Monday, December 28, 2015

Two Hundred Years of Emma


"The course of true love never did run smooth."


Jane Austen borrows Shakespeare's famous line in Emma - her fourth book, originally published in December 1815 - as an introduction to the romantic drama. Though I am not as attached to this novel as I am to Pride & Prejudice, I'm currently in the middle of my third re-read as a commemoration of Emma's bicentennial. 

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

2015 | Favourite Albums

I pulled my album favourites from nearly all corners of the music market this year, from mainstream pop and electronic to jazz and soul. The ladies consistently killed it this year with long-awaited arrivals - Adele - and new twists on old sounds - Florence.


25 by Adele
Adele's third, highly highly anticipated, record-breaking album is everything I hoped for and more. From the opening melancholy-tinged "Hello" to the midtempo hopefulness of "Sweetest Devotion," 25 is an delightful, emotional rollercoaster. 25 features Adele experimenting with different contemporary styles but mainly showcasing her much-missed powerhouse vocals, particularly on tracks like "When We Were Young" and "All I Ask." 
Favourite tracks: When We Were Young, Water Under the Bridge, Love in the Dark

Monday, December 21, 2015

2015 | Favourite Books & TV Shows

Last year I put all of my favourites into one post, but with the sheer number of music-related things I loved this year I thought it better to separate books and television into one post and music into another (coming later this week). To make it easier on myself I narrowed everything down to pieces released this calendar year (except for All the Light We Cannot See).

Literature



All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
I included Anthony Doerr's most recent novel even though it wasn't published this year because it was not only the best book I read this year, but one of my favourite books I have ever read. Set in World War II, All the Light We Cannot See follows two characters - a blind French girl and a curious German boy - and two timelines - their childhoods and their lives' convergence and subsequent consequences in 1944. Doerr won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for this novel, and there's no question that he absolutely deserved it.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

2015 | Fall Semester Rewind


Monday, December 14, 2015

Five Beloved Films

We all have those movies that we've seen time and time again and yet never get tired of watching them. They might not necessarily be our favourites, but there's something about them that's always enjoyable. I've gathered a few that I could - and have - watched over and over again and still haven't gotten tired of them.


Stardust
Adapted from Neil Gaiman's novel, this 2007 film features a young Charlie Cox as Tristan, a teenager who lives in a village bordering a magical kingdom called Stormhold. In an attempt to win the love of one of the village girls, Tristan crosses the wall between kingdoms to retrieve a fallen star, which, to his surprise, turns out not to be a pile of sparkly dust but a woman named Yvaine. To make it back home to his love, Tristan and Yvaine must safely cross through Stormhold, full of evil princes, witches, and magicians that also wish to claim Yvaine's power. Stardust has a huge, fantastic cast and the musical score is incredible. While it is far from the greatest movie ever made, it is an endearing tale of love and adventure, and it is one of my favourite book-to-film adaptations.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Life Lately | November

Friday, November 6, 2015

Autumn/Winter Reads


Books, just like every other medium of entertainment, often fit a mood or a season. Late autumn and early winter has a dark, secretive feeling to me, and during the end of the calendar year I gravitate toward books that evoke mystery or a sense of things that are not as they seem. Below I've listed 10 books - some of them my absolute favourite pieces of literature - that I have enjoyed in the past or that I intend to re-read in the coming months, preferably curled up with a coffee and cozy blanket.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Life Lately | October

Friday, October 23, 2015

American Roots Festival

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

10 While 20

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Oktoberfest at Busch Gardens

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Life Lately | September


September was the month of finally, finally settling into a routine - the constant, familiar chaos interspersed by moments of calm, both accompanied by numerous cups of coffee. Autumn came a bit earlier than I remembered which has eased my frame of mind. With the start of exams it's nice to have some crisp air in the mornings and the excuse to wear my favourite Banks sweatshirt every evening. As with every September, a number of good bands put on shows in my area and I attended each with a few good friends. I finally felt like myself again, surrounded and slightly deafened by the glorious imperfection of live music. I did a bit of traveling as well, driving up to Virginia to enjoy Busch Gardens during their first weekend of Howl-O-Scream.

In the middle of the month I succumbed to the ever-present quarter life crisis - what am I doing with my life? what I am doing in this degree? can I get a job with this? - and when I had managed to talk myself out of my mental slump, an internship with an environmental nonprofit emerged.  My first week started the last week of September so there isn't much to say about it yet, but I'm excited to acquire some experience in a field within my major. September was, as always, a transitional month, and I'm excited for the adventures October will bring.


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Saturday, September 19, 2015

The Shindig

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Dealing With Reverse Culture Shock

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Carolina Beach


Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Returning to the Known


“We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.”
- T.S. Eliot

It's a strange feeling returning to ordinary university life after eight months away. Everything is the same yet different; I'm living on campus again on the same side of campus but in a single dorm with new suitemates, my friend group has remained the same but each person has changed in their own ways, and my classes have familiar subject material but are more challenging. Though I've seamlessly slipped back into campus life, I feel like I have irreversibly changed. Not that I have really changed - in the words of a good friend, "you still wear black and your hair's always in a bun so you're still the same Kate" - but I feel as though I've grown more into myself, if that makes any sense. Living on my own in a foreign country, far out of my comfort zone, constantly experiencing new, unexpected things - both good and bad - made me realise my boundaries and what I must learn to adapt to. My time spent back in the States has not so much been "where do I fit now" but rather a re-exploration of what I already know. I can say it no better than T.S. Eliot; I am knowing my home, my starting point for the first time, and I cannot wait to see what the new semester brings.


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Tuesday, August 4, 2015

A Day in New York City

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Amherst, MA

Friday, July 24, 2015

Life Lately | July


I spent the first 9 days of July at home, spending my spare time alternating between family and friends. I went to the cinema as many times as I could to catch up on all the movies I missed while in Germany and I read a book a day, working through my stack of novels borrowed from the library. The remainder of the month was spent in Amherst, MA in a position working with international students. It was an exhausting two weeks but I was alongside some great people - including my Mannheim buddy Shannon - and it was a rewarding (if hot and sweaty) time in New England.

After spending all but 3-4 weeks of 2015 constantly surrounded by international students, I can honestly say it's strange thinking about returning to university and being once more surrounded predominantly by Americans. I've enjoyed learning about new cultures and I'm not ready to say goodbye to the continuous learning and go back to the old familiar. My time in Europe has changed the way I think about daily life and I know my adjustment of focus will carry on. But with the summer coming to an end, it's time to finally put the last 7 months behind me and look on to the next great thing.


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Monday, July 6, 2015

Hozier Tour


Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Life Lately | June


June was a month split exactly into two halves: the first 15 days were my final moments in Germany, my chance to say goodbye to the people and places I've loved the last five months in Europe. The second 15 days were spent at home, reconnecting with my family and revisiting all my familiar haunts in my hometown. Though settling back into my old life has been surprisingly easy I miss my life in Germany, where I could hop on a train and be in another country in less than two hours, where I could immerse myself in different cultures in a matter of hours, and where every day was a new chance to explore something I didn't know or understand but knew it was another story with another memory of my time abroad.

Of course all good things must come to an end, but there are also more adventures ahead. In less than 2 weeks I will be heading north for a new job in Massachusetts where I will stay for the remainder of the summer. In the meantime I have two term papers to finish, a stack of library books to read, and all the iced coffee in the world to drink. It's the most unusual summer I've ever had yet it's been full of its own moments and memories.


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Saturday, June 27, 2015

Exchange Goals | Part 2

About a month ago (give or take a few weeks) I posted part one of the exchange goals I hoped to accomplish during my remaining time in Germany. I can happily say that I finished the rest of my list with a few days to spare, and I've written a bit more about each one below. (I forgot to post this much earlier and I just found this is my drafts I'm sorry.)

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Auf Wiedersehen Deutschland // Goodbye, Germany

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Life in Photos | Final Days in Mannheim

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Schwetzingen


Friday, June 12, 2015

Maifeld Derby

East India Youth

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Leben in Berlin // Life in Berlin

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

2015 | June Albums

Barely a week of June has passed but four musical artists have already released material that I've been waiting months to hear so I couldn't wait until the end of the month to talk about them.


Sunday, June 7, 2015

Berlin Berlin

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Recent Reads | May



During the month of May I read 11 books, far more than I've managed to finish in a month in a very long time. I picked a few of the most noteworthy ones to talk about here, but a complete list of what I've read can be found on my bookshelf.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Prag // Prague: A Tour With an 80s Punk Rocker

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Life Lately | May

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Prag // Prague: Got Love? Czech.


Monday, May 25, 2015

Exchange Goals | Part 1

A little over a month ago I posted a list of 7 goals that I wanted to accomplish during my remaining two months in Mannheim. I've timed it well so far - halfway there and half of my goals have been fulfilled. Here's just a little bit about each of the ones I've done.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Brüssel: 10 Stunden in einer Weltstadt // Brussels: 10 Hours in a Cosmopolitian City


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Brugge: Ein Märchenstadt // Bruges: A Fairytale City

Friday, May 15, 2015

Life in Photos | Mannheim

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Ostersonntag in Pisa und Mailand // Easter Sunday in Pisa & Milan | Italy, Part 3

Monday, May 4, 2015

Ein regnerischen Tag in Florence // A Rainy Day in Florence | Italy, Part 2

Friday, May 1, 2015

Life Lately | April

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Venedig: die erdfrei Stadt // Venice: The Floating City | Italy, Part 1

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Marseille und das Meer // Marseille and the Sea | France, Pt. 4

Friday, April 24, 2015

Recent Reads | April

With the lower amount of homework required for my classes in Germany, I have loads of free time during the week. Those who know me well know I adore reading but it's hard to make time for it during the school year. I discovered at the beginning of my trip that I can still check out books from my home county's e-library on my Kindle while out of the country and I've been renting books like crazy. These are a few of my recent favourites from the past month or two. Additionally, if anyone has any book recommendations, fiction or nonfiction, I am always looking for new things to read!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Montmartre, Bücher, und Tee // Montmartre, Books, and Tea | France, Pt. 3


Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Nur zwei Monate? // Only Two Months?

Monday, April 13, 2015

Ein Tag in Paris Museen // A Day in Paris's Museums | France, Pt. 2

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Wandern rund um Paris // Wandering Around Paris | France, Pt. 1


Thursday, April 2, 2015

Bratislava: ein einzigartiger Halt // A Unique Stop

Budapest: ein bescheidener Schatz // A Modest Treasure

Wein: ein kultureller Brennpunkt // Vienna: A Cultural Hotspot

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