Thursday, August 19, 2010

I've made it!

SO MUCH TO WRITE ABOUT... but I think I will go with the brief version of the past few weeks.

I graduated from Texas A&M University. The ceremony was fantastic and since receiving my diploma I've been implementing a new mega-scholarly vocabulary... it's not very effective.

I attended my first business conference: The Affiliate Summit in New York. Could they have chosen a better location? I truly had a blast working the table at MeetMarket for my company, eAccountableOPM. I met so many nice and enthusiastic people... can't wait until the next one: January in VEGAS!!! Hope to live through that one...

I have officially moved to Luxembourg and in with my Boo. It is so nice to develop those cozy "at home" feelings that appear when I'm here. This evening Paul's sister Romy is teaching me to make traditional Luxembourgish noodles. YAY ASSIMILATION! This is just a minor step... the first of many efforts I hope to make in order to make this country my own.

I cannot stress to my probably non-existent readers how happy I am at this moment.

Now let's get down to business:
Megan (Habebi) has given me a serious blog task. My typing fingers are quivering.

The Sunshine Award:
List seven random facts about yourself and then pass the award onto three other wonderful bloggers.

1. I am currently in the process of learning to drive a manual. I wouldn't call myself awful, but I also can't call myself brilliant at it. This real life situation happened to me today: On a hill, stopped and needing to start back in 1st gear, GIANT bus pulls up behind me about 2 inches from my bumper. I almost peed my pants... Hopefully with some more experience I won't be so embarrassing...

2. When I was little, my favorite animal was a cow. I had a cow lamp, cow stuffed animals, cow slippers, cow Limoges, etc.... the irony is: My boyfriend's family owns a dairy.

3. I have had almost every hair color known to man... and without trying to sound too confident, I think I pulled each one of them off... except the highlighter orange I rocked at my high school graduation.

4. My mother, father and stepmother all received their degrees in Interior Design. Perhaps this is where my love for decorating stemmed? I really enjoy HGTV and all DIY shows. I am about to embark on a project of reupholstering a chair found in the attic of Paul's house. I hope it will turn out to look like this one from Crate and Barrel. But perhaps with a fun fabric? More on that later.

5. I am one of those people that will try almost any food once. I'm pretty sure that I once ate kangaroo meat with Paul's dad.

6. My travel desire stemmed from receiving a gift from my Aunt. She lived in Germany and the first time I met her, she gave me a small token from her last trip to Paris. Since then, I've had visions of European sugar-plums dancing in my head.

7. I had alopecia of the eyelashes when I was in the second grade. It's not like a scary disease or anything... it just means that my eyelashes fell out. for no reason. It wasn't fun, but the second grade boys somehow still found me mildly attractive. I believe I had more elementary boyfriends that year than any other.

I'm not sure that these people read my blog, but the blogs I most enjoy reading are (not including The Constant Search for More which is one of my faves) in no particular order:

Lovely in Lux
Murphy in Toulouse
Cafe Lux

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Rocky Mountain High

Good morning from Colorado! This is the view from my Dad's back porch where I sipped my coffee this morning... what could be more peaceful? Colorado in the summer is something everyone should experience. I'm not talking about Denver (which is cool, don't get me wrong). I'm referring to making the trip up into the mountains... higher than the mile high city. My Dad lives in Eagle, which is right outside of Vail and Beaver Creek. Vail's lowest elevation is 8120 feet... and it is real what people say that being at this elevation gives one a natural since of euphoria... a "Rocky Mountain High" as John Denver named it.

One other notable feature... Colorado has the weirdest road kill:

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Mizzourah & Booze

Where to begin?
I have started my mini-American tour; which consists of visiting almost every member of my family (wherever they might live) over only a period of six weeks. CRAZINESS! My family is so spread out!

I spent an incredibly relaxing week in Dallas to begin. Every time I drive into the city and my vision breeches the towering downtown buildings I am flooded with INTENSE warm-fuzzies. Most of my visit was spent lazing around on the couch with my Mom watching our favorite cheesey movies (The Holiday and French Kiss are always on repeat). Whenever I visit my mother's house I sort of revert to a state of childhood. As an adult, I have become a neat and tidy person... but for some reason at my childhood home I am completely incapable of washing dishes, cleaning my room, or picking up my wet towels off the bathroom floor. Does this happen to everybody? Or just me? I swear I'm not normally this lazy... nor did I depend on my Mom to do everything for me... I have to admit that it was really nice to do nothing for a week. It was almost a necessary form of tension release after completing my undergraduate degree.

Next stop: Carrollton, Missouri
To sum it up, it was pretty much a week of over-populated tables and way too much home cooking. Good Lord! I had such a great time visiting family there! Seeing my cousin's little kids was so fun! They're adorable! I also had the please of meeting my cousin Matt's new wife. Unfortunately I missed their wedding because I was working in Germany at that time... it was nice to see him completely whipped :)

Next stop: New Haven, Missouri
Family visited: NONE
This trip was the most exciting thing that has happened to me in a while. My Mom, brother and I took a road trip and visited 8 wineries in 2 days. The German town of Hermann is located right on the beautiful Missouri River amongst rolling hills with bright green grass (not found in Texas). The three of us had constant smiles on our faces as we sampled the wine from the area. I hadn't heard much about Missouri wine before, but now I feel knowledgeable enough to be considered a Missouri sommelier. One of the more interesting wineries, Stone Hill, was actually the first winery in the United States and in their cellars had the oldest wine barrel on the continent.

After we tasted 12 Stone Hill wines and their Port AND their Sherry... my brother Keaton and I got a bit ridiculous:

I would post some other pictures from this particular winery, but I won't for fear of greatly embarrassing myself.

Our final winery stop was Montelle and it was the most beautiful! We tasted the BEST Norton wine (and even bought a few cases). Norton grapes, as we learned, are the only true and native American grapes. Thus the wine made from Norton grapes is the only truly American wine. The particular year we tasted and purchased at the Montelle vineyard was aged in American oak barrels that gave the dry red wine a really rich, full taste with a hint of black cherry. YUMM! After we placed our wine and sandwich orders... the three of us sat on the patio taking in the view and sipping our beverages for a few hours. It was truly the perfect familial moment to soak up. Here is the view full of the river and a few grape vines:

Where am I now? I have just arrived in Columbia to visit my Gram for a week and thrive on the city's tiger spirit. What kind of trouble can we get ourselves in to? Stay tuned...

Monday, June 28, 2010

What am I going to do with myself now?

Lets see... two days left of school with almost no classwork left. I am slowly realizing that I have more time than I know what to do with... Yes, yes most of my days will be spent working (should be spent working) But I'm ready to try some new things!

Recently, I've decided to try out painting... and what I lack in talent, I believe I make up in enthusiasm! Here is one of my latest creatures:

And here is another.. I will have a challenging time fitting this one in my suitcase:

I cannot take all the credit for these. While I did physically paint them, I modeled them after photographs of sexy, retro women that I found online. I truly love the look of pop-art!

Here is a list of things I want to do once I get settled in Luxembourg:
1. Learn French

2. Find the perfect coffee shop in the city (with wifi) and work from there once a week

3. Become a gardener... I think I will start with window boxes. I have NEVER grown anything in my life, so this should be hilarious. I really like the look of these:

The front of the farm house has quite a lot of space to work with. I could install planter boxes! Also, Paul and I have talked about getting furniture and a fire pit for the front patio so we can sit outside and drink wine under the stars... how romantic!

4. GET A DOG! I really like Bernese Mountain dogs and Great Danes. Hopefully the shelter near Holler has an adorable puppy waiting just for me... preferably HUGE and slobbery

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Cheers to the end of an era...

It is a whimsical feeling when approaching your graduation day... I'm mess of emotions ranging from all sides of the spectrum: ecstatic, proud, nervous, and down right terrified! I would like to utilize this post to reflect on my past few years at school and also create some goals for the future. Luckily, with the help of my father, I have the opportunity to retain a secure job and the option to move-in with my "euro lover", as my friends and I have grown to call him.

In the fall of 2006, I piled into a luxurious Suburban with the Johnston family grasping only the hope of watching a lively football game at Kyle Field. I had never been to College Station, Texas before and had already decided it was a 'po-dunk' town with a small University. That day amongst the 80,000 screaming/ face-painted fans, world renowned marching band, and sea of gorgeous military boys... I found my temporary home. The past three years while completing my undergraduate degree at Texas A&M University were incredibly endearing. There is something about this town that makes one feel comfortable and welcomed. I was able to let go of my pretentious high school demeanor and shed my shell of cosmetics dependency. I found myself in College Station. I found a girl who could let her hair dry wild and crazy... and friends who liked me for who I am and urged me to try new exciting things.

I've always had a natural attraction to the German culture and language (though I would never pretend that I was any good at it). At school, one of my beloved German professors urged me to study abroad. So I did it. Twice!

The first summer I spent in Bonn, Germany was wild. With a great group of girls, I traveled every weekend to new and exciting destinations. We tested our minimal German language skills and laughed for countless hours at our accents. Through a familial connection, my friend Caitlin Troxclair invited me to visit Holler, Luxembourg... a small (TINY!) farming village in northern Luxembourg. We stayed at her family friend's farm house and visited every inch of the country. While walking down the main street in the town of Vianden, I imagined how happy my life could be in that country. And then I met the boy next door... Caitlin and I visited Luxembourg a second time because the first was so incredible. I had seen the steamy, cute farm boy from next door only out of the corner of my eye: bailing hay, milking a cow, and playing his tuba in the local parade for Luxemborg's National Day. Caitlin, our adorable new Luxembourgish girlfriends and myself spent the whole afternoon preparing for the holiday party that evening (Imagine 4th of July in a small town). We came to the neighboring village's crowded town hall building to celebrate amongst the people. I entered the front door and rounded to the right (somehow losing my companions) and there was Paul. He was standing at a bar table with a group of guys laughing, but when I walked in he became silent and our eyes met for what seemed like hours. We smiled at each other and he asked me to dance the traditional Luxembourgish folk dance. I couldn't get the feeling out of my head that he had been there waiting just for me. After we danced, we went outside for a walk and sat on a bench, talking in the twilight until dawn. It was the most amazing, idyllic night I had ever experienced.

The next day Caitlin and I rode silently on the train back to Germany. I had no expectation that I would ever see Paul again... thinking even that if I did it could never be as good as that night. Surprisingly, he drove all the way to Bonn the next week to visit me. He took me out to dinner and we walked along the Rhine river as the sun set. We continued to date for the remainder of my time in Germany, but unfortunately I had to go back to school in Texas for the fall. I honestly did not think we would continue to have a relationship (if it could even be considered one), though we found ourselves talking on the phone for hours every day; sharing stories from our pasts and sharing our hopes for the future. A city girl and a country boy surely don't have that much in common, but we simultaneously found each other's lives to be intriguing. He came to visit me in Texas where I fitted him for his first pair of cowboy boots and my Dad taught him to ski in the Rockies... and I got to spend a fantasy white Christmas that year with his family in Luxembourg.

And here we are... two years later. I believe it started as an infatuation with a foreigner, but over time and visits it has grown into love. I can't imagine my life without him. I am thankful that whilst in College Station I have had the opportunity to focus on my studies because my heart was clearly somewhere else. I even went to Germany again to study and work for 6 months which gave me the opportunity to spend more time with Paul and his family before deciding that I did, in fact, want to move to Luxembourg at the rebellious age of 21.

August 17th is the day it all begins...I'm moving in with Paul to a 400 year old, but recently renovated farm house... and I don't believe that I possess any unreal expectations. I worry about assimilating into the culture of Holler, Luxembourg and not making any true friends that really understand me. I worry that Paul and I realistically won't last forever. Thankfully my Aunt will only live about 2 hours away from me in case I need a friendly boost of confidence.

Cheers to risking it all... well almost. Enjoy this picture of Paul and me from a friend's wedding in Texas 2 weeks ago: