What does home feel like

coming-home

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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Welcome on Board

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On my last weekend in LA a friend and me went down to Long Beach, where the Queen Mary is stationed. We did a self guided as well as a ghost and haunted encounter tour. It was really interesting to get to parts of the ship, that you normally don’t get to see learning about the story of Queen Mary, a ship with quite a history. Whether being a transatlantic passenger ship, serving as the grey ghost during WW2, or now as a hotel and museum. I am not so sure about the ghost stories and encounters that people are talking about that happened, but oh well it was fun anyway and pretty scary at some points. You definitely got to see some of the not so nice areas of the ship. It must have been amazing leaving New York crossing the Atlantic Ocean on the ship when it was still operating. Being on the ship really made me want to do a cruise tour in the near future. So another thing on my bucket list 🙂

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After that we went to the main area in Long Beach. I loved walking around at the harbor, along the pier with all its shops. The ice cream we got was so yummy, fitting the weather perfectly.

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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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It is in your soul

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Being so close to having to go back to Germany a lot of random things have crossed my mind lately. Standing in front of my suitcase yesterday I was thinking, what it is that makes me going from one place to another, having a constant urge to discover new places. Not that it is a bad thing, but I am always wondering how people can be so different. I know so many people that still live in the city they were born in, they went to school to and now decided to attend college their as well. Probable they will never leave that town in their lives except for the 2 weeks of holidays they do per year, mostly going to the same places over and over again. And then there is the other extreme like me, making the decision to do a high school year abroad, to study in a new city and county, including an internship and a study abroad in 2 new places. and seeing myself working abroad in the future. And then the constant urge to travel, doing it as often as time and money give away. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that either way is right or wrong, but I think it is amazing that people have such different needs in order to be happy. And then the question where those differences come from. I don’t think I will ever get a complete answer to this, but I am sure my parents had a big influence on me, traveling to far away places when I was younger. Maybe it is somehow in my genes, or to make it easy I simply blame it on my gypsy soul!

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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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Gay Pride Parade

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This Sunday the yearly Gay Pride Parade took place in LA. It was announced as a quite big event and a friend and me decided we would join the spectacle. We unfortunately arrived after the parade had already started so it was quite hard to find a good spot to watch. I hate being small sometimes 😉 But after walking around for a bit we found an acceptable place to stay. The parade was really fun to watch. Everybody was smiling, and obviously having a good time. Many known companies and brands participate, like “Bank of America”,”Chase”,”The Coffee Bean”,”The Abbey”, only to name a few. I always find it amazing how people can wear certain outfits with such a confidence, if you look at the pictures, you will know what outfits I mean 😉 What was also really touching, was a group of 4 old men, probable all in their 70’s, walking in the parade, holding a sign “Senior Gay Community”. Unimaginable what it must have been like for them all their life’s, not being accepted or hiding their true selves, because being gay was nothing you would talk about in the past decades. Made me really happy to see those 4 men walking 🙂 I must say that I believe it is a great idea to encourage equality in this way, and I would watch this spectacle again, if I had the chance to do so next year.

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Up and down we go

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Hiking is always fun. I definitely found my love for it while being here in California. Of course I used to go for walks back in Germany, but you can’t quite compare it to actual hiking, if there are no mountains or at least hills involved, and this is the case in the area of Germany where I live.

The past weekend after the International Dinner Party a couple of friends and me had the day before, where we had way to many calories for that day, we decided a hike would be a perfect option of enjoying the beautiful weather and to burn some of the input of calories from the last day. We went to the Will Rogers State Park, which eventually leads into the Topanga State Park. You start at the Ranch of Will Roger, which today functions as a museum, passing by a polo field and a riding stable, until you finally get to the path on which the actual hike starts. You get some beautiful views of the coast, all parts of LA and some fancy houses. This is always what amazes me the most, the view. Most of the time I seriously question myself why I am doing this over and over again, sweating and having aching calves, but then I know why once getting closer to the top 🙂 No matter how many times I have seen LA from above before, it always amazes me how big the city is, how many green parts it actually has and how beautiful the coastline looks 🙂

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If you’re going to San Francisco…

Hope everybody had a great Memorial Day Weekend. I know I am kind of late, but I was really busy this week, and then I did not have my pictures with me when I wanted to upload the post yesterday.

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For my second Memorial Day in the States ever I went to SF to meet up with my host family (back from when I did my High School Year) and to attend the graduation of my host sister who got her Master Degree in Business Administration. I was so excited to meet them after not having seen them for 4 years now, except for my other host sister, with who I could meet up in Brussels when she did an internship there.

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Honestly, I fell in love with the city, and I can’t wait to go back in August when I will do a round trip throughout the West coast of the States with a couple of friends from Germany. What I love about the city?! Almost everything. The architecture, the location at the water and the surrounding bay area, all the food places and options you have, the steep streets, the sea lions at the pier, that everything is basically in walking distance or accessible with public transportation, the diversity of the city without loosing its intimacy, I could go on and on. Not that I do not like LA, and I definitely favor the weather and the beaches here, but what really makes me prefer SF is the fact of not having to rely on a car like one has to in LA. Even though the walking can be so tiresome, I loved doing it, because this in my opinion is the best way of exploring a city, by walking around, being able to stop whenever you want and take a closer look, and eventually getting lost, only to see even more of the city, not only the main tourist attractions.

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After a long drive up, which I had to do by myself as my roommate wasn’t able to drive being under the influence of pain killers for her gallbladder problem, I made it to SF Friday morning, after one night of staying with her at her families place in Fremont. I attended the graduation, which was kind of boring like always, but I was in good company. We had dinner at a place in North Beach, which was really fancy and yummy. We ended the day with some cake at a cute pastries place. I slept in a hostel at Fort Mason, an old military base, which was really nice, as I had a gorgeous view on the Golden Gate Bridge and the sunset from there. I can recommend Hosteling International at Fishermen’s Wharf to everybody, who wants a cheap but good alternative. On Saturday we all together went to Angle Island, doing a tram tour on the island, and from there heading to Alcatraz. I loved the view you had from the boat on Alcatraz, Sausalito and SF. The entire trip took us almost 7 hours, but it was definitely worth it doing the combined tour of Angel island and Alcatraz. We walked around Pier 39, watched the sea lions until my host dad got pooped on, making the decision this was the indicator that it is time to go. We walked back to my hostel, grabbed my suitcase to take it back to my host families hotel where I would stay the second night. We had Ramen for dinner, a special Japanese dish, which I never had before, but was similar to the Vietnamese place I am going to regularly here in LA. As we were all really tired and my host family had to catch an early flight next morning going back to Washington, we ended the day with typical SF ice cream called ‘It’s it’, which is ice cream between two oatmeal cookies, yummy 🙂 Next morning I said goodbye and went to sleep again, as it was only 6:30 in the morning. I loved waking up later having an amazing view over SF out of the rooms window which was located on the 22 floor of the building. As my host family had left I toured SF on my own for a bit, visiting Chinatown, having some clam chowder soup at Fishermen’s Wharf, climbing up the streets to Lombard Street, until finally heading back to Fremont. As my roommate has had surgery for her gallbladder, we could not really do anything expect watching TV until I had a home cooked dinner of chicken, potatoes and salad. On Monday I left early in the morning, driving back alone. I am good with driving for the next couple of days now 😀

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I had an awesome Memorial Day weekend, based on a great city and being surrounded by people I love 🙂 Can’t wait to come back to SF and to go to Washington to visit my host family again before going back to Germany.

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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.