my boots came back to life

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

When I was living in Salzburg, Kayla and I went to a shoe store that was going out of business and I bought the cutest black ankle boots on sale. I have issues when it comes to ankle boots and I think because I'm always dancing in them and spinning around on the heel, they tend to fall apart very quickly (especially the heel). When Kayla visited me in Oklahoma this past March, we made a trip to Shoetopia on Campus Corner and I bought these replacement boots (BC) since I had retired the Salzburg pair:

Well, these boots quickly began to fall apart and the heels turned completely white (the black had rubbed off) so I sent my ankle boots to be repaired in Poland.  I just got them back, and if I didn't know better, I would think I had ordered a new pair from the BC website. They look brand new! I imagine that the old toy-repairman from Toy Story 2 repaired them... I like to think it was that same man who brought my boots back to life the way he restored Woody. 

one of those posts about food

Monday, November 29, 2010

Under normal circumstances, I eat pretty healthily. For instance, soups and salads (with lots and lots of vegetables) have been my go-to foods lately, especially since it’s been so cold (there is nothing better than tomato soup with a grilled cheese sandwich on a cold day, in my opinion).

Whenever I have visitors, however, I seem to abandon all attempts at healthiness (and I’m kind of fine with that). Here are some of my go-to 'visitor meals'....and snacks.

I’ve never really been a Pringles fan (I prefer sweet to salty), but I have to admit that some of these flavors are a little addictive (like the ketchup one?! Oh my goodness – it sounds disgusting but it’s SO GOOD).

Veggie soft tacos with guacamole.  I found tortillas and avocados at the supermarket here – amazing!

This amazing baked macaroni & cheese (photo & recipe found via Celeste’s blog).

· My signature meal: Gemüse-Spätzle. I make this for every visitor and it's my favorite.

Oh and speaking of the aforementioned Celeste’s blog, she posted a little shout-out to me the other day. I have liked looking at her blog for awhile now but I knew I loved it when she ranked her favorite European cities after spending a year abroad and listed Salzburg as #2. J Thanks, Celeste, for the feature!

happy birthday lindsay!

today is lindsay's birthday. :)
(actually it was yesterday, but the video wouldn't post.)

i am so happy to make the following announcement:

in february 2011,
lindsay is moving to germany.
as in, the country where kayla and i currently reside.
more specifically,
she will be moving to the town of rosenheim.
as in, the town where kayla currently resides.
i. am. so. happy.
may i direct everyone's attention to
in which i forecast her and caroline's relocation.
we're only waiting for you now...

anyway, lindsay.
can't wait to see you.
can't wait to eat with you
(our favorite thing to do).
can't wait to cook with you
(which we like almost as much as eating).
don't forget, linds,
you were the one who taught me
"a little pesto goes a long way".
every time i make gemuese spaetzle,
i think of that quote from you.
literally, every time!

since kayla and i were together on your birthday,
we made you this video:

hope you like it, linds!

dinner in nuremberg

Friday, November 26, 2010

pictures from our fulbright dinner in nbg:

i didn't eat anything
but the other 6 split this meat platter.
aka the most german thing i've ever seen.

i was staring at this vintage movie poster all night,
thinking "Das Fenster zum Hof...
..that's kinda like Rear Window".
then i realized.... it is!

this photo kind of makes me want to throw up.
i think it looks like something an animal would eat.
but the others said it tasted great!
walking back to the car was freezing.
but a car is a car is a car,
better than public transport!
that's for dang sure.
and if not "better"
then at least "warmer."

just walking around a castle at midnight.

i don't know if it was really midnight....
but it might have been close.

one thing i love about my life here:
you can do things like walk around a castle
...whenever you feel like it.

i love nuremberg at night.
i've said before how magical i think it is
and how it feels like a fairy tale.
this night (seen below)
was no exception.


i love erlangen.
my friend julie thinks it looks like hogsmeade!
i like that comparison.
the town is looking verrrry Christmas-y these days.

we strolled through the cobblestone streets
and stopped at the perfume store
to try some different perfumes/colognes
(one of my favorite hobbies).
eventually, we stumbled upon the quiet little Schloss park.
it was freezing,
so we stopped and sat on a bench to warm up for awhile.
these days in germany,
the temperature is about 30 degrees (fahrenheit, duh).
i love it!

i love getting care packages.

thank you jessica and patrick!
(my family in alaska.)

the other day, i looked out of my window
and saw a DSL truck in front of the house.
a man was carrying a package to the door.
i thought, "oh, i wish that package was for me."
but figured it was for my landlords.
whenever i came downstairs
and saw a giant box sitting at the foot of the stairs
addressed to me,
i almost screamed.

 i took every item out of the box so slowly
saying ,"oh my gosh, i love this!"
in response to each little gift.

- 2 boxes cupcake of mix, icing, sprinkles and cupcake paper
(i have not been eating desserts very much here at all
and i crave them all the time!)
- fireweed honey and blueberry jam
(my favorite alaskan products!)
- reese's
(can't get those over here! i miss them dearly.)
- moose-shaped pasta
(any kind of free food is my kind of gift.)
- campbell's soup
(see above subtext.)
- tea & hot cocoa
(it's freeeeezing here so this is necessary.)
- chocolate covered peanuts
(i am saving these for the next time i make trail mix!)
- a sweater
(which i have already worn.)
- a card
(with notes from both of them & polaroids attached.)
- a power bar
(already ate it)

i'd be lying if i said the cupcake mixes weren't my favorite part.
thanks again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

we had to leave salzburg

Thursday, November 25, 2010

so we headed back to rosenheim, where we ate this pizza:
it was so good.
then kayla walked me to the train station
and i took a train back to nuremberg.
unfortunately, all our weekend taught me was one thing:
i don't think i'm done living in salzburg yet.
in fact, i think i need to move back there someday.
preferably someday soon...ish.

one year ago today

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

One year ago today, I woke up at 5:00 am (Stillwater, OK time) to take a phone call from the US Embassy Vienna. I had never studied so much for an interview before. (Well, I had never even had an interview like this before). Weeks before, I had written in a notebook every possible question I could be asked, with a 3 paragraph repsonse for each. I was seriously prepared to answer any question. The FSO who called me (my future boss) put me at ease as soon as I heard his voice; he just seemed so nice. As diplomatic as a person can be, but so nice. The interview lasted a little under half an hour, I think (which I find crazy, in hindsight, knowing now how insanely hectic his schedule is! I feel bad for taking up that much of his time). Before the interview, I had been told that a second interview would be scheduled during December/January (when I would be back in Austria) if the first interview went well. As our phone interview concluded, this FSO said to me (and I remember this verbatum), ''I'd like to ask you to come out and intern for us. Can you be here at the beginning of May?''. I know that everyone says you should always respond with, ''I'll consider it and get back to you'' but I was so shocked by the immediate offer that I could only say, ''Absolutely. Thank you. I very much appreciate the opportunity. Thank you''. I hung up and the first person I called was my dad.

Karlskirche, Vienna

I am actually getting teary eyed thinking about this because I had no idea what an incredible experience it would be. Words do not describe how wonderful my 4 months in Vienna were. I think that, before I left, I considered that time a mere ''prelude to Fulbright''. Fulbright was what I'd been working so hard for. Fulbright was what I really wanted and the Embassy opportunity was just an extra bonus. I also wasn't under any false impression that Vienna would be the magical experience Salzburg had been. And I definitely didn't expect to find lifelong friends there. In spite of all those expectations, the city stole my heart, the experience was indescribable and the people I met there (if you recall, I spent almost every waking moment with these 5 interns) are now so dear to my heart. I miss them way more than I ever expected.

The UN headquarters, Vienna

When I was visiting Erica in Italy last month, we were talking about how unreal our experience was there. I mean, I can honestly say some of the best months of my life were spent there (also the worst week of my life - something that will always be a black cloud in my memory and during which I actually considered purchasing a oneway ticket home). As Erica and I were reminiscing, I kind of had an epiphany. She said to me, ''You know, Jennifer, we spent a summer in Vienna - a cultural capital of the world. How many people get do that? There are Embassys all over the world and we got Vienna.'' I stopped and realized: During the past year and a half, I got to live in Salzburg and Vienna -- two incredible cities. So, in the spirit of thanksgiving, I am thankful for the phone call that happened exactly one year ago. I am thankful for the incredible opportunity to live in such beautiful places; I realize this isn't entirely normal and should not be taken for granted. I am thankful that I had the best boss ever, the best supervisors ever, the best staff in general, awesome interns and unforgettable events (seriously, still thinking about the events...especially this one). I made so many awesome contacts and I was shocked (albeit very pleasantly) by how people genuinely cared about my future and my professional aims and how they saw to it that I would benefit in the workplace.

The famous Prater Riesenrad, Vienna

In fact, I owe so much to my boss. After he offered me the position, a back-and-forth communication battle enused between me and the contacts in Washington (I wish it was known in the political world as ''D.C.''...much less confusing). I would send my documents to be processed, they would tell me they never received them. This went on for quite some time and I began to wonder why my security clearance hadn't gone through. My German professor knew of my struggle with Washington and said to me one time, ''Well, if that doesn't work out, you always have Fulbright'' and I automatically replied, ''Oh, it will work out. It has to work out'' with such conviction that I was almost embarrassed afterward by how passionate it sounded. He said, ''Wow, you really want this, don't you....'' I don't know why now and I didn't really know why then, either, but yeah - I really wanted it. I boarded my plane without having my security clearance (I don't think my parents know that, whoops!). I had full confidence it would come through. I was determined to fight for it. It did come in. But I didn't know until months later just how it came in. I was talking to one of my colleagues about how awesome my/our boss is and she said, ''He fought for you. He fought for you so much''. I asked her what she meant. Come to find out, Washington didn't want me. My boss had chosen me and Washington denied the security clearance repeatedly, labeling me ''too inexperienced''. This is true; I was very inexperienced. And security clearances are expensive and they take a lot of time. But somebody fought for me, believed in me and wanted to give me a chance. And because of that, I was able to have the summer of a lifetime. I worked hard, don't get me wrong. But the hard work was so, so worth it. I'd do it again in a heartbeat. I grew up so much this summer. So, so much. I learned more than I ever thought I could. I was challenged in ways that almost broke me (emotionally and financially, ha). The stories I have from this summer are incredible. I can't wait to see my family in person so I can finally share them. :)

Schonbrünn Palace, July 2010

Schonbrünn Palace, March 2009
It is so weird to think that I was running around Vienna in March of 2009, unaware that it was my future (temporary) home.
If someone had told me, ''A year from now, you'll be getting ready to move here to work for the US Embassy'', I wouldn't have believed them for a second.

Sunday in Salzburg

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Salzburg (as well as most cities in Catholic countries of Europe) shuts down on Sundays. Walking through town is calm and quiet and very few stores or restaurants are open. The weather was chilly but sunny, which is more than I can say for the current weather in Germany (think dark and cold....and darker and colder).

The Salzach
I made sure that our quick visit to Salzburg included a trip to Indigo. I love the curry and sushi there and it tasted just as good as I remembered (though Kayla laughs at me saying I eat "sushi", since it's really the avocado/feta roll).
Mozart everywhere...even if in the form of a seemingly rubber (but actually ceramic) duck.
The only thing more popular than Mozart in Salzburg is The Sound of Music. Here is the real Maria Von Trapp (a photo of a photo) standing in front of Leopoldskrone. Looks a little different than Julie Andrews, doesn't she?

then and now

In February 2009, Kayla and I were lucky enough to attend a free pastry tasting at Cafe Schatz. We returned to Cafe Schatz a few times throughought the semester, though it was only ever known as "Pastry Tasting". For example, "Hey Jenn, after you get out of class, do you want to go to Pastry Tasting and get a treat?". I don't think I knew it even had a name for the longest time.
The picture below was taken during said pastry tasting or, as Kayla referred to it, "one of the best hours of our lives". I have one thing to say about this picture: How young do we look?!?!?!? Good gosh. Babies.
We returned to Cafe Schatz last weekend (though, sadly, not for a free pastry tasting session). As we were musing over the pastries, trying to decide what to order, I was thinking, "All of these look so good. I wish I could remember which one I liked the best". Just as that thought popped into my head, Kayla said, "You love the Haustorte". We ordered an Apfelstreudel and a Haustorte and split them both. Kayla was right - the Haustorte was my fave!
Again, may I repeat: how young do we (meaning me and Sandy in this case) look here?!?! This photo was also taken in February 2009 and, funnily enough, was the first photo ever taken of Kayla and I together...even though she is only roughly visible, holding up a peace sign in the background.
Here, in the same spot, is an older version of Kayla. I love this picture.

Altstadt (Salzburg, continued)

The Altstadt (old town) in Salzburg is the heart of the city. When I studied there in 2009, Caroline and I would walk through the Altstadt and see at least one person we knew (it's not that big of a city, you know. I always loved that). When Kayla and I were visiting last weekend, we wandered around the familiar streets and said things like, "Oh, that's a new store!" or "Good, I'm glad that's still there". We get a little annoyed with the city decides to change without letting us know first.

And that advertisement (above) says:
"Salzburg Christmas Market....get excited, it's coming soon!"
Oh, we are excited alright.
We'll be there the 2nd weekend in December.
And it will be magical.

How magical?

let's pretend like this isn't the 20th set of photos i have from mirabell gardens

Sunday, November 21, 2010

i somehow always find a reason to pull out the camera when i visit mirabell, even though i've been there dozens of times.

let's also pretend that the only reason i'm posting these is so my mom (an obsessed Sound of Muisc fan) can see/enjoy them...and not because i'm scarily obsessed with this place (this place/salzburg in general).

good news, mirabell gardens is just as gorgeous as ever.

sadly, the von trapp children were not to be found dancing around the fountain....
maybe next time.

oh, that fortress.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

gets me every time.