Friday, December 30, 2011

Sick again

I just spent the last three days lying in my bed, and if my body doesn't miraculously recover tonight--then that's probably where I'll be spending New Years Eve as well.  David has been really great though--buying me lots of meds and lots of fruit to help me recuperate. I feel lucky that he's so caring.  Even though no one can make you better, it does help having someone to take care of you when you're sick.

Been whittling away the hours by watching lots of "How I Met Your Mother". I just can't get into this Robin character though.

...Wishing you all a healthy, wonderful 2012...


Tuesday, December 27, 2011


I just got word that I've been placed in Seoul for next year's EPIK program in South Korea. 
Other than the six months that I lived in New York City when I was a baby, I never lived in such a huge city before.  Finally starting to feel real, this whole moving to Korea thing...

Monday, December 26, 2011

ABCs of Travel

Thanks to for the idea.

Age you went on your first international trip
...6 years old!  I went with my dad to Italy for the first time to visit family.

Best beer you've had and where
I'm not much of a beer drinker (or a drinker at all for that matter). Although Germany did change that a bit for me.  Radlers are good though (a mix of beer and lemonade/sprite depending on who makes it)--that's about all I can say for this one.

Cuisine (favorite) meal(s) were in Italy, my second time around in the summer of 2003... fried zucchini flower? swordfish?? A-mazing.

Destinations: favorite, least favorite & why
North Dakota, USA is probably one of my favorite destinations to travel to. I love the cross-country road trip to get there and I love the simplicity and beauty you find there.. Least favorite?  Hmmm... that's a hard one, but maybe Strassbourg, France--not because of the city itself but because we got bedbugs from the hostel we stayed at--and that was a nightmare that lasted too long. :(

Teddy Roosevelt National Park:  North Dakota

 Event you experienced abroad that made you say 'Wow'
...too many.  But one that comes to mind is when I was in Switzerland and realized that 'those clouds' out in the distance were actually mountains.

Favorite mode of Transportation!  It's just so convenient!

Greatest Feeling While Traveling
The plane landing at the start of a new adventure.

Hottest place you've traveled to
I don't think I ever sweat so much and so often as I did in Belize in summer of '07.  They didn't have hot water where we stayed and for that one month I didn't care, because every shower I took I happily used only cold water!

Incredible service you've experienced and where
Nothing comes to mind right now, but FedEx in Nuremberg, Germany takes first prize for WORST SERVICE ever.

Journey that took the longest
STF was a journey that lasted over a year and took me all over the place.  I don't know if that counts.

First Team on STF,  a typical morning view of Switzerland

 Keepsake from your travels
Last year when I moved to Nuremberg, I started a travel wall where I put up postcards or public transport tickets or maps--something from each place I've traveled to.  Since then I've tried to pick something to stick on my wall.

Let down site: why & where
Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany--after everyone proclaiming how beautiful it was, I finally went to go see it last year, but found it to be like many other Bavarian towns I'd already seen. Nice, but just not that special.

Moment you fell in love with travel
A single moment is hard to choose, but I guess it would be the summer of '03 again... I had this room in an Italian pensione with a balcony overlooking Santa Chiara in Assisi, and the sunsets there were incredible.  I would go out in the evening with my journal and just watch the sunset reflecting in the church windows and watch the birds fly across the sky.  It was an amazing summer for me.

Nicest hotel you've stayed in
When I was 16, and traveling with my dad in Italy, we stayed at a hotel near Lago Maggiore with the Assisi Music Festival.  My first and only four-star hotel to date ;).  Our room number was 666 and they had elevators that worked horizontally to take you from the front of the floor to the lobby, how cool is that?

Obsession:  what are you obsessed of taking photos of while traveling?
I think sunsets.  I try to catch the sun setting on camera whenever possible, even from my own apartment.

Sun beginning to set in south Germany

Passport Stamps:  how many & where?
24, although a lot are doubled.  I have two passports, and since I've gotten my Italian one, I switch between my US and Italian pass for convenience, hence minimizing stamps, but some stamps included are from: Korea, Hungary, Slovakia, Croatia, Germany, Austria, Netherlands, Slovenia, Belize.

Quirkiest attraction you've visited:
The Enchanted Road in North Dakota--it's an attraction in the middle of nowhere, where you drive and see these large metallic structures that lead you to a tiny little town giftshop somewhere.

Recommended sight, event or experience
Tintagel Castle in Cornwall England is unbelievably beautiful.  High jagged cliffs, green grass, blue skies and tumbling waves accompany King Arthur's legend--very, very cool.

Cornwall, England

 Splurge: something you don't mind forking money over for while traveling
I like to spend money on unique foods or gifts to bring back home for others... gifts sometime, but mostly food.  I feel like it's a way for me to share a tiny piece of the experience with others.

Touristy thing you've done
Last winter, an American friend of mine came to visit me in DE and we did a lot of touristy things together including Schloss Neuschwanstein and a horse-drawn carriage ride through the old city of Salzburg. 

Unforgettable Travel Memory
Walking through the rain forest in Belize with our Mayan tour guide who took us river-tubing through caves in THE cleanest rivers I have ever seen. I couldn't believe how beautiful it was.

Visas: how many and for where:
Two: for Korea and Belize.  Although last time I got a Visa to stay in Korea it was to stay for over a month, and in the end I didn't end up needing it because I only stayed two weeks.  I'll be adding a third visa soon, again for Korea, and this time my stay will be longer. ;)

Excellent view & from where:
Top of the Rock in New York City and top of the seilbahn at Kochel See, the view of the German Alps from up there in breathtaking.

 Years spent travelling
I've always traveled with my family, but I guess since the summer of 2003, I haven't really stopped.  The summer in Italy & Austria, then the following year doing STF in Europe, then a summer in Belize, a summer in England, and then moving to Germany after graduating from college... and in two months, off to Korea!  After Korea, maybe I'll settle down a bit.  Maybe.

Zealous sports fan & where South Korea, we did this rafting trip where we had to continuously chant (what I don't remember exactly) which had something to do with unity of North & South Korea.  That was intense, but seeing the FIFA Women's World Cup game (England vs. Japan) in Augsburg this past summer was also pretty cool :).

* * *
Overlooking Croatian waters on the island of Krk

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Crossing the Finish Line

Three lessons left to teach
over two days
  with one more shift at the Christkindlmarkt
...and then I'm free.

Feels absolutely amazing.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you all.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

You're not fat!

A phrase I've heard countless time from students young and old.

I don't ask for this information, mind you, but somehow it comes up over and over again whenever the topic of America comes into play.  From a German's perspective, it's meant to be a sincere compliment to me I'm sure (and I thank you), but from an American's POV, it's a back-handed compliment at best because what you're assuming is that all my countrymen are overweight slobs. 

So, just a word of advice, please think twice before saying this to your next Ami friend.

American does not equal fat person. Thank you.

(This has been a public service announcement.)

They don't have to be American.

While many Europeans I know are smart and beautiful, so are many Americans I know.  Don't believe the lies.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Time for a change...

I think most people know by now, but I didn't want to update my blog officially about it until all work related things were taken care of.  So--for those of you who don't know--I am leaving Germany. 

I'm excited. I'm happy.  I'm nervous.  I'm all kinds of emotions--but mostly good ones.  Maybe because it's Christmas now, so the feeling is joyful and merry, and feelings of gratitude for the year past are on my mind, but thinking back to a few months ago when all the planning was starting to take place, I really felt sad at the thought of leaving. I still am in some ways of course, but the overwhelming feeling is of gratitude.  Gratitude for all the incredible people I could meet and all the incredible experiences I could have over the last 2+ years here in Germany.
After my visit to the US in January, I'll be returning to Germany for about a week and then be heading off to South Korea. (Yes, David is coming with me.) I was accepted into the EPIK program which places Guest English Teachers in the Korean Public School System. And while there feels like a ton of things that need to be done, most of them I can't get started with until January. So for now, it's finishing up my teaching responsibilities with all my wonderful students over the next two weeks and enjoying the awesome Christmas spirit that has taken over the city. 

Now that it's official I can finally update my blog properly on what's been taking over my life the last few months...  so, this blog will soon be a-changing.  I hope you'll all join me on my journey as I hope to keep updating with progress and things taking place over the next few months.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

A Thursday Regular--A Mish-Mosh of Culture

A GermaRussiAmerican Mix with matryoshka dolls of US Presidents found at the Christkindlmarkt in Nuremberg.