Bremerhaven

This is where I live.

It’s plain and simple, but friendly and extremely easy to navigate. How I wish there was as wonderful a transit system in BC as they have here! Because as much as I wouldn’t mind just staying put here for a little while, it’s extremely simple to get pretty much anywhere you want to go by just hopping on a train.

But we’ll chat about that another time : )

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1) The Bank

2)  The main street for shopping and markets—this was taken pretty “late” at night (for a mainly-seniors community) which is why it is looking a bit deserted. Normally is pretty busy and entertaining!

3) Some boats in the harbour on their way to the North Sea

4) The mall (sooo nice, inside and out!)

5) Some sweet architecture—just not sure what is inside (yet)

6) Passageway from one mall to another over traffic

7) My very favourite cafe—don’t you think it has a Golden Girls feel to it? I always pretend to be Rose when I sit there (yes, Rose!!)

8) The Toy Shop I plan on visiting IF certain little Canadian children are good for their parents this summer (L, E, G, K, L, N and M, I especially mean you little monkeys!)

9) The beach! Okay, so it’s not Malibu but it’s mine.

10) My thinking place

11) The Bremerhaven branch of Chilliwack Alliance (not really, but I do plan on attending services here every Sunday at 10)

12) The pool where I am quickly becoming a regular! If that spot at the beach is my thinking place, then this is my happy place. It’s so nice!

13) Pretty self-explanatory

14) View from the balcony—about 2.5 minutes from the shopping centre and beach

So, there you have it, Bremerhaven in pictures. (happy, Mandy??) 😉

Still to come—a tour of the apartment, plus photo tours of Bremen and Hamburg (for now!).

~C

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Can’t Get You Out of My Head (June)

Phew…I am barely squeezing this month’s confessions post in—with good reason. I have been a little on the busy side of things : )

My confession this month is simple:

I wish I spoke German (well).

When you’re in Canada and you come across a German, it’s pretty easy to fake fluency…hi hello, how are you? yes i am well, thank you very much, blah blah blah. But here? No such thing as faking anything.

Even though I know it’s all in my head, I feel like I stick out like a sore thumb. I choose my words carefully. I make sure I know what I want to say before I say it.

Each time I travel internationally I vow to never again take a simple conversation for granted, but then I forget what it’s like. Last time I was here I know I felt the same way, and I made it through, so I am not worried. Just stating a fact. A confession, if you will.

However, praise God for Skype! LOVE chatting (in ENGLISH) with my crew from home.

As I was talking with Ree, this group of locals walked by and stood staring at me/us like we were crazy…this might have been because I chose to Skype with Ree from the beach near my place (tough life, I know). Anyways, they said hi to Ree and Nevaeh and everything! So you see, I am building international bridges here!

The language will come (back) to me. After all, it’s the first language I spoke. Just a matter of bringing it back to life.

More from Bremerhaven on Sunday!

~C

All About Amsterdam

Don’t even blink…

 It’s advice often handed out by parents of grown children. Parents who miss those toddler years with a passion and wish so badly to go back and soak those little ones in just a little bit more. Honestly? I’ve never given much thought to the term. While a part of me can’t even believe that in a few short days I will be turning 28 (seriously?), for the most part I feel like my life has been a lot of like that of the tortoise—slow and steady.

 Exciting, but steady.

 But as I sit here in a tiny and modest apartment in Bremerhaven, I can’t help but think of those 3 words and realize the truth to them…

 I wanted to write a post from Amsterdam.

 But I blinked.

 And now we’re in Germany. Seriously, in the blink of an eye.

 Thanks to my trusty Nikon, I was able to capture some of the magic that Holland had to offer, and thanks to an inexpensive 5 hour train ride, I know I can head back there at some point this summer if my heart so desires (don’t hate me—I know how lucky I am!).

 So, my flight lands and I step off the plane and start heading towards customs and immigration, right? And the first thing I hear? My name being called out. In an airport in Holland. Where I am supposed to know no one. But there it is. Definitely someone calling my name. Actually two someones.

 And it’s my brother! And it’s also Chester the Magnificent. 

 

What are the chances, people? Seriously. We weren’t supposed to see each other at all, as they had already been in Europe for 2 weeks before I landed. But there ya go. Pretty awesome, if you ask me.

 Amsterdam was really, really cool. Especially given the fact that I got to go to Anne Frank’s home. Okay, for those of you who are familiar with the history, you can feel free to call me out on the fact that I just called that dingy, tiny annex a home. It was nothing of the sort. But it was sure an eye opening experience. The place was eerily quiet..as if we all completely understood the significance and sacredness of this space we were in. We weren’t allowed to take pictures, and rule-breaker that I normally am, I respected that this time (proud of me, Linds?). I’d hate to be kicked out of the secret annex, after all.

The last time I was overseas was in 2008 after spending more than half a year in South Africa and nearly a month in the UK. Though it’s been only 4 years since then, there is so much I had forgotten. For all the ways that international travel is glamourous and romantic and idealistic, it’s also exhausting and overwhelming and uncomfortable. And I actually forgot about that, somehow. I’m feeling pretty run down at the moment, but I’m getting my bearings again and giving myself a lot of grace to just take this one day at a time.

 Breakfast #1

Breakfast #2 

 

For those of you who have been asking, Gramma is doing well and is still feisty and energetic as always. She’s up at the crack of dawn and doesn’t stop until well past sundown. Lord, help me keep up with her 🙂

 Miss you guys, and chat with you soon about my new life in Northern Germany.

 ~C

Departure Gate D53

Time of Day: 2:39pm (BC-PST)

Music: All This Time (Brit Nicole)

Here I am…sitting in front of a large window in relatively comfortable (semi-reclining) chairs at YVR. My heart is happy. Really, really happy. I feel like I have totally succeeded in tying up loose ends this time around…no outstanding bills or emails or fines or anything. It feels really really good to leave Canada knowing that no one will be mad at me or looking for me, you know?

When we got to the airport, I felt like I was in a weird slow-motion dream. We walked into the main terminal in a half-excited/half-dreading state…the kids alternating between skipping down the corridors and dragging behind us. The inevitable was coming, and we were all feeling it. Even this little one who solemnly held my hand this morning at the table without a peep.

Getting to the airport alone was quite the adventure…who says you can’t find a brand new route to Richmond from Chilliwack? Who says that you can’t stop at Starbucks AND Tim Horton’s in the course of 40 minutes? I say, go for it!

And now here we are. Yes, there were tears and cards exchanged and frantic last minute hugs. And a holy-break-my-heart-batman moment when this child cried all over my hoodie as my tears dripped into her beautiful brown hair.

But over-all, I know that this is a good thing. This severance. This “see ya soon”.

This is my one wild and precious life (and y’all better prepare yourself to hear that on more than one occasion…it’s a bit of a theme for me this summer), and I plan to soak this in. Even this teary departure…

How wonderfully Full House is that last picture of the girls on the cart? That was a movie moment.

As I said earlier, my song of choice for this post has been All This Time by Brit Nicole. I held it together pretty good until I finally got to my seat on the plane, put in my headphones and pressed play on my iPod just at that song busted into the chorus. Then I had a good cry.

All this time
From the first tear cried
‘Til today’s sunrise
And every single moment between
You were there
You were always there
It was You and I
You’ve been walking with me all this time
You’ve been walking with me all this time

I definitely don’t speak Dutch, but I’m pretty good at Googling translations, and based on my research, this is what I came up with…

Ik hou van je en ik mis je!

🙂

~C

Switching Gears

In 1 hour and 3 minutes, my flight from Vancouver to Amsterdam will be departing. And I am SO excited!

This is just a quick note to let you fabulous readers know that I am switching gears a bit with the blog and will be going old-school. In other words, a lot of what I am writing in the coming weeks will be for the sole purpose of remembering this adventure. I don’t want to forget the simple things, so I will write about them, and you can read it, but you can also choose not to. And while I am always aware of the “audience” that public blogging brings, I am going to significantly stop caring who is reading and who isn’t. It’s time for me to let go and just do the things I love to do, and writing is a major major passion.

So if you’re so inclined, stay tuned for Departure Gate D53, which will be my first official post from the beautiful Netherlands ❤

~C

 

It’s Time To Say Goodbye to All Our Friends

If I had a nickel for every time I have sung that song in these past few years, I would be richer than Oprah. For real.

It’s time to say goodbye to all our friends

It’s time to say goodbye to all our friends

It’s time to say goodbye with a smile and a wave

It’s time to say goodbye to all our friends

*to the tune of She'll Be Comin' 'Round the Mountain

It’s been a grand adventure being MIss Christina (also commonly known as MissesKreena or MisterTina), and I will genuine miss this season…one day. When I am not so tired.

Today I was hugged more over the course of 6 hours than I have been hugged over this entire past year. Today I was shown so much love and so much gratitude. Today made everything worth it…all the sticky fingers and all the times I was asked to open yogurt tubes and all the time outs I gave and all the times I sang that freaking goodbye song.

It’s over.

I walked away.

And I’m okay with that.

They say that there are times in your life where you’re simply riding the wave…the hardest work at getting to the top is over and you’re simply coasting…feeling the exhilaration of that wave and thoroughly enjoying the ride. That’s where I am at. There’s nothing more I can do except look back and realize I did my best. My very best. And Miss Christina will live on inside of me. There are still children in this world who need me. And I will be there for them. I will.

Today was my turn to receive the bouquet of flowers and the card signed by staff that I had no idea even cared about me at all. Today it was my turn to be wished good luck. Today it was my turn to walk away, instead of being left behind.

Today a brand new adventure was born.

And tomorrow I am getting on a plane and leaving Canada.

Auf Wiedersehen Freunde!!!!

Talk to you on the flip side : )

~C

Start Livin’

Things are very quickly falling into place now. With each day that passes, I feel more and more stress slowly seeping out of me. For me this is by far the most exciting part of any new adventure—the awkward uncomfortable thrilling feeling of standing on the edge of something awesome.

A little update:

~The move is complete and I couldn’t be happier with how things turned out. I feel at home and am being loved on and cared for and just spoiled in general. My solitary lifestyle has been turned upside down and I couldn’t possibly feel more blessed.

~As a master procrastinator, I have been putting off many, many things for a long time now, like changing addresses and returning Telus equipment that’s been in my trunk for weeks and weeks and weeks. But with some gentle pushing from well-meaning and motivating friends, I powered through an ever-growing to-do list and am feeling quite accomplished and at peace with things.

~I picked up my plane tickets, and you will be happy to know that I no longer hold a one-way ticket, as much as I like to joke about never coming home. I will be back on September 1st, after 10 glorious weeks of nothing and everything, all at once.

~Just in case Germany wasn’t exciting enough, I have been officially invited to my very first British wedding, to be held on the Scottish border late July. If you’re wondering whether or not I will be wearing a large, vibrant, eccentric beautiful hat, you can bet your pretty little booty I will be! My first British wedding? I’m gonna do this right! (for a sneak peak of the insanely gorgeous location, click here)

~Friends that I haven’t seen in years, many since my last trip to the UK in ’08, have been emailed and notified of my impending arrival to their amazing continent, and plans are slowly being made for reunions that are gonna make me wish this world was a little smaller.

~There are two and a half weeks left of being Miss Christina the Preschool Teacher, which means I am going to have to really start soaking in these little lives that have brought me so much joy these past 3 years. My days of singing both the Welcome Song and the Goodbye Song, respectively, are numbered. I’ll look back in this season of my one wild and precious life with gratitude and fondness, I’m sure. It’s taught me so much. So, so much.

~I’ve lost 23 pounds and 12 inches. Although it’s tempting to add a self-depricating comment here, I refuse to. I’m damn proud of myself and feel amazing!

~And lastly, I have a potential but very likely opportunity to speak to high school students in Abbotsford about my struggle with bulimia in the next couple of weeks. My heart pounds when I think on it, in the good kind of way. I’ll keep you posted. : )

Loving this in-between, butterfly-tummy, edge-of-glory limbo that I am in!

~C