Monday, October 31, 2011

Just a quickie

Hi, my lovelies,

Quick post:

Cool messages I've heard recently/read sometime in my life that I wanted to share:

Martin Luther King Jr. didn't need Facebook, Twitter or email to have thousands show up to his "I have a dream" speech. (Simon Sinek- check him out in the video below)

Picasso painted thousands of paintings. You can probably only think of three of his very famous ones. (Seth Godin)

Anne Frank was 13 when she began her diary. Bill Gates was 19 when he cofounded Microsoft. Shakespeare was (probably) 31 when he wrote Romeo and Juliet. Mother Teresa was 40 years old when she founded the Missionaries of Charity. Jack Nicklaus was 46 when he shot 65 to win the Masters. Nelson Mandela was 71 when he was released from prison and went on to become president of South Africa. Michelangelo was 72 when he designed the dome of St. Peter's Basilica. (Matthew Kelly)

What does this all mean?

You don't need the internet or 700 Facebook friends to really touch someone's life.

You won't create something great on your first try.

You don't need to be a certain age to do something great. You aren't too old or too young.

Go forth, my children, and do good things!! Or just get off the internet and do SOMETHING.
*On that note: check out this girl's technology ban video. Hilarious and a great idea.


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Inspire yourself

My friends,

I have to be honest.

I love to blog. But when I'm not doing cool, exciting things like traveling to Prague and Berlin and Vienna or checking out new places to live (HELLO, AUSTIN!), it's hard to find inspiration to blog. What's so great about going to work, coming home, hanging out with my dad and sister and talking to my Robbie on the phone everyday?

Not much.

No one wants to hear about that kind of stuff.

It's hard to get inspired by the regular, routine stuff that goes on in our lives.

But what happens when we don't find inspiration in the everyday?
It's just another day that passes by. Routine. Ordinary.

Today at work, my boss coordinated a writing class for whoever wanted to attend. Pretty awesome, right? We spent two hours doing writing exercises, brainstorming business ideas and just sharing about what makes us who we are.

Our writing coach shared this video with us:

This was my tidbit of inspiration for the day. I really could have blown it off as just another part of my day at work, but I really took this video and the writing class to heart.

If inspiration doesn't find me during the day, then I better find some sort of inspiration in the day that's been given to me.

What inspires you? How do you get inspired?


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

3 of 3: Some Berlin history

Dear friends,

Kristin and I just flew back to San Francisco today, but I still have so many pictures from our trip to share!

On our second day in Berlin, Kristin and I met up with a group from Insider Tour to take a grand tour of Berlin. Our tour guide, Mike, was amazing. He studied the World Wars in college and moved from New Zealand to Berlin to marry his wife, whose family is from Berlin.

This guy knew his stuff.

Here's Kristin and me standing in front of a cathedral in Berlin.

One cool thing that Mike pointed out on our tour was the bullet holes EVERYWHERE in Berlin. Since Berlin didn't have a lot of money to repair the devastated buildings, they had to leave what was still standing or repair with the materials they had from the fallen buildings.

Lots of buildings look patchy, like this cathedral. When rebuilding the city, the Berliners used whatever material they could from the destruction to repair the damaged parts on buildings.

When Kristin and I were on the train ride to Berlin, we sat with an older German man (we didn't catch his name!) for a couple of hours. He studied law at Humbolt University.

Come to find out on our tour, this is a pretty prestigious law school and the site of where student-organized book burnings took place as Hitler took over.

At Humbolt, there's a neat memorial for the Nazi book burnings. Beneath this piece of glass are a ton of empty bookshelves that represent how many books were burned during the burnings at Humbolt.

Oh- did I mention the Schiller clan is FAMOUS?!

Everywhere in Berlin I saw my last name.

Here's our awesome tour guide Mike. He's explaining the difference between Western and Eastern Germany and West and East Berlin by drawing us a chalk map.

Wherever the wall once stood in Berlin is a double-brick line. Here I am standing in East and West Berlin at the same time.

(Politely, Mike pointed out that technically I wasn't standing in East and West Berlin because I didn't take into account the no-man's-land death strip that was on the Eastern side of the wall, but hey- technicalities. Tomato-tomahto.)

Kristin and me standing in front of the wall.

This mural was pretty interesting. The mural in the background at the House of Ministries is communist life in theory. Everyone's working, happy and equal.

The huge photo in the foreground is communist life in reality in 1953.

In 1953, there was an uprising against communism. Work quotas were upped and workers were threatened with a pay cut if the quotas weren't met. Outraged workers went on strike and protested outside of the House of Ministries and eventually Soviet tanks came in and shot at the workers.

More than 100 were killed.

Doesn't the House of Ministries remind you of the Ministry of Magic in Harry Potter?

Just saying...

Here's the mural up close. You can see the politician shaking hands with the day laborer and the guys working on the railroad are smiling.

After taking a walk around the Ministry of Magic- I mean, the House of Ministries, we went to the Memorial of the Murdered Jews in the middle of the city.

There are thousands of concrete slabs the size of coffins that are different sizes. You start out on one side, that's supposed to represent the 1930s, and walk through to the other side. As you walk down the aisles, the slabs get higher and higher and the ground gets lower and lower.

It's pretty powerful.

The higher slabs in the middle as you're walking to the 1940s side are supposed to represent the higher number of Jewish people killed.

As you continue walking, the slabs get smaller and the ground evens out. There are trees on the 1940s side and the slabs even continue onto the sidewalk.

The continuing slabs remind us that we will never forget the tragedy of the Holocaust.

Definitely one of my favorite memorials. As you're walking through the aisles of concrete and you look down a row, the slabs aren't perfectly lined up so some stick out, making them look like tombs.

Again, powerful stuff.

We ended our tour in Paris Square and took a look at the Brandenburg Gate

Back in the 1800s, Napolean took the Roman goddess on top of the Brandenburg Gate back to Paris but then was returned to Berlin after the Prussians beat Napolean.

How Napolean got that big statue off the Brandenburg Gate blows my mind.

Kristin and I spent the rest of the afternoon at the Pergamon Museum checking out replicas of Greek art and architecture. The Pergamon was pretty awesome.

More Berlin photos to come!


Monday, October 3, 2011

3 of 3: Berlin's Rosenstrausse

Dearest friends,

When Kristin and I got to Berlin, we had a huge checklist of things we wanted to see.

One thing that was REALLY important to Kristin was seeing Rosenstrausse.

After wandering around for about 30 minutes and thinking that some fancy restaurants were built on top of Rosenstrausse, we finally came across this beauty of a sign:

When Kristin was in high school and college, she did a report and a speech on a protest that was held on this street. During World War II, there were many Jewish husbands that were taken away from their non-Jewish wives for deportation. Some, in fact, had been deported already to Auschwitz.

Instead of staying silent about their husbands' deportation, the non-Jewish wives protested. They stood outside the building where their husbands were being held and during the week that they demanded their husbands be released, nearly 6,000 wives, relatives and friends showed up to protest.

Since the Nazis didn't want the news of the protest to spread (bad for propaganda, of course), they decided to release the men back to their wives. Even the men who were already deported were pulled from their concentration camps and reunited with their wives.

You go, girls.

Here's Kristin finally seeing the memorial she had seen so many times in pictures while doing her reports:

Since the memorial was in German, Kristin whipped out her iPhone so she could relay some of the stories about the protest to me.

She was my own personal tour guide!

Just one sight of many!

More stories to come soon!


Sunday, October 2, 2011

2 of 3: Continued: Prague's Castle!

Dear friends,

Prague, with its polka-like music and cobble-stoned streets and amazingly delicious food and funny souvenir shops, reminded Kristin and I a lot of Disneyland.

When we came across this funny little band on our morning walk to the castle (Disneyland also has a castle!!) we definitely felt like we were at the happiest place on earth.

Except we were in Prague, which is way cooler.

There were two girls dancing to this band and they were doing what looked like a line dance but way less country and way more foreign.

For those of you who are uniformed about the way castles work, they're built on top of a hill.

To get to the castle, you have to climb that hill.

Two days later, my feet are still sore and bruised.

Here's Kristin and I climbing the beginning of what felt like a thousand stairs up to the castle.

Taking pictures on the way up was definitely an excuse to stop and catch our breath.

When we FINALLY got to the top, we came across this beauty:

The cathedral at the castle was so massive that even crouching down to take a picture of it couldn't get the whole building.

Seriously, pictures do not do Prague justice.

Kristin and I in the royal gardens:

Since we couldn't enter the cathedral or castle until 1:00 in the afternoon, we trekked back down the dreaded stairs to grab a bite to eat at a medieval tavern.

When we ordered duck and dumplings for two, our waitress asked if we wanted a whole or half. She said that half was enough for two.

I had no clue what "whole" or "half" meant, but apparently it meant a whole duck or half duck.

And my goodness, half a duck was more than enough for FOUR people.

We didn't even eat half of our half duck. It was amazingly delicious, though!

The duck with the dumplings and cranberries... YUM.

While most of the Czech people we met were very nice, our waitress at our tavern was not. She wouldn't accept my credit card even though she brought out the card swiper because she saw that we had cash.

What a beez.

We didn't leave a tip. Rude, I know. But she had it coming.

Just before 1:00, we headed back up the stairs (OW) to go explore the castle and cathedral.

The cathedral was massive. And crowded.

The castle had the most amazing views.

(I love that you can see the river in the background!!)

Throwing pennies in the wishing well. They were American pennies, of course!

After our castle tour, we took a break until our romantic dinner cruise where we got to see the castle lit up.

What surprised Kristin and I was how dark it was at night. For being such a huge city, there were very few lights at night, making it very romantic and VERY hard to take pictures.

Now... BERLIN!