The last few weeks have been an interesting time for me and, as I have traveled to many new places and discovered new things, I have also discovered much about myself and about life. The number one lesson I have learned recently is that life changes. People, places and so much more change before us everyday and we must learn to adapt. Clearly it has been a big change for me living abroad and studying in a different language; however, I have come to realize even bigger changes in my life. People can disappear in the blink of an eye while ones considered gone can come back again. Though sometimes change can hurt and be absolutely terrifying, I am determined to take every new day with a smile on my face and remain thankful that I have the opportunity to accept change, in all forms, and live this life I have. I believe with change also comes realization. While somethings still remain uncertain for me, I have come to know and understand others much more than ever before. I have realized just how amazing my family and true friends are while being on this journey and now I can say, I am even more thankful for them than ever before and though I am having the time of my life abroad, I cannot wait to return home... So that's that-- that's my bit about change. Now, on to more about this amazing journey!
The past few weeks haven't included many trips outside of Karlsruhe; yet, I am still enjoying my time tremendously! The weather here in Karlsruhe has been a hit and a miss for the past few weeks, but when the sun does shine, it is absolutely beautiful! On these days, I spend my time with friends at the Schlosspark simply laying in the sunshine, reading, taking photos or even playing on the playgrounds. A friend and I have even joined the school gym, so that also keeps us busy. On nice evenings we get to enjoy a long walk to the gym through the Schlosspark and on some evenings we meander through the gardens to take photos. This place is truly one of the most beautiful places I have been able to live in and getting to do everyday things such as going to school or to the gym while being surrounded with beauty is something I am very grateful for. This aspect of Karlsruhe and the Schlosspark reminds me of both my homes and just how beautiful they are. Day after day I feel lucky to live in the places I do and for this experience. Other experiences from the past few weeks include going out with friends and even going to a soccer game held by the local team. Though we had to stand in the rain for the entire game, the experience was still great and what's even better, Karlsruhe won!
|Another sunny day!|
|Along a walk to the gym|
|Playing on the playground- there we are at the very top!|
|Oh, summer nights...|
|Ready for a night out!|
|Karlsruhe soccer game!|
Last weekend a friend and I decided that we deserved a much needed break from the stresses of life and our homesickness, so we traveled to the nearby town of Baden-Baden and booked ourselves a spa day. We got to spend the entire day together swimming, talking, getting massages, eating heavenly food and just relaxing. With all of this enjoyment, however, also came the very different and interesting European styles of swimwear! Let's just say that both of us want to go a long while before seeing any men in Speedo's again!
Being exchange students means that we don't have nearly the amount of classes or workload as the German students here do. With this comes lots of time for free time, traveling and just experiencing the country! This past week, Germany celebrated their Labor Day and naturally, we did not have classes that day. So, since it was also the birthday of one of the other exchange students' from Colorado, a few of us decided this would be a great opportunity for a hike! We left mid-morning for a town called Annweiler am Trifels and, after a minor train malfunction, arrived to begin our hike. We picked this town because from here it is possible to hike up to a castle where King Richard the Lionheart was held prisoner after the crusades--how interesting is that?! Though the weather wasn't sunny, it was the perfect temperature for a hike through the woods to visit this castle. After we toured the castle and the grounds, we continued on our hike to more ruins of ancient castles and enjoyed lunch at the top of the mountain. Along the way we even discovered a geocache which was started in 1971! During the hike we stopped many times to soak up the beauty and the wilderness, enjoy the fresh air and opportunity to be outside of the city for a bit and, of course, to take lots of fun pictures! After a long day we returned to Karlsruhe to prepare a Mexican Night for the birthday boy and enjoy some real Mexican food with good friends!
|Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— |
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
|Monument for King Richard the Lionheart|
|View from the top!|
The week ended with sunshine once again and hopefully it is here to stay now for a while. Another welcomed surprise during the weekend came in the form of a care package from home filled with fun things from family and friends! Once again, it reminded me just how lucky I am. I get to enjoy this experience abroad and have the time of my life knowing that someday, a few months down the road, I will also get to return home, a changed person, to people who truly love me.
|A much appreciated care package from home!|