friends in Frankfurt, old and new!

Out of all of my posts describing my spring holiday travels, I may be the most excited to write about this one.  My favourite thing about memories is being able to share them with people, and I spent time with quite a few lovely people in Frankfurt.  I mentioned in my last post that Scott & I stayed in a hostel (my first one ever!) for two nights: I could not have asked for a better place to stay!  The hostel was quite close to the train station (which was very convenient for us) and from the moment we walked in I could tell I was going to like it.

After storing our luggage, we went down to the common area for free crepes and to hang out.  Over the course of the evening we talked to people from Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, the Philippines, Australia, and all over the United States and Europe.  I really got to practice my Spanish, too: I had a great conversation with five native Spanish speakers from both sides of the Atlantic.  Several of them were staying the second night as well so we got to talk more.  Two of them were brothers from Spain, Miguel and Carlos, who gave me a small Miraculous Medal (inscription in Spanish) on the last night to remind me of our shared faith and our Holy Mother.  Though I have several of my own, this one has special meaning to me and I wear it often.  We  talked with a couple of US Army guys and a Canadian firefighter, as well as a very sweet American man who moved to Europe after graduating high school and became a flight steward. He is still in Europe over a dozen years later and loves travelling.  I also loved talking to the guy who was on night shift at the hostel: he was Australian, Catholic, and had dreadlocks and we got along quite well.  There were many others but I do not want to bore you too much.
I absolutely loved meeting everyone and hearing their stories: where they came from, what travels they had done so far, and where they were heading next.  I am still in contact with several of them and it was truly a great experience.  Who knew that a hostel stay could be such an adventure?

Scott decided to spend our last day in Germany studying for a big exam he had after the holiday, so I spent the day exploring Frankfurt with Anna.  I was originally going to visit another friend from high school who is stationed at the air force base nearby, but his work schedule didn’t allow any time for it so Anna agreed to come meet me. It was really nice to get to see her for a second day! She knows as much about Frankfurt as she does about Mainz: I learned a lot and had loads of fun in the process.

I always thought of Frankfurt as an extremely urban area known mostly for banking and big business, but Anna showed me the old part of town which had so much charm and a lot of friendly small-town feeling.  I will let the pictures do most of my talking: included are my usual collages, pictures of churches, pretty views, slightly cheesy poses, and the mandatory opera house shot.

The old square in Frankfurt.  I couldn't decide where to focus my attention!  It was quintessentially German and I loved every bit of it.

The old square in Frankfurt. I couldn’t decide where to focus my attention! It was quintessentially German and I loved every bit of it.

Of all of the beautiful buildings and sights in the old square, this teddy bear store is what caught my eye. Go figure. The sign around his neck says that you can't touch him, which is just torture. What child (including adults who still act like children..ahem..) would not want to hug this? So I gave him an air hug.

Of all of the beautiful buildings and sights in the old square, this teddy bear store is what caught my eye. Go figure.
The sign around his neck says that you can’t touch him, which is just torture. What child (including adults who still act like children..ahem..) would not want to hug this? So I gave him an air hug.

After getting to the old section and wandering around for a bit, Anna took me to Eiserner Steg, the Iron Bridge, over the River Main.  What an incredible bridge! It is over 100 years old and strictly for pedestrians.  The ancient Greek inscription overhead is a line from the Odyssey and means something like “while crossing the wine-dark sea to men of strange speech.”  That is an awkward translation of a phrase that describes the way that people of all civilisations have crossed bodies of water to find people of other languages & cultures.  I read that they chose this saying to represent the diversity of Frankfurt.  I would have loved another day in Frankfurt to explore the part of the city across the bridge; perhaps another day!

Eiserner Steg from Homer's Odyssey bridge collage

I love that there was a man playing an accordion on the corner: it seemed so appropriate!  And I loved seeing the love locks along the edge, a common theme on my trip.
We next went to see  Alte Nikolaikirche, the Old St. Nicholas Church.  It was lovely!

Alte Nikolaikirche inside St Nicholas organ stained glass collage

We then visited the Kaiserdom Sankt Bartholomäus, or Cathedral of St. Bartholomew.  What a building!  I was unable to fit the entire building into one shot, so I will regale you with photos of the inside instead.  Construction began in the 14th century.  I apologise if I have sounded repetitive in my posts when I talk about churches and cathedrals: I find words difficult when it comes to describing both the structures and the feeling of actually being inside.

We walked through this cool courtyard on our way to the Cathedral. I felt like I was participating in a piece of modern artwork.

We walked through this cool courtyard on our way to the Cathedral. I felt like I was participating in a piece of modern artwork.

entrance sanctuary art

This organ.

^^this organ.

Mother Mary Mother & Son

I didn't notice this when we entered the Cathedral, but it stopped me in my tracks on the way out.  How can you not be humbled?

I know you are quite possibly sick of reading about Germany but I promise I am almost done! I have ONE MORE blog to finish up Frankfurt, and then I am so excited to tell you about Brussels!  Writing about these travels has kept the memories alive and brought me so much joy; if you have smiled even a bit or learned anything from my writing then I feel very fortunate indeed.  To be completed soon! God bless xx

How To Study Abroad

As you may have gathered from reading my past blog posts, I am going to study abroad in Scotland this semester. This is one of those amazing opportunities Erskine offers to all of its students but few ever take up on. I am hoping this is because they are just having so much fun at Erskine, and not because this is something terrible about Scotland that I do not know yet! 😛

What is rather interesting about this entire trip to Scotland is that I never decided that I was going to study abroad. It just sort of happened! One night around midnight (it is at this point when all of our best life decisions are made, of course) I was hanging out with my friend Heather in the lobby of one of the dorms. You might remember Heather from my last post, but Heather and I were not running in this story. We were sitting in the lobby eating junk food and watching YouTube videos when another one of my friends walked by. Tiffany walked by and announced that she was thinking about studying abroad next year, and showed us some of the amazing pictures of Scotland online.

Perhaps one of my favorites is the picture of the Scottish sunrise (this picture was taken about four days ago!)

Perhaps one of my favorites is the picture of the Scottish sunrise (this picture was taken about four days ago!)

The next week was the study abroad meeting, and I decided to go along with her. Tiffany would be there, and the guy giving the presentation was rumored to be straight from the UK with the accent to match. Despite these amazing pluses, I almost did not go because I would have to miss gospel choir practice to attend. I finally decided to attend the study abroad meeting, but made myself feel better about it by promising myself that I would never skip a gospel choir practice again.

Tiffany and I spent the next afternoon trying to figure out if either of us was eligible to go. We talked about class schedules and went to see several professors and advisers. For me, it was mostly an entertaining afternoon as I imagined the fun of going abroad without actually having any serious intentions of following through. Kind of like a fun daydream. Until they told me that I was eligible to go.

And just like that, Tiffany and I were going to Scotland!! So with really no long-term planning on my part, suddenly, I was going! Ten days before the idea had not even crossed my mind. Should I try to describe to you how happy we were? I will just give you a hint: Tiffany and I held hands and literally skipped all around campus for the rest of the day singing. Everyone on campus must have assumed had really enjoyed our most recent math lecture on proofs by induction! 😛

When Tiffany and I are happy, we are happy!

When Tiffany and I are happy, we are happy!

Of course, the process to actually go abroad is a little more complicated than that. We had to fill out applications and forms. We had to sign things and attend meetings. We had to register, make plans, and buy plane tickets. But none of those things were too hard: Erskine gives each study abroad student a checklist of the things they need to do to successfully study abroad, and St. Andrews has one too. All we had to do was follow the directions, and we were set!

Now it is only about a month until we board our first plane. If it were possible for people to die of excitement, I would have been dead a month ago. Two weeks ago I got an email letting me know where I would be living. That’s right: Holly will live in a CASTLE for the next four months!

This is the castle where Tiffany and I will live for the next four months :)

This is the castle where Tiffany and I will live for the next four months 🙂

Should I throw in a little advertisement here? I think so! If you are an Erskine Student, this opportunity can be yours! Erskine has a FANTASTIC deal with St. Andrews so that all of your financial aid for Erskine will transfer to St. Andrews for the semester. As a student at St. Andrews, you are also still considered a full-time at Erskine. And all of the credits transfer as pass/fail classes! Could life get any better??