playing frogger across europe

I feel the title of this post deserves a bit of explanation. First of all, I haven’t been able to stop saying “playing frogger across (insert location of convenience here)” since our friend Rebecca visited us at UW Madison a few years ago. Apparently she and my roommates were jaywalking across University Avenue, one of the busiest roads in Madison, and a bit of hilarity ensued. It had to do with weaving a couple cars and tragically biffing over the bike lane divider. By the time everyone had limped, dashed, weaved, bobbed, and tumbled across the street, one person was bleeding, one person was in a tree, and Corinne’s cousin had already called her to ask if it was her who had been playing frogger across University. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to witness this miraculous display of street-crossing prowess, but believe me, hearing about it was nearly as hilarious. So ever since that time, I’ve had a propensity to use the term “playing frogger” quite a bit too much. I hope you’ll understand where the predisposition comes from and forgive me.

The second reason for the title is that I do feel like it fits somehow! For those of you who don’t know, Frogger was a computer game we used to play in the ’90’s. It was great. It involved, among many exciting activities, hopping from lily pad to lily pad collected letters or numbers or words or whatever depending on your level. I feel like that’s a bit what I’ll be doing this Christmas: hopping from country to country collecting memories and snippets of time with dear friends and family.

Lily Pad #1: Edinburgh, Scotland
Collected: 5 GLORIOUS days with my soul sister, Sarah Lang, and her delightful roommates in a city I fell in love with two and half years ago when I visited for the first time. We’ll eat a ton of delicious western comfort food, wear woolly socks, snuggle with blankets, light candles, talk about life and ambition and plans and permaculture, possibly have the toothpaste olympics (don’t ask unless you’re really prepared for the explanation), and generally just have a fantastic time. Not to mention the city is the birthplace of Harry Potter. Which makes it, like, a quadruple whammy for me. So pumped.

Lily Pad #2: Brussels, Belgium
Collected: Another lovely 5 days of waffles, museums, seeing friends I met in Uganda who’ve since gone home, and…wait for it….a little time by myself!!! It might seem weird that I’m looking forward to a few days on my own in a hostel in a strange city, but if it’s weird to you it’s probably because you don’t live in a compound in Uganda with 10 people in your house and another 20 people in the other house in the compound. This compound is less than a quarter acre in size. Cozy. So yes, I’m going to enjoy sleeping until whatever time I’d like without being checked on (still breathing!), curling up with tea and a book for hours on end without the TV blaring or dogs howling, and just generally NOT TALKING to people for a few hours at a time. It’s going to be blissful.
After a few days though, undoubtedly I’ll start to get a little restless. I might even start making lists, help! To save me from this self-initiated cloister, MY BROTHER IS MEETING ME ON THE 28TH!!! Did I mention I’m excited about it? He’s flying into Brussels, and the next day, we’re off to my third and final lily pad….

Lily Pad #3: Dusseldorf, then Berlin, Germany
Collected: 7 days of pure delight. In addition to my brother’s company, we’ll also be meeting my friends Nate and Cosette from college! After studying in Spain for the semester, Nate is off on an awesome European adventure. Cosette joined him, and we’re all meeting up in Berlin for the New Year! There may be pints involved, but I can’t be sure. Tank and I are stopping in Dusseldorf for a night before proceeding on to Berlin, where we’ll take in some football (the lesser kind, unfortunately) and I’ll drag Tank to a couple museums he doesn’t want to go to. I’m really really hoping there will be snow to play in – I bought a warm hat just to prepare for that possibility. Fingers crossed. Then on New Year’s, Berlin erupts in celebration. Tourists pour into the city to ring in the new year, and I’m excited to celebrate the milestone with a global community.

So that’s it! I’m leaving today, so wish me luck. I’ve come this far without losing anything major – or getting anything stolen, for that matter – and I’d really like to keep the streak going. Look out for a blog about each lily pad.

Merry Christmas everyone!

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