Let the Cowboy rock – The Stockyards Championship

When I decided to go to Fort Worth, I was quite sure that I really wanted to go to a Rodeo, since we do not have anything similar in Germany.
Well, my host family made this dream come true and we went to the Stockyards Championship which is the only one year round rodeo in the world. The rodeo takes place every Friday and Saturday at 8:00pm at the historic Cowtown Coliseum.
If you are interested in the „Cowboy Life“, you will love the historic district in Fort Worth, as well as the Rodeo. Maybe you have watched this movie where a girl fell in love with a cowboy who had an accident and blablabla he wins the champoinship etc. etc. etc. endless love etc. – I had the impression, that Rodeos are exactly like that! I really loved it, especially because my host dad told me lost of things about it. I even wore real cowgirl boots and Levi’s shorts and a huge belt, I felt really texan.

Nevertheless, it is very controversial, if some rodeos treat their animals inappropriately. I have to admit that I am not really informed about animal rights concerning rodeos, some people say animals are tortured in order to become really aggressive during the show, other people say these prejudices are completely unrealistic. I came to the point that I think that buckling is a natural instinct, after the horse or the bull has bucked off the cowboy, they are brought back into the stable and get food and water. Consequently, one can argue that the buckling is conditioned and the animal associates buckling with food.
Personally, I am of the opinion that the Stockyards rodeo cannot afford criticism concerning animal cruelty, since the rodeo in Fort Worth is very popular.
To be honest, I don’t know, but I know that I enjoyed these two hours of my life because I enjoyed this „Texas feeling“.

What do you think about rodeos? Do you know anything about rodeos and would you go to the Stockyards Championship?

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Have a nice day,
Sophie

 

 

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Party in the USA 1995 – New York City

New York City is so far the greatest city I have ever visited. At the beginning of this summer I started my New York City blogpost series and today I would like to continue with a blogpost about my mothers New York trip.
In 1995 she traveled the United States with her best friend. They went to Memphis in Tennessee, went on a road trip in California and they spend some days in Boston and New York City. Stay tuned, she will probably write a blogpost about her road trip on my blog!

Anyway, she always promised me that we would go to NYC after my sixteenth birthday and that this trip would be my birthday present. However, we did not went to the USA together, since my school offered a field excursion and I took part in it.

Nevertheless, we both went to the same places in the city and it is amazing to compare our travel photographs. I hope you enjoy having a look at these vintage photographs, taken in 1995.

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Oh Central Park. We both loved Central Park. I already told you in my second NYC blogpost that I really enjoyed my bike tour through the park. I can highly recommend renting a bike, we rented our bikes at Central Park Sightseeing.

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Do you remember the pictures of Manhattan at night? My mother also climbed the Empire State building and took similar pictures but in broad daylight.

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The Times Square and the streets that surround the world’s greatest advertisement space. In 1995 the Times Square was already so colourful, I wish I could go back to NYC very soon. Today there are so many great stores near the Times Square, absolutely counterproductive if you are trying to live a more minimalist life.

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Grand Central Station:Old NYC-10

The Empire State Building, fun fact: My mother and her friend confused the Empire State Building with the Chrysler Building. They still laugh about it a lot.

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Wall Street Subway Station:Old NYC-12

I hope you enjoyed this little time travel.
Stay tuned!

Sophie

 

 

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Deep in the heart of Texas – The Fort Worth Stock Yards

The stars at night – are big and bright
Deep in the heart of texas.
The prairie sky – is wide and high
Deep in the heart of texas.
The sage in bloom – is like perfume
Deep in the heart of texas.
Reminds me of – the one I love
Deep in the heart of texas.
The cowboys cry – ki-yip-pie-yi
Deep in the heart of texas.
The rabbits rush – around the brush
Deep in the heart of texas.
The coyotes wail – along the trail
Deep in the heart of texas.
The doggies bawl – and bawl and bawl
Deep in the heart of texas.

– George Strait, Deep In The Heart Of Texas

Howdy!

Hope y’all are alright and had a nice week.
Some of you may remember my last Texas post, where I already talked about my time in Fort Worth and picked out the International Leadership Academy as a central theme for my article. Today, I would like to show you some of the photographs I took in the Historic District of Fort Worth, the Stock Yards.

For those who do not know where FW, TX is, it is right next to Dallas:

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Visiting the Stock Yards is like time travelling

When I stepped out of the bus I really felt like I was in the wild West. Although they painted the faces of the buildings to a certain extent, it looked amazingly realistic.
Take your time and wander around the streets, visit the little cute shops, buy some good old Cowboy boots (combined with some nice Levi’s 501 it looks super texan) and enjoy the dry heat. Although it was really hot when I went to Texas (about 100°F/38°C), it was still in my comfort zone, since we had not to deal with humid air at all.

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The Fort Worth Stock Yards Station

Located in the heart of the Stock Yards, you will find this awesome place which offers you great souvenir shops and nice dining places. We went there in the middle of the week and it was not crowded at all, though I guess that it will be very crowded at the weekends. They even have a huge candy shop called „The Candy Barrel“ where you can
Additionally, there is a Beef Jerky Outlet and a record store which I unfortunately have not been able to visit.

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Going to a Rodeo

I know, this sounds a little stereotypical but going to a rodeo was one of the greatest things I did in Fort Worth. I can highly recommend going to the Stockyards Championship Rodeo which takes place every Saturday at 8pm.
I will probably publish a separate post about the rodeo very soon.

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The cattle drive

Something that you should definitely not miss is the twice-daily cattle drive that travels through the Historic District.

„Genuine Texas cowhands drive a herd of Texas longhorns down Exchange Avenue in the Stockyards National Historic District every day at 11:30 a.m. and 4 p.m.“

It was amazing to see these beautiful, well treated cows heading down the street with their majestically long and twisted horns. It is an amazing experience and also completely free.

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Stock Yards Museum and Texas Cowboy Hall Of Fame

I really wish I would have had the time to visit the Texas Cowboy Hall and the Stockyards museum. Unfortunately, our time was running out since we only had two hours in the Historic District and we had to wait for our ice cream for like 30minutes.
Well done Sophie! But if you have already stood in line for 10 minutes, you probably won’t leave until you get your damn ice cream – (100°F!!!)
Anyway, the Texas Cowboy Hall Of Fame is known to be really great. You will see old horse-drawn carriages, as well as typical western saddles and other wild West related things. 

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I hope y’all enjoyed reading my second Texas post. Please let me know in the comments if you have ever been to Texas and if yes, what did you enjoy most about your trip?

Stay tuned,
Sophie

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Beautiful Place by the Sea – Ogunquit, ME #2

Visiting Ogunquit, Maine was an incredible experience. I totally fell in love with the shore and the breaking waves. I was walking along the shore, imagining what my life would look like after graduating from high school. I remember setting a timer that counted the days until prom and it said something like 512 days. Now it is august and I graduated five month ago, I still cannot believe how fast the time passed by.
Two years ago, I was not even sure if I would even graduate. I was afraid of failing and I thought that the Abitur will be the most demanding and difficult accomplishment in life.
Well, absolutely not. I did not study very much for my exams (I don’t even know why), but in the end, it turned out that it was enough. Little effort, good results, happy Sophie.
Unfortunately, I totally messed up my Politics and Economics exam but not because I haven’t studied hard enough, I studied too much. Consequently, less is more!

Three cheers for Minimalism at all points.

Two years ago, I came up with the idea of doing one year of  Work & Travel in Australia after graduation. A year ago, I wanted to go to Uni as early a possible and planned to do Solo-Travelling in South East Asia for 10 weeks. Well, now I will do both. Even though I will not be travelling for 12 month, I am pretty happy with my decision.
I wish I could spend at least a month in every country I will visit in South East Asia but hindsight is easier than foresight.
When we booked our flights I thought that two weeks in Malaysia will be sufficient. Today I wish I would leave by the end of august instead of leaving in september.
Nevertheless, seven month are still a long time and I hope that there will still be some time for travelling after uni or between bachelor’s and master’s degree.

However, I am excited as hell. Currently, I am decluttering again and I already put all my belongings into boxes because I will hopefully move out next year. I love my family and friends but I think it is time to go and my journey will be the start of a new phase in my life.
It feels like I am trapped on a starting block. I want to jump into cold water and start swimming immediately, but the referee just says:

„On your marks, get set, get set, get set,…“

I am waiting for the „go“. The „go“ will happen in less than three weeks but I cannot wait anymore.

Oh and I am quite sure that you have already noticed that I have changed my blog theme. Well, this was an accident and now I have to figure out how to get my old design back or look for a new one that really pleases me. Very smart Sophie, very smart.
Always remember:

Never, like never (!!) randomly click on the „Activate new blog theme“ – button.

Actually, I just wanted to have a look at the Live-Demo.
I am counting the cost now.

Anyway, this is my little life update. I hope you enjoy my second Ogunquit photography series.

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xx, Sophie

Field Trip – Ogunquit, ME

Welcome back to the United States of America! I already talked about New York City a couple of weeks ago. In 2015, I spent two weeks in Massachusetts and in New York.
I stayed with a host family near Boston for ten days and went to High School with my host sister. It was very interesting to go to class with her, since the school system is partly completely different in comparison to the German school system.
However, we were a group of German students and beside going to school with our host brothers and sisters, we also visited certain museums in Boston and also explored the city.
Additionally, we went on a field trip to Maine which is upstate Massachusetts.
Today, I will be showing you some pictures of Ogunquit, a small town which is part of the Portland metropolitan area. In the indigenous Abenaki language, „Ogunquit“ means „Beautiful place by the sea“ – Nomen est omen
The weather was bad, it was april.

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The bus driver opens the doors of the great yellow school bus and a fresh breeze is blowing outside. I tighten my scarf and look around. It is foggy and cold.
What I see is stunning.

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The little town reminds my of Twin Peaks, a television programme from the nineties where a young woman was murdered and found by the river „wrapped in plastic“.
Even though Twin Peaks was filmed near Seattle in Washington, the moody and gloomy atmosphere is the same.

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Mist is lying on the water, it’s so foggy that I can barely imagine that Ogunquit is located directly by the Atlantic Ocean. Yellow and grey houses perfectly match the grey troubled water and the yellow-orange grass.

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I take a deep breath, the air tastes salty and my cold fingers can’t stop taking photographs of the sea, the houses and the empty streets. I’m freezing, my body wants to go back to the bus but my soul yearns for more. More fresh air, more deep breaths. 

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My feet are cold but I won’t stop walking down the abandoned streets.
I wonder how this beautiful place may look in summer, when people are coming out of their houses, embracing the beauty of their town and the shore.

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I fell in love with this town.

 

Have a nice week,
Sophie

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 stay 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

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

 

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