Testing, Testing. 1-2-3

Trip Start Sep 07, 2011
Trip End Jul 18, 2012

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Ohhh, what CAN you do in Fulton?

Flag of United States  , Missouri
Thursday, August 11, 2011

It's 1:45am in the wonderful town of Fulton and, as usual, I am on my laptop delaying sleep and contemplating future events. It seems like this is what I have been doing for all of summer 2011, aside from working at my teenage job place which I started when I was 16 and once thought was "cool", but now is only a constant reminder of younger days and how old I actually am.

Well, I shouldn't say that's the ONLY thing I've done this summer. I had a wonderful trip to Tennessee with some family and the Smoky Mountains provided some aesthetic relief from the Missouri panorama. I was also fortunate enough to spend a week in Washington D.C. with another side of my family which provided some cultural relief from, well, what a small town in the Midwest lacks.

Another big event- A new addition to the family! My nephew, Jackson, is a bundle of joy and literally the sweetest little boy I have ever seen. He is so dear to my heart and I love him.

Otherwise, that pretty much sums up the 3 months of summer.

In just 28 days, yes, there is a countdown, I will be hopping on a plane to Linz, Austria. Ha. If only it were that easy. Actually, I will be getting on a plane in St. Louis, flying to Chicago and hoping to catch my quick connection flight to London, have about a 3 hour layover until my next flight to Vienna, take a short bus ride from the airport to "Westbahnhoff" where then I will have approximately an hour and a half train ride to Linz, then I will (hopefully) be picked up by my Austrian Student Mentor who will most likely take me to my new home by tram. Phew! Kind of nervous about that whole process. But it will be worth it.

I will be a foreign exchange student (Austauschstudentin I believe is the German word for it) at Johannes Kepler University in Linz, Austria for the year. I will be taking the same type of classes there as I would be at my home university in Springfield. I will also be taking "Intensive" (Eeek) German courses that will hopefully help me become fluent in the language, or at least help me get by living in the country! But I won't ONLY be studying and going to class, don't you worry! I plan on having all kinds of fun while spending the next year in Europe! A group of us who met through the exchange student Facebook group have already organized a trip to Munich, Germany for the annual Oktoberfest the last week of September (the festival is actually mostly in September which is kind of strange). There will be many fun and exciting trips!

Yes, I will miss my family and friends at home. Yes, I will miss the holidays. Yes, I will miss that little nugget Jackson and he will be so big when I get back! Yes, I will miss the comfort of knowing what the heck I'm doing, or saying! But I feel like this is the opportunity in life to grow, learn, and experience all I can while I still can. I can see things I never thought I would see, do things I've always wanted to try, and build relationships with new people which will hopefully turn into lifelong friendships. I have the luxury of being young and having time that will be gone before I know it. This experience will benefit me both personally, and professionally. It's something I'm doing for myself.

I've never been much of a journal-er and this is my first jab at blogging. I've always felt a little.. cautious.. about writing down my thoughts with the possibility of someone seeing them. Now I've decided to write them down AND publish them on the world-wide web for anyone and everyone to see. Just kidding. I will spare you from all that, but I do want to share this incredible experience I have been so fortunate to have. So be prepared to read about journeys, adventures, places and sites, cities and countries, cultures, JKU, languages, struggles, classes, excitement, joys, experiences, and people.

Anyways, this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity has presented the chance for me to share all that I experience while in Austria, and Europe in general. Ever since the first time I went to Europe when I was 14 I knew I always wanted to go back. I fell in love with it! To a young girl from small-town America this opened up a whole new world. I remember picking Missouri State because of the extensive amount of exchange programs it offered.

In closing of my first entry, I just wanted to test out this whole "blogging" thing. Right now I think I have every thing I need to do done to prepare for my journey (just a few little things here and there), but I'm sure right before I leave I'll think of a million more things I need to do. And I don't even want to think about packing yet. For a girl who doesn't normally travel light, having to cram a year's worth of "essential" items (All my items are essential!!) into one (MAYBE two, the second being a small carry-on) suitcase(s) and a backpack will be quite a headache. So I'm just "patiently" awaiting for these 28 days to go by and for the journey to begin. It is now 3:14am (10:14am in Austria) and I am finally starting to get a little heavy-eyed and have written waaaay more than what I expected. So, Auf Wedersehen und Gute Nacht.
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Dad on

Congrats on your new blog. I think it is outstanding ! Looking forward to new entries as you embark on all your adventures !!!

Michelle on

Wow!! I am very impressed with the new blog and excited to see all of the updates to come. :)

Janice on

Wish you all the best this next year. I am excited for you and think you are very brave...

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