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!
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!
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!
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:
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 🙂
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.
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.
A few days ago I recieved my acceptance letter for my study abroad. Of course, this happened in the middle of my finals and after that my desire to study was non existant. Being the trooper I am, I pushed to finish and hopefully passed. Along with this going on, I now have a list of everything I need to get done before leaving. Did anyone know you have to have insurance that works overseas in order to get a residence visa? Because now I do, regretably. I am trying to keep everything organized by writing it down but there are way to many things on way to much paper!
To even think about moving, I need copies of all of my identifying paperwork. This is everything from my drivers licence and passport to insurance cards and acceptance letters. For some reason, it isn’t just the one copy, but about 4. One to leave home, one for my carry on, one for my luggage, and lastly one for my university. Then I have to figure out all the electronics and how the heck I will power everything. I have to have my laptop, phone, camera, and kindle availible at all times, but my converter only has one port. So I still gotta figure that one out still.. Maybe they have converter extension cords? I still need luggage too. As someone who is fine throwing everything into a large duffle bag, the annoying process of finding and buying expensive (~$200) luggage is annoying. Whats more annoying is carrying a giant bag around though.
I wish I could pack more than I am. One carry on, plus one checked bag is not a lot of room. I get to save some space as I dont need to pack essencials like laundry soap. The lack of room really gets to me when I realize that I will be there from winter until summer and will only have the two bags. So, I think I will pack for spring and hopefully I can layer to make it warmer? Probably a terrible plan as Germany isn’t exactly known for their calm winters. Thankfully you can squeeze a whole lot of leggings into a very small space!
So I also have to convert all of my money to euros.. Not a big deal, except my college is in the middle of nowhere and figuring out bank exchange rates is actually quite annoying. Everyone charges different fees and something like Travelex, while convienent, had charges so high that I was going to lose a large amount of my money. Looking into it, general advice seems to point toward applying for a Chase bank credit card as they do not have foreign transaction fees. Next step, I just have to see if I get approved. Which is, as always, stressful.
Thats my small list of stress for the week! Tune in next time to hear me rant about some other small thing like the lines at christmas time… But oh my god these next few weeks need to slow down!
As I prepare to leave the country next month, I wanted to document my headspace starting this journey. Having never left the country, this experience is panic inducing. But, I feel nothing but excitement as I count down the days. I have said so many times that I want to leave the States and have never gotten the chance to go. Whether it be ex-boyfriends, an expensive doggo, or work, there has always been something making me push off my goals. I will never regret my decisions, yet, I can say that there were other options that would have been better for me. Now, being at a point in my life where I have everything I could want, I am finally making my dreams happen. I now have a great partner who supports me. He is willing to watch my dog while I am abroad and hold the fort down at the apartment. He has been my rock through the uncertainty, and having someone I can trust is worth everything. I was also able to get scholarships, to fund my trip making it possible. Plus, I have an amazing job that fulfills me and makes me ready to take on such unknowns. The cards fell perfectly, and it is time for me to go.
Starting January 21st, I will be flying into the Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris before heading straight to the banks of the Seine river. The Seine flows through the heart of the city, and has many attractions on its shores that I will make part of my itinerary. The Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, the Louvre, Le Marais, Champs Élysées, and Pont Alexander III have all been planned into my journey and are within a 15 minute walk of my hostel. I plan on going to see as much as I can and everything I have always dreamed of while there. After that week, I will be taking the train to Bremen Germany where I will begin my semester abroad studies at one of the top S.T.E.M. schools in the world. While there, I will attend my classes just like at my university. I will also meet people in my field making valuable contacts for my future career. Exploring Paris, attending school, traveling, I can not believe how lucky I am, and that is not all. Graduating college, traveling Europe, and starting my career are all on the horizon leading to a bright new year.
With the trip and finals going on my schedule is packed. I am trying to get my lease taken over, my bags packed, and my visa prepared. So much is happening in such a short time and it is nothing but thrilling. As we make our way into the holidays, then eventually a new year, I see a world of possibilities.