Thursday, April 1, 2010
One week from today I will be headed home. It is so bittersweet. I am not ready to say Goodbye to Switzerland. I have made such great friendships and have so many amazing memories here that it's so hard to leave. I am ready to be home for summer though. It has all gone by so fast that I don't quite know what do now. It has truly been the most amazing experience of my life, hands down. It's something that I will always remember for the rest of my life and be able to look back on my life and say "Switzerland changed me". For the last week, besides focusing on finals and papers, I'm just focusing on cherishing the time we have left and the friends who I'll be saying bye to. But in one week I'll be home in sunny California!
Houses of Parliament
The Lion King on Stage
The Globe Theater: where Shakespeare's plays were performed
The London Eye
Changing of the Guard
After 11 straight days of traveling for Spring Break we decided to stay home the following weekend and catch up on some school work and get some rest. The next weekend, for the last travel weekend of the year, we flew to London to visit Natalie! We had booked a super cheap flight a few months back and applied to stay in the London Pepperdine House. However, a few days before leaving we found out that we did not get a spot in the house so we needed to book a hotel or hostel somewhere close by. Well, this was no easy task. After much frustration and stress we finally booked a quite expensive hostel that was no less than a 2o minute walk from the house. We got to London and decided to hang with Natalie at the London house before going to the hostel, of which we arrived at at midnight. I can't even find the right words to explain how disgusting the hostel was. For close to $200 we paid to sleep in a room with 4 other random guys who we had no idea would be in our room, the beds were barely big enough to fit your entire body, and bathrooms were no where in sight (except for communal ones down the hall that had naked boys and disgusting wet floors covered in hair). Needless to say all I wanted to do was cry, or go home. But going home wasn't a possibility so Alex and I, out of sheer fear, slept together in the same bunk bed (of which was covered in mold). We set our alarm for 7am and woke up and got the heck out of there. Luckily, our prayers had come through and we were accepted to stay at the Pepperdine House for the next 2 nights. Such a blessing!!! For the next 2 days we spent time walking around London, seeing Parliament, Big Ben, the London Eye and Westminster Abbey. It was such a great time and I absolutely loved London, mainly because it is a European city that speaks English so I was able to get myself around! Imagine that. I hadn't seen Natalie much over Christmas break and I was so excited to see her. After spending 3 days with her I realized how much I had missed and it only made me even more excited for next year when we will all be together again back at Pepperdine! We always have such a great time together. Although, by far, my favorite part of the weekend was seeing Lion King on stage in London the first night we were there. It was absolutely spectacular! The costumes, singing and music were fabulous and I was blown away the entire time. This was something I have always wanted to see and now that I have I can say that it was one of the best things I have ever spent my money on.
Monday, March 22, 2010
Ok. So after having found out that more people read this blog than just my mom, I thought I would apologize for the lack of commitment to the blog. I have really been slacking off and not writing details as I did before. Things have been crazy busy over here so I only write when I get the chance and usually it's not a lot of time so I have been keeping it to a bare minimum and just discussing details over the phone. Anyways, thought I would apologize for the uninteresting blog and hope that I can only explain these things when I get home. It will give us something to talk about right?
Sunday, March 14, 2010
Statue that inspired the Little Mermaid, Copenhagen
Cool Ice Mugs in the Ice Bar
Absolut Ice Bar in Stockholm
This is what Spring looks like in Sweden
Irish Step Dancing during dinner one night in Dublin
Wicklow, place where the movies were filmed
St. Stephen's Green, Dublin
The Guinness Factory in Dublin, Ireland
Spring this year was 11 days and I traveled with three friends, Andrew Amy and Alex. Of course, not thinking about weather conditions in February we chose to go to North. We did Northern and Southern Ireland, Sweden and Denmark. In Belfast, Ireland we stayed with a family that Andrew knew and they had the cutest little house with 5 kids and were the best family ever. Super nice and cooked us the best meals. After Belfast we took a train to Dublin where we stayed for 3 days. It was so cold but so beautiful. We took a bus out to the countryside and it was just as you've seen on TV. Absolutely green and rolling hills of Ireland that everyone imagines. This was by far my favorite part and we got to see the places where Braveheart and PS I Love You were filmed. From Dublin we flew to Stockholm, Sweden and this was the coldest city we went to. It snowed the entire time. However, the city was really neat. Stockholm is made up of a ton of tiny little islands that are connected by small bridges. So there are bridges that go over the Baltic sea and separate all the little islands. It was really cool to see the city but we spent most of our time inside cafe's or the movie theaters because of the constant snow. From Stockholm we took a train to Copenhagen, Denmark. It frigid cold, but snowy so it was a little nice. This city is right on the water too and is known for its waterways with old boats and such that line the streets. It was my next favorite city after Dublin. We walked around the city mostly and then enjoyed our Marriot hotel. Amy found an amazing deal at the Marriot so we stayed in a super nice room which was a nice way to end the trip where we had stayed in cold hostels every other night. We slept in, got warm and watched 3 movies in the hotel room and still managed to see Copenhagen. I was so glad that we had actually taken the time to relax at some point in our trip. Had we not, we would have been so exhausted when we got back.
It was such a long trip so I don't want to bore you guys with details, but it was an amazing time and I saw some places I would have never seen otherwise.
Monday, February 15, 2010
This semester for our Education Field Trip the entire group went to Greece for a week. We stayed on the mainland in Athens and took a boat out to some of the small islands on one of the days. Greece was so awesome and crazy and fun. I love traveling with the whole group because you really get to make some close friendships and strengthen the ones you already have. Last semester I saw it happen in Corsica and I had been looking forward to it in Greece. We left Monday morning and split the group in half on two flights going over. We arrived at our hotel, threw our luggage on the bed and opened our curtains only to see the Acropolis and Parthenon sitting atop the hill right outside our window. It was one of the coolest things to see. The first thing they gave us when we got there was 8 hours of free time to explore the city. I chose to go with my professor to Mars Hill, the place where Paul gave his famous speech to the Athenians. We walked up to this mound made out of marble that had a steep staircase to get to the top of, so we all climbed up while holding on because it was so slippery and when we got to the top it was such a beautiful view. One direction was a clear view of the Acropolis and Parthenon, the other was the Agoura and on the other side was a complete panoramic view of Athens, Greece. Of course we stood up there taking pictures for quite some time and then finally we took a moment to let it set in that we were sitting atop the very hill that Paul had once preached from. Being the Christian group that we are, my friend Amy had a bible in her backpack and we sat on the hill as she read the passage of Paul preaching on that same hill. That was such a cool experience, especially since we read the passage at dusk and got to see the view at sunset.
The next few days it decided to rain on us but luckily we were in the shelter of tour busses driving us around Greece. We went to ancient cities and ruins and ate the best food of our lives. On the third day we took a boat out to the islands of which I was really excited for. Turns out, it was a little bit of a let down. Since it was winter many of the shops and stands were closed and the weather wasn’t all that great. Also, I was expecting the white houses with the blue tops and the glistening blue water that I’ve always seen in pictures of the Greek Isles, that is not at all what we got. Things were definitely white with blue accents, but it looked nothing like I had seen in all the pictures. They were still really cute and pleasant islands though. I just wish we had been able to go to Santorini or Mykonos (the famous Greek Isles).
At the end of the trip we strolled the morning markets and bartered with people and bought fresh strawberries and eventually headed to the airport. There is so much more to say about the trip but I don’t want to drag it on. I think I got the general gist of it out though. The pictures will tell all.
Saturday, February 13, 2010
Florence has always been a city that has been talked about highly and I knew I definitely wanted to visit Florence while I was in Europe. Pepperdine has an international program in Florence as well and if you travel there you are welcome to stay in their Villa for free if you can reserve a bed. So luckily we applied early enough so that we would get beds in the Villa and we didn’t have to pay for a hostel, which was so convenient. Also another perk was that we know a few of the kids in the program so they were more than willing to show us around the city all day and take us to the trendy dinner joints at night. Our suitemate Allie from last year lives in the Villa so it was really nice to be able to see her again. We arrived on Thursday night and stayed until Saturday at which point I went back to Lausanne by myself while the rest of my group went to Venice for Carnevale. I wasn’t too excited to go to Venice so I just decided to come home and have a day of rest before we headed for Greece. So on Friday we toured the city and saw the Duomo, the David and the Uffizi gallery. I enjoyed walking around a city where so much history took place. Having learned about the Renaissance, the Plague and everything else that has happened in Florence it was cool to see the city. I had always heard such great things about Italy, but to be honest I wasn’t that impressed with the city. It felt so dirty compared to Switzerland and the people are much more easily irritated and some of the streets are just too sketchy. I was completely fine only being there one full day because I felt like it was like long enough to see everything I wanted to, get some good food and wine and come back to Switzerland. After seeing Florence and the Villa and the people in the program, I had never been so happy that I had been rejected from the program in the first place. I had originally applied to study in Florence and wasn’t accepted and now I understand the saying “everything happens for a reason.” I totally would not have enjoyed Florence as much as I love Lausanne. I am so happy to be in a place that I love and can safely call my temporary home.
Last weekend we went to Paris with a group of 6 of us and rented an apartment rather than staying in a hostel because it ended up being cheaper. We stayed for 3 days and got to see most of the stuff that we wanted to see. We went to the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre Museum, Musee D’Orsay and the Arch of Triumph. Of all those things I would have to say that the Eiffel Tower was the most impressive, it was so much larger than I had ever expected. We went to the halfway point up the tower (they wouldn’t let us up all the way due to the wind) so we got to see Paris from above and while we were up there it started snowing. How many times can you say that you watched it snow from atop the Eiffel Tower?! However, the Louvre was what really caught me by surprise. I had been to the Met in New York before and thought that was the biggest museum I had ever been to, until I went to the Louvre. We waited until after 6pm on Friday because student’s get free admission so we had only 4 hours to get through the whole museum. It was completely impossible to enjoy the entire museum in 4 hours. We only got to see 2 of the 4 different wings of the museum but I was happy to see the works of art that we got to see. It was so cool to be able to see the paintings in real life that we have learning about in our Religion class and our Humanities class. I actually felt for once that I understood the paintings rather than just standing there in front of them with a blank expression. There isn’t much to say about Paris other than that we saw all the main attractions and it was absolutely freezing. I think I can legitimately say that it was the coldest I had ever been in my life. We weren’t able to do much more than site see because it was absolutely freezing outside and snowing and we were only there for 2 day. My absolute favorite part of Paris was going to Sacré-Coeur (Sacred Heart). It’s a small place on top of a hill that overlooks all of Paris and we happened to make it up there for sunset and I got some great pictures. I would love to go back to Paris in the spring or summer and see it again. I did love the city though and it was cool to see how different French sounds between Swiss French and the French from France. I felt like there was so much else to see other than the usual tourist attractions, so I would love to go back.