Fort Worth, Texas – Participating in the International Leadership Academy 2016

A year ago I returned home from Fort Worth, where I was a participant at the „International Leadership Academy“ which is an international issues forum where students from 8 countries meet and discuss a certain topic.

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Before the actual program started, we visited the Texas Rangers Baseball Stadium with the Swazis.

These countries are Mexico, Italy, Hungary, China, Japan, Swaziland, Indonesia, Germany and of course, the USA. Only Fort Worth’s sister cities have access to the program.

All the people I got to know are very important to me now. I text them almost everyday and I am very glad that certain social media platforms make it possible for us to keep in touch.

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„ILA“ is a great opportunity to meet people who are highly interested in social activities, politics and international friendships. We had two sessions every day where we worked on the topic „Building a Culture of Health“, which was selected for ILA 2016. Additionally, we did many activities together for example helping at a community center and visiting a center where they collected food for homeless people and families who could not afford groceries. We also went to different malls and to the historical district of Fort Worth which was great! I will later write a blogpost about the city and its sights.

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Me fooling around, unfortunately my friend who took the photo cut my feet off.

Generally, all the friendly, open-minded and caring people- including Facilitators, Delegation Leaders and Program Participants made the program very special and I assume that there is no other program in the world where everyone is so passionate about and engaged in working together.

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The campus is huge! It is like a little student village.

Additionally, I really liked the topic „Building a culture of health“ because I think in course of the globalization which is followed by more work and also stress, it is very important to care about other people’s cultures and about oneself. Also stress should not be underestimated because people have to be healthy in order to deal with it appropriately. Furthermore, it was great to do group activities and especially visiting business companies in Fort Worth. Thus we got a brief insight into their work and how they help society.

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This is the Football field where the Horned Frogs play American Football. We used to go running every morning at 6am and did some stair running in the stadium. We had to go running very early because breakfast was at 8 and we even had 28 degrees in the morning. (38 degrees in the afternoon)

In addition, I had the honor to interview three very inspiring business people with two other boys of the program. I am very glad that I had this opportunity because I learned a lot about these people, about their work-life-balance and how two deal with too much work and stress.
At this point I would like to thank Sister Cities for offering me this great opportunity!

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Me and the „Horned Frog“

We stayed at the TCU (Texas Christian University) Campus for two weeks but we also spent a weekend in a host family. This weekend with my host family was probably the best weekend in my life so far. They were very friendly and hospitable. They brought me to all the great places in- and around Fort Worth. It was great because they introduced me to activities they also like to do at weekends and I was able to do „typical american things“. They planned the weekend and also asked my what I would like to do, for example going to the Kimbell art museum where I was able to see some of my favorite paintings by Piet Mondrian or Michelangelo. We also went to the rodeo which was very exciting for me because we do not have similar things in Germany. Additionally, we went to a Drive-In movie theater which reminded me stereotypically of the movie „Grease“ – it was great! But these were only three of many activities. They were also very interested in German Culture and in my everyday life. There was always something to talk about.

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The entrance to the Football stadium 

Participating in the International Leadership Academy was the best decision of my life and these two weeks were the best weeks in my whole life so far. I would appreciate coming back 2018 or 2019 and hopefully one day I can say „I’ve been to all the Sister Cities countries and I was able to meet all my friends there!“!

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They even had a huge food court, a Starbucks and the Recreation Center (Fitness Center with an indoor track field, 3 Basketball fields, a climbing wall, a gym and two swimming pools) on campus. There were also Beach Volley Ball fields in addition to the Football stadium and the Basketball arena.

Looking at these pictures makes me really sad because I really miss the time and all the people I got to know there. I miss the hot sun in Texas, I miss candy shopping, I miss dancing salsa with my Mexican friends in the evening in front of our dorm, I miss having pool parties and swimming with my friends from Swaziland and I really miss my host family. Actually it is really hard to write about this experience because my eyes are almost filled with tears.
But I should not be whining because I am grateful for this experience and furthermore, I will be starting my next adventure very soon!

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Me posing in the heat, 100 degrees Fahrenheit 

Have you ever participated in a similar program or have you ever experienced something so great that you actually feel miserable thinking about it because you really miss the the people and the place? Let me know in the comments!

Love,
Sophie

Thailand 1992 – Koh Mat Sum

It’s time for some vintage photographs again! Maybe you have already read my last Thailand post, where I shared some pictures of my Mum’s Thailand trip in the nineties with you. Last time, I published photographs of Koh Phangan, Chiang Mai and Koh Samui. Today, I will be sharing with you impressions of the island named Koh Mat Sum. Turn on some nice music and imagine walking down these lonely beaches and enjoy the view.

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xx, Sophie

Tattoo Talk

I always wanted to have a tattoo and the most important condition is, that I would really love to design it on my own. I recently read a Blogpost about Tattoos by the lovely Ella May Garrett, which I really enjoyed. By the way, I really love her Pinterest Obsession posts!!
Consequently, I came up with the idea that I could talk a little bit about tattoos and why I think getting inked can have an impact on our lives.

I always wanted to have a tattoo. When I was five, my Dad got a Henna Tattoo, a red rose and I loved it! At that time I was very interested in Chinese culture and my idea was that I could have a Chinese dragon inked on both of my arms and a huge yin and yang on my stomach. Not that attractive I guess. So glad that children are not allowed to get tattoos though.

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This is my personal Tattoo design, I was just sketching a little bit

Today, I don’t want to have Chinese tattoos anymore. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still interested in Chinese culture but dragons would probably not suit me very well.
However I’d love to draw my tattoo(s) on my own and one design I really like is a jumping fawn. Deers played a big role in my life so far, it’s hard to explain but my mother f.e. used to call me „Rehlein“ which is German and means something like „Little deer“, people also used to tell me I looked like Bambi when I was younger. Additionally, I have frequent deer encounters when I go running…just love these cute creatures!
Even if I decide to get a fawn tattoo, which part of my body will this tattoo decorate? Since I would like to do some kind of business job later, I can’t have visible parts like arms, fingers, feet and maybe even my legs get inked. Besides, I want to be able to see my tattoo, consequently I can’t have my back inked. Having a tattoo on my ribs would be nice, although it is commonly known that tattoos close to bones are very painful.

Another idea would be something Harry Potter related, although I don’t think that my first or second tattoo will be a HP one… However, having the 9 3/4 sign on my wrist would be amazing, but only if I had a watch that hides the tattoo perfectly. 😀

Currently my favourite design is a wave. I simply love water, swimming and surfing. Waves are aesthetic, beautiful and it is nice to see them breaking at the shore. However, waves are dangerous. They are heavy and they can easily drown you depending on their size. In psychology, waves and especially tsunamis are often interpreted as anxiety and excessive demands. They are like life, nice to ride, nice to swim in, they are enjoyable. But on the other hand, you can be to overwhelmed to deal with the wave, or your life. I love the water and I love life, but I also have a high respect and I am grateful that I am healthy because I know that this is not self-evident just like it is not self-evident, that you survive your ride on a big wave.

I will definitely let you know if I decide to get a tattoo but at the moment I go swimming two to three times a week (Surf-Camp preparation whoopwhooop) and I do not want to take a break.

How about you? Would you like to have a tattoo? What kind of tattoos do you prefer?
Have a nice weekend

Sophie

 

 

DISCLAIMER: THESE PICTURES WERE NOT TAKEN BY ME. I FOUND THEM ON PINTEREST AND SAVED THEM ON MY TATTOO PIN BOARD. IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN THE SOURCES AND THE BLOGS WHERE I GOT THESE PICTURES FROM, PLEASE VISIT MY PINTEREST AND HAVE A LOOK AT THOSE BLOGS AND THE GREAT PEOPLE WHO TOOK THESE SHOTS.
IF YOU ARE THE OWNER OF ONE OF THESE PRETTY PHOTOGRAPHS, PLEASE SEND ME AN E-MAIL AND I WILL DELETE THE PICTURE IF YOU WANT ME TO. 

Things I love about New York City

We finally made it to the end of my New York City series! I have already shared pictures with you of the Brooklyn Bridge, the Empire State Building at night and of the Staten Island Ferry. I also talked about What to do in NYC and informed you about things I’d love to do if I went back to New York one day.
Today, I will be sharing with you my favourite reasons why we should all visit this stunning city at least once.

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Cultural Diversity

I really enjoy having conversations with people from all over the world. I love exchanging experiences and I like to listen to other people’s stories. If you are interested in exploring different cultures and if you are into talking, you will love New York City!
I have never met so many people from different countries before. Of course you will probably meet some Chinese people in China Town and Italians in Little Italy.
But many other people from foreign countries are working in NYC, for example as tourist guides or waiters and waitresses in restaurants. It is definitely worth it to just talk to people. I also met many Germans, they probably noticed my german accent…(which is hopefully not that bad anymore :D) Anyway, it was just a great experience.
Besides, we met a lot of Hispanics in Union City. On our first evening we went to a nice restaurant and had Spanish and Mexican food which was simply great! They were so kind and in a very good temper. I would highly recommend visiting the other quarters of the city, since Manhattan is not the only nice spot in New York.

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The food

Oh yes the fooood! I have never been to a city where you find so many different food trucks and restaurants. Besides the common fast food places (very thrilling for us Germans) like Chipotle, Chick-fil-A and Dunkin Donuts, New York offers, as commonly known, many great places to have delicious food!
I have to admit that at first, I was a little afraid of the great variety. But later on, after I survived the cultural shock, I discovered some nice places to have breakfast, lunch and dinner.
At the beginning of our trip, we made sandwiches and took them with us, but they were so gross because the bread tasted like paper in comparison to the German bread. (We probably just picked the wrong brand) But then we went to a restaurant near Fifth Avenue where my friend had a delicious stake and I had a vegetarian dish which was also amazingly tasty. To be honest, I am neither able to tell you the name of the restaurants we went to, nor can I tell you what dishes I had. It is just that I went on this trip two and a half years ago and at that time I did not know that I will write about it one day.
However, do not be afraid to try new things in New York, you will love the variety of foods offered on the streets and at restaurants!

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Its changeableness

I do not even know if this is something that militates in favour of the City, but to my mind it is astonishing how multifaceted New York is when it comes to housing and environment. In Manhattan for example you will find many office blocks in Midtown, while the Upper East and West Side are more known to be the residential district for more prosperous people. You probably know the Upper East Siders from Gossip Girl :P.
On the one hand you have the quarters where Manhattan’s elite lives and on the other hand, quarters like SoHo, Little Italy and China Town. There is such a great variety and you will definitely not be bored.
Furthermore, Brooklyn used to be a tricky place to stay but today, this is completely different. I loved Brooklyn, it is just a little bit more calm and not that crowded. Wasn’t it Miranda Hobbes from Sex and the City who said that Brooklyn is the new Manhattan?
To be honest, I am not able to evaluate this statement but I feel like it is true. I would love to live in Brooklyn one day!

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Now, this is the end of my New York posts. I really hope you enjoyed reading them and especially the photographs.

What do you think about New York City? Do you like crowded metropolises or do you prefer the countryside?
Feel free to comment, I am always interested in other people’s opinions and thoughts!

Stay tuned,
Sophie

 

Pin it and don’t forget it!Reasons-Pinterest-NYC

Travel related DIYs #1 – Travel Pinboard

Hello World,

I proudly introduce you to my new project „Travel related DIYs“. I would like to share with you some of my recent creative/art projects and hopefully be able to encourage you to craft something and become creative.

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My first project is a World Map Pinboard. Generally, this idea is very basic but I loved the idea of creating a unique pinboard to organize my stuff. Additionally, I consider these corkboards as very useful, since you can easily hang it on your wall, it is very light and you will only need two nails and a hammer to fix it.

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For your own customized pinboard you will need:

  • A pinboard (I got mine on amazon for only 12€)
  • A pencil
  • Acrylic Paint (You will need a lot of paint depending on the size of your pinboard, I used about 200-250ml)
  • Paintbrushes of course
  • Two Screws wich you usually get with your ordered pinboard
  • Nails and a hammer
  • Patience

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As you can probably imagine, you just have to start to prime the cork of your board.
I primed mine twice, since the cork „sponges up“ the paint and if you are a little fussy you will like to paint it twice, it just looks tidier.
You should wait at least half an hour until you start to pre-draw the shape of the continents. I just tried to depict the map from my original world map and messed up sometimes, but I really like how it turned out. Besides, I did not wanted it to be that accurate. If you are happy with your shapes, you can just repaint them and tadaaa, you are almost done. Personally, I decided to go for some silver and gold and randomly colored some islands and continents.

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In the end, you just have to screw the screws into the frame of the board and hang the board on two nails which you already hammered into your wall.

Altogether, this DIY is very easy and not that special. However, I really wanted to share my work with you and I hope you liked it! Let me know in the comments if you are interested in reading more „creative-posts“.

Stay tuned and have a nice weekend!
Sophie

 

 

Pin it and don’t forget it!DIY-Pinterest