Friday, January 3, 2014


Wow, Christmas break was the fastest two weeks of my life!  I'm already back at High Point and moved into my new apartment, awaiting the arrival of my roomie/Big Lillian.

It hasn't really hit me yet that I won't be back in Prague anytime soon.  I already miss the people.  Every single night I've been home I've dreamt about Prague.  I hope that never goes away, because at least in my dreams I can always carry a piece of it with me.

Being home for break was nice.  I had a wonderful time with my family on Christmas Eve & Christmas day.  All 6 Christels under one roof again.  Chaotic bliss.  It was hard saying goodbye to Becca as she embarked on her new adventure down at Vet school in St. Kitts.  She's already having a blast down there and bragging nonstop about the gorgeous weather and beaches.  Hate her.

I LOVED working at North Hills for New Years Eve and New Years Day Hangover brunch!  The pace of the catering & event business is what I am so passionate about.  The staff and members there adore me as well, so that's a perk!  I got to ring in 2014 with some of my favorite people:  Pat, Brian, Worthy, Eileen, Paul, Liam, and everyone else at North Hills.  We toasted with glasses of champagne at midnight and all the waiters lined up to kiss me as the ball dropped....... just kidding- they wish!

My favorite waiter of them all, Pat, put aside his dignity on my last night on Long Island to see Disney's Frozen with me.  I LOVED it, and more importantly he loved it too!  We couldn't stop singing the songs from the movie for the rest of the night!  "For the first time in forever.." Thanks for a ridiculously fun vacation filled with laughs, Taboo, dancing, and lots of cheesecake .  Miss you already!

With the snow storm Hercules sweeping through the Tri-State area, Gina & Steve thought it'd be a good idea to get off Long Island early- before they closed the LIE.  Luckily we made it out just in time.  We hit parts of the blizzard on our way down to Steph's in DC, but made it there safely!  After a wonderful night meeting Steph's boyfriend Mason and going out to dinner, we stayed at Steph's apartment before heading out to NC early the next day.

Now I'm back at High Point.  Thanks Mom, Dad, & Olivia for helping me move in and get settled!  As a reward we went to get a COOKIE SKILLET!! I LOVE COOKIE SKILLETS!  It was spectacular, and now the people in my family understand why I rave about the dessert.

Tomorrow most of my friends will arrive back at school.  I can't wait to see them all!  I got the BEST surprise greeting my from past roomie, Megan-Eileen.  She practically trampled me to the ground.  Best hello of my life.

All in all, I know it'll be hard to adjust to life in this perfect little bubble we call High Point.  Comparing it to Prague isn't even possible.  I already can't wait to go back, even though that won't be for awhile.

But until next time, Prague, I'll see you in my dreams.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Roomie Shout Out


            My confidant. My roomie.  My backbone.  My walk-around-Prague buddy.  My wine drinking partner.  My secret-keeper.  My advice giver.  My tea party date.  My non-cuddler.  My best friend. My Mitch.
            Where would I be without you?  I literally cannot even imagine what this trip would've been like without you here.  I am so blessed to have had you on this amazing journey with me.  When I met you the first day of freshman year I could’ve never imagined what our future would hold!  So many people advise against going abroad with their best friend, let alone living with them abroad, but we are absolutely the exception to the rule.  Words cannot describe how happy I was to have you by my side for the passed 4 months.
            You were my little piece of home that kept me from getting homesick.  You were the person I could talk to about High Point stuff that would actually understand me.  You literally know me better than anyone else.  You keep me grounded.  You remind me who I am when I sometimes forget.  You see the best in me.  You remind me that I always deserve the best.
            We battled through Jan, Jan, and Jiri’s classes and we surprisingly made it out alive. I wish we were able to travel together more, but that made each of our experiences so unique.  Anywhere I traveled in Europe I was always the most excited to come back to you in our tiny room in the insane asylum in Prague.

Thanks for teaching me:
  •       That shopping is always the solution
  •       Any time of the day is tea time
  •        A complete wardrobe doesn’t need any color besides black
  •        It’s never to early to start blasting Christmas music
  •        Eating oreo spread straight from the jar is totally acceptable
  •        Too many bananas isn’t a thing... unless you have too too many and get nerve damage
  •        Watching movies in our warm room is better than getting sloppy at the club.

I look forward to the many more adventures we will encounter in our last few years of college and our life beyond that. I can’t wait to have weekly Starbucks dates at High Point and hopefully after we graduate.  I can’t wait to be neighbors in Brentwood, Tennessee.  I can’t wait to plan your wedding.  I can’t wait to see you be a successful fashion magazine editor.  Even as the memories of our European experience fade, I will never forget the fact that I wouldn’t have wanted to be here with anyone else but you.
I know there’s so much that I’m forgetting to say, but if I write anything else I’m going to get too emotional.  I’m a sap.  So thank you for being the best study abroad buddy I could possibly ask for.  Thanks for always letting me borrow your clothes.  Thanks for embracing every weird thing about me (wearing a giraffe to bed every night, abbreviating everything, singing in the shower, etc.).  Thank you for always being there for me during this incredible semester that I will never ever forget.  You’re like a sister to me and I will love you forever.

Love Always,

Day 1: London

Our first dinner in Prague

First night out on the town!

Drunken Monkey Bar Crawl

Amazing trip to Budapest

Wine tasting in Moravia

3rd wheeling Mitch & Phil's date

Mitch, Me, and G-Man

Sunday, December 15, 2013


What an AMAZING last weekend in Europe.  It couldn't have been any better!  Sunny, hot weather, beautiful city, and seriously awesome friends.  This weekend was honestly the most I've laughed this entire semester.

     Larysa, Alex, Ed and I ventured to Barcelona on Thursday afternoon.  We got there by evening, dropped off our bags at our insanely awesome and cheap hostel, and grabbed our first Spanish meal... tapas and paella!  Delicious!  Next, we headed straight for the beach.  The water was so calm and peaceful, we all just sat in the sand soaking up the first time we had seen a beach in months.  We walked all around the city until we were ready to call it a night.

Plaza outside our hostel

Ed, Alex, and Me

   The next morning we woke up for sunrise and watched it from the rooftop of our hostel.  Luckily for us, the hostel provided free breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  After breakfast we headed to Castell Montjuic, the Olympic Stadium, Placa d'Europa, and Palau Nacional.  We took several breaks along the way, stopping, sitting, talking, and soaking up the beautiful views.  The views were not as pretty as Prague, but they were still wonderful.  After confusing Palau Guell and Parc Guell, we had to change plans and redo our schedule.  We spent the evening on the beach until the sun set.  Alex had heard about a Magic Fountain show at Palau Nacional so we went there at night.  The many fountains are synchronized with music and lights.  We stopped for churros on the way home from the show and then headed to bed after much needed showers.

Me & Alex

The amazing light show!

    On Saturday we took the metro to Parc Guell where we were able to witness the awesome works of architect, Gaudi.  Parc Guell, Sangrada Familia (my new favorite church), Casa Mila, and Casa Batllo were all accounted for on our site-seeing walk.  It was nice to sit in Parc Guell for a few hours and just soak up the hot 65 degree weather.

   After killing time and making new friends, we had to head back to the airport.  The airport shuttles stop at 12:00am, but our flight was at 5am so we had to sleep in the airport.  Well... more like "sleep" than sleep.  I've always wanted to sleep at an airport, but it turned out to be a nightmare.  It was freezing and uncomfortable and impossible to sleep.  At 4am we went to our gate.  After flying to Milan we had a 6 hour layover before we could get back to Prague.  It was a long day with no sleep.  We were all extremely cranky (especially since neither airport had wifi), but thanks to the McDonalds in the Milan airport we all survived without biting anyone's head off.

    Thank you Ed, Larysa, and Alex for such an amazing last weekend in Europe!  4 days left in Prague- WOW!  The packing has begun.  We have a busy schedule this week of squeezing in as much Prague as possible!  10 days until CHRISTMAS! YIPPPEEEE!

Thursday, December 12, 2013


The ending of this experience is so bittersweet.

     I walk around this city with an even greater appreciation than I had before.  I have been visiting my favorite places "for the last time."  Saying that makes everything so real.  I walked alone along the Vltava River and across the Charles Bridge yesterday at sunset and my eyes welled up with tears.  Nothing can compare to the beauty of this city.  Nothing will ever impact me the way the past 4 months has. I found this quote yesterday and it seems to describe everything perfectly:

   This past week has been filled with eating at as many of our favorite places as possible, spending as much time with each other as possible, and miserably failing my Czech Politics finals after studying for about 23 hours total for it. 

My sorority Big Lillian is a wise woman and wrote these words on her travel blog:
"I like that I get to see new places and experience new things. I like that I am an active writer in my life story and that I refuse to leave a single page blank." 

I refuse to leave a single page blank.

Off to Barcelona!

Saturday, December 7, 2013


The countdown has officially begun!  I will be home in 13 days and counting.

     The countdown is weird because it makes everything more real, more scary.  I have completely mixed emotions about everything.  On one hand, I am excited to see my family (all 6 Christels at home at once) and head back to High Point, but on the other hand I never want to leave this city.  I know how many responsibilities are waiting for me at home/school and I feel like I haven't finished my adventure yet.  My adventure is just beginning.

     In the words of Aunt Leanne, I have caught the travel bug and I never want to stop.  I will be back to Europe very, very soon.  Next on my list:  Switzerland, Croatia, Ireland, and Greece.  A group of us realized an interesting thing the other day.  As much as we love traveling every weekend to new countries, we are always so anxious to come back to Prague, our home.  So what's going to happen when I travel back to the U.S.?  Will I be constantly anxious to return to my new home, Prague, or will that anticipation fade the longer I'm in the States?

Okay, enough sappy stuff... onto the recount of my week...

     On Wednesday Chris played a gig at a local favorite bar of ours.  In typical American fashion, we barged into the bar with like 25 of us cheering loudly.  All the other performers were Czech so we couldn't understand anything they sang.  Chris rocked, just like he always does.

Chris doin' his thang on stage.

window display in Old Town

     This week Michelle and I were able to spend some quality time with Ed as we explore all the Christmas markets Prague has to offer.  Essentially eating our ways through them.  A small group of us also tried out this amazing Vegetarian restaurant hidden down the small alleys in Old Town!

Me & Ed in Old Town
Mitch & me
     Friday was down to business.  Claire and I spent 6 1/2 hours in our favorite cafe, Cafe Ebel, working on our last papers and studying for our last exams.  As of Monday I will be completely done with all papers and tests and projects! YIPPEE!  As we sat in Cafe Ebel, a friend of mine from Kellenberg walked in.  He and his girlfriend happened to be visiting Prague for the weekend and stumbled upon this cafe for breakfast.  It's a small world ladies and gentleman!

     Today a small group of us took a day trip to Nuremberg, Germany for the Christmas markets.  I spent an embarrassing amount of euro on Christmas gifts for everyone, but I couldn't resist!  I LOVE Nuremberg.  It is a quintessential Germany town, covered in lights for the Christmas season.  The majority of people thought I was a local.  I guess my German genes are more prominent than my Italian ones!  We even had a good covering of snow in Prague and large flurries in Nuremberg today!  A perfect way to get into the Christmas spirit!  We tried traditional Nuremberg sausage and gingerbread-- both of which were delicious!

Me and T-Cline

The gang

     Tomorrow is another day of buckling down to study for my last final on Monday!  After that, I will take the last 11 days of my European adventure to explore and see my favorite places for the last time.  And only 4 days until Barcelona! YAY!

Good luck on finals to all my friends and sisters at High Point!  Sending love and positive thoughts your way!