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June 23rd 2008
Published: June 25th 2008
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My bags are packed...I'm ready to go...well kind of...

WHAT A YEAR! As I end my time here in Germany and embark on my crazy adventure through Europe and then back to the United States, I can't help but take the time to reflect over this year and what it has meant to me. It has been filled with extreme emotional highs and lows as well as plenty of time for self reflection. Even though the good times definitely outweigh the hard times, it is important that I don't forget even the major lows. Spending time alone with yourself can be a very trying and difficult experience, no one likes to be lonely, but it also teaches you about who you are as a person and who you want to be. In all of my personal reflection throughout the year, I have slowly grown and changed, and I am very happy with the results.

I have learned
- to appreciate the moment instead of dwelling on the past or the future
- to take time for myself and enjoy it.
- to not stress about things that I can not change
- to go with the flow, and leave the planning up to life sometimes
- to put more trust in people (I have been pleasantly surprised what great friendships and experiences have come into my life from total strangers)
- to appreciate each moment and trust that no matter what things always seem to work out in the end.
- No matter where I go, I will bring a piece of my home to other people

I hope that when I return to the states I can retain most of the changes that have come about, keep my stress level to a minnimum and not fall into my old habits of taking on too many things and being too worried about how each step will affect my future. I have enjoyed the pace of life in Europe this year. I sincerely appreciate the fact that no stores are open on Sundays, even though there were many Sundays throughout the year when I wanted to scream. I was asked once this year what I did on Sundays if no shops or stores were open, I replied...absolutely nothing, and its wonderful.

I am going to miss:
- Lazy Sundays
- Bubbly Water
- Being able to sit at a restaurant or cafe until closing if you wanted
- Public Transportation
- The Train Network
- The ability to travel to a new country in less than one hour
- My new friends that come from all over the world
- German Beer

There are many things that I miss about the United States as well, and I am sincerely looking forward to coming home to. I can't believe I have spent this much time away from family and friends, it never would have been possible without the visits, emails, cards, and calls from everyone. I had some fabulous trips this year with family and friends and they have been some of the highlights of the year. I have realized even more than I knew before how close I am with everyone and how much they make me who I am.

I miss
- my Family
- my Friends
- my car (only when trains are late or I have to run)
- Mexican Food and BBQ
- Ice Cubes and Ice Machines
- Free and unlimited condiments and refills
- Dryer for my clothes
- Air Conditioning (just recently, but especially at work)
- movies in English

Overall, this year has been one of the most memorable and important of my life so far. I have learned a language to an ability that I never though was possible, and really put my best effort into it. Adjusting to a new culture, with new language, and without a built in friends network was very challenging, but I am amazed at how comfortable I am now here. Three times I moved to a new city and was forced to venture out to meet new people and establish a new life for myself, but I know now, no matter where life takes me, that I will always be able to adjust and eventually make friends and feel comfortable.

Thank you again to everyone for following me throughout the year on my crazy adventures and especially for supporting me in this big decision to leave home for a year. I promise, even with all my changing, I am still the same person and can't wait to see everyone again.

I will be stepping foot for the first time in a year on American Soil on July 16 and will be back in Texas late on July 17. I look forward my adventures to come in Croatia, Montenegro, Albania, Greece, and Spain and I promise blogs in late July after I return home.

Until then.


Extra funny things that crack me up on a daily basis:
- The Fanny Pack - still alive and well - even used in new ways like as a sling over shoulder bag
- I still open every door the wrong way, even though I can read push and pull
- Haircuts - Germans have taken the mullet to a new level
- The fact that all German words make total sense when you translate them...for instance Umleitung (detour) "Um" - around + "Leitung" - to lead = To lead you around
- There are more kinds of bread here then you could try in a year
- You can take a beer with you anywhere you want to go - except in a car of course
- I see lots of people drinking hot coffee with a straw
- I have never seen nor eaten so much pork in my life
- When you think you have tried every preparation of potatoes, you will be surprised.


25th June 2008

bon voyage!
wow - go Paige! Your year sounds so fulfilling and relaxing at the same time. The US is better to call you one of our own - so get on back here. Thanks for sharing your stories with everyone! I couldn't read every one (I'd be so jealous that I'd sink into a miserably state), but I do enjoy reading it when I can. Cheers!!
25th June 2008

Loved your reflections. Have a wonderful trip. Can't wait for a hug and to have you home. Love, Mom
25th June 2008

Paige -- sounds like it has been a wonderful experience -- thanks for sharing it with all of us back home. Give me a call when you get back to Texas -- 214-676-0309 -- would love to see you -- I might be around in Austin and would love to catch up -- will you be making any trips to Dallas? I'll also be in Keystone Aug. 2-3 for the Bluegrass and Beer Festival if you happen to make it :) Have a blast on your last round of travels -- looks like you are going to some amazing places! Be safe!
26th June 2008

Hi Page, thanks for your blog - it was nice to follow your entries over the year! ...and tschüss ;-) Thomas
26th June 2008

i reflect on your reflections
I am going to be in germany for 1 year starting next month, though this wont be my first trip, having stayed there before. But reading your blog, i do find a lot of similarities in experiences i had and am also looking forward to. Good article. Wish you good luck back home. - Abhijeet
7th July 2008

This Sounds Amazing
I am going to be part of the CBYX at the end of this month and thanks to your blog I decided to go. This makes me excited. Thanks!
7th August 2008

I hope to be in Texas for Xmas. I would love to see you. Will you be there? Love to you-Uncle Roby

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