Beyoncé and Jay-Z at Berlin’s Olympiastadion

We walked under the Olympic hoops as one big motley crowd. There was a girl dressed as a unicorn. A guy with an arm full of Disney tattoos. Africans, Americans, Eastern Europeans. Interracial couples, a girl in a wheelchair, a group of gay men sporting eyeliner more expertly applied than mine. Into a stadium redesigned…

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How My Father Taught Me I Was Smart

If there’s one thing I am always going to remember about my dad it’s the way he always said my name when he wanted my help. Not lingering over each individual syllable: Guh-bree-elle, but a rushed, quick whisper, each syllable scrunched into the next. It was a conspiratorial beckon, an inside joke—delivered in a stage…

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Culture Shock #7: Fußball

For me, watching soccer in Germany is like making new friends. Whenever you’re trying to establish a friendship, there comes a point that requires you to show something real. Something deep. Whether that’s admitting an obsession with astrology or sharing a love of trashy sitcoms, it’s a make-or-break moment that will either settle you deep…

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Vancouver in Photos

Another plus of going on photoshoots? Everything is damn photogenic. Vancouver, in general, is a very photogenic city—I particularly loved the rich, earthy tones that echoed in both the natural and the urban landscapes. Rusty reds, chunky yellows, the blues of a thousand worn-down denim jeans. It was my first time in the city (and…

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Neuschwanstein in Photos

Neuschwanstein Castle has certainly earned its fairytale reputation. Tim and I visited it in the fall of my first year in Germany. He was mildly amused by my fangirl hype on the drive up and laughed out loud at my literal gasp when we spotted it nestled in the fall foliage. The fact is, for…

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Champagne in Photos

The first time I lived in Europe (I know, kick me) was nine years ago, in 2009, to study abroad in the Netherlands. Ask any American college student studying abroad, and we’ll tell you—one of the best parts of it is being able to legally drink. I was a bit of a late bloomer when…

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How to Drive in the Sand at Sossusvlei

Driving in sand is one of those things that sounds way easier than it is. Though we were cautioned repeatedly about how hard (and dangerous) it can be, we remained swaggeringly confident that it couldn’t be that hard. So it should surprise no one that within thirty seconds of hurtling off the tar round into…

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Exploring the Dunes at Sossusvlei

“Tim, I give you permission to drive up to 100 km/ph. If anyone stops you, they’ll see you’re with the big boss of the park.” We were on what must be the nicest tar road in Namibia. In front of us, the heat warped the perspective of the road. On either side, flat yellow ground…

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Throwback: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum

An old dear friend from my study-abroad days stayed here in Berlin with me last week. Over the course of the weekend, we traded turns teasing each other over our naive, first-time-in-Europe stories. Speaking of, did I ever tell you about the time I meant to fly to Rome and wound up in Riga? No?…

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Christmas at Tava Lingwe

“May your days be merry and bright, and may all your Christmases be white…” Merry and bright were for certain, but we’d traded a white Christmas in bitterly cold Germany for the equatorial climes of South Africa. We arrived Christmas morning at O.R. Tambo International Airport, where the silver trees bedecked in orange and blue…

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