My Best Moments of 2014!

2014 has been a great year. I’ve had adventures, met new friends, visited new places, learnt new things and have spent time with my loved ones. To end the year on a high note I thought I’d recap my ten best moments with my favourite places incorporated into my list!

1. My Year Abroad

Number one on my list has to be my Year Abroad in Germany. Sure, there were times when I would quite happily have jumped on the first plane bound for London but there were also some really, really great times and this is somewhat cliché but my year in Germany taught me how to deal with a number of very different experiences and throughout the year, I also learnt a lot about myself! Germany is no foreign country to me and coincidentally I ended up being placed in the most familiar of towns – Düsseldorf – where I was surrounded by a number of family friends and relatives. Having said that, a trip once a year to visit family is a completely different kettle of fish to living in the country, working alongside the ‘Volk‘ at school and getting used to the completely different way of life. As a student living away from home whilst at University, I had already had a taste of independence but moving to Germany I had to juggle complete independence with finding my feet in a foreign country.

Clockwise from top left: Kaiserswerth, Nijmegen, Schlossgarten Arcen, Weinheim, Frankfurt, Boppard am Rhein, Cochem an der Mosel, Schloss Drachenburg, Karneval, Baden Baden, Benrather Schloss Dusseldorf, Vienna, EKO Haus Dusseldorf, Kaffee and Kuchen, Marburg and Rheinturm Dusseldorf

Clockwise from top left: Kaiserswerth, Nijmegen, Schlossgarten Arcen, Weinheim, Frankfurt, Boppard am Rhein, Cochem an der Mosel, Schloss Drachenburg, Karneval, Baden Baden, Benrather Schloss Dusseldorf, Vienna, EKO Haus Dusseldorf, Kaffee and Kuchen, Marburg and Rheinturm Dusseldorf

2. Working at Goethe

Working at a German Gymnasium (Grammar School) was not always easy – but all in all it was a great experience. The teachers were welcoming, kind and helpful and over the course of the year encouraged me to take an ever more active role in the student’s English lessons. Experiencing the German school system first hand was also quite an eye opener – unlike the fancy technology that we’re used to here in the UK, the grammar schools out there are rather more old fashioned, still using over head projectors and chalk boards in the classrooms. The rules and conduct within the school were also very, very different to those I had experienced whilst at school.

3. Interrailing 2014

Easter 2014 was definitely a high point as I was whisked off an a Mediterranean escapade. Leaving Düsseldorf, my family and I travelled by train down through Germany via the beautiful Swiss/ Italian Lago Maggiore to the land of olives, vino, pizza and spaghetti bolognese! We spent a busy ten days soaking up the warm spring sunshine and culture in Padua, Lucca, Rome, Verona and Venice, eating delicious food, sampling the wine and of course, hunting down Italy’s best gelato!

Clockwise from top left: Ice cream in Vicenza, Petite-France in Strasbourg, the Colosseum Rome, Lago Maggiore from Madonna del Sasso near Locarno, Strasbourg, Ascona, Venice, Hofbräuhaus Munich and Piazza dei Miracoli Pisa

Clockwise from top left: Ice cream in Vicenza, Petite-France in Strasbourg, the Colosseum Rome, Lago Maggiore from Madonna del Sasso near Locarno, Strasbourg, Ascona, Venice, Hofbräuhaus Munich and Piazza dei Miracoli Pisa

4. Making New Friends

2014 was a great year for new friendships and I must say that I’ve crossed paths with a whole host of lovely people from all over the world! From setting off on adventures together, exploring new parts of Germany, border crossing to Holland, hunting down ancient castles and simply searching for the best cake in Düsseldorf, my year wouldn’t have been the same without them!

friends

Clockwise from top left: Koblenz, Leaving do with Goethe staff, Chinafest Dusseldorf, Rheinfahrt with Emma and St Martin’s day celebrations in Bonn

5. Spending Time with Old Friends

Ironically, despite being away in a foreign country for half the year I managed to spend more time than usual with many of my old friends which was rather lovely. Instead of the time-constrained catch ups over coffee or a quick chat across the table at various get-togethers during University holidays, it was so nice to be able to spend quality time with my visitors and show them my new life in Germany. I also had the pleasure of spending time with some of my German friends whilst away, visiting them in their home and university towns as well as meeting their families and friends. In the summer my friend Laura, also came to England and stayed with us for just over a week giving me the excuse to show her around my neck of the woods, eat plenty of delicious things (there is a distinct food theme taking place it seems) and catching up on the gossip!

oldfriends

Clockwise from top left: St Martins day celebrations in Bonn with my german friend Anja, Cochem an der Mosel with Uni friends Rebecca, Beth and Georgia, Oxfordshire with Mum and my german friend Laura, Bryony’s visit to Dusseldorf, Heidelberg with Laura, Windsor Castle with old friends from school Poonam, Victoria, Natalie and Helen and Dusseldorf with Uni friend Amy

6. Five Years in Paris

In March 2014 my boyfriend and I celebrated five years together and what better place to do so than in the French capital! We had a great time seeing the sights, enjoying the delicacies of french cuisine (see, I told you!) and of course the patisseries!

Clockwise from top left: At the top of the Arc du Triomphe, the Eiffel Tower as taken from Champ de Mars, Louvre Museum, Le Consulat Montmartre and the Fontaine des Fleuves on Place de la Concorde

Clockwise from top left: At the top of the Arc du Triomphe, the Eiffel Tower as taken from Champ de Mars, Louvre Museum, Le Consulat Montmartre and the Fontaine des Fleuves on Place de la Concorde

7. UK Tour

In August, my parents and I set off on a slightly different variant of our traditional holidays by train. Rather than crossing the channel to our European neighbours we stayed on British soil and began our tour of the UK. In just over a week we had been to Birmingham, York, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Manchester and had even managed to arrange a few reunions along the way.

uktour

Clockwise from top left: George Square Glasgow, Tartan scarf, Manchester, Edinburgh, Victoria Square Birmingham, Clifford’s Tower York, Merchant Adventurers’ Hall York and Birmingham Botanical Gardens

8. Back to Work

Starting my final year of University was a rather daunting thought, especially as this took me back to Southampton after a year of gallivanting around the cosmopolitan European cities and a rather fanciful lifestyle. I hadn’t really done any serious work in over a year and the pressure of fourth year was looming. I am now 3 months in and have to admit that it hasn’t been that bad. In actual fact, it’s quite nice to be back – seeing friendly faces, exchanging the many Year Abroad stories and above all, trying to make the most out of our last year in (not so) sunny Southampton.

Clockwise from top left: Ocean Village Southampton, Godshill Isle of Wight, University Campus, Osborne House Isle of Wight, Southampton Old Walls, Brighton and my boyfriend's Graduation

Clockwise from top left: Ocean Village Southampton, Godshill Isle of Wight, University Campus, Osborne House Isle of Wight, Southampton Old Walls, Brighton and my boyfriend’s Graduation

9. I Can Drive

Passing my driving test absolutely deserves to be on this list. After deciding to take the plunge in August by investing a chunk of my savings into making myself road worthy, I managed to pass my test first time by the beginning of October. Although I do not have a car of my own as yet, it’s great to have accomplished the challenge and to know that I am one step further to independence than I was before 🙂

10. The Enchantment of the Christmas Markets

Experiencing the Christmas Markets in various places this December brought back fabulous childhood memories as well as those from last year in Germany. In my opinion, there is something very special about the markets – I love their atmosphere, the sights and smells, and of course the yummy food!

xmas

Clockwise from top left: Bath, Winter Wonderland London, Winter Wonderland London and Birmingham