It was in the Chicago airport that my dad got his first taste of how the United States is discussed among foreigners. A Dutch woman was talking about the U.S., and it was clear she didn't have any respect for the current state of American politics. My dear father, who had not been to Europe for a while, was a little shook. The discourse on American politics has shifted in the international eye, and though it wasn't a surprise to me, it might be a bit much to take in if you haven't experienced it before.
Though Flensburg was technically the capital of Germany for two weeks, Berlin has been the official capital since 1990, and it's better known. Though I was only in Berlin for a very short amount of time, the city still left an impact on me, and it's a city I recommend visiting if you ever travel to Germany.
Vikings fans are the most stubbornly loyal fans. I have never seen them give up faith, even when that faith has been tested, over and over again. They also are great sports — when they won against the Saints, they raised over $200,000 for the charity of the Saints' injured punter, and that included elementary students from our very own Detroit Lakes. It's hard to find such loyal fans that are also so, well, Minnesota nice.
When I first arrived in Flensburg, Germany, I didn't know exactly what to expect. I knew that there were approximately 90,000 residents, and that it was on the border to Denmark. I knew that the university had the program I wanted. And I knew that Flensburg was going to be where I would live away from home for the first time.
For most of my life, I have celebrated Christmas in one part of the world. My Minnesotan Christmas was always something I looked forward to. I loved getting involved with the church on Christmas day, having snow, and the quirky traditions that my family developed over the years.
To the people of my generation (Generation Z), this age seems like a bit of a hopeless one. The political situation of the United States is, well, embarrassing, to say the least. Climate change has started to show its effects, and they aren't pretty — this year's hurricane season was nothing short of a nightmare. There is famine in Yemen, a corrupt election in Kenya, a horrible economic crisis in Venezuela and a totalitarian state in North Korea. In our personal lives, things go wrong, as well. We mess up, others let us down and things never work out as expected.
When I got the chance to go on Eurotour with the other Rotary exchange students in Denmark, we had all looked forward to Italy, but there was one other destination that we couldn't get out of our mind: Paris, the city that we have all heard about since we were children. They say it's the city of love, and I can't lie—it does have that feel to it.
There are a million different worldly desires on my mind at any given point in the day. Throughout my life, I have struggled a bit with making sense of things. One thing that I have had to work on a lot is deciding if things are worth working on unrelentlessly or letting go.
I lived in Minnesota for sixteen years of my life; however, I confess that I never visited Duluth. I had gotten glimpses from pictures on my friends' instagrams and always been a little bit embarrassed that the only memory I have of Lake Superior was collecting stones from the shore at a lake cabin with my family when I was seven. I didn't have much time in Minnesota, but I was determined to change that, and jumped up on the opportunity when my friend Dorothy asked me if I wanted to go camping in the Duluth area for a weekend.