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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

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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About to go on my adventure, here are my thoughts.

The semester started at my home university. Everyone got back to town this weekend and meetings are in full swing. As this all is going on, I am prepping to leave the country in a week and a half. Working as much as I can and trying to figure out my budget is happening all in preparation for my travel. I started to plan what I will be packing. Whether I want a carry on, or how cold I might be staying in hostels. While trying to get an idea of what I actually will need.

A few days ago, I realized how much I will be missing by going on my adventure. Several of my friends will be graduating without me. I can’t believe after 4 years together I won’t be here to see them graduate. There is also spring break, and valentine’s day that I will miss. I will be missing several of my advisees graduate from the program I work for. I will be missing several months of my dog’s life. It hurts, but I know it is what is best for me going forward.

At the same time, I feel nothing but excitement as I prepare. I will be living my dream and exploring independently. I am scared of settling down because of the fact that I love my independence. I know that having this time to myself to make friends and lifelong memories is what I need to move forward in my life, and I cannot wait to start this journey. I am so excited to meet people in the hostels and at the school. I can’t wait to go see the sights and really immerse in completely new cultures. I am worried that I am going to fall over my head and never want to leave!

I am excited to post more and get this started. I have a great support system and people who love me. I can’t wait to bring you all along with me and see where I end up in this journey.

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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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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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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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