September 24, 2018No Comments

I just wonder when will my life begin

Seven a.m., the usual morning lineup
Start on the chores and sweep 'till the floor's all clean
Polish and wax, do laundry, and mop and shine up
Sweep again, and by then it's like 7:15

And so I'll read a book
Or maybe two or three
I'll add a few new paintings to my gallery
I'll play guitar and knit
And cook and basically
Just wonder when will my life begin?

No one can quite sum up my 2018 summer mood like Rapunzel from Disney's 2010 hit, Tangled. Maybe my summer didn't include quite so much waxing and laundry as hers (much to my mother's disappointment),  but I did often feel as if I was wasting away the hours until I could finally get started on "my life." Sure I've been living for 18 years and I've been doing just fine but it's been different since I came home from exchange. My life has had a new sense of urgency since then. It's all about when the next adventure will begin. The next adventure I've been so impatiently awaiting is duh duh duh

Now the time has come.

As I sit here typing, my first ever college class awaits me in 10 hours. My pencil pouch is packed, my binder stuffed with empty notebook paper ready to be filled with endless notes, and after hours of thoughtful consideration and work, my bullet journal is ready to be filled with my many plans to come this first term of my college experience. Now I know what you're thinking, classic freshie beyond prepped for her first day of school as if this is kindergarten. Yup. And proud of it. This is what happens when you give me over three months to prepare for this day.

To say I'm ready is a major understatement. It's not that I haven't enjoyed my summer or even my senior year it's just that I'm so ready for a change. I'm ready for every day to be new again just like my year abroad. I had the introvert whipped out of me in Germany and I haven't stopped going since. The thought of learning new things and meeting new people in a foreign setting is exhilarating for me, wheres for most it's terrifying. I know what it's like and I yearn to have it again.

Tomorrow my life doesn't "begin" necessarily, just a new chapter in it does. To keep the Rapunzel connection going, my life will "begin again" when my next big life change occurs. A new job, moving, studying abroad again, you name it.

Where others fear the unknown, I seek it out and thrive. I'm ready to thrive again somewhere new. College, here I come.

June 28, 2017No Comments

I’m your biggest fan

You know that one person that calls themselves a huge fan, gets pumped up and prideful whenever "their" team's name is brought up, knows the names of maybe two players on the team and watches about two games out of the season? That is me for Borussia Mönchengladbach. I know if you're a real sports fan you will hate me for this but at least I'm being honest about it.

Last week I took a tour of the Borussia Mönchengladbach stadium and it was awesome. Sure I can't call myself a real, hardcore fan but that isn't to say I didn't absolutely love the tour and silently fangirl to myself the whole time. My love of soccer was enough to make me die for this insider look.

It was 90 minutes of walking through the locker rooms, up the bleachers, out in front of the field on the substitution bench, and into the VIP and radio/television rooms. I had my phone out the whole time furiously taking pictures and writing down facts I picked up as we walked. The tour was all in German so I had to concentrate extra hard to understand what the guide was saying but I got almost all of it. I guess those 10 months here really have payed off.

Now for all that info I'm so proud of gathering...

Our tour started off in the Presserraum (press room incase you don't trust your German skillz). The coaches sit behind the table seen below and await questions given by the press. Pretty self explanatory.

Our next stop was the Polizeigewahrsam which is where the police keep the people that go a little too crazy during the game. Whether they're drunk, decide to throw a few punches just for the heck of it, or cause a disruption of any kind this is where they go. There were three small box rooms with a simple table, desktop computer, and two chairs where the "disruptors" are taken for questioning. They are then taken to what I'd call mini jail. They're real cells, quite big actually with a bench, toilet, and plenty of room to pace. Anyone who is taken into police custody spends the remainder of the game there. Sucks for those diehard fans who live for the game.


There are two train stations near the stadium and both are monitored by police officers. If anything happens at either of the stations the police at the stadium are notified. A lot of Germans take public transport to the games because parking is almost nonexistent plus pricey and Germans like to drink before games. What a surprise, Germans drinking beer? Crazy.

The next place we went was the locker room for the away team. It was pretty average until we entered the connecting room which included a 28℃/82°F pool and a sauna. The pool is closed for just two weeks out of the year to be cleaned and costs €4000 a year to maintain. I guess you could say they take their pain relief seriously.


We walked out of the locker room and down the hall to where the two opposing teams would meet before walking out onto the field side by side. We saw the hall where the home team has it's coaches offices, locker rooms for the normal and youth team, and medical rooms. We were told that the jersey's from famous players are hung up on the wall across from the gladbach youth locker room to inspire the kids to one day make it onto the wall. Unfortunately we weren't allowed down this hall but instead walked out onto the field. The tour guide made one of the gladbach cheers play over the speakers as we walked out. Coming out of that tunnel onto the field with the music behind was enough to make our mouths drop open. It was one of the indescribable moments where you literally can't comprehend how excited you are about it but it's happening to you and just wow, life is so amazing. Yeah like that. Jealous yet?

Our group sat on the substitution "benches" looking out over the field as the guide gave us some more info. I put benches in quotations because these were no benches. They were big, comfortable, leather chairs with heating. I mean come on. I found out that not only did the chairs have heating but also the field! The heating under the field is 27km wide and costs €1000 per day that it's on. Of course it's only on when really necessary, like when it snows.

As we walked towards the next sight to see we were told the grass was new and grown in Willich! It costed a mere €100,000...only the best for the big leagues right? Side note: can I use a baseball reference while talking about soccer?

Next, we walked up to the top rows of the stadium. Up there we saw placarded seats which belong to people who have bought season tickets for so long that they are automatically bought for them each year. True fans. There were pulley systems already set up for the fan clubs who rush into the stadium two hours early to get their seats and hang their banners. In the top rows there was also a section for local newspapers and radios to sit and comment on the game.

Our guide pointed out cameras hung around the stadium that calculate all the statistics during a game. For example tackles, how much a player has run, throw-ins and so on. He also told us about a special set of seven cameras placed specifically to calculate if the ball is completely over the line in the case of a confusing goal or no goal situation.

On our way up to the VIP rooms we passed the medical center which employs 35 people and is open to everyone. We walked through one of the VIP rooms and immediately felt what being rich was like. Each VIP room is sponsored by a different company which is advertised over the glass doors outside. A room costs €17,000 for 17 Bundesliga games plus more for international games. A single VIP ticket for one game costs €260. This room includes good views from inside, on the balcony, and also in the special extra cushioned VIP row seating. Plus you've got enough free food and drinks to last you through another Ice Age. If you ever want to see a Borussia Mönchengladbach game from a VIP room start becoming friends with German bankers because chances are they have an in.

This tour was 90 minutes long all of which I thoroughly enjoyed and would absolutely recommend to someone. Well that is if you didn't read this post because I covered a good part of it. As if I wasn't sure already, taking this tour made me realize how much I truly love this sport.

To many games to come, KAJ

September 21, 2016No Comments

Have you tried the fries in the Netherlands?

Betcha can't guess what I did today...

Thomas, my host dad came home from work and told me we were going for a ride on his motorcycle. RIDING A MOTORCYCLE THROUGH GERMANY HECK YEAH IM IN! As you can imagine I was very excited.

Susanne took me downstairs to get into the motorcycle gear which included padded leather jacket and pants, leather gloves, and a helmet. It was a struggle to walk up the stairs with all that gear on.

Once I got on the bike Thomas told me we were going across the border into the Netherlands. Incase you didn't already know Willich is about 30-40 minutes away from the Netherlands so it's easy for anyone to take a day trip there. Which is exactly what Thomas and I did.

The ride was awesome. We went on the country roads rather than the Autobahn so it was a really nice drive. We passed a lot of horses, cows and of course corn fields. I counted the corn fields (because why not) and came up with 43. Man those Germans and their corn (except I haven't even seen corn in stores???). We drove for about 40 minutes into a city right across the border called Venlo. Not much was different there. The city was bigger than Willich but the architecture was somewhat similar. I do think there were more bikes. Every street had designated bike paths or only allowed bikes. Plus there were areas where bikes had right of way so you had to pay extra attention.

Another thing I learned about on this adventure was Plattdeutsch. This is the dialect that used to be spoken in Northern Germany and Eastern parts of the Netherlands. Unfortunately this dialect has died out quite a bit and only the older generation knows how to speak it. It would've been so cool to learn because I might've been able to understand a bit of Dutch.

Betcha didn't know: What's the difference between Holland and the Netherlands?

I discovered that the proper term to use (in most cases) is the Netherlands and not Holland. This is because Holland refers to two of the twelve provinces in the Netherlands; North and South Holland. This is where most of the well known cities in the Netherlands are located (Amsterdam) so for a lot of people it is acceptable to say that you've been to Holland. But in my case I should say the Netherlands because the province I went into was Limburg, not one of the two Hollands. All in all, if you ever find yourself in the Netherlands. Play it safe and use the right term, wouldn't want to upset any locals;)

Now onto what I actually did in Venlo. Thomas and I were only there for about an hour. We went into a grocery store called "Die Zwei Brüder von Venlo" to buy licorice for Susanne. The name of the store is in German and translates to "the two brothers from Venlo." The fact that the name is in German just shows how much of a German influence there is in the Netherlands. When we went to checkout at the grocery store the woman said hello in a way I didn't recognize but when Thomas said "hallo" she immediately began speaking in German. It's incredible how people learn languages here, nothing like the US.

After the grocery store we walked around the city for a bit and then stopped for fries along the Meuse river. The fries were really good. The typical way to prepare fries here is a basket of cut potato goodness with a pile of mayonnaise and ketchup on top. Basically someone with OCD's worse nightmare. These fries were special (literally, we ordered the special fry). They had mayo, diced onions, and a red sauce on top. The red sauce wasn't ketchup it had some sort of spices in it. I'm not sure exactly what it was but it tasted good and that's all that matters.



On the ride home I got to watch the sun set behind us. Great end to a great day.






Let's Link

© Kaeleigh James 2022

Project & Account Management