the Black Forest

blackforestpromoblack forest-1-4 black forest-1-6 black forest-1-8 black forest-1-9 black forest-1-13 black forest-1-15black forest-1-21 black forest-1-23 black forest-1-24 black forest-1-25 black forest-1-28 black forest-1-29 black forest-1-32 black forest-1-33 black forest-1-34 black forest-1-35march 27-29//black forest//canon 5d

I'll be the first to admit it-I was not looking forward to the Black Forest orientation with my university. After all, while most of the other students had just arrived on German soil, my fellow classmates from Mannheim and I had been living die Deutsche Leben for a grand total of three months-we'd navigated registering for classes, obtaining residence permits and (possibly the most difficult)  the complicated German trash system with a little help from each other. There was a little bit of been there, done that, and I wasn't sure if I wanted to spend the first weekend of spring break holed up in the Black Forest learning those same things.

However, the minute we disembarked the bus at the top of the mountain, all those hesitations and grumbling melted away-because it was golden hour and the views? were amazing. My head was on a swivel the entire time, trying to take in the snow covered peaks, tiny homes and beautiful clouds all at once. It was so crazy to think that something so different existed a mere two or three hours away from flat, green Mannheim.

We stayed in a hostel owned by the University, with large bunk rooms and little wi-fi, and spent the weekend eating German cuisine, learning about registration processes and sharing stories about our time with other UMass students-since everyone hailed from different areas in B-W, it was cool to hear about everyone's experiences.

On the second day we were reprieved from the basement room and took a hike to a 400-year-old farmhouse nestled into a hill, slipping and sliding down the soggy slopes. As we hiked back, it started to hail a little-after we returned, fog rolled in and shrouded the mountains for the rest of our stay. It was eery, almost, to look outside and not see anything, save for one tree-but the hostel was warm + cozy, so there were no horror movie vibes.

The weather continued to be nasty until we left-still, the entire trip exceeded my expectations. After all, we got two whole days with some of most beautiful scenery...can't complain about that, can I?

 

instagram {a quick recap}

instagram

top-bottom, l-r

hostel//parque retiro//el prado//living la vida espanola//palacio real 

first paella//streets of madrid//la boqueria//beautiful barcelona//a little schloss in germany

saw the sea!//ryanair life//golden hour in santander//breakfast pt. one//breakfast pt. two

sagrada familia//palm trees in spain//most beautiful countryside i've seen//barceloneta//21 

I'm perpetually behind here on the blog, but my instagram is always up-to-date {to a fault, almost}. It's safe to say that I have a little bit of an addiction, but hey! what can I say? A social media outlet focused on images is bound to be my favorite.

What's your instagram name? Let me know in the comments so I can follow you!

Freiburg

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march 26//freiburg, germany//canon 5d

Erin and I found ourself in Freiburg the first friday of spring break-we were off to spend the weekend in the Black Forest with other students from our university, but we had a few hours to kill while waiting for the rest to show up. When we left the train station, we turned right instead of left-meaning that we missed seeing the old town and cathedral. However,we did get to see a giant hose sculpture, which was exciting enough-besides, sometimes it's nice to just wander around other people's neighborhoods and see how they live. It was sunny and warm that day, and looking back, truly the first day of spring. Freiburg felt colorful and vibrant, a quaint little city that had just enough going on, humming peacefully. We only had two hours-definitely not enough-and I'd love to visit again someday, check out the old town and follow the little streams running parallel to the street, see where it leads.

lately | life in Mannheim

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Hypothetically speaking, I don't travel that often-more than I do at home, for sure, six or eight days each month-yet that it the only thing I seem to blog about anymore. My daily life in Mannheim gets pushed to the side, runs under the radar-but it's so special, I should write about it more. Maybe, losing all of my posts since January was a good thing (let's use the term "good" very, very loosely); because while I try to figure out how to solve that issue, I'm going to spend some time talking about life abroad.

Mannheim is ugly-but it's the most beautiful ugly I think I've ever seen, and I ache for it when I'm away. I've seen what other students abroad have, and it pales in comparison; because, yeah, they might have spires and cathedrals and fairy-tale landscapes, but I have people. I have little beautiful moments that I've stored away in my head, of strangers I pass by-a couple dancing in their living room late one night, chattering children on the train, a tired housekeeper in a stained uniform, smoking a cigarette in a dimly lit doorway. I have the international students-a strange, but incredibly wonderful group of students hailing from all over the world-that will probably never be let back into Mannheim after exchange. And, of course, I have my people, a combination of actual + honorary roommates who bang on my door, crates of falkonfelsers in tow, each night; we take turns cooking and swapping stories in my dingy kitchen until it's late. The weather is always good, it seems; even in April, the sun doesn't set until almost nine p.m., and we take ample opportunity of that to play frisbee and lay in the green grass. Weekends are for dark bars, the smell of cigerette smoke woven into our clothes, cheap beers and next-morning recaps.


The German has started to tug and pull on me a little-I haven't been on a train, or walked down a street and heard english in four months, which is a little long-but I do still like using my new words and phrases, fitting the words together in my head like a puzzle before I open my mouth. And there is this fear, starting to worm its way into my head, as I stated in my last post, because my time is almost over here, and I am nowhere near ready to accept that fact. But for now, I'm keeping myself in a cheerful state of denial, that these days will never end.


 

thoughts | all gone

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It seems trite to complain about something so merely insignificant as a blog. I should not be moaning about this week, because in a lot of ways it was absolutely amazing. I returned from six days in Spain with my best friend and reunited with my friends here; we've spent the time laying in the grass and soaking up the warm weather, swapping stories of break and sips of beer. I turned 21 and was surrounded by the people that I love-it was one of my best birthdays. I am so, so lucky, and I am frustrated with myself for being down. I have nothing to complain about. But this week, upon return, found the worries and anxiety of life at home knocking on the door. I had to come to terms with the fact that I have nowhere to live on campus next year, that my internship search has been, so far, fruitless. They started knocking on the door and slipping under the threshold, nagging little voices that have been silenced in a world of frisbee and bus rides, reminding me that this time of my life is almost over. And, in the middle of that, my blog just…disappeared. Every attempt to access the log-in, dashboard, home-page left me staring at a blank white page-not something you want to see when you're linking to a blog in every resume you send out. It wasn't something I wanted to worry about, and I think I spent three or four days trying to convince myself it would work itself out.


It didn't though, and this morning I sat down with a coffee and a pretzel, determined to straighten out the mess. And somewhere in between research and tutorials about un-installing and re-installing, I sort of deleted and reset my blog-which I didn't realize the implications of until I was staring at a blank wordpress dashboard. Because everything was gone.


Whoops .


I'll be honest-it sucks. Gone are the words that I have written, stories carefully crafted of Prague and Luxembourg, the account of my first days in Mannheim. Zip, zero, Nada. There may be a way to recover them, which is what I am going to tackle later-I was lucky enough to recover the posts from before January, when I switched over. But it's overwhelming, to have all of my hard work vanish into the depths of the internet. It's not something I want to do-spend sunny days frantically trying to reword and recreate things that happened three months ago, when there are memories to be made now. I want to almost give up, throw up my hands and forget about it. Go outside and move on. Those things have already happened; they're in the past. I don't want to lose precious time thinking about them, not when I have so much going on now.


I won't stop though. I'll find a way to dig them back up, restore them, rewrite them. And I have a sneaking suspicion that everything will work itself out, as life has a strange way of doing just that. So I just have to keep my face to the sun, keep soldiering on. There's no use worrying, wringing hands or biting lips-after all, they are just words + pictures.


Now, if you excuse me, I have a birthday to celebrate.

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