I’ve been thinking about road trips I want to take and places I want to go in the next couple years and my mind just keeps going to nature.
Best friend. Boyfriend. Meanie Pants. Feeshy. (Insert profanity here). I called Nick A LOT of names over the past two months but I swear they were all out of love.
We started talking about this adventure almost a year ago, and last week was when it finally came to an end. Over the past 2+ months, I have learned many things. Not only about myself as a person, but myself as a person who is committed to someone else. Many people raised their eyebrows a year ago when we started talking about this so far in advance, “what if you guys don’t last?”; (1) thanks for your support. Yes, that is my sarcasm speaking, and (2) what if we do last? Obviously, we did last despite what some people thought. Not only did we last over this past school year, but also we successfully survived our journey together…although we had some rough patches at times.
Traveling with your best friend is an adventure, not only because you’re hopping from one country to another every other day but also because you learn so much about each other on the way.
What I Learned:
Patience: Yeah, maybe my patience isn’t exactly where it should be (not even close), but it has definitely improved over the past couple months. Before this trip, I had absolutely ZERO patience. I could hold no horses whatsoever. Now, after being forced to hold those horses and take a deep breath (thanks to Nick), I have learned that it’s a lot less stressful when I’m not freaking out about something. Not everything is going to go my way and that’s just something I have to deal with…eventually.
How to plan: I am the definition of a control freak and nothing bothers me more when something doesn’t go my way (see above). This time, there was another person there doing the planning along my side so I had to quickly adjust to working with another person to make sure things ran smoothly. Procrastination often drove our “planning” into the ground, and after being stuck in France for the lack thereof planning, we learned our lesson. It took us a few times to get everything together for each trip but it was well worth the time, effort, and money. I have absolutely no idea how travel agents do this, there are so many minor details that needed to be worked out *sigh*.
How to budget money: Budgeting has not always been my strongest area and I quickly learned that I needed to work on that area unless I wanted to go into debt. I was doing fine: booking flights/hotels/train rides that were all reliable but cheap, and not buying a lot of souvenirs or expensive meals. Since Nick and I aren’t married, we don’t share a bank account so I was doing this all on my own. THEN, about two weeks before our trip ended, I lost my credit card. I had gotten a special Chase account so that I wouldn’t be charged international transaction fees which worked great until I didn’t have that anymore or a debit card to use. This is where Nick came in. He agreed to take care of everything else that had to be taken care of (with me paying him back of course). Unfortunately, since this was no longer my money I was spending, I became obsessed with making sure that we weren’t spending a lot since it wasn’t mine. This was quite the adventure and we were able to work through everything together *high-five*.
How to open up: Nick and I have always been particularly close since we go to school together but we were able to become even closer on this trip (awhhhh). Although we were with other people the first few weeks, I still didn’t have any of my close friends to rant to or take a shopping break with. I felt even worse when we were on our own and all I had was Nick. Don’t get me wrong, he is the best but there comes a time when a girl needs her girlfriends. Of course, I couldn’t keep anything bottled up when something was wrong so Nick learned how to be a “girlfriend”/great listener while I learned that it’s okay to let everything out to him. After all, he is my boyfriend.
How to live: It’s one thing to be on your own and be under the impression that you are truly living but it’s another thing to be with someone else who shows you how to live. I never thought the day would come when I met someone who wanted to push life’s limits just as much as I did. Nick and I went on so many adventures and we did things that I probably wouldn’t have done on my own. He pushed me. I pushed him. In turn, we discovered this amazing force that drove us both into the fast lane. It was truly a great feeling.
So if you are thinking about traveling with your significant other but have doubts, remember this: all of your “kinks” don’t need to be worked out to go somewhere. Traveling can help a relationship grow stronger and it truly shows whether or not that person is in your life to stay or go. Personally, I would love for Nick to stick around, he is the best thing that’s ever happened to me and I thank God for him everyday. Love you, Feeshy.
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.
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,
1.) I’m getting tired of waking up at 7:30 every morning only to stare at the same professors in classes I don’t like.
2.) This Ohio weather is really getting on my nerves. Freezing. Rain. Snow. Blistering Hot. Perfect. Snow. STOP.
3.) I’m ready for a new adventure. BUT who isn’t?
4.) I am ready to challenge myself in new ways.
5.) I don’t want to be stuck in this rut anymore.
6.) I need new inspiration in my life.
7.) Food. Tons and tons of new food to devour.
8.) Beyond excited to watch history come alive. Looking at pictures for the past 19 years just isn’t enough anymore.
9.) I want that amazing reoccurring feeling of being spontaneous again.
10.) The world is a book and I’m tired of being stuck on the same page
If you’re planning on traveling soon, why are you ready to leave the country?