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Gap Year Abroad

19 posts categorized "Kira Farley"

12/10/2015

SNOW MY GOD!!!

When I say that this past weekend was life changing, I mean it. I, the girl from Georgia, got to experience real fluffy/pure/fresh/freezing snow. This photo about sums it up:

IMG_1405

As stupid as this sounds, my first reaction (besides throwing myself into the first pile of glorious white heaven that I saw) was "Wow...snow is so cold." which quickly dissolved into "TOO COLD! SOS!"
As my friends here in Paris could tell you, the terror of being in weather below zero degrees Celsius consumed my entire being for the week before we landed in Milan, Italy. Living in the south, I don't do cold weather.  I wouldn't even consider looking at universities in the north of the United States because I hated cold weather so much. So, when I experienced my first gust of blustery winter blah...I went into shut down mode and was convinced I would die a slow and painful death by having my blood freeze. However, I eventually warmed up (physically and mentally) to the idea of anything below 10 degrees Celsius. 

The weekend was jammed full of new and exciting experiences. Here are the highlights: 

    1. The traveling. In total it was a shuttle, 2 flights, 2 four hour bus rides, one taxi ride and countless metro/RER trips (plus four rides for me on the ski lift!!! Making moves! Doing big things!). Everything went smoothly except for when we accidentally left three of my friends stranded in a middle-of-nowhere town in Italy an hour and a half from both our starting point and destination. We got them back eventually, but let's just say that all the Italian people on the bus were not surprised it was the Americans who messed up the bus schedule and didn't even try to hold back their laughter when we asked the bus driver to turn around (which he so kindly did, but at this point our friends had assumed we had left them for good and we abandoned them a second time)

IMG_1242 IMG_1305

  1. Skiing! Growing up, my mother instilled an image of the horrors of skiing into my head. I was told it was overrated, too cold and dangerous. While I understand the cold and dangerous part, skiing feels like nothing I've even done before. It's both terrifying and exhilarating. It feels like you are flying with no restraints and also hurtling down a mountain with no safe way of stopping. That was my greatest challenge, stopping. My ski instructor (who turned out to be Pinot Meynet, the Italian skier who set the record for fastest skier by going a whopping 194.384 km/h in 1975) quickly learned that I could follow him with ease, but stopping resulted in me either face-planting into the snow or crashing into him. Either way, each lesson ended with "Très bon, Kira! Mais vous devez commencer à arrêter!" (Did I mention that each lesson was IN FRENCH??) If you can imagine a bright orange object zooming (a slow zoom, but a zoom) past you releasing a high-pitched noise resembling a boiling kettle while being yelled at in French to "Arrêtez!!!", then you can understand my skiing experience. Here is proof that I was both bright orange and learned how to stop eventually.  IMG_4950 IMG_4946 (1)
  2. The people. Besides my amazing travel companions/friends...everyone we encountered treated us with warmth and respect. Not that I don't feel the love in France, but from what I have experienced, the familiarity between everyday interactions in Italy is unlike what you find in Paris. 

For being away for just a few days, coming back to Paris felt like I was finally home after weeks away. That's one of the ways that this weekend was life changing...realizing that Paris is my home. It's not just a city I am living in anymore. Ever since the attacks I have felt even more attached to this city, but seeing the lights of Paris as my plane from Milan landed and feeling the sensation of "I'm so glad I'm home" cemented Paris as a home in my heart.

To conclude, here are a few more pictures from the trip (credit to Nick Boulos who took on role as my personal photographer)

Map
We started in Milan (Milano) to Chatillon and finally to The Breuil-Cervinia Valtournenche Zermatt area

 

11/14/2015

Attack

What does one think when their is no time to think, only time to find safety. What can one do when they know that around them there are people who are suffering, bleeding, dying or already dead. What can one say about 127 deaths when 127 is no longer just a number, but the lives of innocent people.

 

I don’t want to write about the facts. I don’t want to tell you what all of the world officials said this morning. I won’t explain the details of the attacks that hit this city. I want to share my side of the night.

 

Time 22:30//Duration 1:20:00

I was sitting by the Eiffel Tower enjoying those shimmering lights that make my heart sing and talking about world peace with my French friend. We discussed how maybe if more people had inner peace, the world would be at ease. The night was fresh and free.

 

Time 23:02//Duration 1:28

“Where are you? Are you safe? There has been a terrorist attack. Two people are dead.”

My friend Caroline spoke in a low and urgent tone. I didn’t think she was joking, but I didn’t process her words. All I could do was repeat “What?” and try to form noises into words. I looked over to the friend I was with, unsure how to relay the message.

 

Time 23:04//Duration 0:43

I made my first call of the night repeating the words I had heard only minutes before...only with each call I made, the description of the attack changed: “Two are dead” “At least ten are dead” “Twenty-five dead and there are hostages”

 

Time 23:10//Duration 1:39

My host mom called. Her voice was rapid and out of breath. Her sentences were broken as she asked if I was safe. How does a mother, even a host mother, make a phone call to see if her children are alive? What about all of the mothers who made the same phone call but will never get a response. 

 

Time 23:20//Duration 3:00

My friend found wifi for his phone and after four shaky attempts, I logged into facebook. I went straight to my sister’s page. “Mad i need you to call mom and dad right now and tell them that i am safe. Please call them right now.”  I held my breath and prayed she would see it. I started to walk to find safety. I lost wifi and my only connection back home.

 

Time 23:22//Duration 8:00

We briskly walked towards the nearest apartment available to us. It was just next to the Eiffel Tower and, not wanting to risk being in the most touristy place in Paris, we had to go out of our way to avoid being caught in anything. Police and military flew by in wailing cars.

 

Time 23:33//Duration 11:59:00

I found myself in the apartment of a friend of a friend. The next few hours were spent moving from one side of the room to the other. Every 25 minutes the numbers got bigger and the calls more urgent.

“Did you understand what we said?”

The soft murmur of French had become background to me. I hadn’t understood anything that night, in fact. Too much was happening to make sense of it all.

 

The Eiffel Tower shut down. I once described it as a Parisian lady dancing alone in a spotlight for all the world to revere. Last night, there was no dance. There was nothing for the world to revere. Last night, the world only observed, riveted by the fight taking place in our city.

 

Time 11:26//Current update

I got home. I closed my front door behind me and I let out to first real deep breath I had been able to take in 12 hours. I called my host mom and then I called my real mom. I told my friends I was inside. I sat down and stared at a wall, unable to move. I made myself eat some food. Then, I began to write.

 

This post has taken me all day to finish. It isn’t my best post or the worst post, but it is the first post that hasn’t come easily and I wasn’t excited about. Usually when I write, the words flow out of my fingers like a bustling stream. This time, the stream was blocked by the debris of last night. I can’t write about the facts because I didn’t live them. I was safe. My friends were safe. However, not everyone was as lucky as us. How do you respond when someone says to you: “I just found out I lost my friend”. What can you say to someone when the story on the television becomes an all-too-real reality? You tell them that we will get through this. You mourn the past, but begin to narrow your focus towards the future. Paris is strong and Paris will rise up.

 

To the 127 lives lost, may you rest in peace.

To the injured, may your wounds heal.

To those who risked their lives in the time of need, may you wear a badge of honor.

To those who reached out to me, your love and support means more than you know.

To Parisians, may you unite despite your differences.

To the world, may we come together in support and make a change.



11/11/2015

Popping over to Naples

Q: How could anyone feel the need to take a weekend getaway when they live in Paris?

A: The getaway is in Italy.

Yesterday morning I woke up in Naples, Italy and fell asleep in Paris, France. From Thursday night to Monday morning I slept an average of four hours per night because I stayed up bonding with people in my hostel. I ate an entire pizza by myself everyday and had gelato at least once a day if not twice. The man running the hostel made us all dinner and referred to my friend and me as the Spice Girls. I trekked up an active volcano (and survived) and inspected the bodies of those caught in the eruption that devastated Pompeii in 79 AD.

The trip began with a long night of my travel partner/friend Catie and me curling up on the cold floor of the Paris Orly airport Thursday night with the hope of getting an hour or two of sleep. We arrived in Naples the next morning with sleepy eyes and rumbling tummies. All of our ailments were quickly forgotten as we devoted all of our attention to staying alive in our first cab ride of Italy. The driver, a fifty-some man who fulfilled every stereotype of an Italian, would either stop in the middle of the road to talk to a friend, slow down so a friend could walk alongside the car or lean out of the window to call to a friend. When he wasn’t catching up with old pals, he was zooming down the winding and busy roads in the center of Napoli. This first cab experience seemed to sum up the relationships you find in Naples. Everyone knows everyone else and their grandmother. Even though we only stayed for a few days, the people in Naples treated us like a friend that you would drive slowly to talk to. 

Over the next few days Catie and I found ourselves eating the best pizza in the world (literally...you can’t beat the birthplace of pizza) and visiting some of the most incredible places. For the sake of not writing too much and the fact that words cannot describe how beautiful everything was (despite popular belief, Naples is not just a gross and dirty place), I will just add some photos for all y'all to take a look at. 

**Sorry some of the photos are sideways...Something is wrong with the formatting and I can't figure out how to fix it!

12227886_918228144934126_1828730417_o(Our hostel “dad”, Giovanni)

IMG_0572(The view from atop Mount Vesuvius)

IMG_0563(Preserved body in Pompeii)

IMG_0514(National national archaeological museum)  

IMG_0505(Because I’m missing my pup)

IMG_0503(Catie won the staring contest, of course)

IMG_0483(Small street art <3)

IMG_0477(More street art)

IMG_0467(This isn’t any specific road, but almost every road looked like this: small, colorful, adorned with hanging laundry)

 

This is in a teeny-tiny chapel called Cappella Sansevero. It may be small, but it holds a few of the world's most incredible marble statues. We weren’t allowed to take photos, so enjoy these google images. (Read more about it in this blogger’s post: http://vivreaveclart.blogspot.fr/2012/12/nora-bunuels-travel-guides-vol-3.html)

  Cristo_velato(Veiled Christ by Guiseppe Sanmartino)

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(The Ceiling of the chapel)

Deceptio
(Release from Deception by Francesco Queirolo)

10/11/2015

Three weeks

Three weeks.

 

That’s how long they said it would take to feel the transition from my life back home to my life in a new and exciting city. Three weeks until I felt comfortable with my host family. Three weeks until I started missing my real family. Three weeks until I understood the metro and could walk around without using a map at every turn. Three weeks until I felt like Paris was my new home.

 

Yesterday was my three week mark and I disagree with the timeline that was set for me by CIEE. Maybe I just got lucky, but I feel like I transitioned before three week mark came. I felt comfortable with my host family one week in, understood the metro at two weeks and Paris felt like it could be home the day I arrived. I do miss my family when I  think about them, but I don’t feel like I need to go home to Atlanta any time soon.

 

In three weeks I have made friends I will have for a long time to come, if not for life. I have gone on trips using the thundering and intimidating RER trains. I have eaten a kebab every day for the last four days. I have laughed until my stomach hurt and walked until blisters formed. I have indulged in whispering conversations with random french inhabitants on the metro and I rode a bike through the winding and confusing traffic of Paris. I have stayed extra stops on the metro past my intended destination just to listen to the traveling performers and hold on to the beauty of their wailing voices as the notes of “No Woman, No Cry” swim past me delicately as though they were being painted by the artists themselves.

 

In three weeks I have fallen in love with a city and fallen into a routine of never-ending admiration for the life swirling around me. I have had my breath taken away as I stared up at one of the million beautiful buildings or the cloudless blue sky on a crisp fall day. I have bid farewell to another full day as I sat on a rooftop with friends watching the sun disappear behind the apartments of the 7th.  I have watched the lights of the Eiffel Tower illuminate with a glorious shimmer as though the tower itself is a Parisian lady dancing alone in a spotlight for all the world to revere.

 

It has been only three weeks and it has already been three weeks.

 

09/28/2015

First Weekend

Coucou!**

I have officially been in France for over a week, but in reality it feels like I have only just arrived. Despite being a newbie, I don’t feel like a complete outsider. Yes, when my friends and I ride the metro we are noticeably louder (take note, Americans...the metro is not a place to discuss last night's game or talk about funny jokes or smile or breath. All jokes aside, the metro tends to be somber unless you are riding line 1 or 4 through the center at three in the morning) and when I go to the supermarket and they ask me anything besides “voulez-vous un sac” I make quizzical faces. However, I also feel like I can go outside and walk around (at a parisian pace, of course) without looking like I just flew in from America. The RER scares me, but the Metro and bus are my two best friends. I know how to order water and make sure they give me tap water for free instead of a teeny bottle of Perrier for 5€. It’s coming slowly but surely because there is no other option when you live in a city. Sure, I could rely on my friends for language barriers and metro guidance, but working it out myself challenges me and helps me work on the obstacles I came for. That being said, I conquered my first weekend in Paris...just not actually IN Paris.

 Friday I stayed in the city with my friends. We (the 6 American CIEE students) got together and had a jolly good time. This sums up how I enjoyed my night...sitting on my friends floor in jeans and a sweatshirt eating popcorn:

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 That’s all I’ll say about that. Around 11 PM, Catie (aka controversial boyfriend) and I parted ways and went (safely, hi to all the moms and dads reading this) on an adventure. We started all the way on the right side of line 1 and rode until the Champs-Élysées stop. Along the way, we met a giddy group of Venezuelan and French students who insisted we join them in attending a club. So, we went! There was a rad DJ (Oliver Koletzki for those who care) and fun to be had by all. Sure, there were drunk people around us, but European culture differs from American in that drinking until you’re piss-drunk isn’t seen as a fun time. There are plenty of ways to have fun without seeing stars the next day.

Here’s what the club looks like:

Saturday and Sunday were the real highlight of the weekend. I went with my host sisters to meet their father and his family. Turns out I have host-step-siblings! From back to front it is: Aubertin, Luna, Alba and Lillian! Aubertin and Lillion are just as cool as Luna and Alba and we bonded right away. Aubertin is a pastry chef and made a delicious cake for our first night all together. Lillion and Luna are the same age and she’s so sweet.  

 Here is the house that the father (Pascal) and his wife Laurence/Lou) are renovating in the countryside:

 The picture does no justice to how incredible it is there. The views are stunning and the area is breathtaking. Saturday night we ate a big dinner of pasta with fresh vegetables from the garden and drank homemade peach wine. How much better can it get, right? Well, we went to bed right away because Sunday was reserved for two activities: visiting Le Mont-St-Michel annnnddd SKYDIVING! While I personally didn’t skydive (another time), Luna and Aubertin took the leap...literally….bad joke, je sais. Here they are before:

 And during (I don’t have an after photo, but just know that they were thrilled):


Also, I don’t know this man, but he just looked very French with his scarf neatly tucked into his sky-diving suit, so I sneakily snapped a photo:

 After sky-diving, we all piled into the car and headed towards St. Michel. It’s a castle surrounded by quicksand on the west coast of France. I would recommend it to anyone and everyone to do a little trip to visit. Plus, there is a restaurant where you can drink the “St. Michel beer” if you really want to commit to your visit.

Here is it from the front:


The interior has teeny little passages that wind up to the top. I’m warning you now that it is touristy beyond the initial walls, but the views are worth every France license plate and overpriced crêpe you will encounter.

 We returned to the unbelievable country home and had one last meal together before Alba, Lillian and I returned into the city. I would have stayed longer, but I am working as an english teaching assistant in a school every Monday and Tuesday at 8 AM and needed to show up with at least a few hours of sleep under my belt (more on that later!)

 This week is just as jam packed as the last, but I’ll be sure to find time to write again! I'm a little bit sick at the moment, but it seems to just be that time of year...cold and wet :/ Oh well, as I've been saying non-stop since I arrived, "C'est d'accord parce que c'est Paris!" 

C’est tout pour le moment!

K


**This is another way of saying hey. It’s informal, so you probably shouldn’t use it when you meet François Hollande. I just think it is adorable! 



09/25/2015

Meet the Fam

Bonjour!

I have been here almost one week! I would write tomorrow when it is officially a week, but I will actually be traveling for my first weekend living in Paris. I’m going with my host sisters to Normandy to meet the rest of the family and watch them go sky diving!

Speaking of my family, let me do some introductions.

First, my host family. In total it is my mom, Anne:

Anne (In this photo she is holding a dish she made. It's a hamburger, but WAY better here. Even the French make better American food than Americans!) She is wonderful. She is the graphic artist for a famous french magazine, Paris Match. She loves cooking (as you can see from the photo) and watching black and white films. The other night we sat with her neighbor/best friend, Valerie (who is pretty much family) and looked at pictures of movie starts from the 1940’s.

From left to right: Nina, Luna, Alba, Terry! Luna and Alba are my host sister, but Nina and Terry are a big part of our house.

Luna is 17 which means she’s a senior in high school and is getting ready to take the BAC. She has so much homework...it makes me even more grateful that I’m finished with high school. She’s really big on art and is always drawing something. Her smile is one the best things about her and she makes you feel like you’re old friends even if you’ve just met.

Alba, my other sister, is 21. She’s studying psychology in college and also works pretty hard. Like Luna, she is so sweet and immediately makes me feel at home. Her sense of humor is sharp and she makes sassy little comments. While Luna emits a lot of energy, Alba has an air of coolness around her.

Nina (far left) is Luna’s best friend. She is so. funny. She reminds me a lot of my best friend from home. The first story my host family told me about her was one night when she stayed over, she woke up at midnight, went into the kitchen and finished all of the Nutella in the house. She’s clearly very comfortable and is also like extended family :)

Terry is Alba’s boyfriend. They are both studying physcology together and they’re so adorable together and he is such a nice guy (and if he weren’t, there are three women living here besides Alba who would kick him to the curb so quickly). I don’t know him that well yet, but he seems great.

Here are the cats, Cashmere and Almond. I’m not sure if they’re boys or girls, so we’ll say girls to make it an all-female household!

Don’t mind my face, we were taking a serious photo. Cashmere is cheeky and likes to sit with us at the dinner table and lean her head as close to your plate as possible before we push her back. She really just likes to hang out with humans, so we get along.

Almond, on the other hand, is sassy. She runs away from everything and doesn’t like hanging with humans...we’ll work on it.

Cashmere and me bonding.

 

Now, my other family! My gap group!

I say my other family, because we are already so bonded in five days that we have fake family dynamics: From left to right: Caroline, Me, Nick, Robert, Susan and that’s Catie kneeling down.

Caroline is from just outside of Atlanta (Marietta...GA represent), Nick is from Portland, Maine, Robert is from Cambridge, Mass., Susan is from Portsmouth, NH and Catie is from Chicago.

Nick and Susan are mom and dad, I am their child, Catie is my controversial boyfriend, Caroline is Susan’s mistress and Robert is the family pet. It might be weird, but the point is that we all get along and it’s great!

Here are some more pics of the gap fam:

Getting ice cream even though it was freezing.

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Getting breakfast with Lucie, our AMAZING director. She calls herself our French mom/friend all in one.

Most awkward selfie as we cruised down the Seine. We took a tour and saw La Tour Eiffel, Notre Dame, Le Louvre and more!  

That’s all for now! I’m having a blast and can’t even imagine returning to the US anytime soon (sorry, mom and dad)!

K

 

09/22/2015

Packing

 

IMG_7119

DISCLAIMER: I'll publish a "first few days" post soon, but first I want to write about packing. This is just for the people like me who spent way too much time looking for the “perfect” packing list. At the end of both semesters I will do updates on what I wished I had brought, what wasn’t neccessary, etc.

Packing was one of the most daunting tasks during the entire process of preparing for France. It was worse than any application, Visa appointment, and hours of stressing over how to navigate the Metro (which I rode alone for the first time today!). I spent countless nights watching videos and reading blog posts called "The ultimate gap year packing list" or "How to pack for a year abroad". While everyone mentioned different clothes, shoes and accessories, there was one common theme:

 

BASICS AND NEUTRALS

 

This could not have been more helpful. It is so much easier to create 10 different outfits with one black shirts, a pair of jeans and different accessories than it is to have one scarf, 3 patterned shirts, brightly colored dresses, shoes that only match that one pair of pants...you get the point.

The other reason to have basics and neutrals besides creating endless options for outfits is because Paris is très froid (very cold)!!! It's only September and I'm already starting to bundle up in. If you have neutrals, you can layer every single shirt you own and still look decent (Paris is all about looking good, no?)

 

Here is what I would consider the basics that anyone would need in Paris plus examples of what I specifically packed:

-One black long-sleeve shirt

-One white long-sleeve shirt

-One gray or neutral long-sleeve shirt

-One striped shirt (It IS France. Everyone needs one striped shirt)

-One thermal shirt (This is optional, but I get cold easily)

-One casual shirt for layering under sweaters

-One nice blouse

-One pair of blue jeans

-One pair of black jeans

-One pair of other versatile pants (I brought some olive colored jeans from ZARA)

-Some thin sweaters for layering (I brought one gray and one blood orange. They're both thin, but cashmere...so they'll keep me warm)

-A chunky sweater (I brought an olive green cable knit, a black and white knit and a big white sweater that fits over lots of layers)

-Jackets/Outerlayers. I may have overdone it on this one, but I couldn't decide. I brought:

--Large chunky cardigan (Black and olive green..neutral)

--Oversized jean jacket

--Leather jacket

--Olive Army jacket

--Reversible red wrap. This is the only red in my wardrobe besides my scarves. It's good for a pop of color over all black.

--Rain coat!!! So important! It rains a lot in Paris so you’ll need rain protection. I got mine in Spain and I love it a little more that one should love a raincoat. It’s mustard yellow and has a striped jersey lining. I’m a strong believer in brightening up a dull day with a pop of color. Try it!

-Dresses. This isn't for everyone, but I have a few staple dresses that I wear a lot. We'll see how well I hold up wearing them in the winter with fleece tights:

--Gray sweater dress

--ONE patterned shift dress. Even though it is patterned, it is simple enough that it goes with most of my scarves, sweaters and jackets.

--A simple black dress for layering

--A nice dress...It's always good to have one nice dress or outfit just in case ;)

Shoes! This was the hardest for me because I wanted to bring all of my shoes, but they weigh down your bag and make it impossible to stay under 50lbs! Bring whatever you want, but my advice is that they’re all 1. Comfortable. Parisians do a LOT of walking. Comfortable shoes is a must. 2. Have tread on them. Yes, shoes without tread are fine for the fall and spring, but I’ve only been here two days and I’ve already slipped on some surfaces that got rained on. Tread is good. 3. Warm. Warm. Warm. Don’t even try to bring sandals. Just don’t do it. These are the shoes I brought:

--Duck boots. I don't think I would ever consider going without them in the winter. I got shearling insoles to adapt to Paris weather and the rubber makes it a cuter rainboot!

--Converse. Stan Smith’s are the most popular fashion sneaker for girls my age, but I didn’t feel like buying a new pair of sneakers when my converse work just as well.

--Gold fashion sneakers from ZARA. I got these in Cyprus over the summer love wearing them on rainy days (Which there are a lot of in Paris) to brighten up an outfit. They’re also comfortable for walking which is must.

--Tall black boots. Mine go past my kness. Block the wind, block the rain. Black. Great.

--Short putty colored lace-up booties. I had to choose between these, brown and black. I could have all three here and love it, but again...putty is just such a neutral color that it goes well with a lot. They also have the tread of a hiking boot (not in an ugly way). They are what saved me from falling flat on my face in the metro today!

-Scarves. Arguably the most important item on your list. I love scarves at home, but in Paris they’re an everyday essential. I brought the following:

--Simple gray jersey scarf. Good for layering or days that aren’t too cold. Also good for the plane.

--VERY chunky purple infinity scarf that my good friend, Ilana, knit for me one year.

--Blanket scarf in camel colored Burberry plaid print.

--Blanket scarf in Black and white

--Extremely fluffy infinity scarf for the coldest days

--Knit, chunky, gray tube scarf

--Light blue normal scarf for another pop of color

-Underwear, bras, socks (At least two pair of warm wool socks for winter)

-Pajamas. I just brought a pair of sweatpants, a pair of shorts, one short sleeve, one long sleeve and a hoodie. It works for me.

Last but DEFINITELY not least: A COAT!!!

I live in Georgia therefore I don’t know a real winter. With the help of those who live/have lived in the north, I got my first real winter coat. It is so puffy with down feathers that I look like the Michelin Man’s larger twin. I haven’t warn it yet because it’s not too cold, but wearing in for a few minutes in the comfort of my air-conditionned home made me sweat.

 

Overall, it’s whatever you want to bring. Besides clothes I tried to bring as little as possible. You can get all of your toiletries here (just bring enough for the plane and the first day or two) and if you really need something that you forgot...it’s Paris, not a random island in the middle of nowhere.

 

Bon chance!

 

K




09/17/2015

Makeup and Memories

IMG_7085.JPGIMG_7084.JPGIMG_7083.JPGIMG_7082.JPG

 

Today I spent four hours sorting makeup. Why?

1. I truly do have more makeup than anyone needs

2. As I swiped on a new lip shade or opened another eyeshadow palette, memories of when I wore it last started flooding back

There was the poppy red lipstick I wore to my first high school dance, the waterproof mascara I relied on the week all of my friends left for college, the eyebrow pencil that saved me when I over-plucked one time, the only concealer strong enough to hide the black eye I got from running into a door because I was so excited to see my best friend. I don’t leave my house everyday looking like a doll by any means, but I follow my (and probably everyone else’s) grandmother’s philosophy: Always leave the house with your face on because you never know who you’ll meet. There are days when putting my face on means spending an hour planning, priming, covering, countouring, etc, etc. There are also days when it means only swiping on some chapstick and pinching my cheeks. I like to be prepared for either situation, so I began to pack it all up thinking I would need every last lipgloss and foundation I owned. At first I packed more tubes of mascara than I had shirts. Realizing this was going to put my luggage over the 50lb weight limit, I began to take things out, leave them in my drawer, throw them away. I was only bringing that poppy red lipstick because I laugh when I think about awkwardly slow dancing with a boy I barely knew and I’ve learned to watch out for doors while running, so I won’t be needing that gorilla strength concealer.

    Little sophmore me: BP2.RedLip.jpg    The black eye in all its glory:BP2.BlackEye.jpgI’m holding onto the memories, but not the physical evidence. This is how most of my packing has been. I have spent more time trying my clothes on and thinking about the past than putting them in bags for the future. It’s hard to leave behind what feels comfortable and right. I have been anxiously waiting to leave my home for months, but now I feel like I am trying to hold onto time I don’t have. So, I will pack up my favorite clothes and I will bundle my most essential makeup brushes and accept the fact that no matter how much time I have or what I bring, it’s the memories that I’m bringing with me that mean the most. Besides, if I ever find myself in need of a new poppy red lipstick, I know I’ll find the perfect one in Paris.

09/13/2015

Me!

                                             Whatcha know 'bout me
                                                  "Whatcha know ‘bout me?" -Lil Mama

Let me start at the beginning:                                                                 I was born in Atlanta, Georgia into a family consisting of a supportive mother, a silly father and a beautiful and hardworking sister, Madison:                    

                                                         Dad, Madison, Me, Mom!

Here is a photo of Madison and me from when we were still cute:                                                                                                                               Our family band, The Cliffs. 

As a child I enjoying lip-syncing to Blondie's, "Atomic" (Let's be real, Debbie Harry is one cool cat), writing silly songs with my dad, making friends with old people (To this day I still find myself enjoying the company of senior citizens. After all, they’re the ones who have the most experience with life) and copying my sister in everything she did. Through the years our family picked up a psychotic dog named Mary, two turtles that I almost killed on multiple occasions (accidents...I swear!) and as of a couple of months ago, a puppy named for Nancy Drew's boyfriend, Ned Nickerson. 

                                                                               Mary 

                                                                        Nick and Jevin 

                                                                                 Ned

For the last few weeks, I have been watching as one friend after another leaves for college. I'm the only one left to leave and according to my countdown app I have exactly 5 days, 33 minutes and 25 seconds until my plane departs the United States and heads towards Paris, France. For the next eight months I will use this blog to document my life and the adventures that lie ahead. Check back for more soon! 

K

Gap Bloggers

  • Eva - Gap Year Abroad in Japan
  • Eamon - Gap Year Abroad in Spain
  • Sage - Gap Year Abroad in China
  • Kira - Gap Year Abroad in France
  • Smith - Gap Year Abroad in Chile
  • Maddy - Gap Year Abroad in Japan
  • Hannah - Gap Year Abroad in Italy
  • Chloe - Gap Year Abroad in Chile