My week in Germany

I’m slowly waking up from a deep sleep—that I needed ever so desperately. As work, family and personal stress come to a head, I needed rest and have been reflecting on the pain I’m feeling this month. Juan and I would’ve been married four years in a few days (and went on our first date almost ten years ago today). The holidays are painful without him, and without being close to some of my immediate family. I’m feeling so lost when it comes to my health problems and with some of the difficult conversations I need to have with others—including the one(s) I need to have with myself.

When I reflect back on my week in Germany last month, I was obviously feeling some of this physical and emotional pain, but I was able to live in the moment and feel the love of friends-turned-family; I didn’t realize how much I needed that until I was there living it.

Here are some of my favorite moments from my week with Saskia and her parents—full of love, laughter and happiness. 💛

Photos taken Monday, October 17 through Sunday, October 23, 2022

October

The first month being without a husband, the first full month of being away from Chicago, the beginning of losing people left and right, my body shutting down on me and my first full month of not being at peace with my current circumstances.

HOWEVER, what an exciting month it has been! AND what incredible people I have in my life—who have showed up like none other.

Here were some of my favorite memories last month, and hope this kind of support and hope continues into November.

Celebrating my best friend’s birthday at Ren Fest!
…and spending time with new friends, too!
Supporting and celebrating my friend’s tattoo shop grand opening!
Leading the way in the scariest haunted house
Veronica’s and my first RHPS!
Our third annual Witches Night Out!
Celebrating my best friend and her little one!
…and my parents watching Lin while I was away!
Reuniting with my best friend and her parents in Germany!
Saskia surprised me with the best sushi dinner!
…and the sweetest birthday brunch!
Clubbing, just like the good ole days!
Parting ways at the airport
Saying hello to my Norwegian Uncle, Kjell!
Bergen: My happy place!
Fishing for my dinner
“Getting arrested” by Kjell and his partner!
…and finally meeting his oldest son, Mangus!
Always good to reunite with Markus!
Parting ways with Kjell at 4am
Reuniting with Lin!
Handing out candy with dad!

Friends are the family we choose

Today is one of my best friend’s birthdays. Saskia and I met ten years ago, and our friendship has proven the test of time and distance. I haven’t seen Sassi in person since 2016 (which is quite depressing to think about!), but we use WhatsApp to communicate on a weekly basis. She and I are closer than some of my family and friends who live close in proximity; she truly is my family right now. Although I love hearing her voice, I can’t wait to see Saskia again and give her the big hug that she deserves! Happy birthday, Saskia 🙂💛

Happy International Women’s Day!

Today’s post is for some of my favorite women that I’ve either met abroad or are from another country (or both)!  People are the reason why I love travel as much as I do; it’s about immersing yourself in new cultures and creating strong friendships along the way.  In case you’re reading this, thank you for all of the fond memories, laughs and sharing once-in-a-lifetime experiences with me 🙂

Saskia – friends since 2011 (met through foreign exchange)

image1

Hamburg, Germany – 2012

IMG_6215

Hamburg, Germany – 2016

Carolyn – friends since 2014 (met as roommates in France)

IMG_4172

Aix-en-Provence, France – 2014

Anwar – friends since 2015 (met as coworkers at our SVSU Writing Center)

IMG_9060

Saginaw Valley State University – 2015

Bethany – friends since 2016 (met as exchange students in Sweden)

IMG_5598

Chicago – 2018

Jacomijne – friends since 2016 (met as exchange students in Sweden)

IMG_7038

Arctic Circle, Sweden – 2016

Gloria, Jagoda & Hui Jun – friends since 2016 (met as exchange students in Sweden)

IMG_6609

Lund, Sweden – 2016

Kaila – friends since 2017 (met as volunteers in Chiang Rai, Thailand)

IMG_3204

Bangkok – 2017

It’s Always Happy in Hamburg (March, 2016)

I have visited a dear friend in Hamburg, Germany twice now: once in 2012 and once in 2016. I love this city very much and have nothing but good things to say about it. In fact, Hamburg was my first city visited outside of North America and has been a gateway for my many adventures abroad! The late night dancing, scenery, food, streets, harbor and good company keep me easily entertained and happy whenever I spend time with Saskia and her parents!

Hamburg, Germany in Photographs

During my junior year of high school, I met a foreign exchange student named Saskia.  Saskia grew up in Hamburg, Germany, and never once did I imagine that we would become best friends.  It was hard parting ways with her; however, I knew it was not goodbye (just “see you later”).

Rather than having a graduation party the summer after, I decided to go on a three week trip to visit her and her parents.  It was the first foreign city I have experienced…and it sure hasn’t been the last!  Hamburg holds a special place in my heart, which has inspired me to travel even more.

These photos are not the best and are not edited whatsoever.  The few inserted in this post are some of the only photos I have on my desktop as we speak.  I wanted this post to feel immediate and as true to my feelings as much as possible; I miss Germany and I miss Saskia way too much.

I hope this post inspires you to look back on distant memories and own them; it is better to “feel all the feels” instead of masking your true, raw emotions.

My friend's home in Germany.

My friend’s home in Germany.

Petting zoo outside of the city!

Petting zoo outside of the city!

IMG_1876

When the monkey tried to steal my chapstick...

When the monkey tried to steal my chap-stick…

My German family

My German family

Uptown Hamburg, Germany

Uptown Hamburg, Germany

In the shopping district!

In the shopping district!

Hamburg nightlife!

Hamburg nightlife!

Alterhaus

Alsterhaus

Last night in Hamburg

Last night in Hamburg

Hopefully one day I can visit Hamburg, Germany again!  I also hope that you can revisit your favorite spot, or relive your most cherished memory…