5 Takeaways From Europe (So Far)

K man, so I lied apparently. We're not back to regularly scheduled programming, likely because every time I have a free second to settle down with my computer, the bright glare of it lulls me into deep sleep. Every. Time. Summer woes, eh?

Instead, I thought I'd try my hand at semi-regularly scheduled programming and go with the flow for the next couple of months. To start things slow, I thought I'd share some of the things I'm learning / remembering / noting about Europe travels.

Calories actually don't count. And in particular, Coca Cola is every American's best friend in the summer. You're on your feet all day walking, exploring, and generally not being on your hiney attached to the computer like you'd usually be doing at home. That's my justification for every glorious cheese-oozing, oil-drenched meal. And for the Coca Cola I crave and indulge in four times a day. There's simply nothing more refreshing. I overhear American accents all day long: "I need a (Diet) (Lemon) (Cherry) (Poison of Choice) Coke, and stat."

The summer daylight is beyond amazing. In London, the sun was up and shining until just about 11pm. In Paris? After 9pm, every 15 minutes you could hear us exclaiming in disbelief: can you believe it's 9:15 right now? 9:30? 9:45? Can you believe this is what 11pm looks like? It was so wonderful, having dinner in the dusk, but also messes with your brain a bit. You think you have a good, like, eight hours to derp around before bedtime but no sirreeeee. You don't.
The things you didn't plan for always turn out to be the best stories. That is not to say that they are funny or entertaining at the time. They more or less actually seemed to be like the end of the world, not trying to be dramatic or anything. But looking back, the moments that make me laugh the most or the ones I'm sure to remember for decades are the ones like when I locked us into our AirBnB for the entire morning, when we brought one bag too many to our flight and spent thirty minutes in a flurry trying to make it all work. When we were caught in a rainstorm in Venice and powered through a walking tour in dorky yellow ponchos. None of this was planned, but they will be remembered.
I can pack light, and I can hardly even believe it. A month and a half abroad, with all my stuff in a tiny little carry-on suitcase and a Longchamp purse. I reserve the right to brag, which I am doing right now. The End. (Please send help in the form of an international care package in about... eight days.)
For every Pinterest / Instagram worthy moment, there will be five not-so-great experiences as well. I follow quite a number of travel accounts on both social media channels, and they never fail to have me all wistful and wanting to me on the other side of the world. Floppy hats against the Mediterranean, tapas in Spain, cool huts in Thailand. I'm doing the same, sharing my favorite highlights from my adventures. And that's when I realized that those snapshots are the 1%. The 99% = my roommate falling ill with bronchitis and seeing only the hotel room while we were in London. Mean bus drivers, getting tricked out of 5 euros by a "nice man who was going to show us where our train seats were," ALL THE TIMES WE WERE HANGRY, getting snappish, frustrated, or exhausted. It's all a part of the same game.

Off to eat more pizza! How's your summer goin'? Any traveling for you?

While I Was Gone

Well, this is more than a little awkward. Anyone out there still remember who the heck I am even?

Where have I been? I think the better question is, where haven't I been in the two weeks I went MIA?

Right at this very moment in time, I'm in hell. KIDDING. Please, I'm kidding. I'm actually decompressing after a very long and hard day of eating crepes and listening to street music along the river Seine, basking in the gentle sunlight and bonjour! bon soir! merci! that's all the French I know! –ing it up to the best of my ability. Aaaaand... now you kind of want me in hell, don't you?

Before this, I was re-visiting my favorite haunts in London and Oxford and finding out for the first time that good weather actually does make its way into the UK every now and then when it's not February. Why in the world did I choose the dreariest of months to study abroad there? 
how much can we fit in one tiny car?

Before THAT, the roommate and I survived a seven hour drive down to LA from SF. This was about two weeks after a ten hour drive both to and from LA, a drive straight outta the lower rungs of whatever's more torturous than hell. AND, get this. Cassandra, who is the sole driver out of the two of us, was faint, coughing out every internal organ, and feverish with bronchitis during the entirety of this last drive. (Sidenote: she was also bedridden during all of London, poor soul. Her first time in Europe, too.)
thank you for everything.

That directly followed the heels of packing for 48 hours straight, um a little thing called GRADUATION (although at Stanford, it's casual as heck and everyone shows up in costume... I have more to say on that too!), spending time with my family, dragging out the last of college, having honestly the best two weeks of school in my ~18 years of education in the sense that we hopped in a lot of fountains and indulged a ton. Booking accommodations and transportation for Europe also became a huge headache in those weeks as well. There were panic attacks about the future. There was acceptance, as well. I took finals and finished projects, said "see ya later" to friends, and tearfully bid farewell to a place that has become beloved to me.
working on our graduation costume hours before graduation. can you guess what we were?

Needless to say, that was probably all very incredibly boring to you, but a nice table of contents for me to have as some semblance of order in a crazy, crazy time.

All this was to say that I'm back to regularly scheduled programming. Follow my Instagram and get spammed with all the things I was willing to forgo naptime for in Europe. Come back later this week for hopefully more interesting details on any of the aforementioned things I rambled on too long about.

Laters baby. (Ugh.)

Living By Your Own Rules

When the days are numbered, you begin to live by your own rules. The closer we inch (aka rocket-launch) towards graduation, the days that we are able to call this beautiful campus "home" have steadily decreased. We started with four years, then it became three... two... one... Three quarters, One quarter, five weeks, two weeks, and now here we are. Seven days.

But see, the sitch with these seven days is that they also come with these squawking little blocks on the calendar that also like to go by the names: finals. papers. revisions. packing. trip booking details. storage. boxes. saying goodbye to friends. checking credits. laundry. cleaning. preparing for the parents to arrive. picking up caps & gowns. The list goes on and on and on, believe me.

In the name of "make big small, and small big" though (uh, a pretty incredible insight taken away from the Gilmore Girls reunion can you even guess how much I freaked out over that)...

I've been squeezing out every second of time not dedicated to that laundry list of things to do (quite literally) and savoring every amazing detail. Tim Tam Slamming until our stomachs hurt, and then sneaking wine into the movie theater to see Spy. Jumping out of bed to prepare breakfast and drinks for a full day extravaganza of walking to and visiting every meaningful place on campus. Inhaling pizza. Fountain-hopping. Again and again. Deciding at 3am that tapas the next day would be the way to go, and making it happen. Hugging friends. Napping. And really, just living by our own rules because right now, that is what's feeling like the best thing to do.

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