happiness

Semester break / March/April

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We’re traveling to get out of our daily routines. To find happiness in adventurous places we’ve never seen before. Many people do so. And even if I’m happy with my life, traveling will always make it better. It doesn’t matter how far we go and for how long. It only matters that you go somewhere new and either take people you love or meet people you never would’ve talked to if you’d crossed paths somewhere else. Sometimes even both.  😊

So after the weekend we were in the Netherlands at the beach, I drove up to Paderborn, just to spend a few days home, since I can’t handle living with my parents for too long. I enjoyed the days in my own apartment and I once again was positively surprised that this city really feels like home, even after I’ve only lived there for about half a year.  I met some of my friends and we enjoyed the spring weather outside 😊

On Sunday, I drove back and brought Eva and Lennart to Trier with me, so they could get a picture of the beautiful city I always talk about.

We spent a whole day exploring Trier, walked from one Roman building to another and grilled for the first time this season! On Tuesday we drove to Luxembourg and spend the day exploring. On Wednesday they took the train home again, not without promising me to be back!  😊

 

And since that wasn’t enough adventure and exploring, My sister, my mom, my mom’s best friend and I packed our stuff, took a train and ended up in Dresden, where we spent 3 days of sightseeing and a day of hiking in the area of the Elbe Sandstone Highlands (Nationalpark in Saxony and the North Bohemian region). It’s been a great time and I’m glad I’ve finally made it to the eastern part of Germany. It was a shame I’ve traveled that much last year but I haven’t even seen all these beautiful regions of my own country. 😊

We got back yesterday and I’ll spend a few more days and the Easter weekend in Trier before uni starts again next week and we’ll be trying to get smarter once again.🙈

Until then,

Love, Kathi ❤️

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Review 2016 / Start in 2017

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Hi everyone! 😊

I know, I created this as an Au Pair blog, but since I’m not an au pair anymore, but still have a life, I figured, I could just continue writing. Just because I like it.🙈

It’s been quite a while since I last wrote something and a lot has changed since then.

2016 started as a good year and ended pretty good as well. I went on so many vacations and had so much fun exploring places and meeting people, that I kinda miss it. But it’s a new year and I’m working on it so it’s gonna be even better than the last. 😊

Somewhere around September life hit me up and I made decisions about what I was gonna do with my life. I got into university of Paderborn, which is why I moved there at the beginning of October. I met tons of new people, made some friends and we had a great few months, and before we knew it, the semester was over and our exams are next week and we didn’t study enough. I was just too busy enjoying my life, drinking, meeting the expectations of my (by now) long distance relationship and just having fun. So now we’re studying day and night to pass our exams and afterwards  we’ll just do the same as before until the end of next semester and we’re gonna be just as surprised that we already need to study again.🙈

Anyways, like I said, the year ended pretty well with a nice little vacation in Spain, where Jonas and I visited my sister, who’s been studying there for a semester. We had a great time and enjoyed the last days of the year before we spend New Years Eve with some of my friends and had a lovely start in the new year (except the part that I had forgotten my keys and we were needed to try to wake up my parents only 4 hours into the year.)

I could go on and on about every little thing that happened in the last few month but I guess, that’s it for now, I’ll let some pictures do the rest. 😊

I’ll write some more again from now on, about my life as a student in a new city and if you wanna read it, you’re very welcome to! If not, I’ll just write for myself. 😊

Love, Kathi ❤️

 

47 Yellowstone Nationalpark 

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My hostfamily left Friday morning to go to their grandparents’ house for the weekend, so I started packing, hung out with Marie for a bit, emptied out half of my room already, packed my bag for the next week and went to bed pretty early, to get up early and catch my flight at 7 in the morning.

Destination: SALT LAKE CITY.

Layover: Denver, 4 hours.

It took me 14 hours to get from my house to the hotel in SLC I was gonna stay in for that night. After some trouble with my shuttle to the hotel, I finally made it and got to know the tour guide of the tour I had booked (Not Chinese, thanks god!🙈) He was, besides to other man who were there with their Chinese families, the only white person in the bus. Everybody else was Chinese or Taiwanese. But I knew this was gonna happen, so it didn’t surprise me ✌️

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The next morning, we took off at 6am (or more 6:15, since Chinese people are apparently not good with punctuality 😫)
Our first day we drove north out of Utah and all the way towards the north of Wyoming where we spent our time visiting  Jackson hole, where we had dinner, Grand Teton National Park, the most regular geyser in the US Old Faithful, where we got on time to see it’s eruption,  Grand Prismatic (more geysers 🙈), Fountain Paint Pots and we stayed the night in a Hotel in West Yellowstone, Montana.

Antlers Arch in Jackson Hole


On Monday, which was also Independence Day in the US, we went to another geyser basin called Norris, then went on to Artist Point, which is a overlook over beautiful waterfalls within yellow stones (which is why the Nationalpark is called Yellowstone). Afterwards we went to a Mud Volcano, which is exactly what it’s called. A geyser that erupts all the time and covers its surroundings with mud.

From there we drove to Steamboat Point, where you have a great look over Lake Yellowstone, the biggest lake in the Nationalpark, followed by Wyoming Overlook, where you could see many many miles of Wyoming’s beautiful countryside. Monday night we stayed in Gillette, where we stayed in a beautiful little hotel ☺️

Norris 
Artist Point in Yellowstone

Lake Yellowstone 

Wyoming Overlook
Arbuckle Lodge Gillette

 

On day 3 we went to the most famous sights of the tour: Devil’s Tower, Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse.

Devil’s Tower was America’s first National Monument and is a laccolithic butte composed of igneous rock in the Bear Lodge Mountains.

 

Devil’s Tower


Mount Rushmore is a massive sculpture carved into the mountain showing the 4 presidents and founding fathers Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Theodore Rosevelt and Abraham Lincoln.

 


Crazy Horse is another sculpture that is being carved in stone (since almost 70 years) which will show the Oglala Lakota warrior Crazy Horse, when it is finished.

 

Crazy Horse in Construction
Scale Model of Crazy Horse


Day 4 and the last day of our tour we climbed Independence Rock, a rock where Mormons, when they were on their way to find new land for themselves, stopped at Independence Day to celebrate and carved their names into it.

 

 

Independence Rock

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On our way back to Salt Lake City we stopped at the Olympic Park in Park City, where the Winter Olympics happened in 2002. It is a great recreation center now where you can do all kinds of sports and activities.

 


In Salt Lake City we visited the Capitol building, saw the Mormon Temple on Temple Square and saw the Great Salt Lake, the reason why the city got its name. We ended our tour at the hotel we stayed in the first night and a shuttle took me back at the airport, where I got on my plane to Denver, hung out there for about 2 hours and took one last plane back home, where the baby girl in front of me cried for about 2 hours, so when I arrived at 5:15am, I had not slept a minute 😫 But my boys are not home so I got plenty of time to just fall in my bed and stay there for a couple hours ☺️

 

Capitol Building of Utah

Great Salt Lake

Sunset on my way to Denver


It’s been an amazing couple days and I am so glad I got to experience it! ☺️

 

I’ll be home for another 5 days now before I will have to say goodbye to the US and hop on to a plane back to Germany again.

See you soon! 🙂

Love, Kathi ❤️

week 43/44/45

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Summer has started and everything and nothing is happening.😊

We went indoor skydiving, watched me before you, had my oldest’s birthday party (2 weeks early), went to the pride festival in DC, saw Melanie Martinez, Charlie Puth and Meghan Trainor live.

Celebrated my oldest’s graduation from elementary school and the beginning of summer, went to the pool a lot, had a girls’ night, watched me before you, watched now you see me, went to see Finding Dory.

Had day camp where I helped out, shot some arrows with bows, shot some BB’s, learned something about medicine, tried not to die in all the thunder storms and tornado warning (don’t worry, we all made it), played some soccer, watched some soccer, went to the pool, went out for brunch, tried to not spend money, met for ice cream, watched another movie, went to parks, went out for dinner, spent time resting, went for walks, and again to the pool.

Days are long but with not so much stress. 4 days until my next vacation and 14 to the last plane that I’m gonna take in this adventure. 15 days until I’m landing in Germany and need to go back to my old life. 15 days that couldn’t be any slower and a whole year that is over and went flying away. It’s a weird stage and it’s gonna be hard to leave, but good to be home 😊

Love, Kathi ❤️

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week 41/42 / Virginia beach

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The week that Hanna was still here, we spent with shopping, picnics, planes starting over our heads and finally some sleeping, after we hadn’t had slept in during our whole vacation.🙈

We had some nice last couple days and I am really glad she got to come here and spent time with me 🙂

We also needed to say goodbye to our beloved friend Rabea, whose year (or 2)  as an au pair is finished here and she’s going back to Germany. We already miss her and we’re glad that we spent so much time together and will definitely see her again as soon as possible!

After I had dropped her off at the airport and spent the first time alone in my bed again since over a month(!) (since Lydia and Hanna were here right after each other), we packed our stuff on Friday again and went off to go on another vacation (or more like a weekend trip🙈).

My host mum and me picked up the boys right after school and hit the road towards Virginia Beach! We had planned to go camping for the next three days. Let’s see how that turned out:

We got there late at night and needed to set up the tent in the dark, which wasn’t that easy, since American people, whenever they go camping, they don’t just bring air mattresses and a tent. We have a 8-person tent (for the 5 of us) and brought bunkbeds. (yes, you heard right: BUNKBEDS.) Since we got not really lucky with our neighbors, the campground service people moved us somewhere else while we spent the day at the beach, ate pizza and spend the evening at the pool on the campground.

For Sunday there was a tropical storm predicted, so we packed up our stuff, booked a hotel for the night, spend the morning at the beach, the afternoon at the Virginia Aquarium and headed to Newport News that night, where we finally had a comfortable bed again.🙈

When we woke up on Monday morning, Memorial Day, we went for breakfast, spent some time at the Virginia Living Museum and had dinner with my host mum’s sister and her family in Richmond.

We got home late, after a fun, but really exhausting weekend.

Since it was Memorial weekend, the pool season has officially started! We spent a few afternoons this weeks there, since the boys don’t have a lot of homework anymore.

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Summer is finally here! 

We didn’t do much this weekend, though. I was sick on Friday and spent the whole day in bed. On Saturday I had one last cluster meeting and spent about 7 hours a mall with Marie, before we went (once again) to Rabea’s host family’s house, to get to know the new au pair better and see her little host kid again and talk to her host parents, and make sure, that we are still welcome there 🙈

I worked Sunday (the disadvantages of being an au pair) and skyped with some of my loves at home (or in Ukraine).

I guess the next few weeks are not gonna be too exciting, even though they are my last ones. The days that I have left are counted and I can’t wait to finally be back in Germany!

37 more days and I will leave my home here to return to my actual life and home and need to worry about where to go and what to do with my future 😃

But until then, there’s a pool waiting for me and a lot of sunny days here in Virginia 🙂

Love, Kathi ❤️

week 39/40 Cali/New York

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It’s been 2 crazy weeks a´with a whole lot of new impressions and a lot of lovely people around me.☺️

Monday morning, I needed to say goodbye to Lydia, who had been staying with me for almost a week, who’s journey went on towards Philadelphia and Chicago. But it didn’t take too long (just the normal working day), until we had another guest in the house. one of my best friends, Hanna, (most of you may know her), had come to visit me for a little more than 2 weeks (yes, she is still here☺️). We had planned to go on a little vacation together, so Wednesday night, we got into our plane and flew all the way across the country, where we landed in LA, in beautiful California. We stayed with a couch surfing host in San Pedro, about an hour away from downtown, who was really nice and flexible.

The first 3 days we spent exploring in LA. We went downtown, to Hollywood, took a walk up towards the Griffith Observatory, drove to Beverly Hills, walked through the pretty (and REALLY expensive) shopping streets, saw the famous Santa Monica Pier, walked down to Venice Beach with it’s cute little stores, had some In’n’out Burger (not as good as everyone says!), went to Long Beach, got really sunburned, ate a lot of food, and took even more pictures ☺️

Saturday night we caught a bus to San Francisco, drove the whole night, arrived there without any sleep early in the morning and went for a good breakfast first. We walked around the town, saw the fisherman’s wharves, walked up to Lombardi street, took the famous cable car, climbed all the way up to the Coit tower (but didn’t go up, the line was huge!), took a bus to the painted ladies, went on to the beach, got back to downtown, because the beach was too cold and windy, grabbed dinner at California Pizza Kitchen (Not as good as at the east coast!) and met with our couch surfer there, to just go to bed and sleep after a long and exhausting day. The next morning, we grabbed some coffee and a little snack, before we went to the one spot that no one in San Francisco should ever miss! The Golden Gate Bridge!

Standing in front of it seems a little unreal, because we’ve seen it in pictures and drawings and books, but going in all these cities in the US and visiting all their famous sights, sometimes seems to be surreal and you can’t really believe it.

We took a lot of pictures, and decided, to walk all the way to the other side, to also get a great view of the bridge and the San Francisco skyline. From there we took an Uber to go to a place called ‘Hippie Tree’. I had only seen pictures and we didn’t really know, what to expect, but arriving at the top of the hill, we found a huge tree with a swing on it and an incredible view over the bridge and the city. From there we took a ferry back to downtown and went a little shopping because we still had time until our bus back to LA left again.

After a long and restless night in the bus, we arrived in LA super early and made our way to Inglewood, where we met Louisa and Magda, friends from back home, in their hostel. We took a cab to Venice Beach again, had breakfast and caught up about our adventures from the last year. we spent the day walking up towards Santa Monica, doing some shopping, watching the sunset at the beach and having a nice dinner there.

Back in San Pedro, we spent the last time with our couch surfer John, who was an amazing host! ☺️

And then it was Wednesday already, our last day in the sunny state. We brought all of our stuff to Louisa’s and Magda’s hostel, because it was close to the airport, drove all together to Hollywood, where we had dinner and walked down part of the Walk of Fame, before we drove downtown again, where we found some great spots to take pictures and also a really cute store. As the time went by, we headed back to the hostel, ordered some pizza and off we went to the airport, to fly back, across the country to DC.

We arrived at home around 7, had a typically crazy morning with my host family, did some laundry, unpacked our bags, packed again, and left around 10 to get to DC for our Bus to New York.

Arriving there, Lydia was already awaiting us at the Bus Terminal. Because we couldn’t go to our couch surfer right away, we went to Times Square (What else to do in New York? 🙈)

We had some struggles with our couch surfer, but had a roof over our heads during the night. So the next morning, we packed all of our stuff again, arranged some other place to sleep, stored our luggage at the train station and went on with our touristy sightseeing trip. We visited the 9/11 Memorial, which is always beautifully sad. I think they did a good job with putting up the two pools with all the names on the edges and the water falling down at the exact same place where the twin towers had been standing.

We went on to the Brooklyn Bridge and even crossed it (first time for me!), had some coffee in Brooklyn and took the subway back uptown. We had dinner, walked a little through midtown, picked up our stuff and made our way to our new host. Who kicked us out the next day again (We got really lucky with shitty hosts in ny.🙈). But before we got his message around 7pm, we had breakfast, went to central park, met Marie and her friend, took pictures, got some coffee and went shopping.

Then it took us another 2 hours to find another host for the night, we found one while we were trying to get food, so we just took the pizza out, met with our new and final host, had dinner on his rooftop with a beautiful view of the city and finally went to bed.

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We spent our last day having some delicious Sunday’s brunch, saying goodbye to Lydia, doing some last minute shopping and finally getting into the bus to make it all the way to Ashburn again, which took us about 7 hours today.

Here we are now, totally exhausted from all the impressions we got and things we saw, so we’re just gonna sleep and not think about all the work that needs to be done tomorrow and pretty much every day after that.

Have a good start in your week!

Love, Kathi ❤️

week 38

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It’s been a rainy week. I think there was not one day without rain except today. Which would be okay with my normal working schedule, but I had a visitor staying at my house: Lydia! After we spent our days in New Orleans together, she went to visit our friend Nora in North Carolina, before she came up to Virginia on Tuesday.😊

Despite the weather, we had a really nice time, that we spent shopping, eating and taking pictures. (Yes, that’s pretty much all we did.) We had brunch with Marie on Tuesday, went shopping on Thursday, had Cheesecake on Friday and watched Mothersday Friday night. Saturday we slept in, went to my twins’ birthday party and continued to party (or more like eating cake and pizza) at Mina’s house, who finally turned 19 (why do I feel old, even though I’m just a year older?)

Only today (Sunday) that it was warmer again, we could finally go outside and make a little sightseeing tour in DC. We were joined by Vicci and we all had a lot of fun walking through the city and exploring things even we had not seen before.🙈

 

 

Also, on Thursday we got to see Captain America: Civil War, which was really good.😊

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Love, Kathi ❤️