Tuesday, June 10, 2008


The European Football Championships are going on right now for the month of June here in Europe. And when I say football, I mean what we call soccer in the US. Germany beat Poland the other night in the first round and will play Croatia on Thursday. It's a really big deal here all over Europe and when I asked my mom if she had heard Germany won, she told me no. I guess there's a lack in the broadcast of european sports on American news stations. But it's really cool because everywhere you go the German flag is being flown! And everyone can tell you at least a thing or two about the games, even if they don't like football. And since we don't have a tv in my apartment, we can watch the games on big screens set up all over campus and the city. And I hear Germany is going to do pretty well in the tournament...YAY!

Last week I was in Denmark visiting Linda's hometown of Odense and then we drove with our friend Björn to Copenhagen and spent 2 days sightseeing there. It was really cool though because it felt like my freshman year when we first met the Brits who were studying at U of I for a semester. We took them to our homes and showed them all around Chicago and they met our friends and family, and that's how this was. We stayed at Linda's apartment, went to her parents house and even though her parents don't speak English, it worked out well with Linda translating between us. Her hometown is the 3rd largest city in Denmark but it's very small with a population of about 150,000. But I had a blast seeing the Danish culture, people, and sights. Denmark is VERY expensive, but the trip was very worth it!

These pictures are in Odense, it's the birthplace of Hans Christian Andersen and that's me with a statue of him.

Also in Odesne, at an old village that was from the 1800's with Linda's 2 best friends.

On the streets of Odense:

Linda & her brother:

Me in Copenhagen with the Little Mermaid Statue:

In the harbor of Nyhavn (pronounced New-hown) in Copenhagen:

On a boat tour we took of the harbor in Copenhagen:

Linda & Björn in Tivoli, an amusement park we went to in Copenhagen:

Gretchen, even though it doesn't look like I study much here, I assure you I do :-) HAHA I take tests, go to classes, and do assignments. In my free time, I enjoy traveling and seeing new things. This semester has been unreal and I'm doing so much. But I don't know when I'll be back so I need to make the most of my time here and enjoy it! :-)

Liebe Grüße von Kiel,
Love Greetings from Kiel


Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Already June?!?

My roomate linda, who also happens to be my closest friend here in germany, came to my room last night needing to talk to someone. So of course we ended up talking all about relationships, friendships, life, etc. I believe I look at life optimistically with the glass always being half full. So with all that being said, this was definitely one of those times you just want to grab a big tub of ice cream and pop a really funny, girly dvd in, but with my lack of ice cream and no tv here, we settled for just talking about things.
Which leads me to my next thought. The whole study abroad experience is not just about taking classes and getting course credit. of course that IS the ultimate goal and it wouldn't be "study abroad" if you didn't take classes, but there's so much more to it that you get out of the whole experience. It's also about traveling to new places, seeing new things, learning about new cultures, experiencing new ways of life, meeting new people, and creating new friendships and bonds between people. For me, it's also been about finding myself. I feel like such a different person since living here in Kiel. I've adapted to a new way of life, of course American culture is very prevalent in European life and contrary to what some people may think, Europeans do not hate Americans, they simply hate our American govt. And honestly, who can blame them? But since the american way of life is so common here, it's hard to imagine that I've had to quote on quote "adapt or change to life here," but it's true. I can count on one hand how many Americans are actually here in Kiel. My friends I have made are from all over the world. I've grown a lot more tolerant to things I would never have been 3 months ago. I feel more knowledgeable, I have a stronger desire to learn more about different cultures, languages, history, and lifestyles. And even though it's only been 3 months and I've only been here for half of my semester, I can already feel the positive changes the whole experience has had on me. I feel more mature, and well, I guess moving to a foreign country, knowing not a soul around you will help you with that, but none the less I feel I hold a different perspective on things and ideas. And I am anxiously looking forward to what the next half of the semester will bring. And what new journeys and adventures I can and will embark on!! :-)

Last weekend, Linda, Ellu, & I went to Hamburg for a day. It was a lot of fun! Hamburg is one of the biggest and richest cities in Germany and luckily for us is only about an hour away from Kiel. We spent the day being tourists and doing a lot of sightseeing. There is a beautiful lake in the middle of the city and is also on the Elbe River and has one of the busiest harbors in the world. Here are a few pictures from that:

And tomorrow Linda, I and our friend Björn are driving to Denmark!! I am so excited!!! We will go to Odense where Linda is from and spend a few days in Copenhagen as well. The weather is supposed to be awesome! I will have a lot of pictures when we get back Sunday as well :-) I can't believe it's already June 3rd though! Time really does fly when you're having fun!

Liebe Grüße von Kiel