Monday, December 5, 2011

The End

My very last day in Vienna. My finals are done, my bags are packed, and I am just waiting it out until it's time to hop in a van to the Air port. I don't think I could even begin to describe what this experience has meant to me. I have seen and learned things that I never even imagined. I can say, however, that I don't think this experience would have been complete without the wonderful YA Austrian members. I will always remember them as some of my dearest friends! I hope to see them again someday!

Emanuel. He likes to give me noogies and I hate it
Samira and Naemi

The Brosnehans
Rebekka and Marvin

I just love you all so much! Thanks for making this Vienna experience even better!

Saturday, December 3, 2011


All is well on Christmas in Vienna...
Until this guy abducts your naughty children:

And there's good ol' Saint Nick in the background

Merry Christmas Austrian Kinder!

Friday, December 2, 2011


            Torrey Best is exactly what her name suggests: the best! At first you think Torey is just a quiet girl, but when you get under the surface you find all sorts of pleasant surprises! I feel like I learn something new and awesome about her every single day.
            Torrey is extremely fashionable. She always looks super cute and I especially love the way she accessorizes. I wanted to know where I could get all of her awesome jewelry and was informed that she has collected it from all over the world. Yep, super cute, and super cultured. Doesn’t get any better than that.
            Torrey is also very talented. Last week she played some tennis with a few members of the group and, from what I heard, she basically wiped the floor with them! Apparently she’s got a killer serve.           
            It has also been decided that Torrey could whoop every other girl here in a boxing match. I totally agree. I have come to learn that under that quiet exterior lies a champion.

 I literally have a total of zero pictures with Torrey (yes I will have to fix that asap) so here are some pictures I found when I googled boxer:


            Allie is definitely what Janis Ian would refer to as a “class A hottie”. She is so beautiful. I will admit that at first I thought she would be your stereotypical pretentious pretty girl, but she is in fact one of the nicest, most fun, most genuine people I know. Luckily her gorgeous blond hair doesn’t get in the way of her being intelligent and down to earth.
            I love talking to Allie because I always feel like she has genuine interest in what others have to say. She is super friendly towards everybody and I have always felt that she tries to include everyone.
            Allie is always super fun to hang out with. I think she can find the humor in every situation. I don’t think I’ve ever spent time with her without bursts of laughter.
            Ultimately Allie is just one of those people who is not afraid to go for it. If she wants to try something, she doesn’t hold back. It doesn’t matter if, along the way, her ice skate cuts through her jeans, and possibly her skin, she’s gonna keep skating anyway dang it!
Lastly, I would just like to make note of her inhuman flexibility. Suuuuper jealous of that skill.


            The other wonderful musician in our group is Annisija Wallin. She plays the viola, quite beautifully might I add. I’ve one heard her play a couple times, but I can tell she has magnificent musical talent.
Annisija will quite possibly be the greatest mom in the world. Everything she does is so warm and heart felt and I always feel comforted in her presence. Annisija is kind, sympathetic, and super easy to talk to. She is very optimistic and helps me see the good in seemingly terrible situations.
Annisija is our go-to piano playing girl and we always look to her for our starting pitch when we have to sing a hymn a cappella. She is also a tried and true friend, and will even lay on the ground to take a picture of you if you want a really tall building in the background (I am a personal benefactor of this particular generosity of hers).
            Not only does she have all the technical qualities down, but she is a hoot! She says the most surprisingly funny things that sometimes I am just beside myself with delight. I take great pleasure in her witty comments. I love her giggle her smile!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Break In

So yesterday the two apartments next to ours were broken into. They didn't bother with our apartment because of the 3 doors they would have to go through to get to the inside. I never thought I would say this, but I am extremely grateful for the obnoxiously large amount of keys that I have to use every day.

Sunday, November 27, 2011


           I think in this day and age, people have tended to let their feelings become a little… fragile. I mean, how are we supposed to improve if we are never even aware that there is anything wrong with us to begin with? Luckily there is still a simple cure for our blissful belief that everything we do is absolutely perfect. The remedy? Josh Kohler.
            Josh’s uncommon honesty is quite refreshing. You can never have any doubts about where you stand with Josh because he will just straight up let you know. No subtle hints or gimmicks, just raw, unadulterated truth.
            Personally, I think Josh purposely fronts this hard-core façade so that nobody will know that he is really a softy at heart. I’ve seen Josh in moments of good-natured sincerity that have pleasantly surprised me. I’ve found that most of my original fear (terror even) of Josh was unfounded and that Josh is actually really easy to get along with. He is a firm believer in equality and will show you as much respect as you show him.
            My favorite moments of Josh, however, have to be whenever he mentions his girlfriend back home. You can tell that she is someone he definitely cares about and it’s pretty dang (though he might be mortified to hear someone call him this) cute.

Josh not even looking at the camera

Roma Part I

I didn't want to overwhelm you all with a 50-page synopsis of my experiences in Rome, so I will reveal it in segments that will hopefully be small enough for you to read without falling asleep. Here is part I:

             I was fortunate enough to live a lifelong dream of mine to go to Rome (ok, maybe a dream since I first saw the Lizzie McGuire Movie). On Thursday night we hopped on a train that would take us on a 15 hour ride to the amazing Italian city. It was a bit of a rough sleeping situation but I think we all got enough to keep us functioning on Friday.
            When we arrived Friday morning we went straight to our Hostel, which was in a pretty prime location. I must give props to Kendal who did most of the planning for this trip, including choosing the hostel we would stay in. This hostel had a wonderful luggage… shed… in the back where we could store our stuff for the day. I should also mention that, in contrast to the bitter cold of Vienna, the weather was simply DIVINE. It was not too hot, and not too cold. All you needed was a light jacket.
            Once we all got our stuff put away, we didn’t waste a second getting out into the streets of Rome! I took about a million pictures in the first 20 minutes because I didn’t want to forget a second! Then my camera started dying so I gave up that plan.
Italian on a motorcycle
Italian mannequins 
Italian Street
            Of course I was so excited to be there that I bought gelato at the first place we passed. Pistachio of course. If you’ve ever had Italian gelato, I don’t have to tell how good it is. But I guess if you haven’t, you should know it’s super delicious.

            As we walked and partook of this refreshing goodness, we came upon Capitol Hill. I will never get tired of seeing the amazing buildings that just pop up down nearly every street in Europe. We raced up a super long staircase (I won the race, but I’ll spare the loser by omitting their name :)) and had a wonderful view of the city. I was really surprised by the natural beauty of Rome. I never really thought about what the non-building/ruins scenery would look like but I thought it just added to the splendor of the city.

            After we had a nice brain-full of images of our remarkable surroundings, we headed for the Roman Forum. We didn’t realize the ticket for the forum was also for the Colosseum so the price seemed pretty steep. Kendal (blessed Kendal) asked the lady at the ticket booth if there was any kind of student discount. At first she seemed like she wasn’t gonna give us a break, but then she asked what we were studying. When we told her we were studying European art and history she asked if we could prove it. We actually have a museum pass for Vienna, which was apparently good enough for her. Then out of nowhere, she hands Kendal her ticket! Yep, for FREE! For the ticket we just had to show our International Student ID, our Jahreskarte, and another form of ID, and that baby was free of charge. I freaked out for about 10 minutes after that I was so excited.

            The Forum was awesome. There were a whole bunch of Roman ruins, statues and buildings. Kendal (seriously this girl rocks) even got us an audio guide that we all downloaded to our ipods before we came. So I got to look and learn at the same time. I really loved imagining the place back in its glory days. I find learning about ancient Greece and Rome super fascinating. Though I must credit Percy Jackson for most of my knowledge in that department. 

Saturday, November 26, 2011


            Mary Moberly is a gem. Proudly hailing from the state of Kansas, Mary is definitely one of a kind. Though she is more reserved, there is a lot to discover upon talking with her. It doesn’t take long, for example, to discover that she is very intelligent. She knows a lot of stuff about things that I have never even pondered. I also love that she shares my love of science fiction and is excellent at recalling movie quotes. There is nothing more fun than movie quote rampages and it’s good to have someone around who also enjoys them.
            Mary has long luscious locks of hair that she maintains in a very natural way. I’m sure her hair thanks her for being so gentle with it by staying nice and healthy. She did let a few of us try something new with her hair once and I thought she looked absolutely beautiful!
            I love sitting next to Mary in church because she has a beautiful soprano voice that I love listening to. I don’t know where she learned to sing but props to her teacher (and/or perhaps her genes).


            Elysse Allman is one of those people that you can’t help but admire. She seems to have every quality that someone might need to be successful. She is beautiful, smart, funny, outgoing, and always willing to stand up for what she believes. She has amazing leadership qualities and a unique ability to get along with everyone. Elysse makes new friends faster than anybody I’ve ever met, even if it’s on accident (Italian boys on a train perhaps?). People are drawn to her vivacious personality and affable demeanor.
            You can tell Elysse enjoys life to the fullest because she’s always laughing and grinning. I’m pretty sure she has a bottomless supply of jokes. She has often repeated the advice of Elenor Roosevelt who said, “do one thing every day that scares you.” Elysse makes the most out of everything by not being afraid to take risks. I have seen her do many things that I myself would be too scared to do. I have also noticed that she does not easily give up, but almost laughs in the face of opposition.
            She is confident and optimistic and I am often jealous of her zeal. I’m so grateful for Elysse who has always been an amazing example to me. I have so much respect for this girl and would trust her with my life. 

The man getting arrested that Elysse was flirting with
Kind Elysse let me borrow her sweatshirt when I was cold


           As far as desirable qualities in a man go, Stephen Richardson is the complete package. A tall, handsome, aspiring Doctor, this boy is going places. He is a hard-worker and a gentleman. Two qualities that would come in handy in any line of work, not to mention with the ladies.
He also never ceases to impress me with his genius. His brain is like a chasm of endless knowledge. You think that’s real ivy? False, it’s Boston ivy. Not the same thing. And only Stephen knows it. I think he should be on one of those games shows that gives people money just for knowing things.
            Light-hearted and considerate, Stephen’s comments always manage to make my day a little brighter. He is quite charming as well, and any girl would be lucky to have him (and he’s available… just sayin). Not to mention he’s totally awesome at the piano, and even played the organ for us at a church in the Czech Republic. That’s talent right there.
            Had enough? Well hold on to your britches cause there’s more! Stephen is super friendly and funny to boot. I always feel comfortable talking to him and he always makes me laugh. Like I said, this guy’s basically got it all.                                                                                      

FREE tickets into the Roman Forum


Camille is a twin. Just throwing that out there for those of you who still might not know. Camille Andrus is so fun to hang out with. My absolute favorite times with Camille are when she gets excited about something. Her excitement is infectious and every time she talks about something she loves, it makes me want to love it too. I mean, I thought I was excited to go to Berlin, but after hearing Camille talk about it on the way there, I thought I would die if I didn’t make it there soon.
Camille has awesome German skills and I always run to her with my questions if ever I have them. I also love demonstrating what I do know for Camille because she makes me feel like I’ve done something great. It takes a special talent to make someone feel extremely accomplished even when in reality they’ve achieved very little.
            Her awesome German also enabled her to purchase (and actually read) Harry Potter in German. This inspired me to make the same purchase and continues to motivate me to reach the goal of reading it. She ignites passion for greatness within me. I think if I spent more time with Camille I would always feel good about myself and achieve incredible goals.