Well, it’s been a month since I’ve left Heidelberg and I’m so relieved to finally be back in Moore Haus. There are about seven people back already and it’s been so good to move back in, get comfortable, wash my clothes and relax! Tonight, all the kids that were back got together to get dinner and I just felt really good to be back with the “family” of friends that I’ve made here.
Since I left on December 7, I’ve been to Barcelona and Valencia in Spain, Frankfurt in Germany, Stockholm and Kiruna in Sweden, Paris in France, Brussels and Antwerp in Belgium, Heidelberg for a day, Paris again, and then Lviv Ukraine (via Budapest and Zahony, Hungry)…all living out of my backpack. It’s been quite the experience, to say the least. It’s almost too overwhelming to describe everything that I’ve seen in the last four-five weeks of my European travels and I’m working on sifting through my photos so that I can post the best of the best. Some of the highlights were: playing the guitar with a French dude on the beaches of Barcelona, amazing Flamenco shows and paella with sangria, dog-sledding and keeping the Aurora Borealis company in the arctic circle (Kiruna, Sweden), finding Chinatown in Antwerp, trying Caviar and borsche in Ukraine, the fresh Belgium Waffles and the AMAZING Christmas market in Brussels, meeting up with my family and squeezing into their Paris apartment for Christmas *Quristmas!*, the 27 hour train ride to Ukraine, trying to figure out Cyrillic and having dinner in a Ukranian apartment…the list goes on and on ☺
But to sum it up (forgive me for being vague!), I’ve learned a lot about what it means to live on the necessities…how to be responsible and make wise decisions…the importance of friendship…and I’ve even realized how much I am definitely a “Con” when meeting up with my family in Paris. I went to from West to the North and to the East. I saw the contrast between really prosperous countries such as France and Sweden (where a cappuccino costs 5 euro!) and then poor countries like Ukraine where water only from 6-9 am and from 6-9 pm and we could eat like royalty for the equivalence of only 8-10 dollars.
I’m really thankful that I was traveling with some great friends who always had my back and who were really intuitive, wise and just plain street smart. Because we all had the understanding that we needed to be on our toes while traveling, we made it back to Moore Haus safely! It was an exhausting month and I’m glad that I’m going to be taking a little break from traveling – but I’m sure I’m going to be ready to get out there again in a little while. I already know that I’m going to be restless to see more second semester! I’m ready for round 2!