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. 


             Multi-talented, world traveler Madeline Stoker is, to say the least, very impressive. She speaks French and German, has exquisite taste and a keen sense for fashion, is the ultimate photographer, has magical braiding skills, and could even give Molly Weasley a run for her money in a knitting contest. Needless to say from the moment I met Maddie, I instantly knew that I wanted to impress her.
Because I don’t really have any good sophisticated qualities to wow her with, I always try to make her laugh and I feel seriously accomplished every time I do. Not only because impressing someone impressive is super fulfilling, but also because Maddie has such a cute smile that just lights her up.  
I like talking with Maddie because it can be very enlightening. She makes astute observations and I am always interested to hear her take on things. I have really enjoyed the time I’ve spent with Maddie and look forward to learning more about her in the future. I already think she’s legit and I know I’ve only begun to scratch the surface of her brilliance. I hope she will continue to allow me to hang around and admire her talents and culturedness.
Maddie is extraordinary and I know she has the capacity to do truly incredible things.
Hottest Spandex EVER

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


            Dude. Ashley. What a woman. Everything I’ve learned about Ashley this trip has surprised me. She has a great array of traits/talents that I never would have thought to put in one person. Ashley’s first legit quality is that she is from Boston. She’s pretty small but she’s still got a pdistinct personality that causes her to be anything but overlooked. She has this certain walk, almost like a strut, that lets you know you will be put in your place if you try any funny business with her.
            While it is clear that she can hold her own, when you talk to her you find that she is a tender little sweetheart! I was shocked to discover that Bostonite Ashley was also a cat-loving, legit ice-skating, cheerleader. I guess I didn’t realize they’d have to have cheerleaders in Boston too, cause for some reason those two concepts just can’t coalesce in my mind.
            I love talking about (and of course eating) good food, and Ashley, as a fellow food lover, nay, worshiper, is just the right person to share such experiences with.
And let’s not forget her vocabulary is more impressive than Charles Dickens’. I’m over here trying to learn German, when all the sudden Ashley throws out words I don’t even know in English. Maybe I should follow Ashley’s example and master one language before I try and move on to the second.
            Ashley has an irreplaceable, incomparably remarkable personality. She is a goofball and I absolutely love her.


            Lyndsi Tolbert is somewhat of my kindred spirit. Wherever I go, I feel like at the very least, I need someone who understands and appreciates the magical realm of Harry Potter. Lyndsi fulfills this requirement and so much more. If ever I need to go on an HP reference spree, I know that Lyndsi will not only tolerate it, but will join in the glory of it.           
            Lyndsi is also like a fountain of fun. I think she is so enjoyable to be around and lives a laugh out loud kind of life. She is full of funny phrases and facial expressions that just put me over the edge with laughter.
During more serious moments, I have gotten some great advice and learned important things about life from this wonderful wise woman. She has real goals for her life and I can tell that she will achieve whatever she sets out to do. What a great example this girl is to me.
            She is a straight up sexy mama as well. You’d think everyone has their ugly days but I have yet to see Lyndsi not looking super cute. If I could trade my entire wardrobe for hers, I would do it without a moment’s hesitation.
            Lyndsi, be my friend forever. Also, marry Buck. (Team Buck! Team Buck!)
Carving Rocks. Yep. Rocks

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


           So we all know those kids who have played musical instruments their whole lives and whose entire personality seems to be consumed by that one fact. They are often known, for lack of a better word, as Bandies. I won’t go into too much detail here because I think we all know what I’m talking about, but I will say that I expected bassoon playing Amanda Moreton to be one of these people. I know I’ve been told never to judge a book by its cover, but I had never even seen a bassoon before Amanda came into my life, and I feel like the obscure-instrument players usually have the worst cases of Bandie-itis.
            I will openly and publicly admit, however, that I was 100% misled in my first assumptions about Amanda. She is quite possibly the most legit individual I have ever met. I don’t know if you know anyone whose mere presence emanates awesomeness, but if you knew Amanda, you would know what I am talking about. She is so cool I can’t even think of words to describe it. Sometimes I think I have an opinion, but everything Amanda says makes so much sense, that I immediately want to change my life-perceptions to whatever Amanda thinks.
            Don’t get me wrong, she still does nerdy things like comment every time someone with a musical instrument goes by, is extremely good at what she does (bassoon playing) and still loves to go experience more musician-type things than your typical (in my opinion less-sophisticated) human being. But she does these things in a way that makes them seem cooler, rather than nerdier. Thank you Amanda, for changing the way I look at musicians. 

This is a really classy lady playing the bassoon. However, Amanda still looks better.

Monday, November 21, 2011


            I got to spend basically the whole trip to Austria next to Heidi so you could say she was my first friend in the group. Heidi is the oldest member of our group and doesn’t actually attend BYU, so we are so happy that she chose this program so that we could have her here with us.
            Heidi is a master chef and I have had the pleasure of tasting some of her delectable cooking. I envy her knowledge of foods and ingredients and am sad she doesn’t go to BYU so she won’t be around to teach me her ways.
            Heidi is such a sweetheart and I am always impressed by the way she consistently treats everyone with respect. She is so generous and is never shy about giving to, and sharing with, others. Heidi was one of the first ones here to make friends with some Austrians which I think emphasizes her friendliness and likability.
            Although her life hasn’t exactly been a smooth journey, she is still optimistic about the future which I think adds to her positive aura. One thing that really impresses me about Heidi is that, no matter what happens, I don’t think I’ve ever heard Heidi utter a complaint. I think I would do well to follow her example.

Sunday, November 20, 2011


            So now that we're all acquainted with Christopher, I'd love to share a fun story:
            Last week Chris, Amanda, Lindsay and I decided to meander about the lovely Christmas market in front of the Rathaus (the only good thing about not having Thanksgiving here is that Christmas starts so much earlier). There is this delightful beverage sold at the markets called Kinderpunsch! We have to get the Kinder kind because it’s the only one without alcohol. Those of us who have tried it have like it so we suggested to Chris that he try some as well.
He purchased a mug from a lady at a stand who didn’t seem to speak English but usually that doesn’t matter very much. But as Chris went to take a sip, he realized that his drink smelled pretty foul. Since he had never had this beverage before he didn’t know whether or not this was… normal. So he took a sip that, not only burned his mouth but, apparently tasted pretty repulsive. That’s when we started having suspicions that perhaps when the Punsch was ordered, the Kinder part was somehow omitted.
Chris has some reservations about asking if he could exchange his Punsch for the non-alcoholic kind so I went up and asked for him. They were nice enough to get him a fresh glass, along with a euro because the Kinderpunsch was a euro cheaper! 


           Christopher Pfaffroth (seriously complicated last name, still can’t pronounce it/no idea how to spell it) (to whom everyone else is a.k.a. chief). Ok, I think the first thing to be said about Chris is that he is hilarious. And not in a way that’s like, sometimes he says something funny. It’s more like, on the floor, out of control, he could make a living doing this, kind of funny. Every time he opens his mouth you might as well just pee your pants before the words escape because that’s what you’ll be doing in a split second anyway. Even the way he runs is entertaining. If he had his own TV show, I would watch it. I love experiencing awkward moments in his presence, because the awkwardness is somehow amplified and made funny at the same time.
            Chris is also full of unexpected talents. Like Frisbee golf. I watched some fake Frisbee golf on Zoey 101 one time, but otherwise I feel like Frisbee golf is something we all know about and have vaguely considered trying once or twice, but don’t actually know how to do. Now I can say I know somebody who does. And for sure kicks butt at it too.
            I have come to find that when someone mentions a random recreational activity, Chris just comes out of nowhere and dominates it. Like bowling for example. High School bowling team? Never heard of one. Who belonged to one? Chris Pfaffroth. Legit? I know. Think you could take Chris on in ping pong? Forget it. Wanna challenge him to Tiger Woods 2012? Dream on.

            Chris is super easy-going and is so easy to get along with. Every encounter with this man is truly a treat. What a blessing.


First things first, Rebecca is a ginger.
One of the most tenderhearted people I have ever met, Rebecca Marie Smith is always guaranteed to put a smile on my face. Every encounter with Rebecca makes me feel infinitely better about myself, and about life. I love spending time talking to Becca because she can always find a way to put a positive spin on things.
Not only is she the nicest person in the world, she is also really good at making me laugh. And she laughs at my jokes no matter how lame they are which I LOVE. Rebecca is a Family History Major at BYU which I didn’t even know was an actual major before coming on this trip. Also, it’s really cool and she will for sure be worshipped when she dies by all the people whose work was done because of her.
Rebecca Marie is a beacon of light which shines joy and happiness on all its surroundings! But really I could literally not think of one bad thing to say about this girl. Literally.

Rebecca sharing this rare commodity that her mom brought her from America