BERLIN HIGHLIGHTS

Hallo allerseits!

I have just returned from a pretty crazy week in Berlin where I spent New Years with a few friends from university. This was my third time to Germany’s capital, but the first time being overage and without any adult supervision. Unfortunately, I managed to sprain my ankle on January 2nd (2017 is going GREAT) and spent the last couple of days in our airbnb, but four days had actually been enough to see what I really wanted to. So I wanted to write an article with all the highlights of my trip.

TOUR: The Famous Insider Walk, guide: Brian Bell, price: €10-€14

We did this tour the first day and it was amazing! This takes you to all the famous places (Brandenburg Gate, Checkpoint Charlie, Hitler’s Bunker, lots of memorials,….) It’s about four hours long but includes a 30min lunch break. This tour is great if it’s your first time in the city as it explains all of Berlin’s history and shows you all of the ‘big’ places. Our tour guide Brian (who studied Theatre Performance) was fantastic, listening to him was like watching an entertaining one-man show. Even though I had already studied most of the things he explained, there wasn’t a single moment during the tour when I was bored. Would highly recommend!

BARS: Möbel Olfe / Roses

Now let me start by telling you that both my best friend Ciaran (whom I spent most of the trip with) and I are queer. As Berlin has a lively gay scene, most bars we went to were gay bars. Möbel Olfe, situated in Kreuzber, is described as a rowdy alternative gay bar. We went on a Tuesday and it was absolutely packed which is why we only spent a couple of hours there, drinking mixed drinks and making friends from around the world. After that we headed to Roses, a gay bar we had already discovered the previous evening. Roses is fully decorated with pink fluffy walls and pictures of pornstars on the tables. It gets extremely busy and crazy as the night persists so if you’re not into that, just go for a couple of drinks (just the interior is worth a visit). Ciaran and I stayed both nights until 5am and both nights ended up basically being the most insane nights out I’ve ever had (which says a lot). So if you’re not into that, don’t stay that long or be careful with what you drink and what people might try to sell you.

VEGAN FOOD: Brammibal’s donuts

Brammibal’s donuts, not surprisingly, is famous for its vegan donuts. However it also has lunch options, coffee, milkshakes, etc. They have a very nice interior and a lovely variety of donuts. I had the chocolate peanut butter fudge and a hot coco with oat milk, while Ciaran had avocado on toast and later the salted caramel donut. The staff was really nice and I could not recommend this place enough. Just look at their website, you’ll understand.

MUSEUM: Deutsche Kinemathek – Museum für Film und Fernsehen (Filmmuseum)

This is my favourite museum of all times. I visited it twice in the past three years and love it. Even though I already wanted to study film when I first went at 17, this museum made me want to study it even more. Although it concentrates mostly on German film and on the very first big films (most of them silent and B&W), what really interests me was the part about film during WWII and it’s role in war propaganda. There’s also a full room dedicated to Marlene Dietrich which is fabulous. If you have even the slightest interest in film, go there (it’s only €4,50 for students).

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Other recommendations: definitely take a stroll alongside the East Side Gallery, have a cocktail or some food at Südblock (it’s vegan friendly and gay, which is all you need), take pictures at one of the famous photoautomats, if you go during the holidays: enjoy a nice cup of glühwein at one of the 60 Christmas markets (!!!), and if you’re into a crazy New Years eve, spend it at the Brandenburg gate.

Happy New Year,

Marion

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MONTREAL // VEGAN FOOD

Bonjour!

As mentioned in my previous article I spent a week in the province of Quebec in Canada during the month of July. The main reason we went to Canada was to visit family, but that didn’t stop us from going around and enjoying this beautiful place as best as we could. As we had already been to Montreal a few years ago, this time we only spent two days in the actual city and the rest of the week we did more nature-related activities in the surrounding area. Even though we didn’t spend that much time in the city and mostly made our own food at home, I was still able to drag my two meat-eating parents to a couple of vegan places during our stay.

LA PANTHERE VERTE ★★★★

This is a chain restaurant offering delicious organic and local vegan food. There are five of them in the city, but we went to the one on Chemin Queen Mary. It has a very nice staff and lovely white and green interior with lost of plants (which is aways a win). As that one was very close to where we were staying, we went multiple times and I had the chance to try out different things. My favourites: BBQ tofu pita and the baloo berry smoothie.

website: http://thegreenpanther.com

LA LUMIERE DU MILE END ★★★

This is a vegetarian restaurant situated in the Mile End who also offers quite a few vegan dishes. It’s quite small but has such a great atmosphere. The woman who served us (and who may or may not have been the owner) was the kindest human being and you could tell she really loved what she was doing. For some reason I can’t seem to remember which burger I had, and to be completely honest it’s probably because it didn’t really stand out from everything else I ate that week. However, my father ordered the vegan pad thai and loved it! They also had a lot of coffees/teas/milkshakes which I unfortunately wasn’t able to try, but they definitely looked delicious.

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website: http://lalumieredumileend.com

If I find the courage I may write an article on everything that we did whilst in Quebec, but for now I hope you already enjoy this one!

Marion★

 

THOUGHTS ON HAVING THREE HOMES

**DISCLAIMER** This is an article about my experiences, thoughts and feelings when it comes to traveling and leaving places behind. It is not an article about what I’ve been doing lately but it’s something I really had to get out. Don’t complain about my honesty. Thank you.

I’m sure you’ve all probably heard someone say that traveling is addictive. Once you start seeing the world you just can’t get enough, there are so many places to see and between work/school/responsabilities so little time. I totally agree with this and definitely struggle with wanderlust on a daily basis. But here’s the thing not many people tell you, it’s not as easy as it seems.

Everybody keeps telling me how lucky I am to be living in Edinburgh after having lived in Maine and Belgium. How lucky I am to be traveling so much and to have the courage to “follow my dreams” (as I’ve been told multiple times). And I am! Oh gosh how lucky I am! I know that, I do. So maybe I don’t have the right to complain about it because right now I have every single thing that I’ve ever wanted. But this is my blog and I do whatever I want, plus, I wouldn’t really categorise this as complaining, it’s more of a pointing out the facts that sometimes things aren’t as easy as they seem to be.

Let me explain, when I left Belgium a year ago to go to Maine it was extremely difficult to leave my family and friends behind, but at least I knew that I was going to come back and that they were all still going to be there. Then I made a home in Maine, to be honest I tried to not get too attached at the beginning but when you live somewhere for 10 months that’s something you just can’t avoid. So I got attached, really badly. Which made the experience so much better. There were even moments where Maine felt like the only life I had ever known, which was extremely strange. But then I had to leave. I had to leave a home again and this time I wasn’t sure when I was going to come back. One thing I was certain of though, is that it would never be the same. The next time I go to Maine will be as a tourist, the house I lived in and the bed I slept in aren’t mine anymore and they never will be. I will never be able to live that life again.

Then I came back to my first home, oh what a joy to get that life back! But life had moved on there, without me in it. Of course my friends and family welcomed me with open arms and had missed me just as much as I had missed them but their lives had gone on, just like mine had. Except mine had gone on somewhere else that in their world didn’t exist. In the two months I had I tried to get back to that life as well as I could, it felt strange and amazing at the same time, I had missed it so much. Unfortunately two months was all I had, because after that I had to leave again.

Leaving Belgium for the second time was even worse than the first time, because at that point I was also leaving Maine. I was leaving two different lives behind to start a third completely new one, in a completely different city. A blank page once more. “how lucky I am” yes, I know a lot of people would give everything they have for the opportunity to start again in a new place. For me though, it all just happened too fast. Life moves too fast.

This isn’t a sad article, I promise, really it’s everything but sad. Believe me I am the happiest I’ve ever been. It was my choice to go to Maine just like it was my choice to come to Edinburgh. Both of these decisions were ones that I had planned and looked forward to from a very young age, but at that time I didn’t know that traveling wasn’t all rainbows and butterflies. It’s leaving a life behind, it’s constantly missing people and places, it’s not knowing where you belong anymore because pieces of your heart have been scattered all around the world. It’s beautiful, but it’s tough.

I wouldn’t change it for the world, I don’t regret a single thing, but I do hope that one day I’ll be able to settle down.

BYEEE

Marion★

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FROM BRUSSELS TO BRUNSWICK

Hello everyone!

I am currently sitting on my bed, in my bedroom, with in front of me a big window with an amazing view and well of course, in Brunswick!

Yes yes all of that sounds amazing, and it is! But the trip to get here was much more complicated than that. my flight was at 10:40 in Brussels which means that we got to the airport at around 7:40 which means waking up at 6 o’clock. I arrived in NYC at 1 AM local time which means 7 PM belgian time. After that I had to take a bus to the Hilton hotel where I got together with all the other AFS students. There we all waited for our bus to take us where we were supposed to be, the bus to portland was at 11 PM. That meant 10 hours of sitting around, talking to people, being really tired and just waiting and waiting and waiting. I slept most of the bus ride (luckily) and then arrived in Portland at about 6 or 7 AM. Exhausted and really cold. There we -me and other AFS students staying in that area- went to an AFS volunteer’s house and our host families picked us up at around 4 PM.

About 40 hours of travel and maybe 5 hours of sleep, ON A BUS. So, I think everyone can understand that I am really, really tired.

Apart from being exhausted, I am also extremely happy. My family is great, Brunswick is a lovely town and I’m starting school tomorrow which is going to be even more exhausting, but so much fun. I’m really looking forward to that 🙂

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BYEEEEE

Cherie★

INTRODUCTION

Hi everyone!

My name is Marion but you can call me Cherie, I am 17 years old (24.06.1996) and I live in Belgium.

I made this blog because in a few months -3 to be exact- I will be leaving for the United States of America where I will spend 10 months as an exchange student, yay! Don’t ask me where though, I’m still waiting for my host family Aaaaaah so excited!

So as you may have guessed, the main reason why I made this blog is to share my experience. Because you know, this is 2014 and everything we do has to be talked about online (just kidding).

ANYWAYS

On here you will find i.a. pictures, advice, fun facts about the cultural differences,… You know, stuff like that.

I hope that you will like it and I hope that sharing my experience is going to be interesting and maybe even helpfull for other exchange students or future exchange students (probably not but I can dream, Harold! If you understand this reference you understand my life)

BYEEEEE

Cherie

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