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Five Days. Not a Week. Woops.

July 12, 2010

Somewhere along the way, I completely forgot to talk about my study abroad trip. I don’t know how it escaped me, somehow it didn’t really feel real, I guess. I didn’t talk with anyone about it, really, even. Weird, right? But you know how you have that dream before a big trip that you’ve forgotten to go or you’re naked, whatever your fear is…they all translate into being massively unprepared. So in a word I never use, I “misunderestimated” the departure date for the trip, and 2 days to prepare got skimmed off in the process.

Where am I going?! You ask…maybe. Did you? Anyway, St. Petersburg, Russia, which is this lovely place:

Berlin & Munich, Germany, (photo is of Munich):

And Salzburg, Austria, (Photo from an awesome travel-photography blog):

The trip will be for three weeks, shorter than usual, because I’m codependent…kidding, I really just hate being away from him, and that’s okay, right? Anyways, it’s a trip I never thought I’d take, but I’m really excited for it! Despite my love of photography, I am only taking a digital point’n shoot and don’t try to talk me out of it! Kidding.

Anyways, Isaiah has vowed to update with posts while I’m gone, I leave Friday! Yikes! So I didn’t tell you that to go all verbal-diarrhea about the trip.

My great-grandma just turned 90 this past December. My great-grandpa, Helmut or “Hal,” was born and raised until he was 9 in Hamburg, Germany. He used to talk about his beloved motherland day-in…just kidding. He did love Germany though and we ate spare ribs and sauerkraut our fair share at their house. He came to America through Ellis Island and my mom and I took a trip to New York together when I turned 18. At Ellis Island, you can see the original logs, signed by my great-grandpa and his mother. He was 8 when the ship left Hamburg and 9 when it pulled into New York. He was also one inch shorter than his 4’11” mother when they left and 4 inches taller than her when they arrived. I always found that amusing.

My great-grandpa was really active in our lives, always outside with us playing catch or sitting nearby commenting on how my male cousins shouldn’t be playing with paper dolls with the girls.

Anyway, I never got sentimental about my past. I’m such a hodgepodge of who-sy-whats-its-from-what-country-again, that it just translates to Chicagoan for me. German is the most “recent” I guess, the most prevalent in my life, if that makes sense. I’m really looking forward to going to Hamburg and seeing the place I heard about so often from my grandpa and maybe feeling a bit closer to my heritage, I guess. Who knows what will come of it?

Both the countries of Russia and Germany were wore-torn so recently…so I’m interested to see how the countries have repaired their land and such. It’s hard to imagine in America, we don’t know what war does to a country when it hits home, you know? Does that make me sound like a nerd? Maybe. To counteract, I’m also pumped to spend the day in Baltika Breweries, taste testing and checking out their plant.

Anyways, any study abroad veterans? What tips do you have? Where have you visited that you would go back to in a heartbeat?

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18 Comments leave one →
  1. July 12, 2010 3:20 pm

    I wish I was a study-abroad veteran. I am jealous beyond belief, and so looking forward to hearing (and seeing!) about your trip.

    • July 12, 2010 4:05 pm

      Thanks Sarah! I’m pumped to go. I didn’t even think about it for a second before yesterday. Totally slipped my mind because I planned it a year ago, haha. So I’m too scatter-brained to get ready and get everything for the classes done before I leave to really let it sink in or panic or anything.

  2. July 12, 2010 4:04 pm

    study abroad, work abroad, volunteer abroad …. I’m a big advocate (I’ve done it – all 3 of those actually, and I worked in the industry sending others overseas for a long time) You’re going to have the best time – because even if things don’t go as planned, I really think spending time abroad serves as a great way to learn more about oneself, learn about the world, become more open minded, etc.

    I think it’s really great too that you’re going to get to visit Hamburg. My grandparents came over from Lebanon (my grandmother’s info is on the wall at Ellis Island and in the books…) and when I got to go visit, it really was pretty amazing to be able to see first hand these roots

    Have a fabulous time – safe travels, and can’t wait to see tons of photos and hear all sorts of fabulous stories upon your return!

    • July 12, 2010 4:09 pm

      My great-gramps put his dad’s name on the wall when they did the commemoration in his honor. It was so sweet to see it there, isn’t it?! Thanks so much, Suzanne! I couldn’t agree more. Isaiah and I talked about it for a while, and we weren’t sure that we wanted to spend a whole semester apart (we’ve been long distance for 3 months two separate times already!) But I knew it was an experience I had always wanted for myself and we didn’t me to feel like I missed the opportunity. I’m looking forward to bringing that sweet boy there with me next time!

  3. July 12, 2010 6:03 pm

    I studied aborad, travelled abroad, worked abroad and I can say without any hesitation that trips like this are worth every minute and every penny. I’m so thrilled for you. My one tip is to allow yourself to step off the beaten path and step out of your comfort zone. This is probably better in Germany (St Petersburg/Russia is still a bit more wild than Europe) but that my favorite travel moments all came from unexpected surprises. So planplanplan, be entirely prepared and smart about safety, and then be willing to occasionally pursue the random adventure. You can’t go wrong. Looking forward to hearing about it all!

    • July 12, 2010 6:15 pm

      I definitely agree, Becca. I’ve gotten myself in some sticky situations by not having a comfort zone, haha….that’s a post for another day, I think…I don’t remember the buildings or the stores or anything from my past excursions, only the 3am nightclub sneakouts at 16, tagging along with locals through sheisty streetways…that’s the way we do, eh? haha.

      Thanks so much for the tips, I’ll keep that in mind, and I think it’s so rad you girls had all of those experiences! Uber wicked.

    • July 12, 2010 11:17 pm

      I agree with Becca. I studied abroad in Switzerland for a year and traveled extensively throughout Europe while I was there. The best, most memorable moments are the ones that were unexpected. When I was in Prague I went to a holocaust museum and ended up striking a conversation with an elderly man who volunteered there and discovered that he lived through the holocaust and the occupation of his country by the soviets. Hearing what he had to say was one of the best experiences of my life.

      Enjoy your time abroad!

  4. July 12, 2010 6:34 pm

    No way! I spent 5 months in St. Petersburg (winter), and then another 2 a little bit later (summer). I loved it and know the city really well. Feel free to email me if you have any questions! I have lots of recommendations, lots of little places I could suggest you make a trip to, restaurants, museums, gardens, etc. It’s a fascinating, beautiful, complex city that underwent major physical renovations a few years ago to celebrate its 300th anniversary.

    Jealous!

  5. July 12, 2010 9:56 pm

    holy shit!

    you are going to have a fucking awesome time. and we will miss you! ok ok. I will miss you. yea, i’ll say it! haha!

    take plenty of pics! and i look forward to isaiah’s posts!

    prost!

  6. July 13, 2010 4:54 am

    oh my gosh! have such a fabulous time! Usually when people travel, I just recommend they eat good local food. Ha ha ha , can you tell where my priorities are?

    • July 13, 2010 9:01 am

      I’m not sure what food there is like, but I’m really looking forward to it. That’s usually one of the first things on my mind as well, haha.

  7. July 14, 2010 9:04 pm

    Have so much fun! I’ve been on two study abroads now. My advice is to take time to do something quiet by yourself. Don’t always be going, going, going or you will miss some of the more subtle but awesome moments. I always made sure to have some alone time in new countries. That way you can pick up on the nuances a big group wouldn’t.

  8. August 2, 2010 7:48 am

    I want to visit that part of the world SOOOO bad!!!:)

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