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November 12, 2017

German Swag 101: Bamberg

For starters, four-ish hours in Bamberg is not nearly enough time. It's a great city, spread out from its center onto different hills, all with large cathedrals. We, of course, did not tackle all the hills and were satisfied with our first impression of Bamberg. The main old center area is full of wonderful corners, adorable cafes, and cute boutiques.

I can't wait to have another shot at Bamberg in the future!


One of my blogger friends, Katrina from Thrify Gypsy Travels, summed Bamberg up the best by saying, "Bamberg is like the pretty girl in high school whom no one really gets to know then but is intrigued by her when they see her on social media after college. It has so much charm, but so many have never heard of it!"

For more of my recent Bavarian adventures, check out my personal #Swags2Germany hashtag on the Instagram app or website!

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November 4, 2017

German Swag 101: Rothenburg ob der Tauber

I had three full days off last week!! It wasn't quite the right timing for a plane ticket to anywhere, but it was perfect for a road trip north to make my home base in Regensburg with Regi. From Regensburg, we were able to make day trips to Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Bamberg, and Deggendorf!

I can't wait to return to R-o-d-T, and I would love to spend more time in Bamberg someday. Deggendorf ended up being much smaller than I thought it would be, and it was a lot like something in between the sizes of Vilsbiburg and Landshut.

For all of my German adventures, you can always reference my Instagram hashtag #Swags2Germany, whether you have an account/app or not!

This post is all my favorite photos from the fairy tale medieval town of...


Thanks for beautiful day Rothenburg ob der Tauber, a very conveniently timed Volksfest, and thanks to Regi for all the driving and great photos!!!

Next up: Bamberg!

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Here's a bonus picture from Halloween, fitting because we were the medieval Maid Marian and Robin Hood! We will wear these outfits next time we go to Rothenburg ob der Tauber to blend in with the architecture better!

How AWESOME is this dress?! Found it at the Vilsbiburg thrift store, and it fits me like a glove. Marc's top also came from there, I happened to have some green tights and a perfect belt, and we crafted his hat. I think this was our first couples costume ever and we loved it!

Please also notice the incredible pumpkin/guacamole display and the meat head on the table in the background. Nailed it!

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October 28, 2017

8th Season Abroad: Go Dingos!!!

Can you believe it?! I know I can't!

What started as a baby pipe dream in 2008, grew a little bit bigger and real-life in 2010, then actually happened in 2011: I've started my eighth season of playing volleyball in Europe.


As mentioned over the summer, my team was able to move up a division, and we are now in the third level of German volleyball. We worked really hard and were able to get big wins over our first three opponents, until dropping our first match last weekend in Munich.

We are currently in third place and comfortable with the future wins ahead of us!

We have our next home match today, Saturday, October 28, at 17:00 (5:00 p.m.) Germany time (9:00 a.m. PST, 12:00 p.m. EST), and you can track the live score for our match via Twitter updates HERE!

If you'd like to enjoy the totally crazy ambiance from our first home win against Chemnitz, it is on my YouTube channel! Be warned: it's a full five sets of shouting, and I miss a serve on a set point.

As far as diving head-on into another volleyball season at the lovely age of 31, I am feeling pretty good. My shoulder has regained so much of its normal mobility and control, it's like having a dear friend return back into my life. (I am not much for complaining about injuries on the blog; for one, it's not a super fun topic, and, for two, people from my clubs read these posts from time to time and I don't need injury rumors swirling around my already thirty-something reputation.)

About half of my team from last year returned, and most of the new players are girls I have practiced or played with over the past couple of years here. I love having the chance to be a returner on the team again, and it's been a really solid start for me with the offense.

This season will last until the first week of April, so if you're planning on visiting us, volleyball will be until then! I also plan to upload more matches this year to be viewed online, and I am hoping to live stream a home match or two!

There is one overwhelming emotion throughout this entire volleyball abroad journey: gratefulness. No matter how "normal" this life becomes, or how "routine" going to practice gets, or even how tough the games can be - I am so thankful.

We don't get to plan this kind of stuff in our lives. I was thrilled to have my first three months in Belgium. Everything, everything, and I mean everything, has been the kind of blessing and bonus that is so grand I never would have dreamed of asking for it.

But, the best thing about this season? After each point, our team gathers in the middle of the court to scream, "GO DINGOS!!!" at each other. #GoDingos

This is rad. This is my team now.

All photos and videos are courtesy of our ever-generous team manager, Armin. You can see more of his sports photography skills on his Flickr account!

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October 19, 2017

Monique Vient en Bavière

Vilsbiburg, Landshut, Munich, et Salzburg, voilà!

This post is a bit bilingual, so find the paragraphs you understand and enjoy!

Ce post est un peu bilingue, alors trouvez les paragraphes que vous comprenez et amusez-vous!

My famous French teacher, Monique, graced us with her presence for nearly a full week! Our home transformed into a French zone, and we had a wonderful time showing her around our German world.

Mon célèbre professeur de français Monique nous a honorés de sa présence pendant près d'une semaine. Notre << chez nous >> s'est transformé en zone française, et nous avons passé un très bon moment ensemble dans notre monde allemand.

It was Monique's first time ever in Germany. As the daughter of Polish immigrants to France during the late 1930's, let's just say she didn't grow up in a family too keen on spending time over the eastern border.

C'était la premiere fois que Monique venait en Allemagne. Fille d'immigrés polonais arrivés en France pendant les années 30, on peut dire qu'elle n'était pas dans une famille qui voulait repasser la frontière vers l'est.

But the world moves forward, and we all have increased mobility, freedom, and security throughout. Monique came to visit us in California back in 2013, so this journey "next door" to Germany was much easier to make happen.

Mais le monde évolue, et tout le monde peut encore bouger, être libre et en securité partout. Monique est venue nous voir en Californie en 2013, alors ce voyage "au voisin" Allemand était beaucoup plus facile à organiser.

She also happened to come during the exact one week of good weather, so we thank Monique for being our French sunshine. We got to walk around everyday in a new city and the autumn colors were perfect!

Elle est venue juste pendant la seule semaine de beau temps, donc on remercie Monique, notre soleil français. Nous avons visité à pied une ville différent chaque jour et les couleurs d'automne étaient parfaites!

Merci Monique et à bientôt!

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