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New Year, Different Me.

Going into the new year I made a resolution. I decided this year was going to be about me, and making me happy. Rather than aim for a healthier lifestyle or a cleaner house. I am going to actively push to do things that make me filled with joy. Rather than focus on the work, or school I am going to look forward to the weekends. I will push to make my time with friends a priority and make memories that will last the rest of my life. I want this year to be amazing because of me. I am traveling, and graduating college this year. I am going to get my first job in my field this year, and work at several different internships. I am going to be applying for masters or PhD programs overseas, while making a home for my little family. So much will happen, and I am already planning for the year after!

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I am going to focus on making this year amazing! Loving my self and making choices that will make me truly happy while also trying to fix my flaws. This year is Courtney reloaded, and I am going to kill it.

Hello 2019, Im here and Im going to kick your ass!

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Photos and editing.. the bane of my existance.

I have decided to spend my day learning how to process photos and work my camera. I know that taking photos is a huge part of the travel experience and what I will be showing everyone when I get back. But dang its hard to learn how to do it all!

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I decided to buy Affinity Photo rather than the more traditional Photoshop. I did this for the price tag primarily. Photoshop runs at about  $523 a month if you want all the bells and wistles, or $20 a month for just one of their applications. Affinity is a one time purchase for one of the applications of $40, meaning in 3 months I will have already saved money. That being said the adobe program is very nice, and there is definatly a learning curve in learning how to use the Affinity program. They make this easy with hundreds of videos tailored just for people like me trying to figure out their program. Plus, you really cant beat the price tag once you get over the fact it doesnt have the Adobe logo. Below I have some videos of people who reviewed the program and did comparisons if you are interested:

Affinity Photo: A Real Photoshop Alternative?

Why Affinity Photo is BETTER than Photoshop!

Along with figuring out the details of that program, I have to discover how my new camera works. I got a new canon digital camera that I need to make sure I know how to use in its entirity. I leave town in 3 weeks and I have until then to figure out how to work everything to an acceptable level. My goal is to get fast enough at it to modify several photos and upload same day.

So, here I go.. I am gonna get back to reading user manuals and playing with my face! Happy Saturday 🙂

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Why is healthcare so terrible..?

Little rant today.

Healthcare in the states sucks. Everyone knows this, or atleast knows it is much more complicted here than anywhere else. I am covered by insurance through the state as well as private insurance. Both of these plans have allowed me to not have to worry about most medical expences that come up. Now that I am leaving the country, I have to get insurance that will work elsewhere.

For some reason there are different plans with different priorities in each country.  While traveling as a student I have to have a plan that will cover everything, and I mean everything. I will be paying to get coverage that will ship me back to the states should I have a medical emergency. Plus, coverage in Germany that will pay any expense should something happen. This includes my current plans as well.

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So now I have 4 plans that will cover me in the case of all emergencies including death. Which, as an american is weird to know that no matter what I wont be buried in medical bills the rest of my life. Why I need so many plans is beyond me, and why I can’t just get one that covers everything is another issue. I understand that insurance companies are a thing, but shouldn’t a person not have to worry about illness out of their control?

I am frustrated at having to pay around 400 euros for several insurance plans to do what one plan should do. Its a bigger issue than me, but something that shouldn’t be an issue at all.

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Christmas is never over.

Since I was little, I have spent every christmas driving from one part of my family to another. I started the day waking up, and getting ready. Then we would head to my grandparents on my step-dads side for a few hours before heading to my dad’s house. Next my grandma on my mom’s side, before heading to my significant other’s family. The rest of the week was spent doing the exact same thing. We drove all around the portland area, never staying long before heading to the next place. Usually this pattern lasts until just after new years.

As kids, the constant moving never bothered us much, but the older I get, the more I hate it. Because of this odd pattern we never got to bond with any part of our families. Now that I am a bit older and have moved away, I have decided no more! I spent this christmas, half with my dad and half with my partner’s family. We spent hours together playing games, talking, and eating. I have never felt so close and happy on any holiday. The benefit of moving away, is I don’t live in my home town and I no longer have to deal with the drawn out holidays. We celebrated and now I am back at my home and away from the crazyness of it all.

I love my family, and I love spending time with them. As I get older, I know what is really important, and thats not driving around trying to see everyone. Spending time with those who really are important and care for you is what is most valuable. I spent my holiday with people who like me, put aside everything to make time for our relationship.

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Christmas is here and that means… driving?

Happy holidays to all!

Today, I am going to spend driving across a state in order to spend some time with my family. While only 6 hours of driving, it is a lot to do in one day and I would much rather just take the train. Along the way we are going to cozy up and listen to holiday music. We will be staying for only 4 days so its hard to pack my entire family into such a short trip, but we will try!! Over the course of the weekend we will be driving all over town to see my various grandparents and siblings. All the while packing gifts into the car!

I wanted to jump on here before we left and say happy holidays and best of wishes to everyone. We live in such a sad world sometimes. Just a little positivity and love can go a long way. Its important to remember the important things, and thats spending time with others and spreading love.

From my house to yours,

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To the beginning of a journey..

Times change.

Life will never stay stagnant and it is up to us to slow down and see the moments. When getting reflective I love reading this poem and thinking on times that have moved by. As we head into the new year and another christmas past, its always good to try and pause on the moment as it comes. My suggestion is to find a cozy corner, make some hot tea, watch the rain fall, and think about all the moments that made this year great. Sometimes, reflection is the best way to process and move forward.

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The Whitsun Weddings

That Whitsun, I was late getting away:
    Not till about
One-twenty on the sunlit Saturday
Did my three-quarters-empty train pull out,
All windows down, all cushions hot, all sense
Of being in a hurry gone. We ran
Behind the backs of houses, crossed a street
Of blinding windscreens, smelt the fish-dock; thence
The river’s level drifting breadth began,
Where sky and Lincolnshire and water meet.
All afternoon, through the tall heat that slept
    For miles inland,
A slow and stopping curve southwards we kept.
Wide farms went by, short-shadowed cattle, and
Canals with floatings of industrial froth;
A hothouse flashed uniquely: hedges dipped
And rose: and now and then a smell of grass
Displaced the reek of buttoned carriage-cloth
Until the next town, new and nondescript,
Approached with acres of dismantled cars.
At first, I didn’t notice what a noise
    The weddings made
Each station that we stopped at: sun destroys
The interest of what’s happening in the shade,
And down the long cool platforms whoops and skirls
I took for porters larking with the mails,
And went on reading. Once we started, though,
We passed them, grinning and pomaded, girls
In parodies of fashion, heels and veils,
All posed irresolutely, watching us go,
As if out on the end of an event
    Waving goodbye
To something that survived it. Struck, I leant
More promptly out next time, more curiously,
And saw it all again in different terms:
The fathers with broad belts under their suits
And seamy foreheads; mothers loud and fat;
An uncle shouting smut; and then the perms,
The nylon gloves and jewellery-substitutes,
The lemons, mauves, and olive-ochres that
Marked off the girls unreally from the rest.
    Yes, from cafés
And banquet-halls up yards, and bunting-dressed
Coach-party annexes, the wedding-days
Were coming to an end. All down the line
Fresh couples climbed aboard: the rest stood round;
The last confetti and advice were thrown,
And, as we moved, each face seemed to define
Just what it saw departing: children frowned
At something dull; fathers had never known
Success so huge and wholly farcical;
    The women shared
The secret like a happy funeral;
While girls, gripping their handbags tighter, stared
At a religious wounding. Free at last,
And loaded with the sum of all they saw,
We hurried towards London, shuffling gouts of steam.
Now fields were building-plots, and poplars cast
Long shadows over major roads, and for
Some fifty minutes, that in time would seem
Just long enough to settle hats and say
    I nearly died,
A dozen marriages got under way.
They watched the landscape, sitting side by side
—An Odeon went past, a cooling tower,
And someone running up to bowl—and none
Thought of the others they would never meet
Or how their lives would all contain this hour.
I thought of London spread out in the sun,
Its postal districts packed like squares of wheat:
There we were aimed. And as we raced across
    Bright knots of rail
Past standing Pullmans, walls of blackened moss
Came close, and it was nearly done, this frail
Travelling coincidence; and what it held
Stood ready to be loosed with all the power
That being changed can give. We slowed again,
And as the tightened brakes took hold, there swelled
A sense of falling, like an arrow-shower
Sent out of sight, somewhere becoming rain.
By: Phillip Larkin
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How I made the ‘Biggest Decision of my life’..

Everyone makes this big deal out of deciding your college major. Saying things like this decision will dictate the rest of your life. Acting like its a choice which will choose your future path. Really though, it itsn’t that big of a deal. While giving you information, in the long run all you are getting is some skills that could be put towards a specific field.

I choose biochemistry as my major for a couple of reasons. For one, I loved biology and general chemistry. But those are the most popular science majors and if you want to set yourself apart you have to choose something different. This led me to looking at the molecular biosciences track. The benefit of this path, is that it covers everything below it. What that means is the more specialized you are the more options you have. I took advantage of this with my decision in biochemistry. To study this dicipline, you have to take classes in biology, chemisty, organic chemistry, microbiology, genetics, and biochemistry. Which benifits me because I can find a job in any of those highly specialized fields.

But that isn’t all. Just because you choose to do something like hard sciences does not mean you can’t find a job in a different field. What people don’t tell you is that a bachelors degree is almost a standard degree. All it tells employers, is that you have the base set of skills required to perform a job. What you do with that information is up to you. Every student is required to take standard general education requirements. A way to build off of that information, is to find an internship or a job where you focus on those skills.  There is also the option of getting a certificate in a field of your choosing. This opens the door to using your degree and the certificate to study what you would like before going into a new field of your choosing.

The downside to all of this is that while getting your degree you at the mercy of the schedule of classes. For me, I couldn’t study abroad until senior year, and I had to take another year of classes. I also had to pay for the broad range of employment options with a difficult class load. This isn’t that big of a deal, but it was annoying to have my life dictated for the last 4 years. In parting, it wasn’t that big of a decision, the choice is whether you will chase that path of your degree or reach for something else. Life is never decided by one choice.

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I decided to work in a lab to fullfil my degree options, but I also volunteer with the elderly and low income. I got a job where I had the opportunity to build a grant aid program and help students of color and low income stay in college. This has led to my goal of helping others and eventually will get me a job serving people in my community. While no where near my field of study, it is an area I am passionate about and am working towards thriving in. It shows you build your future and nothing is ever set in stone.

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