Tuesday, January 29, 2013

A Smattering of Things...

Today has been a strange, strange day. School was fine...I had about 15 kids come to my english offer which is uncharacteristically high for a vocab lesson. We made brownies this afternoon and, as always, the kids loved it. But then, things got weird.


I had a meeting with my bosses, where they told me the trip to America was "a nice idea, but would not work out." I was bummed. If they had given me some explanation like that when I first brought it up, that would have been fine. But after weeks of planning and several presentations, along with them telling me they were 80% sure and the students being extremely excited, that did not seem like a sufficient explanation at all. I called my mom upset.

I made a few crafts and went to the grocery store (in the rain, womp womp), just trying to take my mind off of my frustrations. Then, I got an e-mail from the Vanderbilt graduate school telling me I made it through the first round of the application process and they want to interview me! Seeing as I have no clue what my chances are of getting into this neat counseling program, I was really happy. I called my mom excited.

I ate some dinner and was watching The Bachelor (just discovered how to watch it from Germany!!) when I got an e-mail from my boss, the weekly e-mails he sends to all parents. I quickly translated it to find out that Bea and Moni, two of the older teachers on our team, were fired today. I had mixed feelings about this, and I was also annoyed because he announced that they were fired effective March 1st and that I had opted not to return for a second year in August. I mean, at least he clarified that I was leaving on my own accord, but my bosses had assured me that I could tell the kids I was leaving, at the time of my choice. I called my mom confused.

On the bright side, Kate is coming to visit tomorrow and we are heading to Belgium to meet Lisa and the Thomas family for the weekend! I really do not know what to make of everything that happened today. And as I was drafting this blog, I called my mom by accident. (I think she is about to start screening my calls...)


Monday, January 28, 2013

Swiss L'abri

After my trip to the swiss alps in August, I did not think anywhere could possibly be as scenic or astounding as Gimmelwald, but this trip certainly rivaled it!

I spent the weekend at L'abri, a christian retreat center where people of all ages (and from all parts of the world!) gather to live together in community, study God's word and search for answers to their questions, while also working together on daily tasks such as preparing meals and upkeep of the beautiful chalets. 

People come to L'abri for any length of time, I stayed only four days. I was joining Kate, who is spending two weeks there, but many people were there for several months.

Although these pictures are beautiful, they just do not do it justice. The views were absolutely spectacular. The sights alone were a testament to God's existence, along with interesting discussions, lectures, and reading during my short time there.

For me, the best part of the trip was the fascinating people, and the thought-provoking, hilarious, and unique conversations that we were able to have. Because of the nature of L'abri, the time spent working is a great time to get to know the other guests, but it is such an example of community living that it would be a challenge not to leave feeling like you had dozens of new friends. 

Though L'abri is located in the rural area of Huemoz, Switzerland, the adorable ski town of Villars is just a half hour's walk up the road. And, when you think of a quintessential swiss ski village, you have a good picture of Villars.

And, of course, I was sad to pack my bags after church yesterday (although Kate will be coming to Germany in three days!), even the train ride home was beautiful. All in all, this was an amazing trip and I felt very blessed by everything that took place this weekend.


Thursday, January 24, 2013

Happy Birthday Katy!

23 years ago, today, Katy Burke graced the world with her presence!

Ever since I befriended the most clueless girl in my rush group freshman year, Katy, you have added so much to my life. From making sure I attended every possible aWake all night and carnival on campus, to waking me up in the middle of the night to make sure you didn't smell like alcohol, to frat marathons with the pink owl backpack, being our third roommate on the halls, and giving me a place to live junior year when I would've been have been an amazing friend.

I can always count on you to attract the creepiest guys around, babysit me when trash party gets too out of control, post embarrassing pictures of me on Facebook, be waiting on me to go to Biscuitville when I wake up, help me survive all my crazy psychology papers, flick me off when I am trying to save your life, talk to me about ducks when I am in the worst possible mood, and be the more outgoing one of the two of us!

But in all seriousness, Katy, you have brightened my life in so many ways and I am so glad you were born! I am always thankful for your caring advice about my life, your hilarious stories, and your ability to always see the bright side of life. Love you and I wish I was with you at the beach right now...Have a wonderful birthday! 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Wednesday's Woes

I used to have strong feelings about which days of the week I preferred over others. In high school, I loved Mondays because of Good News Club and Fridays because I went out to breakfast with my dad before school and the nights always consisted of football games and hilarious sonic trips with my friends. In college, I dreaded Tuesdays because of the long classes and the four days that still loomed ahead and always loved relaxing on Friday afternoons when no one ever had anything to be stressed about. All of that came to an immediate halt when I moved to Germany. Suddenly, it became all days of the week were equal except Wednesdays were hellacious. Why? Because Wednesdays are staff meeting days.

Staff meets could be classified as every ADD persons worst nightmare. On a good week, it is ONLY four hours of my fellow teachers rambling in German. The bad weeks it lasts until nearly 8 o'clock, meaning I've been sitting there trying to understand the quick speaking Germans for almost six hours. Miserable does not even begin to describe it.

Most people probably complain about staff meetings because they hate their co-workers, which, thankfully, is not the case here at the dragon school. I really enjoy the people I work with and we get along really well during the week, but on Wednesday afternoons by 4pm, I am ready to punch the next person who brings up a new topic for us to discuss.

So, I know I could have worse problems in my life, but on when I am about three hours into a meeting that I have not understood more than 20% of, it is hard to imagine anything more painful.


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Wild Dragons!

The dragons have been exceptionally rowdy bouncing off the walls, blasting bad pop music, chasing each other around the school...rambunctious, to say the least! While it does get out of control sometimes, it has been a fun energy to have around the dragon school! Here are a few snaps from the past few days...
Dario, just chillin' with a dragon wrapped around his neck while we played Hangman to practice their English vocabulary.

Lina, pictured above, is usually such a sweetheart and always lets me scoop her up and read her stories.

 On Friday, however, she organized a snow attack and she and Jonna and Linn Sophie yelled "Schnee Attack!" and pelted me with snowballs upon my return from the grocery store! It was kind of hilarious but really cold!

These are some of my older students, typically "too cool for school", but lately have been really interested in the fact that they might get to come to America so they gather around and ask me questions about Florida!

This is Ron, who might speak the least English of any of my students, but he took a break from building his sand castle to wave for the camera.

Rene is hilarious. He pretends to hate me and always says he is "offline" (meaning I can't speak to him in English) but comes to ALL of my offers and will play games with me for hours on end!

 This looks like just a cute picture of Adrian and I, but if you look closely you can see bad little Tim scheming in the background...

And then about 5 seconds later he came running over and attacked us...typical Tim!

Luis reminds me of a cartoon character, he is so funny and flexible...and always says the craziest things! Luis is usually a sweetheart, but he didn't want his picture taken so he was hiding/hitting me with this christmas star and somehow the whole interaction was caught on film.

And this is Tibor, Adrian, and Dario...the three sweet little boys that love to use me as their personal jungle gym!

So today, I promised the kids that I would finally go sledding with them [and not go inside after 10 minutes because I was cold...per usual]. I thought this would be great in spite of all the energy they have had lately. So myself and four little girls gathered the old-fashioned sleds and went to a nearby hill. The sledding was wonderful....we flew down the hill and I am pretty sure we laughed the entire time. 

 As you can see, the dragons look adorable all bundled up in their snow gear and we had a wonderful time sliding down this snow-covered hill! Maybe this burned some of their energy so they'll be a little calmer tomorrow...I can only hope!


Sunday, January 20, 2013

Featuring: A White Wald-Michelbach

I was walking into town to fun a few errands the other day and thought it'd be fun to snap a few photos along the way, and here are the results. We actually only (only!) have about 4 or 6 inches of snow in these pictures, but it makes for a pretty white covering on everything!
This is the town, which is small but looks like a quintessential European village, which I love! The photographs really do not do it justice, and as cold as it is, I do love calling this little place home.


And the one not-so-classy thing in town...Subway!

It has been a nice, quiet weekend here...which was perfect to give me time to rest and recuperate, as well as marking lots off my to-do list. And I am looking forward to taking the dragons sledding in this soft snow tomorrow!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Snow Snow Snow

Yesterday it literally snowed from dawn 'til dusk. The snow is beautiful, don't get me wrong, but there is just a lot of it! The kids, surprisingly, still get excited about it. We built a snowman yesterday and they were still nagging me to come play in the snow today. You'd think that having snow on the ground for nearly 5 months out of the year would get old, but the dragons seem to never tire of sledding, crafting forts, and planning snowball fights.

One thing that I do appreciate it, though, is how pretty the snow is. Because it is actively snowing so much of the time, we get that untouched, angelic "fresh snow" look just about every day. It also brings the "God created each snowflake uniquely" lesson from my childhood Sunday School classes to a whole new meaning, considering just how many snowflakes hit the ground here each day. And while traipsing through snow every time I need groceries is not the most fun thing, I am very thankful for the beauty of it.


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Nostalgia Sets In...

I know I am really sentimental about the end of college, but I feel like I've been a pretty good sport about letting it go. Its easy for me to tell myself, "What you miss doesn't exist anymore..." For the most part, that is true. My best friends graduated with me and we all went our separate ways. Sure, Wake Forest still goes on...the football games, the classes, the parties, the nights in the library...but even I was still there it wouldn't be the same because so many of the people who made Wake what it was for me are gone now.
Annual Chi O trip to Skate Haven, circa 2011

However, the last few days I have not been able to convince myself of that. Bid day was always one of my favorite days...the start of the wonderful spring semester, the end of rush, the fun of roller skating in costume, 40 new girls that were always so enthusiastic about chi o, and the juniors back from abroad. Bid day always stands out in my mind as a great day. And seeing all the pictures go up on Facebook and Instagram has made me nostalgic for the good ole days at Wake Forest.
Freshman Year, just after receiving our bids!

Senior year, doing it all one last time!
While it is sad to miss these things, I can't help but be thankful for the wonderful friends I have and the fun bid days (and four years of college!) that we enjoyed together!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Back at it...

I am sorry for the hiatus...I wish I could say I was soaking up time with family and friends for my entire visit to the states, but unfortunately I came down with the flu so my last few days at home were spent like this.

I made it back to Germany last night (I do not recommend EVER traveling sick...) but the skies are grey and the winds are cold. Luckily, I was welcomed by my adorable students who were all enthusiastic about being back in school. And, honestly, how can you not be excited about these cute faces?

I am excited for the second half of my time here in Germany...and I will certainly have more exciting posts coming your way soon!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Stateside Travels...

While one of the main advantages to this year in Germany is the luxury of travel, I have been pleasantly surprised by how much I've been able to travel in America recently. With the cross country road trip this summer, I felt like I saw so much of my own country that I had never even known about. A little less exciting, I have taken two fun trips while being home this break. Both of them were more focused on people than places, but Smith Lake and DC did not disappoint!

The Lake Trip

I have been to the lake with Emily countless times in the spring, fall, and summer...but this was my first winter trip. It was as beautiful as ever, just a tad bit colder!

And because we love any reason to celebrate, I made half a cake in honor of emily's half birthday and we celebrated!

Washington DC for New Years

The first few days in DC were spent with my best friend Alison and her wonderful family...relaxing, catching up, cooking, exploring, and enjoying the house full of family!

I also officially crashed a wedding with the campbells...which was simultaneously fun and nerve racking! But all in all, a very festive and fun night!

The second part of my DC trip was spent reuniting with some of my best friends from Wake, which was long overdue and a wonderful few days!

The Riziks kindly hosted us and we did a quick tour of the sights, including an afternoon at the Newseum, which I would highly recommend!


We had a hilarious cocktail party before heading out for New Years Eve, which was a fun evening! All in all, my American travels have been quite a success!