Travel Day: Hamburg to Sweden

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Snowing and blowing in Hamburg, a Christmas trip wouldn’t be complete without a delay and running to catch your ride. I guess we Americans aren’t used to trains, because, unlike planes, you don’t have to arrive two hours before for security, check-in, and baggage check. So we were early, and in typical holiday travel fashion, our train was delayed. Continue reading “Travel Day: Hamburg to Sweden”

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Christmas Begins

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Last Christmas, I told my parents I wouldn’t be coming home from Germany at all, not even for winter break. I was adamant about it; I thought everyone just stayed through the break. It was also something I never in a million years would have considered before- ask anyone who knew me growing up. So fall semester in Germany ticked along, I had no idea what I would do for break. Then one of my best friends, who is studying in Paris, offered a half-joking idea of going to Vienna and renting an apartment. From there our plans went wild. We considered apartments in Belgium, Greece, Germany, Russia, France, Switzerland, etc. etc. etc. And here I am, writing this post from the countryside of southern Sweden. Continue reading “Christmas Begins”

That One Weekend I Went to Paris and London

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When you are living abroad for a short year you do things that you wouldn’t normally do back home.  Go to an opera, a ballet, a recital and a soccer game in one week, stay out with new found friends til six in the morning, meet people from all over the world, eat falafel more than three times in a week, and travel whenever possible. Continue reading “That One Weekend I Went to Paris and London”

The Holidays Abroad

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It’s not warm and it’s not cold and it’s not pleasant. It’s damp. The leaves are old and yellow, bright yellow at this point. They contrast starkly with the gray of the bark, the gray of the sky, the gray of the damp dirt ground. These are the kinds of days in November that trick you. They are ugly but yet there is something magical about them. They come with comfort after the surprise of autumn has worn off; this is the second phase, this is the realization that winter is coming. But you’ve made it to November and threads of the holidays creep in. Happiness comes from plans for the holidays, concoctions in the kitchen, preparations of the colder days to come. Yes, there have been hard frosts and bitter rainy days, but the short respite that comes in these transition days is much welcomed. There’s a slight mist that hangs around the bare branches, making the moisture in the air visible, giving the air that distinct autumnal scent. Continue reading “The Holidays Abroad”

One Thing After The Other

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I have drafts and I have drafts of things I would like to post and tell about. The issue is that it takes time and mental space do to that. In the past two weeks I have given a final presentation for my Smith Orientation Program, been to Berlin, and now am in the midst of orientation at the university. Boy do I have great things to talk about, but I am going to let you go see for yourself and hope that I will have a window to tell you a bit about all of this soon. It has been just about six weeks and I can’t even believe that. I miss New England fall, among other things, but I put that aside and enjoy my time here.

Nineteen Days

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It is hard to believe it has already been nineteen days. It feels like ages ago that I was in Boston at the airport. The amount that I have experienced over these days is incomparable to any other experience. As a tourist, you still live in you own bubble. When you visit a relative or friend, they know the day to day tasks and take care of you. Here, I am doing it on my own; thankfully, Smith has such an amazing well-established program with wonderful teachers who care deeply about what they do. Last Saturday we took a day trip to the Hanseatic city of Lübeck. We had beautiful weather and it was great to be in a smaller city. It made me realize that because Hamburg is so large, it has made the transition for little country-bumpkin for me a bit bigger. On a guided tour of the city, we saw Marienkirche (St. Mary’s Church). Built in 1250 this church has one of the largest organs in the world and contains over 8,000 pipes- the largest can fit a full grown person inside and the smallest is the size of a matchstick. It was the home church of Buxtehude and both Handel and Bach were guest students of his. (Click to Enlarge, See Full Album Here) Continue reading “Nineteen Days”

Sonntags

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Sundays in Germany are unlike in the U.S. Everything is closed in Germany. It is a tradition that lives on, although many say it’s fading and won’t last. People are everywhere on Sundays though, they walk, bike, relax, window shop for when the stores are open. I have even seen a furniture store advertise that it was open, but only for viewing their items- It’s illegal to sell things. I got up around 9 and made a plan to go running. I couldn’t sleep past 10 even if I wanted to because the church bells outside my window ring for a good thirty minutes. I took the bus the 3 kilometers into the city to the Alster, a river that has been dammed into a lake, and started the 7k run around the perimeter. At 10 there were a decent amount of people, but as it got later, more and more and more walkers, joggers, and bikers piled onto the path. It was incredible. I stopped (more than I would have liked to, training-wise,) to take some photos and got very excited to come back with my real camera to get some great shots. After spending two hours around the lake and the city, I have a great appreciation for it and hope to be rowing and sailing on it at some point this year. Continue reading “Sonntags”