Thursday, May 21, 2015

Couchsurfing in Germany

I know this post is going to sound like an ad for Couchsurfing, but I promise, it's not! This is just me, telling my experience trying Couchsurfing for the first time.
While I was planning my trip to Germany, I was talking to my friend Basti about where to find accommodation and he suggested I try Couchsurfing. I had never done it before, and I thought I would give it a try. Free accommodation? Hell yes!

I tried and tried for a long time to look for someone who could host me in Munich and Leipzig, but I couldn't find anyone. Many guys offered, but being a single female, I was reluctant to stay at a strange man's apartment, so the search went on, until finally, I found hosts in both cities!

First, Kathi in Munich. I had just gotten off the plane, I was exhausted and wasn't quite sure where to go, so I texted her, and she replied right away, giving me very easy directions to her subway station, where she came to pick me up. Her apartment was literally a minute walk away from the station, which came in handy as I explored the city. She had me in her kitchen on a mattress and gave me a key to her place so I could come and go as I pleased. She even took me out downtown Munich, showed me around and then settled to a patio for a few beers. It was great! She helped me find my way around the city and without her, I think I would have had a much harder time figuring out this city. It came in handy when I returned to Munich at the end of my trip, since I already knew where things were and what app to use to figure out the public transport (having the options of tram, s-bahn, u-bahn and bus, it can get a little confusing).

Then, after Berlin, I headed to Leipzig, where my friend Basti lives, and met up with my couchsurfer host Vanessa. She came to get me at the train station and we dropped my things at her apartment, then headed off to do the one sight-seeing she thought was worth seeing... And of course, it started hailing while we were outside, but the second we got in a tram, sunshine and rainbows! My entire stay in Leipzig was like that. Rain for a hour, then sunshine, then hail, then sunshine again, combined with very strong winds. But we made do. Vanessa introduced me to some of her friends, we went to a bar to see some live music one night and the next we went to another university bar with more friends and showed me the best burgers in town. We spent all three days basically non-stop together and it was awesome :) I seriously can't wait to see her again!

Then, I met up with Tina. Vanessa had to work, so I needed a place to stay for the next two nights (which turned into one because of my tattoo appointment) and Tina took me in. We went out for brunch, then we went to a park behind the zoo and we could hear lions roar, which was pretty sweet. If I ever go back, I will have to go to the zoo (which is what I've been told by multiple people). Afterwards, she gave me a key, because she worked nights, and so she wanted to be able to sleep while I roamed the city with Basti and Vanessa. I didn't get to spend a lot of time with her, but it was still nice! She had a very comfortable couch and an adorable little dog that would just get way too excited.

I enjoyed it so much, that I ended up hosting two girls from Germany while they were in Winnipeg for their cross-country road trip, and we had a blast!
It may seem scary, to sleep on a stranger's couch, but so far, I've had some pretty memorable experiences and I definitely plan on doing some more couch surfing on my future trips. It's a great way to meet new people and make friends, but also see a city from a totally different perspective. Definitely try it if you have the chance.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Persistence is an Art.

When I was in Germany, I got myself a new tattoo! I had been thinking about it for a while and I wanted to get something in Germany, just like I've been wanting to get a tattoo to represent my trip to Thailand, although I still haven't gotten around to it. I've talked about my tattoos before (you can read about my tree here and my phoenix here) and as you can see, my tattoos all have pretty deep meanings behind them. This latest one does too.

There are so many times when quitting seems like the best option, maybe even the only realistic option. But when you keep going, you realize that if you hold on, and persist just a tiny bit longer, amazing things will happen. There have been quite a few times in the last few years where I wanted to quit, where I was so close from giving up... When school got tough, I almost quit. When running didn't go like I wanted, I wanted to quit. When friendships and relationships get hard, my first instinct is to walk away.

Fresh - you can see how red it is

Anfangen is leicht, beharren eine Kunst. To begin is easy, to persist is art.
All healed!
And now? I'm graduating university in a month, because I didn't quit, I'm running my 4th half marathon in a month, because I didn't give up, I can speak German pretty damn well, because I kept going and the list goes on...
So I got this tattoo (which is a German proverb), in Germany, after the Berlin Half Marathon, as a way of telling myself, "look at all the things you've accomplished because you didn't quit."

**Also - because I know you will ask, the ribs didn't hurt as much as I thought! I found that my forearm hurt way more... Except for the feather, now that was painful!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

WPS Half Marathon: Total Success!

WOW! I can't even tell you how excited I am about this half marathon! If you remember last year, I ran this WPS Half Marathon and well, it didn't go so well.... And this year? It went amazing!
I was so nervous all week about this race, especially because there are a lot of "dead zones" where there isn't any music or anyone cheering you on and also because of how badly it went last year... But I was determined to crush this one. And I most definitely did!

I ended up running with my ex and I'm honestly so glad we did. (wait... what?! Emilie why? That's so awkward!) Let me back up a bit. We registered for this race together before we broke up and we hadn't talked since, but I saw him run by and I thought why not, so I called him up and asked if he wanted to run together for old times' sake and so we did. Back when we were running buddies, he always pushed me past my limits and he did this time as well. It somehow wasn't awkward at all, we talked the whole way and before we knew it, we had 5km left! We had been running so much faster than we ever had before and faster than I was expecting, so I actually had to call my parents and tell them that I would be done about 30 minutes earlier than I expected, so they could come see me at the finish line!

I was expecting to run this half in about 2.5 hours, since I ran Berlin really fast and the result was 2:19:25, so I was thinking this one would be somewhere in between.... Well I thought wrong.

I ran this half marathon in 2:07:32! That's TWELVE minutes faster than Berlin a month ago, and 23 minutes faster than what I was hoping for!
You can't imagine how surprised I was at my own time! Now, obviously my competitive side will be obsessed with trying to beat that time and hopefully run the next in under 2 hours.

The next race is in a month!

Friday, May 1, 2015

One Half-Marathon Isn't Enough!

Last year, I ran the Winnipeg Police Service Half Marathon with my mom and well... it didn't go so well. I finished, though, and I got my medal, which was a huge accomplishment for me. It was my first half-marathon ever and even if it didn't go as well as I wished, it gave me more motivation to better myself and crush it next time! Then, I ran the Berlin Half Marathon, and it went extremely well!

Now here I am, a year after my first half marathon, and ready to crush it! I will be running on Sunday, but this time, I will be running alone. I can't wait! I will be running in my bright red tights and equally bright shirt so that whoever comes to cheer me on (yes, this means YOU!) will be able to spot me from a mile away!

I'll see you at the finish line!

PS: If you want more information about the Half: Check out their website!
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