Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Big-Little Reunion

It's Tuesday- the beginning AND end of my school week.  Pretty wonderful.
   This weekend my sorority Big, Lillian, and my friend Daniel visited from their Study Abroad in Scotland!  Wow, what a weekend it was!  I just woke up from a 6 hour nap because from Friday to Monday night we were non-stop!

   Our weekend was filled with touristy things such as the Toy Museum, the Castle, Lennon Wall, Old Town, The Charles Bridge, etc.  We were blessed with the most amazing weather ever!  70s and sunny all weekend!


   At the Castle we walked up the tour of the Cathedral... 276 steps later we reached the top.  Every step was worth it. 100%.  I know I say this every week, but this is definitely my favorite view of Prague.



Right outside the Castle was an Czech Army showing.  In the streets they displayed all types of aircrafts, trucks, motorcycles, and weapons.  It was so cool!  Lillian and I decided that the only good looking Czechs are either on the Czech fĂștbol team or in the Czech Army.

   Of course while they were here I had to show them Prague's stellar party scene.  Their first night here we went to Lucerna, a club that plays 80s and 90s classics.  We danced on stage all night, then of course got McDonald's against Gorman's will.  We all needed a piece of home.  On the second night we went to Europe's biggest club.  It's called the 5 story club.  Each of the 5 floors plays a different type of music:  Radio Classics, Oldies, Hip-Hop, Dance, and Chill. Our favorite floor was Radio Classics!  Lillian and I dressed up very fancy to make up for our Kappa Delta formal which we missed at HPU this weekend.  Shout out to all my sisters who looked beyond flawless in every picture!
   Connected to the 5 Story Club is the Ice Bar.  The Ice Bar is kept at a ridiculously cold temperature because the ENTIRE bar is made out of ice!  They gave us gloves and thermal jackets to wear inside because it is so cold.  Even our shot glasses were made out of ice! It was incredible!
Freezing our butts off in the ice bar!

   Their last night here we went to our regular bar, PoPos, for a "casual" night.  On Sundays PoPos has pina coladas, long island ice teas, mojitos, and absinth mixed drinks for 50 crowns ($2.50).  Our favorite cheap place.  We danced the night away on their small dance floor and grabbed pizza on the way home.  We love to eat.
Bundled up and ready to go!


Right before they caught their plane back to Scotland, we had lunch at Cafe Louvre.  So beyond yummy!  Lastly we had to leave our mark on the Lennon Wall.  High Point would be proud of us!  Check out the pictures! After such a fun weekend it was hard to see my Biggie go, but she left me with one of the best gifts I've ever received: a giraffe onesie!  So now I can sleep with it on and think of her always!
   As for the week ahead, there is much work to be done, so it's time for me to put on my focus cap on plow through all my work.  On Friday I sign up for Spring classes at HPU- what a scary thought.  This semester is flying! Slow down!

Ice shot glasses
Showin' off my new shoes!

Dream Big! Choose to be Extraordinary! HPU!

Honorable. Beautiful. Highest. Kappa Delta.

This one's for you Mr. Solosky.  You inspire me every day, now hopefully you can inspire the world!

Big & Little on Charles Bridge
The best gift EVER.  Giraffe onesie.  I will sleep in this EVERY night.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

57 Days Left

Words cannot even explain how quickly time flies here.  It's scary to think that in just 57 days I won't be able to see these amazing people every day or wake up in the city that I have fallen in love with.

Aside from Monday, this week has been relaxing and fun!  On Monday I had my Czech Politics midterm.  I studied my butt off for hours and hours.  Ask me anything about Czech history, I'm a professional now.  However, this midterm sucked.  I am not looking forward to getting it back.  We all felt completely defeated after leaving the classroom.

I find new hidden treasures around the city every day.  This week was full of exploration!  I have two favorite spots: Petrin Hill and the back square of the Castle.  Both spots overlook all of Prague-- absolutely breathtaking.

Ed showed me how to get to Petrin Hill the other day, and then I went back today with Gorman for a PB&J picnic.  It was about 70 degrees and sunny here, which is the nicest day we've had here yet!  Naturally we had to take advantage of this!

This week was full of meeting new friends as well!  I have spent lots of time with the boys across the hall from me who are studying at Czech Tech.  They are all engineering majors and adorably nerdy, but so much fun!  On Wednesdays we go to Retro, our favorite club (because it has no cover).  Each night out inevitably ends with a McDonalds run.  We all crave a small piece of America.  We have almost totally mastered the trams so we get home with ease!

This weekend is going to be wonderful!  My sorority Big, Lillian, is coming to visit with our friend Daniel.  They are both studying abroad in Scotland for the semester.  The rest of my group will be in Salzburg so the three of us will have plenty of time to explore the city!  And with a forecast of 70 and sunny for the whole weekend, nothing could be better!

Right after sunrise view from the back square of the Castle

View from Petrin Hill

Petrin Hill Picnic!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Light Festival

This week was full of exploration!

    Michelle and Phil were in Vienna for a few days so I had time to myself.  That time to myself made me realize home much I hate time to myself.  Although I consider myself a pretty independent person, I am starting to realize that I just always need company.  Adventures aren't any fun unless you have someone to reminisce them with.

    Luckily I was able to substitute Michelle for the week with the help of my good friend Gorman (yes, his first name is Gorman-- he's really Irish).  I know for a fact that he is definitely sick of me after this week.  He must also have a new respect for Michelle and how she puts up with me all the time.

But in a nutshell, these are a few of the adventures from the week:

-Found the pool room in our dorm & played pool
-Celebrated Australia with our Australian friends (face-paint and all)
-Danced the night away at a cool club, which was obviously followed by a McDonald's run (classic Americans)
-Made a fort out of sheets in my room (Morty the Forty)
-Killer breakfast at Bohemian Bagel--- Bacon, Egg, & Cheese on a Bagel. I felt like I was at My Three Sons. It's the little things that make you miss home.
-Cooked a killer pasta/broccoli dish one night, then a kielbasa dish the next night (call me, Chef Linds)
-Explored Prague Castle (which Gorman and I found out, isn't really a castle)
-Saw the most beautiful views of Prague Fall foliage
-FINALLY got my banana-nutella crepe
-Went to the Prague Ballet to see Swan Lake
-Third-wheeled on Michelle & Phil, and Phil paid for me because he's just the best.
-Last but not least, Prague SIGNAL Light Festival

More about this Light Festival:

  • Light "artists" from all over the world set up light exhibits all around the city of Prague for 4 days.  They set up a few video-mapping (pictures below) that are exhibited on some of the most major buildings in Prague.  They also just set up some more simple exhibits.

    Perfect night for a full moon

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Krakow & Auschwitz

   This post took me a little longer than usually to post, but it was intentional I promise.  This past weekend I was fortunate enough to go to Krakow, Poland and Auschwitz.  I wanted to let the experience soak in a little before reflecting on it.  I should warn you, it is a depressing post so turn back now or mentally prepare yourself.

    First of all, Poland is a gorgeous country.  It quickly became my favorite European countryside I've seen thus far.  The changing fall leaves made the 11hour bus ride slightly less painful.  We were blessed with warm, sunny weather to add to the pleasant scenery and delicious Polish food.  Perogis are my new favorite food.  They are slightly like dumplings, with tons of different inside flavors!  I also ate the best sausage of my entire European trip in the main square.  Poland is the only country that seems to love sunflowers ALMOST as much as I do.  They were all over the square, in every restaurant, painted on every surface, and sold at ever vendor.  It was glorious!  Overall, extremely pleasant Krakow experience.  I was definitely missing my partner in crime, Michelle, though.  She was home awaiting the MUCH anticipated arrival of her boyfriend, Phil.  Here's here for the week and we couldn't be more excited!  We love Phil!

Now onto the heavier subject... Auschwitz.
    Throughout my entire junior year of high school, Brother Mike taught us in-depth about the Holocaust in my Christian Existence class.  We read "Man's Search for Meaning," by Viktor Frankl.  One of my favorite quotes from the book is: "To live is to suffer; to survive is to find meaning in the suffering."  Frankl basically points out the inevitable fact that we will all suffer in life, but the only way we can grow is by finding the meaning behind our suffering.  We must focus on the meaning or our suffering may seem in vein.
   Walking through this camp I cannot imagine how Frankl kept such a positive outlook during his time here.  We visited both Auschwitz I & II.  The entrance of Auschwitz I holds an infamous sign "Arbeit Macht Frei", which means "Work is Liberating."

    The entire concentration camp was a mind game for both the leaders and the victims.  This place is an embodiment of evil and hell on earth.  The guards would trick the newcomers, saying they were heading to the showers to wash off the filth, then lock them tight in a gas chamber.  Mind games and trickery that ultimately lead to chaos and panic.
    In a reverse effort, the mentality of the victims ultimately lead to their survival or demise.  One rabbi spoke heavily about Psalm 27.  "The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?"  In a time of terror, they constantly kept faith and placed their hope in the Lord. "Hope is the last to die."
   On the day of our visit there were hundreds of Jewish groups visiting.  They waved the Jewish flag as they marched on the soil where many of their ancestors perished.  This flag waving proudly was the ultimate statement of victory.  Such a powerful sight.
   The majority of us could not make it through even half of the camp without being brought to tears.  I was doing a miraculous job of staying strong until we came to the room that contained all the children's belongings.  Then I lost it.  Little baby shoes, onesies, hats.  Thousands and thousands of innocent babies and children killed. All that remains are the little baby shoes.
   One artist took the pictures drawn by some of the victims, before, during, and after their experience at the camps.  He re-created all of these many drawings onto the wall of a plain white-painted room.  The beginning pictures were of children playing on a playground, or birds flying in the sky, or beautiful flower gardens.  Progressively the pictures turn to scenes of horror.  Little hands drawing pictures of their family being shot, army tanks driving through their street, little kids crying while their family is taken away.  Through the progression of the re-drawn pictures, you can feel the innocence being stolen from these pure hearts.
   The fact that this happened in history absolutely breaks my heart.  I'm a positive person, and I like to believe that everyone in this world is generally good.  However, after visiting Auschwitz, one is forced to reconsider.  Whether out of fear or genuine agreement, millions of people went along with the ideas of Hitler.  This is a period when world that was eclipsed by hatred, evil, and immorality.  In the end, the cowards set fire to the gas chambers and tore down the "evidence" of their deeds.  As if the removal of an incriminating building could erase the damage--- the death of millions of people.
 I just try to keep the picture of the Jewish flag flying proudly and  triumphantly in my mind as a reminder that 
good always wins.  

 The remnants of the burnt down gas chambers/crematorium

Thursday, October 10, 2013

"All you need is love"

This week in Prague has been pretty uneventful.. but in Prague standards, uneventful is pretty eventful.

Overall thoughts during the week:
- All you need is love.
- I'm in love with ciders.
- Alcohol makes everything more dramatic.
- I am so blessed that Michelle is here with me.  
- I have some really wonderful people here around me.
- I have some really wonderful people missing me back home.
- I sometimes think I'm a model. Candids all day, every day.  With the occasional hair-flip.

Mondays are an absolute drag. Two 3hour classes are brutal, but SOOOO worth being done with school on 12pm on Tuesday.  5 1/2 day weekends are a blessing!

Tuesday was very productive! Michelle and I did all our homework, went food shopping, went to Mamma Coffe (amazing place) for lunch, we met with Marketa (our advisor), and made a delicious suite dinner or chicken and honey-glazed sweet potatoes!  I am becoming more and more excited about cooking the longer I live here!  Plus, I haven't burned down our kitchen yet!

Wednesday was another great, relaxing day.  We went to our weekly breakfast with myself, Michelle, Erika, and Taylor.  Afterwards, ERIKA GOT A TATTOO!  It came out AMAZING! I'll post pictures later- it's the outline of the Prague castle.  We obviously had celebratory gelato from our favorite sweets place afterwards.  Wednesday evening was our night at the opera.  I finally got to wear one of the 438739083 dresses i packed!  We were lucky enough to see Mozart's Don Giovanni.  The singers were BEYOND talented, but the version was very modernized so it had an interesting twist.  I think I would have liked the traditional version better.

Today, Thursday, Michelle and I slept late (10:30am) and felt as if we had wasted the day away.  We made up for it by exploring the east side of the river.  We went to the peacock park, and FINALLY found the Lennon Wall!  Next was lunch at Cafe Slavia.  Too, too delicious!

We leave tomorrow at 8am for Krakow, Poland!  Although I am extremely excited, I know a lot of the sites we visit will be somber places.  Michelle is not coming on this trip because Phil, here boyfriend, gets here on Sunday!!!! WE ARE SO EXCITED TO HAVE YOU HERE, PHILLY- CHEESESTEAK!!

Peacock park 

Sunday, October 6, 2013


Where do I even begin?!

This weekend was absolutely phenomenal!  All the planning was worth every single second.

    On Thursday afternoon we took the tram to the bus station where we began the 7 hour trek to Budapest.  Upon arriving in Budapest we realized we had NO idea where we were.  With the help of directions from the Hostel owner who I had been in e-mail correspondence with, we made it to the hostel with no trouble at all.  We set our alarms for an early start the next morning and headed to bed.
    With a 7am wakeup call, Chris and I went on a walk to check out what it was like by the water.  Absolutely breathtaking.  I knew right then that it was going to be an amazing weekend.  We walked and walked all day, seeing Parliament, the National Museum, the Castle, the Chain Bridge, the amazing churches, and lots of great souvenir shops.  Our last stop of the day was the Kiraly Bathes.  What a relaxing experience!  At the end of the day we collectively decided that this day was the most enjoyable day we've spent in Europe thus far-- no rushing to the next excursion, no shoveling down food so we wouldn't miss a tour, no arguing over where we would go next-- we just relaxed, and walked, and soaked in the amazing city.
    That night, after meeting a new friend Stu (this guy's got an amazing story so ask me about him later), we all went out to dinner then bar-hopping.  Since I planned the entire trip, the group decided this would be my night to have fun and not worry about if we were lost, or where to go next, or how to pay for drinks.  What a fun and stress-free night!  Budapest has a great club and bar scene.
    On Saturday we were a little more lazy and we all slept until 11am--whoops!  We had a great breakfast at a local cafe, then headed to the market!  I got some adorable souvenirs for some of you back home!  We must've walked over 2 dozen miles throughout the course of the weekend, so my feet are killing me!  Saturday night our hostel cooked dinner for us, and we all took a shot of their traditional Hungarian liquor-- it was terrible.  We walked to the #3 pub in the world called Szimpla.  It's a "ruin" bar, so basically everything in the entire place is recycled.  One sitting area is literally made out of a car whose door and roof had been taken off.  People from all over the world wrote messages on the wall in their native language.  I etched Kappa Delta AOT into our table (missing you girls so much!).
   We got back to the hostel with just enough time to take a short nap before having to leave at 7am to catch our bus back home.  I slept the entire 7 1/2 hour bus ride back.  It's good to be home, but this weekend was truly truly amazing.  I'm leaving out a million details, but I can't wait to tell you all back home more about this trip!  But for right now, I have to go memorize Wilson's 14 Points for my Politics class tomorrow!  God bless, miss you all.

 Life on top of the world! (The Green Bridge "Liberty Bridge")


 The best friend, roommate, and travel buddy I could ever ask for.
 Cheesin' hard with Christotle
 National Gallery
 Liberty Statue
True Love 4 Ever.