Emma’s Abroad Journal Compilation

messy thoughts

Emma is the editor & creator (and occasionally writer) for The Messy Heads. She enjoys yellow curry, print media, and singing to herself.

MY JOURNALS are just as scattered as my thoughts.. When I was abroad I kept writing on anything that was closest to me, in my phone, typed in Microsoft word, doodled in my German textbook, in my moleskin that is now covered in potato grease. One day I will be able to stick to just one journaling medium, but for now enjoy the mish-mosh that is my musings while I was abroad.


District 7 Journal Entry, Typed as an Email*

District 7 of Vienna reminds me of Seattle in a lot of ways. Couples walk by with young children in striped overalls and bowl cuts. Everyone is wearing something vintage. I have spotted many brightly painted bikes cruising the streets. People pass by with sunglasses and massive headphones on, and I am no longer homesick.

I have spent hours popping in and out of shops that line  Burgasse, Kirchengasse, and the neighboring streets. Psychic shops, crystal stores, vintage after vintage, plethora of vegan restaurants, metaphysical stores, indian stores, an all vegan sushi restaurant, and other such oddities. It is like a treasure trove of gemstones all lined up in a row. While I admire each for its own personality, I have three favorite spots in district seven I return to on a weekly basis.

One is a vintage store owned by a man who looked like he hopped in a time machine. Perfectly combed, razor sharp edged bowl cut. He adorned eye makeup and dressed in strictly primary colors and block patterns. At this store I sorted through the racks while he sat behind his neon orange counter with a permanent smile stuck on his goofy face. I found a pair of corduroy striped pants that fit like they were made for me for just 15 euro.

Another store that is a staple for me in this district is Veganista ice cream. I have never been to a place like this, so when a friend from my group took me there I was practically skipping the entire way. I was not disappointed, with over 20 amazing flavors to choose from ranging from brownie to basil. I settled on a cookies and cream flavor, and since my first time have tried 8 other flavors and completely filled my punch card twice.

The last place in district 7 that I love to go to is actually unnamed. It is right by a yellow church, tucked in the corner. It is half vintage shop and half little cafe. The walls are faded white and the floor is a beaten up dark purple brown tone. All of the furniture is different but somehow harmonizes in a palette of velvet, burgundy, gold, tans, oranges, jades, creams, and red patterned rugs. There is a really cute guy that works there as well that helps Haley & I with our german homework and brings us coffee and tea. It is the perfect place to sit after class and get chips and guacamole and some caffeine and listen to their odd combination of traditional mexican music and twangy 20s songs.


April 28

India told me yesterday that when her mom was traveling the world she kept a journal & wrote about all of her amazing adventures. I realized I have the chance to do that as well, because while everything is so accessible to me right now, one day it will be a distant memory.

Today we took the U1 (red line) two stops to Karlzplaz station & to IKI. I have Doris as my teacher & I love her so much! She reminds me a bit of my grandma. She has a stuffed beaver she calls “Bebe” which we throw around the room to answer questions. On breaks I fill my mug up with instant coffee & sugar and then return to my table to sit with Helena & Juan.

After class, me, Haley , Alaura, & Emily went to the Naschmarkt. We got 15 falafel & I got a salad box from the juice place next door. The lady taught me “gurken” which means cucumber. Yumm.

Then I came home and napped before art class with Fredericka. Today we examined Renaissance art from Norway to Austria during the time of the Hapsburgs. Fredericka is so good at making you notice all the details of a painting: the eye flow, the color, the bite marks on bread, dirty feet, and the subtle nuances of every corner, gaze, and religious symbol.

My favorite painting from today was of Eros, or Aphrodite’s child. It is unclear in this painting if the cupid is a boy or a girl because he is so young with lovely curly hair. We catch the cupid sharpening his bow, he looks at us as if to say “just you wait, you are next.” Emerald wings sprout from his back and under his legs in the background, you see a naughty cherub boy forcibly making a little angel touch cupid’s leg. Her hand is red and she grimaces in pain.

Love hurts.

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Life & Death In Munich, Turned in as a class assignment*

I have always had a fascination with cemeteries. No matter what race, religion, or economic class, we all end up here one day. In a weird way it’s comforting to know something solid about what happens after we die: we end up here. One day we will all be lying beneath beautiful engraved rocks; six feet under earth and dirt.

Someone told me once that when we die, we really die twice, once when our soul leaves our body and the second time is when someone says your name for the very last time. The memory of you is just as important as the energy within you. As I pass through the South Cemetery in Munich, I say everyone’s name under my breath, to perhaps keep them alive a bit longer. Speaking their name into existence is another way of acknowledging that they mattered, and that they had an impact somehow. The South Cemetery doesn’t have one death date marked past 1910s. The people beneath the surface had their souls leave their body a long time ago. Perhaps most of their physical body is deteriorated by now, but their names are still strongly engraved on rock hovering above.

The other notable thing about South Cemetery is that it is teeming with life. The space is almost more garden than it is cemetery. Plants spill out from behind tombstones. The ground is thick with trees, probably three four trees for every person buried here. Since it is spring there are daisies and dandelions sprinkled about the entire plot. Some headstones have been completely overtaken by ivy. I count tons of squirrels scampering up trees and even some groundhogs just peeking out for spring. Maybe it is the time of year, but it feels very vibrant and uplifting to walk through the dirt paths.

I finished the last licks of my strawberry ice cream and mispronouncing a few more names. As I make way for the exit gate, the sun sets a beautiful pink and purple tones and I feel relaxed. It is a shame how cemeteries are so often associated with fear, gloominess, and thick fog. The South Munich Cemeteries is so far from that. I decide that this is not a cemetery after all, but a lovely Bavarian park, just with some permanent visitors.


Sunday, April 26*

Currently lounging in a lush green park in Vienna that used to be the Hapsburg’s hunting grounds. I needed a little lazy day. The grass is speckled with daisies & sunlight, cirrus clouds twist & dance above me and I am playing Dirty Heads on the speaker system.

Last night we went to Prater park. I rode a roller coaster that had me laughing so hard. No matter how many roller coasters I have gone on, I always get nervous when I am climbing to the top, chain huffing, cars lurching forward, my heart is always pounding in my throat and every atom in me says to stop and get off. It is like tricking my brain into thinking I am going to die, so I crumble into a puddle of adrenaline and hysterical laughter. After I rode a chair swing ride that went up probably 20 stories high. I will never ride that again. You depend on four measly chains to keep you attached. I was too paranoid to enjoy the neon views. Then we went dancing at this completely over-the-top club. Smoke so thick you couldn’t see an outstretched hand, laser shoes, exploding confetti, and songs that built for two minutes before they dropped. I loved it….


Musings Sitting in My Favorite Cafe in District 7*

Currently sitting in a very Seattle cafe. More Seattle than Seattle It is half thrift shop & half restaurant. The walls are faded white & the floor is beat up dark purpley brown. All the furniture is different but somehow harmonizes in a palette of velvet, burgundy, gold, tans, oranges, jades, creams, almost blacks, and rugs.

It is one of those perfect afternoons. We wandered around district 6/7 right by the museums. The streets are filled with thrift stores, metaphysical stores, indian stores, crystal shops, and a plethora of vegan restaurants. An all vegan sushi place,  ice cream place. 


Cafes Tucked Away, Typed as an Email

Thursday night at 10 pm I found myself in Kleines Café. It is a small, olive green colored Bohemian building that sits on Franzikanerplatz. The setting outside of the café is one of the best things about it. The moonlight bounces off the jumbled cobblestone and low murmur of the fountain pinpoints the center of the square. The Franciscan Church sits adjacent to the Café. At night you can hear the low hum of the organ and sense the wonderment of people as they flow in the church, drawn by the melodies, and flow out with holy water tapped on their brow. Beside that church is the Monastery, dressed in very Italian style décor. The collection of such beautiful buildings on this small square is like finding a palm sized jewelry box filled with four or five beautiful gems.

I tucked into Kleines café and was overcome with an aura of burgundy. I feel that some places emanate a certain color, and this place to me embodies the color of wines, European passports, and lipstick stains. Light is dim, the only thing illuminating this small space are a series of old light bulbs on the walls. Every piece of furniture is made of some variation of dark wood. Just 20 people put the room at this capacity, and we are lucky to even snag seats.

Everyone sits in compact spaces chatting away in different languages. As I settle into my seat, streams of Spanish flow from the couple seated beside me through my right ear, Kelly chatters away in English through my left, and Germanic murmur settles over the entire café. Cigar smoke swirls from a laughing party of four in the corner. Some movements and moments inside the café remind me of scenes from The Third Man: a certain degree of mystery accompanied by lust.

I order an espresso, which promptly arrives on a silver platter. After that cup is empty, I order a Chardonnay. Kelly and I sit and chat in this nest for hours. Once we realize that our eyelids are getting heavy, it is 2 am. Kleines café is still pulsing with energy and doesn’t look like it is going to close anytime soon. There has been no change in the people sitting around us, they were sucked into the same time warp we were. A space where time washes over you like a wave and you can sit for hours sipping on coffee or wine and let the burgundy become you


Notes on a page of The Interpretation of Dreams by Freud & other Thoughts

I would die for them, I really would. I have a lot of people in my life I would die for, which is both scary and makes me so lucky. India, Sara, Andrew, mom, Max, Savannah, Log..

Also other random thoughts: I love being Vegan. It makes so much sense to me & truly makes me a better person. I can lie my head down at night and know that I abstained from violence towards fellow earthlings. Another thought: I feel a big shift in my soul coming on. I can feel my eyes begin to open and I feel like this summer I will achieve so much clarity. I think that is also why I am struggling with my style lately. India has definitely found her groove and when you wear something that complements your aura you truly shine. I don’t think I am completely dressing like myself at the moment because I have been discovering myself more lately…

*Check out footage of this event on my personal youtube 

stay messy


  1. It’s so interesting to read about all your adventures! You’re truly a gifted writer. I really enjoy these specific kind of posts and it inspires me to start writing a journal as well, although my life is not nearly as interesting as yours yet. I hope to travel after graduation as well 🙂


  2. This was so therapeutic to read and has motivated to write in my diary once more :’) Please do more of these <3

  3. this is probably my favorite post yet. your blog honestly makes me more positive and happy. I’ve been feeling the urge to write a lot more since finding your blog. you truly inspire me emma

  4. Lynn says

    its a great post! going to Austria for vacation in Autumn. Cant wait!

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