Exploring Hawaii

It all started with a sunrise in Norfolk, flying over cities, deserts and the endless ocean. Like a little child on Christmas, looking through the airplane window. And as I saw the first parts of Hawaii I wanted to scream and tell everyone to look. Excitement fills me and I can’t believe my eyes, I made it to a place I would normally only dream of. Can this be reality? (thoughts on the fight)

For one week I stayed in Honolulu, Hawaii’s capital and met a ton of new people, that are all in their exchange year in America. Hawaii is incredible and because I haven’t been to a tropical place before, I was gazing at everything when I first walked down Waikiki Beach and enjoyed the sunset. Next to making a lot of new friends, I had the chance to see one of my best friends from Switzerland after half a year, which meant there was a million things to talk about and believe me the moment when you speak your native language again is wonderful and you don’t want to stop.

The first proper day we went around the island of Oahu and made small stops all over the place. We started at the Iolani Palace, which is the only palace in America. Then we continued to visit the Dole Pineapple plantations, where they have the best ice cream I tasted before, that literally melts in your mouth. After drinking out of coconuts and eating on Turtle Bay Beach, tanning in the sun and taking pictures underneath palm trees, we visited the Northshore Beaches. The Northshore Beaches are extremely famous for all the surfers, that try to catch the high waves. In the moment of seeing the magic of riding on the water, I was sure that I need to learn this sport.

The next day started in the early morning and we visited the monument of Pearl Harbor. This visit was silent, as we were walking through the remaining ships of 1941. Before going on the old ship of the USS Arizona we watched a documentary, explaining carefully the whole tragedy. The monument was kept really light and as you had a look over the wrecks you saw colorful fish swimming through the clear water. The most surprising thing was though the remaining oil stains in the water, shimmering and floating the same way as right after the attack.

This blogpost only covers the first two days of my Hawaiian adventure and I hope you will have a look on all the following posts documenting this week.

 

 

Life as an Exchange Student pt.2

THE GOOD SIDE

Hi everyone!

Much later than expected I finally took the time to write down all the good things and amazing opportunities you get as an exchange student, because my last blogpost pointed out all the hard things that come with this adventure it’s now time for some positivity.

The most obvious point is of course living a completely different life on the other side of the world. I live in a different house, and even though I left my family in Switzerland and nothing could ever replace them, I can live with the sister I never had before. Of course, me and my hostsister annoy each other occasionally, but after living together for 5 months we never had a real fight, and I am pretty sure we will never do, because I am too thankful for having her by my side. With her I found a sister for a lifetime.

With a new life in my age, High School and friends are of course in the middle of everything. I like my school in Switzerland a lot and it was always easy for me because I never moved before, so even after changing school last year, I saw a lot of familiar face. So believe me, the first time seeing people in the hallways of Landstown, that I knew and that said a simple “hi”, was a great moment. In general, I was lucky to meet tons of open and loving people that I can call my friends now. Those people make this experience great and I wish I could bring all of them with me to Switzerland.

For all the Americans reading this, I was so excited to come because I heard so much about America. All the stereotypical High School things like Cheerleaders and Footballplayers, being really excited to go to Target for the first time, to take the yellow school bus (not as great as I thought it will be) or driving in someone’s car that is not your parents.

About a week ago I started dreaming in English, a moment that was so overwhelming and unbelievable. English is of course not the hardest language existing, but to make this step, to think in English even in your sleep made me really happy.

Being an exchange student means getting to know a new culture and telling everyone about yours, it means seeing a new part of the world, but not as a tourist and still having a little bit of a tourist feeling for a year. Being an exchange student means making unforgettable memories and friends and it means having something new every day. To make it short, being an exchange student means that you will always have a part of you in another place of the world, where you can always go back to and find one completely different year of yours.

On Friday I will take my way to Hawaii, meeting one of my best friends from Switzerland and again living the most amazing life as an exchange student. So stay tuned for me showing you beautiful Oahu soon.

xx

Life as an Exchange Student pt.1

The Bad Side

“You build a life in 16 years and leave it for ten months, and then you build a life in ten months and leave it forever.”

Hi everyone!

So as you all know, I am not in Switzerland anymore. I am living in Virginia Beach as an exchange student, which means I will go to High School here for one year and then return home again.

A lot of people never really get how it is to be an exchange student, to live this whole new life, and leaving everything you’re used to far away.

This whole experience isn’t always as much fun as it seems. First of all, I always have the thought that this is my only chance to make my exchange year as amazing as possible. Every little trip or event is the first and last time that I will able to do this and even if a year sounds extremely long, time is constantly going and I already passed halftime.

The next thing is of course missing home. I wouldn’t say that I am homesick a lot, I really have fun. But every now and then I wish I was in my room, in my house, knowing my family is downstairs waiting for me with breakfast and that I could just text my friends at what time we are meeting. You don’t have the same support of your family or your friends because they are not physically next to you, so every bad day that you get is even worse. And of course, I don’t only miss the people, I miss the whole life I am used to. I miss biking to school, I miss my village and my city, I miss the food freshly cooked from my mom and every little tradition I took for granted. Oh and yes, I miss Switzerland.

I grew up with speaking Swiss German and started learning English in Grade 3, this is not my native language and although I think I can fluently speak and keep up a conversation, there are some difficulties. For example, there are some things that I just can’t say the way I want to or people won’t get the right thing, that I actually meant. And no matter how hard I would love to, I always have an accent and it makes me insecure to talk in front a lot of people or I just don’t have the same confidence. Somedays I just can’t speak English, the pronunciation won’t work, the words don’t come in my head and the grammar is horrible, but still I just have to.

Now you might think I hate my exchange year, or that I won’t stop complaining. This is for sure not the case, I love being here and living this experience and tomorrow you’ll find another blogpost about all the amazing things I get to do. But I feel like people only get to see the bright side of an exchange, which is sadly not the whole truth.

Winter Wonderland

The first fall of snow is not only an event. You go to bed in one kind of a world and wake up in another quite different, and if this is not enchantment then where is it to be found? J.B. Priestley

Hello everyone!

After quite a break of everything, school and unfortunately also writing for the blog I made it back and started like everyone else 2018. A new year and everyone still tries to keep up with all their resolutions. Personally, I feel like 2018 is going to be a great year and I am starting with only positive thoughts.

I love winter with all my heart and was really looking forward to the cold days. I got totally surprised a week ago, where Virginia Beach was snowed in and we didn’t have school for one week because of some inches. I was really happy of this second winter break, giving us time to just stay at home or what I still love to do: go outside in the snow. Apparently, this amount of snow is the most the East coast got in the past 30 years, and it for sure wasn’t what I expected when I chose Virginia Beach, because although I am from snowy Switzerland, I never had no school because of snow.

Traditions in America

  • Christmas Day, 25th of December (what I feel like is more celebrated than Christmas Eve)
  • Opening presents on the morning of Christmas Day
  • Cookies and milk for Santa
  • The Food on Christmas is often similar to Thanksgiving
  • And next to the New Year’s the only other winter holiday is probably Valentine’s Day on February 14th (which is I think more in the shops than in real life…)

 

Music Favorites:

so I mostly listened to Christmas Music, those are other songs I really like at the moment:

  • Dance For You – Beyoncé
  • Kiss Me Thru the Phone – Soulja Boy
  • Hvar (feat. MSP) – Kiso
  • Diana – Paul Anka
  • What a Day – Nemo (swiss musician!!)

 

Photo 09.01.18, 18 04 00
our street full of snow
Photo 09.01.18, 18 04 07
our street full of snow

My Poems

Hello everyone!

No, I am not a poet. Not at all… But I feel like poetry is a way to order your emotions and share them with the world. So here are some small poems, that I wrote the past months.

Feel free to give me a feedback 🙂

 

In a world full of cellphones

How can we exist

How can we resist, the urge of being missed

In a world full of cellphones

You can write the comment, breaking the person just in that moment

In a world full of cellphones

It’s not a big deal

But you won’t be the one that has to heal

 

 

Finding my way

The way I should say

My words, another sound

As they fall to the ground

And they crash when they land

Even in soft sand

In pieces they fall, as I lose them all

 

 

Between lines and melodies

The words that build harmonies

New York in a Day

“That was New York; a whole cacophony of sounds and tastes that all somehow came together to form something beautiful” 
― Aishabella Sheikh, Jungle Princess

Hi everyone!

I took some time without writing anything, but I’m back and as I’m writing this, I still think it was just a dream. For one day, and only one day, I experienced the big city lights of New York City.

After a bus ride of six hours, we came to Chinatown. 6:30 a.m., still dark and asleep, but only for a moment. With breakfast bagels in “Katz’s Delicates” and a sunrise behind the skyscrapers, New York presented us its beauty and noise. Yellow cabs rushing by, steaming streets and stressed out New Yorkers with a short “excuse me” pushing us to the side, and still I was in love with it.

A windy visit at the 9/11 memorial, which captures the tragedy that happened 16 years ago with black stone and a waterfall, that was partly frozen as we got there. Freezing this moment and leaving everyone there in silence. Then we searched our way to the Brooklyn Bridge, frozen ground and a hint of snow on the side, made me literally fall over and experiencing the hundreds of people from a ground perspective (thanks to the frozen ground…).

But what’s a visit in New York City in winter, without ice skating in Central Park? With cold feet and red cheeks, we enjoyed a white Central Park. Everyone was wrapped into big coats and scarves, forming the first snowballs or just walking calmly in the cold air. I couldn’t believe my eyes and didn’t even realize that I am here. So back to ice skating, we took our way to the ice skating rink (for 28$ per person!) and skated through the crowd, having our heads up with a view on all the immense towers.

Something that made me think of Switzerland was the Christmas markets, in Central and Bryant Park. We found hot chocolate, small clothing brands and even “Raclette”, a traditional dish from Switzerland in the small stands of the market, leaving us with the smell of Christmas.

Because it’s the middle of December, the sunlight went away around 4p.m. and we decided to take our journey to the lights. Next to Macy’s window, that showed us (and what felt like another million people) the story of Disney’s Snow White and across the street the well-known Rockefeller Christmas Tree. Unfortunately we never went closer because we thought that we would be runover by the mass of people surrounding the tree.

The lights of New York? Of course there was a bunch of Christmas decoration in every corner, but there’s no New York without Times Square. Lighting up the whole area and our European hearts as soon as we were surrounded by all the blinking billboards, we walked around, took our pictures and finally rested a little bit in a coffeeshop, some streets down.

Ending this long day was sad, because I had no intentions to leave. How perfect would it be, to just wake up again and be surrounded by the (not so fresh) New York air? Living between the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building and even enjoying taking a dirty subway from Manhattan to Brooklyn. I went to New York for the third time now, and I am sure that I will always return. This city took my Swiss heart and won’t give it back.

Christmas Songs

To be honest, I started listening to those songs two months ago, but now it’s offically the countdown to Christmas. And there’s no December without good christmas songs to get you through the day, so here is my playlist:

Ariana Grande – Last Christmas

Ariana Grande – Not Just On Christmas

Ariana Grande – Santa Tell Me

Ariana Grande – Winter Things

Ariana Grande – Wit It This Christmas

Bobby Helms – Jingle Bell Rock

Bryan Adams – Christmas Time

Carly Rae Jepsen – Last Christmas

Celine Dion – So This Is Christmas

Cinematic Pop Ft. McKenna Breinholt – Hallelujah

Everly – Sleigh Ride

Fifth Harmony – All I Want For Christmas Is You

Idina Menzel Ft. Michael Bublé – Baby It’s Cold Outside

Jason Mraz – Winter Wonderland

Jose Feliciano – Feliz Navidad

John Lennon, The Harlem Community Choir, The Plastic Ono Band & Yoko Ono – Happy Xmas (War Is Over)

Justin Bieber – Drummer Boy

Justin Bieber – Christmas Eve

Justin Bieber – Misteltoe

Justin Bieber – Santa Claus Is Coming To Town

Kelly Clarkson ft. Trisha Yearwood, Reba McEntire – Silent Night

Kelly Clarkson – White Christmas

Kylie Minogue – Santa Baby

Leona Lewis – One More Sleep

Meghan Trainor – I’ll Be Home

Michael Bublé – Holly Jolly Christmas

Michael Bublé – Jingle Bells

Michael Bublé – Santa Clause Is Coming To Town

Michael Bublé – Silent Night

Pentatonix – That’s Christmas To Me

Pentatonix – Mary, Did You Know

Pentatonix – Winter Wonderland/ Don’t Worry Be Happy

Queen – Thank God It’s Christmas

R5 – Christmas Is Coming

The Ronettes – Sleigh Ride

Sarah Connor – The Best Side Of Life

The Saturdays – Christmas Wrapping

Straight No Chaser ft. Jana Kramer – Feels Like Christmas

She & Him – Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree

Shakin’ Stevens – Merry Christmas Everybody

Sia – Snowman

Sia – Santa’s Coming For Us

Sia – Underneath The Misteltoe

Train – Merry Christmas Everybody

Train – Shake Up Christmas

 

A Thanksgiving Weekend

Hi everyone!

For the first time, I experienced a traditional Thanksgiving, a holiday declared to say “thank you” and to realize what we have. Thanksgiving makes you think what you should be thankful for, because a lot of the times we don’t appreciate all the moments or opportunities.

In my case I realized, how thankful I should be to experience life in the United States and see a new part of the world. Of course, I wanted to say thank you to my family, my friends and all the people that supported me as I went away and still do every day. No matter what time of the day, someone always responds (the plus of having friends that do an exchange year, is that someone is always awake, somewhere around the world…) and all conversations over Facetime or Skype showed me that distance makes no difference.

But next to this I started to appreciate what makes me thankful here, the people and moments that made this first part of my exchange already so amazing. I can’t believe that I got to know so many new people and how open everyone was since the beginning. All the time I spent in Virginia Beach that made me feel home, because of the people that shared this time with me. Especially my hostsister, or as we call us sisters, that makes me feel home every day.

Thank you

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Norfolk, VA
Photo 26.11.17, 00 03 50
Norfolk, VA

Cold Trip into Warm Colors

Cold days, saved by a fire, a blanket and endless hot chocolate. Doesn’t that sound like a dream?

Escaping the school and boring daily life, we went to a trip in the north-western part of Virginia, directly into the woods (near Charlottesville, VA).

No service, nothing around us, except millions of trees in the in the warmest colors.

I totally fell in love with our wooden cabin, where we stayed for the weekend with some friends of our hostfamily, which also had two exchange students from Germany.

What especially stole my heart was the conservatory, which led directly into the balcony, where you’re standing in a sea of trees and only listen to the different sounds of life in the forest. It was amazing and I couldn’t have been more thankful to be there. The atmosphere out there left me speechless and me and my hostsister couldn’t believe that we were staying here for the next two days. And what we often say it was “totally american…”.

To experience the beautiful landscape around us we hiked Saturday and Sunday. Personally, I preferred our second hike, where we went to the Humpback Rocks. After only one mile of walking up we found ourselves in front of a stunning view over the colorful tree’s of Virginia.

I have never seen a view like this and can fully recommend a visit up there, and we chose the exact right time for it. The cold and fresh air is perfect to walk but also made us look forward to snuggle up in front of our fireplace back in the cabin. And how should we take a camping trip without S’mores?

S’mores, a sweet dream to eat:

S’mores are the easiest classic camping snack, made out of two crackers, chocolate and a marshmallow.

To do S’mores you just have to…

  • prepare a marshamallow over the fire
  • put it on a cracker with a little piece of chocolate
  • and put second cracker on top of everything
  • done!

on our first hike

 

Autumn Feelings

«Autumn killed summer with the softest kiss»

“Crunshing leaves, crisp air and warm hearts”

“And the sun took a step back, the leaves lulled themselves to sleep and Autumn was awakened.” – Raquel Franco

Hi everyone!

Before I start this post I want to explain this new idea that I recently had. To try something different, from now on there will be a ” season post” with small things giving you the right feeling and maybe some inspiration on what to do in the on going season. I hope you like it!

The days are shorter and the nights colder, when I start the day it’s completely dark now. I am totally in love with winter and autumn is the best way to get in the right mood for it. The most important thing in this time of the year is getting all cozy and fill the time with warm colors.

 

Traditions in America:

  • Halloween (10/31)
  • Thanksgiving (11/23/17)
  • Black Friday (11/24/17)
  • Pumpkin Carving
  • Apple Picking

 

Music Favorites: 

  • Lose It – Oh Wonder
  • Feel It Still – Portugal. The Man
  • Only the Poets – Marc E. Bassy
  • La dolce vita – Lacrim
  •  Too Good at Goodbyes – Sam Smith
  • Bloodstream – The Chainsmokers 
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    Drinking hot chocolate is the very best