Weeks 44-46


My favorite part of Paris! (From La Fermette)

I was very busy with finals all month. I’m afraid things didn’t go as well as I hoped. I studied a lot throughout the whole semester, but my studying often seemed to lead to more confusion rather than clarity on these topics. It’s also true that while I studied a lot, I spent a lot of time not studying too. For example, I traveled, once to wedding in the US (causing lots of jetlag in both directions), and once to Paris to see some of my husband’s family that were visiting from the US.

At least now, all my exams are over…. but I doubt I got great marks. Doing poorly on an exam is really demoralizing, because it feels like despite all the  hard work you did throughout the semester, you didn’t seem to learn anything, or otherwise, you feel like you learned a lot throughout the semester, but you didn’t get a chance to show what you know on the exam. Some of the exams this semester seemed disproportionately hard, or completely unrelated to what was done in class, and judging from others’ reactions, I wasn’t the only one that felt that way.

Apart from exams, I have two group projects still due. The first is an iPad app for the software engineering class. Through this project, I learned a lot about Swift, Xcode, and iOS app development. The class itself, like the classwork and the exam, were pretty pointless. But I actually kind of enjoyed working on this project in the end, because I got to make something concrete, and because I actually enjoyed working in our group, for the most part. We all fell into our own little niches by the end, and I think we did a good job of handling all of the responsibilities, and trading them off when necessary as well.

The second project involves semantic parsing using neural networks, and unfortunately, I legitimately feel like I didn’t contribute enough to this one. It’s not quite over yet (I guess it’s due at the end of August), so hopefully I can somehow earn my keep on that team. If not, I guess I’ll just take the hit to my grade. I don’t think I actually need the credits at this point (unless I failed one of the finals).

I don’t expect to find out my grades from this semester for a very long time. In fact, not all of my grades from last semester (4-5 months ago) are in yet. Submitting grades seems to be up to each professor (as I’ve mentioned before, this school has little central organization), and some seem to enjoy taking their time. It’s really quite appalling.


The battery meter shows how the battery just dropped right off (and the phone turned off suddenly) at around 58% battery left.

In other news, my phone battery decided to crap out. It now drains incredibly fast and dies when the battery claims to be between 20% and 60%. It’s the kind of phone where you can’t easily open the back and replace the battery. I can try to muck about with it (voiding the warranty), or  I can send it back to the US to get a replacement. Messing with it means possibly breaking it and being without a phone, and sending it back means I would have to be without a phone while it’s in the mail. So I would need to buy a phone in the meanwhile, even if it’s a cheap-o one. Thankfully, my husband’s family is once again coming to my rescue, and helping me buy a proper, new phone as a birthday present. This one just has to not completely fail on me in the next month.

In general, I feel that the trend of these types of phone problems has been on the rise. I don’t know if it’s planned obsolescence or if it’s just an actual failure in battery design, or if it’s a combination of the two. Either way, it’s clear that the big phone companies will continue to skimp here.

Bunch of bullshit, if you ask me.

The worst part is that I know that I am the one that gets myself into these situations– I am the one that chooses to buy phones from the companies that get away with this nonsense, because I use my phone in every aspect of my daily life. It’s an every-tool, but it’s also a shiny toy, and it’s one of the categories I am willing to drop a lot of cash on.

Long story short,  it’s been a stressful month, and now, I need to finish planning the move to Italy! I am also trying to plan some travel in August before my move, because I don’t want to waste the whole month just sitting around… but we’ll see if those plans come to fruition so late in the game.


  • €225 – rent
  • €90 – health insurance
  • €25 – phone
  • €5 – meds
  • €5.5 – school supplies
  • €20 – bouldering
  • €133 – groceries
  • €61 – dining
  • €50 – trip to Paris (family helped with the bulk of the costs)
  • €89 – new phone (family helped with the bulk of the cost)
  • €450 – deposit on apartment in Italy (the initial one to hold it, another will be due once I get there)
  • Total: €1153

Weeks 32 & 33

The last two weeks have just been a whirlwind of emotion, I guess. My family came to visit me in Europe, and although it started out great, there was definitely a theme of misfortune throughout much of it. One of the stress points was that I was the only one that spoke any languages, so I had to translate/coordinate things, while also trying to keep my family from panicking. Another stress point was my family’s near pathological avoidance of planning. But those were minor things. The hardest part to deal with was the theft in the second leg of the trip… but let me start from the beginning.

My family landed in Paris. The weather was great, we hit up all the big sights, went to a bunch of museums, and ate a lot of delicious food. Unfortunately, my husband got kind of sick the first couple days, so we didn’t see much of him (at least he had seen Paris with me earlier), but he did manage to join us near the end for a couple things he hadn’t seen before.

The next place we had on our itinerary was Switzerland. As mentioned, my family has some sort of strange aversion to finalizing plans. Thankfully, my mom had ordered accommodation for us near Paris, Geneva, and Munich for the trip, but she hadn’t planned on how to get from one place to the next. We actually weren’t even staying in Geneva or Munich itself for the second and third parts of the trip, but quite far away by public transport in both places, so my parents intended to rent a car once in Geneva and to use it for the rest of the trip.

We took a train from Paris to the small town we were staying at near Geneva (actually in France). The only affordable train that was available by the time we were making the booking would come in after 22:00. Like most small towns, this one didn’t really have a public transport system that late at night, which meant we ended up waiting around for a long time for 2 separate taxis to take us to the house we were staying at.

Then, the next day was completely wasted on trying to get that rental car. We had to split up into 2 groups. One group went to rent a car at a nearby place for the duration of our stay near Geneva, and the second to the Geneva airport (via 3 busses) to rent a different car to Munich. We had to do it this way because the rental car agencies that rented internationally had no cars available since we didn’t reserve ahead of time. Suffice it to say, this was a very stressful and frustrating day for everyone.

The day after, my big brother got sick, and I later caught it as well. (By the way, I’ve been sick 7 out of 8 months I’ve been in Europe.) I was actually expecting to get sick since my family had traveled on planes, so I wasn’t surprised, but that didn’t make it any less annoying. Also, one of the days, my husband ended up having to work so we didn’t see much of him again. But Switzerland, eastern France, and the Alps were beautiful, so we managed to enjoy our time there nonetheless.



We had to leave quite late on our last day in Switzerland, because we had to do a lot of driving back and forth to drop off the old car and pick up the new one. On our way out, we stopped by Lausanne. My family went to the cathedral, and my husband and I went to visit with a friend.

This is when it all went to shit.

We were having a great time, right up until my big brother called to tell us that in the hour or so that they had been away from their car, it had gotten a window smashed. My husband’s and my backpacks were stolen. These were the only two things in the car cabin (since we didn’t have space for them in the trunk), and so they were the two things that were stolen. Thankfully, nothing else was taken, and everyone’s passports, money, and phones were safe as well. Also, thankfully my friend was willing to waste an entire night with us at the police to help explain the situation, since although I speak French, I would still have trouble with the whole process. Most importantly, no one was hurt.

However, we lost the rest of the day and night to this, and we had to rent a hotel nearby to stay the night as well. Even though it was just mine and my husband’s stuff, we lost a lot of expensive things to this theft, as well as a lot of small things that are just annoying to have to collect again. In my case, I lost my backpack, which had basically my whole life in it (I don’t have a lot with me in Europe). Here’s a summary of the major things:

  • Both of our house keys and my husband’s car keys (~$60 for me to replace, ~$800 for him to replace the electronic car key)
  • My husband’s expensive MacBook Pro (~$1700)
  • Much of my husbands collection of Netrunner cards, along with his winnings (promo cards, special tokens, etc.) from championships (~$350)
  • A brand new Nintendo Switch my husband had just gotten me as a gift with the new Zelda game (~$350)
  • My backpack which I had spent 6 months finding to be exactly right for my needs (~$100)
  • My work laptop that I just bought a few months ago (~$600)
  • A huge external hard drive with a bunch of pictures; thankfully I have the pictures backed up elsewhere (~$100)
  • Almost all of the clothes I own including my nice button up shirt, my travel towel, my toiletries (~$170 I guess)
  • My glasses case with a spare pair of glasses, and most of my glasses cleaning cloths (~$200)
  • Chargers for everything, including my only USB Type C to Type C for my phone and my US extension cord for all my appliances
  • All the little junk I carry in my backpack (e.g. a pocket knife, a combination lock for when I go to hostels, a pen+stylus, plug adapters, my key chains, etc.)
  • My Blizzard authenticator, so I guess I have to figure out how to cancel that
  • All the little souvenirs I had just bought from Paris (magnets/postcards)
  • Around 6 months worth of my thyroxine prescription meds that my husband had brought me from the US

So yea… after this, the vacation got less fun (and of course the two days after I come home are Easter vacation days in Germany, so I can’t even buy replacement clothes right away). I am very lucky that I was with my family during this time though, because they really helped me out. My big brother and dad generously generously offered me their laptops (I ended up taking my big brother’s). My mom bought me some clothes, my dad bought me some chargers and a cheapo backpack, I bought my husband a full collection of Netrunner cards… Basically, all the stuff will be replaced eventually.

After all that, what were we to do, but continue on with the plan? We drove to our AirBnB near Munich. We visited Neuschwanstein Castle, I climbed up to the top of a cliff to catch the sunset, we ate more amazing food, and eventually, we said our goodbyes.

It’s gonna sound weird to say, but despite all of that shit, I had a good vacation. Even though so many frustrating things happened, I didn’t realize how much I had missed my family, and of course my husband (who is still living in the US). And as for the stolen stuff, well, it’s just stuff.

Lessons learned:

  • Keep your passport/money/phone on you. This saved our bacon.
  • Don’t leave stuff in the car cabin. This makes you an easy target..
  • Don’t bring expensive stuff on trips. Then it hurts less to replace.
  • Leave a few pairs of shirts at home so you have clothes for when you return.
  • Have great friends and family. I don’t know how to do that, I just got lucky.


  • rent – €225
  • replacing some of my things (should be in the mail soon) – ~$250
  • the gift of an entire Netrunner card collection for my husband – $350
  • souvenirs (most of them now stolen) – €33
  • transportation – €129
  • lockers to store stuff at the train station – €30
  • food (my family paid most of the time) – €60
  • cold medicine/cough drops – €8
  • Total: €404 and $600