Monthly Archives: July 2012

Liechtenstein in the Olympics!!

I’ll definitely keep this one short A. because I tend to get a little lengthy in my normal posts and B. last night’s 21st birthday festivities left me a bit lazy today…

Speaking of birthday’s yesterday was in fact mine and thanks to my amazing friends and family it was one for the books. After an all day boat cruise to the barrier islands we returned home to cake and presents and most importantly a cold shower! Salt water on Stevie = not a good combo.. Mama has made the same cake for my older brother and myself every year for our birthdays and this year was no different and the cake was just as amazing!  With a full belly, a sun kissed glow, and 5 great friends we headed out for the night…in a LIMO!

Yes, Cree (my older brother) had rented a limousine for the night and we arrived in style that is for sure! What can I say….I happen to have the best big brother ever!! Luckily he doesn’t read little sister’s blogs so he will never know I admitted that! Gotta keep him guessing.

It is hard to believe that in less than 2 weeks I will be headed back to Mother Millsaps for my fourth and final time. It has taken me a while to come to terms with that sentence, and I can’t say that I am completely “to terms” with it yet, but I love college, I love Millsaps, and I will be excited to be back!  I counted the other day and it has been nearly 9 months since I have been surrounded my the Millsaps family back on campus. Incredible!

Speaking of incredible….I had an incredibly amazing moment on Friday night that just HAD to be blogged about. My dad and I were watching the opening ceremonies of the Olympics (which have an all new importance now that I have friends all over the world) and out walks LIECHTENSTEIN!!  I knew they would have representation at the Winter Olympics, but it hadn’t occurred to me they would be in the Summer Olympics as well!  I literally (ask father for confirmation) jumped out of my seat and was more excited for this than when Team USA walked out!!  If nothing else at least Liechtenstein had good uniforms, but that is another topic for another time.

I promised to keep this one short so I’ll be wrapping this one up right about….now. Tcheuss!

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Goebel goes Global: Entry #27

Hiking in Liechtenstein!

What’s in a name?

So I thought about this little tid bit for a blog a few weeks ago as I was bawling my eyes out on the train from Vaduz to Zürich en route home. I’m not exactly sure why this particular topic came  to mind, but as I was reflecting on all of the amazing memories and people who I had met, I began to think about the stories I would tell when I returned home. I envisioned these stories involving breathtaking events and priceless memories, but then I realized they would also involve people and more specifically names that no one (except Jennifer) would ever really know or understand.

After nearly five months in Europe I learned a number of things, but perhaps one of the more interesting ones was the differences in names across the world. In the US a girl named Stevie or a boy named Ashley is quite odd, and names like Magda or Radek or Insuk are most often unheard of. But as I spent more time abroad I became used to butchering just about EVERY name when I first met someone, and everyone came to a pretty much mutual understanding that Jennifer and I would likely never get their names exactly right.

I mean it took us nearly the entire semester to get Elina’s name down, and even then I still managed to put my own Southern drawl on it! It was nearly a month before one of our Latvian friend’s Zane (pronounced Zan-ay) corrected me on the pronunciation of her name. Most often if we met someone new that didn’t live in the dorms it was inevitable that I would forget/mispronounce/or not even understand the name the person was saying!  I came to accept this, but as I was riding in the train I thought how interesting it was that while people may seem so similar and alike at the basic level of humanity there exists some cultural differences that will never (and should never) disappear.

Take for instance our Finnish friend, Roope. I’m sure most of you reading this post just mentally said Rope as in a braided form of string; however, his name is actually pronounced Row-pay and is a completely normal name in Finland. If someone were to be named this in the US, I can only imagine the terrors the child would face let alone how many times the child’s name would be butchered in school announcements! But the thing is while Roope may be normal in Finland the culture in which I grew up in would classify this as one of those crazy names a celebrity gives their child, and I am okay with the difference!

This difference in cultural normalcy of names is what makes the world and the country others live in so unique!  Meeting and living with people from all over made me aware of some of the most unusual names that I will never forget. Some of which include: Insuk from South Korea, Radek from the Czech Republic, Svea from Liechtenstein and a number of others.

Interestingly enough my own name was odd to those that I met. Most had never heard of the name Stevie or if they had considered it a boy’s name (much like Americans do). I have always loved my name if not for the fact that it fits me, but for the fact that it is unique. Very rarely do people forget my name, and any interview/competition/other ordeal my name tends to stick out and stay in the minds of those making the decisions. Thanks Mama and Daddy for the leg up!
I’m not sure if there was in fact an actual point to this post, but if nothing else I hope to have increased your awareness of just how different and unique names are across the world. Like many other things a name’s “weirdness” is culturally dependent, and for us Americans names like Josef and Garvin just might not ever be normal!

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Goebel goes Global: Entry #26

Cooking with a local!

The memories seem to be fading.

It seems like time is flying now that I am home!  I’ve officially been state side for nearly 3 weeks, and while it is more than great to be home I’m faced with a daily dilemma: forgetting. Everyday more and more of the small memories and experiences I had while abroad seem to slip my mind and are only conjured up if I think deeply or take a trip down memory lane on Facebook.

You would think such an AMAZING experience would be almost impossible to begin forgetting, and don’t get me wrong I’m not forgetting everything, it is just so much happened in the nearly 5 months I was gone that not being surrounded by the culture and people everyday reminders seem to come less often.  I am constantly asked “How was your trip?” or “Oh you’re back, how was the experience?” and while the questions seems an easy one, easy is quite the opposite. You see I have come to understand that when someone asks that question they don’t in fact want to hear EXACTLY what it was like and where I went on this trip, or what I did that weekend, or who I met there they simply want to express their interest and nothing more. This being the case, I have come to answer these questions with a simple “Oh, it was fantastic! I can’t imagine not having done it:, and what do you know? This satisfies the inquirer and the conversation usually takes a turn either A. to another subject or B. if they really are interested to “so what was your favorite part?”

This question brings along an entirely new dilemma, because you see everything was my favorite part! Having to choose ONE part is nearly unimaginable, but I have developed a rather strategic answer to this question. It goes somewhat like this:  “Geez, I loved everything about the experience!  I really enjoyed traveling and seeing a good bit of Europe, but I also enjoyed the culture and Alps that surrounded me in Liechtenstein. It was also pretty neat getting to learn about the US from the outside looking in in a lot of my classes, but I think one of my favorite parts was just living with all of the different people in the dorms. We lived with people from all over the world, and go to hang out, mess around, go out, and cook all kinds of amazing international dishes which was a really neat experience!”

Give or take a few bits that is pretty much how I answer those that ask me to choose a favorite. I admit that doesn’t exactly highlight ONE particular part, but it embodies a good bit of the amazing things that took place in my months abroad.

I could not be more thankful to my family, Millsaps, and the big guy for the opportunity I had, and for Jennifer for being the amazing friend that I know won’t ever let me forget our time abroad. If I hadn’t had her abroad, I fear I truly would forget a great deal about the people and experiences, but I know once reunited we will have each other to reminisce about perhaps the best experience of our lives. (mine for sure thus far)

I apologize again for the lack of pictures, but maybe I’ll make it up to you soon. And after spending  time on this post, I shall now begin organizing and scrap booking my pictures from the semester so I will never completely forget!

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Goebel goes Global: Entry #25

A typical class at the University of Liechtenstein!

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Goebel goes Global: Entry #24

The US Ambassador visits the University of Liechtenstein!