Experiencing the world cup in Germany.
While the world cup may not be hosted in Europe, it is a great experience being over here while it is taking place in Brazil. Football (soccer for us Americans) is taken much more serious here so it is quite the experience to be within all the excitement.
This past weekend I had the opportunity to stay in Munich, Germany and on Saturday night we were able to watch Germany play Ghana…in a bier garden.
To say the crowd was big is an understatement. This bier garden was HUGE and it was packed with thousands of people with several large screen TVs placed around the perimeter. German beer was being served in every corner along with sauerkraut and sausages; it was a mad house (in a good way).
We arrived around 19:30 and it took us over an hour to find a place to seat and even then we didn’t really have a great view of any of the televisions. Fortunately for us, we met an American couple that had just graduated college and they were backpacking through Europe just like us. They were absolutely amazing and for that reason we all stayed out together until past midnight, I was actually sad when we had to leave them.
Once the game started it got even crazier. With every score, penalty, and injury the crowd erupted in unison. Firecrackers were going off throughout the game, flags were being carried through the crowds and chants were being sung. It was extremely helpful that they guys in our group decided to buy soccer jerseys that day and we had a German flag to wear as a cape. I guess we kind of fit in…We almost bought the German dresses for us girls to wear and the guys could wear lederhosen but we are poor college students and those were wayyy out of our price range.
Although I would have loved for Germany to win (only to see an even bigger celebration from the crowd), I am extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to experience something like that.
Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that the crowd drank the bier garden dry. Impressive.
Wow—am I seriously already twenty? I remember being a freshman in high school wanting to turn 16 so bad just so I could get my license. Now, I am entering my junior year of college and traveling the world with my best friend.
So, in honor of my birthday today, I wanted to make a post with some of the things I have learned these past twenty years. I have spent many hours browsing through Buzzfeed posts so I was inspired to make one in this style!
1.) Your parents are always right: always haven been right and always will be right
2.) Start preparing for college EARLY
Wish I would’ve started sooner.
3.) Try not to make a fool of yourself on social media
4.) Keep a journal
Not everyone enjoys writing but it’s always fun to reread them!
5.) Stay in touch with your friends
You never know when you’re going to need them.
6.) Freedom is awesome but don’t take advantage of it
You know, don’t drink yourself out of college or something stupid like that.
7.) Take LOTS of pictures!
Even if you aren’t a professional photographer.
8.) Don’t be afraid to be passionate
DO WHATEVER YOU WANT.
9.) If you don’t want to wear pants…don’t wear pants
I hate pants. Seriously, I hate them.
10.) Speak your mind
Say whatever you want!
11.) It’s okay if you need to ask someone for help
We all need a hand once in a while.
12.) Your actions don’t have to have explanations
13.) Try new things
14.) We’re all just a little crazy
Especially us girls….it’s okay.
15.) Get to know your professors/teachers; they will be great resources later on
And they tend to make a lot of sense.
16.)Make an attempt to travel
17.) Love is an amazing thing.
18.)I don’t care how old you are, naps are freaking awesome
I miss when naps were mandatory.
19.) Take care of your body
Every little bit counts…
20.)FINALLYYYYY…if it’s your birthday, you should party like it’s yo’ birthday
Happy Birthday to me!
Last week not only did we have to attend class but we also had to attend the TAD conference that took place in Luxembourg City (Transatlantic Dialogue). This conference was showcased by Luxembourg University, which is now celebrating their tenth year as a university. The theme of this conference happened to be “A Vision in Global Citizenship” which should have really been renamed to “Lets Shit on Americans Conference”.
It’s not so much that the conference was terrible or directly aimed towards the problems Americans face with applying culture and language into their academics, it just seemed to be a topic that loved to be brought up. I went into this conference having an open mind since I knew absolutely nothing about what we would be doing for three whole days. As I sat and listened to multiple speakers, all of whom were extremely qualified and interesting, I realized that everyone seems to think that Americans do not have a desire to explore other cultures like they do over here. While I realize that most Americans cannot speak 3+ languages, I do not feel as if that should be indicator as to whether or not we want to explore other cultures.
As an American, and I may be speaking for myself, but, I have a strong desire to explore and incorporate other cultures into my everyday life. In a previous post I talked about wanting to broaden my horizons and explore everything our world has to offer. I realize that no everyone has the same mind set as I do but it was extremely difficult to sit and listen to people talk about how Americans cannot come to Europe without traveling in groups—that no one explores other countries on their own like Europeans do. Well, the truth is, Americans have better opportunities to study abroad with their universities and actually earn credit rather than shelling out thousands of dollars to do something on our own. I have been fortunate enough to study on two different continents (other than my own) in the past year and I find it extremely frustrating that people do not think we want to diversify our experiences.
We actually had the opportunity to have a debate with German students (one of which was an American studying at a German university for the past four years). They all had open minds but I still felt inferior towards them just because they could speak in our native tongue (along with a few other languages) and we could only speak English. They made valid points about how Americans do not feel the need to learn other languages since a larger part of other countries also incorporate English as another language. Yes, this is true, we tend to think that everyone should speak our language rather than learning more for ourselves but I wish that would not label us as a country that does not wish to enrich our lives through multiple cultures.
Culture can be defined in many ways and we made sure to spell out each of the ways as the days went on. Culture is not only defined through the music and arts but it is also defined with the way individuals in each country interact with each other, the “norms” each country has and how we are raised. Culture exists in many forms and to label a specific country as one that prefers not to indulge in other cultures is not fair. In a previous post I talked about how we tend to crave the things we are denied. I also mentioned that I grew up in a place that held no diversity so I crave things like this and I crave other cultures and I want everyone to have these desires (I realize that is a lofty dream).
The world is not only limited to those who have the resources at their hand, it is open to anyone that has the passion and desire to leave no part unturned. Don’t just dream about exploring other places; take initiative and make those dreams come true.
If you would have been able to contact me about an hour ago and asked me if I wanted to come home then my answer would have been yes. I wouldn’t have blinked an eye and would have jumped on whatever you were sending my way to bring me back to America. Now, I have calmed myself down and the tears are no longer streaming down my face in full force.
Let me start from the beginning. Last week, we were on our study tour in London and Stratford with Liz and then were let free to go travel and do whatever we wanted for the next six days. I would like to consider myself an experienced traveler but these past few days have tested what I thought was experience as well as my patience. Most people who know me know that I have zero patience. When I want something, I want it now and I don’t want to wait; I usually have trouble waiting for my bagel to come out of the toaster. Anyways, we traveled to Edinburgh, Scotland to stay there for a night until we could catch the next flight over to Dublin, Ireland. This was the easy part of our journey. Dublin was beautiful, etc. (I’ll post about that trip later). We were under the impression that we would be able to jump on a ferry down to France and then on a series of trains back to Luxembourg with our Eurail passes. We were wrong. So wrong.
It’s not that there were no trains that take us to Luxembourg, it was just that ALL of these trains were booked. Our group ended up splitting up, and myself and two others took the ferry route. We boarded a ferry that would take 16 hours to get to France and while aboard the ferry is when we discovered all of the trains were booked. I also discovered that sleeping on the floor of a boat for that time period is not enjoyable. Lesson learned. Once we arrived in France, we took a couple smaller trains back and forth but never found anything that would take us to Paris which is where we needed to be. We had no wifi to look up the train times for tomorrow since conveniently today is the only day it was not working at the airport. We even tried to rent a car to drive back to Luxembourg (yes, we were THAT desperate) and unfortunately, you have to be 21 to rent one here in France. Guess what? Nick and I are still 19 and our other friend just turned 20. We begged and pleaded and the frenchmen would not budge on his decision for us to rent a car. After all, it was only a policy rather than a law. Frustration filled my entire body. After we exhausted all of our options for getting back tonight/early tomorrow morning (remember, we actually have to attend class tomorrow) we decided to book a flight into Paris and get a train from there to Luxembourg.
Now, we are in Brest, France in small hotel room that resembles something you would find on a boat, where I then found myself having a breakdown in the even smaller bathroom. Fortunately, we have found wifi and the first person I contacted was my mother. I would like to think I am an independent/strong woman but today is a day where I definitely needed my mom’s lap to lay in and cry. Frustration and anger filled my entire body and I couldn’t help but cry when nothing was going my way (which usually isn’t the case). Thankfully, my mother was able to calm me down and reassure me that everything would be fine, she reminded me to get some food, just relax and say a prayer. Thanks mom, I love you.
“Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” -Isaiah 41:40
These past six days I have been submerged into a sea of Shakespeare. Not only have I watched three plays (two of which were seen in The Globe and one in Stratford-upon-Avon) but I have also visited every cottage that Shakespeare hath inhabited. I would have checked out mentally but I had the spunk of my theatre professor to keep me going.
We arrived in London early evening this past Thursday and stayed in a very sketchy hotel that had elevators that I am almost positive I have seen in horror movies. The beds were cardboard and I didn’t even have room to turn around in the bathroom. But, all in all, I should not be complaining since it could have been worse. Unfortunately, it got worse.
I was able to go into London on Friday and tour The Globe, see two plays and explore a good part of the city. Unfortunately, I was developing some sort of death plague summed by the devil. On Saturday, everyone went back into London and got to see all of the other amazing sites it had to offer while I was stuck in the hotel room on a cardboard bed. I suppose it wasn’t that bad since I had a Harry Potter marathon by myself, but I didn’t leave the hotel room for 24 hours so I was craving fresh air.
I was feeling much better on Sunday when we packed up and headed to Stratford-upon-Avon but I still had (have) a cough that only seems to go on a rampage when I am trying to sleep. On Sunday, we arrived around noon, ate some lunch and toured around the Centre only to discover that this touristy town was milking Shakespeare way too hard. Everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, is named after Shakespeare. To put it in perspective, if he had put a title on a shit, they would have named a restaurant after it. Sorry, but it’s true.
Today we finished touring around the cottages and gardens that once inhabited Shakespeare’s genius mind. We were also able to go see Henry IV Part II in the theatre they have here, which was absolutely gorgeous. As for the play itself, it was interesting but somewhat hard to follow. This study tour is now over which is exciting and sad at the same time. I am saddened that Liz (our professor) will not be joining us on our next study tour but I am happy that we will be heading to Edinburgh tomorrow and then to Dublin for a long weekend.
The next six days will be filled with adventure and spontaneity…and tours of breweries. I am excited to see what will come of this trip especially since we don’t have any schoolwork to do. Let the fun begin.
“All the world’s a stage,/ And all the men and women merely players;” –As You Like It, William Shakespeare
The theme of this trip seems to be “let’s get lost”. The Dean tells us this, our professors tell us this and every single part of my college body tells me this is the best advice I have heard since being in college. While I am extremely happy to be hearing advice like this, there is a small voice in the back of my head telling me to be careful, watch out for my surroundings, and do not trust strangers. I am also constantly reminding myself what to do in case of an emergency or a bad situation. Thanks Ross, you’re the voice inside of my head that is keeping me alert- love you!
Like I said before, I am glad that getting lost is such an acceptable way to explore the cities we go to because if it wasn’t, it would just happen anyway except it would be frowned upon. We have not ventured outside of Luxembourg yet, but while being inside the country, we have managed to get lost quite a few times. The first day in Luxembourg City we were sent on a scavenger hunt. This was fun and all except myself, and a few others, were put with our theatre professor who has never traveled outside of the United States before (you can see this is where our problems is). She is a wonderful person and full of energy but she had no idea where we were going; lets just say that she fully embraces this idea of getting lost. Her husband, two sons, and daughter have accompanied her on this trip so they were also very supportive of this theme. One of her sons speaks some French so, naturally, he was our translator when we were trying to talk to locals. Fortunately, we all made it to our final destination and enjoyed a dinner that consisted of an enormous serving of fries and two very large sausages (I had salad).
As for my classes, I am extremely lost. Not necessarily in a bad way but in a way that there is so much information crammed into one day that I am having a difficult time storing it all in my brain. I am taking a theatre class (THE 299L), a psych class (PSY 341L), and a music class (MUS 189L), which actually is not anything it sounds like. On our first day of classes it seemed as if all of the classes perfectly fit together. Each class has their own topics but they all seem to connect in a weird way, it is actually really interesting but complicated at the same time.
Tomorrow we leave for London and we will be there until next Wednesday. There, we will be seeing three different plays by Shakespeare and touring everything that is related to Shakespeare. Thanks to my high school teacher, I have great appreciation for Shakespeare so this will be enjoyable for me. Once we are finished in London it is going to be prime “getting lost” time. Most of us want to travel to Ireland and since we don’t have to be back until the next Sunday (June 1), it is going to happen. We will most likely lose ourselves in Ireland and a couple other countries so this will be interesting. We are not too worried about having everything planned out minute by minute or day by day for that matter but we are confident that we will somehow make it around and come back in one piece. With that being said, although getting lost is the main theme of this trip, we also realize it is important to get lost together so we can find our way back together.
“Getting lost is just another way of saying ‘going exploring”. –Justina Chen
P.S. I plan on attaching a list of all of the countries and the cities within the countries we have visited so far at the end of each blog post in case anyone is confused with my posts.
Travels so far:
-Luxembourg City, Luxembourg
Welcome to Europe: where the carbs are in abundance and you better not smile at strangers.
After being in Europe for over 24 hours, I have come to the realization that Americans DO NOT love carbs more than the Europeans, and that smiling to complete strangers simply means that you’re offering them something that you probably shouldn’t be. Cue Liam Neeson.
I arrived into Differdange around 2030 and was already on the fast track to a nice viewing of the back my eyelids. But instead of falling asleep right away, I got settled in, had some dinner, showered and prepared myself for the next morning. Although I was extremely jet-lagged, I managed to make it to 2230 before hitting the bed and passing out immediately.
0745 was a rough wake up call since I could have slept the entire day away. Breakfast was laid out on the table when I woke up and I was completely thrown off by what was laying in front of me. I had the option of small chocolate cakes, chocolate cereal, nutella and crackers, yogurt, and jam and crackers. It was a 5 year olds dream breakfast. I decided on yogurt and went on my way.
I arrived at the Chateau around 0845 and settled in with my other classmates. Everything was very small and personal since there are only 35 of us studying here this semester. The castle is absolutely beautiful and the professors are wonderful. Once we were finished with orientation, we were taken into Luxembourg City for some exploring and delicious food. Speaking of food, it is somewhat odd being a vegetarian here; my host father asked me if I was a vegetarian by conviction last night…nope.
As for the exploring, I was completely taken back by everything we saw today. It was all so unique and breathtaking; I was mesmerized. From a World War II American Cemetery to The Gëlle Fra (Luxembourgish for “Golden Lady), I saw many of the beautiful historical pieces that Luxembourg is known for. Luxembourg is a grand city to be in and I am blessed to spend some of my time here but I cannot wait until I am able to travel to more countries!
“The journey of a thosuand miles begins with a single step” -Lao Tzu
Until next time,
Have you joined the Yik Yak world on your campus yet? If not, prepare for an app that just as addicting as Twitter and 30 times more offensive than the whole internet combined. Yik Yak is an endless world on anonymous possibilities. It’s basically a place where the Greek community fights with each other and you realize that you are surrounded by a bunch of assholes, funny assholes I suppose. Think you have an addiction to Yik Yak? Check below to see if any of these apply.
1.) Yik Yak is now apart of your daily social media routine. Twitter. Facebook. Yik Yak. Instagram. Timehop. Tumblr. Buzzfeed. Repeat.
2.) It is now also apart of your bathroom routine.
3.) You have started to use “yak” or “yakking” as normal verbs in your vocabulary.
4.) It’s a constant struggle to pay attention in class when you just want to know what’s going on around campus.
5.) Hear a siren? Better check Yik Yak to see which building is on fire.
6.) You start questioning the sanity of the people you go to school with.
7.) You “upvote” your own post within seconds and stare at it until someone else thinks it’s just as funny as you did.
8.) Popularity in your group of friends is now based around your “Yarkarma Score”
9.) You are known as a “Yakker”.
10.) When something Yik Yak worthy happens it is always a race to say, “I call yakking that”.
11.) You let others know if one of your Yaks is at the top of the hot page.
12.) You’re offended when that person doesn’t care that your Yak is at the top of the hot page.
13.) You are constantly walking around and asking people if they saw that on Yik Yak.
14.) Instead of putting your funny thoughts on Twitter, you now put them on Yik Yak. It’ll obviously be more appreciated there.
15.) You find yourself making things up just to sound funny. Did someone really just run into a tree with their bike and fall down? No? Oh well, I’m going to make a funny yak anyway saying that happened.
16.) You screenshot things and send them to your friends asking if they “yakked” that or just because you think it applies to them.
17.) You now enjoy the spinning Yak at the top of the page far more than you enjoy the spinning ghost for Snapchat. Maybe they should get married?
18.) You despise people who aren’t original. Since you’re on there 24/7, you know when something is a repost…or off Tumblr.
19.) You’re sad that it’s summer and Yik Yak won’t be as funny in your hometown.
20.) You realize that you are now much more knowledgeable since joining the “Yik Yak world” on campus. Without it, you would never know the right/wrong things to do/wear on campus.
21.) You walk around campus like you are some sort of higher being all because your Yak got over 60 ^.
As I sit here in my dorm, I cannot decide whether my life feels like it is in a downward spiral simply because it is finals week or because I am leaving the country for two months in about four days.
At what point in time did someone decide that one exam is an acceptable measure to test student’s knowledge acquired throughout a semester? I would like to travel back in time to discourage this completely ridiculous idea. I’m sure it is quite clear but I am fully confident that my brain is fried and I look like a chicken running around with it’s head cut off.
But, as I look over material for my exam tomorrow, I can’t help but think about what an amazing semester this has been here at Miami. I have met so many amazing new people, grown closer with others and I have grown as a person. I am officially done with my sophomore year of college, which means I only have two to go. Thinking about graduating in two years makes me extremely sad. Two years sounds like a long time away but in reality it’s not. High school seemed to drag on for what seemed like more than four years but now I am currently asking myself where these past two years have gone. It seems they have just vanished in the blink of an eye. The next two are going to fly by just as fast, if not faster. As I realize how much time I don’t have, I am constantly looking for new opportunities before I have to put on my big girl pants and go out into the “real” world, which does not even seem so real anymore (that’s a post for another day though).
For a moment, let’s rewind to my senior year of high school. In the winter of my senior year, I had applied to about 11 schools; I was accepted to all of them, which made it even harder to choose. In the spring of my senior year, I visited Miami University with one of my best friends. Mind you that this was my first, and only, college visit ever. I knew when I stepped on the campus that this was where I would spend the next four years. After that, I talked with a few of my friends who were already freshmen in college trying to get their perspective on things. To my surprise one person had told me that they were already signing a lease for a house for their junior year. THAT WAS SO FAR AWAY. I was extremely baffled by the fact that someone could come to college, not even for a whole year at that, and sign to live in a house with people they just met. How did she know she was still going to like these people by then? I was extremely confused.
Fast forward back to present day. I am currently sitting in my dorm with my boyfriend and his roommate who is one of my best friends. Down the hall from me are about 14 people who I met first semester of my freshman year. We are currently finishing up our second year and we are all just as close. Next year, I will be living in a house with 8 other people, all of whom I lived with last year and live with this year. I did not think I would find myself the best group of people someone could surround themselves with, but I did. I am not necessarily sad that I will be leaving Oxford in two years, I am sad that I will not be no more than ten feet from any of these amazing individuals that have become my family. That’s the hard part about graduating college, leaving behind the people that mean the most to you while you are in college. We have all had our downs with each other but the ups definitely surpass those in more ways than one.
So, as I sit here in my dorm room, I have come to the realization that my life is not in a downward spiral but that it is just one of those times when everything feels like it’s crashing down around me. That would actually be true if it weren’t for the amazing people I have here with me. Thanks guys, love you all.
P.S. This was written since I don’t feel like studying now.