Okay, well I guess I'll be the first Latitudes student to upload a post, so here it goes.

I chose for my volunteer placement to help out in a locally owned and operated Bed and Breakfast, Landhotel Bierhausle, in
the VERY small "town" of Altglashutten. It is situated in the heart of the Schwarzwald (The Black Forest) very close to the
borders with France and Switzerland. I arrived here at the end of January, and after a month and a half or so I couldn't
be happier with my decision! Alex and Thomas, the owners of the B&B, have been incredibly nice, accommodating, and just fun
people to work for. Even though my job basically consists of cleaning the dishes, vacuuming/mopping, and just general
unexciting restaurant cleaning with a little food preparation thrown in, I still love working here and the time has flown
by!

Apart from working, on my time off I have gone for loads of nature walks to frozen lakes and waterfall, threw the woods, up
small mountains and just around this beautiful area. I have also learned how to cross country ski, took a nice relaxing trip
to a local indoor pool and day spa, have taken day trips to the towns of Freiburg and Strasbourg, France and have taken
multi-day trips to Munich and now Heidelberg (which is where I am posting this from)! Needless to say, I haven't been bored
at all. Also now that the weather is warming up a bit, I have been going for incredibly scenic bike rides threw other small
villages and towns nearby.

My plan is to stay here until the end of the month and then off to Paris to see my family! They are flying out to meet me,
and we are renting an apartment in the city for a few days. After that, I am heading to another family-run B&B in the south
of France, in a small town called Ceret. After my stay there I have planned a 10-day, 400 km, coastal bike trip from
Marseille, France to Genoa, Italy! I am beyond excited for this, and after that I still have two more weeks of traveling
before I have to head back to Frankfurt for my flight home.

This trip has been amazing in so many ways. Obviously I have seen and done crazy things, with crazier things on the way,
but it has been significant in more ways than just that. I have learned how to independently travel, manage my money, 
deal with loneliness, appreciate everything, and most of all I think I have gotten much better at Greta's motto,
"Be Here Now". I didn't know what this trip had in store for me, especially after having such a great first semester
(Shout out to FANZ-Hongi 2k11!) but it has been so great that I find it hard to describe. I would also like to give a
shout out to the whole Carpe Diem team because I think I can safely say that this past year has been the best year of my
life to date...so thank you!

I think that is a long enough blog entry, even though I only skimmed the surface of my experience so far. I will try to
post another one after I have done some more crazy things, and hopefully I can survive the bike trip because I don't
think I mentioned but I am doing it solo! That's all for now. Love and miss you family! See you in a couple weeks!
Auf Wiedersehen! I hope this was a good first entry. 

-Matt Schafer