Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Finale

So this is probably my last post on this blog. I leave very soon...Wow.

Over the last few days I've been enjoying the weather outside with friends. We've gone canoeing and got completely soaked, went to a traditional town party that happens every year, had a summer kickoff party with the neighborhood and grilled for the holiday yesterday. Today I need to finish packing and in the next couple of days I say goodbye to people and head on my way back.

My year went on for what seemed forever but at the same time it went by so quickly. The last few days have been a blur and the end is coming up fast. Everyone has asked me if I'm happy to go home. My answer is "Jain" which means yes and no. Of course I'll be happy to be in my own room, see friends and be with my family and our new dog...but I also have a life here. I have friends that I'll miss dearly and it will be tough readjusting to not seeing them every day. So yes and no, I'm happy but sad but relieved but scared. Everything has is pros and cons and even though this year has been difficult, I wouldn't exchange the experience for anything.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

My parents visited. We went to Greece and it was amazing.
I went to Berlin.
I graduated from the program.
I'm going canoeing tomorrow...
I'm packing.
I leave next week.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

I realized I hadn't written in a long time...

I've been busy with videos, with the end of 12th grade, with a spring break trip to Holland, with college stuff, etc.

Chaoswoche marked the end of 12th grade (and beginning of another month or so of 11th grade). Every day we dressed up to a theme, like Spirit Week and a lot of the kids partied every night. I spent the time filming all of the days and editing. Here's the video. On the last day we put together a huge show for the community, where we displayed the other videos and had the teachers (dressed up like animals) play games, as if they were on some crazy game show. We also got t-shirts with the logo "Hakuna Matabi."

Last week I went to Holland and spent the week with a friend from my childhood, who studies in Maastricht. The city is beautiful and there's so much to see. I loved every minute and hope to visit sometime. We wandered, window shopped, went to cafés, experienced some night life, hung out with friends, hiked up the "mountain" and looked at the city from up-top, and went to a small '90s theme party. Overall it was just really fun and I was sad to have to leave.

My parents come on Saturday to visit, and I'm excited to go to Greece, even though some things didn't work out totally as planned. I'm happy to get to see them again though.

College things are being worked out. Things are definitely not going to my liking so we'll have to see what happens.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

It's funny how tiny mix-ups (same name) can turn into a huge deal when people talk behind your back. Thank goodness that's cleared up. Now I'm just ready to get out of this suffocatingly small town where everyone seems to know everything except the person they're talking about...if I can figure out where that host family travel consent form....and looks like I've found it.

Now I can take a breather for a little bit...well until Thursday or Doomsday as I call it (when almost all colleges are posting decisions).

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Knights in shining armor and millions of dollars?


On Saturday Adriana, Erika and I met the Bundestag representative for our region. He organized a castle tour of the Wasserburg Anholt and coffee-time afterwards. The castle is still lived in by the count and his wife, which I thought was pretty interesting. It's a beautiful, old building (first built in the 12th century) surrounded by a moat and gardens. They have a huge library full of ancient books and even a gallery filled with paintings by famous artists, most of them Dutch or Flemmish, including a Rembrandt and some that date back to the 1200s worth who knows how many millions of dollars. Then coffee was pleasant in the restaurant there...we were asked a lot of questions, which were all written down by the representative's secretary. After that we took some pictures and said goodbye.

Then I got ready and went out with some people. It was fun.

Sunday I ended up watching The Wolf of Wall Street....of course Leo DiCaprio's performance was spectacular and I don't understand at all why he didn't win an Oscar (again)...however I did not expect it to be so...umm...rated R (that was my only complaint).

Yesterday I had a normal day of school and today, well, I stayed home sick. Great. Hopefully it will be over soon.


Friday, March 14, 2014

Today while working out, I sat down to read a Pinterest workout guide while doing some weights...I then managed to drop one weight on the top metatarsal of my middle finger, and the nail bed started bleeding.

I figured I'd share.

Thursday, March 13, 2014


So my life has been normal. I'm waiting for college stuff to come out...going to school...have been enjoying the beautiful  weather the last few days (although it's supposed to get cold again tomorrow -_-)...yeah.

I've also been keeping up with my daily workouts (usually 1-2 hours depending on when I start and how much time I have). My go-to videos for new stuff are Fitness Blender and Blogilates with Cassey Ho...I mix that with my gymnastics conditioning, the stationary bike, and random workout routines I find on Pinterest.
I try very hard to drink a full 1.5 L of water per day, although sometimes I end up drinking the majority of the bottle before going to bed because I'm determined to finish it and I forgot throughout the day...whoops.
I have been eating clean and training mean, and I feel pretty darn good. :D

I've also hung out with friends and all that, so that's good.

On Tuesday I gave a report about the US perspectives on the Ukrainian crisis for my Sozialwissenschaften class (like Civics and Economics on a more currant affair-level) and what Obama/White House are doing about it, other politicians' responses, and the general public's views on it.
In biology today we started on genes and how the earliest genes connect every living creature and stuff like that. Personally, genetics is my favorite subject when it comes to science...so I'm happy about the topic :)
In math we are doing matrices...apparently they don't even learn matrices until 12th grade, while I was doing them in 8th (I believe)...it just goes to show how different the curriculums are, but neither is "easier" than the other (unless you've done a year of IB and then German 12th grade is a breeze)...anyway, matrices is also my favorite subject in math apart from statistics and I am very good at matrices so I'll be looking forward to easy math classes the next couple of weeks.

On another note, I finished Divergent and both sequels to the series....make sure not to read the end of the third book in public...just saying, it extracted quite a few tears from my eyes.

This evening (as in right before posting this) I made some yummy LC/GF protein bars and sprinkled a little coconut on top...next time I may add some more fruit or something for a twist but you guys should check out the recipe because they are GOOD. Sorry in advance for the poor quality from my webcam but I didn't feel like going all the way up to my room to get my camera.

OH YEAH. BE JEALOUS. *does a little dance that looks kind of like this* (Click it, you know you want to.)

That is all. Bye!

Monday, March 10, 2014

You are my sunshine

The past two days have been beautiful. Weather in the mid-high 60s, sunshine, clear sky, no rain....my host mom even got a sunburn yesterday.
I've spent every second I could outside, whether it be reading, video stuff, eating, or surfing the web. Today I rode to school with not even a jacket. Even as I'm writing this I'm sitting outside in a tank top. Early March, in in northern Germany, in a tank top. Like what. But I'm loving it.
Yesterday we grilled outside and when my host mom went to the supermarket on Saturday all the meats good for grilling were sold out (in three stores) so we made due with what we had in the freezer, which was still a whole lot.
In my history class I'll be giving a report on the NATO strategies from 1945 to 2014 with two other girls...my teacher wanted me to pick that one because I'm the "native speaker" but I wanted that topic anyway.
I'm almost done with the third book in the Divergent series, Allegiant. Though the third isn't as good as the other two (it's a bit slow), it's really important to the story and I still like it.

I'm gonna go enjoy my sunshine!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Advice: don't apply to colleges while on foreign exchange. It will give you mini panic and/or anxiety attacks (or the feeling that you're about to get one).

How am I supposed to send in a transcript and mid-year report with grades I don't have?! Because that's not possible. And I've done everything I can to let the schools know that I am not receiving grades (my counselor from the school here wrote that and had the teachers give a mini-recommendation) and yet one school says I'm missing grades that I never got. So what am I supposed to do? I can't do anything more than I already have and I'm freaking out because I don't want to not get accepted just because of going on this exchange year. That would really suck. It would make me feel like I made the wrong choice in coming here, and I don't want to feel that way.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Too Familiar

I've been feeling off today. A little homesick, one might say. You know, I never thought I'd say it but I miss the South. I miss the food and the sweet iced tea, the southern hospitality and the people we'd talk to at church on Sunday mornings. I even miss the (and I really never thought I'd say this) charming southern accent I've grown so used to hearing. When we first moved to North Carolina, the accent really bothered me but now I think of the sweet 'southern belle' old ladies with their accents asking how school is and repeatedly commenting about how grown up I've become and yada-yada-yada. There's a whole culture in the South apart from the country song, pickup truck, lax bro stereotype that I miss. There's an old charm to the South, something you can't find anywhere else. Sitting on the porch in the hot, sticky summer heat while the humidity makes it feel at least ten degrees hotter, just trying to catch a cool breeze; saying hello to everyone (and that's not an exaggeration) you see; true southern manners and etiquette; dresses and bowties at every event; and a lot more that defines the South in its traditions and yes, stereotypes.

While I love the life I have here in Germany and I'm glad I got to experience it as a young adult as opposed to growing up here as a young child, there are aspects that I have grown to love about the South that are missing in my life right now. I think I will always hold a special place in my heart for the country I spent my childhood in, but I also hold dear the life I lead in America. I used to think my "home" was Germany because I have lived over half of my life here, but I think this year has taught me that home is where the heart is and home is where the family is. I wouldn't dream of saying I don't want to be in Germany because I do, don't get me wrong. However, I think that it is a chapter in my life that will be closing in June. I think coming back here was important for me because when we left, I thought we would be coming back after a year and then we just didn't. I always had the question in the back of my mind "What if?" and I don't have that question anymore. I appreciate the past few months here and look forward to the next 3 (and I don't doubt they will go by incredibly fast) because I have learned more about myself than I ever would have, had I spent the year back home in Greensboro, but I do look forward to being with my family and my best friends again this summer.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Today I had no school because they were taking their Klausur tests and it took up the whole morning and I don't have afternoon classes on Thursday. I went on a walk to clear my head. Feeling the fresh air against my face was really nice. I ended up coming home with unsweetened banana chips (somehow it's always either that or nuts). Yup. That's pretty much it.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

A little philosophy is good for the soul...

Keep reading until the end for my philosophical story.

I think spring is coming soon.
Birds are starting to sing again, we have had a couple sunny days, the wind is a little warmer...and forecasted temperatures are in the high 40s and low 50s (Fahrenheit, of course).

Yesterday in English we were looking at some of our classmates' analyses to "The Last Night of the World" by Ray Bradbury...we first corrected the grammar (although there were a few mistakes both in the originals and corrections from others, most of it was well written) and then talked about the content. My teacher's funny line: "Maybe I should have you (me) here when I correct the class tests. It's a lot faster than using the dictionary."

Meanwhile my host sister's boyfriend decided to stay the week instead of just the weekend, which is nice for them.

Also, I had the longest Skype conversation with my parents on Sunday - nearly two hours with one minor interruption. Usually they are shorter and are interrupted an average of three or four times because of the bad WiFi connection I have in my room. It was really nice - we talked about our trip to Greece, the upcoming summer, college stuff, Grandma Carol, and their awesome work in the gym. ;)

As far as I know, I have sent everything in for the college applications that was still missing...so now I get to be tortured by the awful wait. Oh well. I just hope it turns out well considering I've worked my entire life for this moment.

I also thought about how surreal my return home will be. Here's what I picture in my mind (and I already know it's exactly what will happen):
I fly home to Washington. I drive 6 hours in the car to good ol' Greensboro, NC with my parents (and yes, I will be driving part of the time), I enter my house and drop my bags at the front door which irritates my mom but it's force of habit and my suitcases will be heavy, I take off my shoes and socks, walk upstairs, and flop (yes, flop) onto my [new] bed. I will start thinking. About life, what got me to that point, and my year living away from my family on a different continent. Surreal. It will feel like a very long dream. I will be home in a place that has not changed since I left. But I will have changed. This year has changed me so much. It will continue to change me these last 3.5 months I am still here. But I will be home where everything has stayed the same, moving forward a year without me. It's not like moving to a new place and never going back. I will be dropping myself into the world I knew as a completely new person. The last year will seem like a daydream, a hallucination maybe. And the only evidence I will have that it actually happened is myself through my memories, my personality, my knowledge. No one else can tell me what is real. Only I can. A man named Bertrand Russell once wrote, "So far as things are concerned, we may know them or not know them, but there is no positive state of mind which can be described as erroneous knowledge of things, so long, at any rate, as we confine ourselves to knowledge by acquaintance. Whatever we are acquainted with must be something; we may draw wrong inferences from our acquaintance, but the acquaintance itself cannot be deceptive." He also talked about knowledge of truths, but this was a different truth that what I'm talking about. I believe that my memories are "things" because I can only know them by acquaintance. No one else can tell me that they do or do not exist, because they have not nor will ever experience what I have. Thus, this adventure will seem like a dream.

Thank you, Freebird, for being an outstanding philosophy teacher - your lessons in school and in life will always stay with me.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Don't You Rain On My Parade

Divergent is such a good book. I'm nearly finished with it. I really do love dystopia-related books, I've realized. We were talking about dystopian and utopian books and stories in my English class because they had that topic last year and it'll be on their Klausur (test like a benchmark or mid-term) next week. Most of them said they don't like those kinds of books after having read 1984 last year. Meanwhile I think aside from historical fiction involving a woman as a main character (not that specific considering I like it from almost all time periods - I think that love began with the American Girl books and grew into more sophisticated reading), dystopian books are probably one of my favorite genres. The first dystopian book I ever read was The Giver in fifth grade, followed by books like The City of Ember and its sequel, The Hunger Games, and a bunch more (even in German). So naturally, Divergent followed to be one of my loves and I am so excited for the movie!
We also read a short story by Ray Bradbury. 3 of us (Pauline, Alina and I) thought it was good but the rest didn't like it. Oh well. It reminded me of the Twilight Zone, which is always cool in my opinion.

Yesterday the girls and I made ricotta crêpes from DJ Foodie's website. They were really good but took a long time to cook and somehow we managed to not make as many as we thought would turn out, even when we doubled the recipe. We made 10 crêpes. It was still really fun though. We also watched Youtube videos and Germany's Next Top Model. Around 10 pm I rode home. It was pouring rain, direction: at my face. So basically I was lucky I could still see the street through the rain and mascara in my eyes. By the time I arrived one of my eyes was hurting so bad from the water/mascara mix in it that I had had to keep it shut and ride with one eye open...very slowly, mind you. Luckily my coat kept the rest of me dry, and my jeans were only partially soaked. But I cleaned myself up, put on nice, warm PJs and hopped into bed...where I ended my night by watching more Youtube and reading Divergent.

In other news, my host sister's LDBF (long-distance boyfriend) is coming for the weekend so she's picking him up at some point this evening.
Also, considering the fact that I haven't eaten anything today because my stomach wasn't doing too well, I should probably go make myself some food.

Talk to you later!

Monday, February 17, 2014

You got me trippin', stumblin', flippin', oh fumblin'....

Today was a day of clumsiness: I stepped on a nail (why it was on my carpet I have no idea), tripped up the stairs, hit my bike on a curb and basically tripped into my bike. I don't know why but today something was just out to get me.

Meanwhile I filmed the same video twice today. The first time the sun wasn't out and then the sun came out so I re-did it and then I wasn't happy with it because I was talking way too fast. Awesome. So I'll do that again tomorrow or something...

Today I only had two hours (1.5 hours technically) because History fell out. So I went to school for English...I feel like that's just counterproductive but I was happy when I found out it was my only class of the day. Who wouldn't be happy?

Other than that, I have nothing to report. It was a pretty average day.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Becoming a Foodie by Nature

So for anyone who has been wondering why I've been liking Low-Carb/Sugar-Free/whatever on Facebook (and my fellow CIEEers who saw me suffer in Bonn), here's my story.

For a while I was feeling pretty bad. I don't normally eat junk food but I was feeling just as cruddy as if I was: upset stomach, migraines, fatigue and all that good stuff. I ended up going to the doctor because I didn't know why I was feeling so down when I was eating healthy meals and all. After going through my daily routine, he said he suspected it might be carbohydrate intolerance. So I had to go through two weeks of absolutely no carbs whatsoever, which was pretty miserable because it was very hard finding food but I was feeling better. I resorted to salads, eggs, and nuts and meat when it was available (not the processed lunchmeats). After the two weeks I went back to the doctor to report. It was pretty clear I had CI, meaning things like potatoes and beans which have a lot of carbs basically can't process well in my body. To go even further in-depth, he wanted to test allergies to make sure there wasn't any extra allergies that were causing me to throw up (sorry for the visuals guys). It ended up with me testing positive to wheat and gluten allergies but luckily not dairy. So that meant that rather than just making me not feel good, my body was resisting those completely, which is why I threw all of that back up whenever I ate it.

Anyway, spinning that into a good thing. I've been doing a lot of research on food substitutes, low-carb meals, wheat and gluten free recipes and so on. So to answer questions, no I am not on a diet trying to lose weight. I don't need to lose any more weight than I already have this year. Yes, I did lose a few pound in those two weeks completely without carbs but that was not the goal. The goal was for me to stop having health issues and I've finally figured out why I was having problems and I am not correcting it with a healthy lifestyle. While my diet is now pretty restricted on some levels, I am determined to make the best of it and find yummy recipes that will do my body good.

Benefits: staying healthy and being pretty guaranteed to stay in shape, being forced to stay away from junk food (a good thing), most meals have ingredients that can be substituted, and learning to cook meals for myself.
Cons: it can be hard not eating everything everyone else is eating, sometimes restaurants aren't very accomodating, I'll have to read labels very carefully........
But it's completely worth it and not really an option anymore.

So that is my story and full explanation to answer any questions.

And yes I will be baking with friends on Thursday. They were very respectful and let me choose a recipe so I can eat it as well. We will be making ricotta crepes from djfoodie.com and I'm pretty darn excited.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Blurbs and Books

Yesterday I got all the school reports sent out to my eight colleges...for tiny little letters it cost 12 euros...that's kind of insane BUT I figured it's definitely worth investing in my college future. That's really my number one priority so I am willing to do anything for it.

I also watched The Blind Side in German with my host family...and ended up having to explain why it was such a big deal that the tutor told the family she was a democrat (is that supposed to be capitalized? I'm losing my English). Also, it was weird without the southern accents.

I started reading the book Divergent...my friend got it in English and so she's letting me borrow it. Let's be honest - books are best when in the original language. My friends think so, too, which is why she got it in English and several have read Harry Potter (the holy grail of all books btw) in English. I would love to read The Unbearable Lightness of Being (11th grade reading material I actually really enjoyed) in Czech but that is one language I cannot speak (yet). Anyways...back to Divergent. It's a good book (LUKAS and MOM - you NEED to read it) and reminds me a bit of The Hunger Games trilogy, The Giver, and those German Die Windsänger books we have at home...that I just realized I never actually finished (I was too young). Basically a semi-sci-fi, dystopia-type book...also a really easy read. I started it on Thursday and before I knew it (it felt like 5 minutes but was probably a bit longer) I was already at page 45.
I highly recommend it.

In other news, my host sister's spray detangler basically exploded and leaked all over the bathroom. Product defects are often interesting. She also left for a interview/seminar in Bonn (sound familiar?) for a voluntary year in a third-world country. She'll be back tomorrow. My other host sister Anne, Iris, and I went to Holland this morning to go shopping and look for a bathing suit for Anne. I didn't buy anything (go me!) but there are some really nice stores there.

Plans are iffy for the rest of the day. (I love the word iffy but can never use it so yay!) I've been watching Meghan Rienks's Youtube videos and obsessing over Mish and Dom's perfect relationship and their beautiful faces. I'll start editing one of the other LK videos later.

Also I know you guys don't care but my hair has been acting really weird. IDK what it is, but it's basically resisting my shampoo and either being really dry after I take a shower or being super greasy even, like, the next morning. It's grossly stringy and flat and should NOT be because I washed it last night. I'm probably just going to need to get a different shampoo because apparently this one is not happening for me...*sigh* at least it was almost empty anyway and maybe I can finish it later on.

Oh, and today is really windy. Not like a normal "bad windy" but like in an extreme "hurricane windy" way. So that's no fun.

And yesterday was warm enough for me to have to teach myself how to take off gloves while riding a bike. I was successful and a lot cooler afterward. It was warm enough for me to take off my scarf, but I'd have to stop for that one because I'm not pulling a scarf over my eyes for even a split second while riding a bike...and I didn't feel like stopping. Hence the glove lesson.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day everyone!!

So I didn't celebrate with a guy, flowers and chocolates....that just doesn't happen for me (well it did last year but that was an anomaly). Instead I went to school, with a three hour break inbetween...and afterward I filmed the LK video for our history class. It was cool because I got to work the camera, direct the scenes (little Emily is turning into a producer/director/cameraperson/editor) and I'll be editing the video, along with 7 others. I have two for over the weekend that I can edit. I love my new thing for cinematography. It's a really amazing hobby and I can't believe I didn't do it for so long.

So that was my Valentine today. I've found my second love aside from gymnastics.

Since this is a day of love, I also want to give a shoutout to my family and friends. Recent events made me realize how important that is and how suddenly it can disappear. So we should love and appreciate our friends and family every second of every day while we still have them. <3


Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Passing of a friend

I'm sad to say I'm writing once again about death.

When I first moved to America, we started attending Trinity Covenant Church. There I was welcomed into open arms by the youth at the church, which was headed by the most amazing youth pastor and most generous and loving man. His name was David Bowden. He was a very tall man and we nicknamed him "Tree." He has a wife and two daughters, who are a couple years younger than I am. I remember him always smiling and happy. He found joy in every part in his life, through his work and through his ministry serving God. Everyone loved him and loved being around him. He willingly made fun of himself and acted crazy in front of everyone to make them smile. He headed up our church musicals and VBS and youth group. I remember him dying his hair blonde at the end of VBS because we had raised enough money for the Upward Basketball program. I remember him picking me up and throwing me into the 12ft deep pool in Myrtle Beach the summer before sixth grade. There were tons of memories and every one of them makes me smile whenever I think about them. Although we switched churches halfway through seventh grade, the three years with him were pretty amazing, and I think anyone who knew him would agree with that.

I found out about Tree's passing today through a text from my dad. I immediately started writing. I can't believe he's gone. It seems like just yesterday I was going to youth group singing songs with everyone while he played the guitar. The last time I saw him was at a Mexican restaurant two years ago, although I hadn't realized it had been that long. I'm sad about his passing. Really sad in fact. He left a great mark on my childhood and I will always be thankful for that. But mostly I feel sad for those who really knew him: his family. His daughters and his wife have suffered such a huge loss and I can't even begin to imagine their pain. I pray for them and wish them all the best and hope that they can find comfort and happiness in his loving memories at this time and in the future. He was very young. Too young to die. But he's in heaven with God and we all know he is safe and happy there. Although it hurts right now, we will see him again someday. We will never know why, but I believe that it was God's plan to take him and there must be a reason for that.

David Bowden is loved and missed by all. While his body may be gone, his spirit will forever live in the lives he has touched through his ministry to God, to the church, and to the youth. He was and always will be a loyal servant, great father, friend to all, and amazing man.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

A tribute to America's Sweetheart

Just learned about Shirley Temple Black's passing yesterday...
She was my favorite actress growing up and I watched basically all of her movies. I remember she would always just bring me joy.
She touched a lot of hearts, both young and old, and will go down in history as being America's Sweetheart.
After her acting career she became very involved in the community through political and social activism. She even survived cancer. She has received numerous awards and honors throughout her life and contributed a great deal to society.
Shirley will always be held dear to us and America will miss her.

Shirley Temple Black
April 23, 1928-February 10, 2014

Let's talk about the weather

Yesterday I went to Münster. It was lovely. We went to the Picasso museum, where they also had a Matisse exhibit. After that we went shopping. Mind you, I haven't bought an article of clothing since London and that was in early September. I ended up coming away with two tops I can wear now and in the spring and summer, and a rose gold colored necklace!
Also, my parents told me it was snowing in Greensboro again...we've had no snow here in Vreden. Legit none. And I checked weather.com. Today's forecast for Greensboro is a high of 38 degrees. It's already 4 degrees warmer at 9:23AM and should get to a high of 46 degrees. We also live way farther up north than our counterparts in Greensboro, so I ask Mother Nature, "Why?"
Anyways...if it's gonna be too warm for snow, can it at least really warm up? I really want spring.

Sunday, February 9, 2014


Keep it simple, sweetie (I thought that was nicer).

The interview went well.
R.I.P.D. is a funny movie, at least in German.
I love tea. Probably too much.
I bought a day planner/organizer from Amazon. It's white and cute and I'm excited to start color coding my schedule.
I made about 3 checklists dealing with college applications yesterday. Color coded, of course.
Today I feel short. I like it.
I want to go shopping.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Rant being over about the living conditions at Sochi, I must say they redeemed themselves somewhat with the opening ceremony.

A Nonlinear Review of the Week

I am now in charge of editing 6 of the LK class videos...apparently word got out that I can do that. I've done two already so that's good. Editing is fun for me. I like seeing what I can do with it to make it a good final product and learning new things every time I edit.

Today I have my UPenn interview (in an hour actually)...so I've spent the morning preparing. Also, Anne (host sister) is coming home today.

Yesterday I went to a comedic act thingy with Rebekka and Iris. It was really funny in a typical German humor sense...very different from American humor but still funny.

Yes I realize this blog is not in chronological order. I figured I'd just switch it up.

Wednesday I worked on editing the video for the LK math class. One part is just so funny, I could not stop laughing every time I watched it.

That's pretty much it.

Also right now I'm waiting for lunch to be ready and listening to some song about the Hard Rock Cafe...so that's interesting.


Friday, February 7, 2014

2014 Winter Olympics: Sochi

So today I'm going to talk about something different. I felt like I needed to just say something to this whole thing so here's my rant:

All over the place I've been hearing bad news about Sochi. I didn't really believe it could be that bad until I saw this piece online titled "#Sochi - Where did the $51 billion go?":

So um...yeah. Let's talk about this.
Most of the hotels are not done, reservations that had been booked months in advance were no where to be found, the water and heating is out after less than a day of use, the rooms are bare and falling apart, the food is NOT the breakfast of champions (although I do give props for at least stating the caloric intake, even if we're not quite sure what the food is), and the outside isn't that great - or safe - either.

I'm sorry but that is super disturbing and unacceptable. Most people staying at these hotels are OLYMPIANS. They've worked their entire lives for this moment, dreamed about it since they were little, went through struggles and injuries and came out to be OLYMPIANS. It should be the moment everyone dreams of. It should be the happiest couple of weeks of their lives. But instead they get to stay at what would be about 1/2 star-rated hotels that should NOT be in operation for personal safety. All they do is think about how miserable it will be living in those horrible conditions while trying to prepare for the biggest moment of their lives.

Sochi had the privilege of being chosen to host the 2014 Winter Olympics. It is a privilege and should be treated with honor and respect, not carelessness. By being careless, they enraged the world, destroyed their own reputation and crushed the dreams of every Olympian competing there in the upcoming weeks.

To that I will use the popular slang term:

I can't even.

Monday, February 3, 2014


So I didn't actually get  around to filming my video yesterday because I ended up reorganizing some stuff in my room and by the time I was done the daylight was gone. I'm gonna try to film a video after I finish this blog post...I'm not even sure what I want to do in the video but I'll figure something out. I'll probably just go look at my handy-dandy idea list.
We also got new class schedules but I wasn't there 5th/6th because I don't have class then, so I left before they made the announcement to go pick them up. I'll just go tomorrow. Hopefully my schedule won't be too messed up. I really like it how it is now. We'll see...
Other than that, it was lovely talking to Samia over Skype even if we were both having some voice issues and even though my internet decided to be lame. At least we got to chat for a little bit.
College stuff is almost done (thank goodness, I'm so over this...). I got another alum interview for UPenn so I need to schedule that.

Well I'm off to (hopefully) film a video.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Brown and Youtube

Yesterday I uploaded a new video to my Vlog channel...Today I'll probably film a video for my beauty channel (finally, it's been forever).
I also had my interview for Brown University yesterday over Skype and it ended up lasting over an hour. I personally think it went really well, so I was excited about that. Then that evening I just hung out with my host sister and a friend from school.
This morning I dealt with more college stuff and then watched Youtube videos.
I'm also trying to schedule a time to help my friend edit a video for school...so that might happen today or sometime later this week.

But yeah, that's basically it. I'll probably end up recording the Super Bowl and watching it later (because it airs at 12:05 AM tonight and I have school in the morning) or I'll watch it at my friend's house if I can't figure out the recording stuff on this TV.


Friday, January 31, 2014

Random Thoughts

I wasn't really sure what I wanted to write about today, all I know is that I felt like writing. To me, writing on this blog and filming and editing videos is super therapeutic. I have a bunch of videos I need to put up on Youtube but the WiFi at my house is really bad so I need to find a spot where it won't be interrupted, because that would mean me starting all over again. So that's my newest issue...

Today I have practice but I'm not sure if I can go because that would require getting someone to drive and no one is available. Plus I've been having trouble with my foot a lot lately (the pain went away after a couple of weeks so I didn't think anything of it but after all the walking at Mid-Year it came back) so I wouldn't be able to do much at practice. I just want to be in the gym because it feels like forever...but there's a lot of stuff going on in the background that I just need to deal with and think about. Let's save that story for a rainy day. However, back to foot pains. I'm pretty sure I have a stress fracture (it seems I'm showing the symptoms of it) so I'm not looking to do anything too crazy right now. I just need to go get it checked out by the doctor I think (even though I hate going to the doctor).

Well, other  than that...it's the end of a long, uneventful week. I had to stay home because of sickness and an upset stomach so that was fun (*sarcasm*). I also had to buy a new moisturizer because my other one started burning on my face and making it peel. It wasn't even old - I bought it here in Germany. But my skin has been doing wacky stuff as of late so whatever.

As far as college stuff, I need to finish my financial aid stuff (due the 15th of February) and make sure my American school sends the transcript from 9th-11th grade to my schools of choice. Problem is, nobody is replying to my emails to tell me what is going on soooooooo I have no clue what the deal is. It's stressing me out big-time. :(

Today at school was just plain weird. I kind of felt like I was being given the cold shoulder by, like, everyone. I'm not sure why and I'm sure it was just me feeling that way, but it really kind of sucked. Somehow nobody wanted to talk to me today except for one person (welcome to the very uncertain life of an exchange student...or any teenager for that matter)...at least that's what it felt like. Oh well, I'm hoping next week will be back to normal.

Also, I really feel like just hopping on a train and going somewhere. This is not related to today's school weirdness. Sometimes I just get Wanderlust...even at home I often felt like I just wanted to keep driving down the highway and see where it took me. Of course that never happened. I always had too much to do. Here I have no car, so the train is the next best thing...but yeah that never seems to happen (so no worries Mom and Dad, I'm here in my little town) and somehow the only places I've traveled a are London and Bonn (for a class trip and Mid-Year).  I want to travel like the other exchange students. I haven't even been shopping since London (beginning of September). Withdrawal.

Well I feel like this post is long enough and filled with too much randomness already, so I'm gonna go.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014


Hello everyone!

So Mid-Year rolled around, and I realized I only have less than 5 months left here in Germany...


So I decided that once my year is up, I am going to continue blogging. Not about my everyday life (because that will probably just go back to being boring) unless there's something really funny or exciting happening that I really want to share. I haven't decided yet what I want to blog about (could be food, health, beauty/fashion...IDK) but I know I enjoy blogging and writing and I want to continue that.

Here's to what's happening at this moment (or right after I post this blog).

I am revamping my blog. I feel like this year has changed me and I know who I am and what I like way better than I did before. Don't ask me how moving to Germany influenced my personal style, because I don't know the answer to that question. It just did. So I'm making my blog more "me." "Me" is basically the equivalent purple, pink, blue, taupe and cream...and florals, lace, ribbons and pearls. So super girly-girl. Yes, I'm admitting it. But it's in a sophisticated way, not little-girlish. I'm talking classy, vintage and stuff. Kind of French/English-countryside shabby-chic inspired. So yes, I know exactly what my style is. Which is perfect because once I get home I want to revamp my room as well (especially with the new bed and floors, which I'm super excited to see!!). But while I'm in Germany I obviously can't do that. So I started with my computer. My desktop background, Twitter background, and now my blog.

Hope you like it!!

Sick Days

So we went to my host sister's birthday party last night at her house. It was good but after a while I started feeling sick, so Rebekka and I drove home, had some tea, and I went to bed. Also, someone from Mid-Year got me sick...and a bunch of others are getting sick, too. So that's fun.
I'm eating nuts, drinking my favorite green tea with jasmine, and listening to the wonderfully amazing Josh Groban...all while browsing Pinterest. I've also got my lovely cherry kernel pillow (a present from Christmas) nice and warm against my stomach to warm me up.....a good sick-day therapy day.

PS - Yesterday I made my own trail mix (cashews, almonds, walnuts, and raisins)...which means I'm officially German: I made it myself rather than buying it prepackaged.


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Mid-Year Seminar

So Thursday Adriana and I packed our bags (yes, we procrastinated until the morning of) and headed off to Bocholt to catch our train at 12:30 PM. We got there just after 4pm with a few others from the group and walked to the youth hostel.
There we were greeted by the teamers and all the others who arrived. We ate dinner and then had our first seminar of the weekend :) It was great to sing Fi-Fi-Fo again.
After that we had some free time so a few went out to go see what was open in town (not much on a Thursday evening)...it was a long walk in the rain. Meanwhile others went to McDonald's and stuff...everyone was just kind of all over the place. At 12 AM we got back and I went to bed.
Waking up the next morning, I ate breakfast a little before 8 AM and then we had seminars for the first half of the day. After lunch we hopped on the train and went to Bonn. We visited the House of History (of Germany) and had a tour lasting 1.5 hours. It was basically everything from WW2 until today, so we already covered most of that in my History LK class...It was really interesting, considering I love history. We were then granted free time. A group of us went off to find food. We ate at this really cool modern place with sandwiches, salads, soups, curries, and smoothies (vegan stuff, tofu, etc.).. Our server happened to be from England, so we got to order in English (not that it's hard in German, but it was cool) and talk to him a little bit. I ordered the most delicious Red Thai Tofu-Curry, leave the rice and add some salad (since I'm off carbs now). It was soooooo good!!! Like, if you haven't been there you need to go. The place was called dean&david so check it out. After that we went and bought me some nuts, visited the church (because who can't help but walk into a beautiful huge cathedral when they see one??) and walked down some lighted street/lawn to a beautiful building at the end to chill. After that we went to a bar and I ate some mozzarella/tomato/basil with Mackenzie. Then we got back on the train and headed home. I basically went straight to bed because I was so tired.
Saturday I once again got up bright and early, got ready, and left for breakfast before my roommates were even awake. I prefer waking up the earliest because I like having some time to myself to get ready without haste. We had seminars and small group, and took a walk to the old inner city (protected by an medieval wall and tower and filled with "Puzzle houses" as we call them in my family). Of course we walked straight into the church there (the medieval stained glass windows were breathtaking) since we only had 15 minutes. Anne said, "It makes me want to never sin again." Very true. When you walked in, there was just this atmosphere inside...I can't describe it but she did, and very accurately as well. After that we had seminars, dinner, performed our skits (I played a shower and sauna door) and went to the bar together. Around 11 PM a few of us sober people walked back in the rain. We got into our PJs and went to the couches to chill and talk...once the drunk ones came and started to sit down and be loud I went to bed (only to be woken up again around 3:30 AM by a very...umm...interesting story being told to my roommates).
Sunday I got up early again, one of the few who woke up without a hangover and went to breakfast. I was so happy to see the kitchen finally cooked something I could eat (aside from tomatoes and cucumber slices). I had those too, but this time with a couple of really yummy eggs. I then packed my bags, and since I had time, I cleaned up the Plenum (candy wrappers, papers, etc.) so that the Teamers wouldn't have to do so much. We then had a seminar, small group time, and lunch. After that we left on the train to go back home. That evening Adriana's boyfriend picked us up and we headed back to Vreden.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Skipping the boring bits and new good habits

I'm just going to skip over the boring stuff like school because really, who cares?

New Year's Resolutions.....??? (Okay not really, since I want to be healthier and I'm determined to keep this up as a lifestyle, not just something that lasts a few weeks like most NYRs)
I started making sure I keep up with my exercise at least 1-1.5 hours every day/every other day plus gymnastics practice, of course.
I started making sure to drink at least 1 large bottle of water a day (1.5 L).
I am limiting the amount of carbs I consume and want to work on completely eliminating sugar from my diet...that means cooking sugar free, low carb meals for myself (since I have control of that two meals a day)
Rather than spending the day on the computer (this year I have successfully cut out TV, but my computer habits are still pretty bad) I would like to spend it doing more productive, mentall engaging activities (working on videos and stuff like that)
If I find any other ways to be healthy, I am determined to give them a try.

Last week I went back to school. The medicine worked and I am bronchitis-free. I started my daily exercise on Wednesday. Friday I went over to my friend's house to help him edit a video for school. He then generously brought me to practice :). Saturday I helped my host sister with her Au Pair application (today her counselor told her it turned out really well). We also went to a Zumba party for 10 Euros...it was 2 hours long and the money goes to Little Big World, an organization that helps third world countries get the resources they need, like clean drinking water and sufficient food. The profit from the Zumba party will go to help a small village in India (approx. 2,000 people) build a well for clean drinking water. I'll post the link down below. After that we went to have a girls' night at our friend's house. We ate (healthy), sat, and chatted and went home around midnight. This week (Thursday) I will be traveling to a town near Bonn for our Mid-Year Seminar...sadly I'll be missing Anne and Leandra's birthday party on Saturday but seeing everyone from CIEE is going to be great!

Little Big World (yes, the page is in German, but you can use a translator to try to read it, if you want):

Friday, January 10, 2014

Boring ol' me

The last two days have been uneventful:
I've been at home trying to recover from bronchitis, drinking tea, and watching Harry Potter and Audrey Hepburn movies. Today I worked more on college stuff, making sure I sent in the SAT/ACT scores based on what was needed...which was a whole lot of stress. I just finished for the night.
Last night I made the most delicious guilt-free pancakes for dinner:
2 eggs, 1 banana, mix until it forms a batter, and cook like pancakes in a skillet with a little bit of oil or margarine. I topped it off by spreading a little cherry marmalade on them, and it was delicious!!! That recipe is a keeper :D

On a sidenote, I really miss chocolate chips and real brown sugar (the sticky kind)...I want to make chocolate chip cookies sooo badly but those are two ingredients that are difficult, if not impossible, to find here.

Bye people!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Cravings from home

The last few days have been uneventful and not worth writing about except for a couple of noteworthy points.

On Sunday, Rebecca got home from visiting her boyfriend. On Monday I went to the doctor and finally got the diagnosis of bronchitis (which I had suspected it was...). I got three antibiotic pills to take once a day for three days. They cost a lot but seem to be working. However my host mother suggested I stay home from school for the week (school started today btw) since we only have three days, to recover and not wear myself out too much. On Tuesday (yesterday) Anne left to go back to Halle for college, but we'll see her again soon because her birthday is in less than three weeks. Also yesterday I watched HP and the Philosopher's Stone and today (AKA right now) I'm watching HP and the Chamber of Secrets. Harry Potter makes me happy. If you know me, you should know that by now ;)

I have also started to compile a list of things I'm craving from back home (US Sushi, any Japanese food in general, Cookout, Salsaritas and any Mexican food in general, Greek food, East Coast Wings, southern fried chicken, creamed corn, baked beans.....you get the idea). Basically, I love German and Turkish food, but after a while I need some variation. I also miss Rice Crispies, Cheerios, and Revlon. And the sun. And the heat. And my flower dress and maxi skirts (mom, dad, if you're reading this, you know what to send me as soon as spring approaches). Although maxi skirts aren't a big trend here, I've decided I don't care and I'm going to start the trend if I have to, but they are too cute and comfy NOT to wear in the spring/summer. So take that. Hah. Yeah...

Thursday, January 2, 2014


I'm sorry I haven't updated the past few days, I've just had a lot going on.
On the 28th and 29th I was working on finishing up those lovely college applications/Common App Writing Supplement essays...I also had practice on the 29th and on the very last vault of the day I jumped off weird from the springboard and hurt my foot. I'm not sure if I hurt the bone or muscle or tendons or what but I am walking with a limp and it hurts (although it's been better the last couple of days, but that's probably because I've been laying sick in bed and on the couch).
So on the 30th I did more college app stuff....and later I went with Anne to her friend's birthday party at their house. It was pretty chill and I got to meet a few new people as well as people I had met on Christmas Eve. We ended up going home around 12:30 PM and sleeping in.
On the 31st I didn't do much during the day except go shopping for stuff to bring to the NYE party at my friends' house. Around 7 PM I hopped on my bike and headed over...It was really fun! At 11:55 PM we headed out into the cold to count down to the new year. 2014 came and we set off fireworks and it was great. After that we went into the city, where we met up with the guys and walked around and blahblahblah. The night ended up going south when it started raining and my foot began hurting. But I stuck around anyway. Around 3 AM I finally got home, made myself some tea and tried to warm up. I then hopped into bed, texted a couple of friends, and finally went to sleep around 4:30 AM.
Yesterday I did nothing. I was sick. I layed on the couch and drank tea and watched Youtube videos on my laptop. I'm a Youtube addict, so watching videos of all the people I'm subscribed to is very therapeutic and relaxing for me. It always lifts my mood and is the perfect pastime for when I'm not feeling so good. Around 8:30 PM I skyped with the family for an hour and after that I went to sleep.
Today I woke up around 10 AM but didn't have any motivation to get up because I'm still super sick. My host family ended up bringing some more medicine home and just got back (it's 2:10 PM) from shopping in Holland. They let me sleep because they knew I wouldn't be up for it. Around 12 PM I finally got up and brought my laptop and tissues downstairs...I am now drinking tea, writing this blogpost, and watching Youtube videos (because they're awesome)...I just took some medicine so hopefully it will kick in in a little while. Later today I'm supposed to go to the city hall to verify that I now live in Vreden and not Südlohn. I'm not in the mood. I could also really go for one of my mom's backrubs because all of my muscles ache since I'm sick. Blah.

Bye guys!