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Gap Year Abroad

2 posts from January 2016

01/29/2016

5 Cities, 8 Days

I’m pooped. I am achy and exhausted and my reflection actually scared me this morning because the circles under my eyes are so purple I thought I had paint streaked on my face. It’s also the best feeling in the world. I just spent the last eight days hopping from Hamburg to Munich and more! It was exhausting in the most invigorating way possible. Trying to share the trip through writing would never cover it all, so I’ll give some highlights from each city. Thanks to all the old and new friends along the way who made it a fantastic time! 

PLUS: I made a video from the trip created entirely from one second long snippits..I hope you enjoy!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rnkfz1HkyxA

 

Hamburg:

-The LARGEST model railway in the world! It even had hidden gems like a dragon flying through Bavaria or the United States staging the moon landing on a set.

-Sasha. This is the family friend of Katie, my trusty travel companion, and also one of the nicest people I have met in Europe thus far. He made the experience 100X better EVEN IF he has the scariest hairless cats on the planet.

 

Berlin:

-The wall and all the other art we saw. Berlin has wonderful street art. That’s a fact.

-The Jewish memorials and museums. My friends and I spent five hours one day learning, mourning and discovering the history of Jews throughout European history.

 

Budapest (my personal favorite):

-The bathhouses!!! I love a good bath and the historic bathhouses in Budapest were almost too much to handle. Every muscle in my body felt like jello and going at night when the moonlight is shining into the water is definitely the right move.

-The spectacular views. This was such a beautiful city...I couldn’t get enough of it.

 

Vienna (Katie’s favorite):

-The music. Everyone knows Vienna is home to the best classical music in the world and we were lucky enough to be able to see it live! We went to a performance house where a small orchestra played crowd favorites, opera singers gave us chills and dancers made us wish we had stuck with ballet past the age of 7...or could even just sway on beat...


Munich:

-The Residenz Museum. Very elaborate. Very gold. Very good.

-The food and drinks. Munich is famous for really good beer for a reason (Disclaimer: All alcohol was had responsibly, legally and while on a historic beer tour), but I can’t say the same for the schnitzel. I can live without eating veal for a long while.

 

01/02/2016

New Year, Still Me

2016-01-02 01.41.50
Sometimes I wear fake bangs. I got them as a birthday present years ago, but have never dared wear them out of my house. Every so often I like to creep over late at night to my “battle-station corner” where my overloaded collection of makeup, hair tools and accessories resides and dig the fringe out.  I clip them into place and examine myself in the mirror as I contort my face into fake laughter, fish lips, stone cold and “Oh! You caught me off guard!”. I play with the length and pull at how it falls atop my face. Sometimes I try baby bangs and remember when Beyonc
é did it best. Other times I pull a Bardot and stick out a pout. There is something comforting about being awake at such a late hour...a sense of isolation and protection. A feeling that the judgement takes a break for a little bit and I breath freely in my own skin. I consider going for the cut in real life and my mind jumps from enjoyment to fear of physical perception.  I remove my fake hair and ever-so-carefully return them to their hair net where they remain until another late night craving for a hair transformation.

A transformation, that is what I was always trying to achieve. Was I not satisfied with who I was and felt that changing something about my appearance will fix everything? Was it when I saw old pictures of myself as a child with real bangs that I ached to return to when life seemed so much simpler? I can’t tell you because I honestly don’t know. However, I know that tonight I had a different feeling within me. I put the bangs on and thought the cliché: “New year, new me”. This time, transformation didn’t dazzle me. I didn’t make any faces...I just sat there and stared back at myself. I really looked for the first time in a long time. I saw details that I had obscured from my own vision: the smile lines that cut down through my cheeks, faint freckles that danced across my nose, purple-tinted paint-like skin greased below my eyes from sleepless nights. I touched the scar on my lip from when a dog decided I looked edible and I took in the way my right eye closed more than my left. I didn’t see my physical features as something to be transformed, I saw them as reflections on the story my life has told so far. 


Someone asked me who I wanted to become in 2016. The thing is, a new year doesn’t mean a new you. You are the same you that you were the day before and yet, you are never the same no matter what day it is. Life is all about changing. No changes you make on the surface don’t equal changes within you. If there is one thing that my gap year is teaching me, it is that life is uncontrollable. You don't get to decide what happens all of the time. So, my resolution this year is to recognize changes and accept them as they come and go. I want to appreciate the time that I have and spend it well and maybe, just maybe I’ll actually cut my bangs this year.

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