freiburg (with a strasbourg bonus)

Well folks, this is my last travel post! How did we get here? [how the hell? Pan left…] I had about 10 different plans back in October of how I would get back to Freiburg, and in the end I went my second-to-last weekend in Europe, but better late than never! I brought Felicitas along with me and hopefully did not annoy her too much with my constant wonderment at being back.

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And because we procrastinated in finding a hostel/apartment/hotel, we weren’t able to find anywhere in Freiburg for Saturday night. So, we decided to go to Strasbourg for the evening before going our separate ways on Sunday, myself back to Dresden and Flitzi to visit her grandparents in Wiesbaden. It all worked out wonderfully!

We had an early flight from Dresden to Stuttgart on Friday morning and then took a series of regional trains to Freiburg, which took about 4 hours because there isn’t anything direct! Which is a bit ridiculous, but anyway, we made it there by 2 PM. Our hostel was very basic but had an amazing location right off the Dreisam (technically a river, apparently, but more like a creek), adjacent to the Schlossberg hill which overlooks the city. We saw some of the sites as we walked to the hostel, and I began my 24 hours of marveling at how time and memory work.

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I was in Freiburg three years ago. I’m a totally different person now than I was when I left. I’ve spent so much time thinking about Freiburg and missing it and reminiscing about it. And then to be back… it was like no time had passed, but like an eternity had elapsed since I was last there. It’s strange. But in all, it was nice to be back. We’ll leave it at that.

Because we were so nearby, we climbed the Schlossberg first, taking in fabulous views like this one:

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And I recreated some old photos from last time:

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We tried to find the overlook tower but somehow failed, so we descended into the city, bought some bottled water before we died of thirst, and started meandering the familiar (to me) streets.

By the time we got there, the Münster market had mostly already closed and packed up for the day, and we got to briefly see the inside of the cathedral but there was Mass happening so we couldn’t stay for long. After a quick trip to dip our feet in the Dreisam and an even quicker “tour” of the university, we stopped at my very favorite restaurant, Euphrat, a middle eastern place owned by an Afghani family. I ate there close to every day while I lived in Freiburg and I have dreamed (dreamt?) of their food ever since. And it did not disappoint my memory!

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We enjoyed a scoop of ice cream near the theater (which now serves as the end station of most of the tram lines due to major construction in the city center) and jumped on a tram up to my old abode, StuSie. I do not have fond memories of StuSie (my dorm was disgusting and I didn’t have many friends there to speak of), but one good thing about it was always its proximity to the Seepark, a gorgeous park surrounding a huge lake. So that was our destination for the evening.

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My only regret: that I forgot my swimsuit in Dresden!!! It would have been so refreshing to take a dip.

OH!! One other thing I got to check off my Freiburg bucket list–sitting on the Blaue Brücke, a bridge over the train tracks. All the cool kids go sit on the top of the bridge and drink beer, and i never got to do it… until this time! It was incredibly terrifying but hey. I did it. (Minus the beer. Whatever.)

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On Saturday morning, we rented bikes from our hostel first thing so we’d be able to use them all day, and first stopped for breakfast near the university at my favorite bakery, Ihr Backshop. They’d renovated since I was last there, but the pastries are still just as delicious. After making a quick stop at the post office to buy stamps, we set out for our first destination of the morning: the Schönstatt shrine in Merzhausen!

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I seriously wish I had visited the shrine more often when I actually lived in Freiburg! It’s in an absolutely beautiful location, and to be honest I was in a place mentally and spiritually back then that could seriously have benefitted from some more time spent chilling with the Blessed Mother. It was fun being back there and telling Felicitas a little bit about Schönstatt (not easy to do, but she was a great “student”). It was great to be able to re-center myself in a familiar place and hopefully receive some graces as I go through a huge transition in returning home and then moving again!

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One fun bonus: there were blackberry brambles all over the place with ripe fruit!! While we were in Merzhausen we filled up a whole tupperware container with delicious blackberries, which we continued to refill throughout the day as we saw more bushes.

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We cruised back into town, parked our bikes near the Augustiner (it’s a chore to walk them on cobblestone, and foot traffic was way too heavy to ride through the streets) and headed for the Münster and market, which we hadn’t yet seen!

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We did a quick loop through the Münster, which was packed with tourists, before spending some time perusing the market. It’s absolutely insane to me how big the daily market is in Freiburg. Every day with dozens of stands selling fruit, vegetables, flowers, herbs, meat, spices, toys, souvenirs… It’s so lively and fun! I spotted a vendor with some tea that we loved when I brought it as a hostess gift to Krakow, so I bought a satchel of it to bring home 🙂

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Euphrat had been so delicious the day before that we opted to eat there for lunch, this time ordering wraps to-go which we ate sitting along the Bächle.

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We continued meandering through the streets, taking in the unique medieval-but-modern charm (and wondering to ourselves how it could be so different from Dresden, yet in the same country!), and I insisted that we stop at the Feierling brewery Biergarten. Felicitas doesn’t drink beer, so I ordered a solitary half-liter because I’m only in Germany for two more weeks and I need to enjoy it while I can! 😉

Hmm, sorry for all the indulgent pictures of myself... my  blog, my rules.

Hmm, sorry for all the indulgent pictures of myself… my blog, my rules.

With our time winding down until we had to fetch our things from the hostel and head to the train station to catch our bus, we headed again for the Dreisam. It was amazing to spend some time relaxing, wading in the shallow but frigid water, and enjoying the fact that nature and city can coexist so closely! It really is beautiful there.

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The next thing we knew, we were on a bus to Strasbourg, and before long, we were standing in France! Against all odds, we made it to our hotel (we had a private room AND bathroom. LUXURY), changed and freshened up quickly, and walked to the famous Strasbourg cathedral for Saturday night vigil Mass.

Normally I highly endorse going to Mass at beautiful churches to avoid entrance fees and get the authentic experience, but in this case it was literally the only way that Felicitas and I were both going to make it to Mass. Mission accomplished! Luckily we had read the readings ahead of time so we kind of knew what was happening. We did get to have a little fun making up our own words to the Mass parts.

It turns out that things in Strasbourg are expensive, especially food. Luckily, we did happen to stumble upon a restaurant/brewery that was un-touristy enough to only have a French menu and seemed to mainly cater to students and young people. Ergo, affordable Alsatian food for all!

Flammkuchen and beer

Flammkuchen and beer

Strasbourg is a beautiful city, you guys. I’d been there with my mom at the very beginning of my 2011 European adventures, but that was before I really became a conscientious traveler and I hardly remember anything except seeing the astronomical clock and dancing apostles at the cathedral (which, incidentally, was out of order this time due to construction). I don’t recall much else! But it’s gorgeous. Surrounded by a canal from the Rhine, the city has so many beautiful bridges which were even more gorgeous this time of year because of the flowers they’re decorated with!

DSC06549Not to mention stunning gothic architecture and lots of German-style Fachwerk houses.

We got to see a lot of the city in the short time we had by taking a boat tour. It was a little oddly-paced, and at some points we were really low and couldn’t see much that the tour recording was telling us about. Regardless, it was a good choice because we got to see and learn so much in a short period of time.

A few quick facts (with not many accompanying photos because most of our tour was after nightfall and the photos I attempted to take were awful):

  • Strasbourg is part of Alsace-Lorraine, the contested territory between France and Germany. It’s gone back and forth so much, but the truth is that it’s its own distinct region with aspects of French and German culture, architecture, language, etc.
  • Strasbourg is the seat of the EU Capital, which I had no idea about until this weekend! We got to see all of the parliamentary and official buildings, which were stunningly modern and striking, especially at night!
  • It is really awkward to sit in a tour boat both in front of and behind incredibly amorous couples.
  • During the summer, they have light projection shows on the Vauban Barrage (one of the city’s important landmarks) and the cathedral. We got to catch both!

On Sunday morning, I walked Felicitas to the train station as she left for Wiesbaden and I bought my ticket to the airport for later that afternoon. I spent the rest of the day walking around and seeing parts of the town I hadn’t gotten to the day before, taking photos, getting caught in the rain, going inside to cafés and restaurants and paying too much money to avoid the rain, and writing postcards.

Here are some photo highlights!

On the water at dusk

On the water at dusk (that church is not the cathedral)

Before Mass shot!

Before Mass shot! (That church is the cathedral)

Detail shot of the cathedral

Detail shot of the cathedral

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The Covered Bridge, one of Strasbourg’s signature sites, once used as an armory. Cathedral in the background!

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Casually donning an Alsacian costume and headdress

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I would say something meaningful here about this being my last trip of the year, but I’m just as tired and burnt out writing about it as I was at the end of the actual trip. So I guess I’ll just include a little taste of my next destination….

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i’m brilliant, shhhh!

Not to toot my own horn or anything, but I generally think of myself as a pretty smart individual. You know… Sharp. Clever. Intelligent.

However, I have also always been a little bit of an airhead. I have plenty of common sense… but sometimes I really choose to ignore it. Like, REALLY. Once, while on vacation with my family, I put dish soap in the dishwasher, which promptly caused the whole kitchen to be filled with soap bubbles. Pretty sure that story will eventually be told at my wedding… but now it’s on the Internet of my own accord, so I win!

Anyways, yeah… kind of a ditz. This has only been amplified in Germany, where I have promptly shed the “smart” mantle. I’m operating in my second language here, people! It takes away any ounce of intelligence you might appear to possess. Allow me to demonstrate with the following anecdotes from my stay here in Freiburg.

The first time I used the bathroom in my dorm, I locked the door but turned the lock too hard and it got stuck. I was locked in the bathroom for a good 7 minutes and started to fear for my life. At one point I think I was banging on the door hoping that one of my nice hallmates would come let me out. Eventually I was able to get the lock open. A few weeks later, once I had learned to trust the bathroom door lock again, I decided to see what had gone wrong that first time. It turns out, when I was trying to unlock the door, I was trying to turn the lock the wrong way! For 7 whole minutes!

One weekend, a group of my friend’s friends were getting together to watch the Champions League Final at my friend Leonie’s apartment. Leonie called me to invite me. Here’s the thing about phone calls in a foreign language: they are harder than face to face conversations. You can’t pick up on nonverbal cues or body language and it’s a lot harder to ask them to repeat anything. Long story short, Leonie told me to be at her apartment at 7:45. For some reason I thought she said 17:45, or 5:45 in American terms, so I showed up an hour and a half early… How awkward. It wasn’t as bad as it might have been… I just had dinner with Leonie, who was kind enough to take pity on me and my non-native-speaker self.

I couldn’t figure out how to work the light on my bike for about the first two weeks I owned it, and the first time I tried in earnest to turn it on I ended up completely snapping it off. Luckily my friend Hanna was able to salvage it. But the next time I needed to use it, instead of risking it on my own (because I hadn’t been 100% paying attention when Hanna had done it the last time), I just dragged my friend Konstantin over to do it for me. (Sidenote: my German friends have the coolest names ever.)

Yesterday, the Katholische Hochschulgemeinde celebrated St. John the Baptist’s feast day in conjunction with the KHG from across town and also the Evangelische Studierengemeinde (Protestant Student Community). The celebration was to be held at the other KHG (aka the one I had never been to before today), which is, as I found out, pretty far away, so some people were meeting at our KHG to bike-caravan over there, as my trusty friend Leonie told me.

However, that morning, Leonie e-mailed me to say that she wouldn’t be able to meet at the KHG anymore, but she would be at UB1, the library, in time to meet me so she could show me where the building was. So I packed up my stuff and got over to the library in time to meet her… only to find out that the library I’ve always gone to is UB2, not UB1. The two libraries are about 20 minutes apart. And at this point it had begun to rain. So I looked up directions to the KHG online and started pedaling as fast as I could to make it there on time. But the whole area is under construction, so I was detoured a couple different times and had no idea where I was. And it was pouring rain.

At this point the service had started, but I still had to keep calling Leonie every 5 minutes or so so she could give me further instructions. I finally found my destination street, and I heard someone call my name… it turns out Leonie had left the service to come look for me because I was taking so long. We slunk into the service, me soaking wet and with grease on my legs which I guess came from my bike… a good showing, I’d say.

But hey. These are things I can get away with because I’m foreign. If a normal person were to pull some of these stunts, they would be written off as stupid and a waste of time. Me? I’m just an airhead with a funny accent. Much more attractive.

top five friday

Hello friends! Happy Friday!!! You know what they say about Fridays… you gotta get down. Also, they are fun fun fun fun. Also, everybody’s looking forward to the weekend. (Why yes, I did just make a Rebecca Black reference. Or three. Go ahead, judge me.)

Anyway, I’ve been thinking… it’s time to kick off Top Five Friday, which will hopefully become a regular installment! “Top Five” because I like alliteration, although I don’t want to copy my dear friend Kayla’s Top Ten Tuesday, partly because I don’t think I can come up with ten things about any given topic (:

So I’ve been in Freiburg for just over a week, and I’ve lived here for just under a week. I figure that by now I have just enough authority to rank my five favorite things about the city, so here goes!

5. The public transportation: This might seem like a strange thing to include in my list. But the public transit here is pretty nifty. As far as I can tell, the greater Freiburg area (if such a thing exists…) is roughly the same size as the greater Austin area. But Freiburg is a whole heckuva lot easier to navigate than Austin, because of the Straßenbahn system. There are 5 different lines that all convene at the Hauptbahnhof (train station) and then branch off in their respective directions. I take Line 1 from my dorm to the city center. Now, I have a confession to make. I am a Schwarzfahrer. I don’t pay for public transit. Eeeeek!!!! I know, I am a terrible person. But don’t judge me too harshly! Very soon, I will do one of two things: a) buy a semester pass, whereby becoming a legitimate public transit user, or b) buy a bike, whereby conforming to the Freiburg way of life. (See #2.)

4. The architecture: Freiburg is an eclectic mix of new and old. Many of the streets and sidewalks, especially in the city center and the Altstadt, are cobbled. The most recognizable landmarks are the Münster (the cathedral, which is currently being renovated) and the Rathaus (city hall), both of which are pretty old, like, hundreds of years old. I love being part of the city’s history just by living here. But there are also modern buildings, gleaming glass windows, wind energy generators in the hills, and lots of solar panels. It’s kind of cool having one foot in the past and one in the future.

3. The history: There are just all kinds of things to learn. For one, the Battle of Britain in WWII was started after a German air strike aiming for France accidentally hit Freiburg. Germany’s leaders blamed it on England and the airstrikes of London began. Interesting, huh? One really cool segment of Freiburg history is the Bächler system, these little… streams? ditches? gutters? I don’t know what to call them exactly.

You can kind of tell that these girls were pulling little sailboats in the Bächler...

But they’re filled with clean, running water and they line all of the sidewalks and roads here. They were originally built to prevent fires… in the case of a fire, the Bächler can be dammed up, flooding the streets and putting out a fire before it can cause much damage. And it works! There hasn’t been a major fire here since the Bächler were built. Just don’t fall into the Bächler.. that means you’re destined to marry a Freiburger. And also that you will have wet shoes.

2. The great outdoors: Freiburg is a very outdoorsy city. Situated in the Schwarzwald (black forest) it is surrounded by beautiful tree-covered hills and kind of has no say in the matter. But Freiburgers are outside!! All the time! There are trails all over the place, and people use ‘em, man! The best are the older men and women who walk around with a walking stick in each hand. I kind of want to buy some. (Walking sticks, not elderly people.) This is also a huge biking city. Almost every walking path is either also a bike path or is right next to a bike path. Downtown, there are more bikes on the roads than cars. It’s a very useful way to get around. As for me, the debate still continues… Straßenbahn or Fahrrad?? Stay tuned.

1. The (street) cuisine: Of course I have to mention the food, because oh my goodness is it delicious! Now, Badisch cuisine is pretty true to “stereotypical” German food… sausage, potatoes, Schnitzel, Spätzle, etc. And beer. Even though Freiburg is more in the wine country. It’s all SO GOOD. But the best thing about food in Freiburg definitely has to be the street culinary culture. Every day on the Münsterplatz, there is an outdoor market and it is the best thing ever. There are farmers selling homegrown produce and flowers, there are merchants selling spices and teas, and most deliciously there are vendors cooking up sausage! The “lange Rote” sausage is a Freiburg classic. It’s served on a roll and you order it “mit oder ohne” (with or without) onions. It is DEEEEELICIOUS. Also, Germany has a really large Turkish population due to the Gästarbeiter initiative that was started after WWII. So there are lots of Turkish places that sell fast, easy, delicious food as well, the most common being Döner: a pita with seasoned Kalbfleisch (beef) or Hähnfleisch (chicken), veggies, a sour cream-type sauce, and lots of spices. And finally, for some reason or another, there are an abundance of Eiscafés (ice cream places) in Freiburg. Which is perfectly fine by me. The ice cream is delicious. And fairly cheap… one kügel (scoop) for 80 cents! There is a particularly good place right across from one of the Straßenbahn stops that I frequent, and I’ll admit that I get probably stop there once a day. The most interesting flavor I’ve had so far is called “Sommer in der Stadt” (summer in the city): lemon ice cream with strawberry sauce and basil leaves. So good. (I realize how much I just wrote about food. But keep in mind that I am also exercising a lot… see #2.)

So there you have it! I realize that there is a lot of writing here for a Top Five list, but hey, I never claimed to be a concise individual.

der ausweis

So, I’m not particularly photogenic. It’s just a fact of life. And this isn’t a new phenomenon, either. I have here, as an exclusive publication of this blog, photographic evidence that I, Annie Lord, have been un-photogenic since at least the tender age of nine.

Come to think of it, this is kind of a winner of everyone. Kyle, if you're reading this, please accept my heartfelt apologies.

But recently, I’ve kind of been on a hot streak when it comes to identification photos. In fact, besides my driver’s license, most of my ID pictures are pretty decent! My passport picture actually looks like me, and I am super tan in my student ID picture, thanks to the fact that my freshman orientation was a few days after a week-long Caribbean cruise.

But that streak came to an abrupt halt yesterday.

A friend and I ventured downtown to finish all the paperwork we needed to have completed in order to matriculate at the university. For the final step of registration, we were each responsible for providing several passport-sized photos of ourselves. So we went to a photo booth in the city to take care of that step.

For some reason, I decided to wear my glasses yesterday. I almost never wear my glasses, but apparently I was really feelin’ them yesterday. Horrible decision. I figured that I should take off my glasses for the picture, since that’s normally what they have you do at the DPS to take license pictures.

The only problem was that I had no idea when the picture was actually being taken, because I couldn’t see a blessed thing. So the first two pictures were absolutely horrible. I decided to put on my glasses for my third (and final) chance, thinking that even though I’d be wearing glasses, at least I would look kind of normal.

FALSE.

The picture is TERRIBLE! And at this point, I had already paid 6 Euro for the print-outs, so I had no choice but to print out 5 copies of that baby. I have decided not to share this picture with all of the Internet, but I want you to have some kind of idea of how bad this picture truly was. So I attempted to replicate it with the Photobooth on my computer.

Behold: my identification photo according to the University of Freiburg.

This is not even an exaggeration. In fact, the real one is worse.

BUT IT GETS BETTER.

This morning, I headed down to the Rektorat to matriculate. I had all my paperwork, a copy of the horrible picture, and my registration money. So the guy at the table looks through all of my papers, staples some things, stamps some things, and asks if I have the second copy of my picture. Which of course I had left at my dorm. A ten minute train ride away.

FANTASTIC.

Luckily, there was a solution! There was a copy shop right around the corner where I could make a color copy of my picture!!!! Joy!

At this point, a couple different thoughts are going through my head.

First of all, why in the world do they need TWO copies of a picture of me? I really cannot think of too many things for which they could possibly use this particular picture. Unless they keep one copy of each student’s photo to put up on a wall of shame somewhere, so university employees can go look at it when they’re stressed out and have a good laugh.

Second of all, I seriously have to pay to make a COPY of this picture? I didn’t even want the first copy! As a general rule, I only duplicate and/or allow for the dispersal of attractive photos of myself. But no, I had to march down to the copy shop and ask an innocent employee to please make a color copy of this terrible picture. AND THEN PAY HER FOR IT. Whaaaa??!?!

Regardless, I bit the bullet and paid 60 cents for the picture. And I turned in my paperwork. And I paid my money. And now I am an official, matriculated student at Albert Ludwigs Universität Freiburg!!!

The only thing that’s left to do is wait for my ID card to come in the mail. But personally, I’m not in too much of a hurry.

anything and everything

So it seems a lot has happened since the last time I wrote. We took a day trip up to Strasbourg, explored Colmar a bit more, took the bus (after MUCH confusion about the translation of “bus stop” and “bus station”) from Colmar to Freiburg, started getting to know the city a little bit, saw my new digs in the student village, ventured up to the Schönstatt shrine here, and started on all of the little tasks I need to accomplish before Mom leaves on Saturday.

I’m still figuring out this blog thing… I’m not exactly sure what my main purpose is for writing. Is it for myself, to remember my trip? If so, I should probably write a little bit more often. Is it so other people can read about my trip? If so, I should also probably write a bit more often. I guess the bottom line is that I should get into a little bit of a better routine.

Routines are a sticking point with me lately.

For the past few months, I’ve been in vacation mode… while I was in Austin, I had things to get accomplished, but I could work on those things whenever I wanted. The rest of the time, I got to watch as many TV shows on Netflix as I wanted (resulting in me using up my weekly bandwidth allotment for the first time ever, and then 6 more times after that), hang out with friends as often as I wanted (swing dancing, country dancing, random hangouts at the UCC…), and go on spontaneous roadtrips whenever I wanted (such as venturing to see my favorite Aggies whilst watching my team destroy theirs in basketball). I had virtually no routine, which was FANTASTIC. Would that I could live my entire life that way! 😛

I think this accurately portrays how crazy my wayfaring life made me...

For the past week, I’ve been in tourist mode. Traveling around central Europe with my mom (who, it turns out, is not a bad travel companion) is a pretty sweet deal. It’s been awesome… I’ve gotten to practice my German a bit (more on this in a later post) and see some great sights and eat some delicious food and learn a lot.

Delicious food, Luzern edition

But getting to Freiburg changed things a little.

This is the city where I’ll be living for the next 4 months!! Crazazazazazy. So, when walking down the street in the middle of the day, I don’t just think “Oh, this is so pretty, maybe I should take a picture of that church over there?” No, now I think, “Hmm, I wonder if I’ll have one of my classes in this building? I hope public transit isn’t too expensive. Is this church where I’ll go to Mass on Sundays?” Und so weiter.

For the record, I have no idea where my classes will be because A. There isn’t really a ‘campus’, per se… the buildings for my university are kind of spread out all over the city. And B. I haven’t signed up for them yet. I am kind of freaking out about this, because I’d like to know what classes I’m taking and that I didn’t miss a deadline or anything, and also because I need to register for my fall at UT and in order to do that, it would be nice to know what I’m taking in the spring, haha. Mostly, I want to know what my days are going to look like while I’m here. Will I have morning classes? Classes spread throughout the day? When will I have time to study? To hang out with friends? You know? I want to know.

Also for the record, I haven’t really nailed down anything on the church front yet. We went into a church right near the train station today, Herz Jesu, and it was really pretty. I took a little pamphlet about events there and wrote down their Mass times. I also trekked up to the Shrine, which is not really in Freiburg… it’s in a little suburb to the south. It is quite a ways away, but it is BEAUTIFUL! But basically, I’m still trying to figure out where my faith community will be while I’m here. I guess this will be revealed to me with time, but I am getting impatient.

The main thing that’s been on my mind since we arrived in Freiburg is anxiety about finding a community here. Since I started school at UT, I’ve found the most amazing network of wonderful people and created so many good, deep, fulfilling, faith-centered friendships and relationships. It was really hard to leave that behind (for a while), but I took it in stride, knowing that the next 4 months are a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me and that the community and the friendships I have in Texas aren’t going to, like, dissolve during that time.

I couldn't find a picture that accurately showed the amazing communities that support me on a daily basis, but this one of me, John, and Mike emphasizes how HAPPY my friends make me!

But I also know that I want a community, or at least one or two solid friendships, while I’m here. I know that’s going to take some work, since I literally know two people in this entire city and because I am not quite where I want to be with my German yet, it’s probably going to be a little harder to connect with people. I guess I’m just scared that I’m not going to find anyone and that I’m just going to be kind of going through the next 4 months alone. I hope to God that that isn’t true, and I’m gonna try and trust that I find the people I’m supposed to find, who will help me grow and such; even if that’s only one person, that will be enough, I hope.

I exchanged e-mails with my friend James before I left. James studied in Chile last semester and I just asked him for some advice, since he’s an old pro at this whole “exchange student” thing. His input really helped me get over some of the anxiety I was having, and it is just too good not to share. I hope he doesn’t mind 🙂

“You’re in Europe, and while the depth may be hard to find with some relationships, I’ve no doubt God will give you them.  And if not, He’s asking you to lean into him way more.  That’s what happened to me, actually. Just be bold!  With people, from my experience, I had to take a lot of the initiative, so just be prepared to have to make a lot of forward steps with relationships. They more open you are with people, they more the tend to draw to you, and that’s how I made good friends–I would share a bit, see how they responded, and then continue deepening that relationship in a meaningful way if they wished to pursue the same. And find travel buddies!  Traveling alone is just all right–happiness is best when shared (Into the Wild).” ~James Van Matre, aka my bestiiiii 4 lyfe

So yeah. This was kind of a long post… sorry! I’m moving into my dorm tomorrow, so I will have stories to share. Hopefully no horrific ones.

OH! And before I go, happy Opening Day!!!! GO CUBS GO! You betta believe I brought my Cubbies blanket with me to Germany 🙂