Monday, February 27, 2017

Small worlds, Summer Plans, and Ski Slopes

>> Hello Opportunities <<

at least three really cool things happened last week a couple weeks ago...

  • On Tuesday, I met Hannah Simon, an amazing woman on the College of Business' Young Alumni Board
  • On Thursday, Owens Corning sent me the details about my summer internship 
  • On Sunday, the University of Strasbourg offered a ski trip for 29 euros

1. Tuesday Talk

Hannah and me 

What's the Young Alumni Board you ask? Here, find out: CBA Young Alumni Board

Who's Hannah Simon, you ask? Here, let me tell you...
From one evening together, I can tell you Hannah is a highly motivated young professional who studied at EM Strasbourg in the pilot year of the Dual Degree Bachelors in European Management program, 2009. This is the same program which I'm currently enrolled in here in Strasbourg. 

 Hannah was back visiting friends throughout Europe with her boyfriend, Matt, and Strasbourg was obviously on their list. She emailed Dean Braun, looking to meet up with current students studying in Strasbourg. When Dean gave me her information, we made plans to grab dinner at Flam's with the other students from BGSU. We had an amazing dinner before heading to L'Artichaut, one of her old favorites in Petite-France. We had an amazing night, hitting up a number of old and new favorite places, and I know it was a night I'll never forget. 

A huge thank you to Hannah, Matt, Dean Braun, and my friends from BGSU who made this night what it was. It was such a unique opportunity to connect with the falcon community, and I loved getting these reminders of comforts from home while in my precious Strasbourg home.

2. Thursday Thoughts 

I'll be working at this building: OC's world headquarters located in Toledo

I actually landed my goal internship, and it's starting to feel real now. I have an official start and end date. I know my internship coordinators, and one of them is even a previous CBA Student Ambassador. It's less than three months away.

For about a year now, Owens Corning has been the company I want to explore opportunities with. 
When I started researching Owens Corning, the first thing that caught my eye was their partnership with Habitat for Humanity. As I was planning to intern with Habitat at the time, I figured this would be an interesting company to look into options with in the future. The more I learned about Owens Corning's sustainability initiatives and workplace culture, the more I appreciated this corporation. With the help of no less than three amazing professors, I quickly went to work to put myself on their radar.

It's a long story of meeting with recruiters at an SAP workshop and SCMA meetings, talking to students who interned before me, working with their supply chain teams on Habitat for Humanity build sites, interviewing at their corporate headquarters in Toledo, and scouring their website as well as various reviews to learn about this company I admire. 

Eventually, my efforts came to fruition. I was offered the opportunity to interview in August, a special option since they usually recruit interns from BGSU solely at the job fairs during the academic year. Before I even got home from Toledo, I received a call from the leader of my panel. He was happy to offer me the internship, and I would be receiving the contract via email in the following days. Can you say pumped?

Owens Corning internships rank in Vault's 50 Top Internships in the U.S. Ranking, and, although it's going to be a challenging summer, I look forward to the meaningful work they pride themselves in providing for their interns.

3. Sunday Ski Trip

Can you ski? Yes.
Oh, wait, no... snow ski or waterski? 
>>>Questions I don't have to ask anymore because I've finally been downhill skiing, 
and it was an AMAZING experience.<<<

Natalia and me
The University of Strasbourg has this awesome sports program called SUAPS. For ten euro I have access to a number of sports and outdoor activities to take advantage of all throughout the year. Some activities, like climbing and volleyball, are offered at certain hours throughout the week, so you just sign up for an open time slot and show up. Other activities, like skiing/snowboarding and sailing, are offered on the weekends for small fees. 

On Sunday, I got to go skiing for 29 euro. I had never been skiing before, but it didn't matter because this fee included small group instruction. This fee also included ski rental, transportation, and everything. 10/10 would recommend.

I started the afternoon by learning how to stop, and learning general turns. Then, we got to practice on the bunny hills without our sticks. The hardest part for me was definitely going up the tow line thingy... I probably looked like such an idiot because I fell on my first try. After our dinner break I "graduated" to the next group, so I got to go down a bigger slope. The first run was fun although painful because I definitely didn't understand how to make tight enough turns, and I was just going way too fast (and proceeding to fall pretty hard). The second run was much more enjoyable, and although I still fell once toward the bottom, I really felt comfortable on the skis. I completely understand why so many of my friends love skiing. 

Even though waterskiing is different, downhill skiing made me miss it a lot. I don't know if I miss it more because of the warmth I associate with it, or the fact that I'm actually pretty good at it compared to being brand new on the snow... either way, this Sunday made me want to get out at the lake. 

I hope you've enjoyed what I had to share this week! 

Tomorrow I'm off to Berlin (and Copenhagen, Malmö, Stockholm, and Oslö). My travel documents (and study materials for an exam next week) are printed, and I'm definitely not even close to packed. What's new?

I have my passport sitting out on the counter though, does that count, Kelsey?

Love, Jules

"Wander with wonder and the whole world becomes home" - Tyler Knott Gregson

P.S. I just returned from mentioned trip to Berlin, Copenhagen, Malmo, Stockholm, and Oslo. Despite a theft in a hostel that pretty thoroughly ruined a couple friends' days, we had an amazing time. These are cities in countries I never imaged reaching this year, and I'm feeling so elated that I got to see them.

Monday, February 6, 2017

In memory of...


Wow, this is really hard. [Insert you grabbing my hand and smiling your beautiful big smile right here because life is hard but these simple gestures full of love are easy]

I doubt my head will fully comprehend the fact that you are gone any time soon. I know my heart understands, though. I know because I feel comforted by your kindness and your love even as I grieve for you.

This earth is a beautiful place, but you were really too lovely for this world anyway. We got your heart, your love, and your kindness for about twenty years more than we deserved it. As I sit in my apartment in Strasbourg, France, all I want to do is crawl into my mom’s arms and cry for all that you were to me and so many others…

Our biggest fan. Our most caring confidant. Our friend. Our brother. Our inspiration. You were so many superlatives to me, and I cannot imagine what you were to the people whose lives overlapped with yours even more than mine.

Zach, I remember the day we met. I had to make up a lifeguarding in-service at Dayton Country Club because I had been on vacation at the lake. We were in the dive well back-boarding Colleen, and it was executed perfectly on our first try even though we had never been paired before. I swear we laughed the whole time even though I didn’t know the two of you from Adam or Eve.

Then I remember the first day I managed Dayton Country Club later that summer. You and I had worked a couple guard shifts together, but this was the first time I was supposed to be in charge. I was so nervous going into it, but I swear you completely eased my anxieties and ran the show. You played with the (beloved) pool rats so I could run a clean close, and you showed me the ropes and reigns. When we were almost done with the close I can’t remember what caused it, but we all got into a full-blown water fight with the Gatorade water coolers… Amazingly neither of us landed in the pool, but our clothes were completely soaked anyway. I still look at this picture and remember the way you made me feel included in your guard family.
please ignore the tooly caption and don't ignore how genuinely happy we are in this picture
After that summer, we never guarded together again, but you kept in touch. You were the king of subtle “I miss you” messages over social media. I still remember how happy it made me to see your random comments on my pictures in Chicago or NYC… small reminders that someone out there thinks I’m pretty, or fun, or lucky to get to see the world.

This past August you came to Springboro, and we got together for coffee and ice cream at my favorite hometown places (Saxby’s and the K, of course). You came and picked me up, and I loved introducing “this dear old friend of mine” to my momma. I can still remember how much she loved meeting you, and how much I gushed to her about how amazing it was to see you after so long.

While we were together at coffee I can still cling to our conversations about the exciting years ahead of us. For you, it would be your freshman year at University of Central Oklahoma. Looking back, you loved growing up in Oakwood, but you were so excited to go learn more about yourself and the world somewhere far from home. I was excited for you too. You told me all about the house you would be living in, and how much you were looking forward to being with your friends that were basically family out there.

I think it’s probably human selfish nature, but more than our conversations about your future endeavors, I remember with precision the way you made me feel about mine. You were beyond excited for me to spend my year in Strasbourg. I remember few people outside of my dearest friends and family who were as elated for me as you when they talked about this opportunity of mine. You made me feel like I was the luckiest girl alive to get to run free here in Europe. You reminded me how easily I make friends, and how much fun it would be to take on life over here. I even remember showing you snapchats from my (at the time future) roommate Francisca, and telling you about how cool she seemed. I guess we pegged that part; she’s amazing.

I even remember, once we moved from coffee to ice cream, introducing you to a favorite teacher/coach/role model from high school, Mrs. Franks. She was with her daughters, and I remember how you immediately smiled so big when you saw them. It was the same smile you gave me when you would first make eye contact with me after not seeing me for a while… the same smile you gave all of the kids at Dayton Country Club when they would not leave you alone for even five minutes of your five hour shift because they loved their swim coach so much.
please don't ignore the "with a face" request for these ice cream cones
Leaving the United States for a year was scary. I always denied that because it seems easier to deny things than to talk them out sometimes. It was scary to leave because I was afraid of losing someone I loved. Unfortunately, my greatest fear of being abroad is realized. I did lose someone I loved. I lost you. I think it’s a funny thing though… how even in your death you cause me to grow. I’ve overcome the fear of losing someone while I’m here… just like you overcame a fear of skydiving when you jumped out of a plane midair.

How can I fear further loss when I’m living despite it? I’m hurting. Of course I’m hurting. But you’ve proven to me how silly it would be to limit the opportunities I seize based on my fears. If I were in the states, I could’ve attended the celebration of your life held last weekend. I would’ve loved to be there. But I know in my heart I’ll celebrate your life in my own ways… in my own time… in May when I can cry in my parents’ arms, and repeat again in person to them how lovely you were… and how much joy you brought to the world.

I hope I love people a fraction of the way you loved, and I hope you know you were always an angel in my life anyway... I’ll miss you dearly but that won’t change.

Love, me

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Roll Along Second Semester

Roll Along Second Semester
muito obrigada / muchas gracias to these two lovelies who have made adjusting to second semester
without all of our friends so much easier on me 

I’ve been here (in Europe) for 161 days. It sounds insignificant when I say it like that… I fly home to Ohio in 86 days. It sounds fleeting when I say it like that… 

So if you’re better at fractions than Kelsey, you’ll do the quick math and notice I’ve been here for almost 2/3rds of my stay.


(I've been behind on the blog, but bear with me as I'm trying to adjust to a whole new life again) 

Recent highlights from January included

1. My soccer team advanced to the semifinals in the Coupe de France

I still don't really understand "EM Buscade" or "Ol'empians", but they cheer us on religiously
& I like stealing their photos, so I can share evidence of our 2 - 0 win over ESSEC Business School
Somehow our motley crew has become a respectable team, and we've advanced to the next round of the Coupe de France. By my understanding (more than partially drawn from Google Translate), this is the tournament where we compete to be the best women's soccer team out of all of the French business schools. 

Now we'll continue practicing twice a week, and working hard to prepare for our next match. If we do well enough, we have the potential to play in the finals in the end of April... I'm not sure what our odds of advancing look like, but I'll do my best to guard the net and we'll see. Finishing out my time abroad by playing in a finals soccer tournament would be quite an experience... I definitely have no regrets that I've joined this team, and I really do feel embraced and supported by my teammates although I still can't speak their language. 

2. Classes starting back into full swing

My classes this semester are going well. It's another semester of too many group projects and too little time, but the good thing is that we're all used to it by now. We do our best to get together, but when we can't groups are good about allocating work and communicating over group chats. Over the holidays I hadn't missed three hour long lectures, but these blocked lectures are what enable such a free travel schedule; I shouldn't complain too much. 

This semester I'm also taking Change Management (MGMT 4980) online from BGSU. I didn't know it would be possible to take courses online from BGSU while studying abroad, but I talked to a friend here who told me it was possible. By studying abroad in the dual degree program here, we are limited in the number of classes that transfer back because we also have to fill EM Strasbourg's requirements, so this is a good way for me to lighten my workload senior year. 

Classes, soccer, and travel keep me busy, but the extra online class from home fits into my schedule just fine.  This semester I'm enjoying a slightly slower social life, also, which makes these time commitments extremely manageable. 

 3. More friends from home came to visit

Chels, Rob, and I exploring Petite France in the rain
I have a few friends studying at Audencia Business School in Nantes, France this semester, so two of them came to visit me in Strasbourg before their semester starts (this week!). Rob came in a week early, and we took a long weekend trip to Switzerland. Chelsie, a best friend and future housemate, was only here for a couple days, but it gave me just enough time to show them both Strasbourg. I'm the closest mutual friend to Chelsie and Rob, and as they will be studying together and living next door to each other, it was a nice opportunity for us to all kick it and have some fun before they take on life on the other side of France. (Chels has already flooded her bathroom and blown the electricity for her entire floor of her apartment, so it sounds like it's going super well over there.)
Rob and me on the stairs up the cathedral
While they were here, I helped them set up their new phone plans with Free Mobile, and work out the kinks when Chelsie's phone didn't automatically work with the new SIM card. We also explored Petite France in the rain, and had amazing food at a couple places downtown. Even though the day was overcast so we had limited views, we walked to the top of the cathedral and took in what we could see of the city from the tippy top. 

Chels and I after lunch at my fave spaetzle restaurant, La Corde a Linge

My favorite part of having the pals in Strasbourg was definitely going to Au Brasseur and Jimmy's on a Tuesday night. My exchange friends and I love these places, and my BG friends and I definitely made the most of them. Jimmy's was predictably deserted, but I think that just encouraged us to try even harder to have a good time... and so we did. 
Here's a picture of Chels and I from Au Brasseur...
all other photographic evidence of this night is being forever withheld.

Except this picture of Rob behind the bar at Jimmy's... 

4. Weekend in Switzerland 

From the top of Mount Pilatus
The first weekend Rob was here, we decided to hit up Switzerland. We took on Zurich, Lucerne, and Geneva, and I can't say enough about the amazing weekend we had.


 The first time I took a run at Zurich, the friend I was meeting was having a terrible day (food poisoning type sick, lost passport, etc.), so it was a low key disappointment. This time Rob and I enjoyed a great walking tour of Old Town, and he's determined to come back with Chelsie for the Sechseläuten celebration our tour guide told us about.  


I think we both agreed our day in Lucerne was the most exciting, although it was really more of a day in/on Mount Pilatus than Lucerne itself. We took the cable car to the top of the mountain, and went sledding down. It was an amazing experience, although I definitely underestimated the intensity of the sled ride down. We accidentally followed some locals, so the sled run ended up including a total of 3000ft of altitude by accident. Despite some bruising and the need to completely thaw at the hostel for a couple hours afterward, this was one of the coolest days of my life. Anyone who knows me well probably knows that the two hour nap in the middle of the afternoon only made me like this day even more. 

Mt. Pilatus Adventure

The whole time I was up there, I just couldn't stop thinking of how blessed I am to have these opportunities
 to see how amazing and beautiful these corners of the world can be.
College of Business water bottle keeping us hydrated at the top of the mountain.

Old Town Exploration (it was clearly amazing even in the dark)


We spent our last day in Geneva, and again it was just another perfect day. We stayed at City Hostel Geneva, which provided us free transportation passes, so we rode all of the public transit boats across Lake Geneva just because that seemed really fun. And it was. We went on another free walking tour, this time of International Geneva. Again, we found this tour very interesting and informative. In the evening we went on a quick walk of Old Town, and I tried to recall what I could of the detailed history Kelsey's great uncle JR had recited to the girls and I when he showed us around about a month ago. 
United Nations Office in Geneva
Broken Chair Memorial outside the United Nations
The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Headquarters

Rob and I enjoyed this weekend immensely, although we both wish the trains, hostels, and restaurants in Switzerland resembled more closely the prices my friends spent last weekend in Bulgaria. I just keep reminding myself that this is my once in a lifetime chance to see these places... Although I'll need to try to forget how beautiful Lucerne was if I think I have a chance at staying away forever.

I hope you've enjoyed the pictures and the updates. I still don't go a day without missing my friends from last semester, but I do feel settled in to my new routine. Keep your eyes peeled for my next posts about my next adventures...  

  1. spring break trip to Berlin, Copenhagen, Stockholm, and Oslo (February 17-26)
  2. reunion of last semester bests in Strasbourg (March 3-5 if schedules allow)
  3. St. Patrick's Day/ Ireland trip with BG friends (March 15-19)
  4. Tentative (Quick trip to Venice on an unexpected week off (March 26-29))
Love, Jules "Wander with wonder and the whole world becomes home." -Tyler Knott Gregson
took less than a day for accidentally matching... thank goodness we'll live together next year,
so we will likely be able to change before we leave the house in the same outfit.