Friday, July 22, 2011

ciao. au revoir. farewell. peace out.

I’m determined to life a more enriched, fulfilling life by surrounding myself with the good and the beautiful and to made every place better than they way I found it, and to make every person better by having met me.
This experience has completely inspired me.
I want to take long walks and enjoy the beauty all around me. I want to go out and do things and try things! I want to eat picnic lunches at the park on Sunday. I want to dress up nice on occasion. I want to write beautiful words that make people stop and reread because they felt something. I want to read wonderful books. I want to be brave. I want to cook and eat good, healthy food. I want to be the very best person I can be. I want to try wearing lipstick without looking like a clown. I want to take up tennis. I want to write more.
I am just excited for all the new, unknown adventures before me. I think this trip has re-installed my sense of adventure and curiosity and love for awesomeness.
This was an experience to be treasured forever, to reminisce about forever. 
To remember how I felt when I stepped off the metro and saw the Colusseum across the street.
Or saw the city of Florence spread out below me, the Duomo rising above the red roofs and feeling absolutely invincible.
Or laughing with new friends as we ran away from footless pigeons and wondering how people can become friends so easily and quickly.
Reuniting with my old friend London, the city of my heart and feeling that sense of familiarity that I love so much.
Walking into a cathedral and feeling such an overwhelming sense of awe and reverence. Every time.
And falling in love with Paris,what with the stained glass, the crepes, and the unique vibe of classy, yet trendy elegance.
Yes, I will always look back with deep appreciation and fondness for what I have learned, seen, and changed from my experience here in Europe this summer.

ps. thanks for reading through this adventure. you can find my regular blog here.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

keeping it real, tunbridge wells style.

The rest of the week with Sian-Amy and her family consisted of shopping, walks, building forts, and being English.
So, in a word, it was awesome.
josh, the seminary grad, being so righteous.

And then I flew home, made friends with an attractive English Olympic swimmer on the way, flew some more, got the "Welcome home, Miss," from Passport Control upon landing in the USA.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


Getting from Paris back over to England was a wee bit tricky because England did not want to let me in. But I did get in, finally, and, after a quick train ride under the Channel (what the what. it still blows my mind.) I was back in merry old England, this time with my friend and roommate Sian-Amy, who was home for a summer holiday, as she would say.
So, I stayed at her home, courtesy of her lovely family, and partied it up, England-style. Our first adventure, was an excursion to Brighton. Plus a birthday cake.

the rolling zones? with the uk's #1 mick jagger look-alike? yes. yes, please.

it was pure carnage after the seagulls got ahold of our fish & chips containers.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

au revoir, paris

On our last night together in Paris, we, as a group, ate crepes and then went on a boat cruise on the Seine, just as twilight was coming on and Paris was becoming the City of Lights. We reminisced, we laughed, we danced, we sang, we took pictures, we breathed in the city we came to know and love, and said our final farewells to the city of art, the city of lights, the city of love; the city of Paris.

“There is never any ending to Paris, and the memory of each person who has lived in it differs from that of any other. Paris was always worth it, and you received return for whatever you brought to it…”
Ernest Hemingway, in A Moveable Feast

Monday, July 18, 2011

top night

One of my favorite parts of being in any big city is how the city looks at night. 
Almost always, it's more magical.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

how to turn twenty-two

The best way to have a birthday, in my opinion, is to have in a European country. I know that my birthday was more than a month ago, but since I'm just catching you up, I'm telling you about my birthday in France. The birthday began with a visit to the Musee Orangerie, where the Monet's giant water lilies paintings are housed, along with other art, mostly from the late 19th century though the 1930ish ish.

And then we boarded our metro which took us straight to...

I told you it was an awesome birthday.
We spend most of the day there, fighting through the crowds on the inside of the palace and then exploring the acres and acres and acres and acres of gardens.

Then we made the best decision of our lives.
We rented rowboats and rowed on the grand canal of Versailles.

It gets better, too.
Because at the end of the grounds at Versailles, there is a little village that Marie Antoinette had built so that she could go there, dress up like a peasant, and escape the stresses of palace life. And this little village that she commissioned was pretty sure Belle's little town from Beauty & the Beast. Pretty sure.

That is what it's like to be twenty-two in France.