What does home feel like

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Between fighting with my jet lag, unpacking, repacking for my upcoming trip in just 2 days, doctors appointments, writing exams, visiting all my friends and family, watching the world cup games and parting because Germany won and preparing everything for my study abroad in Scotland, I finally found the time to be active here. I really won’t have that much time as well as limited internet access the next weeks, when I will be doing a 4 week round trip along the West coast of the States with some German friends. So I certainly felt the need to post and keep everybody updated about how the past 10 days have been for me after moving back to Germany, before I won’t have the time to do so anymore.

To be honest it feels like I haven’t been away. Everything is the same way as when I left. This should be a good sign I guess. I mean it could’t be any better than coming home, feeling welcomed and a sense of belonging. Of course it needed some adjusting time. Living with my mom and her new husband certainly is strange at some points after having been living on my own since 3 years, when moving out for college. The weather totally sucks, even though it is warm, it has been raining almost every day and thunderstorms happen on a regular basis. So just as it always has been here. Food wise I am glad to be back, I really missed my German breakfast, especially bread. Of course my mom knew it and made our breakfast the biggest meal of the day the past week, lucky me 🙂 Oh and I never imagined I would ever say I missed trees in my life, but I did. Going out for a walk or a run, being surrounded by trees is amazing! And before I forget I really missed driving a stick. It was a little scary first, but soon I figured how boring driving an automatic car is.

Of course I miss California. I miss the beach and the beautiful sunsets. The ocean and the sound of the waves walking with your feet in the water. The endless possibilities one has for going out. And of course the beautiful views of the city with all its sparkling lights.

I think when being abroad for a longer period of time, you truly learn to appreciate little things in life, by realizing what you miss. You learn that not necessarily the big things are the ones that make you happy, but small ones, which normally seem unimportant, like trees and sparkling city lights 🙂

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Saying Goodbye

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Sorry you all, I haven’t had the time to be active the last couple of weeks. Moving back to Germany kept and still keeps me really busy. This post has been ‘sitting’ here for a while now unfinished of course. But I could finally finish it today, just a short one…

This is it, the day that I did not want to come got here, being the one on which I had to leave LA. It is unbelievable to me how fast the past 5 months have passed by. Months felt more like weeks, but I should see this as a good sign, because it truly means I had a great time, creating amazing memories, which will stay forever. Saying goodbye is always the hardest part, but when you have people that tell you it is no goodbye but rather a see you soon, one just has to be positive and simply believe that it is true, or try to make the effort to make it happen. For me actually it is the truths as I will be back in Germany for only 2 weeks, writing exams, but then coming back to do a roundtrip along the west coast with some German friends. So it truly is a see you soon, very soon actually. The hardest part will be to say goodbye again then, because this will be a see you soon, not knowing what soon means. Months, a year, or several years. I really hope if won’t be the last one.

I have to say it is hard if not almost impossible not to fall in love with California. I enjoyed each and every moment being here, with small ups and downs. The landscape, the weather and the lifestyle are the perfect combination. Leaving this behind feels like being knocked off your feed falling right on your face, but I know that after a little stumbling trying to get up and staggering around everything will become perfect again, as I will just start my next journey. California you have been so good to me, I will miss you bunches and see you soon!

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Litte final treats

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While I slowly realize I am really leaving LA next week, more and more all the things I will miss so much pop up in my mind. This is why I took a long beach walk with my roommate and one of her friends, including his Rhodesian Ridgeback Koi yesterday, enjoying the view on all the boats out there. For dinner we went to our favorite Thai restaurant in Malibu, enjoying the drive there watching the sparkling water and the sun disappear behind the mountains, leaving the world in a golden color.

Going back to normal really does not sound like an option for me at the moment and luckily even though I have to leave, it won’t be for long, as I will be back to do a 4 week round trip with some friends from Germany. Then Scotland is coming up, which will be far from normal as well. Trying to think in a positive way is the best I can do now. But one thing for sure, California I will miss you!

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Sunshine, cocktails and fun

My last days are flying by, but I can’t say that I am not making use of them wisely. I had a great weekend with a lot of sunshine, the beach, cocktails, sunsets and most important with amazing people, who always make it fun.

On Friday, after getting off from work early, we went to Crystal Cove close to Newport Beach to enjoy some amazing food and cocktails combined with a beautiful sunset.

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On Saturday, we enjoyed some British humor, watching Notting Hill, at the Eat Sea Hear outdoor movie night in Santa Monica.

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And finally on Sunday we relaxed at the beach and ended the day with some treats from Urth Caffe. I can’t think of a better way to spend the weekend 🙂

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Why do all goods things come to an end?

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“What is that feeling when you’re driving away from people and they recede on the plain till you see their specks dispersing? – it’s the too-huge world vaulting us, and it’s good-bye. But we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies.”
― Jack KerouacOn the Road

I have two more weeks left in beautiful California, I don’t think I quite realize it yet!  Every time I start thinking about it, my mind sets a huge blockade, holding up a sign saying, “no step further, beyond this point the likelihood of increased unhappiness and bad mood changes is intensified.” So I see myself walking away, thinking about the beautiful beaches and sunsets, all the people I consider my friends here now, the activities I have planned throughout the next weeks as well as about my past experiences, which all bring a huge smile on my face. I know it is the easy way, pretending that this great experience I made so far, just is not going to be over, but will go on. You can’t imagine how pleased I would be spending at least the rest of the summer here, as so many great things are coming up within the summer months.

Don’t get me wrong, it may sounds as if I completely hated my life back in Germany, that I don’t want to go back there at all. This is not true. I am super excited to see all my friends and family. Go to some of my favorite spots, and enjoy German food. But life in California just has more to offer. I believe what is my greatest hold back from wanting to go back is the instability I have at home. I am basically going to live with my mom over the summer, as I don’t have my own apartment anymore. I know I will only be home for a couple of weeks until I am going off to Scotland for my study abroad. I am super excited but it will be a completely new environment not knowing anybody again. After that my bachelor thesis semester is coming up, where I will be in a new city again, working in a company and writing my final thesis to get my degree. I have no clue yet where I will go for that. I know that I made all this choices and that I wanted it and still do want, but  sometimes it is a little bit overwhelming. It is great to see so many different places of the world, and I am truly happy that I am the one getting the chance to do so, but sometimes I just feel I need to hit a pause button that allows me to stay a little longer in one place. And of course goodbye’s are always the hardest part about it. I had the chance to meet so many amazing people, feeling I just got to know them entirely and having to leave now. And that is sad. 

But you know what, I will just try to make the best I can out of the 2 weeks I have left here, hoping that I will have the chance to come back in the near future, either for holiday or for work 🙂 And just follow this idea.

“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”

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International Dinner Volume 2

This Saturday a couple of friends and me gathered together to have a second round of an international dinner. A lot of my friends come from other countries around the world, so coming together having prepared a typical dish from your country of origin, is a perfect way of trying new and unknown things and to broaden your culinary horizon 🙂

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We were 6 people in total, 3 from France, 2 from the States and me from Germany. We started with a French salad of baby spinach, bacon and goat cheese, combined with tomatoes and onions. Followed by a delicious mix of mushrooms and other vegetables baked in the oven with scallops (American). Then my first dish was served, being a typical German ‘Flammkuchen’, which is a thin dough spread with sour cream, bacon, onions, potatoes and spring onions and then baked in the oven. The last main dish was a typical dish from Reunion Island, called Civet de Beef. Our dessert round started of with a typical French cake with pears, of which I unfortunately forgot the name. As it was my last international dinner I could attend, I prepared a dessert as well, which was typical German Apple Pancakes with cinnamon-sugar. Before we could be served the last dessert, we took a long walk around the neighborhood to process all the food. I basically could have rolled down the streets 😉 After coming back from the walk we finished with an ice cake topped with blueberries and strawberries. I have to say everything was delicious! Unfortunately I did not take any pictures of the evening, what a shame, I seriously should have. I have leftovers for at least half of the week, which is great. All in all I simply love these get-togethers, because can there be a better way of being surrounded by friends, good food and a couple of bottles of wine?!

Next destination: Scotland

So it is certain this September I will go to Aberdeen to do my study abroad. I have filled in all the application documents, gathered all the signatures I needed from my school supervisors and hit the send button of my email account. Acknowledgement of receipt of application is what came back, with the note that I have to wait at least until the end of June now to hear back for the final approval from the partner university, I hate waiting… But at least this is the last month I will spend in LA, meaning time will run by. Not that I like that because I could definitely stay in LA way longer, as it will be so hard to say goodbye to all the friends I made here, to the weather, to the beautiful beaches and sunsets and the variety of food places. But at least I won’t fall into total depression when going back, but can look forward to something new and exciting 🙂

And Aberdeen will definitely be new for me. I have been in Scotland once before in the city of Edinburgh and I really liked it. I loved the architecture of the houses and the city in general, the pubs and restaurants that are everywhere and each have their own charm, but are all so welcoming. I might get a shock concerning the weather, as California is hard to beat, but oh well, I just have to convince myself that leaving all my summer cloths at home and packing sweaters over sweaters, an umbrella and boots, is fun 😉 I actually love the boots part, but that’s about it. Every empty space in my suitcase, and I assure you unfortunately there is not a lot, will be filled with California sun and brought with me to Scotland.

If anybody has been in Aberdeen or in Scotland in general, please feel free to contact me and share recommendations  🙂

The pictures, obviously are not taken by me, as it will be my first visit to Aberdeen.

Great night with great people

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This Saturday I had a little get-together for my birthday in a restaurant/bar in Santa Monica called Sonoma Wine Garden with a couple of friends. I have never been there before but after looking at pictures of the location and ratings I decided this would be a fun place to go. And it was! The food was good, even though there are definitely better places out there in this price category, but the service was great and every question we had was answered with patience even though it was quite busy. A friend and me got a little wine tasting of 3 different white wines, due to our indecisiveness 😉  I really loved the interior design of the place, all the candles and the wooden parts gave it a cozy feeling, and the redesign of wine bottles as lamps was creative. I had asked for a table outside when making the reservation but they could not assure me to get a table there, and we ended up at a table inside, right in front of a huge window though, which actually was the better outcome, especially for having dinner. The outside looked really cool too, but it is definitely more a place to grab a drink. As it was my birthday, and my friends must have told the waiter when I went to the bathroom, I actually got a full size portion of dessert, with a little candle. The 2nd wish I could make this week 🙂 The best about it, it was a German dish called Kaiserschmarrn, so yummy! So Sonoma Wine Garden is a place I would definitely recommend, especially to grab a drink on a hot summer night, enjoying the outdoor terrace!

After dinner and drinks, we went to walk around for a bit at 3rd street promenade. It was so busy, but I guess this was due to spring break, which makes LA so crowded in general and the hot weather, which makes everybody go outside.

All in all I had a great birthday week, with a relaxing beach and biking day on Thursday (my actual birthday) and a delicious Italian meal with my roommate for dinner, a surprise birthday cake and ice cream on Friday at work, an USC campus tour on early Saturday and the dinner just mentioned, perfectly rounded up with an entire beach day from morning till sunset with friends on Sunday. I simply love being in California, what more is there you can ask for?! 🙂

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Birthday at the beach

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So it was my birthday yesterday. Weird not being at home, celebrating with family and friends like I basically did the last 22 years. My supervisor at work was really nice and gave me the day off. I didn’t ask for it, just to come in an hour late so that I would have enough time to skype and talk to everybody in the morning. But he was like ‘are you kidding? Take the day off!’ So I did. Of course everybody else still had to go to work, so I made the decision to take my roommates beach cruiser bike and take the canal path up to the beach, after making all the calls with family and friends. I haven’t been riding a bike while being here and since the weather basically asked for a beach day ( 36°C/97°F) it was the perfect decision. It only took me 15 minutes until I finally reached the beach, secured the bike and started my relaxing day, reading, listening to music and eventually taking a dip in the ocean once in a while. I think I have never spent any birthday at the beach, except maybe when I was younger and we used to go to the Netherlands where we have a trailer. Nothing you can compare to the beaches of LA and the Pacific Ocean though! In the evening my roommate and me went to an Italian place for dinner. I have been to that place before (you can read about it here). It was super crowded but we were lucky to still get a table outside. My pappardelle shrimp, were delicious and I am excited for the leftovers I will have for lunch today 😉 After the confusion of mixing up the neighboring table with ours, making the young girl at the table extremely happy, I even got a little brownie cake with cream and a candle to make a which, by the restaurant. We stopped by at The Coffee Bean & Tea on our way back, as I needed to buy something and enjoyed a free espresso to end the day with. Saturday I will celebrate with all my friends by going to a restaurant/bar and I am excited for that. But the day of my birthday itself was perfect, nothing goes about California sun, walking barefoot in the sand, the ocean and Italian food 🙂

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Feels like holidays

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How am I going to survive this day?! Definitely by going to the beach or pool later tonight after leaving my air-conditioned work place 🙂 I love the weather of LA but this, being used to the German climate, definitely brings me to my limits. Feels more like a holiday in Spain right now to me than normal days 😉 But oh well I shouldn’t complain but enjoy it! And the best part about it, this weather is the perfect excuse to enjoy as much ice cream as one wants 🙂