Monthly Archives: March 2017

Homecooked Meals: Appreciating the Little Things

There was one day specifically this week that I had another moment of realization, similar to an epiphany however not to that extent. It is like seeing something that has been there the entire time but never noticing it. It was Friday afternoon and Ali had just gotten out of class. I was studying in building 13 on Russel street when we decided to meet up for lunch. We walked to Centre Place, one of the most famous laneways in Melbourne, and grabbed a few falafel wraps and drinks. We then made our way across Swanston street towards Federation square. Continue reading

Old Friends in New Places

This weekend, I had the incredible opportunity to visit Morocco, a country in Northwest Africa. I traveled to Morocco with a program called City Life Madrid, which organizes weekly excursions to different cities in Spain and to other countries for university students. I was thrilled to visit a new country on an entirely different continent for the first time. In addition, I was even more excited to reunite with my Moroccan friend Sadeq, who studied abroad at Marymount last semester. Continue reading

Borrowing a Cup of Sugar: Lending a Helping Hand to Friends in Need

Last weekend was Labor Day weekend and because most of my classes are on Mondays ultimately, I was given a whole week off from school. For a few of those days I housed a few girls from Sydney. One of the girls was spending a semester in Sydney and the other was her cousin visiting for spring break. They were both from North Carolina and were meeting another group of international students in Melbourne. The girl had contacted my cousin through their housing program in hopes of finding a place to stay while they explored the city. I had offered my couch and before I knew it I was walking to Southern Cross Station waiting for their arrival. Continue reading

Exploring Your Own Country

Although traveling to a new city and country to study abroad for a semester can be exciting and thrilling, you need to see more than just that one city. When studying abroad, it is almost imperative to explore more than just a couple miles within your apartment building! As I have written about before, I have traveled out of Florence and to Venice for Carnevale, which was such a fun experience and one that I would want to do again! Although I have not traveled for any specific celebrations since, I have been on small day trips to three other areas within the region! Continue reading

Las Fallas: The Spanish Festival of Fire

This weekend, my friends and I visited the Las Fallas y La Crema festival in Valencia, a coastal city about 4 hours east from Madrid. Valencia has been my favorite city to visit in Spain thus far. It is nationally known for being the city where paella originated from, and is also a city with a very lively and passionate ambiance. You can hear the bellowing cheers from Valencia CF soccer fans and hear exuberant performers on every street corner.

Before attending the festival, we had the chance to visit La Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias, a grand aquarium and science museum with a contemporary design in the heart of the city. The structure vividly reminded me of the Sydney Opera House in Australia, which was quite unique and distinct from other major structures in Spain. Continue reading

Expanding Your Palate: Making Friends and Keeping in Touch With Them

I made a lot of memories and new friendships from the Sydney trip, although I never expected the trip to continue to affect me after I got back. There were many students from La Trobe University, an hour’s tram ride from the city, who went on the trip that I have become good friends. Even though we were only together for a couple of days, we have made plans to reunite. So far, we have gone to the Melbourne Zoo and multiple beach trips to St. Kilda. Along the way, we stumbled upon food truck festivals and small markets. We have watched movies and had late night street food. These original friendships have grown even farther and I now find myself in large webs of friends. Continue reading

Self-Discovery

Throughout my semester abroad, I’m surprised to be learning more about myself and my culture than ever before. Over time, taking advantage of opportunities that I would’ve been too afraid to do back home has allowed my confidence and judgement to flourish with each new experience.

This weekend, I traveled to Ireland on my own to revisit County Kerry, where my paternal family is from. Before boarding my flight, I began to feel so anxious and apprehensive, as I realized that I’d be spending the weekend in a new country where I knew no one – had I officially gone mad? Probably, but I knew that this trip would teach me more about a different aspect of my identity and contribute to my personal growth. Continue reading

Craving Adventure

Home is wherever you make it. I had this realization about home when coming back from a weekend trip to Sydney in celebration of the Mardi Gras parade. This trip was again fun and filled with great memories. Upon arrival, we explored the city and had lunch outside of the Sydney Opera house. Close by, we made our way to the top of the Sydney Opera House bridge to see a beautiful view of the city. The following day we went hiking along the blue mountains into a cave and took pictures underneath a waterfall. Although the trip was not perfect considering the bus got a flat tire, the fog was thick enough you could slice it with a knife, and it was a cloudy/rainy day, those things did not stop us from seeing as much as we could. Continue reading

Home Sweet Home

I have now been living in Florence for just over a month! Throughout that month my roommates and I have been traveling around Italy to see all sorts of different popular sites! We went to Venice, as I wrote about before! We’ve been to Pisa, Verona, and the Italian Riviera. It was not until recently that we traveled outside of the country! Our first trip was to Vienna and Salzburg, Austria. It was such a great time to see a culture that is so much different than Italy’s. It was especially great for me since they speak German there and I am proficient in German as well! Typically, my roommate helps me out with Italian, so this time I got to help her out with German; it was a lot of fun! Although we spent the weekend traveling through Austria, we did miss Florence quite a bit. Continue reading

When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Sangria

Last night, I experienced something that I have been continuously warned about while living in Madrid – pickpocketing. My iPhone, university ID, and Metro card were all stolen from my purse in a matter of seconds. My stomach instantly felt like it had dropped from the Empire State Building when I became aware of this – I couldn’t believe that I had been so oblivious. Waves of panic, anxiety, fear, and anger surfaced as it hit me that I was in a foreign country with no source of communication, no student ID, and no way to get back to my flat that evening. Additionally, with a trip planned to Ireland next weekend, I will assumingly be traveling without any means of communication if I am unable to find my phone. Continue reading

Following the Recipe

Things do not always go as planned, which I have learned is not a bad thing. As far back as I can remember, I loved making plans and writing them down. I still remember writing down to-do lists filled with reminders like “The Wiggles come on at 6pm” and crossing them off as I finished them. Not much has changed since then, except that the list has grown in size and importance. Instead my priorities are now filled with essays and exams, although I still find time to catch up on Netflix.
Continue reading