

Saturday, 14 June, I visited the Thüringer Zoopark right here in Erfurt! It was raining on and off throughout the day, but it was quite an experience for Erik, Anni, Alena, and me! Within the first five minutes of being inside the park, Erik was pooped on by a bird! Being from Finland, Anni had never seen a giraffe, elephant, or rhino before, so when we approached their exhibits, Anni became really excited and couldn’t hold back the smiles! There was also a nature trail in the park, and Ali and Erik ran ahead further down the trail, while Anni and I studied the map, since we didn’t have a lot of time until the park closed. When we started to catch up to them, Erik and Ali jumped out from behind a bush and scared Anni so much that she actually threw her phone a good 3 feet in front of her! (Or should I say 1 meter in front of her…) I was right behind Anni, opening a bottle of water, and if it had been a few seconds later, Anni would have had water all over the back of her hair… The major difference between zoos in the USA and Zoopark is that you could actually walk through some of the enclosures where the animals were! There was no glass or fence between you and the animals! We walked through the enclosures of White-tailed deer (in the North American section of the zoo…), Kangaroos, Monkeys, and Lemurs. There was also a ‘petting zoo’ section with Billy Goats, some of which were very photogenic. The elephants’ enclosure was very small for such large creatures, but the zoo is in the midst of building a new, much larger exhibit for them! We stayed at the zoo until it closed, but we did manage to see everything there! Later that night, we met a larger group of exchange students to watch the fireworks that were happening over St. Petersberg. What a display! Since July 4th is not celebrated in Europe, I’ve had my fill of fireworks to make up for the ones I will miss in the States. :)

Sunday, 15 June, David and I used our student IDs to travel to another Thüringen town: Gera. We only spent about 2-3 hours there. It was a very small town, and it definitely needs some TLC. The architecture around the city was quite interesting – one building would be renovated and taken care of, and the neighboring building would be falling apart, with paint peeling, fading colors, and other signs of decay. It is very apparent that the city has not fully recovered from WWII. Nevertheless, it was still a decent way to spend a Sunday, avoiding doing homework..

Following this post, there will be photos from all of these places posted! Go take a look!

Week of 06.04.2014

Friday, April 11th, 2014

Monday was Jill’s actual 21st birthday, so we went to an Italian restaurant for dinner and the staff was so sweet! Our waiter (I think he was maybe the owner? And also Italian) brought a glass of champagne/ prosecco for everyone! Once we had ordered and eaten our food, he brought a huge piece of tiramisu for the birthday girl! It was so big that Jill ate about 1/4 of it, then let all 15 of her dinner guests try a spoonful, and there was still some left! After that he also brought out dessert for everyone else! How generous! Our dessert was similar to panna cotta, it I’m sure if it was actually that, but it still tasted delicious! I really enjoyed the bite of tiramisu; it had more caramel than coffee flavor, which was good for me, since I’m not a huge coffee drinker. I would definitely go back for coffee and dessert, or dinner again.

This past week felt incredibly long. Even though I went to bed at a reasonable time, I was still really tired the next day! I think the bed has something to do with it sometimes I wake up with a stiff back. (Oh how I miss my full size bed at home…)

Today we finished our Vorbereitungskurs and now we have a week free to do as we please. Since it was the last day, we had a final test, and it was easier than i thought it would be– either I know more Deutsch than I thought i did, or it was just sehr einfach! Since the test didn’t take the entire class time, what did we do after? We had a twice-as-long break in the middle of class, and then we sang songs that we had learned throughout the past three weeks. Said songs included: Bruder Jakob, Heinrich und Liese (not sure if that’s the actual name), Die Wanze, and one other that I don’t even know what it was called. After all that singing, we still got out of class 30 minutes early. This was an added bonus for me, because I now had more time fo make lunch and pack last minute items for my trip.

Friday, 14:30 – At this very moment, I am journaling from a train bound for Göttingen. From there I will catch another train to Lüneburg because I am going to spend a few days with Ryan, one of my friends from high school who is also studying abroad at the moment. He is finishing up his year abroad, whereas I’m only here for a semester, but I’m not complaining! I will return to Erfurt on Tuesday night, and will be signing up for sport classes on Wednesday and German classes on Thursday. At the moment I am not planning on going anywhere else for Easter, but that could change..

16:05 – As I stand on the platform in Göttingen, it is a bit chilly standing out here, and I think it might actually be snowing. Most of the days I’ve been here over the past three weeks it has been cold. I understand that it is still early spring here, but when at 08:45 its a beautiful spring morning, and then dark skies and raining by 09:30, I DON’T UNDERSTAND IT! Most days its a scenic town against a whitewashed sky. Somedays I just wish it was sunny blue skies.

While on the train to Lüneburg we passed another train, but this was no ordinary train. It was hauling a large number of Audi cars! I am so used to seeing cars transported by trucks in the USA that it never occurred to me that they could be transported by train! I would’ve taken a picture of it, but I didn’t have enough time :(

I made it to Lüneburg just fine. Ryan has a really nice apartment! I’m really jealous of him! It’s about 3x the size of my apartment in Erfurt. And what else do I find in Lüneburg? Sunny blue skies – just what I was wishing for.  :)

For Photos around Lüneburg, check out the “Photos” page.

First Weekend Out on the Town

Sunday, March 30th, 2014

On Friday we finished the first week of the prep course. I’m definitely glad that I signed up for it! I’ve met a handful of the international students. There are people here from the USA, Korea, Russia, Slovakia, Finland, Ukraine, Czech republic, Argentina, Bulgaria, Great Britain, Italy, Spain, Japan, and Poland. There’s probably a few others, but I haven’t met them yet. :)

One of the Russian girls, Veronika, wore a Sochi Olympics jacket to class one day this past week, so during the break, I asked her did she go see the Olympics, and as it turns out, she actually worked at the Olympics as a volunteer! How awesome is that! She said that she helped out with the Opening and Closing Ceremonies and during the games she worked in the ice rink (figure skating & speed skating) helping with delegations from other countries. (I’m so jealous!!) Since she volunteered, she got a package of spirit gear, including one of the multi-color pullover jackets, with the Olympic rings on the back. What a cool experience for someone our age!

Having a limited kitchen and no meal plan really forces you to be creative when it comes to meals. No microwave and only one pot also limits what you can create. Saturday I made pasta with chicken and oven-roasted vegetables and Brötchen (bread roll) mit Butter. It’s times like these when being a Girl Scout really comes in handy — I sliced up carrots, potatoes, cucumber, and green beans and wrapped it all up in foil, like a potato pocket for campfires, but just stuck it in the oven instead!

Saturday Dinner 29-03-2014
Saturday Dinner 29-03-2014

Since classes don’t start until the end of April, two of my flatmates went home for Easter and the third girl moved out completely. With everyone leaving, they took all of their stuff with them, including kitchenware, leaving me without a hot pot, paring knife, and skillet. I ended up buying another hot pot, because I can’t go 3 weeks without tea or cappuccino! With no one here to say otherwise, I monopolized the fridge, moving a shelf to make my shelf twice the size. I am also taking up a second shelf, and two door racks. What can I say, I love to cook lots of food…

Fridge Monopoly
Fridge Monopoly

***UPDATE – SUNDAY 21:00: One girl was still here when I came back home this evening– I think she might be one of “those people” that goes home every weekend. If so, I’m already not a fan of it..***

 

This next section is what I journaled during my Saturday night outings:

This evening a lot of the exchange students are meeting for a ‘pub crawl.’ I think tonight is going to be a lot of fun! We started out at Cafe Nerly, and then half of us went to a night club and the other half of us went to the Dubliner, a popular Irish pub. I went to the Dubliner because it cost 8 Euro to go to the club. It was karaoke night at the Dubliner and it was hilarious! Someone sang Barbie Girl, and others sang 99 Luftballoons, and sang Enter Sandman. Jordan thought about singing Karaoke, but didn’t. Instead, we were “those people” that were loud, and belting out the words to all of the songs that were sang in English. We fit right in. :)

Jordan looking for the perfect song-- "Take on Me"
Jordan looking for the perfect song– “Take on Me”

The Dubliner was so much fun that we reserved a table for every Saturday next month, in case people want to go out, we have a place to meet up and decide what we want to do for the night. It was around 1am when we decided to leave. The Straßenbahn only runs once per hour that late and we missed it by 5 minutes! We ended up walking home instead of waiting an hour for the next train. It wasn’t a very lengthy walk but by the time we got back to the apartments it was just before 2 am. After showering and getting ready for bed, it was already 4:30, but technically only 3:30 because of daylight savings. Germany time went forward one hour so now I am 6 hours ahead of the USA.

 

What a beaUtiful Sunday morning/ afternoon! I sat on my balcony and enjoyed my breakfast: Stracciatella Cappuccino, Johgurt mit der Ecke, und Toast mit Erdbeere Frucht und mit Nusspli.. yum :P

 

Typical relaxation picture with feet and scenic view..
Typical relaxation picture with feet and scenic view..

 

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The perks about a balcony? Your can air out your smoky clothes from last night. ;)

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The Sunday Drag

Sunday, March 23rd, 2014

So, as I come to realize, almost everywhere is closed on Sundays here, or places close earlier than normal, so since classes have not started yet, this led to a very uneventful slow day. It was cold outside, so I didn’t really feel like going out in it. Today mostly consisted of sleeping in, scrolling through Facebook (which turns out gets boring after a while), checking email and refreshing the page to find that no new messages had come, and watching random videos on Youtube.  Since Netflix and other movie/ tv show websites don’t work here, I ended the evening with a cup of cappuccino and Wired Science videos on Youtube.

On another note, my third roommate/ apartment mate returned today! Her name is the only one of the three that I can remember. (It’s Sophie, by the way..) I had one apt-mate who I thought had moved out yesterday or the day before, but alas, she too returned today, and the kitchen was very busy during dinnertime.  Since it is fairly small, only one person cooked their dinner at a time.  And since there is no dining area, I brought my meal back to my room to eat alone.

Small kitchen
Small kitchen
My shelf in the fridge (the middle one w/ strawberries)
My shelf in the fridge (the middle one w/ strawberries)
The shelf I claimed in one of the cabinets (sad and pretty empty at the moment)
The shelf I claimed in one of the cabinets (sad and pretty empty at the moment)

What did I make you ask? The same thing as last night’s dinner: Möhren, Busch Bohnen, und Spaghetti. We also have no microwave, and currently only one pan/pot and one skillet, so I boiled the veggies, set aside, boiled the pasta, then dumped it all into the skillet to make my favorite pan-fried pasta. YUM! At the moment, I have a limited supply of ingredients: enough to fill my shelf in the fridge. I only have butter (no olive oil), and no spices (no salt, pepper, garlic, etc.), so yesterday I stumbled upon someone else’s olive oil and salt, so SHH! Don’t tell meine Mitbewohnerinnen that I used their food!

The pan is so small, the pasta won't fit even when broken in half!
The pan is so small, the pasta won’t fit even when broken in half!
Veggies set aside
Veggies set aside
Frying the pasta
Frying the pasta
Pan-fried pasta w/ green beans & carrots
Pan-fried pasta w/ green beans & carrots

The living situation is very different over here than what I am used to back at UMW. Meine Mitbewohnerinnen are very quiet and to themselves. It’s like we live alone, and just share a kitchen area, but not food. Everyone leaves their doors closed, so i never know if anyone is around. At UMW, however, Kelly and I are roommates AND best friends! Sally, Salena, Georgeanne, and Jessie were just across the hall, and all of us would leave our doors open, and we would move as we pleased between rooms! UMW residence halls are much more of a community than apartments here. That is one of the things that I am looking forward to getting back, when the fall semester starts at UMW.

 

 

PS – sorry the videos are sideways! I couldn’t figure out how to rotate them. :)

Cannibalism

Tuesday, May 7th, 2013

The current 2.5 reminds me of last year’s 2.5. That is to say, they’re ridiculous.

They’re about two lessons ahead of every other class due to weird scheduling and cancellations, and they won’t have a single cancellation for the rest of the year, so I decided to give them a game day and we played Scattergories. The letter was “J” and they had to name “something you eat raw.” Team four wrote “John.”

“John? John. Like. You eat humans? Do you know what a cannibal is?”
“Of course.”
“Well no points for you, you wouldn’t eat humans raw.”
“But that is not a human. John is the name of my dog.”
“… still not giving you any points.”

CO

Tuesday, January 8th, 2013

So continuing from day 3…

Right after leaving the small town I headed up to the peaks again to meet up with the rest of the group… well riding up the Gondola it just stopped. And I was riding alone so I was mentally preparing to write out my will on my phone as the cables (including my little world) were raising UP and DOWN to extreme levels. It was a bit terrifying…

solo riding.

solo riding.

literally the rest of the day consisted of traveling to Lafayette , CO and running away to eat at a pizzeria where our cashier was obviously stoned out of his mind. Mary and I literally went to bed at 8:30… I went to bed because she did and she claims to still be on “virginia time”… its crazy. I couldn’t sleep. I just laid there being beaten by a thrashing Mary who sleep talked and screamed during the night scaring me to death. Woman.

(oh and my dad got us hot spot access on our phones… which is awesome and I love it. THANKS DAD.)

Day 4!

So woke up still really sore… but not on death row anymore so Mary and I were off to hit the slopes once again. We went to a different resort to board this time, Eldora! Mary decided today that she was going to try snowboarding… lets just say she got hit with some serious karma for making fun of me the other day. At least I stayed up except for getting off the ski lift and stopping at the very end.. (today I cleared it! no falls at either end thank you!!)

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Eldora Resort!

Eldora Resort!

To and from Eldora we stopped in an ADORABLE town called Nederland, CO. I was a little obsessed. We stopped in a coffee shop built in an old train car named “Buffalo Bills: coffee and confections”. They made fresh mini doughnuts there and let me just say, they were delicious…

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OH! I also saw like REAL prairie dogs just doing their thing in the wild. I liked it.

Since then I have eaten probably way too much, played role of soccer mom picking up the kids, and chilling on the couch watching disney channel. Life is good.

Mary is literally trying to convince me to have another 8:00 bed time.. I may fight her.


On Vacation

Tuesday, August 14th, 2012

It’s almost time to go back to Korea, which means it’s almost time to see my kids again. I needed the vacation, but I’ve missed my little terrors.

My female students told me (jokingly) before I left that I needed to take pictures of EVERYTHING. When I asked them to be a bit more specific, they requested pictures of attractive men and food. I laughed and agreed. When I thought about it some more, I realized that taking pictures of food was actually kind-of brilliant. I’ve always had difficulty describing “American food” to my students, because there is no set “American” menu. Not only does “American” food vary per region, but as someone who lives near the nation’s capital, there are so many diverse food options in my area. Whenever my students ask me if I eat rice in America I just have to laugh. I explain to them that not only have I eaten rice, but I’ve eaten kimchi. When they ask where, I reply that it’s fairly common at Korean restaurants. So, I’m not sure when I’ll use these pictures – maybe in my first lesson, maybe later as part of a food unit, but I’m excited to answer their food questions with pictures.

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mmmm I love food.
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I still have four more days in the states, so obviously I’m not finished collecting pictures. If there’s anyone reading this that is upset because I left out a quintessentially American food do both of us a favor and take a picture for me to share with my students, and enjoy it! My students will either thank you, or curse you, depending on how hungry they are during class.

Brussels

Monday, July 23rd, 2012

Yesterday, Professor Smith took us on a day trip to Brussels.  When we first got off the train, we saw a market with really cheap clothes and some rides.  I think the rides may have been because Saturday was Belgium’s national holiday.  Luckily for us, most of the places in Brussels seemed to be open despite the holiday, while, in Paris, many restaurants were closed the day after Bastille Day.

We wandered the streets of Brussels until we could find a place with waffles that Professor Smith considered to be good enough for our visit.  I tried speculoos with mine, which I can only describe as tasting like a graham cracker spread.

Then we went to the Margritte museum.  I had never heard of Margritte before (I am not an art expert), but he had some really awesome surrealism pieces.  I also liked the layout of the museum and how at the beginning of each floor there was a timeline of what was happening in his life.  It helped to put some context of his life with his work

Afterwards, we ate some fries and mashed potatoes.  Then, we went to a few chocolate shops and got to try some Belgium chocolates.  We wandered the streets of Brussels, discussed its planning and how it is different than Paris because Belgium’s power was much earlier and is evident by the narrow streets and less grand buildings (although there were still some!).  We finished the day off with more fries and waffles.  As we walked back to the train station, my belly was pleasantly very full.

Sir Lancelot and Clotted Cream Mania

Sunday, November 20th, 2011

So after three months in Bath, I finally sampled the famous clotted cream I’d been hearing so much about. My roommate and I went to a quaint tea shop, “The Bath Bun.” After being warmly greeted, we were ushered upstairs to a room straight out of the Victorian era–oddly reminding me of Madame Puddifoot’s in Harry Potter. Classical music was softly playing, the tables draped in floral tablecloths, china dotted with ultra-girly florals. Christmas lights were strung up for the impending festivities, and tables were filled with only women chatting amongst themselves. There’s something so loveable about seeing old British ladies chatting over their afternoon teas and cakes…

I got the classic afternoon tea spread—a tea of my choice (jasmine), biscuits (cookies for you Americans), a sandwich (tuna/cucumber), clotted cream and a slice of cake.

Lovely little spread

 

Clotted cream is huge here, and the best way I can describe it is a warm flaky biscuit which you cut in half, then spread it with a light, airy butter and strawberry preserve. It’s refreshingly tasty! The Victoria cake I ordered was basically light vanilla cake with cream cheese and strawberry jam in the middle.

 

I sincerely believe I need to start a Clotted Cream Awareness group for America. How were we not aware of this delectable dessert? And afternoon tea? It’s served between lunch and dinner, as the perfect way to wind you down after a harrowing day and have a little chat amongst your girlfriends.

We felt insanely classy as we sipped our teas and daintily nipped at our cakes.

Worthy of a cupcake show. Notice the edible little jewels!

 

Clotted Cream!

 

 

 

It was so nice and relaxing to just sit down after a day of essays and work to enjoy a cup of jasmine tea in an environment that promotes relaxation amongst ladies. Not to say it was exclusive to women, but you get the feeling men only come here if they’re dragged by force or guilt-tripping. Dolores Umbridge would be proud to have tea in this utterly pink-plastered, floral tea shop!

 

Oh riiiiight, and to throw something else to make all my fellow nerds back home jealous:

I saw John Cleese turn on the Christmas Lights throughout the city! John Cleese lives here in Bath, at The Crescent. There was a little concert given, with a bunch of singing acts filmed by the BBC last Thursday. A troupe of women sang the infamous “Halleluah.”  The Stockingtops, a group of older ladies decked out in red coats and fur hats, sang carols  too. 3000 people came out to see Sir Lancelot turn on the lights.  I just happened to see him from THIS close:

Ask me the questions, Bridgekeeper, I am not afraid!

John----friggin---Cleese!

“Mr. Cleese, is there a character you’ve played in the past that you particularly identify with?”

“No.” *cue the laughs* “I’m shocked all of you came out to see this, you should be at home eating.”

“What are your plans for Christmas?”

“Well I’m going to visit my daughter in California with Jenny (pictured, his girlfriend), that is if we’re not broken up by then. Christmastime is expensive for presents, you know.”

Jenny “That’s a very real possibility.”

 

Very dry sense of humor, but I suppose you don’t have to try to be funny when you’re Sir Lancelot. We went to an Irish pub afterwards and celebrated with the locals. And of course, the Christmas tree is up now too! I live in the most beautiful city :)