Tag Archives: Germany

BR: All the Light We Cannot See

Reading my way through Popsugar’s 2016 Book Challenge.


Category: A Book Set In Europe


All the Light We Cannot See – Anthony Doerr (530 pages)


My Rating: ★★★★★

Favorite Line: Open your eyes and see what you can with them before they close forever.


Set in France and Germany during World War II and the few years leading up to it, this story tells the story of two children, an orphan boy in Hitler Youth, and a blind Parisian girl who flees from occupied France to the coast with her father.

I read this book shortly after reading The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, which had quickly become my favorite WWII based fiction, but this book challenged that ranking from page one.

Full of breathtaking passages and deep emotional scenes, All the Light we Cannot See hooks you to the two main characters, forcing you to embrace their story as if it were your own.

You can’t help but hurt for Werner, the Germany boy, as he goes through Hitler Youth. You watch his mind slowly change from the young innocent boy who used to listen to French broadcasts with his sister from the attic of their orphanage, to a young soldier locating enemy spies and ignoring any opposition he had in his mind. Even while he abandons his beliefs for those of his commanders, you never fully abandon your belief in him, because after all, He was just a boy. They all were. Even the largest of them.

Marie-Laure, a blind French girl, had to flee Paris with her father to the coastal town of Saint-Malo to stay with her wacky, secluded uncle. This bold girl, encouraged by her spirited father’s puzzles and her braille books, especially Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne, finds joy and courage everyday and helping those around her find their own.

Marie-Laure, despite her blindness, and the disappearance of her father, remains the true light of this book. Her determination never ceases and her cleverness only grows as the war goes on.

When I lost my sight, Werner, people said I was brave. When my father left, people said I was brave. But it is not bravery; I have no choice. I wake up and live my life. Don’t you do the same?

The book moves toward the inevitable meeting of our two protagonists in a beautifully written narrative with fun (yes, fun, even in a book about WWII) subplots, but yet in many places it will break your heart.


Anthony Doerr won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for fiction, along with several other awards for All the Light We Cannot See. Some other works by Doerr include: The Shell Collector (2001), Memory Wall (2010), About Grace (2004), and The Snake Handler (2011).


365 Days of Joy: Week 20, 21 and 22

I’ve decided to do 365 days of joy this year (inspired by the wonderful Raquel Kato, author of the Story of a Rose blog).  Some posts my be long, some may be only a sentence, but the important thing is finding joy in your everyday life, because there are so many things to be joyful about, and I tend to forget that. I’ll be posting one every week, and hopefully, along with joy, I can gain a little consistency in my life. 😉 Now the consistency thing failed due to my week long trip and my procrastination problem, so here we go, week 20, 21 and 22!

*This is my fourth time trying to write this stupid post and every time it hasn’t saved, therefore, I’m going to do a big “END OF MAY” post and then call it good. Next week I will get back to doing the dates and go day by day. 


The end of May brought so many joyful memories. I got to travel from Munich to Salzburg, Salzburg to Vienna, and Vienna to Prague. It was a long trip, but it was so amazing. It was my longest trip I have ever taken alone, but it really didn’t feel like I was by myself. I met amazing people, including a cousin of mine in Munich and his family, and a lady in Vienna who is about to be elected into the Austrian Parliament. Everyone I met and stayed with were so friendly and they made my trip a great experience. It’s hard to say which city was my favorite. Munich was full of life and history. Salzburg is full of natural beauty and a “small-town” atmosphere. Vienna is classy and grand. And Prague is Bohemian and magical. Sometimes when you travel all the cities mesh together, but the nice thing about this trip was that each city was so different that they remain separate trips in my memory.


Even though my trip was so amazing, coming back to the Netherlands was so refreshing. I realized how much I’m going to miss these kids when I have to leave them for more than just a week. It will be such a hard goodbye when I have to leave this family in July. But for now, I am going to enjoy this last month and pull as much joy out of it as I can!

Pax ex,


Also, you can check out my Bavarian blog here: https://goingdutchtravels.wordpress.com/2015/05/28/bavaria-baby/

The others are on their way!

365 Days of Joy: Week 8

I’ve decided to do 365 days of joy this year (inspired by the wonderful Raquel Kato).  Some posts my be long, some may be only a sentence, but the important thing is finding joy in your everyday life, because there are so many things to be joyful about, and I tend to forget that. I’ll be posting one every Wednesday, and hopefully I can stay consistent with this. So here we go, week 8!

adventure is out thereI didn’t actually go on any adventures this week, but I planned for a lot of future adventures, which made this week very exciting.


Today the kids and I spent an over an hour watching a tree get cut down. This isn’t usually my idea of fun, but when it occupies the kids attention for that long, I’m not going to complain. Also, the kids would cheer every time a piece of the tree would fall down, and it was adorable.


Friday the parents were gone all day, so I had the kids to myself the entire day, which adds a little extra chaos to an already chaotic house, but thankfully they slept until 10 a.m. giving me time to get things ready for the day. And Aunt Jean came in the afternoon, which always makes for a fun time.


WHOO!!! Mary decided on the dates to come visit me!!!!! I’m so excited! She will be here mid-April for a week, and I’m thinking that will be a perfect time to visit London!


As lame as it sounds my joy came from taking a long, glorious nap. Also, Aunt Audrey and Uncle Greg came for dinner with their two boys and having a full house makes for hilarious conversation and fun chaos. Oh and I got the cutest Valentines day card from my God Baby, AvaMarie, and some wonderful pictures of my favorite Colorado family! I miss the Katos so much!


Leila told me I get a week off in May to explore South Germany, Austria, and the Czech Republic–let the planning begin!  I’m going to try to plan it so I can see Munich, Salzburg, Vienna, Bratislava, and Prague. It’s going to be difficult and I might have to cut one or two of them, but I’m going to try!


Listened to Bach while doing my Bible study “homework”–I’ve heard lots of different renditions of his work, but I think I’ve found that the Philadelphia Orchestra is my favorite. It’s just lovely.


Well, I was hoping my joy of the day would come from Kilty having her baby, but the kid is being super stubborn. I tried to motivate him/her the best ways I could, but it’s hard from across an ocean, and I don’t think Kilty really listened to all my “labor” songs I sent her. I don’t think she thought “Push It” by Salt n’ Pepa would actually help… but what I did do is publish my Italy Part II blog! Yay for me! So please check it out by clicking here. It covers my trip to St. Peter’s Basilica, the Vatican Museum, and Norcia, the birthplace of St. Benedict and St. Scholastica.

Well, that’s my week, it’s a little bland with no pictures, but overall it was a good one. This upcoming weekend I’m going to Brugge, Belgium, so get ready for pictures!

Pax Ex!