Monday, July 20, 2009

Name That Blog

So, I think I should probably change my blog name and my header picture. Sad.

If only I knew what I was going to do with my life at this point, that might help the whole situation. Unfortunately, my future is wide open and I have no idea which direction to go. Remember how I'm 28? Yeah.

Oh, and did you hear about how I started to cry yesterday during church because I miss Paris, going to church in French, cheese, bread, public parks (not that there aren't any here, but still...), public transportation (gasp!), and all of my wonderful friends there?

I have problems. (Not to worry, though, it wasn't like anyone saw or heard me--it was during the closing prayer. Just a little bit of "homesickness." If you can even BE homesick for somewhere you only lived for 5 months.)

There is a word in French that I can't find a good translation for in English, but it sums up perfectly how I feel: dépaysée. The closest translation I can come up with is "uprooted" or "a fish out of water" but the root of this word is pays, which means "country". Then you tack the "de-" on the front and the "-ée" on the back, and you've got "un-country-ed." I feel like a person without a country. Not to the extreme, really. But I feel like I don't really belong where I am, and I didn't really belong in France either.

I'm a wierd sort of Franco-American cultural mutt. Heaven help me.

Dresden

After Meissen we went to Dresden to see the city and spend some time with our good friends, Rainer and Heike. They found us a great hotel right in the center of downtown. And I'm pretty sure they got us an incredible deal, too.

I got my own room. This is it. Pretty, right? It's completely my style. Very minimal, but really comfortable.


The lobby. Completely digging the textured concrete walls.


It was a gorgeous hotel, and their breakfast was amazing. A-mayyy-ziiiing. (Is it wrong that I care so much? German breakfast is where it's at--I'm telling you.)

I don't remember the names of anything, so I won't even pretend. Maybe once this is posted I'll pick my parents' brains.


The partial building on the right pictured below is the Frauenkirche, which was just recently restored. Actually, most of Dresden has been rebuilt since WWII, and it was rebuilt purposely to look already aged. So even though the buildings look all sooty and weather-worn, they're made to look that way so it seems more like they never got destroyed.
I think the architecture in Dresden is really beautiful. It's a really gorgeous and charming city.
The Frauenkirche again. Our hotel was right on the square this church is the center of, so I took plenty of pictures...

I love the colorful buildings that surround the square.


Let's not forget Mr. Luther, shall we?

Inside another church (not the Frauenkirche).




The Zwinger Palace
The picture above is one of my favorites. It's of one side of the Zwinger, and it was taken through some old-school glass in a window on the other side of the palace. Cool, right?

After leaving the Zwinger, I snapped this photo of the city framed by greenery. No idea what the buildings are.

It's okay... you can make fun of me for taking a picture of the ground. I thought it was really pretty, though. Much better than asphalt or plain old cement.


Rainer and Heike treated us to a boat ride along the river that ended at Pillnitz castle.
The river banks were beutifully green, and the Dresdeners (??) were out taking advantage of the gorgeous day, beautiful scenery, and accomodating river. We saw kites flying, lovers... ummm... loving, runners bounding, and kayakers going towards the city. And I can't blame them--it was really a beautiful day, and the riverbanks were wide and covered in beautiful, inviting grass.
I'm not going to lie... I would totally live here. (If I were loaded and spoke German.)

Or here. Actually, I like the colors on this one a lot better.
Oh, look! Here are the kayakers I was talking about.
Pillnitz.

The grounds at Pillnitz were really beautiful. There was, of course, the greenhouse:
The Chinese garden, lake included
And plenty of woodland- and foresty-looking areas that looked like they were plucked right out of a fairy tale.




On the way back to the boat I decided I could handle this view from my front yard...

...which means I would have to move here. Dang. I guess there are just some sacrifices you have to make to get a gorgeous view. :)
Back in Dresden.


Just off the square that houses the Frauenkirche all kinds of buildings are being renovated. The construction crew ran into a little surprise when they were digging to lay a foundation for some new buildings... and their little 'surprise' has indefinitely postponed construction until they can figure out what the ruins are from.

Next, it was off to Stolpen, the countryside prison for the king's outspoken mistress, Anna Cosel.


Then we went to the beautiful Saxon-Switzerland National Park. Look familiar? Except for the color of the rock and the fact that there were trees, I could have sworn I was here.


The river above is on one side of an outcropping. The valley of rocks is on the other side of the outcropping. And ON the outcropping, in medieval times, there was a whole community living among carved-out staircases, using a catapault to sling huge rocks at passing ships who didn't have permission (or fork out enough $$$) to pass through.
The park does come complete with rock climbers. Of course. What self-respecting National Park doesn't include rock climbers?
The sun set, and we went to dinner inside a restaurant atop the outcropping (which had AMAZING views).

Back to Dresden (sorry, these are not quite in chronological order). :)
The wall of the monarchs. The Kings of Saxony (which is the 'state' of which Dresden is the capital).

In front of the wall of monarchs there was a man dancing on the sidewalk. I thought it was really interesting. Everyone else thought it was weird. Whatev.

And that's a wrap people. Dresden is amazing. You could see pretty much all of the 'sites' in just a couple of days, but if you wanted to relax more and take your time to just enjoy the atmosphere, you could spend a good solid week here. And why wouldn't you? (I would, anyway.)

Make New Friends...

...but keep the old. One is silver, and the other gold. (Or platinum. I don't like gold.)


I love making new friends, but I really love getting together with the friends that have known me forever and know all of my history.


I had lunch last week with some of my best friends from high school, and I loved it. We are all in different situations and have different lives, but sometimes you come across people that you will always love and care about--no matter how seldom you actually get together or see each other-- because knowing them made you who you are.



Do you guys have people like that?

Friday, July 17, 2009

Weekend Warrior

This weekend I don't have any plans, which means I've got a TON of plans. (Read: I don't have plans with friends, but I do have a mile-long to-do list that I'm hoping to make a major dent in.)

I am hoping to get the following things in:
-organize my room
-clean out my closet
-paint (of course!!)
-de-clutter my bathroom
-make a new jewelry holder (because... well... I came back from France with too many earrings. They won't all fit on the one I made a couple of years ago. I know. It's a problem.)
-finish turning the scrapbook room/library in my parents' basement into an art studio. (Wahoo!)
-ride my bike
-play tennis

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Goal 21/101 : Donate to a Charity

Goal #21 out of my "101 Things" is to donate to a charity I believe in outside of my church.

I am not sure where I fist heard of Kiva (could have been here), but I really love the idea. I'm thinking that this might be the charity that I donate to.




Do you have any charities that you donate to on a regular basis? Or that you volunteer for?
I'm open to suggestions of charities you may have worked with that you can vouch for as being on the up-and-up. If you have a favorite, or one that you have enjoyed working with, please share!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Back to that Easter Vacation: Meissen

Before leaving Prague we dropped Amy off at the airport so she could head home and get to her awesome spa retreat.
Just before getting into Dresden, we stopped in Meissen to look at a cathedral. We didn't do much else there. The cathedral was pretty, but there was a lot of construction going on in the square leading up to it, so its surroundings were less than charming.



















The view was quite charming, though. Sigh.