Meeting Peter Pan

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Kaitlyn’s main request in London was that we visit Peter Pan in Hyde Park’s Kensington Gardens.  I would tell you she was totally awestruck, but…I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.

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And then we happened to come across a darling little cottage, pictured above, which I promptly declared my future home.  I’ll let you know when I move in.  I’m thinking I should find seven dwarves, first, to join me…

Europe with my best friend: London

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

It would be negligent of me to provide a recap of my family’s trip to Europe without including what happened after my family left; Kaitlyn came to visit me! 

Picking her up in front the tube outside of King’s Cross St. Pancras was the best feeling.  She had worked so hard for several months, saving every little penny to pay for her travel expenses, which meant so much to me.

We have endless memories, laughs and strange stories from this trip…. I can’t wait to share a few of them.  Here’s a little preview of our time spent in London. 

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wanna hear a fun beer fact?

Friday, April 20, 2012

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The other night, I was talking to my cousin, Bubba, who goes to Berkley.  He asked me if I’d ever seen, heard of, or tasted Trumer Pils beer.  I told him, “Duh, it’s from Salzburg.”  He then informed me that while, at one point, the beer was sold almost exclusively in Salzburg, the 400 year-old company recently opened a brewery in Berkley.  Now, the beer is available throughout the country of Austria and the San Francisco Bay area, as well as select cities across the U.S. (Seattle, Portland, Chicago, Denver, Dallas, Phoenix and San Diego). 

I know next to nothing about beer; I can’t tell an ale from a lager and words like ‘hops’ and ‘wort’ mean nothing to me.  This probably has to do with the fact that the taste of beer may or may not repulse me (though beer bread is one of my top five favorite foods of all time). 

But I do know how to properly pronounce words like ‘weissbier’, ‘weizenbier’ and ‘hefeweizen’!  That counts for something, right?

Anyway, that’s your beer fact for the day.  Another fact?  If you tell me any type of anecdote about the city of Salzburg, chances are it will make its way onto this blog at one point or another.

On that note….prost!  Here’s to a fun and productive weekend.

So you wanna move to Europe, huh? (Fulbright info.)

Thursday, April 19, 2012

As mentioned in my FAQ, the most F A’ed Q is: “I really wanna move to Europe!  Can you tell me how?”.  I see these comments pop up on this little blog a whole lot.

Additionally, I also get a few emails each month asking me the same thing.  While I offered a few pieces of advice in this FAQ page (which really needs to be updated), I’ve found that, often times, people need/want to know a little more.

But the thing is, I’m not really too qualified to impart all kinds of wisdom on the whole “moving to Europe” topic….I really just know how to do it “my way”, which consisted of:  studying abroad in Salzburg, interning at the U.S. Embassy in Vienna, and receiving a Fulbright grant to teach English in Nuremberg (and then a grant extension in Dresden).  Studying abroad can be done through your university or through private programs (AIFS is the one I recommend!).  Information about government internships can be found here.  And Fulbright….well, Fulbright is a little trickier.  I get more Fulbright-related questions than study abroad or internship-related questions, so I thought I’d devote this post to answering some of the questions that have recently found their way into my inbox.

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{Andy, Emily and me at Alexanderplatz in Berlin, during a Fulbright conference.}

 

1.  What made you want to apply for a Fulbright, and when did you start the application process?

I had just finished studying abroad in Salzburg in 2009 and wanted to prolong my time in Europe.  My cousin suggested I apply and, initially, I deemed the process too intimidating and ruled it out.  However, with a little encouragement from my cousin and professors, I decided I’d give it my all and go for it.  And give it my all I did.  I didn’t tell anyone I was applying, though, until I was about halfway through the application process.  My family and roommates knew (and a couple of professors), but that was about it.  I started working on my application in July or August of 2009; right before I began my senior year of college.

2.  Can anyone apply for a Fulbright?  Is there an age limit?

I applied before graduating with my Bachelor’s.  You can apply at-large after having graduated, but I don’t know what that process entails.  I assume it’s more or less the same, but my university provided me with a Fulbright adviser, with whom I met weekly, which was so helpful.  I can’t imagine doing it all on my own, but it is certainly possible.

3.  What’s the application process like?

I’ve often joked that the application process requires 9 months of your blood, sweat and tears.  You have to get all sorts of blood work done once you get the grant (to prove you’re healthy enough to go), you sweat through the stress of meeting deadline after deadline and sometimes, when you haven’t slept in 4 days, you just cry about it all!  But I was also enrolled in 20 hours both semesters of my application process, so……

4.  When did you find out you received the grant?

I can only speak for the German application process when I say there were a few rounds.  I had to make it past the “University round” in early October, which involved writing a grant proposal and personal essay, having my German language skills evaluated, and interviewing before the board at my university (this is why I get a bit confused by the “at-large” process). Once I got past that round, I revised my essays about twenty (if not more) times and then submitted all my documents for the “national round”. I received word that I’d made it past that round in late January, and then came the tough part; translating my application to German and submitting it to Germany.  I got the acceptance letter at the end of March.  It was such a glorious day!!!  I called my dad, and then my mom, and then Kaitlyn.  And then I ate some falafel with my roommates.

5.  Do you get to choose where you are placed?

Again, I can only speak for the German application when I say that you pref. three states (regions).  My first choice was the state of Bavaria, and that’s what I got.  I was so pleased!

6.  How is the pay?

Terrible!  No, really.  You will lose 10 lbs. per week because you won’t be able to afford food.  Make sure you save up a ton of money beforehand so you can at least travel on the weekends, which will distract you from your perpetually growling stomach (or make it worse; running to catch trains burns a lot calories, after all).

7.  What is it like teaching English to non-native speakers?   Did you have experience?

Fulbright provides a training orientation for you before you start teaching, which helps.  I had little to no experience, but I got the hang of it quickly.  And honestly, even the youngest German students know so much English that you shouldn’t encounter too many problems.  I mean, by the time they’re in high school, they’re reading the same books (in English) that I read in high school (Brave New World, To Kill a Mockingbird, Great Gatsby, etc.).  Do they put American public schools to shame?  Yes.  Granted, they watch a lot of American TV and most of the songs on the radio are American songs (in English), so they do have those advantages….  The only downside to the teaching, in my opinion, is that if you don’t know British English, you will be told on a daily basis that you don’t know how to spell.  Or they’ll correct your choice of words because, surprisingly enough, there are about a million and one discrepancies between AE and BE vocab.  And sometimes that’s annoying.

8.  Does Fulbright find you a place to live? 

Fulbright does not walk you through the process of arriving, finding housing, making friends, etc.  You’ll have to do that yourself, and you’ll have to rely on your colleagues for that initial support system, as you will be totally alone… but if your experiences are anything like mine, it will all work out – your colleagues will want to help you get settled!

9.  Does Fulbright pay for your round trip flight?

For the German grant, yes.  I don’t know about the other countries.

10.  What is the best and worst part?

Meeting my fellow Fulbrighters stands out as a major highlight to me.  I say:  form a tight bond with each other and spend time traveling/going out together, because in many ways, you are all each other has.  I would definitely advise meeting and befriending the locals, of course, (which will improve your language skills like nothing else!) but there are times when you just may need some good old-fashioned American company.  As far as the worst part….I’d say the pay, definitely. But it’s just a year (or two) of your life, and the experience in and of itself is worth the financial sacrifice.

 

{Other questions can be submitted in the comment box.  I will – for once in my life – try to answer them!}

{Photo via Emily.}

April Group Giveaway! { + Shabby Apple Giveaway Winner}

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Item #1:  This super cute girl wants one of you to win these super cute bows from a super cute Etsy shop. That’s a lot of super cuteness to take in at once, huh?

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Kelli’s blog …. Kelli’s Twitter …… shayjayLove on Etsy

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Item #2:  This Texan expat wants to share some German chocolate with one of you lucky ducks.  Trust me, parting with chocolate this delicious is no easy feat.  She’s a generous one, I’m tellin’ ya!

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Alex’s blog …. Alex’s Twitter …. Alex’s Facebook

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Item #3:  This New Yorker (and the artist behind my travel sidebar!) is about to launch her own magazine, which will focus on aspiring artists in the music, art, literary and fashion industries, and she wants one of you to have a copy of it.  Unfortunately, the blue-eyed puppy does not come with it.

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Debbie’s blog…. Vitality’s FacebookVitality’s Twitter

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Item #4:  This Italian-American beauty wants one of your homes to smell like a combination of pears and the Garden of Eden.  I just think that’s the nicest thing I’ve heard all day!

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Erica’s blogErica’s TwitterErica’s Pinterest

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Item #5:  Not only does this college student have the most bangin’ bangs, but she makes her own jewelry, headbands and bows.  And she wants to send one of you a couple of bracelets that haven’t even debuted in her shop yet.  What a doll!

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Kaity’s blogKaity’s TwitterLa Plus Belle on Etsy

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All followers of this blog are eligible to win. 

To enter, please leave a comment below, telling me which prize(s) you’d like most.

For extra entries, like/follow/heart any of the links provided above, and leave a comment for each.

For yet another entry, tweet about the giveaway (link: http://bit.ly/IJcPHO ) & tag me (@jenni_AT_DE).

Giveaway ends April 30!  Best of luck to you all!

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Winner of Shabby Apple giveaway:

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Thanks to all who entered.  And congrats, Tina!  Just sent you an email.  :)

source for milka bar image

blog anatomy 101

Sunday, April 15, 2012

 

take 1: 

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i call this one, “somebody got a little mixed up with the blog title”. 

 

take 2:

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…because sometimes it takes two tries to get those countries straightened out.

 

take 3:

Watching Bin Laden's death

daryl came to the rescue with this one, after i decided that 1 picture of myself in a blog header is enough.

 

take 4:

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paige designed this for me, as well as the rest of my blog (heaven knows i’m a mess when it comes to HTML).  debbie sketched the countries in the ‘travel log’ sidebar (she also did megan’s header; i just think she’s oh-so-talented!).  both girls were so easy to work with and very patient with my suggestions and re-suggestions and re-re-suggestions.  they were also super speedy and efficient and i can’t recommend their services enough.  hope you like what we came up with together!  i certainly do ;)

a little tiny travel tip

Thursday, April 12, 2012

For those of us who don't live on the east coast of the United States, flying home to the States from Central or Eastern Europe can be a royal pain. Once, I flew home to Oklahoma from Eastern Europe (Poland), and it took me a little over 24 hours. Another time, I flew home from Athens, Greece and it took me around 30 hours. Why? Because unless you're willing to pay upwards of thousands of dollars, you will be hard-pressed to find a direct flight from that far east to that far west. Usually, it involves flying somewhere in central Europe first, stopping for a layover....then flying somewhere in Western Europe, stopping for a layover...then flying somewhere on the east coast of the United States, stopping for a layover....you get the picture. It's not fun.

I've developed the opinion that it's worth it (and still cheaper, in the end) to make a little 2-3 day stopover in the UK or Belgium and then fly directly home from there, to break up the travel time and relieve some of the airport-craze-induced stress. When I've taken that approach in the past, I've usually been able to find a direct flight from Western Europe to Dallas, Texas, which is just a 30 minute flight from Oklahoma. It does add some expense to arrange the extra mini-trip (especially if you stay in London, a city which always seems to empty my bank account, no matter how careful I am....thank you, GBP), but if you know someone in the area who is willing to house you, you get free lodging and end up feeling so much more refreshed in the end. It's never a good feeling reuniting with family and friends at the airport - whom you haven't seen in several months - and looking like you've just been run over by a truck, after having spent the past day and a half either sleeping in a plane seat or passed out on the airport floor, uncomfortably intertwined with your luggage so as to protect it from wandering thieves.

If "home" for you is NYC or D.C., then forget everything I just said, because you can pretty much find a direct flight to your city from anywhere in the world. ....or so it seems to a girl who's spent the better part of the past 3 years wondering when Oklahoma City's Will Rogers Airport will be considered among the ranks of JFK or Washington Dulles. The answer to that is: never.

And speaking of Belgium, I took this photo the last time I was there (a shot of Grote Markt in Brussels).

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And that's the end of that!

wicklow national park, ireland

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

what better way to bring the ‘europe with my family’ recap to a close than with a look at ireland’s wicklow national park?

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observations made during our day in wicklow:

1.  my dad loves cemeteries.

2.  my dad loves taking pictures of cemeteries.

3.  it’s fun to say, “hey, look! this is where the sword fight scene in the princess pride was filmed*!”

4.  my parents have really mastered the ‘solemn in the graveyard’ face.

5.  ireland gets greener (and prettier) by the day.

 

 

*no – this is not where the sword fight scene in the princess bride was filmed.  but apparently part of ps i love you was filmed there?

cobh, ireland.

Monday, April 9, 2012

 

 

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is this a real place?  i guess so, ‘cause i was there….but looking at these pictures makes me wonder if it does, indeed, exist.  i think i’ll have to go back just to be sure…..  sounds good to me!  see ya soon, cobh.

painting the roses red (in ireland)

Thursday, April 5, 2012

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^^  i call this one:  “some flowers, and my sister.”  ^^

you know that episode of ‘the hills’ where the snooty intern from new york walks around the flower shop, pointing at exotic flowers and saying things like, “oh, that’s a credenza!” and “would you just look at that abyssinian shrivelfig!?”  well, she’d love ireland!

and did you know?  that same intern is the cousin of a guy who studied abroad with me in salzburg.  he told me they (mtv) offered her her own spin-off reality show about her life in nyc but that his aunt and uncle (i.e. the snooty intern’s parents) were very opposed to it and thought it’d compromise her studies.  they made her turn down the offer.  and she was quite bummed, evidently.  and then they offered whitneythe city’  and look what happened!  (i loved that show!  i was so sad when it got cancelled.  bring it back, mtv, bring it back!  we’d so much rather watch shows about fashion interns and models and their hot australian boyfriends than shows about pregnant oompa-loompas running around new jersey!) but anyway… i know him!  that intern’s cousin!  if that’s not a claim to fame, i don’t know what is.

so in conlusion, ireland has the best flowers.  and that’s that.

the blarney castle (time spent in cork, ireland)

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

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my fear of heights prevented me from kissing the blarney stone.

also, i sort of think that kissing something a million other people have also pressed their lips against is gross.

but….i enjoyed touring the castle!  and cork is clearly beautiful.  and green.  we like green.