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 :)

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Spring Time!

The weather this week has been beautiful. So much sun! I'm loving it. Yesterday we went on a walk with the grandfather. The last time I was in this place, it was fall. The leaves were falling and it was turning cold. This time it was the complete opposite! Flowers were blooming, trees were getting back their leaves, and we were actually hot! Such a great day spent outside.















I'm leaving for Germany early tomorrow morning to visit a friend. I haven't seen her since before Christmas so I'm excited! We have lots of fun things planned. Can't wait! Not to mention the fact that I'll be on a 7-hour train ride through Switzerland. If you haven't done this before, put it on your bucket list. You can thank me later.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Sunday in Geneva

Today was such a beautiful day. The weather was showing off for us: warm temps, lots of sun, clear skies. I went with a couple of friends to Geneva and it seemed like everyone else had the same idea. There were so many people out in the city taking advantage of the day. We strolled along by the lake, got some cold drinks, sat on the "beach", took a quick nap in a park, and did a lot of people watching. The recipe for a perfect day!









Sunday, March 9, 2014

Checking off the Bucket List

Cross-country ski in the Alps? Check!

I went cross-country skiing today for the first time. Let me tell you...it's not as easy as it looks. We did two tracks: one 4 km and one 8 km. I did pretty well on the 4 km track. Just one little stumble! Then on the last part of our 8 km track, I took a really nasty fall. Like so bad that I'm hurting just laying here in bed. My knees are the size of baseballs and my forearms are burnt from sliding on ice.
BUT. It was a really cool experience. Will I do it again? Maybe. For now I'm just happy I can check this off my bucket list.

Personally I would rather go back and just walk through all of the tracks. There were so many beautiful things but I couldn't look very much. I had to focus on the track to stay upright. I'm laughing at myself now just thinking of how silly I must have looked. Especially on that last fall. It was a doozy.

Here are a few pictures from the day. There was no way I was going to risk bringing my camera so these are a bit grainy. Hopefully you can still see how beautiful it was today!

{Side note: I'd just like to say a quick thank you to my grandparents for buying me this iPod touch so many years ago. It's old, the battery life is terrible, and the photo quality is not the best. But man am I so happy to have it. It's great for those moments when I can't use my real camera, when I want to listen to music on runs or long flights, or when I need to look something up real fast in the city. Plus it lets me text my family and friends back home. So thanks, Nanny and Papa! Love y'all!}









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