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Being Rewritten.

I haven’t written in a while. Why? I don’t really have a simple answer for that. But I can say that my eyes have been opened and I don’t feel like the same person who started this blog several months ago. I am sitting here in class and I can’t even think of the things that bothered me even last month. It seems like years have gone by and yet it has only been 3 weeks.

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When I got here after traveling through France, Netherlands, and Brussels, I was ready to take a hot shower and feel at home. At last, homesickness had caught up with me and I NEEDED to just sleep in my own room by myself. First traveling had been exciting. I had not noticed the subtle changes in my life that I should have when it came to my reality. I started missing my American processed food. As well as the instant comforts of America. While I saw the issues that these conveniences caused in my life, I still missed these comforts of home. I made friends, travelled around my new home, and filled my time with distractions to make my new life seem less empty. I can say now, there is no running away from culture shock or homesickness. I made a few friends who understood what I was going through and slowly started to face my issues. Trying to balance my new life of traveling that I always wanted with what my brain was struggling to accept. That things were different and that I had to accept that.

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Slowly things changed. I am now better dealing with my mixed emotions, but I still struggle with my cravings and mood swings due to the new environment. The longer I am here though, the easier it becomes. I can see the joy of traveling again and can’t wait to explore the rest of my surroundings.

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I guess all I am saying here today is that no matter how perfect something looks, or what exactly you think something will look like, reality is much different. I still love it and I am still so glad I came. But take care of yourself if you make the same journey. Life is not always picture perfect, and in the lows make sure you can make it back to the highs. As my joy comes back to me so does the excitement and passion. I look forward to this being my life, and as that acceptance settles in my mind, the rest of my path is becoming clearer.

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Study abroad

Wait, You can drink outside?

Today I decided to go to the Palace of Versailles and it might have been the best decision I have made this whole trip.

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Going into today, I had not made any friends. I was alone, in a new country, hoping someone social would come up to me and sweep me off my feet wanting to hang out. Turns out, it is very hit or miss at hostels whether or not you make friends. I did not know this. I have always been told, the second you start traveling you will meet so many people at all the hostels and will make so many lifelong friends. I was getting sad because while I was having a fabulous time, I was still alone.

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Before getting on the shuttle to the palace, a young man walked up to me and asked if I was going. He immediately started talking, and I learned he was from a country called Columbia. We talked for a bit before getting on the bus where he saw someone, he met the day prior, who was also from his homeland. Assuming that was the end of it, I stopped talking and let him have his hello’s with her. But the next thing I knew, we are all talking and I was planning my whole trip around being with them. We made plans to eat food they brought and explore the gardens. And so we did! 4 hours later, we had explored and drank ourselves into a little wine buzz. While laughing and taking pictures the whole time.

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We went into the castle at that point and of course it was magnificent. I would expect no less at this point. But, the best part was I had new friends to explore it with. We ended up going back to the hostel and spending a few hours with a couple of bottles of wine before we finally said goodnight.

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Now we have plans to meet up tomorrow, and I am so glad I decided to go on the bus at that time. Traveling is amazing, but making new friends is even better.

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All I can say is things don’t always look how people say they will or how you hope they would. But part of backpacking is staying caught up in the moment and seeing where it takes you. Snapchat-1822528027.jpg

Study abroad

Paris for starters

Today I started my tourist excursion of Paris. I wanted to get this out of the way so I could get to see more of the real life of Parisians. The city is beautiful and with so much to see and experience it actually takes a while to complete. Being the overly ambitious person I am, I thought I could walk from the 19th arrondesmont (a section of the city) down to the 1st and back all in one day. I made it to the Eiffel tower after walking over an hour, but after my feet hurt so bad, I ended up having to call an uber.

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A few things have surprised me with this trip, one being the people of Paris. They are all very nice and welcoming. Having been from the states, I have heard many times about how rude French people are, or how you have to watch your step closely to avoid being singled out. I think an easy way to combat this is the same thing anyone would do in the states… Be kind and understanding of the fact that you are in a different culture with different customs. The point of traveling is to get a new world view and that isn’t possible if you force your own on others. I have seen Americans be loud, block pathways, be gullible, and not accepting. Before we judge, we should be trying to see if there is a reason for the behavior. Not everyone speaks English and I have gotten by through the use of single words or google translate. The important part has been learning from them and making an attempt to listen and not bring my preconceived ideas of Paris into my trip.

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A few things about the hostel. The bathrooms are completely different. They just have two push circles behind the toilet, the smaller one is for liquids and the larger for solids. Now the only reason I know this is because of trial and error. It really doesn’t make sense at first inspection as there is no signage, but after a few tries you get the hang of it. They also do not put the toilet paper in the bowl, instead it goes in a garbage bag located right next to the toilet. I am staying in a mixed dorm. This means anywhere from 10-20 people both male and female staying in the same room. Not a big deal, but wow, it is soooo loud! With the jet lag, adjusting to the loud noises has been keeping me up at night. Hopefully I adjust soon!PD1y.jpg
When walking, no one obeys the normal rules of the road from home in the states. The arc de triumphe for example, is a complete madhouse when experiencing it from a car. There are no lines on the street, and everyone just packs together with the idea that if you fit then you can go. Because of this, the cars are much smaller. Those coup cars that are just the front 2 seats that everyone laughed at 10 years ago, are actually very common here. And for a foreigner like me, the stress caused by this madhouse is palpable.

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The city is surprisingly clean. They love to smoke, but there aren’t cigarettes lying around. In fact, there isn’t any garbage lying on the street. Being from the northwest, this city is cleaner than Portland or Seattle. It is refreshing being in a city but not having to be concerned about what I am stepping in. That being said, adjusting to the smell of cigarettes constantly has been a struggle. Thankfully, because they are so consciences, it has not been hard to adapt. They have recycling centers every block and sidewalk cleaners every day coming out to keep the city clean.

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All in all, starting out this trip has been exciting and different. Seeing the sites, I have only ever seen pictures of, has been amazing. I am exhausted from the jet lag but also wide awake trying to soak in as much as I can. All in all, has been a short day but an amazing start to my journey.
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Uncategorized

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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Uncategorized

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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Uncategorized

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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Uncategorized

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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