2017 is ending soon and I wanted to write about some of my thoughts of the year 2017, which was a big year for me. I finally earned my first law state exam and I decided to go to Ireland for a Master Degree (LL.M) and I got offered a place from the University College Dublin. Many things that I was wishing for realized in 2017.
Also 2017 was the year I traveled the most so far. After my written exams in December 2016 and before the oral part of my state exam, I traveled a lot. I really needed it after 1 1/2 year of studying so many hours 6 days a week.
I liked almost all destinations I visited in 2017, but there were also some destinations which disappointed me a little bit (for example Lisbon or some places in Mauritius).
The first holidays in 2017, I spent in beautiful Portugal. I visited Porto, the Azores and Lisbon in January. I really enjoyed Porto and I fell in love with the Azores, where I would like to spend some more time and visit the other islands. Everything is just so green and life is slowly on the Islands (I only know Sao Miguel, but I think it is the same as on the other islands).
After this I flew to Copenhagen and went to Sweden, too. I visited Berlin twice this year.
After the oral part of my state exam in May, I travelled to Montpellier in France and the island Mauritius and stayed there for 10 days. Even I did not like all about the island, the beaches and the ocean were great. I loved the possibility of snorkling and seeing so many fish everywhere. Being at the beach always makes me happy!
In July I went to Italy with Ben and we visited Verona, Venice and the region around the Lake Garda. I didn't believe that I would like holidays in Italy so much (even I was there before some times for city trips). I enjoyed the ice cream, the sun and the beautiful scenery at the Garda Lake. The Lake is just stunning. Even if I am more the "Sea kind of person", I liked it a lot.
Then I decided to take the opportunity to have the state exam again and I had the exams in October.
After these exams I flew to China to visit Ben for 5 weeks. These 5 weeks were a real experience for me. Asia was not really on my bucket list, especially not China, and I am pretty sure that I would not have travelled to China if Ben would not have been there for an university exchange programme. Honestly, I did not feel good in China. I did not like the country so much and I really felt uncomfortable with all the controlls and the permanent surveillance. Even if we visited really beautiful places such as the Zhangjiajie National Parc or Yangshuo. Plus, the air was so bad that sometimes I had the feeling that I could not breath properly. The people there are very different and in my opinion they are often very ruthless. Because I felt not good in China, we decided to extend our travel plans to Vietnam. Instead of just staying there a couple of days and visiting only the Halong Bay, we stayed there for 2 weeks. That is the longest time we could stay there without Visa. I felt way better in Vietnam and we really enjoyed the time there! I loved being in Hanoi. Hanoi is a vibrant and lively city.
My last journey in 2017 will be Bordeaux to visit one of my best friends. I like France so much and I love to travel for visiting friends. France always reminds me of my childhood holidays at the beach with my parents.
I know, my ecological footprint was not very good this year. For me 2017 was a year in which I learned a lot and I made so many new experiences. But what came very often to my mind was, that I am so happy and grateful to be born within the EU and also in Germany. Especially while traveling to different cultures I recognized how grateful I can be to be born in a country in which I can be whatever I want; in any kind - especially it doesn't matter that I am a woman. 2017 was also a year with many elections within the EU and that made me pensive because in many countries the right-wing parties became more popular (it made me sad, too). Does that mean that people start to think bad about the European Union and are more afraid of foreigner? .. But for me, there are so many reasons to be happy to live in a country with in the European union. I will explain you why: First, I decided to go to study in Ireland and I wont need a visa or any kind of allowance to live in Ireland, I pay the same fees as the Irish students and I can easily find a job there without any need of an allowance. I can fly home as often as I want without any visa. Second, when I think of my friends from different countries. One of my friends who I met when she did Erasmus in Cologne some years ago. The other friend who I met during my Erasmus in France. She is from Czech Republic and her boyfriend, who she met when he did the Erasmus program in Czech Republic, came from the same city I went to university during my Erasmus exchange. They are now working both in Czech Republic. Great, no?
For next year Ben is trying to get an internship in Dublin to spend some time in Ireland too. I also did Erasmus with financial support from the EU. Another one of my friends is traveling to Paris every couple of weeks to visit her boyfriend who she met in France during Erasmus. There are so many personal reasons, that I really like living within the EU. The EU is making life so easy.
Also as a consumer, we have great costumer rights within the EU. For example, when we flew back from Hanoi to China, our flight was cancelled and we had to stay there one day more. We were not informed in advance (and the flight was cancelled some days before already) or anything and we really had to discuss a lot with the staff to get them to find a hotel for us near the airport. Within the EU, I would knew my rights and everything is regulated. For China, i am still not sure if I will get any compensation. There are no rules for that, so it would have been easier if one of my flights to or from Europe would have been delayed.
....Wow, that was a long post. But I had so much in my mind and I just felt like writing about it.
I am just flying to Bordeaux while writing this and I will visit one of my best friends. Christmas is coming in one week and I start to be grateful for the last year. I hope that all of you have at least one thing to be grateful for! I am excited for the next year and I wish you all a great year 2018! What were you grateful for in 2017?