Friday, March 30, 2012

Friday's Letters

Dear Germany:  
Thanks for being so awesome.  I can't wait to finally get out and explore you this weekend and next week.  There is so much I want to see, I have had a hard time figuring out where to start.
Heidelburg, Wurzburg and Munich is going to be a fantastic start, I think.

Dear fiance:
I miss you, and love you.
That's all.

Dear Moose and Frankenstein:
I know you probably feel a little abandoned by your mama right now, but know that there isn't a day that goes by where I don't think about you.  Your papa and I talk about how much we miss you all the time.  I hope you're keeping Grandma company and enjoying all the nuggets your surely being fed.  
We won't be away forever.

Dear body:
If you get sick, we will have problems.

Dear host family:
Thank you for being so wonderful.  Every day that passes I feel more and more comfortable.
Thank you for welcoming me into your home.

Dear mini red Fiat:
I'm starting to finally understand how you work- clutch, gas, break.  I'll admit, our first couple days together did not go very well, but it's starting to look like you're not so bad, after all.

Dear weather
Please don't rain the the entire next week.  A little is ok, but all the time? please, no.

Dear self:
This week will be your first time traveling solo.  I know you're nervous and a little scared, but you will be ok.
I promise.

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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Lake Eibsee

On Sunday my host family took me to Lake Eibsee.

This lake sits at the foot of the Zugspitze- Germany's highest mountain,
and has a surface elevation of almost 1000m.

The drive there and the lake itself gave me a taste of Bavaria,
made me want more,
and reminded me why I chose this area as my home for the next year...

Snow covered mountains,
lush, green forests,
and crystal clear lakes-
(at least the part that isn't covered in snow).

I can't wait to return in the summer time-
apparently the water is bright turquoise.

Have you been to Germany?
What is your favorite city?
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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Yosemite National Park

A couple years ago, 
I traveled with my travel buddy (the fiance) to Yosemite National Park.
I had heard about this place before.
You know, heard how amazing and beautiful it was.
But, i'll be completely honest, I was not prepared for Yosemite.

Yosemite is an absolute treasure.
And one of the most, if not the most, beautiful places I have ever been lucky enough to view with my two eyes.
It is a place where, even for just a moment, time stops.
It's just you- surrounded by completely raw, natural, and spectacular beauty.
A place man played no part in shaping.

It is one of my favorite places in this world.

If you are ever planning a visit to California, 
this should be a the top of your list.

You will not be disappointed.
I promise.

To enjoy its full beauty, 
plan some hikes,
get up high, 
and see the park from different angles.

Just get lost.

Have you been to Yosemite?

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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Spaghetti Eis

Big news-
I ate this the other day...

It's called, Spaghetti Eis.
also known as, ice cream.

The host fam and I took a little trip to the neighboring village, Bad Tolz, for some sweets.
This was what I got.
And, I ate the entire thing.

Friends, it was goooooood.
I will be back.
next time-
spaghetti eis with strawberries.
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Saturday, March 24, 2012

Benediktbeuern, Germany

Germany has been my home for nearly 5 days.
I'll admit,
I cried a lot my first day here,
in my room,
on Skype with the fiance.
Not because the family isn't amazing- they are,
but, mostly because I was exhausted,
in a new place,
and just trying to make sense of it all.

With each day that passes,
I feel more comfortable-
more and more at home.
I'm starting to see that this was the right decision for me.
I am happy.
(aside from missing the fiance all the time)

I wanted to share some photos with you of the village I now call home-
at least for the next year.

Welcome to,
Benediktbeuern, Germany

window to my bedroom

the Alps are literally in my backyard

I am hoping to travel to a few villages and cities in southern Germany,
Salzburg or Vienna, Austria,
and maybe Prague,
in April.
(mostly day trips)

My schedule is flexible, 
and I have a lot of time to travel in April, end of May and June.
The whole point of this experience is to get out and see Europe,
so, why waste any time?

If you are interested in learning more about working as an Au pair,
visit Alex's blog,

Overall, I am so happy I took the leap to make this happen.
Don't get me wrong,
there will be days that are exhausting-
taking care of two kids isn't a joke, 
and being away from family, friends and the fiance is an everyday challenge,
But, I am lucky,
and found a family that is so warm, 
and so welcoming,
it is hard not to feel like you are part of the family.

The biggest challenge?
learning how to drive a manual car.

Hope all of you had a wonderful week!

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guest post, Jenna (South Africa)

Hi friends!
Today, Jenna will be sharing some tips on living/moving abroad.
Jenna is an expat living in South Africa,
and, she's awesome.
I'm tempted to get on a plane and fly to visit her.

Head over to her blog and make a new friend!
You'll be happy you did!


Hello Lost&Found readers!  

I'm so thrilled that Bailey asked me to guest post for her while she gets situated in her new European home!  I can't wait to live vicariously through her life as an au pair in Germany.

I guess introductions should come first.  My name is Jenna and I blog over at A Home Away From Home about my life as an American ex-pat living in South Africa.  South Africa started out as a semester abroad experience for me in 2008, but when I met and fell in love with a local my life was forever changed and I sort of never left and still find myself here today.  It's amazing the surprises that life can throw your way isn't it?

While trying to decide what to post about today I found myself going back to the months before I moved to South Africa and all the tips and advice that I wished people would have given me before I officially took the plunge {so to speak}.  So today I decided that I would do exactly that, and give some tips and tricks I've picked up along way on moving and adjusting to life in a foreign country.

Tip #1: Pack Smart

This point cannot be stressed enough.  The key here is to pack light, but also remember the essentials: jeans, leggings, boots, a good quality jacket, a dress, a pair of heels, a scarf, a bathing suit etc.  I've been guilty of both sides of this one before, both packing way too light and only taking casual clothes and running shoes {see picture above in Croatia} and also packing way too much and running into major problems at the airport on my way back home {involving lots of tears and having to buy and re-pack a third bag at the airport and then paying $300 to check it}.  My suggestion is to take one large suitcase with you to the destination and then leave room to bring one more suitcase home full of all of the amazing things you've acquired in your abroad.

Tip #2: Meet and Make Friends with Locals

While it can seem really daunting, meeting and becoming friends with locals is one of the most enriching parts of living in a foreign country, and one of the best ways to transition into your new home.  Don't be afraid to start a conversation with a random stranger, join local interest clubs, or attend community events.  Ask new found friends for help when you aren't sure of something, join them for a dinner in their home, and be up for going on spontaneous weekend trips.  You'll be surprised how quickly you start to feel like a local yourself and get to know all of the non-touristy hot-spots in the city!

Tip #3: Consciously Embrace Each Moment 

Make a point of trying something new everyday and taking constant mental pictures.  Try foods that you normally wouldn't, visit new places in and around the city, take spontaneous trips, volunteer your time, enroll for language classes, stay out all night, go bungy jumping... the list could go on and on.  Although six months or a year may seem like a long time right now, it will fly by and before you know it you'll be on your way home again.  I also recommend keeping a daily journal where you can jot down anything you never want to forget and include clippings of receipts, museum tickets, brochures, etc.  My roommate did this during our first semester in SA and looking back I really wish I would have done it too!

Tip #4: Catch the Travel Bug

No matter what type of budget you're on, try and take advantage of all the incredible places around you {especially if you're in a place like Europe like Miss Bailey is}.  Save money by making use of public transport and discount airlines, staying in hostels/backpackers, seeking out free activities, buying your own food for lunch and then having a picnic, scoping out group/student discounts, and only taking a set amount of money out with you at night {I've learned this last one the hard way}.  You never know when/if you'll be so close to so many amazing cities and countries again so get all you can out of long weekends and breaks!

Tip #5: Expect Culture Shock / Homesickness, but also know that you'll get through it!

Unfortunately moving abroad also means leaving loved one's behind and almost everyone will go through some form of culture shock or homesickness.  Expect that this will happen and know that it's part of living so far from home.  Luckily there's skype {which has been a complete and utter life saver} and staying in contact with those back home isn't half as difficult as it used to be.  Try and focus on enjoying the present moment and remember that your stay isn't permanent.  Oddly enough, when it finally comes time to return to your home country, you'll in all likelihood experience reverse culture shock and miss everything about your new-found home abroad!

And for anyone who's interested, here's a few of my favorite posts on life abroad:

Thoughts on Being an Ex-pat

Four Years, 10 Favorites

Long Flight Essentials

Thanks so much for having me Bailey - I can't wait to hear all about your exciting new adventures in Germany!


Isn't she the sweetest?

Thank you, Jenna!

I will be back and posting regularly starting tomorrow.
I have many pictures of my new home to share with you!
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