My mom must be so proud.
"Go higher! Higher!"
I still can hardly sit on my tailbone.
In Railay, Stephen and I met a new friend from England (Anna) who happened to suggest we tag along with her to the island of Koh Phi Phi, where we could help her celebrate her birthday. Although it decided to be sunny the moment we arrived and the moment we departed--but rain off and on everywhere in the middle--it was still a great way to end our experience in Thailand. We snorkeled in pristine aqua-blue waters (I'll choose to leave out the miserably cold rainstorm journey this trip involved), stayed in a nice, clean room with a hot-water shower and--something new for us--a lack of ants/mosquitoes, ate huge slices of pizza and celebrated Anna's birthday (and our last night enjoying Thailand) dancing and playing with fire.
Maya Bay (or popularly known for its appearance in Leo's "The Beach")
On our way to do some snorkeling.
Owning the dance floor.
After Koh Phi Phi, we began our long journey west, to Germany. We flew out of Bangkok with a small hour and a half layover in India (wish it could've been longer!) and then landed in Frankfurt, Germany. After the looooong journey, we spent the night in a hostel in Frankfurt, then left on the train the next morning for Regensburg. Stephen's family lives in a small Bavarian town called Bad Abbach. Here, we've enjoyed a taste of the German lifestyle. This isn't new to Stephen, of course, given he's come to Germany to visit and study numerous times in the past...but it has been a great new experience for me. I've really enjoyed the little things like walking to the grocery store, people watching and eating all the pretzels, pastries and cheese as possible.
Sampling the McSpicy Paneer at the airport in India.
Magic Masala chips.
My first brezel.
Taking a walk up the hill in the little Bavarian countryside of Bad Abbach.
Stephen's family's neighborhood.
The hillllls are alive...with the sound of music!
Stephen and his cousin, Johannes.
Beer heaven. In Germany they have stores completely dedicated to drinks.
The Blue Danube.
The famous historical Wurstkuche.
Knodel und bier! Sehr Lecker!
Taking a walk.
We stumbled upon a beer fest outside of the church.
On the Kuchlbauer beer tour in Regensburg.
A baseball game in Germany! Germany vs. Canada.
Cuckoo clock in Munich.
After buying my very own dirndl!
Stephen, feeling very at home.
Me, learning and adapting to the Bavarian way of life.
Augustiner beer hall.
On the swings.
Another beer tent.
Walking around Munich, again.
In the English Gardens.
Obviously not cheating.
Come on, Eileen!
Tomorrow Stephen and I are making our way down to the western part of Germany, bordering on France, to Kaiserslautern. There's an EAGALA conference I'm going to attend to learn more about Equine Assisted Therapy and whether it's an industry I truly want to be a part of when I get back to the States (which is kind of a scary/weird thought, by the way). I'm looking forward to it. Although we're on vacation, we worked very hard to make this trip possible. We did a lot of financial planning and our goal is to spend only the money we earned teaching in Thailand to travel on, leaving our savings in our bank accounts back home as untouched as possible so we can start off our (American) lives. Coming back home after what will be around 6 months away will be strange, I know. It has already been an adjustment coming from Thailand to Germany. But all of this just gives me all the more confidence within myself that I will be able to take this next step in my life and career when I get back home.
"I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I've ended up where I needed to be."-Douglas Adam