Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Update on Life

Well hello friends. In case you were wondering, yes I made it back from Europe! It's been three months since I've been around these parts. It was a bit of an intentional break, but also kind of not. I knew I would be busy when I came home from Europe, but I didn't realize how life was going to hit me full force. I landed in Atlanta on a Thursday night, then started working full-time the next morning. I have absolutely no idea how I did it, but I'm still alive! If you ever wondered how to beat jet lag...just start working immediately. No rest for the weary!

So. Here are a few updates.

+ The most exciting thing is that MY LITTLE GIRL PASSED THE ENGLISH EXAM!!!! So so so so so excited. It was such a relief and such a confirmation for what I'm doing in life. I probably would have questioned my entire college career had she not passed the exam. I would have felt like those four years of paying to learn how to be a teacher were for nothing. (Not really...because there were a lot of random factors going into this situation...but it still would have been terrible.) Thanks for everyone who prayed and encouraged me! I felt every bit of it!
just a little preview from Easter weekend in Bourgogne

+ I have a job! I didn't really mention anything about this, but when I came home for Christmas, I accepted a job offer! My youth pastor from middle school started his own private foster agency. He talked with me about working as a case manager and after praying about it, I really felt like it would be a good fit. We are in the final stages of getting our license (in fact, we're hoping to have it this week!!) so we will be placing children in foster homes in a few months. I'm so excited about everything that is going on with this. God is moving in mighty ways. I'm a little nervous because I did not go to school to work in the social work field, but my degree is definitely related. There were many things I learned in college that will benefit me in this profession. Will I ever teach? Probably. But right now I'm happy with this position and I'm excited to see what happens!

taken the morning after I got back in the States

+ I have also moved into a new house! My brother and I are renting a house from one of our neighbors. Some of you may remember we lived together for a year in college. I'm excited to do it again because we have so much fun. Plus I really missed that kid this past year! The house we're living in is across the field from my parents. The Burton family just sticks to the old farmland. It's a bit ridiculous but I love it. Especially after being gone from my family for so long.

+ This is completely random, but Whirlyball is my new favorite thing. Have you ever heard of it? It's like a weird mix of lacrosse and basketball, all on bumper cars. Seriously the most fun I've had in a while. I went with a group from my church on Sunday and I'm dying to go back. I think we're going for my brother's birthday in August so that should be fun. Here's a video so you can see what it's like. If you have a place near you, go!

And that's about it for now. I still have a lot of posts I need to write about Rome, Easter weekend in Bourgogne/Burgandy, leaving Europe, and some other little things. Hopefully I can find time to sit down and write them! I haven't even started editing the pictures yet. Sooo it might take me a while.
Hope you're having a wonderful week so far! I'll be back soon!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

From the Car

Europeans (at least the ones I've met) are not as acquainted to road trips as we are in America. This is probably due to the fact that plane and train tickets are cheaper here than in the States so their travel time is cut drastically. I don't mind a good road trip. I love driving and seeing new places along the way. Here are some of the sites we saw on our way from Geneva to Loire Valley and back.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Quasi Finito (Almost Finished)

Well folks, my time here is coming to a quick end. I have less than a week left in Europe. Hard to believe! This weekend I am off to Rome with the oldest daughter. Last time I was in Rome, I didn't get to see very much. I'm excited to get a bigger feel for the city!

Tonight was the last night we will all be together as a family so we decided to celebrate by going out to eat. When I first came to France, back in June, we went to a restaurant on the top of a mountain overlooking Geneva. So to finish off my time here, we went back to the same place. It was crazy to think about how different things were the last time we were there. It's been almost a year! So much has changed. I've become a part of this family and I am so grateful for everything they've done for me. I seriously could not have asked for a better au pair experience with them. Most au pairs I know (in fact, all but one) do not have it this good and for that, I'm extremely thankful.

Just five days stand between me and America. But first, Rome!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Tomorrow = Exam Day

I came to France last August to help the little girl learn English. At first, it was very casual. Just speaking every day and gradually learning things. However, in October, things changed.

In middle school, the students have to pick a language section. Usually you go to whichever language is your mother tongue. This family decided instead to have their daughter try to get into the English section. So since they decided this, we have been pushing her harder. I have been working with her almost every day to improve her grammar, speaking, and writing abilities. It has not always been easy. It most definitely has not always been fun (for either of us). But we are almost at the end!

Tomorrow is exam day and I'm getting a bit nervous! We have done everything we could to prepare her. Prayers would be much appreciated for her to do well on this test!

In other news, I will be back in America in 15 days!! Ahhh can't believe it's almost time to go back home. I have mixed feelings of course. I'm sad to leave Europe and all the travel opportunities I have here. But I'm also very excited to get home to my family and friends. I've missed them a lot more this time than I did last time. I can't wait to step off that plane on American soil!

And because posts are boring without pictures, here are some shots from the garden. Spring has arrived and I couldn't be happier.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Herrenchiemsee Castle

While I was in Germany, I learned a lot about Bavaria. My most favorite thing was Ludwig II. Such an interesting guy! Here's the link to his wikipedia page if you want to read a bit. One of my favorite things about him is that he loved building castles. He actually built the castle that became the model for Sleeping Beauty's castle. I mean how cool is that?!

While I was there, we visited Herrenchiemsee, which was modeled after Versailles. Ludwig II was obsessed with Louis XIV, so he wanted to build this monument in his honor. Unfortunately, he never finished because he ran out of money. Only 20 out of the 70 rooms were finished. But that made the tour more interesting. We walked through the finished entrance and through the rooms he copied from Versailles. There were many rooms dedicated to this museum-like building, including a hall of mirrors. He also had a personal apartment for his own use. The poor guy only stayed in this palace for a total of 10 days. I can't imagine how beautiful it would be if they had finished everything.

Sadly there are no pictures allowed inside, and I didn't get any outside with my camera because it was snowing/raining. Thankfully Rosalie used her phone to snap some shots for me.

The weather was absolutely freezing and the wet snow didn't help. But the good thing was we had the castle almost to ourselves. We had about 10 people in our tour group which gave people the opportunity to ask questions. And there are no other tourists in our pictures! Always a plus. Next time I got to Germany, I want to visit his other castles. Neuschwanstein for sure, as well as Linderhof, which has a grotto (modeled after the blue grotto in Capri) he built so he could ride in a golden swan boat. Such a character, that Ludwig!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Munich and Bad Wiessee, Germany

Last Friday, I took a train (and a bus) to Munich to visit Rosalie. We met in Geneva a few months ago and became fast friends. I had such a great time being with her and her incredibly sweet family. They were wonderful hosts!

We spent Friday afternoon in Munich. We walked around, saw a lot of the big sites, and had a late lunch in a cafe overlooking the town hall.

The next day, we stayed in her village, which is about 40 minutes from Munich. Bad Wiessee, her hometown, is on Lake Tegernsee. We walked along the lake, through the old town, and then took a boat ride to the other side of the lake to see her old school. The whole building houses the school, the Duke's residence, a church, and a brewery/restaurant. We ate lunch in the restaurant and I tried some new things. I really liked all the German food I tried. I didn't eat much meat (I'm not a big fan), but the rest was really delicious. Especially the breads and pastries.

Reiberdatschi...potato pancakes with applesauce

The weather was beautiful for the first two days! Unfortunately, we woke up the next day to snow. But they are used to it so it didn't change any of our plans. Up next is a trip to a castle and a day trip to Innsbruck, Austria!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Back to Reality

After a bus ride, a missed train, and 8 hours of travel, I made it back to Geneva last night from the best vacation I've had in a while. I spent the past five days with my friend Rosalie in Germany. It was so nice to be with her family and see the cities around her hometown. I could not have asked for a better holiday. There is definitely more to come with lots of pictures, but I just wanted to check in since I haven't posted in a week or so!

The last day we were there, we got these super cute bracelets. They are from the company Leaf and I'm in love with all of their jewelry. So simple and pretty. We got matching ones because why not?!

Thanks, Rosalie, for such an amazing weekend. I'm so thankful I met you in Geneva those months ago. Can't imagine life without you! Now we have to figure out a way for you to come to the States :)
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