There’s a reason why the first guy didn’t make it


Congratulations, Cathryn, on completing the Marathon!

Originally posted on ...the rest is just stuff:

There’s nothing quite like going from running for the first time in May after seven months of injuries to running my first marathon six months later. I can’t say I would recommend the approach again, but when I set a goal, there’s only one way out. Check this one off on the vision board!

Two weeks later and I’m still convinced that the human body is not made to run 26.2 miles. Leave it to runners to find ways to defy the limits of what we were made to do. I always say a half-marathon is something that pretty much anyone can wake up and do without training. A marathon is another story.

Why not run your first marathon where it all started in Marathon, Greece? And convince three of your friends to join you as well? Just another day in the world of Cherbst.

20151108_080108 #AthensReady

The moment you think…

View original 1,508 more words

A City on Edge Comes Together

This piece was submitted by Harley Geffner, an academic year K.U. Leuven student, who was traveling in Paris on 11/13. 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

On Saturday afternoon in Paris, in the wake of the massive attack that left 132 dead and counting, an unsettling calm hung over the city. The silence was deafening around Place de la République, an area that connects the 10th and 11th arrondisements, where many of the attacks took place. The calm spread over the city was in stark contrast to the unrest felt by the people. The trendy République neighborhood, where many young Parisians sit at outdoor cafes, drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes, was on edge. The patrons normally populating these cafes were replaced by empty chairs facing the empty streets. The usually bustling Place de la République was in mourning.

By the Sunday following the attacks, the mood in Paris changed from one of solemnity to one of solidarity. The denizens of Paris banded together with a strength and determination, as citizens crowded the streets, going about their usual daily business. The goal of terrorism is generally to interrupt normal life, depriving people of their regular lifestyle, and to inspire terror. Although frightened by the attack, many Parisians were determined not to let that fear guide their daily lives. As one sign with an image of the Eifel tower read from a candlelight vigil, “You can not divide us.” Another woman at the vigil had scrawled, “Not Afraid,” across her forehead.

The French government announced a ban on public gatherings in the aftermath of the killing, yet people took to the streets to protest in the face of the fear that the attacks were meant to inspire. Thousands gathered around Place de la République to mourn, light candles, toss flowers, and come together. Strangers wiping back tears were hugging others holding “Free Hugs” signs. Parisians of all ethnicities, religions and languages ​​sang together, “Le Marseillaise,” the French national anthem, in the public square. A man who waved a French flag out of his fourth story window was met with loud cheers from the crowd gathered below.

Although Parisians are coming together in this tough time to show solidarity, the whole city still sits on edge while the last attacker remains at large. On Sunday evening at Place de la République, a loud noise that turned out to be a firecracker, triggered a panic among the mourning crowd. Hundreds started running in all directions, emptying the square in under two minutes. In all the commotion, one man slipped and fell on to the candles placed as tribute to the victims. Cafes in the area closed doors and patrons hid under tables. Police in military style gear were running through the plaza and setting up in front of the large monument in the middle, trigger fingers ready. The amazing part is that after it was determined to be a false alarm, hundreds filed back in to the square to continue their mourning and show that they were not afraid.

Artist Jean Jullien, who created the viral peace for Paris image consisting of the universal peace sign inscribed with the Eiffel tower had this to say about the aftermath of the attacks, per Time: “I can just say that in all this horror there’s something positive. That people are coming together in a sense of unity and peace.” There were no political party divisions or groups blaming one another in the square; just a sense that we are all one humanity. Sometimes the worst brings out the best.


If you didn’t travel for the food, did you really travel at all?


Don’t read this on an empty stomach! Cathryn ate her way through Nice and her Toussaint break.

Originally posted on ...the rest is just stuff:

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then this is the longest post yet about my recent adventure to Nice, Monte Carlo, and Antibes during the “Vacances de la Toussaint.”

IMG_5133 A stormy arrival in Nice

IMG_5136 Complete with a rainy walk around Vieille Ville, Nice

IMG_5135 Palais de Justice

20151028_185538_001 Socca at Chez Pipo, what happens when you turn chickpeas into crepe form. A local speciality in Nice

IMG_5147 Sometimes the sun tries but the clouds are just too much

IMG_5142 Fenocchio, a local glacier since 1966 in Nice

IMG_5143 2 of the 94 flavors– Fleur de Lait and Speculoos

IMG_5150 A stormy night on the beach

20151029_110234 La Promenade des Anglais and what looks like a new city with the sun shining!

20151029_110340 Perfect morning for a little run by the beach. Although “beach” is a generous term if you’ve seen the white sand beaches of other places in the world

IMG_5164 La promenade du Paillon and where you…

View original 728 more words

What’s the worst thing that can happen?


Cathryn, an M&T student studying abroad in Grenoble, takes a run around the lake city of Annecy.

Originally posted on ...the rest is just stuff:

No, really, what’s the worst thing that can happen in your life?

But actually, what is something that you don’t think you could recover from if it happened?

I’ve learned it’s all relative. It’s relative to the story of your life, the relationships you have, and the experiences you value (among other things). You can’t judge anyone else’s idea of the worst thing that can happen because honestly, you have no idea what someone else has lived through when you meet them (you know that whole walk a mile in their shoes saying).

Unfortunately, there are also the moments that change your “worst thing scale” in an instant. Failing a class or not getting that top internship are no longer the worst things that can happen in life. You learn who and what matters in life. In the end, the most important things you learn are to love your family…

View original 504 more words

Rentrée scolaire

Originally posted on ...the rest is just stuff:

It’s a crazy, beautiful life when the beginning of the lasts– the last first day of class– happens in France. I didn’t actually realize that until now because my mind has been analyzing the differences between what I’ve been used to for the past 12 years in class and the new environment at Phelma (the school at Grenoble INP that I’m enrolled in for the semester). Here are the results of the scribbles of thoughts throughout my notes from the past two weeks of class:

  1. Class isn’t actually quiet: During my first few classes, it was incredibly difficult to concentrate on what the professor was saying because of this constant talking (without an attempt to whisper) in the background. It’s already difficult to decode biochemistry and image processing in French-English, let’s not add another challenge!  Professors also never comment on the background noise which I find very odd.
  2. Environmentally…

View original 697 more words

Finding the familiar


Cathryn posts about reconnecting with a favorite past time in Grenoble, France.

Originally posted on ...the rest is just stuff:

Even in a new country, a new school,  and a new city,  there’s something that keeps driving me back to the familiar, to what I know.  No,  it’s not homesickness (can you be home sick if you haven’t had a home for the past three years?).  It’s also not being reluctant to try new things. It’s actually because of the my diverse experiences that I find myself looking for the things that bring back memories. I know what I want and I know what makes me happy so that’s exactly what I do.

IMG_5020 Tremplin de saut olympique– Quite the view from the top of a ski jump that was used when Grenoble hosted the Olympics. There are a lot of reminders of the Olympic past throughout the city

IMG_5001 A school in the town where our hike started– Saint-Nizier-du-Moucherotte

Days at the barn: I may have taken a break from riding…

View original 890 more words

Structural Violence in Zwelethemba


Grace Chang is studying abroad through the SIT IHP: Health and Community Program. She shared her post with us about her experience living with a host family in a township in South Africa.

Originally posted on My Postcards Home:

So far, Zwelethemba has been my favorite place we have lived; it also has been my least favorite. This contradictory feeling is hard for me to explain. On an individual level I felt most connected to my homestay family in Zwelethemba than any other. Mama Nondumiso accepted Ola and me with her large bear hugs and gentle, low laugh. But moving outside my welcoming home inside the township’s neighborhood I felt a deep sadness and, even regretfulness, for the situations inside the community. Reflecting now, I think I felt so disheartened by the absolute, historical, and unchanging structural violence that constrained the people I grew to love.

IMG_4913 Our first view of Zwelethemba

Zwelethemba’s history is tied with the apartheid racist regime. During the apartheid area, Zwelethemba formed as a “black only” area to provide a labor force to the “white only” nearby town of Worcester. While, “white only” and “black…

View original 879 more words