One year since…

Exactly one year ago, I stepped on-board a plane in Chicago and off-board that same plane in Munich, Germany.

I had thought about the trip for months leading up to it, but nothing really prepared me for the experience of spending nearly two months in a foreign country.

Immediately, I felt like I was in another world…

But, before I even got the chance to settle down in my adopted German town, my classmates and I set off on a tour of the country. First stop was Cologne (Köln), where the centerpiece was the Kölner Dom.

From there, we set off to Bonn, the former capital of Germany. There, I made some new friends…

Fell in love with daily farmers’ markets…

And learned just how seriously Germans take soccer — especially during the World Cup.

After Bonn, my class took a trip to the Mayschloss Winery. I reveled in being of legal age.

Final stop on our introductory tour of Germany was Berlin, the capital city.

You may have heard of a certain wall that once stood there…

What you may not have heard was just how delicious the German food is — even for a vegetarian!

Vegetable Strudel (Gemüse Strudel)

I also remembered just how crazy Germans are about soccer. At the “Fan Mile,” fans literally lined up for one mile to watch the game on a big screen.

After exploring the country, we got back to Holzkirchen to explore our new home.

There was a festival for the summer solstice, which featured the biggest bonfire I’ve ever seen…

There were also nearby hiking trails, which had pretty decent views.

Best of all, my sister was able to make a stop by on her way to Italy.

There was also more soccer. We went to Munich’s Olympic Stadium…

To join 50,000 friends in watching the quarter-final game versus Argentina.

Have I mentioned how much how much those Germans like their soccer?

Even for all the fun I was having, there were certainly times of homesickness. Take for example the Fourth of July, which went unrecognized as we hiked in the Alps — well, almost unrecognized.

I would have been more affected by missing my favorite holiday (<<seriously) if it wasn’t for the views…

And the friends…

And the fun…

Another highlight of the trip actually made me feel somewhat closer to home: My friend Rebecca and I made a weekend trip to Austria, which is where my family is from. It kind of made me wonder why my great-grandparents ever left…

Especially because the kombucha is super cheap there!

To break up all the hiking, we went alpine sledding…

And swimming…

Back in Germany, we visited the castle that inspired Cinderella’s.

But, before we got a chance to really settle back down, Rebecca and I set off for Luzern, Switzerland. It just happened to be the national holiday.

We spent two days exploring the city…

There were seriously fantastic views around every corner.

But they still didn’t compare to the views from nearby Mount Pilatus.

Rebecca and I got back to Germany just in time to wrap up our last week of school, say goodbye to our host families…

And head home.

Upon reflection, it all seems so exciting and amazing — which, it usually was. However, there were times when my homesickness seemed to eat me alive.

I felt so alone when my dog died…

I felt so beat when I had to say goodbye to my sister all over again…

I felt so isolated when I went days without speaking English…

I felt so unlike myself when I was thousands of miles away from a certain guy…

So, even though I can’t say the trip was without hard times, in whole it was a good time. But, next time I’m bringing Dan along.

Questions: What’s the longest you’ve ever been out of the country? Have you ever travelled alone?

Other than going to Canada, this was my first time going out of the country. Go big or go home!

Even though I definitely wasn’t alone and did make some really good friends, it was scary not knowing anyone before taking off!

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3 responses to “One year since…

  • The Hippie Health Nut

    There aren’t words to describe how jealous I am. 😛 I’ve traveled alone and I love it, but I’ve never gone outside the US for financial reasons. I did a lot of my single travel after a major break up. Some people might say I was running away from things, but I just considered it a kickoff party to a whole new life! I met some amazing people and it was a reminder of how big the world really is and how caught up we can get in one person or one problem.

  • Natalie

    What a great flashback post! I enjoyed living vicariously through your travels 🙂

  • pursuitofhealthfulness

    You will HAVE to take Dan because he was so love sick for you when you were gone!!

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