kawa mrożona

Friday, January 28, 2011

Remember when I randomly met this girl?

Well, we've kept in touch (her name is Magda) through Facebook (oh, Mark Zuckerberg, how we love to hate you but couldn't live without you) and I hung out with her again during my last trip to Poland. She picked me up in her super cute Fiat Panda (bright blue!) and we got "coffee". Since I don't drink coffee, I opted for a kawa mrożona (a smidge of coffee hidden by the taste of ice cream, thank you very much) and she taught me Polish words and then laughed at my pronunciations (it's okay, I'm used to it).

After 2 hours of sitting with her, chatting, laughing and just loving that I have a girl friend in Poland,  I figured Magda would want to go home. When I asked her what she wanted to do, however, she asked, "Do you want me to go home now or can I stay with you and shop?". I thought it was so sweet! I told her of course we could shop. I found some super warm tights/leg-warmers (can never have enough of those) on sale as well as a brown leather bag at Zara. We also spent a good portion of the afternoon looking for hair ties (hair rubberbands? I don't know the proper name) with no metal clasp since my abnormally thick hair breaks those after 1 day of usage. 
so we went home.

Magda is the cutest.  The end.

gnocchi

Thursday, January 27, 2011

I had a recipe for gnocchi that I wanted to make when I was in Poland. While grocery shopping for the ingredients, I, in my infinite wisdom, found a package of gnocchi (pre-made noodles) and put it in the shopping cart, in addition to buying the potatoes and all other ingredients. I didn't even notice my mistake until we got home and I realized (embarrassingly late) that we were supposed to use the potatoes to make the noodles.....not buy the pre-made noodles and add potatoes.

This is what happens when you love all things carbohydrate.
You think it's okay to eat noodles with potatoes...
and then you probably want french fries and cupcakes for dessert.


We saved the potatoes for later and came up with this masterpiece:

(not-homemade) gnocchi, Parmesan cheese, sauteed mushrooms & various Polish spices which I cannot spell.


(Oh and the dish in the background is my drug. Literally, I could eat this and nothing else for the rest of my life. In Polish, it's called 'kapusta', but in English it's cabbage, mixed with 1 grated carrot, 1 grated apple, olive oil and a smidge of sugar. It's seriously one of the best things I've ever had the pleasure of eating.)

lunch at Babcia's

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


My first impression of meeting Babcia was shock; she does not look like an 80-something-year-old woman! Her skin is so beautiful, she was just glowing. She introduced herself to me as "Babcia" which means "grandmother" in Polish.  I later learned that that introduction is a really big deal and that it means she likes me a lot. Maybe it's because I spoke "my Polish words" for her when I introduced myself. :) 

Moving on...eating a Polish meal is quite a process. And I love it. You start with a bowl of soup (99% of the time it's barszcz, which is made from beets) as an appetizer. The problem I have with this is that this "appetizer" is huge! Seriously. Usually I cannot even finish the bowl and, if I can, I am not at all ready for 2 more courses!  Other than barszcz, we ate potatoes, beets and baked salmon with spinach and cucumber sauce. I can't remember the last time I've had fish (maybe 2 years ago? or more?) so I was a little worried I wouldn't be able to handle it.... but it was delicious!





It's funny having a conversation with someone who doesn't speak your language, thus necessitating a mediator to translate back and forth, back and forth - every sentence. I know a little over 100 Polish words (oh, don't worry - I wrote them all down and counted), which is not many, needless to say. I had my proudest moment at lunch, however, when Babcia asked me a question and I nodded and said, "Tak" (yes). Everyone at the table just looked at me and said, "You understood that?" and I said, "Oh...I guess I did!". I never thought I'd want to learn yet another language (especially after German has proved to be the semi-bane of my existence and everyone tells me Polish is 10x harder) but learning through immersion would be infinitely easier than the classroom. I mean, after awhile, my reciting the 100 words I know and speaking in one-word sentences will stop eliciting laughs at the dinner table and become just downright annoying.

Oh well...until then!

a walk in the snow with a 14 year old dog in poland

Monday, January 24, 2011




Please, I beg you, please enlarge this photo and look. at. Fisiu. Hysterical.
So windblown!!

seven things about me and a song for sunday

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Chelsea Elizabeth, of Organized Mess, posted a blog recently in which she awarded "7 Style Awards" to 7 of her favorite bloggers. Being one of the 'recipients' (thanks Chelsea!), I was instructed to post 7 facts about myself, link her blog and then pass the award on to 7 of my favorite blogs. With that said....


1. I think putting a fitted sheet onto a bed is one of the hardest things a person can do. I would rather pay someone to do it for me than attempt it myself. That 4th corner is just...impossible.
2. I get much too excited about things which are, in the grand scheme of things, not that important. Example: Last week, I bought a bag of 12 oranges on sale for 1 euro. And it was kind of the highlight of my week. I also get way too excited about Skype/video chatting and taking screen shots of the process (see above photo).
3. I think that crazy ex-girlfriends make normal, current girlfriends seem so much more perfect. (Did I say that? Whoops.)
4. In my humble opinion, there is no better gift than an iTunes gift card.
5. When I was a senior in high school, my best friend Maddie and I took a "zero hour course" (a course that meets an hour before the school day begins) just so we could have a class together. No, we didn't need the course and we actually hated it. But the 50 minutes spent every morning together (and often riding to school together) were so worth it. Plus, if you took a zero hour course, you got out of school an hour early!
6. I have many, many pet peeves (possibly more than the average human should). One of my biggest? Putting on lip gloss and then having the wind blow your hair across your lips. Grossest. Feeling. Ever.
7. I associate songs with very specific locations, specific memories, the very emotion-I-was-feeling-the-first-time-I-heard-it, etc. When I first moved to Vienna for my internship, I listened to this song (below) every morning on my way to work. Hearing it now brings me back to May 2010 in a heartbeat.


And now....7 blogs I love:
Wanderlust - she's either posting awesome photos of exotic places she's explored or listing amazing recipes (like this - are you kidding me?). She also featured me on this sweet little post back in October.
Kayla in Bavaria - yes, I talk to her every day & technically don't need to receive updates via blogspot, but who cares? I always get excited when I see that she's updated.
If you don't mind - this blog belongs to my friend Sarah, who witnessed a little girl in a store say to her mother, "I'm going to skip now, if you don't mind". What better reason to follow her blog than the mere fact that its name was birthed from such a funny story?
JC on DC - One of my best friends from college, Jenny, moved to D.C. after graduation and blogs about her life there. I love reading her comparisons between her current life on the Hill and her former life in Oklahoma.
Julie writes words - Jenny's sister, another dear friend from college (and my former roommate!) writes words (as you can see from the title of her blog) and let me tell you, these words are funny. This is not a personal blog, but rather an outlet for Julie's creativity (her short stories are hilarious). My personal favorites of her posts can be found here and here.
Lauren Lyles - she's cute, funny and dresses well. What more do you need to know?
Das blog - My Fulbright friend Emily posts lesson plan ideas which are super helpful to anyone who teaches a foreign language. One thing I highly recommend (linked on her blog) is this video, in which she is filmed jumping out of a car trunk, surprising her parents on Christmas day this past December (they didn't know she had flown home from Germany). It gives me chills and makes me want to cry. The saddest/sweetest part is that, if you listen closely, you can here Emily's mom say, "I kept wondering why you weren't online" because she had wanted to Skype with her on Christmas morning. It's something my mom would say!

***
And speaking of fun blogs, click here to read what Wendy from Edinburgh, Scotland posted about me on her blog, Red Boots. I've never been to Scotland but since reading her blog, it's definitely on my "to-see" list. Thanks, Wendy! You're so sweet.

So long, Christmas markets/Hello New Year's resolutions

Thursday, January 20, 2011

I thought it would be cool to talk about about Christmas until the end of January and then start talking about New Year's Resolutions right around the time everyone has given up on theirs. What do you think?


My last and final trip to the Nuremberg Christmas market - beginning of December - about to eat a Nutella waffle:



Please note the vats of Nutella behind this man's head. Lucky him. :


You won't hear me saying that Germans offer the best cuisine in the world.
Erica, on the other hand, would beg to differ. She loves it! :

***
I normally don't do things like "New Year's Resolutions" but I figured that it might be good to be intentional about some changes I'd like to make. Of course I have several professional goals for the year and a few personal goals here and there but my #1 resolution is:

I want to email my grandparents every day. They mean so, so, so much to me and I don't communicate with them as often as I should. Just taking the time to write a quick email to them would really brighten their day, I think.

Maybe saying that here will help keep me accountable.

Well, on that note....Happy New Year....?!

the worst thing that has ever happened to me, part II........and then i flew to poland

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

I landed in Munich and started to feel sick from stress. Because I had booked my flight from Munich to Poland separately, I had to check in with the new airline. Having landed (on time) at 7:30 am, I told myself, "Okay. You have from 8:00-9:00 to get your luggage and go through customs. You have from 9:00-10:00 to check in to your next flight. You have from 10:00-11:00 go through security. At 11:30, you board your plane. At noon, you take off." Can you tell yet that Chicago O'Hare has scarred me for life? (Oh, and can I just say that 99.9% of the comments I got regarding that airport only further validated my frustrations toward that place? It is official: everyone hates it!)

Well, at 8:00 am I was where I had planned to be at around 10:30, which I attribute to a) Munich not being Chicago, b) there actually aren't a ton of people at the airport at 7:30 in the morning, c) I was moving faster than everyone else in said airport, walking at the pace of an Olympic track star and d) having a visa in your passport makes things a lot easier....they were actually being a little strict with everyone at customs and I felt nervous, at first, when the woman was scanning through my passport ever so slowly, just until she saw my visa page and said, "Ach so! Sie leben in Deutschland, oder?!" ("Ohhh, so you live in Germany!") I smiled (smiling and being nice can get you so far in life...that, and crying) and said, "Ja, das stimmt. Ich liebe Deutschland!." or something to that effect ("Yeah, that's right. I love Germany!"...did I mention that feigning love for a country you don't entirely love also sometimes helps?).

Anyway, by 8:00 am, I was going through security, which was my last "task" before boarding my plane. This flight allowed 1 checked bag and 1 carry on. When I had originally packed my suitcases, I had prepared for this (items-needing-to-be-checked in one bag, carry-on-able items in another). However, when my dad informed me that my large suitcase was too heavy, so much rearranging was done that the contents of both bags were just...kind of...all switched around....and I was so flustered and in a hurry that I forgot I'd eventually have to carry one of those bags on a plane. Make sense? Thus, I checked my big suitcase and then tried to board my plane with a few......extra large......bottles of Pureology shampoo..... and conditioner....... The moment I saw them pull 4 giant liquid-containing bottles out of my bag at the security checkpoint, I wanted to cry. No, I wasn't concerned that I'd get scolded in German (I mean, that happens to me all the time, let's be honest) or be detained for security questioning of some sort. I was OBVIOUSLY devastated by the mere fact that that's, like, the most expensive shampoo you can buy and it was.....(brace yourself) thrown away right before my very eyes. And (it gets worse), they took away my little tub of Pillsbury cake frosting, too.

I called a friend while waiting for my plane and made him listen to the following monologue: "I know that it's just shampoo and conditioner but I am SO upset - like, I'm almost on the verge of tears, I mean - I've been flying for, like, 24 hours or something and I just want to be in Poland and now I am going to wait for yet another plane (albeit, a plane taking me to Poland) but I will have to buy more shampoo and conditioner as soon as I get there and those bottles I had were going to last me, like, 6 months and that's basically, like, throwing $100 into the airport security trash can!!!!!!!!!! Along with that little tub of frosting, which I don't really care about but Lord knows Germans don't sell anything as artificially made as Pillsbury cake frosting!!!!" (This is true and if you don't believe me, you can ask the airport employee who pulled it out of my bag and stared at it as though it were from the future or something...please picture me trying to describe that in German...yeah, real funny).  I then just kept repeating, "And. they. don't. have. Pureology. in Poland!!!"

  I eventually calmed down long enough to convince myself that one of the following 3 possibilities were true:

1) If I had kept the bottles/frosting in the checked bag (where they belonged), they definitely, absolutely, without a doubt would have exploded and ruined everything I own (and no, the shampoo and conditioner would not have washed right out, thank you).
2) If I had kept the bottles/frosting in the checked bag, the suitcase would have somehow weighed too much, gotten stuck on the conveyor-belt (due to its weight? 'cause that makes sense...), ending up on another plane, going to another country, never to be seen again.
3) Every day, the Munich Airport workers go through the trash and donate shampoo and conditioner bottles to the homeless.....and they just keep the frosting in the trash can because they still don't really understand what that is.

Once I accepted the above 3 theories as absolute truth (all of them), I boarded my plane, landed in Poland only 1.5 hours later and was greeted at the airport by someone I had not seen in 6 weeks! What. a. great. feeling that was. :)

And it was also a great feeling when I realized the Christmas tree was still bright and shining in the Wroclaw city center.


Oh and it was also a great feeling when I was unpacking my luggage in Poland, opened my (carried on) purse and realized that I had boarded my flight to the US and my flight back to Europe with a box of Salzburg's Mozart Cafe matches zipped away in an inside pocket. Good job, airport security.
Good job.

a song for sunday

Monday, January 17, 2011

(something i attempted to post last night but blogger just wouldn't have it)

After such a short time in Oklahoma (seriously, where did the time go?), I prepared to fly from OKC -> D.C., D.C. -> Munich, Munich -> Wroclaw. (Wroclaw is in Poland, mind you). Now, ordinarily, 16 hours of flying wouldn't have bothered me in the slightest. But after the Chicago O'Hare Catastrophe of 2010, I was actually a bit terrified. It didn't help that I had accidentally packed my luggage 20 lbs. over the limit and didn't realize until the morning of my flight...whoops. In my defense, my mom had just taken me shopping to get 4 new pair of jeans (I brought home 4 pairs of jeans from Germany for her to mend....jeans with holes ripped throughout...she asked me when the last time was that I bought a new pair of jeans and I said 1 from February of 2009, the rest from 2007. She almost had a heart attack and refused to mend them; said I needed new jeans - end of story. At first, I protested. I mean - I really loved these jeans! 4 pair of Levi's/Simply Vera Wang jeans later, I was fine with it). Anyway, moral of the story: too many clothes, too much stress, not enough time. I arranged and re-arranged and distributed and re-distributed and eventually had to leave a lot home but, hey, that's fine.

My flight to D.C was also fine. I ate some great food at the D.C airport, which seemed like heaven compared to the-airport-which-shall-not-be-named (but was actually named in the above paragraph). My favorite part about flying (other than sleeping) is watching the movies (and getting to choose which one! In the olden days, you didn't get to choose....it's true, I remember. You just had to plug your headphones in and deal with what you got. And sometimes you had to share the TV screen with another passenger). Throughout my round trip journey from Europe to America and back to Europe again, I watched 6 movies total: 1- The Switch (was expecting it be less than mediocre, after hearing such horrible reviews, but actually found it to be so sweet, laugh-out-loud funny and....I cried in the end.  I loved this movie!), 2 - The Romantics (I wondered why Katie Holmes was cast in the lead role....until I found out she produced it. Enough said.), 3 - Easy A (Emma Stone, being the only good part of this movie, is the next big thing. Mark my words.) 4 -Winter's Bone (amazing -truly amazing, so recommendable and Jennifer Lawrence definitely deserves that Oscar nomination), 5 - Going the Distance (Eh. A painfully forgettable movie.) 6 - Charlie St. Cloud (This was kind of a last resort movie...nothing else watchable was playing and then of course I got so involved in the movie, only to have the last 10 minutes cut off upon landing)...

Coming up next time:
The worst thing that ever happened to me, part II.
(hint: takes place in the Munich airport)

***

Oh, and yes, with all this talk about America, I feel it only necessary to include one of my favorite Marina and the Diamonds songs below.

Erica and I listened to this song all the way to Poland during our first fateful trip there so long ago, and I could not stop singing the 'Shakira/Catherine Zeta' line. This song was kind of a summer anthem for us when we lived in Vienna and hearing it now makes me sad and happy all at once (yup, one of those songs). In related news, don't all of her outfits look like something I'd wear?




And because I've never been able to decide which version I prefer.....
the acoustic:

a continuation of the last post

Thursday, January 13, 2011

other than crepe myrtle
(the restaurant pictured in the last post),
my next request for my very short time in stillwater was:
thai cafe.

i would be linking these restaurants,
which is the proper blogger thing to do,
but what restaurant
(or any establishment, for that matter)
in stillwater
is sophisticated enough to have a website?


this spot was another favorite of ours when we both lived here,
although we did not frequent it as much as crepe myrtle.


(iPhone pics again...sorry)

and, like my salad at crepe myrtle,
i order this dish every time:

''hi, i'd like the yellow curry with fresh tofu - not fried - spiced at a level 5 with a ginger salad, the vegetable soup and a water'' (my order, in case you were wondering)

when brett and pierce came to visit me in salzburg,
i gave them a tour that lasted, like, 8 hours.
they went on to germany and switzerland
and after all was said and done,
i asked brett what his favorite place was.
he said, ''hands down, salzburg.''
when i saw him in stillwater,
he was still talking about that tour
and asked me to pretend i'd never been to stillwater before
so he could give me a tour (of a town i lived in for 4 yrs).
and if you've ever been to stillwater,
you know that tour could last no more
than 15 minutes...

and like a true oklahoman, he works at eskimo joe's.

the only thing i can say to describe the following 2 photos
is what kaitlyn said in response to seeing them:
i guess being engaged gives me the security to make these stupid faces?



and here's pierce...


(to see more of pierce,
click here.)

oh and i cannot forget pierce and brett's tree...
in true griswold fashion,
they cut it down themselves
on their other roommate's land!
(something else i love about oklahoma:
everyone has ''land'', don't we?)


when i walked into their house and saw the tree,
i said, ''clark griswold!''
and they said, ''obviously.''

***

i somehow failed
to take any photos of my family during my time at home....
but our Christmas was nice and i should mention
that the highlight was getting our 'dad gift'.
my mom usually does all the shopping
but my dad gives us one 'dad present';
usually tools of some sort
(he is an engineer and an oklahoman -- enough said).
when my sisters and i were sorting the presents
on Christmas Eve night,
we noticed we each had a small box from my dad.
janie, my oldest sister, asked, ''i wonder what these are?''
(didn't look like tools.)
jessica, my middle sister, replied, ''he probably got us guns...''
turns out,
they were engraved bracelets
and when i opened mine i cried.
so much better than a gun!

Wouldn't it be funny if i were still talking about Christmasy things in the middle of January?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

yeah....
i flew home for Christmas!
i hadn't been home (to the US of A) in 8 months.
that means i hadn't seen my family (or friends) in 8 months.

my trip home was....eventful, to say the least.

let's just say that i have never had a bad experience flying.
i fly a lot, i think...
mostly becaues flights here (in europe) are super cheap.
i actually love flying!....
and (i know this is weird) i love turbulance.
i know, i know...it horrifies my parents
to think that i am this strange.
but i love the feeling of turbulance.
the thing is:
i love the feeling of movement...
falling asleep in a car, on a bus, on a train...
that is so relaxing to me.
and on smooth plane rides
it feels like you are just sitting...immobile...motionless.
therefore,
i love turbulance.
it makes me sleepy.


okay, moving on.
i flew from munich to chicago
and everything was fine.
.....however....
in the chicago airport...
the customs line was so long
that when i first saw it,
i literally gasped and stopped dead in my tracks
and honestly considered turning around and walking away
(until i realized i had nowhere to go).

waiting in line for customs took an hour,
re-checking my bags/security took another hour
and i got to my gate as the plane was taxiing away.
and despite my attempts
(aka my at-first-calm-and-rational-plea-turned-good-old-fashion-temper-tantrum),
i was not allowed to board.

i have blocked the majority of the next 9 hours from my memory
but i can tell you this much:
i hate the chicago airport.
a stupid, mean, horrible, vile chiacgo airport employee woman made me cry.
i was told i was going to have to wait 24 hours
for the next flight to okc.
and the worst part was
i was in chicago for all that time
and never even saw kanye west.

but i did fly home 9 (very long) hours later on standby.
and for that, i am so thankful!
i will pay $400 more for my next flight home
if it means avoiding that airport;
the worst, most inconveniently designed airport
of. all. time.
and my dad, who is the most intelligent engineer
of the last 4 decades/ever
has confirmed this.


but then i went to stillwater,
one of my favorite towns on earth
and saw my best friend
(/former roommate)
and we ate at one of my favorite restaurants ever.
ever, ever, ever.
(and i've eaten at a ton of restaurants all over the world!)
((and by ''world'' i mean: america + europe))

when kaitlyn and i lived together,
we would walk to this restaurant
(okay, let's be honest, we walked, like twice, and usually drove)
1-3 times a week.
not even exagerrating in the slightest.

to be back there - with her - was heaven!
oh and, out of the 100s of times i've eaten there,
i've never gotten anything other than this salad.
it. is. to die for.








*i apologize for the poor quality of the iphone photos....i was asked by every person i photographed why i wasn't using the hipstimatic app.... excuse. me.

even more lomography, long overdue.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

i don't want to say i haaaate rome, but.....
sorry - i kind of sort of do.
i know that makes me, like, not a human being,
but i'm just being honest.
i could do a post on all the reasons why
but for now i'll just say
that when jenny came to visit me last summer,
she said, "can we go to rome?"
and i said, "i've been to rome one time...
...and that was one time too many."
because it was her first time in europe, however,
i obliged her.
i even managed to withhold my negativity the whole time
so that she could form her own opinion of the city
independent of my prejudice.
her conclusion?
"waiting in line for the metro in rome
is purgatory on earth...
...and when you step off the metro,
you've arrived in hell."

but at least it makes for some good photography, right?






sometimes i miss college, part 2.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

My mom emailed me these photos of my old room
(as a continuation of the last post).

It's funny to think about
how the whole time I was living in this house,
I was working fastidiously on:
"Operation: Return to Europe".
After having lived there before,
I missed it a little too much...
...to the point where I slept 4 hours a night
so that I'd have time for internship and grant applications
that would send me right back to Europe
Well, here I am,
back in Europe
and somehow,
I kind of miss the place I was trying so hard to get away from.
Funny how that works.

I had 2 roommates who I loved dearly
(and still love dearly)
who graciously let me have
the master bedroom
with a bathroom all to myself.
The house was so close to campus
so I'd either walk or bike to class each day.
It was kind of perfect.

If I had to find one word to sum up
my time in this house
it would be: hysterics.
I honestly don't believe
there was a day that passed
when my roommates and I weren't laughing hysterically
at least once.
Yup...I'd say either "hysterics" or "Beyonce".
(We had some pretty intense dance parties there).

My oldest sister loved college more than anyone I'll ever meet.
She's been out of college for almost 10 years
and is so happily married.
She loves her life
but she tells me that sometimes
she has dreams that she's still in college
and she wakes up wanting to cry because she misses it so badly.
She said to me once (and I remember this so clearly),
"There is just something about closing a chapter of your life
and knowing that it will never be the same again...
..that no matter what you do,
you can't get back to that place."

I'm happy where I am now.
And one of my goals for 2011
is to stop nostalgically dwelling on the past
and focus on the present day.
But with that said....
college kind of went by a little too quickly.
Maybe I've shouldn't have tried to rush it.




sometimes i miss college.

and my room that went along with it.

(for other frame-obsessed walls that don't belong to me: look at this room and this room....i love.)

a warm day in berlin: the lomography version

Wednesday, January 5, 2011



Bundestag:

Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, 1:

Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, 2:

Brandenburger Tor:

i thought my mom might like this.

Monday, January 3, 2011


Cousins in 1988 and 2010.

Cousin adventures in Paris can be found here.

Wels, Austria

Saturday, January 1, 2011

In August (yes, this is being posted a little bit late...), I took a trip to Wels, Austria to visit Eva's family. She and I were still interning together at the Embassy at the point (oh, just thinking about this makes me miss her so much!) and it was my last weekend in Austria before leaving for Poland (and then Germany, eventually). It's just a quick direct train from Vienna to Wels and Eva (who had gone a day before me) picked me up at the station. It felt so weird riding in a car with her....in Vienna - as well as mostly all of Europe -, we got around using only public transportation so I don't think of my European friends as being drivers.


Anyway, I spent NO money the entire weekend. Her parents own a hotel and restaurant and we were treated to every meal - so nice. I kept offering to buy groceries and cook and Eva kept saying, "Why? We own a restaurant." It was too funny. We'd just walk in and sit down and order whatever we want and then walk out without paying for anything.

One thing I love about Eva is how much she loves her parents (pictured with them in the above photo). This girl treats her parents so well - a rarity with my generation, it seems. I admire her so much for that. She just respects them so much and helps them without a word of complaint; it was really encouraging to witness and made me want to be a better daughter. Her parents don't make it too hard, though - they are awesome! Her mom is one of the most beautiful women I've ever seen in my entire life. She had breast cancer a few years ago and the chemo and radiation really altered her appearance in the long run....but in my opinion, for the better! Maybe it is because she is living a much healthier lifestyle after her recovery. Ironically, though, I say the same about my mom (who has had cancer twice in the past 5 years and, in my opinion, looks amazing today!). But back to Eva's family -- the entire town of Wels knows who they are. Just walking down the street or walking into shops, people would greet them by name. It's obvious their hotel and restaurant is a hot spot in Wels.

One of my favorite parts of the weekend was looking through Eva's scrapbooks and yearbooks from America. She studied abroad in Missouri when she was in high school (which is why her English is AMAZING and she has absolutely NO accent - this is crazy). She keeps in touch with her American high school friends on a daily basis. Her mom and dad (who don't really speak English so this was a German langauge weekend) told me that Eva is the most loyal friend and when it comes to communication, she is so dedicated - going to all sorts of extremes to maintain friendships. For example, she hasn't lived in America since she was 17 (she's now 25), yet she has been back every year since her departure to visit her American friends. Even though we are no longer coworkers (plus she lives in Hong Kong now), I'm not worried about our friendship. :)

Anyway, these photos were finally developed from my lomography camera (like I said, a few months late). Her parents took us on a mini-hike in the mountains. Unfortunately, the fog is covering the majority of the mountainous skyline. Oh well, next time! I can't wait to see Eva again. She has already emailed me about wanting to book a flight to America the next time I'm there. She listened to so many stories about my parents and feels like she knows them. She loved listening to my side of every phone conversation I had with them this summer (free calls to America, working at the Embassy). Her favorite little anecdote was that my mom was taking a quilting class but she also loved that my dad has honeybees. She always asks, "Are the quiltmaker and beekeeper ready for me to visit?". I think they are!