12 December 2009


The day after Christmas, I'm off to my new home: Florida.

At least until it gets warm back here in Kansas. OH the life!

Less than 1 week and finals are DONE!

16 September 2009


Sometimes an "I'm sorry" means a lot.

I'm glad I got one. Now will I forgive....? Of course. Because that's what friends do. And the new me doesn't hold grudges!

Chapter re-opened.

... Now back to my Teach for America essays and resume!!

16 August 2009

Productive day

Today I made homemade bread, picked figs, went for a ride in a shopping cart, and had pizza from Chez-JP. Definitely a productive day in Antibes!

I would post pictures BUT I left my camera in Portugal. Oops.

15 August 2009

Finally ready to come home...

after 7 months of being away, I am finally ready to come home.

This is what I wrote my first night in Portugal... I was feeling really lonely :( Thank goodness for phones, because my dad was able to talk to me.


When Dorothy said, “There’s no place like home,” she knew what she was talking about. Sure, it could be the fact that Dorothy Gale was from Kansas and so am I, but it could also be because home is home, no matter where in this world you are from.

Every day I get asked by people if I miss home, my friends, my family. I joke and say, nope, just my dog! Being able to communicate with my dad through Skype has been great. However, it’s not the same as being home with him. It’s not the same as sitting and watching CourtTV and gameshows with my grandma on TV. It’s not the same as getting in my car and meeting up with friends, or going to a coffee shop to study, no matter how much I complain about school.

Isabelle made a comment today. She got tears in her eyes and she said, “I miss home. I try to pretend like I don’t, so I can be strong for my friends. But, really, I do. I miss home.” And, you know what? It left me speechless. I didn’t know what to say and at the time I wasn’t sure why I couldn’t be there for her. But the truth is, it’s because I miss home too. Being in Europe since January has been the greatest experience of my life. Not only did I learn to speak a second language, but I will have seen 11 countries in Europe before my 22nd birthday. I learned more about myself in seven months than every other year of my life. I have learned how important friends and family are, and that there is so much more to your hometown than you may think. Also, life isn’t about how much money you make, but instead it is about doing what makes you happy. It may get overwhelming going to class every day, doing homework, and studying for tests, but an education is very important. It’s not just the grades though. Finishing a college degree is about following through with something that you are not required to do. Finishing college means crossing one more thing off of that bucket list. In fact, make that three, since I have lived in Europe and learned a new language. I have also found out who my true friends are since I have been gone, and the ironic thing about that is the one who has been by my side the most is the one I least expected. I have learned that people hold grudges and payback can be a bitch, but so can karma. Life is a fragile thing, and I am thankful every day that I have been given this life to live. At the same time, though, there are people in my life that won’t be around forever, and I should take advantage of my time with them and make the most of it while I can. I learned that my dad has been there for me since the day I was born, and I didn’t even know it. He has always been the dad I have now… I just never knew it.

You know, there is an entire world out there just waiting for me to explore. But, until at least January, Kansas is where my heart is. When I get home, it’s back to the books and work for me. But, more importantly, I’m going to spend more time with my family and get to know my city because when it all comes down to it, I wouldn’t be me without either of those.

Less than 1 week till NYC... almost back in Kansas.

13 July 2009


Today Linda and I played in a field of sunflowers. It was heaven. Minus the unexpected bees everywhere (no stings this time- no worries!)

If I could carry sunflowers with me all the time, then I am pretty sure I would always be happy :) I just see them and smile! When we are driving, and we go past a field of sunflowers, I stop talking, look out the window, and just get in a world of my own.

(photos coming soon... they haven't been uploading the past 2 days!)

01 July 2009

Munich: reunited after a lifetime

Munich was great... after I calmed down a bit. It was hard leaving my dad, and then entering in to a cold and rainy country. It was so cold that, in fact, I had to wear a WINTER coat. Depression began to sit in, but once the skies started clearing up and it was getting warmer... I found Anke (my nanny from when I was 5, and whom I have not been in contact with in 10 years)! Just an incredible reunion... and she has a daughter, Lina, who is 5. We had fun going to Lina's horseback riding classes, baking chocolate chip cookies (totally organic), and visiting the school that Anke and Tommy have founded. It was great to be reunited with them, and I cannot believe it took this long.

This just shows the power of the internet... and, for me, how important it is to be in contact with people.

30 June 2009


The rain seems to come at the perfect time... it was here at the beginning of my trip in Munich, just after I'd left my dad after being with him for 2 weeks, and just as I changed from one city to another. Now there is a huge thunderstorm rolling in... just after I had to say, "goodbye" to Anke and Lina. I feel like it is my mom crying with me. Even though this isn't goodbye, because it is for sure see you later, it is still so hard to do. After 10 years of wondering where and how she is, and then finding it... part of me is afraid it may be goodbye. (While it won't... it just scares me sometimes!)

Afterall, I may be back in Munich September 2011 to teach English. After spending 2 afternoons at the Montessori school Anke and her husband have founded, I have officially confirmed teaching is what I want to do... and potentially in Munich. If we can get the visas worked out, I'm in. If not, then France it is! However, I have made a home here, and to be with people you care so much about makes it that much easier.

Life is great, and it's funny how at first I was sad, depressed, and basically hating Munich... and now I don't want to leave. If it wasn't for already have purchased a plane ticket, and plans to meet up with Linda, I probably actually wouldn't leave until August. I just love Europe!!!!

Tomorrow: off to Greece!!!!!

27 June 2009


Two days ago I got back in to contact with my German nanny, who watched my sister and I one summer when we were 5 years old... and whom we haven't seen- or been in contact with- in 10 years. She lives in Munich, where I am now, and somehow I was able to remember that and how to spell her last name, and that she didn't change it when she got married. It was an incredible reunion consisting of lots of happy tears and stories, and even old photos of my mom.

... it makes me miss my mom, and wish she was here with me, enjoying this experience, and the reunion. She would have loved to see Anke again. Anke called my mom the August when she was diagnosed with cancer, because they were supposed to meet up later that fall, and it was then that my mom told her she was dying. Anke said she sounded strong and not afraid, but who knows.

Life is great, and truly an incredible thing. You can't live it with regrets... if there is something you want to do- do it! (As long as it is legal, of course!) If you want to travel, do it. If you want to be a singer, do it. If you want to write a book, do it. Just do what you gotta do to be happy. Where there is a will there is a way!!!!!!!

24 June 2009

2 weeks with daddyo!

Highlights from trip with dad:

Arrival in CDG Airport with a surprise visit from... me! We rented a brand new Renault SUV, with only 10km on it. An SUV may have been a mistake, as we later found out, except for the fact that it was nice to have all of that extra space :)

Went straight to Angers in the rain, but arrived to a breaking sky in order to give my dad a tour of where I had been studying the last 5 months.

Dad got drunk under the table by my 66 year old host mom, but it was OK, because he needed the sleep after a full day of traveling.

Had a final goodbye to JP, Helene, and Charlotta, then hit the road, Jack!

Stopped in Clisson for a muskadet wine tour, so good!

Made a pit-stop in Terrasson, looking for the 'garden of imagination', only to find out it had JUST closed when we got there, but it was a pretty kick-ass, teeny tiny, hella old town. worth a visit if you're in the area!

Final destination 1: Fontenay-le-Comte, couchsurfing with Emilie and her boyfriend, Manu. They welcomed us with drinks, appetizers, bbq, and chocolate covered strawberries. The plan was to see Ile de Ré and La Rochelle in the morning, but due the the rain (still!), Emilie showed us around the surrounding cities. We even saw a tower where a fairy used to live in order to protect the city from harm, and a cherry tree that grows cherries all year long, because it was a sick boys dying wish.

Final destination 2: Talence, couchsurfing with Sylvie. She was great, and met us for drinks in Bordeaux. The main reason for staying with her was to go to the Dune de la Plya, near Arcachon, which is the largest dune in Europe (not the world, as my new friend, Anna, informed me!). It was so great. We spent a couple of hours at the dune, got our workout for the day, and enjoyed watching the kite surfers. It was so great, and relaxing. The sun FINALLY popped out to say hello just as we were about to begin the climb up the stairs... and stayed out almost the rest of the trip!

Final destination 3: Breton-Bretenoux to couchsurf with Linda. She was so great to put up with us, after calling her when we were 2 towns in the wrong direction. Breton-Bretenoux, btw, is a great town, not listed on the map, full of 7 families. :) She had a beautiful farm house, and was so welcoming. I even got fresh picked blueberries for breakfast! You could see the view of a castle outside her dining room window, which was great. The next day we went and explored the castle: it's where I'm getting married. Eventually. Maybe. :P

Final destination 4: Le Cannet, Cannes, couchsurfing with JLO. On the way there, through the very windy roads that my dad swore "the bitch" (aka the GPS system) was wrong, we stopped at a restaurant that served us a full course meal for lunch, consisting of quiche, horse, cheese, and dessert. It was my dads first stap at horse... and while he pretended he hated it, he lied! It was pretty good, not as good as Colette's, but pretty good nonetheless! JLO ended up taking us hiking out last day there, up 800m, through show, streams, huge rocks, and fields. I never thought I would do that in my life, but it was a great accomplishment, especially when I got to the top (after climbing what seemed like straight up through show in tennis shoes, shorts, and a tanktop), to see the frozen lake on the other side. It was great. On the way down, tho, daddyo fell and bruised a couple of ribs. He's ok, but he could feel every bump in the road the rest of the way!

Final destination 5: Besançon, France, to see Pauline, Julien, Narimel, and friends. From Cannes, we decided to hit up Monaco because it would be faster to get from Monaco to Besançon, since we had less time than I thought, so Turin was out of the question. Once we arrived in Monaco I plugged Besançon in to the bitch, and we ended up going through Turin anyways, and Switzerland. This was our 4 countries in 1 day trip. It was great! Then in Besançon, we toured the Citadelle, and did a tour around the river on a boat. Very cool! I didn't realize how big the Citadelle was, and how well it's been kept together! There is even a zoo inside! Dad was so silly with his audiotour... :)

Final destination 6: Paris. We decided to stay in a hotel the 3 days, just for added comfort. Great idea, daddyo! Saw the Eiffel tower start lighting up at sunset, saw Charlotta, walked around Montmartre, and had dinner with great friends. Great end to the trip, and I was so sad to leave dad...

The trip was the best thing I could have done, and better than I imagined. Renting a car is the way to go... and so is couchsurfing, and seeing the small towns. Dad couldn't get over how old everything is, and how it really does look like the old photographs. He kept asking questions along the way, of which I had no idea what the answers were! It was great, though, that I was told I speak French fluently by a woman that lived in one of the 400 year old houses just at the base of the castle. Made me feel great! I learned so much about my dad that I didn't know before, and a lot of questions were answered about our lives that was originally foggy to me. My dad is SUCH a great person, and I am the luckiest daughter in the world to have him as a Father. It's kind of weird, though, because my mom wanted to take us to Europe when we graduated college. So, one semester away, I got to bring my dad instead. I wish she could have been there, too, but, sadly, I can't go back in time and bring her back. Hopefully she was with us the whole neck of the way... that's probably why it rained the first 4 days of the trip. She was crying because she couldn't be there, too!!

Love you, daddyo!!

Don't be afraid to go dance in the rain. Not everyday has sunshine but every day has a chance to dance.

21 June 2009

Austria Traditions

The tradition for the longest day of the year in Austria is one of the coolest traditions I have ever seen... and of course I didn't have my camera on me. BUT! I will tell you about it anyways!

Nearly 8000 fires are lit on the mountains in Austria, and they can be seen from, well, anywhere you can see them. :) I flew to Munich and then went to Garmisch by train, where I was met by Adrian, Pia, Ulli, and friends. We then drove in to town for dinner, then, once it was dark, the fires began. Since it had been raining all week, we were afraid the fires wouldn't be lit. Thankfully, albeit a bit chilly, it didn't rain! We went in to the valley, and one-by-one the fires began. I expected the mountains to look like Christmas trees with 8000 separate fires, but, in fact, they made designs! On one mountain, there were fires evenly spaced outlining the top of the mountain... and on another, there was the German Coat of Arms... crosses... angels... faces... it was just SO cool.

I definitely want to go back next year- and I won't forget my camera in the car! Or tripod, for that matter.


16 June 2009

4 Countries in 1 day!

The starting point: Cannes, France
The ending point: Besançon, France
The countries inbetween: Monaco, Italy, Switzerland

So dad has now seen 4 countries, when he was only planning on going to 1. It was a beautiful drive, and I'm happy we were able to do it together! Having a car really is the best way to go throughout Europe.

11 June 2009


Well, Dad is finally here!!!! After 3 days of basically non-stop rain, we finally have a gorgeous day... just in time.

I surprised him at the airport as soon as he landed, because I figured he would have a heck of a time figuring out how to get from Paris to Angers, without knowing any French. So once we made it to Angers, we walked around for awhile, and then ate my final dinner with Colette! It was really encouraging though because dad doesn't speak French and she doesn't speak English, so I really had to play translator big time! It was really a test as to how much French I know... and I surprised myself. Great feeling!

The next morning we said our goodbyes after going to Centre Ville so my dad could meet my 2 closest french friends JP and Helene, who are moving to Australia in July, and Charlotta, my friend from Sweden. Then, au revoir Angers! I'll be back in July to see Colette's grand kiddos... :)

Stop 1 (after Angers) was a small town about an hour outside of La Rochelle. The plan was to couchsurf there, then the next day go to Ile de Re and bike all day... but... with rain, that fell through! So instead, Emilie (the CSer hosting us) took us around to really really REALLY small towns surrounding her small town. What an awesome experience and an awesome person!

Next up: Bordeaux to stay with Sylvie...

Ok, dad is waking up from his nap... so I'll update more later!!!!

08 June 2009

New Chapter

It is officially summer. I finished my study abroad semester on Friday. It was a great semester, and should help with my GPA, that's for sure, not to mention that I learned SO MUCH along the way! I have to admit, I was naive before I came here, because I thought that I would be speaking like a native by the time the semester was over. Really, so naive! But, regardless, my French has improved greatly and I am very happy about that.

Dad gets here in 8 hours... little does he know he is going to have a surprise at the airport! ME!

While I'm so excited about him to get here, I'm bittersweet about leaving Angers. While I couldn't live here for the rest of my life, it has been a great city to live in for a few months. A lot of my friends are already back "home" (whether it's in the USA, Thailand, China, etc!) and it's weird to think that my summer is just beginning... while one chapter has just finished, there will be many more this summer.

OK, bed time. Train is at 5:45am!!!

01 June 2009

Tomatoes and Goodbyes.

I have never been a fan of tomatoes. Ketchup and pasta sauce- OK. But real tomatoes? No thanks! But my host mom makes this great tart: tuna + tomatoes. Two things I normally am NOT a fan of! But together? SOO good! And in Spain, I went to a "flat party" with a new friend I met on couchsurfing (I ended up not staying with him but he still called me and asked if I wanted to go out with his friends...! I'll talk about this when I tell you about Spain... eventually!)... and his friend had make cherry tomatoes wrapped in a really thin ham. Oh. My. Gosh. Very tasty! So today I went to the store and bought cherry tomatoes- the first time in my life I have ever willingly purchased tomatoes... for myself- and ate them. With the ham.

Then i went to the Lake with my friend, Zeb (from TN), for a few hours. Kind of studied... did lots of talking... and lots of frisbee. When it was time to go actually study and say goodbye, I didn't realize it really probably was GOODBYE. The time has gone so fast here... and, while I am staying until the end of August, most people are leaving much sooner than that... to this is our last 5 days together.

I hate goodbyes.

29 May 2009

Last day of classes!

Today is a perfect day for the last day of classes in Angers... only 1 more week and I have finished the semester (and brought up my GPA!!). It's sunny, warm (not too hot or too cold!) with a breeze. Finals start tomorrow morning at 9am (yes, on a Saturday!). However, I have 2 tomorrow, so that gets 2 out of the way so I can focus the rest of the weekend on studying for the others.

9 days until my dad arrives in France! I can't wait! I just got an e-mail confirmation from couchsurfing.org, confirming I now have all of our trip covered for lodging. I would post more details about what we're doing... but it's a surprise for dad. I am so excited!!!

A bientot (apres mes examens...)


27 May 2009


I just returned from a 14 km bike ride with my host mom. I suggested going on a ride this weekend... before having looked at the weather. It turns out today is the coldest day of the week- which is perfect!! Its 18 degrees right now and partly sunny. So great!

You know, there's one thing I really regret... and that's that I did not get to know my host mom very well. We are just now REALLY starting to bond, and I take all of the blame for it. I have been more concentrated on traveling and hanging with my friends (american and french) than spending time with the woman who has offered to give me room and board for the last 4 months. She's a wonderful person.

25 May 2009

More cookies!

Yesterday Colette asked me to bake cookies for our "international picnic with your host families" dinner tomorrow.

So today I baked cookies and they turned out just like my Grannie used the bake them. I can even hear her whisling "woo hoo" like she used to when I would go to her house every Sunday...

I miss her and my mom. Thank goodness for memories though!!!

22 May 2009

You never know who knows your language

I am in Villaviciosa, Spain, which is supposedly the second richest city in Spain, next to Madrid. My friend from way-back-when, Sarah, is studying Spanish here! It's so great to see her- especially in a foreign country. I will update you more about this trip and the last few trips soon... but I have an interesting story first!

So I really don't speak Spanish. I can comprehend a little bit of it, but not a lot. So this morning I was in the kitchen getting some breakfast and the cleaning lady started talking to me and asking me questions (most of which I really did not understand). However, I did understand when she asked me if I was studying here with Sarah, and I told her no, that I'm in France. Little did I know that this woman speaks French! Pretty fluently, too! So we had about a 45 minute conversation in French. Also, come to find out, she is from the city in Spain (Salamanca) where I have been told is the best place to go to learn Spanish- by numerous people. So I gave her my contact information and she said she will ask around for people looking for an Au Pair for me.

The power of languages...!!

07 May 2009


My host mom makes the best crepes... I love it when we have them for dinner!! The only bad part is I eat so many, that afterwards I'm not motivated and I just want to go to sleep! Luckily I have managed to stay awake for 4 additional hours and get a paper and some studying done... oh, and catching up with friends on facebook. You know, the norm.

06 May 2009


I may have lost my mom when I was really young, but I sure did gain a relationship with my dad that that is absolutely incredible.

He's an incredible dad, and I love him so much!

I can't wait to have him travel with me for 2 weeks this summer.

I am so lucky.

05 May 2009

French Doctors

The French way to do doctors offices are so bizarre... compared to American standards, that is. I have been feeling sick the last couple of days so I went to the "infirmerie" on campus today because I couldn't sit in class any longer. It was an office... much like a teachers office... and I told the woman my symptoms, she took my temp, then said, yes, I think you should see a doctor. So she looked in this book of handwritten doctors names and called a couple before making me an appointment. When I got there, it was the same type of deal- only this time there was a bed to lay on and, what I think of as an at-home scale. Didn't seem sterile at all, so good think I didn't have an open wound or something. Actually, that's not true. I think it's just that American's are super sterile friendly... the French have been doing things this way for years and it seems to work.

Diagnosis: a virus.

Treatment: A day off from school and medicine that only cost me 3 euros.

Outcome: Still sick.

04 May 2009

Red Velvet

I had a dream last night (or was it during my afternoon nap?) that I ate red velvet cake... and now I really want some.

This weekend I went from a rainy and yucky day in Angers to a perfectly clear and sunny evening in Paris.

It's amazing what 1 1/2 hours away can do...!
I saw my friend, Andrea, sing in what is called an "Apartment Tour". It really is a fantastic idea: people open up their apartments for 2 artists to perform. 15-30 people must be in attendance, and at the end they pass around a hat for money, but obviously nothing is required. It was so much fun!

Even after getting a little lost on the way back to my friends apartment, and trying to get lured to a dark and quiet street while just in front of where I was going, I fell asleep with the view of the moon and the eiffel tower and I could say the only thing that would have made the night better would have been a red dress and a date.

After a night in Paris, I headed back to Besançon to see Pauline, Julien, and Narimel. We sent to her parents tiny town an hour away and she showed me around. Since it was May day, apparently the tradition is for the kids that will be 18 that year to go around and collect all of the crap in peoples lawns and put it in the fountain in the "center" of town. Pretty funny. The next night we went to a concert called "L'Herbe en Zik" which means Music in the Grass (zik = short for music), where there were 2 stages set up for shows. My favorite was a genre they call "swing jazz" which is more like swing, jazz, plus a techno beat. I LOVED it. The last group was from Russia, I believe, and the guy didn't speak any French at all, and although he "sang" in english/russian, his spoken english wasn't that great. He kept saying something in one of his songs... but I can't remember it right now. to be continued...
Sunday afternoon was spend with Narimel, Pau + Friends picknicking in the park. Absolutely fantastic and great to see Nari again- and to take it easy!

Now that I am back in Angers I am getting sick with whatever Pau before I got there... so it's back to a nap for me.

28 April 2009

One of those days....

Today has just been one of those days... it rained all day yesterday and today. It's been cold and cloudy (when it's not raining) and I just wish I had hours upon hours to sit in a hot tup, reading a great book, and sipping on a glass or two of wine (you'd be happy for me... alcohol is out of the diet except a glass at dinner!).

I'm listening to Kings of Leon "Sex on Fire" and it's helping me feel a bit better. It's just one of those songs that makes me smile and relax every time I hear it.

I think I'm just going to go to sleep now and wake up early for that run that I wasn't able to do this morning since I set my alarm incorrectly. Oops.

Well... Rennes. It was fantastic, albeit a bit chilly. Walked around the main area on Saturday and proceeded to easily get lost since I did not have a map or anything. It was run to be walking around by myself and just exploring and reflecting on things. Got up in the morning and went on a run, too. What's nice about running is being able to explore new areas faster. I found a cool little park and a moving bridge and a beautiful field. I almost took my little camera with me but decided against it... next time I do exploring I'll bring it so you can get a glimpse of what I see. We walked around the biggest market in france on Saturday and I ate a Galette Saucis, which is a galette (kinda like a pancake) wrapped around a sausage... a typical "dish" in Bretagne. Very tasty and hit the spot on the chilly afternoon! And the STRAWBERRIES! Oh my gosh! I actually didn't eat any... but the people came all the way up from the south of france with the strawberries... and apparently they were the first people to begin growing strawberries in France. They looked delicious!! I even saw a my first manifestation... not quite sure what they were complaining about but regardless, it was interesting.

The family I stayed with was fantastic. I met them probably 4 years ago in OP when I was babysitting for the dads sisters kiddos... and theirs. The dad was visiting his family in Kansas. The mom is french and they have the most beautiful little girls, Asdrid and Adele. HUGE blue eyes. AWW!!

Sunday we hit St.Malo again. It's such a gorgeous beach, and very relaxing. I love just getting lost in the sea and my thoughts.

23 April 2009


My host moms grandkids arrived Tuesday and they are staying until Saturday. They are SO stinking cute! There are twin boys, 9, and a little girl, 7 1/2 (can't forget that 1/2!) Colette asked me to take some photos of the kiddos yesterday, so of course I couldn't say no! They have been pretty shy until today... I think they are finally relaxing a bit. It's been great having them here. We made cookies today (not as good as Grannie's or Kelsey's... but they will work)! It's hard doing the conversions... even though I use a conversion thing, it just doesn't seem the same. Oh well, they're yummy! I tried to convince the kiddos to try peanut butter... but they wouldn't haha. However, I did get the little girl to try the cookie dough, and they all tried Reeses Pieces! They even wanted to add them to the cookies! I was too busy helping mix everything that I didn't get any photos... but it was still so fun!! I even got invited to have dinner with them (it's Thursday, and she's only required to cook us 3 dinners a week). That made me feel good!

Here are some photos from yesterday...

I ran yesterday afternoon and this morning (6:30am, GO ME!). My friend from Montreal, Diana, is going to be my coach for the next 6 weeks. She normally runs an hour 3x a week, but she's going to work with me everyday and so we will both be running an hour... soon :) Today I went 10 minutes without stopping (if you don't know my running habits... that is amazing.) I bought a watch with a stopwatch on it today so I can time myself and push myself. Should be great!

I head off to Rennes, France tomorrow until Sunday. See you when I get back!!

21 April 2009


Ate rabbit for dinner today. Minus the bones, it tasted a lot like the roast beef my family makes in the crocpot. YUUM!

Also had grapefruit for the first time, imagine that. I remember my mom used to eat it for breakfast with some sugar- but I'd never tried it (to my knowledge) before tonight.

My host moms 3 grandkids are here visiting for a few days from the south of France. There are twin boys, 9, and a girl, 6 or so. They are so adorable! I want to take the little girl home with me... she's so cute... even if she doesn't understand me in French. At least the boys do, so I know there is hope for me!

Time for bed. I'm not feeling too well (can i blame it on the rabbit??)

Back to springtime

Well, I've officially made it back through day 1 of classes! The good thing is I believe we only have 2 5-day weeks of class in the remaining 6 weeks.. so that's good!

We arrived yesterday evening to what seemed to be stormy afternoon, that, of course, we missed (like the nasty weather on the rest of the trip. 1/2 day of rain, which we set aside for museums anyways? yes please! thank you!). I headed straight to the laundromat because, after 16 days, 2 pairs of jeans can get pretty dirty!! Anways-- it was great to be back in Angers, and for the first time it REALLY REALLY REALLY felt like "home". We left to spring just beginning, and we came back to it being her full force. It smells like spring, looks like spring, and feels like spring. The cool thing is we have almost completely missed the "april showers" and are jumping straight to the "bring may flowers" verse. It really is amazing how quickly time flies.

In my language class today we were discussing fears, and things we were afraid of as children and even today. It started as fears or thunderstorms and spiders, and turned in to dying. It kind of got me thinking about all of it though. As a kid, when it would storm, I would take my stuffed animals and put them under the piano bench and sleep there with them, because, at that time, they were the most important thing to me. But today, what would I take? If I have 10 seconds to grab the most important things to me for fear of the rest being destroyed, what would I take? What about you? What would you take then- and now?

Now it's time for bed. I have officially applied for KU graduation, changed my plane ticket to head back to NYC on August 20 (back in KC on the 24), sent an order, and researched cities for summer travel.

19 April 2009


My last night in Dublin was spent socializing with people from the hostel. Most of them were Italians, with a few from France. You know what the great part about Italians is, though? They are all so proud of where they come from. Not only were they all proud to be from Italy, but also their particular city. Every person told me I had to go see this city and that city this summer- the rest just aren’t worth it. It’s kind of funny, but at the same time, it makes me want to see all of the cities. Regardless, I am so excited to go see Italy again, and also to experience Spain. It’s going to be so hard to choose a city to move to in January- and which language I want to learn. The few words I do know in Italian, I was told I have a good accent- ha. So, we’ll see where life takes me. It’s such a big world and there are so many choices, how do I know I’ll be making the right one? Time will tell, I suppose…

I have decided, however, that I am not a fan of big cities. At all. T hey are full of tourists and they are totally targeted toward tourists in general. I understand this and the reason for it, but at the same time, it’s not what I want. I don’t want to go to the pubs in Dublin and be overwhelmed with people from all over. Like I said, it is great because you get to meet people from all over- but, for that very reason you are not experiencing the true culture. That’s definitely something to note for traveling this summer—the smaller and the more “off the map” the better. Galway was great for getting away from that. It is listed as a “must see city” in Ireland, but it is not heavily populated with tourists (for the most part). Besides Piper’s little tumble… and my newly discovered bad reaction to hummus (which is really awful because it’s so delicious, easy to make, and good for you!!) … Galway had an awesome nightlife. Supposedly that is what it is known for, although we were not aware of that upon arrival. There are locals in every pub and live IRISH music playing all night long (unlike Dublin where the music was all American tunes). The musicians and the spectators all were having a fantastic time enjoying either their Guinness or Hooker (which is brewed in Galway). So much fun- even though I had to leave early due to the hummus reaction.

We did tour the Guinness factory in Dublin though! It was really cool-. The view of Dublin at the top, the “free” pint of Guinness, and the… borrowed?... glass so made it worth every centime! It was very well organized and even though it was obviously related to alcohol, I think it could be appreciated by all ages- even children. No, not the Guinness at the end… but the rest of it!

Somehow, though, New York City is still my favorite city I have visited. One of my new friends from last night pointed out that I have not seen all of the cities in the world so it is not fair to say it’s my favorite city in the world. Fair enough- I will just keep it at the top of my list thus far. ☺

So, it’s back to Angers now. I’m sad to be ending the 16-day voyage through Europe, but I have learned a lot along the way- especially for planning my trip for the summer. Here are a few of the things I learned:
Hostels. Great and so worth it so you can meet people and make connections all over the world.
When at hostels, share contact information! You never know when you may be able to help each other!
Food. You really don’t have to eat out all the time. Grocery stores are great alternatives, and if you want the “taste” of the country, you can still have one or 2 big meals a week and you will get the great food- and save a pretty penny.
Guide books. SO worth it! They list great things to do and fantastic restaurants- so you are not walking around aimlessly looking at every menu along the way trying to make a decision, and find out later that you are disappointed. The only 2 restaurants we ate at in Dublin ended up being our favorite in the UK, and we found them from the guidebook. The first was more expensive, but worth it. The second was so cheap but equally fantastic.
Paying more for a good meal without ordering wine is generally a better choice than going to a cheaper restaurant and convincing yourself it’s a good idea to order wine. You end up paying the same price- and missing out on a great meal by not going with the former.
Rest. It is really important to plug in an extra day of rest every few days because after walking around for 8 or more hours a day, you will get tired and need a “chill out” day.
Small cities = better (already explained a few times).
More is less: it’s great to see as much as you can when you don’t have much time, but you also waste a lot of ground time by traveling. So, set up a base city and make day trips. You get to make your presence known at certain cafes or wine bars or whatever that way too.
Attractions: It’s not important to see EVERYTHING there is in each city visited. Vatican in Rome? Nope, didn’t see it. The “David” in Florence? Oops, missed that too. The Beatles museum in Liverpool? 11 euros? No thank you. You know, those things are great, but they are also expensive. It’s good to pick and choose exactly what you want to see. You save money that way and you also get to spend more time in the places you are more interested in.
Chocolate: the UK sure does have their KitKats mastered… dark chocolate… peanut butter+milk chocolate… really I don’t think they could get any better. Now, if only the US would trade some peanut butter M&Ms for these 2 types of KitKats… I think the candy lovers everywhere would be happy. Ok, maybe just me.

… back to Angers to begin planning the best trip ever with the daddyo this summer- and the rest of the cities to visit with Linda and also alone.

16 April 2009


We arrived in Ireland yesterday evening to rainy weather. No worries- the first night in a hostel is best when spent socializing! We ended up meeting a couple from UNC studying abroad in Montpellier, France, and a girl from Australia who is traveling the world! Since it's so expensive to travel to-and-from Australia, apparently there is a "around the world" plane ticket you can buy, which gives you 1 year to travel and there are certain spots along the way, but at the same time you can change it at any time without an additional fee. What a great idea- the USA needs that! Jo is 5 months in to her journey and is having a blast.

This morning we got up early to head to Galway, Ireland for the day/night. The 4 hour bus ride passed so quickly because I was watching out the window most of the time (or sleeping!). I LOVE the countryside in Ireland! There are stone fences everywhere that keep the sheep inside the property. Just absolutely gorgeous!

We came to Galway for the small town experience- and for the sea. However, Piper decided to take a grand fall after taking a photograph and not watching where she was going! After a couple of bleeding and bruised knees, Kayleigh went to get bandaids... and it couldn't get any worse, right? WRONG! I turn around, and Piper had bird poop on her face and coat (the same coat she spilled wine on in Rome)... it was so funny... we were both crying so hard we were laughing. There was a nice guy from Barcelona who decided to help us, but he also just had to take a photo of Piper because it was too funny. (I'll post photos soon! I actually found a card reader... so I'll be busy on the bus ride back to Dublin!)

Time to go walk around more. I just had to share that story!!

15 April 2009



Country 2 of 3.

Before arriving in England, we were quite surprised that so far everything had been fantastic with our traveling. We had not had any problems, we’d made every train and flight (thanks to Kayleigh!) and, well, everything was great!

Until we tried to get to Stratford-Upon-Avon.

We landed early in London, made it through customs, and looked for an information desk to find out the best way to get to our location: train or bus. They told us a bus for sure, and we could purchase the tickets through them. So we did and we were on the bus 30 minutes later. After almost an hour and a half we arrived in Stratford. Stratford, London. NOT Stratford-UPON-AVON. While it was great to see where the arenas for the 2012 Olympics are being built, we had a Shakespeare play to attend in 6 hours! Our bus driver informed us we were miles and miles and MILES away from where we meant to be! He contacted the bus company, gave us a free ride back to the airport, and he said no worries, we would get it all worked out!

… until the bus company realized we had booked through the agency upstairs instead of them. And so now, basically, we were screwed. So we joke that it won’t be more than 4 hours and we will be fine to arrive in time for our play. The joking ended shortly after we were told that the bus ride is 6 hours and wasn’t leaving until 4. If you do the math- that’s 10 pm. The play was starting at 7:30! The Shakespeare play was the sole reason for going to this tiny town (it’s the birthplace of the playwright). Tears started welling up in our eyes, and that was all it took to get the workers of NATIONALEXPRESS to get to working. So Kayleigh and I went to the “bad” bus desk and we (well, she) complained until FINALLY we got our money back. After much complaining, we finally got them to get us a taxi for 56 pounds each, which would get us there by 6 pm. That seemed to be our only choice- until a woman from NATIONALEXPRESS came running up to me and said they found a train for us, but in order to get there we had to be on a bus in 10 minutes and it would only be 18pounds each. However, we would arrive at the train station at 7:15. 56 pounds… 18 pounds… 6pm… 7:15pm… 18 pounds and 7:15 sounded the best!

We may have had to get all dressed up in a dirty bathroom in a train, and looked ridiculous checking our baggage in to the cloak room at the theater, but thanks to an incredible team with NATIONALEXPRESS doing absolutely everything they could to help us make our show- when it wasn’t even their problem in the first place- we actually made it early enough to the show in order to get a much needed glass of wine.

… and the man who runs the B&B stayed up until after 11 to let us in to our room.

So, if you get the chance, you must stay at this B&B in Stratford-Upon-Avon. It’s called, Brooke Lodge” (http://www.brook-lodge.co.uk/) and they were the cutest couple ever. The husband is from Italy and the wife, Scotland. The rooms were clean and we had a home cooked traditional breakfast in the morning, consisting of eggs, sausage, bacon, toast, fried eggs, fried toast, baked beans (for breakfast???) juice, tea, coffee, mushrooms, and Cadbury eggs! (It was Easter, afterall.) The husband even gave us a ride to the bus station in the afternoon after allowing us to leave our bags in the reception area for a few hours so we could explore SUA since we obviously didn’t get the chance to the day before. It was an absolutely amazing experience and maybe one day I will make it back to say hello.

SUA was a cute little town. The only reason it is even on a map is because Shakespeare was born there. Regardless, it was nice and relaxing. Less than a mile outside of town is countryside. Shakespeare things are everywhere- and it made me want to give some more of his books a try. I loved Romeo&Juliet, but it is one of the few plays I have read that I have enjoyed. Maybe I will have time to read some more when I’m done with school… but that’s what everyone says, right?

After we tried to purchase tickets for Oxford twice and were told it’s best to just buy them on the bus, we almost weren’t let on because it was full of people that had already purchased their tickets ahead of time to the ONLY bus heading to Oxford that day. Somehow we managed to make it and we arrived at our hostel.

Hostel. Before two days ago, this word gave me the hebiejeebies. I pictured freaky people, dirty rooms, buildings falling apart, and just all-in-all not a pleasant experience. I mean, how can it be fun in a place like that when you are generally paying close to $20 a night? (In Europe hotels and taxis are on a person-by-person rate). Man, sometimes I am so naïve. My first hostel experience was incredible, and it makes me wish we stayed at one in Italy! They have BBQs every Sunday night (we arrived on a Sunday), a kitchen available for use, a TV room (with comfortable chairs/couches!), a lounge area, a terrace outside, and lots of cool people. Sure, sometimes I’m sure there are weird people there. But thankfully we didn’t come across any of them! The hostel was pretty much full of French people and we spoke more French while there than English. Our roomie the first nite is a girl named Juliette- from Nantes, France, which is 40 minutes away from Angers by train. She came to Oxford all alone to get a job to learn English. Apparently you can stay in hostels for an indefinite amount of time at a discounted rate, which is what she was doing. She had arrived just a couple of days before and was already thinking of going back home. However, by the end of the 2 days she had come out of her shell, was hanging out with us, cracking jokes, and meeting a lot of people. She was so much fun- along with everyone else. It just was just a great experience: like living in the dorms to the extreme (in a good way!).

Last night we tried Indian food. Did you know Curry is the national food of England? If not, now you do! There are Indian restaurants everywhere so of course we had to check one out. It was fantastic. I’m so glad I am opening up my taste buds and trying new things. I’ve been holding back for so long- dad, you were right! I’ve been missing out on great food!!

Anways, check out an Indian restaurant the next time you are in England. I think you will be happy.

Yesterday evening I was able to meet up with a friend from KU, who now lives in Oxford. She was actually studying abroad when I met her so it is fun to be in the opposite boat. She had another KU friend with here, and Piper’s friend studying abroad in England also met up with us, so there were 6 KU students meeting up! Haha. It was great to catch up, and her friend, Cody, has experimented with couchsurfing many times. While I have never been nervous about it, some family and friends are nervous for me to experiment with it this summer. But let me tell you- he can assure you there is nothing to worry about! There is a link where the negative comments are all put together. Not bad, huh? Also, he made a good point. He said it takes a lot to open up your home to complete strangers, and agree to show them around and entertain them. So, if they are willing and able to do that, then it can’t be a bad thing. Sure, there are those weird older men on there who say they will only host girls, but obviously I’m not stupid enough to stay there. Plus, you can search for certain ages, and of course there are profiles listed to try to match up personalities. He also gave me some tricks and tips for requesting couches, such as making the request silly and exciting instead of just saying, “hey, I’ll be here this date for this many days… can I stay with you?” He has a point- that’s boring. I don’t think I would host me either if I received a message like that!

We also went through Christ Church University in Oxford. While hesitant at first to pay the 4.50 pound entry fee, I am so glad that I did. Part of Harry Potter was filmed there, and I don’t have that love of HP that my friends do, so needless to say I wasn’t too exciting about paying to tour a campus. However, CCU (I have no idea if that is the acronym, but it works for now!) is way more than just a set for HP. It is where the story of Alice in Wonderland began. Louis Carroll was a student there, and Alice was the dean’s daughter. In the dining room where HP was filmed, there are stained glass windows with pictures of Alice and some of the other characters. There is a small door on the stage where the faculty would eat and go through after meals, which is where the idea for Alice falling through the hole came from. There are old men throughout the whole campus just waiting to make eye contact with you so they can being telling stories. The man in what I will just call the “Alice room” was black with BLUE eyes, and he was from the Caribbean. The man in the church had eyebrows about 2 ½ inches long, of which one was sticking straight out. He sometimes would trail off in his stories, for example, he began talking about the wars he has fought in and how usually people are against civilians being killed, but when they are the ones making the ammunition and weapons, it’s ok. I’m really not sure how he go to that when we began talking about evolution, but well. He was incredibly nice, and it was interesting to see his point of view on that. What I liked best about the church was the stained glass. Instead of it telling stories from the Bible- like every other church/cathedral I’ve seen so far- it told stories of the history of England, or of the campus. It was just a great experience overall, and I’m so happy I gave in and decided to do it!

Again, we lucked out on weather. Like Italy, we had an afternoon siesta in the sun- just without the daily gelato. I’m not quite sure how we’ve lucked out so well, but our luck is supposed to change for Liverpool (which is where we are going right now).

Just a note to you fellow travelers- be prepared to pay a LOT for train travel in England. France now seems so cheap! A one-way ticket from Oxford to Liverpool, with a change inbetween, was 50ponds. AHH break the wallet! Just kidding. Kind of.

My memory card reader broke, so unless I find one in Liverpool or Dublin it may be while to upload pics. I’ve only gotten through day 1 of Rome—so be prepared. I’m about 2500 photos in… it’s funny, though, because while I was taking photos left and right in Italy, I have slowed down quite a bit in England. It’s still pretty an interesting, but I’ve just become more selective I think.

As a side note- it is really bizarre being in an English speaking country after 2 ½ months of being away from it. If we had been in Italy, we never would have made it to our play due to the language barrier. For that reason it’s really nice, but at the same time, it’s a bit odd and kind of hard to transition. I see why people have such a culture shock when they get back to the states. After Sunday it will be 4 months before I will be back in another one… woah bip.

Ok, time to change trains. Thanks for listening… er… reading!

12 April 2009

Major update!

Here is a MAJOR update for you... I wrote it as a few days passed at a time... so the timeframe may not make the most sense, but I will fix it later when I add photos :)

It’s great to actually be out of school for a couple of weeks. A break was definitely needed!

We began our spring break in Rome. In order to get there we walked to the train station, took a train to Paris, took a bus to the airport, a plane to Rome, and then a bus to the train station which was really close to our hotel. So we had trains, planes, and automobiles! Literally! The journey was long but finally we made it. Two hours late for our check in due to a flight delay, we were ready for bed at 1:30 in the morning.

After great nights sleep it was time to explore. While on our way to the Coliseum, we ran into a parade. But not just ANY parade- let me tell you! It was a communist parade. I wasn’t aware of it before we got there, but now I know a lot of Italy actually wants to be communist. It was quite interesting to see the PACE rainbow flags, the color red, and people of all ages dancing and celebrating in the streets. This went all day long- literally- and no matter where we were during the day we could hear the drums, music, and whistles of the people.

The Coliseum is incredible. It’s so hard to believe that it was built so long ago and is still standing today. For some reason I expected it to be larger than it was, but at the same time, it’s very big. Although it was full of tourists, it was still possible to imagine what it may have been like to be there when it was active. Can you believe people went there to watch other people die? It sounds so vulgar, but it seems like people will do almost anything for a form of entertainment.

After the Coliseum we headed to some more ruins. We thought maybe it would take 30 minutes to go through it. WOAH were we kidding! It was over an hour before we decided to have a lunch break and come back to see the rest after that. I think this was my favorite part about Rome because there were ruins thousands of years old, and buildings thousands of years old right next to “modern” buildings. And what I think is even cooler is that it was in the center of Rome.

There was also this building we walked by twice before being able to enter it (it was closed the first time for cleaning and the second because it was after hours). We had no idea what it was until we finally made it up there. It was the Tomb of an Unknown Soldier. It was incredibly elaborate and huge while of course gorgeous at the same time.

During the trip we met up with Pipers’ friend, Sarah, and Emma and Phil. It was a lot of fun being able to travel together!

It’s so weird being in a country where we don’t speak the language. I feel bad speaking English because we are regarded as a tourist, which, well, that’s what we are, but at the same time sometimes I feel pushed away. I felt this for the first time when I went to Germany because the language is so different from anything else I know. In Italy, sometimes I can pick up some things because of the little Spanish background mixed with the French, but at the same time, it’s quite different!

The food here is absolutely incredible. It beats French food without a look back. I think they even have better desserts than the French. Gelato is our afternoon snack- but we learned that there is good and bad gelato. Also, and I love how there is so much color everywhere. I feel like the Italians are happier people in general than the French.

Next stop: Florence. The weather was gorgeous- until we got to Florence, where the fog had decided to settle in. But mid/late afternoon it was gone and the weather was perfect. I will probably keep saying this, but we really have lucked out. As soon as we got to our hotel we went to a little hole-in-the-wall restaurant which was clearly full of regulars to meet my friends from NJ- Mel and Salem, and Mel’s friend Mary from AZ. Salem had no idea I was going to meet her, so it was a fun surprise!

Florence, too, is gorgeous. I’m in love with Italian cities: the smaller the better. We made a day trip yesterday to see Siena, which was a 1 ½ hour bus ride from Florence. It was very gorgeous, but at the same time there were too many tourists. I hate that because I feel like people are losing sight of what it means to be in a small town.

But, while in small town Siena we were just walking around and we found a tower. Within the tower there was museum- which included a photography gallery by the photojournalist Paul Fusco. It was incredible. There were images from the chemical explosion in C… what’s crazy about it is the effects that people are feeling 20 years after the explosion… and that you can see it in their children. Cancer is everywhere, and so are tumors. It’s so sad to see the pain and suffering the people are feeling. Children were eating off the floor like they were dogs: probably because they didn’t have much use of their legs. You could see the sadness in the faces of the mothers who were caring for their children with tumors larger than they were.

The next part of his exhibition was the “RFK train” when the coffin of Bobby Kennedy was carried by train. People of all races were standing near the tracks bidding farewell. During that time, it wasn’t common to see black and whites in the same place, but the death of Bobby Kennedy brought them together, even if it was just for a few minutes.

In the transition from that gallery to the one of American soldiers who were also returning home in coffins, an Italian man stopped us and asked if we were American (the photographer was American). We said yes and he asked our opinions of Italy so far. We told him we loved everything about it, but here is what he said,
“We have a great past but not a great present. I love the countryside but not the people.”
It’s interesting, because the first part of that seems true once you think about it. Italy does have a great, old, historical past. But where are they going now? It’s interesting to think what they have going for them other than there past. I guess I could say the same thing about every country, but then again, we do no have ruins like they do. However, I cannot agree with his statement about the people. You see, in Verona (my FAVORITE city so far), we had nothing but incredible encounters. Once we arrived there by train, we were so turned around and lost looking for our hotel. We saw an old man who looked nice, so we asked if he knew where the street was (in as few words as possible because none of us knows Italian!). He wasn’t sure, so he stopped a random woman walking. She had no idea, so they both stopped a mailman who had a map. He pulled it out and started looking. However, they didn’t’ speak English so when a friend of the mailman rode by on her bike he responded with “ciao bella” and then proceeded to have her explain to us how to get where we needed to go. I loved how she explained the “sky… bueno… of Verona.” Meaning… the “sky scraper”. She kept asking for the word but she couldn’t remember it, so she just said “bueno”. Haha. But what is really funny about it, is that it is one building that is maybe 15 stories high. Once we made it to our hotel, we were starving so we headed off to find somewhere to eat. After some hesitation we found a cute little corner restaurant. It seemed cheap and light, so we decided it was OK. We were debating what to order, so the man working there (I’m assuming the owner/co-owner) asked if we liked pasta. Once we said yes, he said we should have a certain pasta because his “mamma made it”. Imagine that in a thick Italian accent… and you will smile! He then proceeded to offer us a bottle of wine from where he is from: just outside of Verona. It was incredible. Red wine in Italy? YES please! When we finished our wine (in which he shared a glass), our delicious pasta, incredible shot of espresso for Piper, and lemoncillo, our entire meal was 24 euros. 24. Euros. After calculating, we are pretty sure we got a 50% discount. So, on to the next nice person.

It seems to be that these GINORMOUS chocolate eggs are the “in” thing to do for Easter. While we each wanted to try one, we figured we could never get through even one. So we walked past this “Tipografia” which is a printing press, and this incredibly nice woman offered us some of the chocolate egg she had received in a drawing. She knew we were not going to buy anything (there wasn’t really much to purchase) but she will still so generous and friendly!

Next nice person: the owner of the hotel we stayed at. We were looking for restaurants to eat at for dinner last night, so we asked the owner for suggestions. Instead of just saying there were a lot in this certain section of town… he notated specific locations and names on our map, along with places to get “spritzers” (a type of fruity drink). While we didn’t make it there, it was sooo nice of him!

Last amazing people in Verona: the 3 men we met at dinner. We were getting ready to leave when these 3 guys sat down at the table next to us, family style. I’m not sure if that’s how it actually works, but there was room so OK! One of the 3 was pretty fluent in English, but the others had a lot of learning to do… however, they definitely spoke more English than we can speak Italian! After offering to buy another glass of wine for us all, they took us to dinner with them (even though we had already eaten) and they said they didn’t mind we weren’t going to eat because they would get some more wine for us. So we go to this little Italian restaurant and they order a typical dish from Verona, which is basically the same thing as chicken friend steak, but pork, with lemon. They shared with us, spilled 2 glasses of wine, always with a smile on their faces. It was so much fun.

So, now we are off to Venice. It seems like each small town I see I fall even more in love with it. I cannot wait to come back to Italy this summer. The people are fantastic, the countryside is incredible, and the food is delicious. Plus, the smaller the town, the fewer the tourists. I actually felt like I was in a small town in Italy- instead of “touristville”. Finally it felt more like Italy instead of a historical site.

Venice was our last city in Italy. Sadly, it was our last favorite, too. We can’t quite pinpoint the reason for it, but it’s probably because we were so spoiled by the small towns before it. I mean, it was beautiful and greatly different from all of the other places we went, but just not fantastic. I think we were all expecting it to be romanticized like in the photographs- but it’s not. However, it is kind of cool that all of the streets are really tiny, and there are NO cars on the island. All throughout Italy I was upset because I felt like it would be so much more beautiful- without the cars or scooters everywhere. And finally- a city in Italy that was just that! It was also fun to explore through alleys to see where they may lead us, which was usually to a dead end due to the water… which was ok because it was an adventure to get there! The food and coffee, however, was fantastic. We walked around for a couple of hours before we found a little pizza place for dinner. Yum yum yum! I really am going to miss the food in Italy, but luckily I will be back this summer!

We got to this one church/square on the island of Venice where there were pigeons everywhere. Very tame pigeons. People put food in their hands and the birds jumped up on them to eat- as they were standing up! Thanks to Kayleigh, I have developed a slight fear of this scary flying animals, especially as they come flying toward me at full speed! So having to talk through a square where they actually LIKE me was a bit intimidating…. Until I saw the “make-out couple”. Yes, that is exactly what they were doing. For a very long time. At first we were thinking they needed to take it down a level… until we saw the girl was crying and had this huge smile on her face as she looked at her boyfriend with these incredibly happy and loving eyes. We assume they just got engaged or something… but, regardless, it was great to see two people so happily in love. It must be nice :P

So now I am on a plane heading to England. Our first stop is Stratford-Upon-Avon for a Shakespeare play! It is weird to think we are heading to a country where the national language is English. For the past 2 ½ months we have been traveling in countries where we cross our fingers and hope the people we are talking to either speak some English or French, and if not, gestures and as few words as possible are used! All of it is an experience in itself and I just can’t wait for the next adventure!