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.