Germany Week 2 (and 3… and 4…): Sprechen Sie Deutsch?

Germany is pretty cool and I’ve left the house a few times!

The question everyone is asking, “does Mike Cole speak German?” What’s the answer. Well, that’s the debate. I say “Jaaa” but many say “Nein, Nein, Nein!”. I however, am not deterred and have strengthened my resolve to practice pronunciation every minute of the day.

In other news, I left coffee in the coffee maker back home. It’s only been a month, so I’m sure it’s fine. An evil nail also ripped my pants, but I hear ripped pants are all the rage. And I lost my health insurance card, so if I don’t post for a while it either means I’m super busy or got struck by illness and am dead.

Adventures

 Switzerland

My big adventure for week 2 was going to Switzerland, which was absolutely gorgeous! Rhein (Rhine) Falls was absolutely amazing. The Falls are 250 ft wide and 75 ft high (as illustrated beautifully by the photo below). After standing in awe for a good while, we then headed over to Lucerne, where we spent a few hours exploring the city.

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Lucerne was absolutely amazing. The city had a giant monument of a dying Lion carved into a rock. Of course, words and photos can only say so much, but they say enough, so here’s a picture!

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Then of course there was the old town… Which had murals painted on the buildings.

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Other than that, it was just plain beautiful. Walking around, seeing the history of the city, it really is something that has to be experience. There’s a lot of character in European cities. Then we spent 10 hours in Zurich which was more or less the same (not a bad thing). My only regret is that I am but a broke college student, so I couldn’t buy a Swiss watch.

France

This last weekend I was in France, which was absolutely amazing. I drank French wine (both red and white), ate a crepe, ate a baguette (I almost started crying it was so delicious) and had some fancy French Chicken (forget what it’s called).

And of course, the most amazing part of the trip…

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Notre Dame

Disclaimer: I am attending class in case any of you were concerned. First two weeks I had a crash course in the German language, last week I had a Intercultural experience course, and this  week I’ve had business law and leadership.

That’s it, that’s my week(s)! Thanks for reading and stay classy friends!

Two steps forward, one step back

So here’s an idea. Everyone knows the old saying, “one step forward, two steps back”, right? Well, I say let’s challenge that. Life comes down to perspective. Let’s break down the saying itself. Who in their right mind has ever taken one step forward and two steps back? No one. Isn’t it more likely for a person to take two steps forward and one step back (maybe to turn in a new direction). That makes sense. Why would you ever believe a saying that doesn’t even make literal sense? It’s a logical fallacy.

Moving Forward:

The first step – As it goes, the first step is getting started. If we want to get anywhere, we must take the initial step. This step is the foundation. The first step allows us to take the second step. If we only take the first step, we get nowhere.

The second step – In a perfect world, I’d say that the first step is just as important as the second step. That it comes down to perspective and that it really depends based on the situation. It doesn’t. The second step will always be more important than the first step. That said, without the first step the second step would never exist. The second step is what pushes us further. It is putting the decision in motion and giving us a taste of what to expect.

One step back – This is the turning point, the point where you choose whether or not to take the third, forth, five, etc. step. Think of it as a pivot, it’s not really a step back but rather a rotation, a change in priority, even a change in purpose.

So there you have it, a fun little musing of a common saying. I plan to do more of these “common sayings perspective shifts” but until then go take a few steps into the unknown. Learn from your mistakes  and you’ll always be moving forward. Thanks for reading!

The best ways to reduce stress

So, you’ve missed that deadline. Instead of getting the job done you’re stuck in an endless cycle of procrastination. You keep trying to get caught up but it only leads to more stress and procrastination. What do you do? Well, I say, take a step back and breathe. Remember that the world is not coming to an end and there’s always tomorrow no matter how rough today may be. So here we go, proven methods on how to get rid of stress and feel better about tackling your problems head on.

  1. Read a book – If it seems like the world is falling apart, it’s not. We tend to think our mistakes are a lot worse than they are. If you’re about to start kicking puppies, I suggest picking up a good book instead. A book will help take your mind off the problem you’re facing and you can just let the hours float by. By the time you’re ready to stop reading, you’ll find yourself feeling refreshed and ready to tackle whatever was bothering you head on. If not…

  2. Invest in a stress ball – Simple yet so effective. I’m not talking about those cheap stress balls that companies give away for free. I’m talking about a high quality, 4 dollar stress ball that you can give a good squeeze and feel your muscles tense, then relax. Quality stress balls also have the added benefit of being throw-able if all else fails. Give a stress ball a few chucks against a wall or just throw it back and forth between your hands and it’ll keep you distracted and hopefully will make your mood a little better.

  3. Go on a run –  I’m not talking about a treadmill run (those are nice and will help you reduce stress) but rather a run where you set a trail and go on an adventure! Running should be fun, not a chore. Those who say they hate running set unrealistic expectations. Running is a chance for you to take in the scenery and think through your problems while constantly moving forward. Getting yourself to put on your running shoes is the tricky part, everything else after that is amazing. I recommend having a running buddy, but honestly running is just as fun alone as it is with a friend. 

  4. Take a nap – I’m a man who loves to nap. Why? Because I care about my health. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried to force myself to get work done and only had that lead to further frustration because I just couldn’t figure out that tricky problem. We’ve all been there. Then one day I said “Fuck it, I’m taking a nap” and guess what. When I woke up I went to work on that tricky problem and what took a matter of hours before my nap I was able to accomplish in a few minutes. Yes it seems like the last thing you want to do when you’re crunched for time and stressed, but it falls under the philosophy of “sharpening the saw”.

  5. Do a creative hobby (something that you love) – Whether it’s dancing, listening to music, singing, painting, or photography, just take a step back and rock it. You’re most likely at the point where you’re not going to get any work done anyways, so why should you spend your valuable time stressed. Go work on that painting you’ve been putting off, go sing your heart out. Life is too short, so shouldn’t you spend most of your time enjoying it? I’m not saying don’t be responsible, all I’m saying is sometimes you need to take a step back from the grind and take time to really invest in yourself

So there you have it people. A guide to help you find ways to breathe when the world appears to be crashing down.  This is not a guide on how to get work done but rather more of a way to keep your sanity when you loose your way! Thanks for reading and remember to breathe!

Word of the Week

Salient /sa·li·ent/ adj. 

1. Strikingly conspicuous; prominent.

The word of the week! Salient is a word I hardly ever use but one I believe everyone should use. I love my witty words and if you want to sound smarter (I’m sure you’re all very smart individuals) then I encourage you to practice saying this word this week! Have a good one and thanks for reading!