Friday, June 5, 2015

5 Songs Follow Up!

Hey Y’all!

Here is my follow up to the 5 songs that shaped my life post. Music has always been a really big part of my life; I am a lover of words and lyrics and I find when the right ones are set to a melody it’s just magical. My taste in music is pretty eclectic (if you haven’t noticed from the five songs mentioned) and I usually am willing to give anything a listen. 

I thought it would be neat to pull out my favorite lyrics from each of the five songs and then give a little blurb about why it’s important to me. So here goes! 

In My Life:
All these places have their moments // With lovers and friends I still can recall // Some are dead and some are living // In my life I've loved them all

The Beatles will forever be my all-time favorite band and I couldn’t have made a list without including this gem from the fab four. It was hard for me to pick just one line from it because I think the song in its entirety is really an amazing work. The thing that sticks out the most for me about this song, and this lyric, is the idea that everything has a place and a time, and even when those things fade you still have the memories. I love that idea; when I listen to this song I think about different events that have changed my life, and different places and people that I may never see again, but will always think of fondly. It’s really just a great song. 

Just a closer walk with thee:
When my feeble life is o’er //Time for me will be no more //Guide me gently, safely o’er // to Thy kingdom's shore

My great grandfather was my best friend. This sounds weird, I know, but it’s completely true. I was blessed to have him in my life for 16 and a half years and we were so close. He taught me the types of things that shape your character; he taught me to love without ceasing, to help those less fortunate, to really understand politics and stick to your convictions, and to always have faith. He had a cassette tape (throwback!) that we would listen to in his car of traditional gospels hymns and this song was on it. Every time I hear it I can’t help but smile thinking about those times spent with my best friend. 

Whispers in the Dark:
But my heart was colder when you'd gone //And I lost my head but found the one that I love // Under the sun, under the sun

Mumford and Sons is my favorite current group, and has been for quite some time. Basically, I liked them before they were cool – like back in the early days of Little Lion Man. Okay, my hipster-ness is over. Their album Babel came out during a really messy break up for me, the type of break up that when looking back you wonder why you spent so much time in that awful sulky period. Needless to say, their album really helped me during all of this and managed to put my emotions into words when I couldn’t. This line from the song is a perfect representation of the year I went through. 

Carolina In My Mind: 
In my mind I'm going to Carolina. Can't you see the sunshine, can't you just feel the moonshine? // Ain't it just like a friend of mine to hit me from behind? Yes, I'm going to Carolina in my mind.

Despite my love of country music, and using the word y’all I’m not from the South; I was born and raised in rural Northeastern PA (but honestly, there’s not too much difference from where I grew up and the South other than the accent). But I did spend four years in western North Carolina for college, and consider myself an adopted North Carolinian. Carolina In My Mind, was my theme song for those four years; it helped ease my decision to go so far from home, it helped me when I was leaving campus for a holiday or trip, it helped curb my excitement when it was time to go back, and it continues to help me remember all the wonderful memories I have there. Seriously, I heard it on the radio in Florida a few weeks ago when I was there for work and got teary eyed in my rental car. 

Parting Glass: 
But since it falls unto my lot // That I should rise and you should not // I'll gently rise and I'll softly call // Good night and joy be with you all
Sorry there was such a gap in posting - life has been a little crazy lately and honestly most nights when I get home from work I don't want to be on my computer. After 8-10 hours a day on one at work the idea of straining my eyes over anything else is less than appealing. But I'm not giving up on this, I just have to be better about it. 

Confession time: I am in love with Irish music, which isn’t surprising because I’ve studied a lot of 20th Century Irish history and what better way to understand the plight of a group of people than through listening to the music. The Parting Glass, similar to In My Life, is one of those songs where it’s hard to just pick out a few lyrics because it’s so powerful. But what I love the most about this song is that while it is about parting (be it death or moving on) it’s about taking those you love with you, and toasting them. The High Kings are incredible and their version of this song just gives me all the feels. 

So those are my songs. Completely random, no rhyme or reason, but they have shaped my life and they will continue to. I could have easily had this be a list of top 10 or maybe 20 but limiting it to 5 really makes you stop and think. Try it! I’d love to see what your top 5 list looks like!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

5 Songs That Have Shaped My Life

Hey y’all!

I’m working from home today after a whirlwind trip for work to Florida. I know what you’re thinking, ‘wow, Florida! How cool?!’ Well, kinda. It was a 24 hour trip, almost literally; my plane landed on Sunday at 7:30pm and wheels up was Monday at 7:50pm. I honestly don’t want to bore everyone with my mundane details of a work trip, so I was trying to figure out what I was going to write about and BAM Instagram happened!

Now, you can probably tell by my use of y’all that I’m a country fan (is that stereotyping? Profiling? Oh well.) Most mornings on my way to work I listen to the Bobby Bones Show. I’ve never really listened to a radio show before but this one is so fun and light-hearted and I really just want to be friends with pretty much all of them. So on Instagram Bobby Bones had a post that showed the 5 songs that shaped his life, and the 5 songs that shaped co-host Amy’s life. What a cool idea! I decided to copy them.

Here are my 5 songs that have shaped my life in no particular order: 

So many wonderful memories come to mind looking at this list and I already know what my next blog post is going to be. Explanations for each, because I'd like this blog to dig a little deeper. 

Stay tuned. 

Saturday, May 16, 2015

College Daze

Last night, Vin, my boyfriend, and I had a date night to go see Pitch Perfect 2. We went to the Alamo Drafthouse, which is an amazing cinema, and really enjoyed the movie. It was the perfect blend of the first movie and an original and I got to drink a delicious blackberry pear cider while laughing through the film. But one of the things that stuck with me afterwards was the idea of the Barden Bellas graduating college, this happened to coincide with my undergraduate institution graduating last night.  

Y’all, college was the best time of my life. I would say to-date but I have this sneaky suspicion that things may never top those four years. I went to school 550 miles away from home in North Carolina and while the first semester was rocky the ones that followed are filled with memories of some of the most intense friendships I’ve ever had. During my time there I was able to travel the world and take advantage of amazing opportunities. But some of my most cherished memories are just average days on campus, sitting on an old porch swing with my friends and laughing.

Watching the movie last night and then coming home and seeing pictures of some of my friends graduating just really made me miss those four years. College is many things for many people and I can’t imagine a different experience for me; to think back to my first semester there when the idea of transferring was never far from my mind baffles me now. I’m thankful for the experiences I had, the friends I made and the lessons I learned during my four years in a sleepy North Carolina town. 

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Testing the Waters

Hey y’all! 
So, I’m not even sure why I’m starting this blog up. This is probably my eighty-third attempt to blog. My last one was actually a bit more successful but it was so specialized, for lack of a better term, and I felt like I couldn’t cross into the personal every day ramblings of my life because it was meant to be an outlet for dealing with anxiety. I plan on keeping up with the anxiety advocacy page (please check it out, the link is to the right) but I want this to be more than just how I deal with feel anxious about (a lot of) things.
But, I digress. THIS blog is going to just be for my ramblings. I used it back in 2011 to chronicle the six weeks I spent in France and while I had been intending to start up a new one I realized that this would work just as easily. I also had been trying to figure out a name for this thing and when I pulled up the page to this blog it just kind of clicked.
I just graduated with my Masters degree, I’m starting my job full-time on Monday and I’m finally able to step from my academic world into the “real” one. For the first time in 19 years I won’t be a student in the fall, and that’s a different thing for me; not quite scary but different. It’s time for me to just trust my instincts with everything and let go. The boundaries that were part of my life have kinda of faded away; every year was the same, school in the fall until December, then January to May same thing, a few months off and then it starts all over again. But that’s not there anymore. There’s a freedom that I’m not used to and I’m slowly falling in love with that.
This blog is going to be an outlet, it’s going to be a place that I can go to connect with others. Because, honestly, I haven’t really connected with too many people here in Northern Virginia, in fact as far as friends go it’s pretty bleak. But I’m doing what I love, I have a boyfriend that I love, and life is good.

So, let’s see where this takes us. 

Monday, July 11, 2011

Time is making fools of us again...

How is it that time can be such a tricky thing? Wasn’t I just blogging about how there was one week left until I left for France, and now…now I’m blogging about how I have less than one week left in France. I can’t believe just how quickly time has decided to fly; only two more days of classes left and I can honestly say I’ve come a long way from my first day in a French class.

I was completely 'geeking' out at
this exhibit.
There hasn’t been much going on lately – all the excursions have slowed down and that’s okay. I’ve been enjoying spending time with the friends I’ve made in a city I’ve grown to love. One of the things Erin and I did last week was go to the local Savoie Museum. I'm going to be honest and say the only thing that really propelled me to go was that there was a 1939-1941 exhibit. I've been wanting to figure out how this area was effected during World War Two since I've gotten here and the exhibit was of great help with that. This area was occupied by the Italians for a while and suffered some bombings, deportations, and other horrors of war. One of my favorite things about history is being able to visit the places you read about in books, being able to go through an exhibit and know that the artifacts they had were local was amazing. The Savoie region during World War Two is definitely something I want to research more when I get home.

Vive la France! (Says the leader who's
in London)

It’s still hard for me to comprehend that in a few shorts days this will all just be a great memory. I’ve met people here who have changed my life and allowed me to grow as a person. The difference between this trip and my other abroad experiences is that all the students here are from various places across the United States. There are people who I’m sure I’ll never see again while others I’ll be more inclined to keep in touch with but there’s still that feeling that we went through this together.

A paper from D-Day plus 1 :)
People always talk about how when they go to Europe they find themselves, and I used to think that was crap. I’d like to think I had a good grasp on who I was as a person before jumping on a plane, however, the things I’ve come to learn while over here has been monumental. I’ve grown as a person and done things that I never had imagined doing before. If there’s one thing that I really want to take away from this trip as a sort-of, ‘this is what I leaned’ mantra it would have to be: Trust yourself, you’re a lot stronger than you could ever imagine.

One of the things I'll miss most
about this country!
Time is winding down but there are still things on the agenda. Tonight a group of us are going out for dinner in town. It was something that was one of the first things we did as a group way back when we first got here and it seemed fitting to go out again as a group at the end of the trip as well. Tomorrow there’s probably about ten of us who are going to see ‘Harry Potter et les Reliques de la Mort’ partie une et deux which I am super excited about! After that it’s going to be a bunch of packing and goodbyes. With that being said my need for a blog is starting to diminish, I never intended this to be anything more than a travel blog. I appreciate people reading it and I’m glad I was able to tell about my journey this summer. 

Look for another post or two in the next week.
Miss you and love you BUT I get to see you guys SOON!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Pasta and Wine and Holidays, Oh My!

Torino, Italia!
Well ladies and gents, my time here in France is – not so – slowly dwindling. I cannot believe that I have less than two weeks left in this amazing city before catching a flight back to the good ole U.S.of A. I feel like I have a lot to cover in this post and I’m going to try to make it as concise as possible but it may end up being a bit longer than anticipated – just as a warning. So here goes nothing…

After last week’s most excellent adventure that was paragliding the rest of it was spent just relaxing and enjoying our time in Chambéry. Friday night there were a few of us that headed to the Château in town for a classical music concert that was put on by an Italian group. It was absolutely amazing; the music was so gorgeous and when the backdrop is a castle you can’t really go wrong. I know I’ve mentioned it before in this blog but music is such a great equalizer – no matter what language you speak you can enjoy a classical music concert because it’s about how the music speaks to you. So that was a really enjoyable way to spend a Friday night.

Erin and I enjoying our Gelato
(I was told there's no enough 'friend'
pictures on this blog)
Saturday we headed out bright and early for a trip to Torino (Turin), Italia! I can honestly say that while I have grown to love this country, Italy stole my heart. It was such a gorgeous city and I honestly think that I could sit and listen to someone speak Italian all day. It is such a pretty language. Unlike the other day trips we’ve taken that usually included museums our trip to Torino was more laid-back. Like any other trip we broke into groups and for the most part the only thing on the agenda for my group was pasta and gelato – which was successful. We had some of the best pasta I’ve ever tasted while sitting out on a piazza and talking; and then the gelato we got was out of this world. So delicious. But the rest of our time in the city was spent walking around and exploring. I really enjoyed being able to just walk around and get a feel for Torino and take in the sights.

We visited a few churches, walked through piazzas, heard some street musicians, and all-in-all just had a great day. If our day spent in Italy did anything it just solidified the fact that I need to go back and travel around that country more. Everything was so friendly and so gorgeous. It was about a three hour trip from Chambéry to Turin, and one of the things that really stuck out to me was the fact that on the way back from Turin it felt like we were coming home. It was a really comforting feeling to be back where things are now familiar to us. After a long day we didn’t feel like making dinner so we headed out to a kabab place for a quick and easy dinner and just enjoyed each other’s company. It’s an amazing feeling to be able to say that what used to be a foreign city just a few short weeks ago is now becoming a home to us. Believe it or not, even coming back to France was comforting because I knew the language barrier wouldn’t be as immense as it was in Italy. Things are really changing but it’s definitely for the better at this point.

Vin pays (wine country)
So after a completely amazing yet exhausting Saturday in Italia on the agenda for Sunday was ‘Biking through a Vineyard with a wine tasting.’ Pretty sweet, right? Well, when you go to a foreign country and the person in charge of your excursions doesn’t speak English very well there’s bound to be a few miscommunications. What we thought was biking ‘through’ a vineyard, was actually biking ‘to’ a vineyard. There’s a big difference, people. So we went to the train/bus/bike station here in town and got our bikes and off we went. We were told it was going to be a ‘not easy, but not hard ride’ I believe ‘sporty’ was the term used. Well 10 miles to a lake is pretty sporty; after a picnic lunch we went another mile or two uphill to the vineyard. 

Country side
Don’t get me wrong, it was a great time and I’m super glad I went but it was definitely not what I had been expecting. But while we were there we got to taste three wines; a white, rosé, and red. I can honestly say (slightly off the record due to the ‘legal’ drinking age in the States) that when I came to France I was not a big wine person but that’s slowly changing. Anywho, after the wine tasting it was back to Chambéry. So all-in-all we clocked over 20 miles on Sunday all for some wine, but the views were absolutely breathtaking (ironically enough so were the hills we rode up). It’s not hard to believe that the French like to be laid back and relaxed when the views in this country – especially this region – are so gorgeous. I don’t think you can be high strung and stressed out when you have snow-capped Alps and vineyards surrounding you.

Honestly with these views
how can anyone be upset?
For those of you who know me pretty well it’s no shock that the 4th of July is one of my favorite holidays. It’s definitely in the top three (Christmas, Thanksgiving, 4th – for those of you wondering) I just love being around my entire family, having a great time, shooting off fireworks, and celebrating our country. Knowing that this trip would fall over the 4th was a little upsetting for me at first - I know, I know, I’m in France and having a great experience…but honestly the 4th is a big deal for me. However, I had a great holiday. We had class in the morning and took an easy afternoon but for dinner we made burgers (which turned out really good) and then celebrated our country. The original game plan was to go to a bar that we know serves Budweiser but it was closed since its Monday. That didn’t stop us since almost everyone on our trip ended up in the park close to our residence just hanging out. It was a really great holiday.

"Bottle of white, bottle of red,
perhaps a bottle of ros
é instead"
One of the thoughts that stuck with me all day today was that I can’t think of a better way to celebrate America and what it stands for than to be traveling. I am truly blessed to be a citizen of the United States – a country that allows you the freedom to go and travel the world. How lucky can you get? Freedom is something that is taken for granted every day and there’s nothing like spending a holiday like the 4th of July in another country that allows you to really appreciate what you have. So while I would have loved to be in South Carolina with the rest of my family today swimming, grilling out, and then lighting fireworks for the rest of the night, I am so glad that I had the experience of spending this holiday abroad, it was really eye-opening.

Well, I’m going to wrap this post up because it ended up being a lot longer than I thought it would be. I cannot believe that these six weeks are almost over – where did the time go? I hope that everyone had a safe and happy holiday! 

Miss you all and love you guys!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

"Cages or wings, which do you prefer?

 ...Ask the birds. Fear of love, baby? Don't say the answer.
Actions speak louder than words." -Jonathan Larson

The mountain we paraglided from!
So what’s life without a little adventure, right? Especially when you’re in Europe for 6 weeks. The first day in Chambéry we got a packet of excursions that were offered through our program, my eyes immediately landed on paragliding. Call me crazy but it just sounded so exciting, not to mention that one day I want to skydive so this seemed like a perfect starting point. It wasn’t until when I literally signed my name to the page that I realized just exactly what I was doing. But I felt that this was one of those “remember when” moments that only come a few times in your life. How many people get to say that they paraglided in the Alps?

Erin, Myself, and Kyle getting ready
to head up the mountain!
Another thing that really propelled me to do this was the fact that I feel like I’m always talking about living without regrets and just throwing caution into the wind. How would I be able to face myself if I didn’t take advantage of this insanely amazing opportunity? I am a firm believer that people need to take leaps of faith every now and again to live fully. I can’t think of a better way than literally running and jumping off of a mountain. Also, my infinite love of all things Band of Brothers and the history of what the Screaming Eagles did in Europe helped my nerves on this one. If they could parachute into Normandy on D-Day while being fired upon, surely paragliding would be a breeze (major pun intended).

The launch pad off the mountain
Let me start off by saying that paragliding has probably been my favorite experience from this trip so far and I’m not sure what could beat it at this point. There were 12 of us on the excursion today, and we had to go up to the mountain in groups of three. Erin, Kyle and myself were one group and we were the last to go. Most people would think that waiting around for a few hours to jump off a mountain would be nerve racking but really it wasn’t. My nerves didn’t kick in until the van ride to the top of the mountain. The mountain that didn’t look super high until it was time to take the thirty minute ride to the top. Now don’t let me sound like I did this on my own, we were with professionals in all honesty we just kinda sat there. But the thing was you literally had to get a running start before the wind would pick up and take you off the side of the mountain. This was the worst part but it literally was easier than it even sounds. The guy that was with me, Gael, was really nice and trying to make me feel better. I was asking him for the fiftieth time that I just run and then jump, and he responded with ‘No, you just run and then fly.’ No big deal, ya know?

One of three pictures I got before my
camera became tempermental
So Gael got the parachute ready as I stood there with shaking legs looking over the edge of a mountain. As soon as he gave the go ahead I started towards the edge and off we went. The second I was airborne I realized that all the nerves were for nothing. It was the most comfortable thing in the world and the view was breathtaking. Everything was so calm and so serene. We were about two minutes off the cliff when my camera decided to stop working – I’m blaming it on altitude sickness. But being that high in the air I realized that there are some things that you can’t really capture on a camera and this was one of those things. I’m literally sitting here at the computer at a loss for words to try and describe this experience other than absolutely amazing. It was everything I wanted it to be and even more and I honestly would have gone and done it again and again. 

Leaps of faith <3
I now completely understand why people jump out of airplanes. I am also completely jealous of birds because the views I got to experience today are so breathtaking. This was probably the best 60 Euros I could have spent on this trip. Italy and biking through a vineyard this weekend! I hope everyone has a nice 4th of July and know that I’ll be celebrating here in France! I can’t believe that this trip is almost over already!

Miss & love you guys!