Author Archives: One World, 4 Girls

About One World, 4 Girls

Hello! My name is Lillian and my family of 6 took a trip around the world for 8 months. I used my blog to document the places we visited, pictures, and my thoughts, ideas, and opinions. Check it out to read about our travels and follow us as we find our new place in the world and experience where life will take us next!

The Hills are Alive!

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Now that school has started (at a comfortable 9 am this week only), I can only go on to describe our quick vacation in the depths Bavaria…  We have seen plenty of picturesque places – the cliffs and rolling hills of Andalusia, Spain, the sunrise over a glowing Venice, the warm and ancient temples of Angkor Wat. But I have never appreciated a landscape so close to the one of “The Sound of Music.”

We arrived in Munich to awaiting family, and the next few days were ones filled with talk, coffee, cake, and more talk with various family, friends, and friends of family. We visited lakes, went sailing, shopping, and generally relaxed in our allotted vacation time. The weather held out just for us, and it was a beautiful 75 degrees Fahrenheit with blue skies and a gentle breeze. I never will get used to Celsius.

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After the city of Munich and all of the acquaintances were crossed off the list, we rolled in our borrowed Fiat 500 through the Bavarian countryside… We passed through countless towns in which the “Welcome” and “Goodbye!” signs came after another with such quick succession that soon they all blended together and we forgot we were in the town in the first place. Then, if you wanted to get even smaller (which was quite possible), there was the little sign with a convoluted name on it, pointing to 2-5 houses max. All of this is, of course, surrounded in a sea of deep green corn fields, with the rolling hills like waves and little red barns scattered throughout this ocean like white caps. The Alps provided the holy sight of land in the far off distance. More country-side amenities such as horses, sheep, and church spires were also available on the horizon.

Woehr and Munich 5 (4)

Then came Woehr. If you haven’t heard of it, I am disappointed but not exactly surprised. It is a destination by invitation only… Woehr was one of these little villages, that comprised of, well, one house. This house was a recent addition of some close family that normally lives in Munich, and now also have a retreat in the countryside, where they welcomed us with open arms. We would have missed it had it not been for both the little yellow sign peeping “I’m here!” and our eyes glued to those handy Google Maps directions. This is a tiny exaggeration, as we did see one other house at the end of the dirt road, but then the story wouldn’t be as good. As we got used to the splendor and comfort of Woehr, we also indulged in plenty of “the Sound of Music”.

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Woehr and Munich 1 (1)

This is Woehr.

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When my sisters watch a movie, especially a musical, they tend to spend the next couple of days singing the songs of that particular musical with the vigor and dedication of lifetime fans. Then the phase passes. But for our time in Woehr,  the particular musical and following phase was, of course, “The Sound of Music”. It seemed that all of a sudden, everything was Maria, the nun – Josephine started having a hilarious time pointing to various objects or people and singing, “How do you solve a problem like Maria??” and then breaking into peals of hysterical laughter. My other sisters, on the contrary, enjoyed the song, “My Favorite Things” to the point where even I had it stuck in my head, and of course, “The Hills are Alive… with the Sound of Music.” They naturally infected our third cousins with the singing bug, and soon the house was ringing.

When we walked down to the magnificent house and adjacent barn from bathing in our pristine little lake, over the grass with the church spire, corn fields, and mountains behind us, it felt almost surreal. As we went riding at sunset in blissfully quiet surroundings and the sky was colored pink and orange and the mountains were the clearest I’ve ever seen them, the hills had never been more alive. Oh, and all of the kids were singing too.

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Woehr and Munich 6 (3)

Ridiculous.

Ridiculous.

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Starting to look like home…

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Due to the Deutsche Bahn tickets scheduled for 2 weeks of relaxation,  I must apologize, for this blog post has been sitting and waiting to be posted for far too long. Unfortunately, I am a perfectionist and felt the absolute need to add pictures. Our last taste of summer in Münich will be posted shortly!

Contrary to what we were doing in all of June, we are insisting on settling into Berlin, not seeing it. We are unpacking heavy boxes instead of even-heavier suitcases. Instead of delirious jet-lag my mom and I had come down with a summer cold and we can now get on the U-Bahn to a certain destination without consulting the map three times. And I know for a fact that I now know more about IKEA than I ever knew or thought I would know…

Your average shopping trip at our nearest Lidl...

Your average shopping trip at our nearest Lidl…

Since purchasing our beds, closets, and various other appliances that are either Siemens or IKEA, we have been working hard at putting them in place. After building and un-building our stuff countless times, my father knows more than all of us about the distinctive IKEA building style. So we threw the picture-comic instructions aside and went on our intuition, which, with the aim of the directions and assembly being “simple”, wasn’t all that hard. Everything was packaged in long packages of cardboard, and so I am weary to say that I have broken down and folded and squashed and jumped on and bullied more pieces of stubborn cardboard than I ever care to admit. After 9 hours of screwing, drilling, alan-wrenching, and hammering, we collapsed into a package of tortellini, bought as a last-second attempt to make food at home and not go out. Everything looked great – save for ourselves and the fact that, due to our uneven floors, my tall closet was leaning forward at a scary angle until we remedied the problem by shoving broken pieces of wood under it. IKEA is all about accessorizing right?

The movers came on the 8th of July with a fat truck full of our boxes. They also had all day and therefore weren’t in a monumental rush to haul all of the boxes up the 4 flights of stairs. Instead, they slowly rolled their lift up until they reached our window and started loading boxes that way, thereby avoiding a whole lot of stairs and sweat. They offered the lift as an extra cost and seeing as we weren’t the ones moving everything, we naturally declined the 450 Euro add-on. Of course, they brought the lift anyways. Only after making absolutely positively sure that my parent’s mattress did not and would not fit through the window did they haul something up those dreadful stairs, which ended up being the first and last time. As the day wore on, the “we’ve got all day” attitude ended and we scrambled to unpack every box.

Faster - Faster!

Faster – Faster!

The packers in Chicago packed us. And so the unpackers here in Berlin had to unpack us. And take the packaging material with them – which we were grateful for. After climbing the fence of the next door school to stuff our squashed boxes from IKEA into their paper trash dumpster multiple times, we were not in a hurry to have to somehow hide mountains of packing paper, stacks of bubble wrap, and oceans of Styrofoam peanuts in someone else’s trash because the puny containers in our courtyard are not enough. Apart from the fact that our apartment looked like it had just exploded and we were completely exhausted, it was a pretty productive day. Since then, our days in Berlin have been a little less intense, and the apartment already has seen an exponential decline in the amount of boxes sitting around. In fact, we are unpacked and it’s starting to look  like home.

The first (or second) batch of hot chocolate in the new kitchen.

The first (or second) batch of hot chocolate in the new kitchen.

Home is where the heart (and toys) are.

Home is where the heart is… and where the toys are.

A Recaptured Month…

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It has been one month since arriving here in Berlin. As always, time travels faster than one thinks possible and yet the day of our departure seems like yesterday. We have certainly accomplished more here in one month than we would have in Chicago. Throwing the need for relaxation aside and sometime into the future, we have jumped from one place to the next within the city and our to-do list.

Racing ahead...

Racing ahead…

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We have:

  • Become real residents here, as is now shown on our passports and every other official-looking piece of paper, complete with a multitude of stamps to verify that we are indeed who we say we are and actually living here.

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  • Signed up for the BVG transportation services to avoid the ticket-buying hassle and instead got official photos, which were attached to official cards, which were stamped elaborately for at least 10 minutes.
  • Gone to IKEA twice to look and finally to buy. Decisions regarding beds, closet combinations, bookshelves, lamps, and more were decided. Trips to the new apartment were taken frequently in order to make extra sure what we buy will positively absolutely fit. As my father says, “measure twice, cut once”. In this case, buy once… Or four times if you have four kids.
Testing out mattresses at IKEA with a passive vigor...

Testing out mattresses at IKEA with a passive vigor…

  • We have swung on almost every swing, ran on almost every fortress, and zipped on absolutely every zip line we have come across. We have even developed a playground-rating system. I believe a 5-star playground includes at least 2 Ping-Pong tables, a huge fortress with climbing walls, at least 2 swings, a creative and unique aspect, a big playing field, a water-pumping system, a tree house, an obstacle course, other stuff I can’t remember, and of course, a high-speed quality zip line. Believe it or not, we’ve come pretty close to a 5-star. This is officially child-heaven.
  • We have pushed our way through as many flea markets as we can, searching valiantly for things to decorate our new home with. Emilia bought a bag of old stamps and Josephine a babushka doll. So much for antique furniture…
Flea markets are as crazy as some of the places in South-East Asia, minus the women hacking live fish to pieces with cleavers.

Flea markets are as crazy as some of the places in South-East Asia, minus the women hacking live fish to pieces with cleavers.

  • We have visited the must-see sites such as the Reichstag, the Berlin Wall, Kurfurstendamm, and of course, the KaDeWe, a massive shopping center that has practically everything you could expect to be there, more, and a massive floor dedicated to every food ever.
Bear-pit karoake at the Berlin Wall Park...

Bear-pit karoake at the Berlin Wall Park…

Turkish Döner Kepab always brighten up a day's trip.

Turkish Döner Kepab always brightens up a day’s trip.

  • But, most importantly of all, we have found it necessary to try most ice cream places we see, at the going rate of one scoop per day. I’m pretty sure we would have gotten fat were it not for the ample amount of parks to go running (a new pastime of mine) and swimming pools complete with a heated outdoor and a 35 meter slide.

German efficiency has prevailed. 🙂

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Writing about Writing – a philosophical blog post

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Dating to the beginnings of my keeping a notebook, and in between travel tips and small high school anecdotes, sometimes I write about writing. About what it feels like, why we do it. Why I do it. Just as a coincidence, it was my WordPress anniversary on June 12th, and since these 2 years of writing, it is high time I write. About writing.

“I’ve never thought of myself as a writer. I still don’t. I also don’t know why. Writing has never particularly been a favorite with me. I don’t write stories for fun, or keep a diary (although this is similar)… When I write, it’s with enthusiasm about all of the words I’m shaping into moving snapshots of the places I’ve been. Or into the tapestry of my thoughts. Or into the rising and falling sound of my feelings. But I don’t think of myself as a writer.”

-Written on the train from Xi’an to Taiyuwan, China. April, 2012.

Since then I guess this has become a diary. But a sophisticated one I hope, lacking the stereotypical “dear diary” nonsense and the endless ramblings of a simple day and instead, my thoughts.

“I love how writing makes time stop still. It captures that moment, that snapshot, and keeps it present for the future. But that could be said about all art – about photography and song. Writing has something different though. It is not a visible representation of all we see, but a collage of words, the ultimate catalyst to communication, to relationships, to the sharing of your soul and your thoughts.”

“I just finished Earnest Hemingway’s “For whom the bell tolls”. I don’t pretend to understand all of it – but it is about more than war and the Spanish culture. More than the endurances of the soul and the acceptance of the passing of life. Its chaotic writing style that is neither one way or another and its constantly evolving point of view almost mimics the human soul. It mimics the way we think – a chaotic mess that is impossible to follow, and yet provides us with all we need to know.”

“Sometimes fewer words provide you with more. And when they don’t suffice to describe exactly what you mean, the writer must just trust, trust in the hope that the reader understands. Such as now. That is why we write. To make our feelings shareable, understandable. It is useless we all know. Feelings are indescribable. And maybe it is this acceptance and thereafter utter denial that provides us with the most beautiful art.”

“You sit down with the intent to write what was in your head so beautifully, and instead write about something completely different – it is like the lines of the page spur a landslide of thoughts, and this time, just this once, you pen is as close to your thoughts as can be in the chasm of time.”

-Written in Berlin. Yesterday.

It’s official – we are Berliners!

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It’s official – we are Berliners!

A couple of days ago we happily celebrated my mother’s birthday. The number attached will remain confidential. However, age is just a number. I may not see this the same way when I am older, but I think this somehow will still hold true. Age, like time, is a perception, created by our own minds. Some people age much faster, and some are still a kid when they turn 30. My mother says I’ve been 21 since I turned 11… Maybe that’s why those years all seem the same to me when I reflect upon my maturity. When you think about the whole wide world and all there is to see, I know that with more age comes more experience, and thereby more life.

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After only 9 days here in Germany, we have already gotten pretty far. We are now officially living here, in case you didn’t know already, according to the Bürgeramt. Our German passports now display Berlin as “Place of Residence”, Chicago crossed off viciously and orderly with permanent marker. Not only have we registered ourselves with the German state in an efficient German manner, but also managed to find an apartment for a price that is, as the broker stated, “just not found anymore”. He also shared with us that he recommended us to the owner as future renters, because of our likeable nature and because, as he confidently shared with us, Asians are always the best renters anyway. We found that last bit to be hilarious. It is large enough, in a beautiful old building, and has a character that really suits us. It is close to the school that we signed the little ones up to, which is complete with ponies thrice a week and bunnies to take care of, and close to mine as well. The Cecilien Grundschule, which Emilia and Josephine are attending, apart from having ponies and bunnies, is a great school with a quality education, and its Schwerpunkt, or focus, is reading and promoting peace and responsibility, hence the ponies. Emilia, who would become engrossed in any book you give her, almost got left behind in our tour of the library. It is an all-day elementary school (until 1600), so their schedule encompasses a lot of free-time in-between instruction time. Not only that, but the playground across the plaza is stellar. 🙂

Taking a small break as the adults sign the rent contract...

Taking a small break as the adults sign the rent contract…

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At 9 days in, we’ve made quite a lot of headway in the official world of registering and final decisions. A family friend jokes that at this rate, in 2 weeks my mom will be running for mayor. Maybe one day, but currently all of our belongings, still in the middle of the Atlantic, will provide enough stress when they arrive and we try to help the movers bring them up 4 flights of stairs. Until then, we’ll let time catch up with our thoughts and preparations.

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It's a dog's world in Berlin... check out my father's blog to see how our new dog, Duke, is becoming a true Berliner!

It’s a dog’s world in Berlin… check out my father’s blog to see how our new dog, Duke, is becoming a true Berliner!

These feet are made for walking…

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These feet are made for walking…

Approximately 50 hours… Since landing in Berlin, that is approximately the number of hours we have spent walking. If, in the off chance, you would ever find yourself in this city, just know to bring good walking shoes. Or if you are, in the off chance, a sane person, you would know to set a reasonable goal for yourself. Not that we have been unreasonable; I would say we have merely been ambitious… After conquering Schöneberg by foot, we have extended our front line to the neighborhoods of Wilmersdorf, Schmargendorf, Charlottenburg, and Friedenau. Although they lie close to each other, each neighborhood has its own dynamic that is just not perceivable through Google street view. The differences are very slight, and although not a massive amount of people are outside, just by walking around we got a good understanding of the type of neighborhood we were in, and most importantly, whether it was the dynamic where we would feel at home. It is a large struggle of compromises; we want a safe neighborhood that is abundant with families, has an elementary school we feel is right for my sisters, is quiet, and provides us with that comfortable aura. Here, there are many neighborhoods that have their little plazas, second-hand shops, small grocers, and cafes (and of course ice cream shops as well) but some have compromises too large to make, and so we’ve slowly crossed out areas of our discovered territory. Of course, the school is the largest deciding factor. After finding one we liked, we narrowed down the apartment search, which began with full gusto.

Charlottenburg - Wilmersdorf: Check!

Charlottenburg – Wilmersdorf: Check!

Random street art is always appreciated, unless it is tasteless graffiti.

Random street art is always appreciated, unless it is tasteless graffiti.

On Monday completely exhausted, we collapsed after 11 hours of walking. Starting at 8 that morning we traveled back and forth with a variety of public transportation, first visiting a school and then viewing 3 different apartments. When these apartments find themselves in different parts of the city, racing from one to the other in order to be there on time isn’t easy, or relaxing. Then, they occasionally have to find themselves in the same area, which you’d think is easier, but in actuality just requires more walking. It felt like House Hunters International – each apartment had some pros and cons, and each were thoroughly covered, requiring more walking and standing and waiting. It was all quite taxing. Then, after 11 hours of walking and waiting for trains and buses and people to be finished talking, we arrived in our little abode. Flopping down onto the couch like a lump, I vowed there was no way I was going outside anymore… until my sisters jumped up and down saying they wanted to go play soccer with the soccer ball we had just bought at Karstadt Sports, whose visit by the way probably ate up an entire hour of aimlessly looking at sports equipment.  Certain they had gone insane, my mother and I asked them repetitively whether they were quite sure, and as always, they were. Because they had been complaining about all of this walking, I can find no logical solution for this energy boost. But then again, I contemplated going running, so I think by that time we had all gone quite insane.

On the weekend, when schools were not open for viewing, we were tourists for the day, and introduced Emilia and Josephine to the Berlin Wall, busy shopping street of Kurfurstendamm, and the Brandenburger Tor. Having visited those places last year, for Audrey and I it was a review of the rich history Berlin has to offer,  but for my sister Emilia a much anticipated visit. And for the rest of us, more walking.

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Zipping through Berlin

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Zipping through Berlin

I’ve somehow forgotten to mention – we’ve landed in Berlin according to plan. My last blog post was written a while ago and was not posted then, due to a fussy and perfectionist author who somehow feels it is necessary to have pictures within a blog post. But since then, the last day of school has come and gone. The last weekend spent with my best friends also passed me by. And before we knew it, I was on a plane looking down at the Chicago skyline I know so well. I watched it grow smaller and smaller and marveled at how fast time flies. Time is a funny concept – it seems to be created by thought itself. Depending on our thought  it speeds up, slows to a crawl, and passes us by in a universal measurement. I know the day I fly into Chicago to visit my friends will come eventually and when it does, I will once again marvel at how an entire year passed me by so quickly. But for the time being, all of us are stuck in the here and now of today.

Since that fateful day of June third, in which we actually did board that plane, and, unlike last time, did not decide on staying another year in Chicago, we have thoroughly explored our little spot in Berlin. We arrived on June fourth after a quick 30 minute layover in Stockholm, Sweden completely exhausted and collapsed at the active time of around 1 pm. After a recharging of energy, we dragged ourselves out of bed and set to exploring the city.

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Within a couple of minutes we hit our first playground. We’ve been hitting them ever since… They are elaborate, frequent, and potentially dangerous, but with German health care and a relaxed attitude, there are tons of children playing on them. Since discovering our first adventure playground decked out with wooden forts and painted crests, we’ve traversed many more awesome ones. Most contain some sort of zip line, to which my sisters always eagerly sprint towards. The chorus then begins (in a German-English mixture)… “can we? can we? like nowwww? this is definitely the best one so far!” (when, in fact, it is the third one so far, and there is another around the corner). I think we’ve established that if we stopped at every playground for 10 minutes, we would get approximately nowhere; it’s amazing how they are everywhere – I haven’t seen this many playgrounds in my entire life. Thankfully though, we can divert my sisters with ice cream in order to actually get somewhere.

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Die Eis-Diehlen (ice cream counters), like the playgrounds, are also quite frequent and provide us with a pick-me-up during our excursions. The going rate is about a Euro per scoop, with occasional variations due to location inflation. These little ice cream counters are usually wedged between other stores selling a variety of random stuff and could almost be overlooked were it not for a huge plastic ice cream cone outside, which already signals the arrival of salvation for my sisters. We’ve discovered our favorite place 3 days in – they make tiny scoops, but every lick of their creamy concoction is packed with a variety of exotic flavors, making the flavor decision the hardest one of the entire day.

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Schöneberg, the area we’ve explored, has proven to be very city-like, and yet quiet enough, with many plazas, fountains, and beautiful Altbau-wohnungen, which are large apartment buildings that were built around the turn of the century. We’ve even bought a map of Berlin and plan to stick little flags into the neighborhoods we’ve conquered. This morning we are on to other parts of the city, and continue inching our way towards a map covered in flags…

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A map and some coffee is all you need...

A map and some coffee is all you need…

Berlin: Take Two

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During second period at my high school, I finally find the courage to reopen the dashboard of this blog and attempt to re-discover  that love of writing I have learned to have over the course of my trip (after finishing my scientific paper of course). I should blog more often… There is always a multitude to write about; like life, most of the thoughts that fill my head are random and therefore plentiful. But I never know if it is something that interests others. When put next to the posts about our travels and the beautiful places and people my family has seen, stress about various school projects seem inadequate and petty.  Maybe I should put that notion aside and write about anything and everything for myself. There is a certain satisfaction that is solely derived from the pressing of the blue button with which Wordpress provides me. “Publish.”

Among the latest things that are on my mind, our imminent move to Berlin (Take Two) is first and foremost. Tickets are booked for June 3rd, 2013 and the container ship has already stolen away all of our earthly possesions. My apartment smells the same way it did before we moved in. In fact, I’m pretty sure a smell should be assigned to the smell of an empty house. It is both reminiscent, nostalgic, and purely sad, with an air of excitement and new beginnings. It smells like the closing of a door just as another one is opening.

Final Days in Chicago1 Final Days in Chicago21

Our last piano recital - I miss my piano already.

Our last piano recital – I already miss my piano and my wonderful piano teacher (pictured above).

Now more than ever I appreciate the luck that has befallen me here in Chicago. The IB education has proven to be enlightening and influencial and has made my prespective on learning and literature change tremendously. The teachers have been immensely supportive. I have found a new family here with kids that are so different from each other and yet all get along. I will miss them more than anything and this time around, I am truly leaving more than I thought I would ever have.

A surprise going away party... :)

A surprise going away party… 🙂

Providing me with their true friendship, I’ve received so much support from everyone and I know that those I have truly bonded with I will continue to be in touch with. I don’t worry too much about finding friends in Berlin. A good friend who spent a couple of years in Berlin informed me that although the people there aren’t as warm, once they are friends they are family. I guess I will have two families now.

As my last day of school progresses (I am writing during second period once more), I continually remind myeself that although this move is a new beginning, it is not the end to this.

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Stay Happy

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Life travels by so fast… I realize now as I write this that everything I worry about one moment is suddenly unimportant the next. Is life merely a flashing of images and moment after moment? Is there nothing that carries us from one moment to the next, that is constant throughout and forever? Perhaps that’s why relationships are so important to us. On a different reflective tone…

Chicago as a Family

My International Baccaleureate program is going very well; today I just recently finished mid-terms exams and am finally relaxing with a bowl of ramen noodle and a computer (all you need for college right?). My travels have not flown entirely from my memory; the thousand years of European history we have covered pull the memories back from the jumble of my brain, which is currently filled with bits of Shakespeare sonnets and facts about what happens in the thylakoid of a chloroplast.

On top of the world!

I’ve realized to an even greater extent than while I was traveling that travel has broadened my view incredibly. As the list of countries I’ve been to lengthens, so does the one of my “go-to” places! I’d like to grab a sail-boat and sail the Mediterranean, visit India, South-America, or buy a Range-Rover and drive around Africa (the last one was my father’s wish). It is a truly wonderful and enlightening experience to be exposed to others, to other people and cultures. There is a realization that the world is so large, that you are merely a speck, and that everybody in each of your memorable pictures is not only a frozen photo but is living their own life as you speak. Maybe that’s what makes everything in life seem so trivial once you sit back and watch the world carry on around you.

September brought the CPS strike, October a family wedding, November a hostful of birthdays, and December a quiet holiday with family.

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In January I sat down in between a number of other activities and quickly scrawled down a new year’s resolution: stay happy. Of all things, I am not sure why I chose that one… I have realized that I don’t need to worry as much as I do, not only about small things in school, but also about our future in Germany. Life changes. That’s what makes it unexpected, exciting, emotional even. But as long as I try stay happy, I think my life will be a good one, one that makes a difference, and one that is simply happy, regardless of how it plays out…

Fall in Petosky

Jumping towards the future...

Jumping towards the future…

Remember – smile! 🙂

My Teachers are on Strike!

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Yes, I live in Chicago, currently on the national news because our teachers are striking for the first time in 25 years. This is also why I found time to write this blog…

And time to go to the beach! Today was a beautiful day: 88 degrees, blue skies, with a bit of wind.

Apart from this week, high school has been great eventful! Today I spoke to another mother about writing skills, which include using a wide range of vocabulary instead of always using “Great! :)” so there you have it. High school is vividly portrayed in the movies and anyone who watches Disney (with their little siblings of course!) can attest to that. The lockers and teachers, in our case riding the ancient El train to school, the jocks and cheerleaders, nerds and skateboarders… And of course they all break into song at one point or another. However, can attest to the fact that it is not like that at all. Well, maybe a little.

On the first day everyone clutched to their schedules like they were their life, arrived at least 15 minutes early to make absolutely positively sure they wouldn’t get to their first class of the first day late, and wandered around the building frantically searching for the correct room number, myself included. No amount of makeup on the girls or coolness aura on the boys would cover the fact that everyone was extremely nervous. Which could theoretically have been eleviated by having a KinderCone… (some marketing for my mother’s company can never go amiss).

It becomes better of course… My teachers are fantastic and one of the goals of the IB program and its teachers is to make sure we all get something out of our learning experience; they are intent on making us think and analyze: no busy work! I’m getting to know all of the kids and their names, one by one. I’ve been keeping in touch with my other friends from other schools as well so that makes me very happy! On a completely unrelated yet relevant topic, I am going back to ballet. And maybe, possibly start rowing. I’ve really found I enjoy rowing at Junior Lifeguard camp, although I think if I am going to row, it would probably be in the winter and spring. So with many hours of homework, a 7:45-3:55 school day, and a commute (which is fun!), I will be rather busy. At least, not until they stop striking. However, I will definitely continue to blog!

Let me know how your first days were!