Monday, March 22, 2010

Shouldn't the Richest Country in the World Have Golden Streets?
Or at least sidewalks?

This weekend I took a trip to Luxembourg, which is the richest country in the world per capita. I think I've decided that's the case because of the royal family, a few other rich people, and the country being roughly the size of Rhode Island. You could literally miss the country if you were to blink. Also it should probably be called the country of tunnels. I swear we went through a million of them while in this tiny stretch of land.

Amy had a really cool function on her camera that allowed us to take panoramic pictures... which means more play time!

Aside from all the gabber about how small and mole-like the country is, it is very pretty. Luxembourg city is built in the side of a cliff. In other words there is a tall natural wall and then a manmade wall on top of that. It was raining when we were there, but you know what? It didn't make it horrible. We got to go down in a valley area and take gorgeous pictures, even if it was raining and brown. We also got to hide from the rain in a Louis Vuitton store that I loved, but made Amy uncomfortable because we didn't "fit in". All is good though.... if I want to spend a million dollars (or in this case Euro) on a purse I have the same right as the next person to decide just which one I want to purchase. I looked at some really cute wallets and if I were in fact that rich I would have bought one. But oh well it was just cool to see the guy open and close the door and the workers suck up to us to get us to buy one :)

This is the manmade wall... the sidewalk is on the natural wall. We tried climbing it :)

After we got tired of the rain and walking we decided to head home and on the way we both had the craving for a good burger. Now I don't particularly like hamburgers and I don't eat them often, but when I get the craving for one I HAVE to have one. So we decided to be not so German and went to the Chilies on Ramstein. That was AMAZING and for sure hit the spot... once the waitress finally brought me my ranch. (Jamie I blame you for this.)

I climbed up a part of the hill that was pretty much ugh- but once I got up there I was happy. Amy had to walk around!

Sunday was spent making breakfast, hiking, making up stories while hiking, seeing a movie and planning next week's hike. The hiking was SO much fun. We found this one manmade underground bunker (or whatever it is) and we decided that Hitler really isn't dead. He's hiding in the bunker and still thinks the war is going on. I decided to knock on the door and he didn't answer. He must have thought that we were going to take him in if he answered. We continued to walk and decided to turn it into something else. If you have ever read We're Going on a Bear Hunt, we did something a little like that. Instead of a bear we were looking for windmills, talking about going under, over, and through things, and making noises as we went through them. The game was probably pretty childish... but I'm ok with that. We all have to be immature sometime right? And besides no one else was around so who could really care?

This is the bunker Amy and I am certain Hitler is still hiding in!

Over all this weekend was pretty chill and I'm super excited for the next 2 weekends in a row. Next weekend we're going on a Swiss Boarder Tour. Where we're going we are supposed to take a boat right under a waterfall and I guess the area is somewhat tropical. Weird how that could happen on the board between Germany and Switzerland, but I guess we'll see how it goes. The weekend after we are going to Amsterdam for the night!!!! I'm so excited. We'll leave Saturday at 9am and then get back Sunday at 9am. We have until 3am to experience the nightlife of Amsterdam. Hopefully I'll come back!!!

Until next week. Hope all are well and enjoying this March so far!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Je t'aime Paris

So this past weekend was AMAZING!!!! I was able to head to the worlds prettiest city for a day and see some of the best sights ever. We started off the day Saturday morning at 3:00am to catch a bus that left at 4am. From there we drove for several hours, stopped at a rest stop for breakfast, drove for several more hours, and finally arrived in Paris around 9am.

Me in front of the Eiffel Tower

The beginning was a fast driving tour of the major sights of Paris. After that we stopped at the Eiffel Tour and got some beautiful pictures. I'm so glad that the weather was really nice in the morning. The clouds above the tower made it really pretty. Alyssa and I then decided that we wanted to go up the tower so we stood in line... and they're not like 3 people they're pretty long. We wanted to go up to the very top, but once we got up to buy our tickets they temporarily closed the top level. That was not so cool, but we did get to go up to 2nd floor. I will tell you this now. I probably would not have been able to make it to the top. I was scared at the 2nd level and that wasn't even half way up! From 2nd level you can see for miles. Everything looks so small.

The entrance to the Louvre.

When we finished at the tower we walked to the Louvre and I will tell you what everyone says is true. You could spend a week in there alone. 2 days if you didn't stop to look at anything, if you were just walking through it quickly. I got to see the Mona Lisa, but it wasn't as cool as I thought it would be. You can't get any closer than 15 feet and she's so small. I did get a few pictures of her, but because you can't take pictures with flash and everyone around you is pushing to take a picture just like you are you can't stand very still. This one came out ok, but it is by no means great.

Mona Lisa (no way right??)

We stayed at the Louvre for a few hours (which was not enough time for anything!!!!) and then we went out to sit and eat our lunch. During lunch I met a pigeon I named Jordan and fed him/her most of my lunch. Dang those birds can eat a lot. Speaking of eating. I had a banana nutella crepe and it was delicious! I would eat one of those everyday for the rest of my life if they were better for you.

My special friend Jordan

After the Louvre and lunch we went to try and shop... which was almost impossible! We could mostly only find souvenir shops and people on the side of the road. We did get a ton of good deals and I taught Alyssa to haggle. It was really fun... the people there were really easy about going cheaper on things they were selling. We met up with our group after that and went to an awesome restaurant where we got a 5 course meal followed by a cruise on the river. The whole trip was just spectacular... too bad we only had one day to enjoy it. I want a week to spend in Paris. I think I'd have enough time to really experience it in a week.

This is a part of our group and the people we sat with at dinner.

Last little update for everyone. I'm really glad I'm not a person who really breaks a ton of rules. I have discovered that I enjoy myself a whole lot more than some of the other girls who are here. Part of me feels as if this is because I know what is expected of me and instead of fighting against the rules (which we all knew about and signed before we even accepted the program) I work with them and do stuff I'm allowed to do. Some girls are getting in trouble for as they say "stupid things", but I'm glad I don't have to worry about that. I'm glad that I was raised to follow rules instead of griping about how they aren't fair.

Well that's the end of my little rant for the week. I am having a fabulous time here and even though I'm missing everyone I'm falling in love with the country. I would love to move you all here and stay here for the rest of my life.


Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Last Weekend of Boringness for a While

This weekend was pretty boring. I sat around and did absolutely NOTHING. Which was nice, but I'm glad it's my last weekend of doing it. This weekend is PARIS!!!! If you can't tell- I'm super stoked. I'm going with Alyssa and we are taking of really early Saturday morning and getting back really early Sunday morning. We're going to walk around and then that night we get to go on a dinner cruise. So yes I'm extremely excited about it.

This was my door when I woke up. Surprising me was really hard for the girls... but I had no clue they were going to decorate my door! :)

My birthday was last week. I am now 23. To be honest I thought my life was going to end. Haha. It, however, did not, so I have a year to dread becoming 24. My life is sure to end when I get that old! The girls were really sweet though. I woke up in the morning with my door decorated with balloons and streamers. I also got a giraffe with a bow that said birthday girl on it. We're not allowed to wear anything except for our uniforms... but I was allowed to wear that ribbon and I was NOT going to pass that opportunity up!

Hey I made it!!! Got my fav drink and everything!

Later that night we made pizza, went karaokeing (is that a word?), and then came back and had cake. It was a ton of fun! I had never been to karaoke before that point so it was interesting. When we got there we were practically the only ones there. No one else was singing karaoke, they were at the bar, so we got in a ton of songs. Which made it all the better!

This is Todd- he was our DJ who became "professional" photographer and singer for the night!

Now I remember saying last week that I was going to post some pictures of Trier number 2... but I forgot to do it. So I'll do it now!

This is Porta Nigra- it was the old entrance to the city when it had walls.

Amy and me in front of a bath house. It was a then time spa and was really fun for us to run through, but I couldn't imagine not being able to take a bath in my own house!

As always I find a pair of shoes that I love. I just couldn't bring myself to buy them at the time... but no worries. If (when) I go back they are 100% mine!

Be excited for next weeks post and pictures! I'm super excited to tell you all about my weekend in Paris! (It's cool just saying that I'm going to Paris for the weekend!)

Monday, March 1, 2010

Shopping is a GREAT Stress Reliever

Just a little update... I'm not sure if I told everyone before or not, but I will be on every Tuesday from 1pm-4pm Central time. PLEASE hop on and skype me! I would LOVE to hear from everyone!!!!

So this past weekend was pretty chill. I didn't do a whole lot. I woke up on Saturday morning, made breakfast for one other girl and myself, and then went back to Trier. I had a pretty stressful week last week, so shopping was great. I went into fitting room after fitting room and I had one goal in mind- I really wanted to get a nice looking black shirt. And I found one! I also found some really cute earrings to match! It was great and amazing and a ton of other adjectives. Shopping was quite really what the doctor ordered.

Aside from shopping in Trier I also did more touristy things. I didn't get the chance to do a whole lot the first time I was there because we were on a time schedule... trying to catch trains can make things even more stressful, but not this time. This time I went with Amy who has a car and it's a lot faster and you run on your own time!

The last time I was in Trier I only went to see the Dom. This time in Trier I saw the Dom, some baths, gardens that would be beautiful if it were all green, and tons of other sights. Baths sound really dumb, but they weren't. We got to go in them and walk around. There were tons of underground tunnels for us to walk through and everything. Also it was a gorgeous day! It had to be pretty close to 60 degrees with the sun shining and calm winds. Can you say perfect day for some relaxing?

As some of you may know, I was getting pretty tired of being here. It has been a lot of the same thing and I felt as if I could be doing the same things at home, but there I'd have the people who love me all around me. After beginning this blog and looking outside to another beautiful day I'm realizing that maybe I'm not finished just yet. The glorious weather makes doing more things capable and more easily handled. Actually I just walked outside with my iPod playing and closed my eyes. The song (Right Round) I first heard last year about this time when the weather was getting nice again. It made me think I was back at Ames walking across campus. Yes I'm thousands of miles away from Ames... but I've discovered that just those little things help me out a bit. My day is brighter and I'm remembering that not everyone gets to do what I'm doing now... why in the world would I start complaining?

On that note- my lunch break is over and I need to go out and work with some kids. Some kids who like me are not all in a place they know. Kids who, like me, don't have both of their parents with them all the time. And kids who are well just kids and miss things just like I do, but those kids look forward to the other girls and me coming in each day. It's crazy how attached you get to them and how much they really do lift our spirits. Kids are so full of hope I don't know where they get it. I know that these boys and girls here have seen more things than most in the US. They've heard more horrific stories (not usually intentionally) than most kids in the US, but they still manage it. I can't imagine being in their shoes worrying about my parents 24/7. That's who I'm here for- that's the rewarding part to all the "hard times". That's what I'll live for.

Sorry there aren't any pictures right now... I forgot to upload them off my camera. I'll get them posted on here and facebook tomorrow! Be sure to check back!