Thursday, November 24, 2011

New Travels

As always, I am in the search of an amazing trip to a foreign place. One of my life goals is to visit all 7 continents before I turn 50. Well, this upcoming summer I have the opportunity to visit TWO new continents: Africa & Asia. 

That's right, I'm traveling to South Africa (Stallenbosh, in particular) to study for 6 weeks! I get to participate in two service-learning courses (shout out to the Office of Service-Learning!) and I'll get to work with children in the creches (mini daycares) in the neighboring community of Kayamandi. Our group will visit several tourist attractions in South Africa, and we get to go on a SAFARI!!! in Botswana & we also get to visit Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe! I am beyond excited for this trip & I can't wait for May to get here so I'll be able to jump on a plane across the Atlantic once again!

My next trip (about 10 or 11 days after I return from South Africa) will be to the amazing country of Indonesia! I am now working with the organization CISV as an adult leader (yeah, I'm now considered an adult.. Which is terrifying!) for their Village program. I'll be accompanying four 11 year old children across the Pacific to Krakatau, Indonesia for 4 whole weeks. My delegates (2 boys and 2 girls) are amazing children and I cannot wait to watch them grow and encounter the world around them. I'll be posting updates as they come =)  

Monday, September 26, 2011

Sunday's Sentiments

I feel so...Thankful.
Today was much needed. 

The afternoon was spent driving through the Georgian countryside, next to one of my life-long best friends. 

Although we no longer have sleep overs every Saturday, and go months without speaking due to conflicting schedules and time zones...
whenever we are reunited, it's just like old times.  

She always reminds me to never regret, and always push forward.
I wonder if she'll ever know how much she truly means to me. 

So today, I feel thankful. 
Thankful for the friendships that mean the world, and that withstand the tests of time.
Thankful to know that someone, somewhere, will always believe in me.
Thankful that we've come this far
and we still have somewhere to call home.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Fresh Start; New Beginnings

Travelling this summer inspired me to take my time, relax, and enjoy life. Hopefully this blog will provide an outlet to this crazy thing we call life.

At home in Athens.

The hustle and bustle of Oxford, England proved to be too much fun to allow time for blogging. 

Here are a few highlights:
-sweet smelling lawns & bright flowers
-walking everywhere: the joys of not using a car for 3 months
-summer romances/flings/friends
-Ireland's countryside
-Beach trips to Spain with girlfriends
-"lock-down-pizza-party" and the joy of friendship
-kebab runs at 3 am
-new people opening new perspectives on life
-writing 10 page papers in under 4 hours
-bonding over common law and international conflict
-"The title of my paper will be: 'Not My Problem' "
-biking around Oxford
-the smell of library books
-the cellar, kings arms, bridge, lava ignite
-nail polish parties & gossip time
-not sleeping
-tea time with biscuits and digestives

There are so many things I could put on this list. This summer was the most eye-opening, soul-searching, self-finding experience of my life. My perspective has changed about the world, relationships, life in general. 

Maybe I'm finally learning how to relax. Probably not. 

All I know is that my travels through France and especially living and travelling around England was the best decision of my life. I no longer know what I want to do, but I'm willing to take the time to find out.

The best is yet to come.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Perambulating through England

So this whole "blogging about my travels" really isn't working out for me.. Especially in my new home (for 6 weeks), Trinity College of Oxford University. Our weeks are full of 'all-nighters' and studying, so it's been hard to update my blog. I promise that this Thursday I will write many posts (including pictures!) of my adventures since my last post, as well as my adventures through Spain and so far through England. Now I'm off to write a 1500 word essay critiquing a Justice's decision in a British Common Law criminal case.. whoo! (I must say, I feel really smart saying that..) Tootaloo!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Life as a Parisian

Monday June 20, 2011: Today I went shopping and got some awesome shoes and a really pretty dress. Sadly I do not have pictures of my purchases to post here. In the evening our group of friends went along the Seine to watch the boats go by and drink some wine. It was a really pleasant evening and we had many laughs. 

Tuesday June 21, 2011: Today was the Fete de la Musique! Basically, this is a HUGE music festival held throughout France to celebrate all different types of music. We took the metro into downtown Paris and started at the St. Michel fountain for the night. There were African drummers and a crazy break dancer in front of the fountain. 

As you can see from these pictures, he was ridiculous.
After watching the dancer and drummers, we walked farther looking for a jazz band. Alas, we couldn't find the jazz band so we walked along the Seine for a little while and came across  a group of guys playing the cello, guitar, violin, and occasionally a little flute and harmonica. The sun was setting over the river and the music was phenomenal. This was probably one of my favorite nights in Paris so far. 

Our wonderful view from the Seine

Wednesday June 22, 2011: Today was the start of the HUGE Soldes (SALES!!) but considering I did my shopping earlier in the trip, I did not go to get anything. Instead Dr. Herod (my professor for Comparative Politics) took a group of students to the Opera House and to a few other sights along the way. We got to walk down the chicest street in Paris where all of the couture designers have their stores (waaaay out of my price range, probably forever). It was nice to get to visit the Opera house with Dr. Herod because he could tell us all about the history and why it was built and the significance of everything in the rooms. 
This was toppled in one of the revolutions

The beautiful OPERA!!

Me in front of the Grand Hall

Kat & me in one of the waiting rooms
Mosaic Ceiling of the Opera House

The Obelisk 
Once we were done at the Opera House, Kat got a call from Tierney and a few other people who were going to visit Montmartre where we could go souvenir shopping, see the beautiful view of Paris, and the amazing Sacre Coeur Basilica (Basilica of the Sacred Heart). This Basilica has had someone praying at it, day and night, non-stop for the bast 125 years. It was amazing to see and to know that no matter what time of day, someone is praying to the Lord. It's an amazing sight to behold. We were so lucky to go on a day where it was sunny and blue skies because earlier that morning it was dreary and rainy. The pictures will show how amazing this church really is. 
View of Paris

Sacre Coeur

The inside was even more beautiful. No pictures allowed =(
After visiting Sacre Coeur we walked around Montmartre buying souvenirs for our family and friends and then decided to find the Moulin Rouge. It was a successful venture and we all got pictures in front of one of the more saucier landmarks in Paris. On the way to Moulin Rouge we passed street art in a vacant lot and also a lot of little cafes and shops specializing in fish, cheese or pastries. It was a truly french area and it's probably one of my favorite places in Paris.

Me, Bri and Tierney in front of the Moulin Rouge

The art in the vacant lot

Fresh fish and other yummy stuff

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


So on Sunday, June 19 my friends Kat, Leah, Morgan, Meagan and I went to see Versailles. We waited in a SUPER long line (it snaked around about 3 times) for about 2 hours before we could even get into the palace. Once we were inside, we got to take a guided tour (audio guides let us go at our own pace) of the palace and then we went out into the gardens to walk around and see the fountain music spectacular thing. I'll let the pictures speak for themselves. 

We decided to get a work out in while waiting in line

All the girls!

The Chapel

The Queen's bed

The Three Amigos in front of Lady America

The fountains were beyond beautiful

After we got back to St. Johns, we went to the Marais to get the BEST falafels ever. This time I took a picture to commemorate the experience.

Israeli beers


Bri gives the thumbs up!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Loire Valley and des Chateaux

This weekend we got to go to the Loire Valley to see some Chateaux with our entire study abroad group. We first went to Chateau de Blois. It was a very boring tour, but Blois itself was a cute little town!
Spiral Staircase Chateau de Blois

Me, Park and Bri overlooking Blois

Queen Katherine and her loyal man-slave Sean


Blois again

Gardens in Blois

After leaving Blois, we travelled to the Chateau de Chenonceau, about 45 minutes away. This chateau was MUCH more exciting than the first one, and each room had BEAUTIFUL flower arrangements. It was home to Catherine de Medici at one time, which is pretty interesting. We have a couple of fraternity gentlemen (Park & Asa) on our trip and they have been making "frat" jokes the entire time. It's hilarious, but the best one so far is when they call the "chateau" a "Frateau". I guess it is true that our sorority and fraternity houses are like Southern "Chateaux" in the states. 

Chateau de Chenonceau

Gardens of Chenonceau

Bridge of Chenonceau

Beautiful flower arrangements

Park showing us the view from the 'frateau' de SAE
After the Chateaux of the day, we got a "surprise" which was (drumroll, please).... WINE TASTING!!!! We went to a local winery and learned how they made the wines and then got to try quite a few. Not only did we taste White, Rose, Red and Sparkling wine, we also got to try three different types of local goat cheese. I normally am not a huge fan of goat cheese, but this stuff was just about the best cheese I've ever tasted! I ate more cheese & bread than I drank wine! 

The group touring the winery

A True Wine & Cheese Party
After the wine & cheese tasting, we went to the Chateau de Razay (remember this Mom & Dad, this is where I'm getting married) which is a beautiful farm chateau in the Loire region. The owners have SO many animals, here's a list of a few: llamas, emu, pigs, horses, bison, deer, golden retrievers, and geese. They used to own a white peacock, but it passed away earlier this summer. Sadly my photo uploader is not reading some of the pictures from this part of the trip, so I will try again tomorrow to upload them and finish our tour of the Loire valley.

Trust me-- the last chateau we saw deserves its own private post.