Tuesday, September 20, 2011


Just to update anyone that is still following this blog, I now have a new one! I have a blog for my year as a Young Adult Volunteer in Chicago, IL. For more info check it out at: sarahinthewindycity.blogspot.com!

Saturday, May 15, 2010


Ok. This might be my last day with my host family, but I think this was the best day ever. I woke up, got really dressed up to go to my host sister's confirmation. Although the service was completely in Danish and I didn't understand a word of it, I still thought it was perfect that my last day started in a church. The church was built in the 1500s for vikings (like everything else in Denmark) and it was hauntingly beautiful. There was an undescribe-able quality about the church that really spoke to me. I'm not sure what it was; maybe it was the fact that I didn't understand the service so I just had an hour of quiet meditation in a church. Either way, it was definitely one of my favorite experiences.

It was raining when we left the church. It was dark, cloudy and raining. My favorite weather (aside from sunny heat)!! What a nice going-away present from Denmark. After the service, we went back to my host family's house for some hygge-licious (hygge is a Danish word. It doesn't translate into English because it is too awesome/ It basically means good feeling, etc) time with the extended host-family. Granted, none of them really speak English and I ended up in my room working on a last-minute paper that is due on Monday, but it was still fun.

Then we went to Maria's party. Let me explain. Confirmation to the Danes is a little like a quinceanera. They get super dressed up and have a huge party. Maria's party was at a restaurant and it was 5 courses. It was a lot of fun and the food was so good! I'm glad I had a huge feast as my last meal (sort of) in Denmark. The wine was good too and there was champagne (my favorite!). Let's just say I had never had that much to drink at 3:00 in the afternoon. Those Danes know how to party. I got to talk to my host-mormor (my host mom's mother) and she is really cool. I had met her a couple times before, but had never really spent any time with her. I found out that she loves peanut butter! I wish I had known that when I still had some. Because I would have made her peanut butter cookies with it! But alas, I did not find out about it until today. I think I'm going to mail her some or mail her the recipe and a jar of peanut butter. Haven't decided yet.

It was really hard at lunch today though. Since I had never met a lot of the people there, Lise (my host mom) was telling them all about me. She didn't know that her brother was translating what she was saying into English and it was all really sweet. I almost started crying. Its going to be harder than I thought to leave. I thought I was ready to go. And I am in a lot of ways, but I'm not ready to leave the Klaris family! I am really going to miss them.

Anyway, the party was a lot of fun. I also got to talk to Serena, who is 19 and went to school with Maria (I think).  She was really cool and it was nice talking to someone my own age about real things. I have had a lot of integration with Danish culture, but I haven't spent a TON of time with people my own age. Maria is 14 and Mikkel is still 17. But my favorite part of the day? I GOT TO DRIVE! Oh man oh man. I really wanted to drive in Denmark SO BAD! And I didn't think I was going to be able to. But Niels had too much to drink at Maria's party and didn't want to drive back. SO I GOT TO! It was the best. I hadn't driven since I left the states. And since the car was parked going downhill (and is a stick-shift) it took me a couple times to get it going. It was also wet outside. Dude I didn't stall though. I was so proud of myself! Some of the adults were looking at me like I was crazy. But I was like, if you hadn't driven in 4 months, how would you be? Other than that, I didn't have any problems. It just takes time to adjust to a new clutch. Ah! That made my day. Seriously.

Now I have to finish a paper that is due on Monday. Mom and Dad are already here and I'm going out to see them tomorrow. I can't wait! I've talked to them since being here, but I haven't seen their actual faces in months! I am in such a good mood! As I try to avoid the cliche, this really has been the time of my life!

Monday, May 3, 2010

I think a song is stalking me!

Every time I start to think I could live in Europe, Chicken Fried by the Zac Brown Band comes on my iPod. Then I start to miss everything that is awesome and great about the south. The heat, friendly people, Ford trucks, cows, sweet tea, corn on the cob, biscuits and gravy, Shiner beer, BBQ (!!!!!!!), country music, bonfires, cowboy boots and cowboy hats. The list goes on and on.

GAH! I'm ready to be home.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Chicken Steaks?

I made chicken-fried steak for my host family last night. I'm not sure they were impressed, but they ate it nonetheless. I didn't have classes Wednesday, yesterday and today and all of my friends left the country to go to wonderful places for the long weekend. So I volunteered to cook dinner for my host family. And I didn't know what to make them, so I decided on something they probably never had eaten before: chicken-fried steak! When I told my host mom what I was going to make, she got really confused. She was like, I'm not sure if you'll be able to find stuff to make this chicken steak but you'll find out when you get to the grocery store. So when I got to the store, all I could find were these oddly shaped steaks and wiener-schnitzel. I didn't feel like trying to explain in the 12 Danish words I know that I was looking for cube steak. So I ended up getting the wiener-schnitzel. The only problem with it was that it was way too think to cook as chicken-fried steak. When I got back to the house, I started looking for a meat tenderizer. I searched through all of the drawers in the kitchen and all I could come up with as an alternative was a rolling pin. Maria and Mikkel came into the kitchen and saw me banging steaks covered in butcher paper with a rolling pin. Lets just say it was an interesting experience!! I think my host family liked it?

Friday, April 30, 2010

Sweden Hiking and Canoe Trip

April 24

Today was such a good day! Last night I spent the night at Beth's house because she lives really close to where our ferry left from. We woke up really early and her host mom had breakfast set out for us! After a hearty meal of oatmeal and tea, we left for the bus stop. When we got to the train station, the train was delayed. I was really worried that we wouldn't make it to the port in time, but we were fine. The ferry was only about 20 minutes and then we went straight to the river. We canoe-ed (is that a word?) for a little over 2 hours. Beth and I were canoe buddies and we were the best a canoeing!! No, seriously. There were 6 of us (3 canoes) that were 20 minutes ahead of everyone else. But it was a lot of fun! So beautiful!! And Beth and I were having a great time singing songs. Well, mostly I was just being crazy and singing random songs. Haha.

Our canoe before we took off down the river!

Then we went to our hostel, which is really just a bed and breakfast. And we had a lovely lunch of beef stew and bread. It was so yummy! And it was warm--which was the important thing! I wasn't cold while I was actually canoeing but once we stopped, I got cold pretty fast. We had about an hour break before our next hiking trip, so the girls in my room and I all took a nap. I didn't fall asleep but it was nice to just rest my eyes. (haha what a mom thing to say!)

This is the outside of our hostel. It was really pretty inside too, but I forgot to take pictures!

Then we went to Nimis and went hiking. It was this really cool group of structres that someone built out of random pieces of wood. The walk down wasn't very bad. It was pretty steep, but luckily it hadn't rained in a couple days, so everything was mostly dry. After we basically walked down a mountain, we got to the 'city'. Walking in and on the structures themselves took some getting used to. But there were all of these giant rocks down there too and it was fun to jump around on them! We were on the beach, so the water was a beautiful background to these intereting structures. We ended up spending about 30 minutes walking down there, 1 1/2 hours wandering around the area/exploring and then maybe 30-45 minutes walking back to the bus. It was a lot harder to walk back up the side of the mountain than it was to walk down it!!

Me, on my way down the rickity path to the beach! Nimis was so much fun! 

We finally got back to the hostel and everyone was exhausted. I wasn't super hungry, but I think a lot of people were. Brittany, Ana, Beth and I decided to play Gin (I never go anywhere without my cards!!) until dinner was ready. When I went in the kitchen to make some tea, I heard some of the DIS interns talking about how no one actually knew how to cook the food or start the fire. So I ended up volunteering myself and I went outside to help the guys start the grill. We had legitimate charcol to work with, not the blocks like I'm used to. But in the end we made it work! I meant to just offer my assistance and then go back inside, but I ended up staying out there for over an hour and basically cooked dinner. We cooked sausages and chicken. The sausage was so good!! We were eating them right off the grill while we cooked. Never have I had a better sausage! Ah so good! The 2 other DIS kids that were out there were from SMU!! I haven't really met the other Texas kids since coming to DIS. We were talking about all of the common people that we know. It's kinda funny...meeting someone from Allen in Sweden on a hiking trip while you're studying in denmark! So random...

Ana, Beth, Me and Brittany while we were playing cards after dinner

We ate dinner and had wonderful ice cream for dessert. Then we played cards some more with a guy named Scott. Around 10 we all kinda were losing it and needed to get to bed! We came back to the room, loaded some pictures on to my computer and then got ready for bed. I came straight from school on Friday to Beth's house, so I still have my laptop with me. It was cool being able to see our pictures on a bigger screen today! I should get to bed- we have an early morning start tomorrow. As I write this, I can hear that everyone else in the room is asleep. I just wanted to get this typed out before I go to sleep. Goodnight!

April 25

Well, today marks 30 days until I come back to the states!! I'm ready to come home, but I know that I'm going to miss being in Denmark, but I'm ready to be back. Today was a good day. We had a lovely breakfast this morning and then we grabbed our lunch packs (there was a Twix bar in mine!!) and headed off to go abseiling and orienteering. My group went abseiling first. It was so much fun! There were 2 rocks that we could go off, a small one and a big one. I only did the small one because the rope hurt my hands and they started to swell. I didn't think about bringing my gloves with me, even though I had them in my backpack on the bus!! Nevertheless, I climbed up on the big rock to take pictures. It was so beautiful! I really enjoyed semi-rock climbing to get up to the top. I miss nature. It's been weird being in Denmark where everyone is outside all the time, but everything is flat!

Ana, me and Brittany after we went abseiling!! Notice the beautiful scenery in the background!!

After lunch, we went Orienteering. It was more like a scavenger hunt, but it was still fun. We had to climb down this hill, using a rope, and go into a cave. But the cave was on the shore and we had to climb over all of these rocks to get there. It was so beautiful! If it had been warmer outside, I would have just wanted to sunbathe on the rocks, but it was a little chilly. All in all, it was a really fun trip!!

This might have been my favorite thing that I saw in Sweden. It's a cattle guard. Hahahahaha. There were tons of these!! Apparently they use a ladder instead of what we would use in Texas. I just thought this was hilarious!

Swedish Longhorns! Moooooooooo

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


I left London on Saturday night and then I got to Santorini on Sunday. When I first got to Santorini, I thought it was absolutely beautiful and though I was exhausted because my flight there had been overnight, I really felt rejuvenated. HOWEVER that good mood ended really quickly. After I paid 20 Euro to get a cab to my hotel, I couldn't find anyone at my hotel!!!! I walked around, knocking on all of the doors for about an hour. Then the man who owned the hotel next door helped me look for someone and he was really nice about it all. But I was freaking out because the ATM at the airport had run out of money and I couldn't find one that was working near the hotel. And it looked like the building was under construction. There was no one there! Since I was there 3 days earlier than everyone else, I had to get a hotel room. But the place we were all staying at was full, so I had to book a room somewhere else on the island. Luckily, I found a hotel really close to where we stayed. But because I couldn't find anyone, I ended up walking down the beach to Stelio's Place, where we would all be staying. But the rooms there were all booked, so I just walked back to my hotel and hoped that there would be someone there. After being in Santorini for about 3 1/2 hours, I finally got into my hotel room. As it turns out, the hotel I booked a room in actually was under construction and I stayed in the hotel across the street. However, how was I supposed to know that? It was a really stressful morning. I left the airport around 7 and I got into my room at 11. I slept all afternoon and woke up at 5:00. Outside, I heard gunshots and people screaming. Of course, I was freaking out. So I just stayed locked up in my room all night. I didn't eat anything all day; it was horrible!

We sat in these chairs while we were on the beach! (Notice the black sand!!)

Stephanie and I eating our delicious lunch of tuna, bread and Greek yogurt!

The next morning I went and found an ATM that was working. Then I found a really cool 24hour bakery. The owner was behind the counter when I got there and he gave me all these free samples. I bought some food and then I went to the beach. I spent almost all day on the beach, reading Atlas Shrugged. It was a lot of fun, but I got a burn on my back. While I was laying there, I realized that there was this guy behind me watching me. I wasn't the only person on the beach- so I didn't exactly feel unsafe, but I also didn't want to roll over. It was an awkward situation. I was going to reapply sunscreen either. After about 90 minutes, he left. But yeah...it was awkward.

Anu, Ana, Beth Buehler, Beth Cash, Stephanie, and myself at a restaurant in Santorini

Beth Cash, Beth Buehler, Stephanie, and myself at our favorite Santorini bar!

My third day in Santorini was boring. I woke up, got breakfast and then went back to my room. My burn was pretty bad, so I wanted to stay out of the sun. So I just sat around reading AS. I really wanted to finish the book, so it wasn't too bad. Plus, I didn't want to wander too far from my hotel room because of the sketchy Greek men. Around 3:00, 2 of my friends, Stephanie and Anu, showed up! I didn't think that they were getting in until really late that night, so it was definitely a surprise when they walked in the courtyard and called my name! We went to the grocery store about 4 km up the road and bought groceries. Then we went to the beach for a little while. We went out to dinner at the cutest Greek tapas place! It was really good food. We actually went back the next night for dinner as well! The woman who owns the restaurant is actually from Chicago. She met a boy from Santorini and they fell in love. Then they moved to the island like 5 years ago. After dinner, our friend Ana got in. It was Stephanie's birthday, so then we went out to a bar after. It was a lot of fun.

This was our hotel, Stelio's Place

The next day we all went to the beach. Early that morning, the other 2 girls arrived. Beth and Beth had been with me in London and they were the ones I was supposed to travel to Italy with. We all hung out at the beach for the day. Of course, we went out after dinner again.

View of the other islands from Santorini

The following day, we went to Fira. That is the port city of the island. It wasn't bad, but it also wasn't as beautiful as I thought it was going to be. But there was a lot more stuff to do there than on the side of the island that we were staying on. But it was still a fun experience. I think I just expected to see more color on the buildings. We went to the top of the hill where most of the pictures are taken from and looked down on the scenery. Then we compared what we saw to the postcards and photos for sale. They just photo-shopped the pictures!!!! I was in shock. I don't know why they couldn't just paint the actual buildings themselves!!

View of Fira, the port city on the island

I took the ferry on Friday afternoon to Athens. We thought it was supposed to be about 6 hours, but the ferry ended up taking 8! When we finally got to the hotel, we were just so exhausted that we went to sleep. Then we woke up and explored Athens for a couple hours before taking the metro back to the airport. Athens was such a dirty city!! I mean, yeah it was cool to see really old ruins, but everything was covered in graffiti!! It was neat seeing the city, but I honestly don't know if I will go back. I think my favorite thing about Athens was the donut that I bought right outside the metro. It was the biggest donut I'd ever seen and it was covered in cinnamon sugar--all for 50 Euro cents!!

View of Athens

Me, in front of some old tower. :)

Overall, I was glad that I had the chance to go to Greece, but I'm not sure if I will spend the money to go back any time soon.


Big Ben in the background!

I loved London so much! I know that a lot of people don't like it because it is so crowded, but I really don't think it was bad. When you get out of the city and into the suburbs, it's a lot nicer. I mean, yeah there are places that are not so great, but Westminster, where my room was on my last night in London, is a really nice area!

I saw this while we were walking around in London! I just thought that it was funny, so I took a picture. :)

We saw all of the London classics. But I think my favorite thing that we did while there was going to St. Paul's. We were there the week before Easter, so one night we went to an Easter service. It was all just music, but it was amazing. I've been to a bunch if churches and cathedrals while being over in Europe, but I haven't actually worshiped in any of them. I light a candle while I was in Notre Dame, but that's about it. There are churches everywhere in Denmark, but the Danes aren't very religious. (though most will tell you they are Christians....)

This was a garden near Buckingham Palace. It was beautiful!

I'm not one of those people who can spend all of my time with 1 other person and not get tired of them (except a few close friends and my family). Unfortunately, the girl I was with in Dublin and London was not one of the few. That was a huge stress factor for me and I should've known better than to think it would be ok. Luckily there was another person that I traveled with in London, but I felt bad for her. There was a lot of tension. I'm also not one to hide my feelings--I can, but I don't like to. Therefore, it was fairly obvious that I was tired and annoyed.

We saw these guards walking on the road, and we followed them because we weren't sure if it was part of the changing of the guard. It was the changing of the guard for the Calvary and not the palace, but it was still fun, nonetheless!!

Even though there was unnecessary drama on our trip i still had a great time! I saw King's Cross Station and though I was by myself, I found another tourist there and got my picture taken. I also went to Baker Street and intended on going to the Sherlock Holmes museum, but there was a massive tourist group waiting to get in, so I just walked around the area instead. It was so pretty while I was there!!! Then I hopped back on the tube and went to Hyde Park (my hotel was right by there) for a little while. I think my favorite thing about London was the parks. I fell in love with them. I don't take the time to appreciate the parks and gardens back home. I really should...especially by Trinity because there are a lot of them.

This is in front of the National Gallery right before these creepy men wanted to take a picture with me. Absolutely not!

I think this trip has just made me realize that there is so much of my own country that I don't know about and haven't seen. I've only been to the west coast once. There is a lot of Texas that I haven't seen too!! I just really love traveling to new places now. Before this semester, I hasn't really traveled on my own and I wasn't comfortable with mass transportation. But now I feel like I'm ready to take on the world!

In the gardens again near Buckingham Palace.

Back to London-- Harrod's was an intense experience! I got completely distracted in the jewelry and food sections and didn't get to the rest of the store, but I'm sure it was just as beautiful and expensive!! The building itself was gorgeous too. I'm glad I got to see it. We got lunch there one day and then we went to a park to eat it. It was cold, rainy and windy but I still enjoyed it!

Buckingham Palace!!

We also went to Notting Hill one day. It was a really pretty area. I'm sure the houses are worth a lot of money though. The Portobello Markets are over there (I think...I can't quite remember which one it was. We went to a couple markets) and they had some pretty cool stuff! There were these 2 fantastic men walking around joking about these fake diamond door knobs and about how they would make fabulous cuff links. Hahaha they were priceless. I wanted to take them home with me!!

View of London from the Millennium Bridge. This is my attempt at an artistic shot!

We also went to a farmer's market while we were there. I got a bacon and egg bap (apparently a British classic). IT WAS DELICIOUS! I should have taken a picture of it. One of my friends and I were trying to figure out what we were going to order, but we didn't know what a bap was. The minute we asked the woman behind the counter, she told us that if we wanted to experience an actual British meal, we should order one. Haha so I did. 

Shakespeare's Globe Theatre

While I was in London, I could definitely see myself living there. But now that my time here is ending, I've realized how much I would miss my friends and family if I lived abroad. But who knows what the future holds....

This was some graffiti that I saw outside on a wall in Notting Hill

Another shot of London from the Millennium Bridge

London Tower Bridge

View of London from the Tower Bridge

Platform 9 3/4!!!!!! :)