what if

It's late. I should be convincing myself to go to sleep, but I'm hyped up on an episode of Gilmore Girls and the fact that I managed to organize my sewing class fabric perfectly into my picnic basket/suitcase, so I thought I'd share this adorable trailer for What If I just came across.  As a huge Harry Potter fan, I'm always happy to see Daniel Radcliffe's face, but this is the first post-Potter movie of his that I've actually felt like I need to see.  You could say I'm a sucker for a sweet Rom Com. You could say that quite loudly...because it's very true. I've seen Zoe Kazan on screen only twice--in Ruby Sparks, which I just watched last summer while alone in Portland and enjoyed, and in It's Complicated, which I've seen a few times because it seems to be on TV often (or used to, at least) and it's just one of those cozy movies that always seem okay to leave on while baking or whatnot.  The two of them appear to make an almost unbearably cute pair, and I can't wait to see this with a girl friend, or Ted.  In theaters August 1st.

Also, there's this.  I need to read the book this summer, obviously.  And yes, I am currently deprived of movie-going. Or shall I say, going to the cinema.

european adventures: salzburg, austria

We got in very late on our first night and woke up to a rainy day. I quickly forgave the rain because of how green and beautiful Salzburg is. It really balances nature with city, which I always appreciate. Our friend Kushi, who was also on the London program, met up with us and we spent a day and half with her. 

We made the most of our rainy day by taking a ridiculous "traditional Austrian" photo together, looking at pretty churches, ducking into shops (hollowed-out egg ornaments, guys!  Hollowed-out eggs!!!), and eating delicious food. It all worked out fine, and Salzburg was kind to us the next day with absolutely beautiful weather. Not only that, we ran into an awesome drumming group at the marathon that was currently taking over the city.  We loved running into that (whoops, I made a pun).  
The views everywhere were incredible. My favorites were the view from the St. Peter's catacombs overlooking the cemetery and church and the view from the fortress overlooking the alps. We had tea and some Mozart chocolates (they are everywhere--Mozart is the pride and joy of Salzburg) overlooking the snowy alps and it was pretty spectacular, even if our waiter was a little rude. 

Speaking of Mozart, Ted was set on seeing some Mozart in the famous composer's hometown, and he found us a performance that wasn't touristy. We saw Mozart's opera La Clemenza di Tito in Italian, with German subtitles.  Surprisingly, I followed along quite well and really, really enjoyed it. I might actually be starting to like opera! It was so lovely to be back in a beautiful theatre (or I should say, opera house) again, seeing something amazing. We were pleased to get €6 student tickets so spontaneously. Sure, we were underdressed, but I felt right at home, and so happy to bring a little London life to my current life (although this traveling life is temporary). We hope to continue to see even more theatre, music, and art in Portland (although we've done pretty well with musicals...)!

No more friends with places for us to crash... We stayed in a nine-person room at the Meininger hostel and despite the close quarters with complete strangers (some of whom snored really loudly one night and had questionable sleeping attire), I was able to sleep comfortably. The only difficulty was getting in at 1:30am and having to make our top-bunk beds in the dark. The hostel itself was surprisingly nice. The spacious lobby was lovely and the room seemed like any other modern hotel with soft sheets and free shampoo, with just eight more beds than usual. Much nicer than any other hostels I had been in prior. 
Our first rainy day was full of some awesome food. We split three different sweet pretzels outside the Dom Church (where we went to mass the morning after and I understood everything except the homily because Mass is Mass wherever you are in whatever language). They were apple, poppyseed, and cream puff with chocolate drizzle. The cream puff-like pretzel was obviously the winner, but all three were solid. That night we tried to get into an Austrian restaurant we read about, but it was booked for the night, so we tried another one and it ended up being perfect. We had a kind of awkward hallway table because we didn't have a reservation, so we could hear some behind the scenes drama in the kitchen. I tried my firsts Wiener Schnitzel, and it was delicious. The potatoes were killer too. Our other dish (Ted and I almost always split) was the Wild Boar Bratwurst. It was the best sausage we tried, and we tried a lot--I don't think I need sausage for a while now, or I might turn into the guy below.  Funnily enough, when we giddily watched The Sound of Music in the train compartment that we took over on the way to Italy, they showed this same strange statue in Mirabellgarten.  He's a cutie, for sure.  Also, shout-out to the most patient and kind waiter ever at Johann, next to the train station.  He was the only nice waiter we met in Austria, and he was the sweetest.  Also sweet?  The dumplings with cream and berry compote after our cheap dinner of goulash soup.  So into those dumplings, man.

new tunes


I'm starting to get back into the blogging groove (as well as the normal-living groove--still not sure what's up with my sleeping habits and appetite).  I know I have so many adventures to share, but right now I'm still in my PJ's and trying to figure out summer work, so listening to new music seemed appropriate.  Thought I'd share a few finds.  Feel free to share your own!

Although I heard about them back when they were YouTube sensenations (I think from Cup of Jo), I've become increasingly more obsessed with their sound this past year,  Also, their style is just too cool to even handle.

This song sounds like it belongs in the newest Mad Men season, which I just started watching yesterday.  I'm into it.

I have to be honest--this little album sneakpeak isn't anything too surpising, but Andrew Bird is an artist that I respect so much, and everything he does is pretty magical.  When Ted and I saw him in Portland, we were so impressed with his charm and professionalism.  What a whistling stud.


I'm finally home after five months (I have literally so much to catch up on this blog, it's not even funny) and it's 5:50 am.  I've been up since around 4:38am.  I may have had some hope of going back to sleep, but I started thinking about London.

Guys, this is like deciding to think about a recent breakup when you're at your most vulnerable.  That's exactly how I felt when my program ended--like I was breaking up with London.  I didn't blame London though, I blamed myself.  I thought of all the things I should've have done, the things I should've said, the things I should've blogged about so I never forgot them.  And then I have to remind myself three things:

1) I did more in London than I have ever done in my life.  I not only saw more theatre, art, and music than I had everything before combined, I pushed myself to be more than I ever had before.  I forced myself to not be the homebody I usually resort to and became a city girl for a semester.  This is something I never thought possible.  I became a version of myself that I didn't know I had in me or would even like.  Although I definitely had my moments of "This place is absolutely bonkers, I'm exhausted, Are we really going out for the third night in a row to a show that starts at 8pm somewhere over a thirty-minute tube ride away?, Can I just be boring for a second?".... These moments were surprisingly few, and they were washed away the moment we did whatever amazing thing we were about to do, and let me say, there were countless.  When I think to myself in these dark hours of regret (although the light is seeping into my room as I write this), I have to remind myself that OF COURSE I did not do everything there was to do in London.  That would take a lifetime.

What I did do was embrace each day.  I never holed up and choose not to be in London.  I abandoned a lot of my Kaylieisms, like blogging and online TV, and when I did have the spare time I opted to work on my travel journal or talk to my roommate Eva across the room, who became a very close friend in a matter of weeks.  The only time I didn't make an effort to get out were the few days I was sick in bed, and even then, one night I pulled myself out of bed to attend a show at the Barbican all by myself (I had tickets the night before the rest of the group because of my internship) and another night I journeyed with my roommates to the best pho we could find in London.  There were multiple times when Ted asked me if I wanted to go to Flat 15 to hang out with everyone and I went against my homebody spirit and told myself, "Why not?"  I pushed myself so hard.  I spent my own stipend money on shows we didn't see as a group, I explored far-off neighborhoods and found favorite spots, and I tried new foods, new ideas, and, okay, new clothes on.  I even ventured off on my own a number of times, which is saying a lot, because I always get lost without fail.  I always managed to get home though, however many hours later it sometimes became.

There was a particular night the last week of the program that I ended up in Trafalgar Square, feeling very lost, confused, and alone. I sat on the steps under the National Gallery and looked at the now familiar Big Ben in the distance.  I cried out of happiness and sadness about my time in London, remembering the first time I was on the same steps my very first night in London with most of the group.  Now back in that same familiar spot alone, I felt a sense of closure.  Sure, I still had no sense of direction, but I had gained so much during my time in London.  As cliched as it sounds, it changed me for the better, and this is why I know I shouldn't feel a shred of regret.  London is big; I am small.  I did a fine job getting to know the magic it offers, and getting to know myself in new ways.

2)  I said more in London than I ever thought I could.  And by this, I mean that self-concious, introverted Kaylie actually managed to become friends with almost everyone on the trip, despite her record of staying home from parties and other situations where I might actually make friends (the thought of it!).  Living with people is definitely my preferred method of getting close to people because I am forced to be around them over an extended amount of time, which is very good, because I tend to prefer solitude.  Most of the residents of Flat 12 were people I never would have thought I could be friends with had we been at school, if I ever even crossed paths with them.  I was pleasantly surprised to get along with all of them, and realize the things we had in common.  However, I not only got to know my fellow flatmates, but I also made the effort to knock on the door of Flat 15 every day (where Ted lived) and patiently (or not so patiently) wait for someone to answer.   As much as I was annoyed at first that Ted and I weren't in the same flat, it became a blessing, because it forced me to be present in both flats, which was actually something very few people on my program managed to do.

While Flat 12 was mellow and opted to watch artsy horror films most nights (which I never really felt inclined to join in on, especially when I had already missed the beginning) and get to bed at a reasonable hour, Flat 15 liked to hang out, talk, watch movies, drink, and go to bed at an unreasonable hour.  Although this also wasn't really my thing, I religiously went over to Flat 15 to see Ted, and usually ended up staying in their spacious lounge to watch whatever movie they invited me to or be amused by their drunk antics.  Although Ted and I weren't really interested in drinking more than a cider or two occasionally, it was fun to be a part of something I usually avoid like the plague at school (and probably still will, unless I'm in a similarly small group of about 12 people I know and love). I definitely went home from Flat 15 when I needed to though, because pushing myself too much would be lethal.  I need some sort of balance in my life, even if I'm going out of my comfort zone.  I would come home to a dark room, take a beloved shower to unwind from my day, crawl into bed exhausted, and routinely knock over my glass of water each time I reached over my nightstand to set my alarm for the morning.  Thankfully I had an adorable tea towel to absorb my frequent spills, because without fail, I spilled something each day and tripped over my feet walking the streets of London.  Sure, I became more adventurous over the semester, but definitely no less clumsy.)

I'm proud of myself for pushing myself pretty far out of my comfort zone to actually enjoy people's company instead of always choosing to stay in my bedroom.  Although obviously, sometimes Kaylie time was definitely and 100% needed, so retreating to my sacred bed to read blogs or watch the latest Emma Approved on Youtube was definitely crucial to my sanity.  I don't think I'll ever know how Flat 15 stayed up so late every night without going absolutely crazy.  I certainly couldn't have done it!  What I did do, was go further out of my comfort zone than I have done in the past, while still knowing my limits. I am very proud of that.

3)  Okay, so blogging went to the backburner.  So did all of my favorite TV shows.  I simply did not have the time or energy to do the things that usually help me blow off steam each day.  When I did have the energy, I used it to work on my travel journal, which was also neglected for large quantities of time.  Or I used the energy to do something else, like go to a spontaneous show with Ted.  I have to remind myself that the reason I didn't blog this past semester was that I was too busy doing what I described in 1 and 2--I was making the most of my time in London.  Thank goodness for Instagram, numerous photos uploaded to Facebook, and my jam-packed travel journal full of ticket stubs and assorted hoarded paper (all lovingly adhered with cute paper tape, stickers, and a trusty gluestick).  I look forward to the day I'm able to finish it off with the last bits of London and my entire European adventures.

Leaving London was one of the tougher things I have ever done. I'm so thankful that I had five more weeks of traveling before I had to come home, because by that point, I was completely ready to be done being so darn adventurous every day.  It's tiring, and thankfully I'm actually getting tired again, so hopefully I can clock in a couple more hours of sleep before getting up again.  Or not.

european adventures: munich, germany

Germany was a lovely oasis of pastel-colored buildings, sausages, parks, and beer (which I only started liking in Amsterdam--convenient timing). I fell in love with it very quickly. I am currently dreaming about when I am reunited with my sewing machine and able to make myself a dirndl... 

The gardens were such a treat. There are fewer greater pleasures than walking around a good park. The Englischer Garten was so wonderful because of its natural beauty, only altered by a path and some bridges. We saw a large class of at least fifty people doing some kind of exercise, which made me really happy. Also, dogs. Dogs always. 

We escaped the city for a trip to the medieval village Rothenburg and the Neuschwanstein Castle in Fussen, which only made my love deepen. 
We were lucky once again to stay with someone we knew--this time a friend on the LC Munich program who was sweet enough to let us sleep on his floor with a mattress and sleeping bag. It worked out surprisingly well, and I put my travel pillow to good use and challenged my usual OCD about beds (a bed is a sanctuary, guys). I loved having a "local" (he has been there for the entire school year) show us around and translate for us. We definitely avoided some glares by having a German-speaker with us.  That was nice. 
We didn't go to any museums in Munich, but we did see some fantastic churches and they were even free!  I love when fantastic and free are in the same sentence. My favorite was the Asamkerk. It was definitely the most impressive church I have ever been in. Apparently the brothers who built it lived next door and used it as a "model church" for perspective commissioners to view all the tricks they had up their sleeves. 
Germany knows a lot about two of the most magical things in the world--castles and Christmas. We went to three beautiful castles/palaces, including Schloss Nymphenberg, the Munchen Residence, and Schloss Neuschwanstein. My favorite gardens were at Nymphenberg. There were classical statues and perfectly plotted flowers that led up to a lake with swans and I found a lovely bench--a little further back from the installed green ones--that I'd like to think was original. I like finding places where time goes away and you could be in that place hundreds of years ago or hundreds of years in the future and it would feel about the same in essence. 

King Ludwig's castle nestled in the mountains of Fussen, Schloss Neuschwanstein, was the inspiration for the Disneyland castle and yeah, it was pretty magical. However, the most magical part of the castle was the fact that we ran into our friend Colin from school just as we left our cab. We literally crossed paths! We were originally going to go to the castle a day before, but fate had another thing in mind. From that encounter I also solved all of my housing woes! What a serendipitous day. The views were incredible. I definitely wouldn't mind living in that castle, surrounded by mountains of green and furnished in such a cozy moody-broody way. I couldn't help but dream of how I would decorate the castle for Christmas and throw a lavish dinner party...
Oh yeah, CHRISTMAS. Ted and I went to the medieval village of Rothenburg for a day and it was so lovely and full of Christmas stores. We walked around the village, the gardens, and soaked up the views. In the garden I took a picture of a couple from near Seattle! Starting to miss Portland, man... We saw a lot of adorable little houses and a pretty cathedral, but I have to admit, the Christmas stores were my favorite (even though waking up the next morning realizing it wasn't Christmastime was a little painful). The Germans sure know how to do Christmas. Also,random torrential    rainstorms--we got hit with a one right as we approached the train station to go back to Munich. Ted braved the storm to get me a hot chocolate a few yards away from shelter. He's a keeper. 
I ate a lot of bratwurst, bread, and dumplings (savory and sweet). A lot. I don't think I should be allowed to live in Germany or I would turn into a lumpy knodle... But I guess that would be okay if I could spend my days swimming around warm gravy. GRAVY!!!

However, the greatest food discovery was definitely the white asparagus. They are everywhere in the Viktualienmarkt, the food market near Marienplatz, the main square with the "new" town hall. We saw them at every veggie stand, looking like albino versions of the asparagus we are familiar with. Creamy asparagus soup is a dream that I want realized at least once a week during spring. Another dream: balls of dough fried and covered with powdered sugar on a cold day at Neuschwanstein

Another dreamy German food, or should I say, condiment: mustard. I had always avoided mustard until Ted took me to a Jewish deli in Portland (Kenny & Zuke's) and had me try a pastrami sandwich with mustard. After Germany, I am now a full-fledged mustard fan. I never thought this possible. I also never thought it possible I would willingly go two days without showering, but here we are. Traveling does things to a girl.

european adventures: amsterdam, netherlands

Amsterdam was lovely and weird, all bundled up in one adorably Dutch city. The narrow buildings that look like they've been carefully cut out and pasted together were my absolute favorite thing about the city. You just can't help but love the quaintness of it all, especially surrounded by countless canals. As a desert-born girl, I am a sucker for water. The combination of the architecture and canals was just perfect, and the fact that the wonderfully flat city is so catered to bikes made me smile. Our second day, I went on my first long bike ride ever through the city and surrounding countryside with success, and was even rewarded with a windmill and cheese samples. It made me wonder why I don't bike in Portland, but then I remembered that Portland isn't flat at all...Still, I want to start biking there eventually!

On King's Day, we escaped the rowdy celebrations (thankfully) for the Keukenhof tulips with our friends. Solid choice. 
We were utterly spoiled in Amsterdam, staying in the loveliest little flat of one of Ted's family friend's. Her and her husband were so kind to us. She set up the living room for us so sweetly and with gifts! As if the free travel cards and mattresses weren't enough, she gave us a fancy Easter egg filled with the yummiest chocolates and an Amsterdam Time Out book, along with some maps. We were blown away by her hospitality and her lovely home. I will be drawing inspiration from her kitchen for my future home's kitchen, you can count on it! 
The museums I had the pleasure to visit (a photojournalism exhibit in the Niewe Kerk, the Anne Frank huis, and the Van Gogh museum) were all fantastic in their own ways--the first gave me an overview of the good and bad of 2013 brought to life through images, the house where Anne Frank hid with seven others in the secret annex was bizarre and special, although it didn't quite sink in where I was until I saw the faded and torn images cut out from magazines and books pasted on the walls of the room she shared in the annex. The Van Gogh museum was one of the best art museums I've been to, and it was a shame when we were rushed out at 9:55pm after such a lovely hour and a half there, soaking up the paintings and listening to live music waft in from the ground level.  
The Dutch food I tried was so delicious and comforting. Our first full day in town we went to Hap Hmm, where we had stewed beef, meatballs, boiled potatoes, peas and some other green veggies I don't know the name of, and lots and lots of gravy. Gravy just warms the heart, doesn't it? That meal reminded me of many home-cooked meals made with love (and lots of gravy). 

My second favorite meal was our last. We went to the perfectly enthusiastically named Pancakes! We split the goat cheese, spinach, pine nut, and oil Dutch pancake and the Camembert, ham, and raspberry Dutch pancake, with a side of bacon of course (the real stuff--not the British kind). Other tasty snacks included a stroopwaffel, an almond paste cookie, and some Dutch Apple pie. Not the healthiest food I've ever consumed, but I'd say the Dutch know how to make the soul cozy and happy. 

Of course, not every meal was as picturesque--we spent one evening, after struggling to find anything decent open after getting out of the Van Gogh museum, going to a weird little supermarket, and getting a baguette, goat cheese, and baba ghanoush, which we carefully ate over our mattress on the floor. Our meal was complimented by the giant Easter egg that Irthe gave us. Yep, we are traveling college students.