Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Commit to the shoes.

Well, October has been quite the busy month. Papers, exams, Homecoming, my favorite holiday- my birthday, the brilliant John Green came to visit the Public Library for Read Week, my car died, and most recently I went to a Halloween party dressed as everyone’s favorite fugitive, Carmen SanDiego.
Changing leaves... mmmhmmmm.            
So, Katie, how's life? WELL. Story time.
Them shoes.
So this last Wednesday I was picking up a friend for a classic Ben Hur movie night and I noticed my car was making a strange sound as I was parking, but as I know nothing about cars, I thought, I won’t think about that today, I’ll think about that tomorrow. Thursday, I’m on my merry way to campus when I noticed my “ABS” light has turned on. Hmm, I will have to get that checked out… Five minutes later, I looked down and the gas gauge was “on empty.” Odd. Let it be know, I know I had about a half a tank when the journey began. Hmmm, I think, that looks like it could be a problem. Then five minutes later, I look down and, I’ll be damned, the speedometer is also on zero, even though I am clearly driving. I pull into my parking spot, turn the car off, and, for kicks, try to turn it back on… Houston, we have a problem. Well, I’m just let it sit there and try again after class, and if need be, I will have plenty of time to walk to work. Long story short, I did end up walking the 3 and a half miles to and from work, which is not really long, however, not being clairvoyant, I sadly had not worn what I would call “walking shoes.” Ahh silly me. Blisters for every! toe.

Friday was the party where I was to dress as the aforementioned Carmen SanDiego. Hmm, to wear my 5 inch heels, or to not wear my 5 inch heels… *Wear them! And be TALL!*
These shoes… I call them my “2 hour” shoes. I wore them 7 hours. Because they're pretty baller. When you walk out the front door, you commit to your shoes. BUT, needless to say though, the next morning… The blisters from the day before were nothing. My feet felt like they had been subjected to a Chinese feet binding ritual. Sitting around the house was the name of the game that day. And, slightly disappointing, my 6’1 friend had spoken the truth: Even with 5 inch heels I was still a good 4 inches shorter. Operation Tall: Failure.

Han Solo and Carmen SanDiego reporting for duty

And yes, you did just read an entire blog about my car and shoes. Time well spent. 
                                                     Until next time!

Thursday, September 27, 2012


Senioritis: n. A crippling disease that strikes high school (or in my case, college as well) seniors. Symptoms include: laziness, an over-excessive wearing of track pants, old athletic shirts, sweatpants, athletic shorts, and sweatshirts. Also features a lack of studying, repeated absences, and a generally dismissive attitude. The only known cure is a phenomenon known as graduation. (Urbandictionary.com)

This year will be the fourth time I will have experienced the wonderful and terrible disease.

The first time: End of my junior year of high school
I honestly don’t know why I felt so entitled. I was 17 and knew what was up. Clearly.
Let me first explain my high school because it’s probably different than yours. It is run on what is called a “Modular Schedule.” On a “normal” day, there are 18 “mods” each 20 minutes with a 3 min between each mod as “Walking Time.” A normal class is usually 2 mods and sciences are usually 3 mods, however, I once took a class that was a four mods, but that was an isolated incident. Schedules are made around a 6 day week (A through F)- so constantly rotating. And every student has a unique schedule- made just for them by a little old lady in the scheduling department. When does mod 5 begin? Oh like 9:52. What? Looking back, it’s a nightmare. For the administration and teachers. I loved it; but I totally understand why some of my teachers would just throw up their hands sometimes and tell us to leave. 
Back to my pre-senior senioritis. Seniors have the privilege of leaving school early if they have no class at the end of the day. At the end of my junior year, three of my letter days ended with at least 6 free mods: that is essentially 2+ free hours. There was no way I was spending those in school. There is fun to be had.
What kind of fun? The dog park.
Yes, I would strategically park my car, sneak out of school, and go to the dog park. Because I love my dog that much. My friends never quite understood my excitement, but I was and still am unashamed. And by God, no one, especially not anyone in the “Administration” (because back then, their authority was super skep) was going to stop me.

The second time: Senior year of high school
Yes! Senior year! I get to leave early right? Wrong. The scheduling fairy was not kind to me this year. But, you might ask, how will you make time to go to the dog park?! Well, my dog needs me. I guess I’ll just have to skip class. That was pretty much my thought process. My dad also supported my love of the dog park (probably because my German Shepherd-Rotweiler-Akita was still a puppy and she had some mad energy). I would call him from the bathroom, “Hey, dad, I’m going to call you from the nurse’s office in like 5 minutes to go home sick. It’s so nice outside, I want to go to the dog park.” I would go to the nurse’s office and she would look at me like, Like hell, you’re not feeling well. But my dad, being the best in the world, would inform the nurse that I haven’t been feeling well and would give his blessing for me to go home for the day. My mother also contributed to my senioritis in her own way. While my mom would refuse to lie on the phone to the school nurse, she would write me notes on days that I just didn’t feel school was worth my time, and decided I could be more productive by staying at home. This happened more and more frequently when the weather was nice.
Another thing that makes me a terrible student is that I feel a need to multitask. Early fall of my senior year, I started knitting in class. I started with scarves, and then I made a friend of mine a pair of mittens. Then another friend requested mittens. Then another friend paid me to make her a pair of mittens. Needless to say, I made a little business of knitting in class. Knitknitknit, copy down a physics equation, knitknitknit, calculate something, knitknitknit, conjugate a verb.  However, by the spring, my English teacher forbade me from knitting in her class, which I thought was just a huge injustice. She was also the teacher for my last class and forbade me from leaving with the bus-riders, something I had succeeded in doing the previous 3 years to get to rowing on time. I'm totally an 18 year old bus rider. Yeah, she was not fooled.
The third time: Senior year of College Part 1
I don’t know why I thought this would be a good idea, but this was the year I decided to take three language classes- two German literature classes and Latin speeches/erotic poetry/Aeneid. The German was the first to go. Mostly because all the stories we read ended with suicide, homicide, and a general sense of WTF. Another problem with my German class was this extremely exasperating girl who we called “Stephanie.” She was so aggravating that we invented a drinking game all about her. So depending on how irritating she was, I could be in an unfortunate state before 11am. Drinking not only made “Stephanie’s” quirks more bearable, but I always felt I spoke better German after a few drinks. Germans drink before 11, why shouldn’t I? (Also, proof drinking makes me a better test taker- studied at the HofbrÀuhaus before an exam… A+. The test taking experience was also ten times more enjoyable. Fact.)
I don’t, as a general rule, skip classes, but when I did it was Latin. And only in the spring, and only when at least two other friends were skipping. Because, number 1 there aren’t that many people in 300 level Latin anyway, number 2- less people in class= I have to translate more. Which I CAN do, except when the teacher would ask questions like, what is the gender of this? Bitch, please. That shit’s not in my head. That’s what a dictionary is for. (Why yes, that escalated quickly.)

The fourth time: Super Senior year of College, aka Senior year Part 2
Worst discovery of my life: Pintrest. More terrible than even Facebook, because I tend to look at funny pins and proceed to chuckle in class when the teacher is talking about something entirely not funny. Another terrible hobby: blogging. I tend to write my blogs in classes where I can’t be on Pintrest. Issues.
This newfound love of blogging really stems from my love of telling stories. And now that my best friend has graduated and I have no one to tell ALL the ridiculous things that happen to me -(sitcom worthy situations mainly brought about due to my misunderstanding how normal life works or that period in my life where I’m pretty sure I was dating a spy)- anyway he suggested I write a book about my life. That seemed like a rather large endeavor, so I thought I’d start small.
My life is fairly ridiculous, so if you have any suggestions of things you’d like me to talk about feel free to suggest anything in the comments.

Monday, September 17, 2012

I won't think about that now, I'll think about that tomorrow.

So recently I watched “Gone with the Wind,” and it did not disappoint. My mind is reaffirmed that it is, by far and away, the greatest film of all time. Upon talking to two friends of mine the next day, I was shocked that they both have not seen the, yes four hour, movie. But for me, it was a staple growing up. I have relatively fond memories of staying home sick from school, curling up on the couch in pajamas with a bowl of chicken noodle soup and popping in that VHS- a totally begenk copy, I might add, recorded off TNT with snippets of commercials and everything. However, in case there are other people in the world who have not seen it, I will not spoil anything here, but insist you go to your local library and rent it today because I promise it’s worth it. Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh are seriously the bomb.com times ten, not to mention the film direction is just superb.
So, Katie, besides all that, why else should I watch this film? Because, dear reader, you will not find another film out there with superior dialogue. I laugh, my mom cries; it'll move you in a way only a fantastic screenplay can. Scarlett O’Hara is a character you just love to hate, but then you still love her in the end, and her counterpart, the scoundrel, Captain Rhett Butler, is quite frankly the most complex and, in my opinion, easily the most lovable character in the whole film. In addition to all that, his lines in the movie are just the best. So on that note, I have decided to include my favorite Rhett Butler quotes… With pictures.

Top 5 Rhett Butler Quotes
5. I'm very drunk and I intend on getting still drunker before this evening's over.

4. With enough courage, you can do without a reputation.

3. No, I don't think I will kiss you, although you need kissing, badly. That's what's wrong with you. You should be kissed and often, and by someone who knows how.

2. RB: So, you see I shall have to marry you.
Scarlett: I've never heard of such bad taste.
RB: Would you be more convinced if I fell to my knees?
S: Turn me loose, you varmint, and get out of here!
RB: Forgive me for startling you with the impetuosity of my sentiments, my dear Scarlett. I mean, my dear Mrs. Kennedy. But it cannot have escaped your notice that for some time past the friendship I have felt for you has ripened into a deeper feeling. A feeling more beautiful, more pure, more sacred. Dare I name it? Can it be love?
S: Get up off your knees! I don't like your common jokes!
RB: This is an honorable proposal of marriage made at what I consider a most opportune moment. I can't go all my life waiting to catch you between husbands.
S: You're coarse, and you're conceited. And I think this conversation has gone far enough.
                                                       Watch: Rhett's Proposal

S: I only know that I love you.
RB: That's your misfortune.
S: Rhett, Rhett! Rhett... if you go, where shall I go, what shall I do?
RB: Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn.
Now go watch it.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Midnight in Paris

The Saturday morning after my last full day in Rome, I woke up around 5 to some lovely snoring and decided to just start the day then. I packed up all my things and headed back to the Piazza del Populo to meet my tour for Florence. We were a smaller group this time and I just picked a seat to myself, sat back and listened to my iPod as we drove to Tuscany. My favorite part of the trip there was just watching the multitude of sunflower fields, and napping. The walking tour was a lot of fun and (natuerlich) I took pictures of everything. The most exciting thing I saw on the walking tour was probably Mic and Mac: the two lions in front of McMicken, which are actually Florentine I guess. Who knew? Not me. Anyway, then we had lunch in which I ate the tastiest bruschette and ravioli while talking to the family from Jersey, while also eavesdropping on the Australian family’s conversation about the aboriginals. It made me want to watch “Australia” again… Which I did once I got home. Then it was free time and I decided to go to the leather market to find a nice wallet. On my way back, I ran into this guy who was like, are you looking for a leather jacket? -Not particularly. -Oh, just try one on- So I did. And all I have to say about that interaction is: Italian men. They crack me up. Needless to say I did indeed get the leather jacket. Because it was pretty awesome and clearly it was the real deal because he lit it on fire, which I guess is a thing because the wallet man did the same thing to show it was real. And I look like Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Badass. The only thing that I’m lamenting about is that sleeves are a little long but I didn’t have time to get them fixed because I had to meet up with the tour group to go see Michael Angelo’s statue of “David.” Ah well. “David” was awesome, actually shorter than I expected but nifty none the less. Then we all got pictures of the city and drove back home. I, per usual, slept.

When I got back to Rome, I went straight to the train station and then off to the airport. I wasn’t flying out till Sunday morning so I followed the signs for beds and found myself at the airport hotel, which fun fact had NO beds that night… I know right? What was that? So I just sat on the nearest couch in the lobby and contemplated my change in situation. I napped for a good number of hours on the couch of that Rome Hilton until I felt it necessary to go back to the airport. I still could not check in when I got back to the main area, so more napping occurred. Oh well, eventually I made it on my flight and to Paris. I was able to see the Eiffel Tower from, like, really high up in the plane, which I thought was super cool. I was able to identify a landmark… FROM THE SKY. 
Anyway, I land, collect my luggage and call my shuttle 10 min early (which I was stoked about because the reservation said that I had a 15 min window to call in or else my shuttle service would be cancelled- lame I know). They say they’ll be there in 20. Cool I think. 20 minutes pass. Ok, I think, this is not Germany. Punktlichkeit may not be a thing. Another 20 passes. Now I’m a little nervous. I call the lady. Oh he’s on his way, he’ll be there in 5 minutes. Another 20 minutes pass and it has been an hour since I called. (To anyone reading this, who is unfamiliar with my view on timeliness, I am on time if not always early and lateness makes me feel physically ill.) So I call the lady again, informing her about my concerns. 
Oh don’t worry, he’s coming… Ten min later he did come, but I was put out from the whole event. By the time I reached my hotel, it was about 230-3 in the afternoon. I decide since Marianne and Steve won’t arrive till tomorrow, I was going to FINALLY shower after what felt like weeks instead of the day it had been and then nap, like I do best. I wake up to a knock on my door 6 hours later (not at all how long I intended to nap), and there are Steve and Marianne. A day early. Well, not really. But like telling left and right, I clearly can’t read an arrival schedule. We decide to explore and get some food, chatting about all that’s happened since we last saw each other. The restaurant we picked was right in front of this ball thing that fling you in the air and whatnot. There was this one time where the people in it were letting out just absolutely terrified screams and we all had a good laugh.

Our first full day in Paris had a bit of a late start, added by the fact that when we got on the “hop on, hop off” bus, we got on the wrong line. But no worries, because then we ended up seeing more than expected, ie. Moulin Rogue, which I had wanted to see come what may… (anyone?) Anywho, we eventually got on the right line and went to le Louvre. It was about 2p by then and Da was like, who’s hungry? I was not so Marianne refused to admit she actually was. This was a bad move, because sometimes when my family gets hungry… they get unpleasant. 
And I say that in the most loving way. Also to be fair, we had a really small breakfast, and she and Da were used to being feed like kings and queens in Spain. We saw so much at the Louvre, it would be impossible to try to talk about it all, but most notably, we got pictures of the Mona Lisa, statue of Nike, the sphinxes, I got one with Venus del Milo, and then Marianne and Da got many with different Minera/Athena statues. 
When we got back on the HOHO bus and arrived at the Eiffel tower for dinner, we discovered (not surprisingly so) that it was outrageously priced and that the line was WAY to long for Marianne to wait in before being fed. Also you have to pay even if you are just going to CLIMB the steps, not just if you take the elevator. If I wanted to pay someone that much to torture myself, I’d join a gym. So we walked down the road and found a little restaurant that let you pick three things and it was wonderful. My only regret was that I wanted to be different and try something new for dessert and thought this caramel thing would be good. But unfortunately it was not. It was some nasty ineatable flan-like grossy mcbarfsauce. Needless to say, I did not eat it. Fortunately, Steve graciously shared his absolutely to DIE for chocolate mousse: ommnomnom.

Da, Marianne, and I woke up yesterday really early in order to get a good start to the day. Da bought some delicious baguette sandwiches and orange juice to fill up on before heading back to the HOHO bus. We were a little worried outside Notre Dame that the line would take forever, but were delighted to discover that it moved quickly. After that, we wanted to go to the top and see the bells (whilst playing “Bells of ND” on my ipod). Sadly, unlike the line to get into the church, the bouncers guarding the bell tower were less forgiving and we had to stand in that line for a good two hours. There are about 256 steps to get to the top. We saw the gargoyles and one bell, then went to the crypts, which were totally nifty. Keeping with the theme of just museuming around, we went to the Orsy next to see the impressionists.
We went back to our room after the Orsy; Marianne and I chillaxed, and sent Steve to scout out options for dinner. We ended up at a surprisingly good fish place. Marianne and I had trouble refraining from singing “Le Poisson” from the Little Mermaid every time fish was mentioned. We had mussels, rosoto, and scallops with this water the guy tried to impress upon me that it was from 1695. Skep. Anyway, then came the sea bass, which Marianne and I were sharing. THANK GOD. Because it was a rather large fish. With eyes. AH! But it was delicious, nonetheless.

Steve and Marianne left me for Amsterdam the next day while I made my way to Charles de Gaul to come home. I had more problems with terminals in CDG; but why should my ticket say 41, when I need to be at 49, really? Go up stairs. Now go back down them. Well played CDG.

Is this your bag? Yes. How long has it been in your possession? 8 years. Has anyone given you anything since you packed it? No. Has anyone at the airport given you anything to carry on? No. Ma’am, can you step over here? Honestly. I’m surprised they didn’t just write “Liar” on the back of my hand before letting me pass. It was the leggings I was wearing. For sure. Leggings just scream, SEARCH ME, I’m hiding a lot of weapons in my nonexistent pockets.

The Frenchman, who I got to sit next to on the flight, noticed after a while that they did not charge you if you wanted alcohol; I am convinced it was his goal to be plastered before the flight ended. Another plus, I had the privilege of watching John Carter and the fourth Pirates movie without sound for 6 hours… maybe that was for the best. I merely listened to my ipod, drank my body weight in apple juice, snacked, and ATTEMPTED to nap but for once on vacation, it was not naptime. Legit shocking.
I felt like my idle, lazy, fat cat Cecily on the flight and occasionally walked to the kitchen/bathroom area just for the sake of getting up. However, the walk was not that far and the first time I did this, I overshot by like three rows and the Frenchman looked at me like I was retarded. Or that could have just been his face.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

To Roma, With Love and Squalor

Like most cities I explore myself, my arrival to Rome was a little rough. To start with, I got turned around just leaving the terminal, but it was all good because I had to wait for my luggage anyway. I could not for the life of me find the shuttle to Rome Termini, so I took a bus. I had no idea how long it was going to take. Unfortunately, not only did it take longer than expected but I got on the wrong metro line, then I took a wrong turn because clearly I don’t know my left from my right, and missed my tour of the Vatican museums. No one in Rome really speaks English (that I found) and the way they decide whether or not to put street names on the walls are just willy nilly. However, I was not deterred. I still went to the Vatican, even though the museums were closed for the day and saw St Peter’s Basilica.

Then I did what I do best and just lost repeatedly lost and just kept finding new things. From the Vatican I went to Castel Sant d’Angelo where there was something important happening. There were guards and paparazzi surrounding a woman with a sash and then a bishop looking man showed up and they shook hands and the pap took pictures… I don’t know what was happening. Then I walked along the Tevere river to get to the Ara Pacis, because it’s awesome. It was really cool but the part that I liked best, as I was just sitting there admiring it, was that a group of deutsche Schulkinder came in and two of them did a presentation on the AP. My two loves, merged. It was wonderful. After that I wanted to go to Augustus’ Mausoleum, which is next door I might add, but I could not figure out how to get in. I took more wrong turn than I care to admit, but it was again all good because I found a Zara, which came highly recommended by my Twinsie. So that was fun. I wandered into the Piazza Colonna, which had a column just like Trajan’s column, but wasn’t. It was weird because there were police around it and everything. Then I stumbled on the Trevi Fountain and unknowingly found the Spanish Steps on my way home to the metro.

On top of Vesuvius, Naples in the background
Summit of Mt Vesuvius
The next morning I woke up early to get to the Piazza del Populo for my tour to Pompeii. It was a 3 hour bus ride to Naples, where Mt Vesuvius is and I looked at that mountain and thought, “You shall be conquered.” So I start. I don’t get very far when I decide I need a picture. Typisch. Then the rest of the way I shamelessly use photography as a way to mask how hardcore that vertical slope was kicking my ass. About a third of the way up I start creating cheating strategies in my head and how much I would pay for such services. Most involve me being airlifted in some fashion, but I would not give it the satisfaction of knowing it had beaten me, so I pressed onward. There are stations along the way that prey on people’s weaknesses. I was too focused on dragging myself to the next checkpoint so I did not bother checking the price but I’m sure they make a killing on food and water. Two thirds of the way up I started to worry that if I slipped and fell down the side of the mountain that no one would know since I am traveling alone. Finally I made it. (Victory dance). I got a couple pictures up top and then made my way back down, though it was slippery, it was a breeze compared to going up. After everyone had assembled, we drove another hour to Pompeii to have lunch, and I had it with a lovely Irish guy and an Australian sailor. The ruins of Pompeii were amazing, however, I had kind of hoped there would have been more artwork on site, but alas it is all in the Napoli museum. But the tour was still really interesting because it did not emphasize the same things as my Pompeii class. So yay learning! The night ended with the Germany: Italy game. THAT was an experience. So much fun. The Italians act like the Germans after a victorious game… but before the game. It was hilarious. I naturally took pictures.
Main forum in Pompeii, Mt Vesuvius in the background
Day 3, the adventure started around 830 and I made my way to the Colosseum and Roman Forum. Something I have not been prepared for upon arriving in Italy is the HEAT. I WAS LITERALLY DYING ERRYDAY. I was told that the days I was in Rome were the hottest days of the year- my Irish skin was soaking up ALL the UV rays. So yes. I saw lots of things that day. My camera died almost immediately due to the humidity which annoyed me but at least I had a backup, my iPod. Trusty ol’ Sylar. I was supposed to meet my Big at the Trevi fountain but that did not happen. Sad. I went home, showered, and tried not to congregate in areas where there was so much heat. Fabulous Fabio, the hostel owner, took everyone out that night except a Canadian girl and myself. I didn’t go bc I had to get up early the next day for Florence, but we made up for it by having a lovely ol’ chat and nabbing wine from the kitchen (which was DELICIOUS). I would be remiss in not mentioning that Hugh Jackman was sleeping in the same room as me. He had a beautiful voice and I wish I went out just so I could talk to him more.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Roman Gothic Vaults, the Prague Astronomical Clock, and Monopoly Money

The Munich gang had a bit of a bumpy start to our trip to Prague- waking up a little late and missing our bus, but luckily another bus came and still got us to the S-Bahn on time. Upon arriving at the Hauptbahnhof, we hopped onto the train to Prague, taking over an entire compartment and thoroughly geeking out over the Hogwarts Express-esque feel. It was a five-hour train ride and, with the exception of me briefly napping on the Iron Chancellor, we entertained each other with stories of childhood, books, and had deep conversation about friendship, much to the interest of the Hungarian man sharing our compartment.

Upon entering Praha’s Main Train station, we got the feeling it was very much like the video for the Franz Kafka International Airport (if you don’t know to that which I am referring, watch: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gEyFH-a-XoQ). Even the voice over the intercom sounded the same. The Iron Chancellor and I could not help but quote the whole video as we wandered around, trying to find both money and the exit. At this point we were starting to get a little anxious how we were going to navigate since it appeared that almost no one spoke English or German. We ate a late lunch at the McDonalds across the street from the bus stop and we immediately felt better, deeming it the US Embassy. (In reference to our view from the window at McDonald’s: “Take a picture, put it in grayscale, and that could be a picture found in our old history books for Eastern Europe.”) Something I think none of us were expecting was the exchange rate. $50 was around 1,000 CZKrowns, and so we got in a rather inappropriate habit of referring to CZKs as “Monopoly Money” or saying things like “how many Czechbucks is that?”

The hostel I found was super nice and the guy behind the counter was extremely helpful, giving us maps and circling places and things to see. We all got a free beer on arrival and played two games of foosball in the lounge area before heading off to the Astronomical Clock. We got some great pictures out front, and then for like no dolla dolla bills, we were able to climb to the top to take pictures of the whole city. We were in such awe over everything and how old it all was. Prague is actually one of the few cities not destroyed by the war, so it was fun to know that the Prague we were seeing had been there for centuries.

After seeing the church next door, which had a huge, beautiful chandelier, we walked down what we called “Designer Road” in order to get to the Jewish Cemetery. On our way through the city center the Iron Chancellor found this little hole in the wall bar in which we ordered Czech Absinth to toast Oscar Wilde. After sharing one shot between the four of us, we had to drink two cokes to wash down the burning sensation. Weaklings? Maybe. There were stairs, and so, naturally, we explored them. The stairs led us to another underground bar and a suit of armor, and more stairs led us to an underground Roman Gothic restaurant over 600 years old, complete with stuffed/ skinned animals and armor. It was beautiful and just delightful. There was also a quartet that played for us as we sat there, which was super entertaining. We ordered the “Buerger Pan” which was supposed to be shared among “two people or one hungry fellow.” It was an assortment of meats and deliciousness, and we were eating like Roman emperors, but alas, we were bested by it and could not, between the four of us, eat something meant for 2 people … or one hungry person. By the end of the dinner, we were talking to the Belgians next to us and a wonderful night was had by all.

The next day we took the train to Kutna Hora to see the Bone Church. Words cannot describe how cool it was. It was made out of the bones of over 40,000 bodies, and there was a chandelier that used every bone in the body to make it. We also went to the church nearby that was huge and contained two saint relics and tons of just beautiful artifacts.

Prague is famous for its chocolate, so we got some of that before we left. We also enjoyed the fact that bullet trains are called CityElefants- no idea why, but it was amusing. I finished my Praha postcards on the train and then one of my friends read our palms. I, apparently, have a long and promising life. The train ride ended with a "Twilight Zone" experience. On the outskirts of Munich, the train slowed to a crawl, if we were even moving at all. It was in the middle of nowhere and so it all dark except for the lightning we saw in the distance. There was a eerie “We’re all going to die” kind of feeling in the compartment; the Iron Chancellor checked the other compartments to make sure we were not the only ones in the train and came back with the affirmative that, yes there were other people in the train, but it was still pretty empty. On of my other friends put her head next to the window to try to look out, while everyone else kinda just watched from behind her. Then out of nowhere a bullet train whoshed passed us like it was coming straight towards us and we all screamed, jumped like 5 feet in the air and fell backwards onto our seats. An attendant came to check on us to make sure none of us had been axe murdered or something. It was exceedingly funny!- and we laughed about it for quite some time. We discovered later that the reason it might have been delayed entering the station was because a WWII bomb was found in the Hauptbahnhof that day...

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Travels with friends: Munich

So if you have not heard of the Autobahn, it is a highway in  Germany with no median and the cars travel about 120 mph. Unfortunately, this is also roughly how Germans drive on side roads as well. Speed limits are not a thing. 

One sunny day in June, a couple of friends and I decided to bike to and around Munich from our rural little apartment (courtesy of our landlords). And, as previously stated, since there were no sidewalks to ride on, one must share the rode with the cars- passing you, I kid you not, at the highest of speeds. So much so, that there were multiple times in which we thought we might witness an accident due to the car passing us while passing other cars- only giving about 3 feet between each one.

After biking up and down Mt Kilimanjaro, we finally made it to the S-Bahn station- only stopping for ice cream once on our way there. Once in downtown Munich, we spent the rest of the day biking through the Englischer Garten, taking pictures of the ducks and watching people surf the Eisbach, a freezing stream. We legitimately saw a man jump in with a beer and coast down the stream just to ice it. Ah, Germany.

The S-Bahn in the evening was super crowded, and I am pretty sure it was illegal to have our bikes with us, but we made it home without too much incident. Upon arriving home, tired and ready to just go to bed, one of our landlords ran out to meet us with a colander of freshly picked strawberries and homemade marmalade. (Cue Alice in Wonderland music: "For me?!" "For you!") And then, after seeing us in our sad, sad state, gave us this nectar from elderberries that she had also made to put in our drinks to feel better. We proceeded to devour ALL! the strawberries and drank plenty of water containing the nectar of the gods. It could be poison but we didn't care. Fully rejuvenated, we began discussing what we could do for them for all their kindness... *KNOCK* KNOCK* "Oh hey, I don't want to bother you, but just wanted to see if you wanted to go on a boat ride to see the Alps in Sueddeutschland for our vacation beginning of July?" 
So, yes, Fairy Godlandlords are real. And ours were SERIOUSLY da BOMB.
They also let me name their cute little kitten: 'widdle Pirelli.  

Saturday, July 28, 2012

"Think out your plan like a woman of action. Then act out your plan like a woman of thought."

Hello, and welcome to what is likely to become a voyage of the mind-- I hope you enjoy your stay.
I find that many times, whether in a small group that is forced to get to know one another or talking to your great aunt twice removed at a holiday party, you undoubtedly will be asked what it is that you study. They will then proceed to ask my personal favorite, “Oh, (emphasis on the “Oh”) and what are you going to do with that?” For which, I constructed a rather fool proof way to kill this conversation almost immediately: Whatever I want! I can do anything! (With limitations, of course- I obviously won’t be applying to be a rocket engineer for NASA: that ship has sailed.) But let’s be real. It catches them off guard and they leave. It’s the same age-old question: What do you want to be when you grow up?
My answer: A secret agent.

Alfred Pennyworth: Will you be wanting the Batpod, sir?
Bruce Wayne: In the middle of the day, Alfred? Not very subtle.
Alfred Pennyworth: The Lamborghini, then...Much more subtle.

My family and I recently vacationed at a lake up north where we rented a jet ski. A jet ski, fun fact about me, is one thing in the world that allows me to feel like I can do anything, be anyone. All the thoughts in my head get left back at the dock, because not even they can follow me at the speed I’m going. I have a need, a need for speed and adventure. And by adventure, I mean being distinctly airborne. In that moment I become James Bond and I am pursuing enemy boats… hold on-- let me grab my gun.

Although, who I truly want to be is not James Bond, but a culmination of a ninja, Carmen SanDiego and Sydney Bristow, with the intellect of Sherlock Holmes. Because that’d be just badass. And as it so happens, a friend of mine, while bored in class late one night, fashioned an appropriate name for said alter ego… Belle Knightley. So yes, I will respond to that name as well. Try it sometime.

I also like to think that when you are a secret agent, nicknames are something that just come with the territory. So naturally, I like to give them out like candy. My two best friends are referred to as Number One and Number Two. Some of my extended family members are part of a league, the League of Extraordinary Vegetables: Carrots, Falfs, Peapod, and the Murderous Rutabaga. Totally natural. Sometimes people may inform me of their own self-appointed nickname, like my friend the Iron Chancellor. However, more often than not, there will be something about you that separates you from the rest... and that’s where the fun begins.