This I Dig of You

Hallo alle!

First off, I honestly had no idea what to call this post when I was done writing it. Debating and debating, nothing was coming to mind. So much takes place in it, but I feel like there are two themes that stick throughout: all of the family and friends that I have in Germany are absolutely marvelous people and that they have done so incredibly much for me. I also have “This I Dig of You” stuck in my head, so I feel like it’s only fitting to title this post as such. I mean, what I dig of my family and friends in Germany is that they are such loving and caring people and that they’ve blessed me with their love and friendship.

Oh yeah, if you need more reference, here’s the song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rp0mqsoT43w

So, this I dig of you, meine deutsche Familie und Freunde. 🙂

Anywho, on a different note, it’s been an entire week since I’ve returned to the US. Which feels absolutely baffling to me. It feels like ages ago since I was in Germany–which vaguely terrifies me–and I already really really miss all of my loved ones in Deutschland. I’m also starting to really notice how my perception of things here has changed and how my attitude and feelings have been altered by my summer in Germany. . .but that’s another blog post. 😉

Until then, I’ll tell y’all about my last weekend in Rüsselsheim.

Friday: In the afternoon, I took a short bike ride around town and made a stop at my favorite park. Being in Germany and having to take a bike everywhere has made me realize just how calming bike rides really are. That’s definitely something that I need to do back here in the US, especially when I’m upset. Just riding around for 5 minutes seemingly fixes everything and allows me peaceful time to think things through, especially things that are really stressing me out. That evening, the Swing Kids showed a film at school. The movie was taken on their recent trip to Lithuania and featured their performance and some performances from the jazz festival they played at. I felt really at home and really welcomed by everyone there: being able to share jokes [and snacks. bahaha!] as the film played and feeling…wanted, y’know? Yeah, I’m no wordsmith…it’d be easier if I could just explain everything with jazz. Well, enough of that tangent! After the film, I went with my closest friends to a send-off party for a friend of ours who was leaving to study abroad in Norway. It was really good to see her again, as I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to, and we all had quite a good time. 🙂

Saturday: I had a small going-away party of my own at my house with my closest friends on this night. Yet again, I made too much food and over-prepared, but hey, better safe than sorry, right? 😉 And it’s always nice to have some Oreo Truffles for later. I’ll admit that I was really scared that that night was going to be the big goodbye to all of my friends and that I was terrified for the night to come to an end. Thankfully, it wasn’t time for goodbyes, but you’ll hear more of that later. We all just chilled and hung out at my house before heading into downtown (lawl) Rüsselsheim, where we discovered that there was a mini festival happening that night (I forgot what it was called. Mah bad!). Not everyone could stay for the festival, but the remainder of the group spent the rest of our time together there until it closed (which wasn’t very late, I swear!).

Sunday: This day started out deliciously. I went to my favorite restaurant in town with my host family so that I could thank them for having me and for all that they’ve done for me. It was really nice to be able to spend that time with them. 🙂 They truly are like parents to me. That afternoon, most of my close friends and I headed to a nearby beach. There was quite the crowd there, but that didn’t deter us from being our silly selves and goofing around playing a bit of frisbee in the water. It was really diverting to be able to just splash around in the waves, read, and just relax. I relearned that day that Germans like mayonnaise on french fries (which seems like something that Americans woulda come up with first, or is it just me that believes that?). As we were about to leave, my friends told me that they would be coming with me to the airport on Tuesday, so we weren’t saying goodbye just yet. This small gesture of kindness really, really hit me. It finally hit home that I have friends in Swing Kids who really care about me–not just for the summer, but friends who are going to be there for the long run. That to me means more than I can every really say.

Monday: Tetris, tetris, and more tetris. . .aka packing. Aggravation. I think I had to repack everything at least 3 times. But, that night made up for all of the crap that happened earlier that day. My closest friends and I went to a restaurant nearby for a late dinner. . .but it wasn’t just any ol’ restaurant. It was an American diner. Bahaha!! 😉 I guess it was only appropriate to start some re-assimilation into American culture.  It was really good to share one last hurrah with the ones I love. In order to feel like I didn’t have to leave the next day, I pretended that I would be able to go to the concerts and the jam sessions and stuff that they talked about at dinner. We were able to share a lot of laughs and just goof around yet again, which was beyond marvelous and really cheered me up. Lots of silly faces were made, lots of stories and jokes were shared, lots of just plain fun. 😀

These lovely people. . .these darling friends of mine. . .they are absolutely amazing. ❤

Tuesday: Not a wink of sleep Monday night. I couldn’t have slept even if I had wanted to. I was just too anxious and upset to sleep, but that’s selbstverständlich. Stupidly, I repacked that night, partially out of necessity, but mostly due to a need to just plain distract myself. Unfortunately, my host mom had planned quite some time ago to leave for a mini trip on this day, so we had to say goodbye earlier than we had both anticipated. My host family and I had breakfast together that morning, and a surprise guest showed up–Frank! That really brightened up my morning to be able to see him again. 😉 If I had just heard the doorbell that morning, we could have apparently had a few more surprise guests for breakfast as well, and I’m terribly disappointed that I wasn’t observant enough to catch that and welcome some more awesome guests to the breakfast party. After that came the really rough goodbyes that I had to say to my host family and to Frank. All that I’m going to say about that is that I’m very thankful that they have skype and that I hope that I will be able to see them again quite soon. I love them all like family, and they’ve done more for me and for my life than I could ever put into words.

One of my closest friends picked me up that afternoon to take me (and my luggage…yikes) to the train station so we could get to the airport, and during the car ride over, she told me that another close friend of mine was going to come with to the airport who I didn’t think I was going to be able to see again. I was surprised and beyond thrilled to hear that he was coming along and that I was going to be able to see him again. We all met up at the terminal where I was supposed to go before dropping off my luggage. I just knew that my luggage was over the weight limit, but by just how much, I hadn’t the slightest. Welp, due to my affinity for books auf Deutsch (I’m sure it was the books. *shifty eyes*) my luggage was not only over the limit, but way over the limit. I was going to have to pay quite a hefty chunk of change for how much it weighed. Luckily, one of my friends had helped me bring my luggage over to the counter and was clear-headed enough ( because I definitely was freaking out) to ask just how much over the limit my suitcase was. It was just a tiny bit over the big limit, so I frantically shifted quite a few things into my carry-on before turning in my luggage for real. Luckily, I was able to transfer enough stuff to avoid the really heavy fine, but not enough to save myself from having to pay nothing for it. So, to my brave and level-headed friend, the unsung hero of this terrible travel day, thank you for keeping me calm during this time of panic and freak out. I owe you a beer when I come back next summer. 😛

After that hassle, we got a little snack. We discovered that Mezzo Mix had a contest going on to win a million euros, and I and another friend decided to find out if either of us were winners. We were winners, alright. . .just over a Mezzo Mix download for our cellphones. Welp, next time we’ll get that million euros fosho.  ;D

Enjoying the spoils of our contest plunder (OK, not really. . .), we then found out that it was unfortunately time for me to go. Once again, I really don’t want to talk about the goodbyes, but seriously, Facebook and Skype are absolutely amazing, and I owe their creators big hugs. Having my friends with me there was a real comfort. I cannot thank them enough for their kindness. There are seriously no words for how much them being at the airport means to me.

:S Just one more post for my German excursions. This one has taken too much of an emotional toll for me to say the other things I want to say. . .plus this post is quite long already, and I don’t wanna overwhelm y’all. So, bis bald!

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Die letzte Woche. . .

Hey hey hey errrrybody!

I’m trying to cram in as much awesome stuff as possible into these last few days in Germany. So far, I’ve been able to do a lot of fun and really memorable things with a lot of people I really care about here; but, I’ve also been able to have time to enjoy some time here by myself and sort of start the process of saying “Bis bald” to the country I love so much.

But, onto happier things–namely, what I’ve been up to this week. 🙂

On Monday, I took a day to go shopping in Frankfurt and try to find things to bring back for my family. I didn’t find as much/what I was hoping on finding. I guess it really is true that when you actually try to search for something, things don’t happen for you at all, but when you’re not anticipating them, you find some neat surprises. Meh. Well, I hope that they’ll enjoy what I’ve found for them. 😀

Tuesday, I spent most of the day with my host mom. We went out to lunch at my favorite restaurant in town and then we had our own mini jam-session (just piano and trumpet 😛 ). That was a lot of fun! Later that night, we played “Ladybird” at a restaurant in town, and she performed some other pieces by herself. 

Wednesday was a jazz-tastic day! I had Swing Kids and IKS Big Band rehearsal. It was good to see a lot of my friends again after their summer trips. There were quite a few new faces in Swing Kids because of the start of the new school year, which was really encouraging to see. After a day of rehearsal, I went to a nearby pizza place with Horst and a few members of the big band and just chilled with them there. 

Thursday, I went with a few friends to the Palmengarten in Frankfurt to see the Karin Hammar Quintet perform (with a marvelous special guest trumpeter on some songs). It was an absolutely incredible performance!! Karin is a phenomenal trombone player–and she wrote all of the pieces that they played. Pretty dang cool. It was overall just an absolutely marvelous time. 😀

Tonight, the Swing Kids are having a film evening at school, where they’ll be watching a video of their recent trip to Lithuania. I’m really happy that I get to watch it with them!

I’ve got some other fun things planned for my last few days here, but I don’t want to share those with y’all just yet. Maybe it’s kind of dumb, but I don’t want to jinx them, and I also just want to keep on pretending that I don’t have to leave. 

Welp, if someone really wants to be my hero for all eternity, all you have to do is send my family, friends, and Knox over here so that I never ever have to leave Germany. ‘s no biggie, right? 😛 Haha!!

To end on a super happy note, enjoy this lovely picture that I snagged last night:

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Well, at least it made me really happy. . . 😉

Goethe, Pepsi, and Bike Rides

Wassup, homeskillets? (Yeah, pretty easy to tell that I’m starting to run out of creative greetings. . .)

Last Thursday, I went with a group of friends from Swing Kids to the Jazzkeller. I’ve absolutely been dying to go back there, and what’s better than chillin’ at one of the coolest/most jazz-geeky places in the history of ever with a group of awesome friends who love jazz as much as you do? Spoiler alert: not very much at all. The group that performed that night played Brazilian music, and I really enjoyed them. They had a really tight groove, but it didn’t feel like it was forced or like they were even really trying. It was sweet! I’m really glad that that group of friends was able to go with. They made it even more fun than it already was. . .oh, and we even listened to a long-lost poem by Goethe at least one hundred times, it was just that moving. 😉 Bahaha! I’m going to try to go back to the Jazzkeller one more time before I have to head back. Here’s hoping!

🙂 Here’s a picture of us all at the Jazzkeller. 

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On Saturday, I discovered that Brave isn’t out anymore back home (at least at the theater by my house), so I thought it was justifiable to see it in German here rather than never in the theater. 😉 Or maybe I just really wanted an excuse to go to the movies again. . .and maybe I just really like movies dubbed into German. . . Hehehe! The closest theater is in Mainz, so I hopped on the train over there and got a ticket no problemo, as the movie’s been out here for awhile, too. I bought a sweet popcorn for myself (I’m gonna miss that option at the movies in the US) and a Pepsi. That was literally the first time I’ve seen Pepsi in Germany over the span of almost 3 months. It was a really odd thing because it reminded me of how little time I have left here.

On a happier note, I’ve mentioned in a previous post how the ticket system works at the movies here. Welp, if you haven’t read the post or if ya plum forget, you can reserve a specific seat in movie theaters in Germany. If you don’t do that beforehand, then they give you a spot when you buy your ticket. There weren’t that many people in theater (like 20 at most). . .and we all wanted to sit in around the same area. So we all ended up sitting in basically only 5 rows of the movie theater, right smack dab in the middle. I dunno why, but I thought it was quite funny and kinda awkward at the same time to see everyone crowded into the middle of an almost-empty movie theater.

Also, something really awesome happened at the theater. . .or at least I thought it was really awesome. The previews started up, and a commercial for ice cream came on. Big whoop, right? But, right after they showed it, the lights came on, the previews stopped, and an employee came in and started selling ice cream. I didn’t even buy any, but I was enthralled. X) Hahaha!! I don’t even know why, but that’s just so dang cool! Why can’t ice cream sellers visit American theaters like that? Seriously. Maybe this was only so enchanting because I’m basically 5 years old at heart.

Anywho, I really, really liked Brave–or should I say Merida: Legende der Highlands. It was absolutely adorable. :3

On Sunday, I took the day to ride my bike to a park in town and just sit on a bench in the woods, read, and reflect. It was quite peaceful and the perfect way to spend a sunny, warm day like that. It was comforting to sit in the stillness like that and just think and reflect. I need to remember to do this more often–and this goes for when I return to the US, too. I then took a bike ride at sunset and enjoyed the view. It was a really beautiful day despite the fact that I did essentially nothing. 

😦 I have less than a week left here, and that thought is absolutely killing me right now. So, I’m just going to do my darnedest not to think about it, pretend that that deadline’s not even there, and just keep reminding myself of a few things:

1. I’ll be back in Germany again next summer, no matter what may happen or what may come. I’m going to do absolutely everything in my power to be back here again next summer–hopefully for quite some time again. 

2. I have met some of the most incredible people here this summer. I have my family here. I have some amazing friends here. They will always be in my heart, and I’m absolutely going to keep in touch with them and not let them go. 

3. I’ve got almost a whole week left! Some people only get the chance to visit here for just a measly week, and I’ve been fortunate enough to be here for almost three months. I must think of all the great things that I can see and accomplish in a mere week. And boy, do I have a list ready of what I want to do and see. 😀

4. I’ve already been able to accomplish so much here! I’ve played my butt off and have grown a lot as an individual. I feel whole here. I feel like I belong. I feel wonderful. ❤

Bulgarien

A pleasant day to you all!

Last weekend, I was fortunate enough to be able to tag along with the IKS Big Band and play with them in Bansko, Bulgaria for a jazz festival. We flew there on Saturday and the flight wasn’t too shabby. The little girl in front of me told me that she could speak Bulgarian and German and was going to visit family members by herself–and she was 8!! Crazier yet was that she had done that a couple times already before. Geeze Louise! Well, to drift back on topic, we got to Sofia around maybe 10ish in the evening.

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We took the bus to Bansko, which took around another two and half hours; it was quite dark out, so I couldn’t really see much outside, and I was already so pooped from the travel that I just slept most of the way to the hotel. We got to our hotel at maybe 1:00, so we all just went to bed right after.

The next day was far more fun and adventurous. I walked around with a small group of friends, and we took in the town a bit ( 😉 and did a little shopping while we were at it–OK, maybe more than just a *little* shopping. One of us might have bought three bags in a day. . .it wasn’t me, I promise! Hehehe!!). The scenery in Bansko is just incredible. You can see the mountains from almost anywhere in the city, yet the weather was still warmer than Germany. The architecture wasn’t like anything that I’ve ever seen before, and I really liked it. It was also really cool to see everything written in Cyrillic. 😛

Here are some of my favorite pictures from the entire trip. I hope that y’all enjoy ’em, too.

Later that night, we hung out at the Jazz Fest and saw two groups perform. One was a trio from the US and the other was a ragtime band from Bulgaria. Both had a lot of fun onstage and played well.

But, my favorite thing that happened that day was when I ordered french fries. Sounds kinda super lame, right? But hear me out. I went up to the stand that was selling them, thinking to myself the entire time that I needed to ask in English. But, as soon as I opened my mouth and started to order the fries, I realized that I had unconsciously begun to order in German. I quickly switched to English, but that small slip proved something to me. At that point, I didn’t really have a real gauge to measure how my German-speaking had progressed. Sure, I had passed small checkpoints along the way, such as the confidence boosts, being able to use more complicated sentences in conversation, etc. But to reach that point where I could speak German without even thinking about it was an unbelievable goal for me–something that I didn’t even dare expect from my summer here. I guess that it had become so embedded in my mind that I needed to order in German that my brain just went on autopilot. It’s really geeky and maybe kinda silly, but that experience was one of the happiest and proudest moments in my life.

Anywho, our hotel had a nightly jam session where some of the other musicians performing in the jazz fest would bop on by and sit in. We went back to the hotel and watched and listened for awhile. Some of the members of the Big Band sat in that night, and it was really cool to listen to them outside of a big band context. It was neat to hear their individual styles really shine.

The next day, we had lunch as a group then started getting ready for our performance that night. We had sound check then got an hour off before our performance. Johanna and I found crepes nearby, which were marvelous. And I finally bought a purse of my own. XP Hehehe!!

Our performance was a blast! I thought that we did quite well. Initially, there weren’t that many people in the audience, but the longer we played, the more people showed up. The atmosphere was something else. This may sound like a cop-out, but I just don’t know how to describe it. It was just. . .*different*. Not any better nor any worse than any other venue I’ve performed at. The vibe from the audience was something that I’ve never experienced before–it was positive, but I just can’t put it into words.

The majority of the band went to eat dinner at a nearby hotel after the performance. We were seated in a courtyard, and a group of local musicians played some traditional Bulgarian music for us, which was pretty neat. Lotsa (high) clarinet and drummin’. Afterwards, we headed back to our hotel to check out the jam session that night. I think some of us, myself included, only ended up staying inside for the last few minutes of a set before heading back outside. It was just so stuffy in there we couldn’t really enjoy the music. A pretty decent portion of us just chilled outside for almost the entire night, just talking and enjoying the nice weather. I really enjoyed getting to know more of the band, as I didn’t really know many of them at all. That was definitely one of the highlights of the trip for me. 🙂

Overall, the trip was absolutely fantastic. I had an incredible time with a group of people that I’m never going to forget. It’s definitely one of my favorite memories of this summer. 😀

Zwei Monate

Just a few minutes ago, the realization that I’ve been here for two months as of Sunday basically smacked me right in the face. Instead of the mix of emotions I felt when I hit the one month mark, which were in general pretty easy for me to pick out at the time, my feelings at this moment are much more complicated. I’m very happy with all that has happened, proud of what I’ve accomplished, thankful to have so many beautiful people in my life and I’m feeling so much love for all of them. . .and yet I’m also scared out of my wits.

I’m panicking right now. My heart is going crazy, and my mind is swimming in circles. My palms are sweating, and I’m shaking.

I’m really scared of losing the rest of my time here in a snap just like what happened to me this month. The time here just completely slipped through my grasp, despite me trying to cling onto it so much.

Even though I didn’t have quite as many day-to-day responsibilities with my internship as I did in June, my second month went by even more quickly than the first. A lot happened this month, I just know it, but I just can’t seem to pin down exactly all of the things that I did. Maybe it’s because of this steady terror that’s rising in my chest. 

I’m scared that I’m not going to be able to spend enough time with my family and friends in Germany. It hurts to think that I only have three weeks left with everyone that I love here.

I’m nervous about the steps I will need to take to merge my ‘two lives’ together–taking everything that I’ve learned here about myself and about life and putting it into practice once I get back to the states.

I’m already scared out of my mind about saying goodbye.

~~~

But, enough of that negative talk. There. I let all my fears out into the open, and it’s time for me to look back at all of the positive now instead of being scared of these “what if” scenarios.

And so many wonderful things have happened this second month! 

This month, I’ve been able to see two of my closest friends again for the first time in almost an entire year. I can’t wait until we get the chance to hang out again–whether it will be in Germany or America next time, who knows! All I know is that it will be marvelous to get to see Teresa and Jeffrey again, no matter where we are. 🙂 I’m so incredibly grateful that I got the chance to see both of them again–not only that, but to walk for awhile in their shoes and see what their lives in Germany are like.

I’ve stepped out of my comfort zone and have attempted to be less shy in multiple ways. While everything didn’t always turn out quite as I had hoped, it’s the mindset that I was in and the thought of trying that count. Just those seemingly small steps are leaps and bounds to me. 

I am continuing to gain confidence in terms of speaking more German and trusting myself/my instincts more when I speak it.

I’ve decided to get much more serious about playing jazz.

It’s a small list, but an important one to me. Perhaps it may seem a little silly, but a quote from Winnie the Pooh–one of my favorite quotes ever–sums up everything that I’ve learned this month perfectly: “You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” 

Please, don’t misunderstand this post. Don’t let the fears and worries that I mentioned earlier lead you to believe anything negative about my time here. I truly am having the time of my life over here. I’m just terrified of the moment when I have to say goodbye to my time here this summer. Being here this summer is the best thing that ever could have happened to me. It is the most amazing, beautiful thing that’s happened in my life. Meeting everyone here, the people who are now a part of my life, I want them in my life forever. They mean so much to me. So many incredible things have happened for me, and I’m never going to forget any of them. 

If anything, I know now more than I’ve ever known before that I need to come back to Germany as soon as possible. Next summer, if I can help it. It’s not just a want or a wish or a “maybe someday”; it’s absolutely essential to me–to who I am, and to who I want to become. And to me, that’s a beautiful thing. 😀

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Ahrensburg and Hamburg: Blues Brothers, Baking, and an Art Gallery

Salutations! X)

Time to update y’all on Part Two of the Best Week Ever: Hamburg Edition (19th-21st).

The train ride wasn’t half bad for this trip. The only bad thing was that it arrived in Hamburg late, so I had to take a later train to get to Ahrensburg to meet Jeffrey. But, everything all worked out in the end and I met him at the Ahrensburg train station. 🙂

We dropped off my stuff and decided a couple things right off the bat: 1. We were absolutely watching Blues Brothers that night, even if flying robot monkeys attacked. 2. We needed more junk food. 3. We had to make white chocolate chip brownies. So, we set off to work making the brownies, which turned out marvelously. Amazingly, we found some self control and actually saved them for the movie marathon. 😛

Then we got dinner at a snack shop in town, and I ordered fries and ketchup. Except… *cue dramatic music* This wasn’t the ketchup that I’m used to. Perplexed, I asked Jeffrey what on earth it was. He explained that it was curry ketchup. It actually tasted really good, although it wasn’t what I expected at all. I’m a fan! After dinner, we went to  the local record shop to just browse for awhile. It was really hard to not buy up the majority of the CDs in the store, I do admit.

After Jeffrey had to drag coerce me away from the chocolate section of a nearby department store, we began our epic movie night with “What’s Up, Doc?”, which I really enjoyed. It was fantastically music-geeky!

Then, we followed with the one, the only, perfection in film form: “The Blues Brothers.” This is us before starting the film.

Giddy as schoolchildren. XD

The next day, we went to Hamburg so that I could see the city.  And omigosh, do I adore Hamburg!! For some reason, the vibe and the rhythm of the city reminded me slightly of Chicago. Maybe it was all of the water throughout the city. Maybe some of the architecture or the walking pace or some other silly little thing like that. Who knows! The only thing I know for sure is that I immediately felt at home in Hamburg. I had the biggest grin on my face the whole day (Jeffrey can attest to this, I know 😛 ). Everything about Hamburg was just enchanting. I’m quite sad I only had a day there, but I know that I have to go back someday. 🙂 And I know that I will. It’s a must. Here are some of my favorite pictures from Adventure Day in Hamburg.

We got some marvelous Indian food for lunch before heading back home to take a break before continued adventures in Hamburg. We decided that we wanted to go see the Miniatur Wunderland that evening–and I’m so glad we did! If I wasn’t already acting as giddy as a little girl on her birthday (which, of course, I was 😛 ), then this place really really brought out the kid in me. It’s just so dang cool there! If you ever get the chance, go see it! It’s basically what I wished our mini train set up had looked like when we had it. Hehehe! Here’s just one example of the awesomeness that is the Miniatur Wunderland.

Yes. That is the Matterhorn in miniature form (since my picture’s kinda poopy). 😀 So cool!!

After Miniatur Wunderland, we decided that it was high time that we listened to some jazz. Jeffrey had found out about a jazz performance at a local art gallery that was free (I almost wrote “free jazz performance” then realized my silly mistake 😉 Bahaha!! ). The people there were super nice, and the jazz was fantastic! Really great musicians, just a fun time overall. Afterwards, we came back home and watched “School of Rock.”

I had a fantastic time discovering a new, splendid city with a dear friend of mine. 😀

Munich: Chandeliers, Mirror Pictures, and Window Shopping

Hey y’all!

I figured that it would be best to break up last week into two parts to be fair to Teresa and Jeffrey. 🙂 So, here’s a bit about my trip to Munich (15th-17th).

The train ride was (very thankfully!!) uneventful, and I got to Munich’s Central Station around 12:30ish. Teresa picked me up there. I learned about the public transport ticketing system (does that even make any sense? Doesn’t feel like it to me. Bahaha!) in Munich, which is much different than any that I encountered before. It’s pretty complicated, and I dunno if I understand it 100% yet, so…sorry for my pitifully lacking explanation. *hides in failure* 😛

Then we dropped off my stuff at her house and we just chilled out and caught up a little bit before heading out to Schloss Nymphenburg. We spent the afternoon walking around the inside of the palace and admiring the general splendor. It was absolutely, amazingly beautiful there–everything was beautiful down to the smallest degree; for example, there was a room where Teresa and I noticed that the top inside of the door frame (I feel like that also makes no sense…) had this really intricate, lovely painting on it. I mean, c’mon. The *doorframe*. Welp, the whims of the outrageously wealthy… XP Teresa and I saw a lot of paintings, chairs, mirrors, all the like, in the palace that we really, really liked, so we pretended to be window shopping while we were there, too. Bahaha!

We then joined her sister and her sister’s friend and walked around the park of the palace for a while (which is massive!). Then it started to rain cats and dogs on us. We got completely soaked! But it was a lot of fun. 🙂

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Later that night, we decided we wanted to go to the movie theater and had a bit of trouble deciding what to go see (we are the two most indecisive people in the entire world ;D ). Eventually, we came up with Men in Black III in German. Then Teresa said we had to reserve our seats in the theater, which was something new to me! When we went to the theater, we ordered ‘sweet’ popcorn, which was also quite new to me, although it was a lot like kettle corn. I was a little nervous, as it was my first movie without even having the option of German subtitles to help me out if things were difficult to understand. But in the end, I understood the movie just fine and had only small parts of the movie that I didn’t understand. I felt like that was an important milestone to hit on my path to (hopefully!) future fluency in German. 😀 It was an amazing feeling!

The next day, Teresa and I decided that we wanted to just wander around Munich and just find out what we could see by meandering. We didn’t have too many specific goals of what we wanted to see in mind, which made it all the more adventurous. We stopped in a lot of churches, and my favorite was the Frauenkirche. Ever since my first visit to Munich, I’ve been dying to see the inside of the church, and it didn’t disappoint.

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We stopped in Marienplatz for a short while, and that’s where I snapped my favorite photo of my trip in Munich, which is of the New Town Hall (believe it or not, it was finished around 1900. Doesn’t look like it, right?!).

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We wandered by the Viktualienmarkt and past the Opera House before going to the Residenz to see the Treasury and do a little more pretend window shopping. 😉 Hahaha! Then we walked through the Englischer Garten and saw some surfers! It was crazy!! The water they’re surfing in is really, really cold. But hey, it looks like a lot of fun. 🙂

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We walked by the University before getting on the train to go back home and relax a little bit before dinner. We went to a local restaurant for dinner and got bacon cheeseburgers. It was just marvelous. X) I hadn’t had bacon in like, 2 months, (or what feels like 923874 years), and it was nice to have a little taste of home again.

The next day, Teresa and I just went shopping, and I picked up lotsa FC Bayern swag. No shame. 😛

Overall, I had a great time with such a dear friend of mine in a city that I had very much missed! 😀 ❤

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A Big Week Ahead

Hey hey hey, y’all!!

I’ve had a very good week. Tuesday, I ended up going to Frankfurt and checking out the archaeology museum and then just walkin’ around for a while. The museum was truly beautiful. It was inside of this old church and kept basically all of the old architectural details the same inside–the beautiful archways, the old stone, and so on and so forth. The collection was really interesting, too, so my time there was overall very well-spent. Here’s a picture of the outside of the museum to give you guys some eye candy. 😛

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After the museum, I ended up buying a pin for my trumpet case and a soccer scarf of the local soccer team, Eintracht Frankfurt, to add to my scarf collection (woot woot!). Then I walked back to revisit some of the places I had stopped by on my first trip to Germany. It was good to reflect back on the amazing time I had on that trip and also to think about just how far I’ve come since then. 3 years ago, I couldn’t even begin to fathom that I’d be lucky enough to come back to Germany a second time.

I also wandered down to a pathway next to the Main river and had a nice time just enjoying the breeze and taking pictures there. Here’s one of my favorites, which I feel sums up the atmosphere along the river well.

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The next day, we had our first mini jam-session, which was a lot of fun! Hopefully more people will come next week, but the group that showed up was great and I had a blast playing with them. Later that night, I went back to Frankfurt to go to the JazzKeller and celebrate a friend’s birthday with a small group. I’m really glad that I got the chance to go back to the JazzKeller not only because it’s an awesome place, but because my friend sat in for his birthday and did an absolutely marvelous job. He frickin’ owned his solo!! (I hope I’m not embarrassing him too much. . . 😛 ) It was really great to be able to be there and support him and also to celebrate his birthday with friends. I had a great, jazz-tastic day! 😀

And right now, I’m getting ready for what I expect will be one of the absolute best weeks of my life!! Tomorrow, I’m leaving bright and early to head off to Munich to visit Teresa for a few days! Then, I’ll have a day off to repack and relax at the weekly jam-sesh. On Thursday, I head off bright and early again to go to Ahrensburg and see Jeffrey! I am so darn excited it’s ridiculous!! I haven’t seen the both of them in almost an entire year, and I can hardly wait to see some of my dearest friends again. It’s been way too long and I miss them both terribly!! I know that no matter what we end up doing, it’s going to be amazing because I’ll just get to spend time with some of my closest friends again. 🙂 Endlich.

So, next time, I’ll have plenty of pretty pictures to share with y’all and definitely some more happy stories to boot!!

Bis dann!!! ❤

Lazy Summer Days

Hey y’all!

This post is most likely going to be pretty boring, so I apologize ahead of time for that. But, I promised myself that I wouldn’t go weeks without posting anything again. Hopefully I can spice up the past week a little bit and make it seem mildly interesting to y’all. 😛

Last Sunday, I helped set up for a jazz concert in the Stadtpark. It’s a really beautiful location! (and of course, I don’t have pictures. *facepalm* Oy! Next time I go there, I’ll snag some, I promise!!). When any small group performs at the Stadtpark, it’s always under this lovely moss-covered pavilion. The group that performed here last Sunday played a lot of French jazz, which was neat and not something I’ve really ever heard before! Very enjoyable!!

The Fourth of July was really strange for me this year. I’ve celebrated Fourth of July away from home other times in the past. It felt weird to me to be here and living life like it’s just another normal Wednesday, when back home, all of my friends and family were celebrating and enjoying a day off (as best as they could with the heat. Yikes!!). I got pretty homesick that day. I also got a bit nostalgic for the traditions that normally come with the 4th for me: spending time with my family, watching parades, eating food off the grill, and then topping off the night with fireworks, sparklers, and s’mores. I didn’t do anything special on the Fourth itself. But I decided that I needed to do *something* for the holiday. I invited some friends to come over and just hang out on Friday, and I made them Oreo truffles and a S’mores Pie (can’t get s’mores out of my mind. . .) to bring a small slice of Americana to the celebration. Just a couple of friends came over, (most everybody took off for summer vacation as soon as they could), and we just played card games and hung out. It was really nice! I’m so thankful that they came over and were there for me during this bout of homesickness. Being able to spend time with a group of people that I care about, celebrating a day about friends and family, that was incredibly comforting. They helped me out so much, whether they know it or not. To those who came to my “party,” thank you so much for being there for me. 😀 You’re all fantastic! I just wish that I would’ve gotten a picture with y’all to capture the day ( 😦 silly me forgetting about my camera). Welp, we’ll just have to all celebrate together again soon so we can take a picture together next time. 😉

I helped out at another jazz concert last night, which was at the Old Opel Factory. The location’s really cool and has a lot of historic significance for Rüsselsheim. After the first set, it started pouring like no other, but a small group stuck it out and listened to the rest of the concert. Thankfully, the rain ended up stopping after maybe 20 minutes or so. The group did a good job and had a lot of fun together onstage. 🙂

Tomorrow, I’m planning on heading into Frankfurt and checking out some of the museums. I’m looking forward to that greatly! Maybe tomorrow I’ll actually be able to give y’all some pretty pictures to look at instead of just posting a novel about being lazy. 😛

Bis dann!!

A whole month!!

Hallöchen, alle!

Today, I’ve been in Germany for exactly a month. It hasn’t really hit me yet. I still can imagine my first day here, with all of the ups and downs, and feel the depth of those emotions perfectly. But, all of my happiest moments, those which occurred quite late in the month, are just as tangible to me. I can’t even begin to fathom it, that so much has happened in such a short amount of time–that I’ve been able to be in the country that I love, living in the culture and language that I adore, and just breathing jazz–my greatest passion–for an entire month already! It feels like it’s only been 4 days, not 4 weeks. In that short time span, so much has happened to my life. So much has changed for the better. I’ve already learned so much about myself and what kind of person I want to become, to sum it up quite briefly, and I’ve met some absolutely incredible people. I have my German family now. I can’t imagine my life without them! I have met some great friends, for whom I am so grateful. And to think that just a month ago, I didn’t know any of the great people I know today!!

I can’t believe I’m so lucky to get to stay here for almost another 2 months. I’m going to savor every second, because this month has already gone by way, way too quickly. Here’s to 2 more months of amazing friends, family, and memories that I will cherish forever!!

To everyone who I have encountered on this journey thus far–whether you realize it or not, every single one of you has had an impact on my life. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for all the joy you’ve brought to my life, for the wonderful memories we’ve shared thus far, and for the great times that we are sure to have in the future. ❤ You are all absolutely amazing.

Here’s a summary of my month in pictures. I feel like they will say much more than I can (though I typed a helluvah long speech before this. ;D ).

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I realize that it’s been ages since I last posted anything, but life here has been very busy.I was very fortunate to be able to play a few concerts with IKS Swing Kids and the IKS Big Band. I’m extremely thankful that they let me just jump in like that before the concerts. Swing Kids and IKS Big Band, y’all are absolutely marvelous people! You have no idea what it means that you let me join you guys like that; jazz bands are like families, and your bands are no exception to this rule. I can imagine that it was a bit strange to let in someone new to the band right before a concert–especially the last concert(s)–but I’m incredibly grateful that you took that chance on me. I’m very glad that you all not only let me play with you, but that that you also welcomed me with open arms. 🙂 Thank you again for all of your kindness. You guys are more than welcome to come play with KJE whenever you want! 🙂

I’ve also had another mini-internship with the cultural center in town, which I have finished, and have just started up another part-time internship with their jazz division. Schweeeeet! I’m very excited about that.

July is summer break for everybody–right as I’ve really gotten the swing of things, of course. 😛 Ah well! But, that means a couple of very exciting things for me. Here’s what I’ve got planned for July:

1. SO MUCH TRUMPET PLAYING. 😀 Of course! I’m trying to set up a weekly jam sesh for me and the Swing Kids, so I hope that that works out! That’d be splendiferous if it did. :3

2. Research for my honors project! Lotsa trips to Frankfurt and Darmstadt. Yes, that seems a bit premature; but, who knows if I’ll be able to take advantage of the bounty of resources–alle auf Deutsch–again before I start. I have no idea, so I’m going to collect as many articles, scores, and recordings as possible. If I can’t come to Germany back before senior year, then I’ll have a lot to work from. If I am able to return, welp, then I’ll have a heck of a head start. X)

3. Vistin’ mo’ local stuffs. More castles, more fortresses, more museums, more of the local big cities… Just lots.

4. Visitin’ Teresa and Jeffrey!!! So freakin’ excited to see them again!! It’s almost been a year since I’ve seen them both. It’s going to be absolutely amazing to be able to hang out with some of my closest friends again after so long!!!

Welp, that’s it for now. But I feel like it’s a solid list.

Hopefully it won’t take me as long to give y’all an update next time. 😦