As many of you may know by now, I am the one in our family who likes traveling the least. I LOVE our home and have earned the nickname “homeboy” because of it. Thus, I wish to speak about my emotions of while we are in Bad Blankenburg
In Bad Blankenburg
Now that we are here, I am glad that we came so that we can see our friends and help others here in in the town. I am still somewhat upset since I am missing other friends and events back home, like a play in which one of my friends appears. Yet, it is still nice to be back and see what has and has not changed. I may not have wanted to be here, at first, but I am glad we are in Bad Blankenburg now.
Even though traveling is not something I would choose for myself, I know that I will learn important lessons I might otherwise miss. I also get to spend time with my family, expand my horizons by learning more about the world, and help in a small way with problems that are bigger than I can imagine.
I’m finally posting something😅 Now that it’s summer and we have more free time because school’s out. So, you know what that means… TRAVEL! ✈️
We’re going to Europe again. I know right? Three years in a row. 😱 This time around we will be going to Switzerland, France, Germany, Belgium, and the UK. 🇨🇭🇫🇷🇩🇪🇧🇪🇬🇧
A couple days ago, we flew to London from Seattle, had a 5-hour layover, then took a short flight to Geneva. After two days here, we’ll take a train to Morzine, which is in the French part of the Swiss Alps. We vacation there with our friends for a little over a week then take the train through Munich to Bad Blankenburg!!🚈 If you don’t know what that is, it’s the little town in Germany that the #SeattleBundas visited last year to do volunteer work. I’m excited to go back so I can see some of the friends that I met last time!
After BB (Bad Blankenburg), we are doing more volunteer work in Darby, England. It will be similar to BB but the people will speak english! Between Germany and England, we’ll be visiting our friends in Belgium.
We are already in Geneva, but for some reason I still don’t feel like we’re actually here. It feels like a weird dream or something…💭 Must be the jetlag!
Guess what!?😆 We have been living here in the Youth With a Mission (YWAM) base in Bad Blankenburg, Germany for almost a week now.📍🌍 In this blog, I am going to tell you 6 things about living in close quarters (3 good and 3 not so good). While this is a big building, there are 70 of us living here right now, so it’s pretty busy!
👍 Let’s start with the good news: 👍
Always having friends. You don’t have to go far to find some good people. 👯
Getting to know people really well cause they’re here all the time. 🕰👭
There are people from 26 countries here. It’s a great way to learn about different customs and cultures. 🌍
👎 Now, here are some not so awesome things about living in close quarters: 👎
You can’t ever get a break from people.👨👩👧👦 Your room! Family is there.👫 The shower! It’s a shared bathroom.🚿🚽
The wifi is shared with 70 other people, so its REALLY slow. 📶🌀
If people are having a conversation, even if there are only 2 people, you can hear it. It’s never quiet!! 💬
Of course, this is my perspective of how it is after being here for only a week,📆 so I will probably make an updated version of this in a couple weeks, and then at the end of our stay here.📑
Today, the clothing donations that so many of you provided have reached their final (or almost final) destination, the refugee homes 5,105 miles away in Bad Blankenburg, Germany! K and I spent some of our day in what is called “The Boutique,” helping sort the THREE huge, 20 kilo (40 pound) duffel bags full of clothes that we brought from Seattle.
Today was also the day of the week that the refugees are welcome to “shop” in the boutique. In the first hour, there were five different families that came by. Only one family can shop at a time since the room is small, but there is a larger waiting room outside where there are refreshments like tea, coffee, and biscuits. Mom and Dad tried to talk to some of the visitors, but it was kind of difficult when the only common language was highly-limited German. Thankfully, we’re working hard on our German and getting better every day.
We would like to thank everybody for the donations that helped us fill the bags, as well as say thanks to Grandma Patty for helping us pack them!
If you are friend and/or have been following this blog for a bit, you know by now that we #SeattleBundas are off on yet another adventure. This one in particular has been a long time coming, so please allow me to get you up to speed.
U.S. Re-Entry: Last October, we returned to Seattle with the intention of being home through the Spring. We wanted to be home through the holidays, as well as be around a couple newborns in the family–including our nephew, Anders, and our hanai niece, Katy Rae. Therefore, we agreed not to make any new plans until then.
It’s No Fun Being an (Illegal) Alien – Being back home was bittersweet for me. Despite the many comforts of home (fast/consistent internet access, any kind of food available to me at a moment’s notice, a HUGE and comfortable house by much of the world’s standards) and the company of our dear friends and family (weekly Seahawks/GoT/whatever parties, lunch/coffee appointments, our church), I still felt like an alien that was trying unsuccessfully to “wear” the life that I’d previously lived less than a year earlier. The thought of returning to work in Corporate America and filling up the rest of our lives with the busy-ness that plagues so many made me physically ill at times. Nonetheless, since we knew that we were staying put for at least 6 months, it made sense to suck it up and try to get my head back in the game.
Living an “Uncommon” Life – The experiences we had during our family sabbatical were so rich, so transformational, that they forced us to rethink how we might be called to live our lives moving forward. Could the SAFE framework that we used for the sabbatical (read more here) actually become our new normal, as opposed to something that applied only for a specific season in our life? Could we keep traveling and immersing ourselves in cross-cultural experiences? Could we keep finding opportunities to serve others both locally and abroad? Could we satisfy our thirst for adventure and fun? Could we keep learning? Could we figure out a way for me to work 9 months of the year so that we could devote the other 3 months to SAFE experiences abroad? While I’m still not 100% certain how well or how long this will work, we’ve already taken a number of steps to try and make this concept, this dream, a reality. So far, so thankful.
So here we are now: 10 months after our last BIG adventure, doing our part to help serve one small pocket of the 65.3 million people around the world whom are considered refugees. These people have been forced to flee home countries like Eritrea, Syria, and Afghanistan due to persecution related to race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership of a particular social group. They have landed in a small German town called Bad Blankenburg–following dreams of a better life, but facing the reality of language barriers, limited job prospects, and cultural persecution from locals who fear those who are so “different.”
“S” is for Service – We’re working with an International non-profit called, Youth With a Mission (YWAM). This is the same group with which Laura and I worked when we first met over 20 years ago. We’ve only been here a few days, but we’re working quickly to figure how to best use our skills and experience to make an impact. Laura has already stepped up to teach English 3x/week. Meanwhile, I am working on documenting the various programs happening here with the aim of helping the teams to streamline, prioritize their efforts, load-balance, then mobilize their limited people and financial resources. Finally, Trey and Kamaile are helping with a local second-hand clothes boutique, as well as children’s outreach programs.
I have feeling we’re just scratching the surface of the “what” and the “why” for our family in this latest adventure. We’ll do our best to keep you all posted. In the meantime, thanks for your prayers and, if nothing else, for supporting us in this ongoing journey.
So, today I am going to blog about foods we have had through our Europe trip! First, I’m going tell you what I thought that country’s food was, then I’ll tell you what it actually was.😊😉🍴😋
I’m going to start off with Germany, the first country we went to.🇩🇪Before I came to Germany, I thought German food was all bratwurst and schnitzel. I didn’t even know what a frankfurter was until I heard we were going to be landing in Frankfurt.😂 And to be honest, I had no idea what a schnitzel was either, It just sounded German-ish. Until I actually went to Germany. 😏😂🇩🇪
When we got to Germany, the first meal we had was in a German pub.🍻 I ordered a schnitzel, Dad ordered shweinshaxe (pork knuckle)🐷, Mom ordered a schnitzel with mushroom sauce🍄, and Trey ordered a frankfurter with lentil soup. It turns out, a frankfurter is basically a german hot dog. And a schnitzel is sliced, breaded, and fried meat☺️. I had potato wedges with my shnitzel and they were good, but the shnitzel was amazing!
The next country we visited was France, which I knew a little bit more about than some of the other countries we visited.🇫🇷
Before we went to France, I thought French food was all croissants, baguettes, crepes, escargot, and macaroons. And mostly, that’s what it was! ☺️
We stopped to get some baguettes on the way down from the Eiffel tower and ate them on the grass. They were yummy, but nowhere near as good as the jambon (ham and cheese) baguettes we got on our first full day in paris!😜
We took an awesome walking tour of Paris but unfortunately, it was rainy and cold.💦We got some yummy crepes to warm us up!
On one of our last nights in Paris, We found a little resturaunt in the heart of the city and ordered some escargo!🐌 I wasn’t super excited to eat snail, but I was willing to try. I actually thought I might like it, because it smelled okay and you could eat it with bread and cooked veggies. When I tried it, it was worse than I thought it would be! It was sort of like a mushroom, (I don’t like mushrooms either!) only it was saltier (and yuckier!).
Then, we went to England. Before I came to England I thought all English people had Fish and Chips all day, every day. Plus some tea, and a bit of bubble and squeak (stir-fried veggies) for breakfast. Until I went to England. My theory about fish and chips was sort of correct, people did have a lot of it, but they didn’t have it all day, every day, just alot.🐟🍟 My tea theory was also only sort of true. Did you know that The U.K. Is as much a coffee country as it is a tea country?☕️
The last country’s food that I’m going to talk about is Italy. Before I came to Italy, I thought Italian food was pizza, pasta, wine,🍷 tiramisu, and gelato!!!🍦😄
One of the first Italian Queens, Queen Margherita, ate so much of this type of pizza they named it after her. It is also why the Italian Flag is red, white, and green. Red is tomato sauce, white is mozzarella cheese, and green is the basil topping. I can understand why the Queen ate so much of that pizza, it’s delicious!
And that is basically all I have had so far in Italy😂😂 But there are a couple other things that I had no idea about that are very Italian. For example, bruschetta! Bruschetta is lightly salted bread with olive oil and tomatoes on top! It’s soooo gooood…
So far, we have been in Europe for about three weeks. I have accumulated many photos of the different places we have been to, so I thought I would share a few with you guys. Below you shall see 5 pictures from Paris, Frankfurt, and even Brussels!
I am super glad to be able to travel to all of these awesome places, and I can’t wait to go see more in Europe! See ya later!
Ps. Many of you probably know that we are already in the UK, but as I am going through all of my photos, I will make sure to post the best in the next blog!
7 days into our 2-month Europe trip & what a blur it has been! Hence, the cover pic (see what I did there?).
If what we’ve experienced, thus far, is any indication of what’s to come, then finding adequate time to provide regular, ongoing updates will be a quite a challenge. Therefore, I’ve decided to try and provide a weekly write-up during this time to give everyone slices of the #SeattleBundas life on the road that complement the myriad Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter posts currently provide. As always, feedback is welcome.
Monday – Travel Day (Seattle to Frankfurt). We spent the morning doing last-minute packing adjustments, which is tougher than you might think when committed to One-Bag travel. We also finished cleaning the house, changing the linens, etc., just in case family/friends need a place to crash while we’re abroad. • At airport check-in, I expecting a bit of a fight as our assigned seats–for which we paid extra to reserve–were mysteriously changed the night before. To my relief, the Lead Agent happened to be looking over the shoulder of the Agent helping us and fixed things before I even had the opportunity to inquire. • The 10.5-hour flight from Seattle to Frankfurt was long, but not too terrible. Condor Air served us a ton of food, so that was a plus. My seat mate was a large (as in big and muscular) Polish man. Initially, I was irritated that he seemed to take over 25% of my space. 3 hours in, however, and I felt bad that he was having so much more trouble getting comfortable in his seat.
Tuesday – We arrived on Tuesday afternoon and breezed through Immigration. The officer remarked how much he’d have to work to pay for such a long holiday. I told him that I’m certain I’ll be paying for it (in some way) for a while as well. • We took a short walk from the airport terminal to airport train station, then waited in line to activate our Eurail Global Passes. Our transaction was fairly routine, save for a small clerical error that needed sorting. Meanwhile, the scene next to us was quite entertaining. A Vietnamese gentleman was trying to get home via a different train and airport after missing an earlier connection. Meanwhile, his agent hummed the Star Wars Imperial March as he found him an alternate route. What? LOL • We took a short train ride from the airport to the main train station in Frankfurt. The station was gorgeous and had me excited for all the other stations that we’d be visiting during this trip. When you live in a city like Seattle, with its woefully inadequate mass transit system, you really appreciate things like this. • After a 10-minute walk, we checked into our hotel. The place was unspectacular, but we ended up getting a 2nd room at no cost when the realized that they forgot to account for our 4th guest request. Score! • That evening, we walked around the surrounding neighborhood and down the the Main River to begin the process of fighting off jetlag. We even found a little playground where the kids could run around a bit. • We finished our very long day with schnitzel, schweinhaxe (pork knuckle), and Binding (local Pilsner) at a nearby restaurant called Baseler Eck.
Wednesday – This was our only full day in Frankfurt, so we were determined to make it a meaningful one. Through the course of our pre-trip research, we kept hearing about how boring Frankfurt was compared with other German cities. In fact, more than a fair share of contributors from travel sites like TripAdvisor and Trippy recommended other cities when talking about Frankfurt. We decided that taking the proverbial road less traveled might be our best bet and hung out with Therese (our guide from the Frankfurt Free Alternative Walking Tour) and 15 other travelers. Therese largely led us away from Frankfurt’s few tourist traps and we learned, among other things, about the city’s efforts to legalize (read: regulate and tax) prostitution and drug use. Needless to say, this required some pre- and post-tour conversations with the kids. • At the end of the tour, a handful of us decided to eat lunch together before going off on our separate ways. Our lives are richer for having spent some time with: Therese, the Socio-Cultural Geology student and Part-Time Guide; Sebastian the Hotelier from Switzerland, by way of Eastern Germany; Justin, the Vietnamese-Canadian on a 6-month European hitchhiking tour; and the British trio on holiday from University. Safe travels, guys!
Thursday – We took the morning train to Rothenburg ob der Tauber (RodT), a medieval Bavarian town that was largely untouched for over half a millennia. On a whim, we decided to take advantage of our rail passes by stopping for a few hours in Wurzburg. We had no clue what to expect, but they Interwebs said that the town should not be missed. Wow! We spent some time visiting the Residenz, a massive and opulent palace built by Bavarian Prince-Bishops. I’d never heard that phrase before, but learned that these guys possessed a combination of secular and spiritual position–effectively giving them absolute power. Ego much? • We made our way to RodT a few hours later and were greeted by our first heavy rain of the trip. Nonetheless, the town walls and buildings were stunning. Kamaile leaned over sheepishly saying, “Dad, don’t take this the wrong way, but it’s almost like Disneyland.” LOL • After checking into our hotel near center of the Old Town, we visited a Medieval Crime and Punishment Museum. That place was far too creepy for me, but the rest of the fam seemed to get a kick out of it. • Not creepy, however, was going upside down with our dinner–beginning with trying out the local pastry called Schneeballs and ending with dinner at a place called Zur Höll (“To Hell”). Let’s just say that eating the best sausages I’ve ever tried in a building with foundations dating back to the 900s was awesome. • After dinner we went on a stroll around the city with The Night Watchman. We heard about this guy from a Rick Steves episode. Corny as they come, but informative and fun!
Friday – Our train journey to Paris left at 09:00, so we dragged the kids out of bed for a 06:00 walk. We roamed the foggy, nearly-deserted streets and walked atop and 1000 year-old walls. Many Americans do not quite have the same sense of history that most of the world enjoys, so this was a fantastic experience for the whole family. • 4 different trains over 10.5 hours took us from RodT to Steinach, to Stuttgart, to Strasbourg, then to Marne le Vallee. Just beautiful! That said, I quickly put aside any romantic notions of biking the French countryside; thankful that we were on a comfortable, super fast TGV instead. • Side Note: In Strasbourg, we noticed a group of French military with assault rifles and very serious expressions. We later learned that another TGV was the scene of an attempted terrorist massacre. Thank God for the people–especially the 3 American friends–for laying their lives on the line to prevent a full-blown tragedy.
Saturday & Sunday– Consecutive full days at Disneyland Paris and then Walt Disney Studios. I’ll leave it the kids to post a separate blog about our time there. In the meantime, I’ll go ahead and declare now that, for me, Disneyland Paris > Magic Kingdom > Disneyland > Disneyland Tokyo.