Thursday, July 26, 2012


Today's packing adventures involved my jewelry. Granted, by jewelry, I mostly mean earrings. See, for the past 7 years I've kept my jewelry in this $5 plastic container. 
Yes, it is every bit as cheap as it looks - and those "dividers" in the top shelf were ghetto-rigged by yours truly out of construction paper so I could separate my earrings somewhat. Anytime I've ever moved in the past 7 years (Which has been 9 times, of which 3 were international), I've just taped up the drawers and stuck it in my suitcase. Pretty effective. 

However, If you didn't notice yesterday, I'm feeling a bit worried that I'm going to have too much to fit in my 2 suitcases (each with 50lb weight allowance) and 1 carry-on suitcase (how I'm going to get all this shit to the airport is also going to be an adventure). So I've been spending the last week since I got back from Scotland downsizing my belongings. My first project was getting rid of clothes I haven't worn in the past year. Last week I took 4 bags, weighing a total of 25 pounds, to be donated (saving space and collecting good karma, go me!) and I'm currently working on a 5th bag. 

Today's project included considering alternatives for my "jewelry box." Finally I decided to ditch the old plastic container and weed out the jewelry I don't actually wear (you wouldn't believe how many single earrings I hold on to when I lose one). Go team, I thought, this will save so much weight and space! so I took an old cloth and put dangly earrings on one side and studs on the other and in the middle wrapped up the few necklaces and bracelets I own. Pretty crafty, if I do say so myself.
Of course, when I picked up the empty plastic container, it weighed next to nothing, but I still feel like I saved some weight... maybe. let's see what other fun packing ideas I'm able to come up with in the next week - any ideas from the peanut gallery?

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Dear horn

Dear Horn,
You will be the death of me while packing. I don't want to have to put you in my checked luggage. It hurts my heart to think of those scary luggage people throwing you around and you sitting helplessly in your case hoping not to die. But you are 10 cm to big to be taken as carry-on luggage without paying an additional 360€. So in the checked luggage you must go. And you will rob me of lots of weight limit to pack other things - like the clothes I can't seem to stop buying this week. Why do I keep buying clothes when I know I'm going to leave? I wish I could answer that, but I just can't stop! I've already got a suitcase full. And there is still so much. And you, horn. Just sitting there in the corner, taunting me. But I guess I'm still glad I brought you, since you've helped me make a lot of friends over the past two years. Stay safe all packed away! 
Love, Emily

and on a completely unrelated note: I know I've lived in Germany for two years and tackled many challenges using the German language, but I still feel really proud of myself when I make official phone calls to organize things and check information. So excuse me while I pat myself on the back for a minute. 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Probably the only time I'll ever post something like this

If you haven't noticed, I'm definitely a lover of the internet/social media. I'm happy to post regular updates and pictures and even the occasional video. But there is one thing I always try to avoid: the political statement. For a couple reasons. The first being that people tend to get a lot more aggressive and cruel hidden behind the anonymity of the internet, neither of which are helpful to any discussion. The next being exactly that - it is very rarely ever a discussion that follows, but rather a long list of comments pointing fingers, calling names, and reinforcing negative stereotypes (of every side involved). 

If you know me only through my internet presence, then chances are you have no idea where I stand on the social/political spectrum (or you can only make a guess based on indirect indications from other posts).  If you know me personally, though, it should be quite clear where I stand, especially in regard to a few key issues currently in the political foreground - in fact, I often feel so strongly about my opinions I'm quick to get hot-headed in an argument, which is why I try to avoid arguing all together. I realize once I've let my own anger into the equation, it has turned into fighting and no progress is being made. No progress will ever be achieved by fighting. 

But no matter how strongly I feel about my own social/political opinions, there is one thing I feel strongest about: you can't fight hate with hate. Which is why I'd like to discuss my problem with the current logic that says:

You hate me ∴ I hate you

While clearly you can't expect everyone to agree on everything or to share the same opinions and ideals (what kind of boring world would that be then, anyway?), my biggest problem is with the downright animosity being spread. 

What's that saying? When you fight fire with fire everyone gets burned. When trying to overcome a problem or achieve a certain result, you must work together. By fighting hate with hate, you are doing exactly the opposite. You are alienating yourself and the opposition, until the divide becomes so great that there is no middle ground on which to meet. You are reinforcing the sense of "us" versus "them" when it is the collective "we" that is needed to make a true change. I believe it was Martin Luther King, Jr. who said it best when he said "an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind."

Of course, your problem still might be with the order of things. "They hated me first, but now I'm the one being called out for hating back?" I'm not trying to point fingers at anyone or say that any one side has more right to hate than another. In a perfect world, no one would hate anyone to begin with. What I'm mostly trying to figure out is how being the victim of hate or persecution leads to the conclusion that spreading more hate and persecution is the best solution. 

One of, if not my favorite responses to hate/discrimination, came in the wake of the Chick-Fil-A fallout with the LGBT community. A quick recap for those of you who don't know: Chick-Fil-A is a fast food chain from my home state of Georgia. It is already quite popular in the southern US and continues to spread. However, it recently came out that the chain supports staunchly anti-gay organizations. Most of the responses I've seen to the news fall under the "you hate me ∴ I hate you" category, somewhere along the lines of: "villagers, bring your pitchforks and torches, and let us burn down the bigoted houses of Chick-Fil-A!" But this video - while admittedly not completely harmless - takes a different approach that, to me, is pretty clear in it's message that "even though they hate me, me hating them isn't going to achieve anything." Plus a little bit of humor and a catchy tune never hurt any cause! 

And just a warning: if you're easily offended by drag queens and/or fast food, it's best you don't watch this video. 

Monday, July 23, 2012

the last three days and the next three weeks.

Oh hey! So it turns out, I was way better at blogging when I was busy and doing awesome travel adventures! Well, for the last three days I was doing awesome travel - not to new, far off places, but rather to an old home!

Katharina and I headed down south to Nürnberg and Forchheim to visit Gemma, say goodbye to friends there, and get our Annafest on. 

And in case I wasn't getting behind on blogging enough, I'm afraid I can only predict it get worse for the time being. See, in the next three weeks I have to pack my whole life into two suitcases, try to sell/get rid of what I can't take, make an almost 48 hour transatlantic Journey to get home, unpack and re-assimilate, and start my masters. 

But I'll do my best! And you can sleep peacefully at night knowing that Annafest and Franken and visiting everyone was just as amazing as I could have hoped! I'm so glad I made it back down for one last goodbye. 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The time has come

I'm prolonging going to sleep right now in an effort to not have to wake up to my last day here. Today was my last day spent in the city, and what a successful one it was.

For starters, the weather was beautiful! also, shahida got off work early so we got to spend almost the whole day together - which involved lots of window shopping and enjoying the musical stylings of the most awesome bagpipe/guitar/drum combo I've ever heard. And incase you're wondering, I did pick up a cd!

I know i have nürnberg to look forward to, but why, why, why do I ever have to leave this city?

Monday, July 16, 2012

Can I just stay forever?

well, we made home alive from the highlands road trip. So many good times and good stories, one of which involves me losing my iPod/iPhone charger cable. So we'll keep this short.

I miss the highlands already! So many mountains and castles and kilts.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Up north

oh hey everyone! Sorry for the lack of mini posts, we've been roaming around the highlands where wifi can be sparse. There's lots to tell but just not a whole lot of time to tell it right now.

Aside from one very expensive flat tire yesterday, everything has been smooth sailing and so much fun! And I find myself saying "OMG, that's so beautiful!" about every 3 seconds! See what I mean?

Friday, July 13, 2012

Ew, coffee.

today was not simon's birthday. But since we'll be on the road for his real birthday on Saturday we decided to celebrate tonight.

Since Shahida got him a nespreso machine we all had to try a cup of coffee. And I hate coffee - but since I'm always willing to give things a second chance, I decided to give it a go. Even after copious amounts of sugar, I can firmly say I still don't like coffee.

But I did enjoy the caramel and strawberry cake shahida made!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Sometimes life is cool!

Today was the kind of magical day where the stars align and life is pretty cool. I got to spend the day in the city with some great friends from my home town! The Hintons are on a family vacation through the UK and by a miracle of the fates they ended up in Edinburgh at the same time I was.

I went to school with Gabriel and Katrina, but I love their whole family and may or may not have been trying to become an honorary member for years! It was a fabulous day of lots of catching up and lots of laughing!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Seriously, I love this city

well today was much more active! I was out and into the city by 8:30 for a haircut (yes I got my haircut on a vacation in Edinburgh, and no it wasn't the first time).

Afterwards I just decided to spend the day in the city. This involved enjoying a pot of tea at the Elephant House, a tour of the underground city, eating a baked potato, [window] shopping on princes street, enjoying some beer/free wifi at a pub on rose street, and taking lots of instagram pics!

Seriously, for such a rainy gloomy day I got lots of nice photos to remind me why I love this city this much. In fact, I couldn't settle on only one photo for today's post, so you'll get two!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

A fair trade

ladies and gentlemen, today was a gloriously lazy day! I slept, watched lots of tv (Nothing to Declare, of course!) met shahida for lunch and dis laundry. And it was amazing!

But then we had some education trading after dinner. Simon and shahida - who are working in PhDs in physics and biomedical sciences, respectively - gave me some intense science lessons. And in return I taught them a little music (and tuned simon's guitar). But gotta go now for some wii we sing!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Life with the locals

Having a wonderful time in Edinburgh with shahida (and yes, it involved afternoon tea). Wish I had time for more details, but I'm busy enjoying good company and a drink of the island locals! Perhaps you'll get a better update tomorrow :)

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Back to Edinburgh... Again

today started out sunny and hot and ended rainy and cold!

You guessed it! I'm in Edinburgh!

It's been a long day of travel with 2 flights totaling almost 5 hours in the air, a connection in Mallorca and a deportation scare. But then shahida surprised me and met me at the airport!

And I guess flying over the Mediterranean wasn't a bad start to the day either!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Those were the days

today was our last day in Rome and the last day of our epic test of friendship (we discussed and decided it is possible to spend 17 days with each other *most the time*). But tomorrow it's off to Edinburgh via Mallorca. What's sure to be a long day (but hopefully not stressful) day of travel.

We spent today with a good throwback to ancient Rome with a visit to the colosseum and the forum. Besides it being among the more mind-blowingly awesome days I've ever had, it was hot, sunny and all outside and on our feet.

But don't worry despite a leaky water bottle, we both stayed very hydrated and when we sat down for dinner it took us 2 hours to stand back up ;)

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Città del Vaticano

oh hey, I'm still here! We returned to Rome yesterday after one last museum visit in Florence. While we ended up getting a sweet hostel deal (a private room with private bathroom when we only paid for private room with shared bathroom) it came at the cost of no free wifi. Bummer.

But it's good for the little extra sleep, considering we were up at 7 and out by 8 for a day in the Vatican today. Seriously people, this has been the best day of our already entirely incredible trip to Italy! I mean just look at this breathtaking view that greeted us as we entered St. Peter's Basilica.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Oh my, what big hands you've got there

today Matthew and I waited in line for 2.5 hours to see Michaelangelo's David. During our wait we made friends with people from Seattle, Spain, and Ireland. And although today was not nearly as hot as yesterday, I'm still glad we got to spend our 2.5 hour line waiting in the shade!

Once we got into the museum they tried to tell me no photography was allowed. But luckily, I'm the kind of person that is ten times more likely to take a picture if you tell me I can't.

Monday, July 2, 2012

What's Italy without some pizza?

Guess what! Two exciting things today:

1. I'm guest posting over on Yes, Teacher Crafts today while Sarah takes some blogging maternity leave! If you like reading about how living on Bavaria Franken last year fulfilled all my hopes and dreams about Germany you should go check it out!

2. Matthew Boyle and I made it to Florence this morning! We went into town for a bit to get out bearings while we were waiting for check in. We saw a few of the big sites, but my favorite so far was the adorable little pizza shop we stopped at for lunch! I've already suggested we return tomorrow (there were so many more pizzas I wanted to try!). We're back at the hotel now - Matthew napping, and me feeding my internet addiction. Then later it's off to lots of art museums!

Till then, marvel at my new favorite pizza place ever in all its adorableness.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

All roads lead to Rome

Matthew and I weren't in Rome for more than five minutes before the over use of Rome cliches set in...

"all roads lead to Rome!"
"when in Rome..."
"Rome wasn't built in a day"

And I have a feeling when we get back on the 4th it will only get better! But until then it's off to Florence early tomorrow morning! So goodnight and sweet dreams if lots of old Italian things!
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