Wednesday, December 31, 2014

My adult Christmas

I watched White Christmas a few times, I decorated our tree, but for the most part.. this Christmas was very.. uneventful? I spent most of the days napping or working. I didn't buy any of my presents until the 22nd and 23rd.

My parents asked me many times what I wanted for christmas. As we grow up, I feel like our wish list for Santa becomes boring. It's no longer that new barbie or that amazing new toy we saw on TV that we just had to have.
We either have something we want that isn't very likely to get because it costs too much money.
Or it's something we need that we just really don't want to spend the money to get.

So for me, I wanted a plane ticket to Europe.
But I needed an electric toothbrush and running shoes.

I also received a bright yellow sweater, high rise jeans (my absolute favorite jeans), terribly great boots and four pairs of comfortable socks.

So I got my shoes and my toothbrush.

Getting some fitnass going. I finally have weights to work out my arms so I can get super ripped biceps.

I sent out a package to Switzerland and it got there far before Christmas.

On Christmas Eve, I still didn't get a package back.

But just yesterday, this came in the mail.

Oxford University sweatshirt from Oxford, England. I wanted one so badly while visiting Wes and we were too busy so we forgot to get one. It's truly legitimate.

 It wasn't that I was a Scrooge, I just wasn't into it this year. I feel like the magic of Christmas is slowly dimming as I get older. This year I blame it on the non-exsistent snow. But it was still a very good Christmas, I blame it on the beautiful snow that fell on Christmas Eve.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

... with the sound of music

After we ate in Innsbrück, we drove to Garmisch-Partenkirchen. A resort town in the Bavarian Alps. Home to the famous Zugspitze.
Unfortunately I had absolutely no time here and couldn't even see Zugspitze because it was too cloudy.

But I took two of the kids to Eibsee where we walked around the lake.

I really miss that face...

That was all I really got to see of Garmisch. So if you ask me, I think I deserve another trip there. Agreed?

Monday, December 29, 2014

The Hills are alive...

If I could go back to Europe and do a trip anywhere I wanted to, it would be the Alps.

I didn't get to see them yet but after watching the Sound of Music at least five times since getting to Germany, I knew I had to get there.

Luckily, my host parents organized a short trip to Garmisch-Partenkirchen. In the German Alps.

Can I get a....

Well, really we went to Innsbrück, Austria first.

It rained quite a bit so my head was literally in the clouds, and figuratively to be honest...

A Slight Update

I've been home for about two months now.
To be honest, not much has happened.

: I have acquired two jobs.
: I spend way too much time with dog.
: I drink peppermint tea, like all the time.
: I look at too many pictures that make me.. not homesick.. second homesick?
: I bought a brand new grown up laptop.
: I watch the IT Crowd.
: I budget my money like a hoarder.
: I pin things I don't need.
: FaceTime is my best friend. Along with the person on the other end.

I'll be continuing my blog but also throwing back to other few trips I still haven't blogged about every once in a while.

But first.. I should really clean my room.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

My life in numbers

From November 2013-November 2014, this is my life in numbers.
Shall we crunch them?

I've lived in 3 different countries.
I've visited 14 countries.
I've been to 17 major cities.
I've seen 29 major sights.

I rode on 2 European trains,
too many Chinese trains,
 6 underground systems,
6 long distance coaches,
12 planes,
1 bike,
and countless car rides.

I used 7 different currencies,
navigated through 8 languages,
picked up 2 languages (sort of),
had 4 quite scary experiences,
and loads of nerve-racking ones.

I gained 2 families,
at least 20 new friends,
1284 pictures,
5 pounds,
1 love,
and a crazy amount of courage I didn't even know I possessed.

I'm home now and..
Yes, I miss it quite a bit.
No, I can't speak German fluently.
Yes, I still want kids.
No, I didn't get you anything.
 And yes, I would do anything to go back.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Festinord: Part 2

The next day was pretty uneventful I think.
I fell asleep in a Women in the Scriptures class, walked around Naantali, and tried to flirt it up with European men. It didn't really work.

At the next dance that night, it was not the same. Instead of a DJ playing the top 40 club hits of the moment, it was a live band. Us Americans were a little confused. How do you dance to this?

You don't. You only get to dance if a guy comes up and asks you. Then you sway back and forth because they don't teach us how to properly dance in America. I was asked by a few guys throughout the night, including a guy from Iceland who spun me around every few seconds. But I kept seeing the guy I had met at the dance the night before in the corner of my eye. Why couldn't I stop looking at him? And he was obviously with another girl the entire night, better just ditch that option.

I finally just ended up dancing with a few of my new friends in a group because it was getting boring waiting for a guy to come and ask you to dance. It was much more fun. Suddenly, I look to my left and there is Wes.
"Can I join you guys?"
"Of course!"

After a little while of dancing, I get a tap on my arm. He leaned over and asked if I had a date for tomorrow to the gala night, which is basically like a prom for Festinord. I, of course, didn't because my flirting game is pretty terrible. Not to mention I didn't even know that you were supposed to get dates for the gala night. So I responded with a no I don't have a date.

Believe it or not, I was asked to accompany this incredibly handsome guy to the lovely ball.
We danced, we ate berliners, we talked to a guy about leggings, and walked around the block a couple of times.

Then we went to the after party on the beach where we ran into the water and immediately regretted it.
And before I knew it,
everybody was right..
I was in big trouble.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Festinord: Part 1

this is kind of the point in time I've been anxious to write about.

After Rome, which was in mid may, I didn't go on any trips. My host mom had been pregnant and they wanted me to stay at home for a couple months for obvious reasons. It was also because my next trip I had had planned since the first month I came to Germany, was quite a doosy.

Every summer there is a big young single adult conference for LDS members in the Nordic countries called


Young single adult members come from all over Europe to this conference to hang out with a large group of people their age with the same morals and values for an entire week full of dancing, partying, and flirting. I had a friend who met her now husband there and convinced me that I had to go. So I did. And before I left, all I heard from anybody was "Oh no Sydnee, you're going to find a guy there and be in big trouble." Yeah... Right...

I convinced someone else in my ward, Bryonna, to accompany me for her second time and she brought her friend Leticia and Victoria. We hung out together for the most part.

This year the conference was held in Naantali, Finland.
A little harbor town full of charm and freezing cold water.

The first day of the conference was a big scavenger hunt type of thing full of activities. 

And ended with a dance (like every night did) that the Finnish leaders told us to turn down the music, so we left instead.

By the end of the first day, I had made friends from Norway, Russia, Latvia, Iceland, Finland and probably more places I can't even remember.

The next morning I had signed up to do Geo-caching. Still not really sure why I decided to participate in that activity, but I did. I ended up in a group with some guys from Denmark, a girl from Korea and a guy from England.
It was mostly just a walk around the town and it was nice. I struck up a conversation with the guy from England. We talked a lot of the time. He seemed like a pretty nice guy.

The theme for the dance that night was "Once upon a time" and we were supposed to dress up as characters. I'm a nanny and also not very creative so I dressed up like Mary Poppins.

I met up with my Russian friend and Leticia and we danced the night away. One of the most fun nights of my life.

After a while I saw the guy I had talked to that morning geo-caching. I yelled his name and he came over and started dancing with us, even brought a couple of his friends. I was having so much fun dancing. One of his friends ended up next to me dancing and after a bit I finally got the courage and I leaned over and yelled "Hi! What's your name!?"
He smiled, leaned over to me and said,

"My name is Wes! What's yours?!"


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Roman Holiday: Day 2

Day two in Rome was just as good as the day before.
Full of people chasing after me trying to sell me crap I don't want, strange smells and lots of walking.

The sights however...


They say if you throw a coin in the Trevi Fountain, you will find yourself again in Rome.

So.. I simply had to.

And my biggest regret, not going into the Vatican City. However, my feet did hurt so badly that I wanted to cry at this point.

Now all I want to do is eat pasta and say grazi!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

On a Weekend in Roma: Day 1

Best thing ever is when I would hear
"Hey Sydnee, we're going to ____. Would you like to join us?"
The answer will always be "why yes, yes I would."

So when that blank was filled with Rome, Italy, I didn't even hesitate.

I went with a couple members in our ward and we flew in on Ryanair.
If you have ever flown with Ryanair, you'd know that it's pretty cheap and basically.. you get what you pay for.
On this flight we flew over Rome, I could see everything! I can't wait to land! We must be landing soon!
I would say.. an hour later, we were still flying around in the air. I understand that it takes a while to land but.. yeah something wasn't right. Then the pilot came over the intercom,
"Uh good afternoon folks, it seems that our landing gear isn't quite working so we're flying into a different airport because we will landing at a higher speed."
That isn't scary at all. Then a German woman next to me asks me what they are saying because she doesn't speak english. So with my incredibly poor german I try to explain the situation and she then shoots me the most terrified look basically looking like "Are we going to die?" No, I assure you we are not.
We finally landed and finally found our room to stay in

Just eating gelato on the Spanish Steps.
I don't think I even want to disclose how much gelato I consumed..
It was a lot.

We then ate some pretty terrible Italian food and called it a day.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Cologne (not like the perfume)

I live.. kind of in the middle of nowhere in Germany. I can't just jump on a train and be in Munich for the weekend and then come straight home. It is quite annoying.
The only way I can really get anywhere is in a car. Meaning I have to get a ride somewhere or somehow get the precious car from my host parents. It just isn't convenient.
So when you have an opportunity that the car will be available to use on your day off.. it's kind of bliss.
I've found myself in this boat very seldom but one Saturday I was.
I took advantage and drove an hour and a half to the city of Köln. Or Cologne in English.

It took me an hour to find parking (you'll find that this is a recurring theme when I drive myself into cities) and finally was able to walk around.
Cologne is most famous for it's incredibly impressive cathedral

Nothing really exciting about this city besides the cathedral but wow was it worth it.
I couldn't even get a decent picture of it because it was just so massive.

I also stopped by the Museum Ludwig museum of modern art.
It was good because it made me realize how much I do not like modern art.
I don't understand how a canvas that is just painted one color of blue (mind you, a very cool blue) can be considered art and put in a museum and probably sold for thousands of dollars.
I walked into a room at one point and I thought "Oh I think I've walked into the bookshop." But as I looked around at the books I realized that I was in the middle of an art piece...
I don't get it...
Still an experience I guess.

I quite enjoyed it. I did some great shopping and got some boots for 10 euros.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Bonjour, Paris! Part 3

I woke up to a blaring alarm. I think I got about 4 hours of sleep.
Packed all my stuff back up in my backpack, pulled my hair into a top knot and set out for day two of another Parisian experience.
I walked to the nearest metro station. On the way there, I mistakenly made eye contact with a guy (note to any girl who would ever find yourself in a city where you feel a little unsafe, try to never make eye contact with anyone. I know sometimes you can't help it but whenever I had a run in with a shady guy, it was because I made eye contact with them.). He started yelling at me in french and walking straight towards me. I quickly side stepped him and made a B-line for the metro station. Luckily there were enough people around for the guy to do anything too stupid. And after I was able to catch my breath and get my heart to beat at a normal pace, I was okay.

I ended up wandering around and finding little gems.

I met my lovely friend Haley at the Louvre and then we strolled down the Champs Elysees

I somehow found my lovely friend Haley in this crazy city. It was a great taste of home.

All in all, I would say I liked my Paris trip.

WARNING: Stop reading if you don't want your dreams to be crushed

The city is, however, quite different than you would think. Lots and lots and lots of tourists. And dirt. And thieves. And poop.
Let me just warn you about something though, there is a thing called "Paris Syndrome".
American's come to Europe and Paris is top of the list. You have to see Paris right?
WRONG. Skip it if you want. It is really not what it is cracked up to be. Sorry to spoil your dreams little girls. But it isn't.
Yeah you have to see the Eiffel tower but it is just not worth it.
I could recommend at least 10 other cities I think you should go to to get that real European experience.
You don't get that real experience in Paris. It's a trap. Unless you will be there for extended period of time maybe, like my friend Haley was so lucky to do. Or you do a heap of research.
Anyways. Enough about my rant. I could keep going but I'll just stop here.