Yes I Only Have $2.00 Today

I realize I have been slacking on my blog posts, but I have just been so busy the past weeks. So, here goes the next one:

This past week while eating lunch outside at Sony, I left my purse on a chair. I did not realize I had left my purse there until an hour later when facilities contacted me about a missing purse with my ID inside. Of course I was so thankful and a bit nervous that I did not even notice my purse was missing. They returned the purse to the front desk where I work. The security guard asked me to check the wallet because it looks as if some cash was stollen. She made note that there was only $2.00 in the wallet. I had to look her dead in the face and explain that at this point in time I only had $2.00 period. So that is how life is going.

Do not worry, that was the day all my bills were due and my pay check was late due to the holiday. I promise I have enough money to live…kinda.

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They loved our matching brunch shirts so much that they gave us free drinks!

This week has been filled with crazy overtime hours as well as a working Saturday. On top of this my last sketch comedy writing class is this Sunday. My UCLA screenwriting classes start the first week in October. I feel like I have not even had a second to breathe other than last night when I finally caught up on Bachelor in Paradise (go ahead and judge me).

Other than working and doing writing assignments, my life is not too interesting. I was able to go to the Alabama bar for the first football game. The bar had Gallettes cups with yellowhammers as well as Dreamland BBQ sauce. For all the people that don’t know what I am talking about, Gallettes is a famous Alabama bar on the strip that serves a famous drink known as yellowhammer in yellow plastic cups that you can take home. It was incredible to be surrounded by Alabama fans again. Back in Philadelphia, my mom and I would be the only ones cheering on the Tide, while everyone around us was rooting against them.

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Wyclef did a free show during Sony happy hour

I also tried my first escape room, which we completed with 10 minutes to spare (yeah I’m kinda a big deal). They are super fun if you like puzzles. I am a total nerd who loves puzzles (well especially Sudoku).

Last week I attended one of the sketch comedy shows at the Upright Citizens Brigade theater. As a student, we can attend certain events for free. Usually it is sketch comedy, but in an amazing surprise turn of event, it was a puppet musical. The musical was about four friends who move to LA in hopes of making it in the entertainment industry, but of course learn the harsh realities of LA quickly. It may have hit a bit too close to home at times.

In a week it will have been three months since I have moved to LA. Some days it feels like I have been here for years and other it still feels like my first week. I think these moves have just become second nature to me. Over the past 5 years alone, I have lived in 6 different cities, each time starting over.

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When you work on Saturday, you can get awesome pictures of the lot with no one else in them

I have realized this is a pattern for our generation. Maybe it is just me who sees it, but most of my friends have scattered across the US for either jobs or school. It seems we are all just continuous nomads. Sure moving and finding your bearings in a new place can be hard, but I think the most challenging thing is starting relationships over. It is hard enough to make friends again in a whole new city, but it keeps getting harder once I have to leave a place, where I am already established. Life has a crazy way of moving you from place to place, so I guess I will have to see how long this journey will continue.

In other news, I purchased a flight home for Thanksgiving weekend. Sure I arrive in Philadelphia at 5:00am on Thursday, but at least I get to see some family and maybe attend my high school reunion on that Friday.

I understand this blog is short, but I just wanted to give some updates in the little free time I could find. Until next time please enjoy this photo of the biggest fire to ever hit LA from last weekend. This is fine. We are all going to be fine. Global warming can’t be real with all this proof.

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Yes the hill is on fire

Stand Still

I have officially hit the two month mark in LA as of August 17th. It really does not seem as if that much time has passed. I still feel like I moved here a week ago.  Although there is not too much to report, I always enjoy sharing what’s happening in my week.

This weekend my room mate and I attended Brunch Con. Imagine Comic Con, but for brunch. It is exactly what you picture. There is an endless bloody mary and mimosa bar, multiple food stations (egg station, waffle station, bacon station), as well as photo booths. All my basic girl dreams came true!

I cannot rave about Brunch Con enough! If you want to go next year (it is annual) please let me know. I am planning on matching t-shirts and fanny packs so that I can easily access my fork.

We also went to brunch the next day at a place called Akasha in Culver City. They loved our matching Brunch Con shirts so much, they gave us free drinks and put our picture on their social media sites. It pays to brunch!

My most proud moment of the week was figuring out car insurance. Once my car was registered in California, I ]also had to switch over the insurance to California. The thought of limits and liability scared me (and still scares me), but after multiple phone calls and tons of research, I was able to get car insurance. It was the most adult I felt in a long time.

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I’m official!

As always, I am keeping myself busy. I am guilty of something I think most of us are. I tend to spend too much time preparing for my next move that I forget to enjoy where I am in the moment. It is sometimes only when I look back on the past year that I realize it is all just a memory. From time to time I even wake up in a panic in my new room, forgetting that I had uprooted my entire life to Los Angeles.

A couple months ago, before moving to LA, my mom and I took some yoga classes together. We did one specifically that took place on the new moon. There are a myriad of groups and places that hold “moon circles,” or  “women circles.” It is worth trying if you ever have the time.

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Speaking of moons, here is an awesome full moon in North Hollywood

Anyways during the class, we were doing a breathing exercise and the teacher read a poem during it. If you know me, then you know I am a literary nerd. Of course I went home, looked up the poem, dissected it and thought about it’s meaning all night. The poem is as follows:

LOST
Stand still. The trees ahead and bushes beside you
Are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here,
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,
Must ask permission to know it and be known.
The forest breathes. Listen. It answers,
I have made this place around you.
If you leave it, you may come back again, saying Here.
No two trees are the same to Raven.
No two branches are the same to Wren.
If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you,
You are surely lost. Stand still. The forest knows
Where you are. You must let it find you.

-David Wagoner

Some of you may already know this poem. I had heard it before, but never really thought of it again until this class. It resonated with me and in the past week, it has come back into my thoughts.

I am learning to stand still (this is coming from the girl who spontaneously buys cheap flights on Skyscanner every couple months). It sounds like a simple concept, but it is harder than I imagined. I get so wrapped up in all the future talk, that I forget that I am here, in this moment, at this time. That is the beauty of literature though, the ability to make your mind wonder through words.

Sometimes I forget that I am only 23 years old and I do not need to have everything figured out. Where I am at right now is great. I am not lost. I am simply here.

I will wrap this up before I get too deep.

So on final thought…remember to stand still.

Until next time please enjoy this photo of the Jeopardy sound stage that I pass by on the way to my car everyday…

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I may have to find a way to get inside

Entry- Level

I have officially lived in LA now for over a month, but I swear it only feels like a couple days. Technically I am now a California resident (I have my new license ID, license plates and angry DMV tweets to prove it).

I have been told that my blog posts are getting shorter, but I believe that I am just getting busier. I feel like in a matter of one week, my schedule became a packed tight, no free time bundle of chaos.

For starters, I started a long-term temp job at Deluxe Entertainment. I am the front desk/receptionist at the Culver City location. It is great because my commute is super short (15 minute commute in LA is pretty awesome), but also it is located on the Sony Pictures Lot. My favorite part about working on the lot is waving at tour groups as they walk down main street. I like to pretend I’m a celebrity, although I think my temp badge gives it away.

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The Sony lot has this awesome rainbow

The Sony lot also has cool lunch/social events. During the summer on Wednesdays there is an employee BBQ. Also there is a great taco truck that comes on Fridays. Rumor has it that there is an employee happy hour on Thursdays, but I will have to check for myself this week.

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Right outside my desk

Along with working Monday-Friday, I have signed up to do freelance events for a catering company to make some extra money. As you can start to see my schedule is filling up quick.

On top of all this, I am still taking sketch comedy writing classes at the Upright Citizens Brigade. Each week we have an assignment due. This is great because it forces me to write every week (I guess this blog does too). Writing is a muscle and even with the weekly writing assignments, it is important to continue working on other personal projects as well.

Surprisingly I find time to do some fun things outside of work. This past week I was able to go to a live taping of Tosh.0. If you caught last Tuesday’s episode, please look for me in the front row.

On Saturday I had my first catering event, which was a wedding in Santa Monica. I was pretty exhausted from working full time, taking classes and dealing with switching over my car registration (it is a lot harder than I thought it would be). As I left the wedding, my white button down covered in guacamole, my black tie barely keeping shape, I realized I forgot where I parked. Usually I forget, but then realize once I get my bearings. Instead, I wondered around in the heat for an hour walking up every side street searching for this car. It was in that moment that I realized I needed some sleep and to maybe take a deep breath. Do not worry, I found the car, but after an hour of searching, I may have even shed a tear.

After a much needed nap and shower, I was ready to enjoy the night. My room mate has some friends in town. We went to a bar called Good Times at Davey Wayne’s. It is a speakeasy, where you have to enter through a fridge.

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It was a “chill” night

Sunday morning, a bunch of Alabama alumni ate brunch at Mama Shelter. It is a rooftop bar located in Hollywood. There are couches to lounge and views of the Hollywood sign. I may have been badly burnt, because I forgot that rooftops have direct sunlight.

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Bad and boujee

Also I of course watched this episode of Game of Thrones. If you want to chat about theories, let me know!

Only after one month, I have started such an amazing journey out west. There have definitely been ups and downs. One day you are having an emotional breakdown searching for your car and the next you are entering a bar through a fridge. I am so happy I have taken this risk though. I may only be entry-level for now, but every path has to start somewhere. You may not even know you are on a path until you look back.

Until next time, please enjoy this photo of the elevator up to the roof top bar…

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This is the ride

Patience Iago

Most of you know the iconic quote, “patience Iago,” from the Disney classic Aladdin. Just when Iago thinks they cannot get a hold of the lamp, Jafar reminds him to be patient. I remember my parents quoting the line every time my sister and I would be inpatient children growing up (and still today). Although I am not searching for a magical lamp, patience has turned out to be a huge part of my move to LA.

With most job applications, the process seems to take forever. Sure you may send in an application and hear back for an interview, but that interview isn’t until the next week. Then they call you back for a second interview for the next week, and all you can do is constantly refresh your emails knowing full and well you may not even get the position.

I was not moving to LA with the intention of finding a job even within the first month. I consider myself to have some patience, but certainly this process will test your limits. Also the rent is due August 1st, so that really puts a fire under my butt.

I spent every waking moment checking my phone/computer and refreshing job posting sites. Then once it was night time, I would scour the internet for more links. I decided that maybe it was time to take a break, so today I went to a yoga class.

You know those moments where you meet a stranger and they just say something you really needed to hear? Well if not, that is what happened to me today. All it took was the yoga instructor telling me to be patient and lets things work themselves out. I know this sounds simple, but I was so worked up in having to find a job right away that I forgot to take some time for myself. I moved to a whole new city just three weeks ago and that in itself is a lot to handle.

For me, this meant realizing that there are so many things I cannot control. I can continue to try my best and continue doing what I love. Luckily I picked a career path that is free to do on your own (although my need to drink coffee while writing is not free). All I can do is continue doing everything I am doing and just be patient.

Other than the job search, I have been keeping myself busy doing the things I love. First off, I signed up for sketch comedy writing class at the Upright Citizens Brigade. It is a famous theater for sketch comedy, improv and stand-up in LA and NY. I had my first class this past Sunday and it was great.

Last week I had the opportunity to bartend for the Outfest Film Festival at the opening night gala. It was exciting to bartend again after 3 years. Plus, all the vendors were generous in their free samples. (I guess that is what happens when you are making drinks for them at an open bar)

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Return of Bonnie the Bartender

I have also been making trips to the Writer’s Guild Library. Did you know it is free to go and use? You can go in and read any TV or film script. Even if you are not a writer, it is an amazing place to check out.

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There is a local farmers market in Culver City every Tuesday
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Luc Besson double feature and Q&A – the best part about living in LA is getting to attend these kinds of events!

Also, I tried going to one of those meet-up groups. At first I was a bit scared it might be really awkward, but it actually turned out to be really fun. I will definitely go to another one of their events, or try some other ones.

Until next time, please enjoy this photo of the Ghostbusters car from the Sony lot (I may or may not be temping there for a bit)…

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Who you gonna call?

The First Two Weeks of Adulting

As you may know from my previous blogs, I have made the leap and moved to Los Angeles with no place to live and no job. With a logline like that I guess I can tell you about how the first two weeks are going.

My room mate had been out a week prior to me searching for a place. By the time I arrived with my dad, we were able to review her favorites and then choose from there. By my second day here, we decided on a place in Culver City/Westchester (southwest of LA and closer to the beach). What I found so shocking is that most places did not include a fridge and or stove. I understand those are not things that are always included, but for the amount they were asking for rent??

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We got the keys!

The next step was to set up utilities. First was the power, which was fairly easy. It just required a trip to the LA Department of Power and Water and a very long wait time with no place to sit. The internet was also fairly easy. The biggest problem was SoCal Gas. When I called the person on the phone told me that they could not turn out gas on for a week. This would mean we could not use our stove or hot water until they arrived. After some choice words, we had the date moved up, but not by that much. It was back to my days in Ireland with cold showers (except no immersion).

Our place also had no furniture. Yes, it was the return of the air mattress (still the best investment I have ever made). My room mate and I headed all over town, searching through thrift shops for kitchen and living room furniture. By the last stop, a man in charge of a thrift shop, offered to sell us a table, desk and couch for a reasonable price. He also offered to drive it all in his truck to our house. We could not say no! The guy also offered my dad a job because he was such a good helper. Meanwhile, I am still unemployed.

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Such a good helper!

Our living room now features a blue plush chair, an ottoman (if you put pillows behind its like a cheap couch), a kitchen table and two chairs (one was a gift from our landlord and the other is my desk chair, which we use so that two people can sit at the kitchen table). Hopefully after we get some income, we can afford more chairs and maybe even a couch!

While my dad was here, we were able to do some fun things in between unpacking and setting up utilities. We went to the Professional Drum Shop (where my dad spent most of his days back in the 80s) as well as the DW Drum factory. We also found an amazing dinner near my apartment that we went to multiple times.

For the past weeks I have been applying to jobs non-stop. I wish I could give you more updates on the job front, but it is pretty stagnant. Since you cannot apply to jobs all day long, I have tried to go out and explore the area, but it becomes very hard when you have no income. Even parking at the beach is $20.

I was able to do some exploring, such as walking around downtown Culver City, hiking up the Baldwin Hills and Malibu. I have gone to the beach and searched some happy hour specials. We found a local brewery. I am never scared of getting bored here in Los Angeles.

In all my spare time, I spent an entire day at the DMV switching over my PA license. I know it is not necessary to change it over, but it was about to expire and I did not think I was going to be back in PA in time to renew. They do not make the process easy. Waiting at the DMV is like watching paint dry, or being forced to listen to Nickelback on repeat. After 6 hours and a 30 question multiple choice test, my new CA license comes in the mail in 2 weeks.

Sadly I must go back to the DMV to handle my license plate and car registration, but that is future Bonnie’s problem as of now!

I know us millennials use the term “adulting” all the time. You must remember in college that we learned the parts of a cell and not how to properly cook a meal or balance a checkbook. I feel slightly accomplished when finishing an adult activity, for instance like opening a checking and savings account in my name. Wow what a rush!

Now it’s time to enjoy the holiday and then continue on the job search.  Until then please enjoy this photo about diarrhea that was on an apartment complex we toured.

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Curious about what happened in order for them to put this sign up

The Waiting Place: A Year At Home

As many of you know, I am moving to Los Angeles today. A month ago, or so I booked a one-way flight in hopes of finding a job in the entertainment industry. I still do not have a place to live or a job, but it is all part of the adventure.

I applied to some grad programs back in December, unsure if I wanted to go or not. After booking a one-way flight, I found out 2 weeks before leaving that I got into the Professional Program at UCLA. It is a one year program for comedy television writing and I am so excited to get started.

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Got this delicious cookie cake. I should really move more often.

Before making plans to move and hearing about UCLA, I spent the past year living at home. After graduation, I had surgery and a long bed rest period. Even without surgery, I needed to save up enough money to eventually move out. I am beyond lucky that my parents were willing to let me live back home and take this time.

Although the comforts of home can be nice, being 23 and living in your parents’ house after college is not always the greatest time. I worked two jobs, almost 6 or 7 days a week. Making friends was almost impossible in Lafayette Hill. I spent months unsure of what I wanted to do next.

I found that the more I talked to people my age, the more similarities I discovered. 22/23 is a weird age. You finish college and then have no guarantee for a job or higher education. For most of us debt kicks in. When you move to a strange city or back home, it feels like a total start-over.

I always called this year “The Waiting Place.” When you graduate college, high school or have a huge life event, people always reference “Oh the Places You’ll Go.” The one thing I am sure that the book had right was “The Waiting Place.” (You may know this part of the book where people are waiting for the grass to grow or a check to clear) For me, it is a place in your life where you feel like you’re always anticipating the unknown. It could be hearing back from grad school or job applications. It could even be waiting for the time you move out of your parents’ house. Or just hoping you can quit your current job and move onto something you are more passionate about.

The only benefit of waiting is time. As a crazy planner, I spent my college years constantly busy with school, activities and social. I never had a moment to rest. It only took one day of staring at the ceiling on bed rest for me to realize that I cannot sit still. The year did lead to some amazing things though. For one, I had the opportunity to travel again. I went back to visit Alabama, I visited some friends in Minnesota and took a trip to Switzerland and Austria. Second, I saved up a ton of money so that I could move out to LA with a lot of backup. Third, I had the time to apply to grad programs and really think of my future.

I learned so much during this year:

  1. “Let go or be dragged”

I heard this quote from three of my favorite regulars at Cake. (Cake is the restaurant I worked at for 9 months in Philly this year) They had noticed I was not doing well that morning and offered it as advice. It had stuck with me through the year. There are so many ways to interpret the quote, but that is the thing I loved about it.

  1. Just because you have no idea what you’re doing with your life does not mean you are doing nothing.

This is maybe the quintessential feeling of being in your early 20s. When I was younger I thought that by 23 I would have it all figured out, living in my mansion and going to my amazing job. It turns out that you will never have it “all figured out.” Every day you are learning and growing and taking steps to progress forward. You may just not see the bigger picture yet.

  1. Book the flight, worry about the details later.

This is corny, but it is true that you will regret the things you did not do, then the ones you did. Travel is so important to me, but booking a flight does not mean you have to even fly somewhere far away and exotic. Just get in your car and go somewhere close by. Go on an adventure!

  1. Call that friend or plan a visit to see them. There is nothing more valuable than the people in your life. (This goes with #3)

When you are living at home on bed rest, you start to realize how silent your phone can become. People obviously reached out to me on bed rest, but sitting home all day makes you realize how small our interactions are with others. Pick up the phone and call that old friend. Invite a friend to a drink and actually talk. Trust me, they will be so happy you reached out. I can sometimes be a hypocrite and bad at keeping up with friends, but I am trying to be better!

Now I am off to move to LA, exactly a year after being put under for surgery. I could not have survived this year without the love and support of my family and friends. Cherish the time you have with family and friends from home because you never know when you will be on a flight chasing your dreams.

To all my friends who are graduating or just feel lost, enjoy your “Waiting Place.”

More updates to come about LA and hopefully new photos of my apartment (still need to find one of those). Until next time please enjoy this photo of my sister’s new adorable dog, Stella…

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The cutest doggo

We ate Mozart Balls

After our time in Innsbruck, we took a train to Salzburg. Our first stop was the Hellbrunn Palace, built in 1613 by Markus Sittikus von Hohenems, Prine-Archbishop of Salzburg. Hellbrunn was used as a day residence in summer and is named for the clear spring that supplied it.

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Hellbrunn Palace

The palace is famous for its trick fountains. Markus Sittikus created these fountains to use as practical jokes on guests. (He basically liked shooting water at his friends. He might be my hero) Some of the trick fountains would be under seats or some coming out of the steps. All the fountains run on water and gravity alone, no electricity. There was even a small 1750 mechanical town that played Mozart music. The entire thing was run by a water organ.

On these grounds is the gazebo from The Sound of Music. There is a whole Sound of Music tour that you can do, but of course it is ridiculously priced and would take up our entire day of sightseeing.

Next we went to Hohensalzburg castle, one of the largest medieval castles in Europe. Inside the castle there was a giant timeline of events surrounding the construction of the castle to modern day. (You can look up all the details if you want) OF course, the theme of fire came up again and again. It seems as if these towns just keep burning down and building the same things.

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We watched the sunset over the Hohensalzburg Castle on the hill

After we went on a tour of the Stiegl brewery. The name comes from a set of steps (stiegl means steps) that led down to the waters of the canal in Salzburg.  The tour included a generous beer tasting.

The next day we signed up for a tour of the salt mines. There are salt mine tours all over Austria. Honestly it was hard to hear during the tour, so I did not learn very much other than it how long it must have took to construct these mines by hand. The tour itself was strange and crazy. First you must put on these ghostbuster looking body suits. Then the guides squeeze you onto these trains that whip through small mine tunnels. Suddenly there is a laser light show and then you go down a toboggan slide. It was one of the strangest tours of my life.

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Hottest kids you know

On a side note, I tend to hate these guided tour things. We were with a group of other couples, families and people that did the tour with us. A lot of the older couples kept asking us where our parents were or just assuming that we had no idea what was going on because we looked young. Granted, I look 14, but the assumptions started to become annoying. So to people on tours…please stop talking down to younger people traveling.

Also there was a woman on our tour with her husband and three young children. This woman did not understand sarcasm and instead took every comment I made as a way to  “mommy” me. As we were returning from the tour to return the ghostbusters uniforms, I made a comment to my sister about how I was going to steal the uniform and run off. This woman (who was not even in our conversation) turns around and tells me that I have to return the uniform and that the guide said so. I then went on to tell her I was telling a joke to my sister. She went on to not understand and then very slowly explain how we return the uniform. She always talked to me like I did not understand everything. It was like the woman at the post office that assumed I had no idea how to address a letter. Maybe its a young thing or blonde thing, I don’t know. Anyways it can be very frustrating when you are traveling.

Anyways back to the trip…

After the salt mine tour, we visited the Mirabell Palace. It has a famous marble hall that is used for concerts and weddings. Many people recognize the gardens from “Do, Re, Mi” in the Sound of Music.

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Mirabell Gardens

When the sun was setting, we took a boat cruise tour. It was just a ride down the Salzach River. The old city, or Altstadt, is on the left bank, while the new city, or Neustadt, is on the right. The boat tour would have been interesting if I could actually hear anything over the sounds of screaming children and people talking. Fun fact: Apparently Mel Gibson and Tom Hanks once stayed at a fancy hotel in Salzburg (that is all I could catch from the guide).

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Shadows of Salzburg

The most important fact about Salzburg is that it is the birthplace of Mozart and home to a museum of his childhood instruments. The town is obsessed with Mozart. Even at the end of the boat tour, the boat spun in circles while “Rock Me Amadeus” blared on repeat. Salzburg is home to the Mozart ball, or Mozartkugel. It is a small round chocolate made of pistachio marzipan, nougat and dark chocolate. It was created in 1890 by Paul Fürst and named after Mozart. The handmade original ones are manufactured by Fürst’s descendants up to today. Of course many versions of the Mozart balls can be found all over Austria.

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Mozart was born here!!!!
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My music is deep

The next day we had to travel back to Zurich, since out flight back to New York left from there. We decided to leave Salzburg early so we would at least have a couple hours to explore Zurich.

We visited the Grossmünster, a Romanesque-style Protestant church (personally, I liked the name). Majority of the stained glass windows in the church are created by Sigmar Polke. I could not take pictures, but look it up because they are beautiful! Since it was Sunday, every other tourist site was closed. We at least got to walk around and see the outside of all the beautiful buildings in town.

For our last night we decided on fondue and raclette. Both of these dinners are focused on melted cheese so it was right up our alley. It was a great end to an amazing trip.

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Swiss cheese for life!

To get to why our flight to Europe was so cheap…

Our flight back home landed in JFK airport, but our next flight back to Philadelphia left out of Stewart International Airport, about an hour taxi ride away. Instead of taking the flight, it made more sense just to get a train back to Philly after leaving JFK.

We made it home safe and sound. More to come on my move to LA!

Until next time please enjoy this photo of me getting tricked by the trick fountains in all the right places!

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The Golden Roof

From Feldkirch, Austria we took the train to Innsbruck, Austria for the next two days. We were staying in an Air Bnb. Our host was at work during our check-in and therefore could not hand us the keys to his apartment. Logically, he sent us a video through iMessage showing us where he was hiding the key so that we could then enter the apartment ourselves. Of course the key is on a window still that is too high up for us to reach. After awkward hops and glares from strangers, we obtained the keys and got into the apartment.

Fun fact: The apartment had no toilet paper and by the time we arrived all the pharmacies were closed.

Since we arrived on the later side, we decided on dinner and a quick walk around the main city center. At dinner we found out that the family next to us were from the US. Their youngest son was attending Alabama in the fall and their oldest was at UAB. ROLL TIDE ROLL! It is true that Bama fans are everywhere!

The next day was jam packed with all the tourist sites. First on our list was Hofkirche. It is a gothic church built in 1553 by Emperor Ferdinand I as a memorial to his grandfather Emperor Maximilian I. The construction of the memorial took over 80 years to complete. The cenotaph is surrounded by 28 statues of Maximilian’s relatives, friends and heroes. The whole things was a bit extra for me, but the guy was obsessed with being remembered after death.

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You can see what I mean about being a bit extra

The museum offered an immersive experience about Maximilian. Let me remind you that we speak no German and that there were no signs in English. First you enter a dark room with all these pictures of famous figures on the wall. Lights would shine on the photos and explain the history. It felt like the beginning of some Disney ride, but I was scared it might be another Edinburgh Dungeon tour experience. Out of nowhere a door on the other side of the room slams open to a giant planetarium and I scream. I start running for the door but a museum worker yelled at me in German and locked me inside. I am sure there was some kind of language barrier, but I was completely terrified. Finally I was able to open the door and sneak out of the exhibit.

After a small panic attack, we went on to tour the Imperial Palace. It was built by the Empress Maria Theresa, who wanted something more modern for the family. Maria Theresa was the only woman to ever head the Hapsburg dynasty. The main hall, known as Giant’s Hall, is filled with pictures of all her children and grandchildren. She referred to it as the family room.

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Innsbruck

The Habsburgs ruled Europe for almost 800 years and were highly influential in Innsbruck. Emperor Maximilian I made Innsbruck the centre of his empire in the 1500s. In 1500 he built The Goldenes Dachl, or the Golden Roof. The famous balcony has a golden roof decorated with 2,738 fire-grilled copper tiles in honor or his marriage to Bianca Maria Sforza. Maximilian and his wife would use the balcony to observe festivals, tournaments and other events in the main town square.

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That Golden Roof

Next, we ventured to the top of Nordkette, which is a popular ski slope. Since it is not the ski season, tourists can venture to the top for hikes and beautiful views. The journey consists of a tram ride and multiple aerial lifts. The top peak had very strong winds and immediately the altitude made it hard to breathe. It was worth it for these amazing views!

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A random German woman stole my GoPro and took this awesome photo of me
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Some pretty casual views

That night we ordered a Sachertorte with dinner. It was invented by Austrain Franz Sacher in 1832 for Prince Wenzel Von Metternich in Vienna, Austria. The original recipe is kept secret by the Hotel Sacher. Of course we had to have the original! It is composed of a chocolate cake with apricot jam. It is quite delicious.

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Yum

After a long day of sight seeing and tours, we headed to bed. We had to be up early for our journey to Salzburg. More to come on that, but until then please enjoy this photo of some inspiration quotes over beautiful alps…

We took bus 11 into Liechtenstein because there was no other way

After exploring Lucerne, Switzerland, we had to travel to Austria. Although we could have taken a direct train there, we noticed a tiny country (Liechtenstein) in between Switzerland and Austria and decided we should stop and see it.

We soon found out how difficult this stop would be. There is no main airport or train station in Liechtenstein because it is so tiny. After searching online, it seemed that the only way to reach this country was from a bus in Sargans, Switzerland. The only way to get to Austria from this country was to get back on the same bus to Feldkirch, Austria. Thus began our journey.

A train from Lucerne to Zurich

A train from Zurich to Sargans

Bus 11 Sargans to Vaduz, Liechtenstein

Since there is no airport, the only way to get a stamp in your passport is to go to the tourist information and pay 3 CHF. (Of course we had to get the stamp)

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Well this is pretty much the main part of town

Some fun facts about Liechtenstein:

  1. It has an area of about 160 sq. km.
  2. It is the fourth smallest country in Europe
  3. It is a constitutional monarchy headed by the Prince of Liechtenstein
  4. The Prince of Liechtenstein is the world’s sixth richest monarch
  5. It has a monetary union with Switzerland and also enjoys one of the world’s highest standards of living

We only had a couple hours to explore, which is really all you need. The main thing to see is the Vaduz Castle, where the Prince resides. There is also a post stamp museum and an art museum. We hiked up to the castle, but you are not allowed inside.

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Vaduz Castle

Next, we headed back on bus 11 to Feldkirch, Austria, where we were spending the night. Our hotel was right outside the bus stop, but instead we walked the same streets for an hour with all our luggage trying to find it. Since my sister and I speak no German, it became clear that we were going to have some trouble getting around. Even ordering dinner was a challenge and a gamble.

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Feldkirch, Austria

Feldkirch is a small town and there are only a couple main things to do. We decided to tour Schattenburg Castle. It is a medieval castle where tourists can walk through all the old rooms. I don’t know why I always get a creepy vibe in old bedrooms, but maybe its the old weird children’s toys. Or maybe it was the fact that the beds have ceilings in order to protect from bugs falling on you at night.

After lunch, we took a train to Innsbruck for the next part of our journey. Until next time, please enjoy this photo of me taking advantage of the photo-op in the Liechtenstein tourist center…

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Lucerne, Switzerland

On May 19th, my sister and I took a flight to Zurich, Switzerland. We spontaneously booked a cheap flight from Skyscanner (only on our flight home did we find out why it was so cheap, but I will get to that later), and decided to plan a trip around the flight.

Our connection was in London. On the first flight we met a woman who was traveling there to meet up with her fiance who lives there. They apparently met on Twitter (this guy actually slid into her DMs) and then went to visit each other only 3 times. Now they are getting married. I love all the stories of the people next to you on the airplane.

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There was free wine on the flight!

Since we would have to fly out of Zurich, we decided to save it for last and go straight to Lucerne from the airport. It is about 2 hours south of Zurich right in the center of the country. The first night we were super jet lagged and decided on a quick walk around the city and dinner. We soon learned how expensive it was just to eat dinner in Switzerland. Tap water alone cost about $5 for a small glass, so you can imagine how much a full meal would be. The food was amazing though!

The next day we started with a walking tour of the city. I am the nerd who brings a notepad and paper to take notes while on the tour, but I will not apologize for being interested in history. Also, I will not tell you everything from the walking tour, but just some things I found to be very cool.

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First hour of the trip and I am already in love with Lucerne

Switzerland has four language regions; French, German, Italian and Romansh (a mixture of different languages based on Latin). Lucerne is in the German speaking portion. These languages are affected by the countries that border them. Lucky for us, we both speak no German.

Lucerne became an important trade route to Italy, since it had the only stream going north and south in the area. They became rich by imposing a tax on anyone using their trade route. By the 19th century, other modes of transportation led to new trade routes and the city then relied on tourism as their main source of revenue.

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Lake Lucerne

The original steam boat was made in Lucerne. Now they have 20 steam boats in the lake. Also, Lucerne had the longest and deepest train tunnel of its time to cross the alps into Italy. Lucerne built a triumphant arch on the train station where it used to be. In the 1970s the train station burned down and only the triumphant arch remains.

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The arch that “triumphantly” made it through the fire

Like most European cities, Lucerne was under a myriad of owners, usually from fights of religion and power. In the 12th century it was under French rule. Then it was under the Holy Roman Empire and in the 14th century was under the Hapsburg family. After Napoleon, Lucerne was the capital. In the 19th century, they had their last civil war between the liberal Protestants and the conservative Catholics. The protestants won the war and the Catholic Lucerne refused to be the capital. Lucerne decided in trade for the museum of the country, they would allow Bern to be the new capital. Obviously there are way more details about Lucerne’s history, but you can look it up if you want.

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The museum of Switzerland, which was included in the trade. The windows are called postcard windows. The architect thought it would be cool to see the city as if it were a postcard.

The most famous bridge in Lucerne is the Chapel Bridge, which was built in the 14th century. The bridge is crooked (not straight across the water) because it linked the religious centers of the time (hence the name chapel bridge). In the 16th century, Catholic reformers painted panels on the bridge detailing Lucerne’s Catholic history. At the time, most people could not read (only the higher class), so the images stood as a way to remind the people of religion and its importance. The bridge burned down in 1993 (there seems to be a theme with this place and famous things burning down), but luckily they were able to preserve all the panels and replace most of the bridge.

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Chapel bridge

There is another bridge called the Spreuer Bridge, which has panels decorated with death themes. They had skeletons, grim reapers and blood. The images were supposed to remind the people that everyone is equal beyond. For me, it was just kinda creepy and morbid. To each his own I guess.

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You can see what I mean about the creepy vibe on this bridge.

There were a ton of bridges, but the only other one I will talk about is the Chaff bridge. Everyone in medieval times lived inside the fortification except the bakers because of fire danger (seems they were better prepared for fire dangers back in the day). The name stands for the chaff, or waste from making wheat, that was poured into the river downstream over the bridge.

After the walking tour we went up to Mount Pilatus. We took the worlds steepest cogwheel train to reach the top of the summit at 7000 feet. Then we took the aerial cablecar down the mountain. Both ways provide beautiful views of the Swiss Alps.

After another expensive, yet delicious meal, we went to bed early for the coming day of travel. More stories about our trip to come. Until then please enjoy this helpful map of all the public restrooms in Lucerne…

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The most useful of maps
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