Life is a Daring Adventure or Nothing At All- Helen Keller

Well hi there!

I’m back from a week out of the country on fall break, and it’s a good time to update you guys!

Paris, France

Right after midterms on thursday, Becky, Amy and I headed over to the train station to catch a ride to Pisa, where we then flew to Paris. Before I came to Italy I told myself, “I’ve already been to Paris, i should go somewhere new.” But I don’t regret going a single bit. I’d missing it for a good few months now, and going back last week confirmed  a few things: 1. i miss speaking french. 2. what i if i DID move there? and 3. i am actually glad I didn’t study abroad there. It would not have been a struggle or a culture shock trying to settle in and adjust, and I would have felt too much at home. 

We did all the main sights, with a few extras I hadn’t already done (climbing to the top of the Notre Dame, climbing to the top of the Arc de Triomphe, climbing to the top of the Sacre Coeur hill). It was freezing like hell, but that honestly didn’t stop it from being a great time. Friday night we met up with Amy’s friend who was studying there for dinner at a cute little restaurant where we had onion soup and Kir. After dinner, we went to the eiffel tower planning to go up, but it by the time we got there they were just letting up the last visitor’s. Nevertheless, it was a beautiful night as the tower began sparkling with lights as we stood under it. 

My initial conclusion after this 2 day trip: I’ve been resisting Paris for quite some time now. I didn’t want to study there, and I kept telling myself I can’t move there. I equaled Paris to LA, which makes sense int hat I’m so familiar with the culture, but that’s  RIDICULOUS.Paris is not LA, and I can’t believe I only just realized that. So my new resolution turned into this: Stop resisting and give in: I’m moving to Paris?

But hold that thought for a sec!

Nottingham, England.

After Paris, as Becky and Amy headed to London, I headed to Nottingham, about 2 hours north of London, t visit my good old cousin Hessam, who’s doing his PhD there. It was a big town, much larger than the village I was expecting. He took me to the town centre, which reminded a lot of 3rd st Promenade, with street musicians and shops lining the small streets. We went to the Nottingham Castle and learned about Robin Hood (who’s legend apparently took place there?). We went to the university, which had enough green and trees to suffice my tree obsession. We ate brazilian, portuguese and moroccan and food and it was all so good and such a nice variety after pasta 24/7. 

It was a short but sweet visit to my cousin, and well worth the trip.

On Monday night I headed to London just for the night to catch my plane with Ireland the morning after. 

Cork, Ireland

We got in to Cork int her afternoon, where Becky’s friend met us at the bus station. We walked through the quaint town up to the apartment where we were spending the night, showered and headed out to dinner at a local pub. We ate sandwiches and hard cider, which btw is the most amazing drink ever created, 100 times better than wine. 

That night we went to club filled with irish people in costumes. good music, good company, and a ton of fun.

The morning after we headed to Blarney Castle to kiss the Blarney stone, for good luck apparently? IT was so beautiful there, and of course, lots of TREES! 

That afternoon, Becky and Amy headed to Dublin, while I stayed an extra night in Cork in hostel (unexpectedly staying on my own but w/e). 

That night happened to be Halloween night, and as I was by myself, I was just expecting to walk around a little bit then head back to the hostel. But after walking around a bit, people watching and reading cookbooks in a cute little bookstore, I randomly stumbled upon a bunch of people lining the streets as it they were waiting for something to start. And that something did start, in not less than 10 minutes. All of a sudden the street was filled with kids and adults dressed up in costumes, in a parade line, shrieking and scaring the on-lookers. There was a live band with the parade, as well as a small little marching band. The crowds were great and the spirit of Halloween these people had was so much fun. I followed the parade to the end of the route, where they ended up in the historical area of Cork on Shanden hill. Once the parade was over, a Kaylee (spelling?) band started playing traditional irish music, and everyone (quite literally) started dancing the traditional irish dance. It was one of the coolest thing I’d ever seen. 

I headed home soon after, but i my opinion, it was a successful night. Sure, i didn’t go out out. and ok, unfortunately i didn’t meet any new people, BUT this whole other side of the irish culture that  i’d never seen before was so exciting and so lively, i kept thinking to myself, WHAT AM I DOING IN AMERICA?.

The morning after I caught my bus to Killarney, about 2 hours east of Cork.

Killarney, Ireland. 


Once I got to my hostel there, I dropped off my bag, got some tuna pasta to-go and headed to the Killarney National Park. That park is officially on my list of most beautiful places I’ve ever seen. TREES! Mountains, meadows, autumn leaves, ducks and horses. It made my realize one of the main reason I don’t like LA: lack of nature. In case you haven’t notices, I have a thing for trees, but it’s really more than that. I mean, If i tell you my favorite part of NYC is Central Park, what does that mean?? lol

I’ve fallen i love with Ireland. that afternoon, after some heavy raining and good cup of hot chocolate, I met up with Ash who was staying in the same hostel. we walked around town and stopped by two wool shops, just for kicks and good warmth. That night, the two of us met up with a guy Ash had met the night before, for some good food and good wine. Apparently he sang on broadway, and had been commuting between NY and Killarney since we was 12. NO BIG DEAL RIGHT? yup… after dinner we went to the cinema to watch one of the worst movies of all time, aka Paranormal Activity 4. After, we went to a pub for some Guinness (not a fan) and Cider (WIN), then from there headed to another pub to meet up with Jack’s other friends. 

The thing that I realized that night was how much music is part of the Irish culture. every single night, in every single pub, there’s live music, whether it be in Killarney or Dublin.  When I was in Dublin on friday, walking around the town centre, there were musicians playing on every other street, so talented it gave my the chills. There’s so much talent there it’s incredible. Which is why Ireland is now on my radar. I want my live to be about talent scouting and artist development. What better a place to do so than in a culture that’s based on exactly that.?

That night in Killarney was such a fun night, filled with live acoustic music, failled swing dancing and great, great company. On friday I only spent 5 hours walking around Dublin, but it was enough for me to make a conclusion.

FINAL THOUGHTS/CONCLUSIONS/REALIZATIONS:

-unfortunately, I’ve realized how much a city-girl I am. Florence is an amazing city, don’t get me wrong here. But it’s not my fault I’ve been raised in the hustle and bustle of the disgusting city of LA! I’ve been craving the liveliness and the crowd that I found in Dublin, and Florence just isn’t there for me.

- Irish people are the nicest people in the world

-Paris is an amazing city, and I need to stop resisting it!!

-But the British music industry is also calling my name! so why cross out London?

Basically, the possibilities are endless. I need to stop thinking so mucha bout the future, because as we all know, not much goes according to plan. I will be a different person by may 2014 than I am now (hopefully what I want to do with my life won’t change though! I’m pretty excited about all that right now), so I really, REALLY need to just take it a day at a time. 

Hope this wasn’t too long (if any of you have even read this…)

We are officially past the midsemester hump, and i don’t really know how to feel about it… So let’s not think about it too much!

Hope you’re all doing well on the other side of the world (or wherever you may  be) and happy november!!