On My Own

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These past months have been the first time that I’ve not only lived in an apartment, but also on my own.

I never thought that it would be so hard to move into a new place, but I’m not gonna lie, it was hella rough.

I was originally supposed to still live on-campus, but my application to move off-campus was approved one month before school. Just finding a place was a miracle.

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I had originally ordered some furniture from Rooms to Go that was supposed to arrive not too long after I moved in. Of course, life didn’t want to make it easy on me.

The order was canceled for NO REASON and had to be reordered all over again. So I literally had no bed for a little over a month. Luckily we got an air mattress so I didn’t have to sleep on the floor. Normally I can sleep anywhere, but these floors broke me.

After a long time my bed finally arrived, along with my dresser. I unintentionally made it a princess room, but I love it! The mirror that came with my dresser, however, is so huge and my walls are so not trustworthy that I haven’t hung it up yet for fear that it might fall one day. But I also received my side dresser/table thingy. It was originally going to be a shoe rack but it’s bigger than I expected.

But I never received my sofa, coffee table, and end table. I don’t know how, but they were somehow canceled or something, so I didn’t even bother. At that point I had a couple of chairs so it wasn’t that horrible.

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A few days after moving in, my newly bought Wifi thingy broke too. It just wouldn’t work and in the end we had to get a replacement. It probably wasn’t that big of a deal, but moving in was so stressful that I just sat down and bawled my eyes.

A part of one of my walls had also part of it torn off and I had to get my dishwasher fixed so that it’d stop leaking.

Not to mention the gecko that snuck in and has been living in the apartment this whole time. Without even helping pay the rent. What a hoe.

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Months later I finally decided to also get an actual dining table with chairs.

I got them from Groupon and I love it!

I felt so cool putting them together all on my own, like freaking Bob the Builder or something.

Initially the chairs were missing and I thought, “Oh God, not again.” But it turns out that they were delivered to the front office. And I had to carry this huge box. From the front. To my apartment. Which is allllll the way at the back of the complex.

I was initially offered help but I thought, “Nah, I can do this.”

One minute later, and I had barely left the front office, I was offered help by someone else. But this time I was like, “Hell yes, please!” I never knew getting furniture could be so complicated.


I’m also the only one in my squad that’s living alone.

So literally everyone is like “Make sure to lock your doors!” or “Don’t walk back alone!” or “You need to get pepper spray!” At one point I was given a baseball bat, just in case.

His name is Badger.

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Despite how rough it was in the beginning, like super rough, I enjoyed living alone. It was a terrifying, yet somewhat freeing experience.

I’m grateful for it because now I know what to do and what not to do when it comes to apartment hunting. I now know what to look for and what’s most important to me.

All Roads Lead to Rome


For those of you who don’t know, I spent my first semester of the current school year in Europe. The University of Dallas has what is called the Rome Program. A group of 95 students, 5 professors, and a small group of staff live together for four months on the outskirts of Rome. Almost every weekend is a four day weekend, so everyone is allowed to travel outside of Italy until classes resume late Monday morning. There were also tons of class trips made throughout Italy and Greece.


While I had been to Italy before (Milan, Venice and Calabria), I had never been to Rome.

To say I was both nervous and excited is a serious understatement. Not only was I once again in a foreign country, far from my mother for four months (the longest we had ever been apart), I would also be with these 100 something people 24/7 for a whole semester. On a very small campus.

Everything and anything was foreign.


I told myself don’t get attached,
But in my mind I play it back,
Spinning faster than the plane that took you.

It took about a week or two before the dust settled.

We were given both tours of the campus and of the city Rome before classes began. It was awkward, as it always is when you’re around new people in a new environment. People naturally tended to stick to the friends they already had from beforehand and jetlag was a bitch.

Meals were three times a day at a specified time for an hour, freshly made by the Mensa staff led by Nino and Nuccia (mensa means canteen/cafeteria). The Capp Bar, where students can get snacks and drinks, was worked by work study kids led by the amazing Vasile and Alina. A vineyard covered the front of the campus, filled to the brim with grapevines and adorned with gorgeous roses. A few gazebos were placed throughout campus grounds.

My favorite place, however, was the lounge room right next to the Capp Bar. It contains a couple of tables and chairs and four red leather couches great for naps. It was there where I did my studying. Where I had dance parties and karaoke night with my friends. Where I spent late nights with my friends talking about nonsensical things. Where I had my hot chocolate and Sour Cream & Onion Pringles I bought from the Capp.

The majority of my best memories from those four months was in that lounge room.


On the ground level, there is a tunnel that connects the basement with the lounge room and Capp Bar.

It’s called Shakespeare Alley.

On one side there are Shakespearean characters painted onto the wall. Such as Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, Puck and Titania, Othello, King Lear and his three daughters, and a few more too.

Every semester students are given the chance to paint and draw on the other wall whatever they wanted (as long as it was PG-13). From quotes to inside jokes to advice, we would gather together in our free time to paint for fun. I distinctly remember a friend and I on a “mission” to paint something very specific.

Here’s some background info. first:

One of the Resident Coordinators would frequently talk about his “traumatic childhood memories,” typically involving a chicken or at least some form of animal. One of which was a fox he accidentally killed with his vomit. Yeah, pretty gross.

So my friend and I banded together for “Mission Fox Killer.” On the wall we painted a fox with it’s soul going towards the sky (melodramatic, I know) with a horror film font used to write “Fox Killer.” It was perfect for when we would get too stressed and needed an outlet.


That same friend and I also designed our class t-shirt.

Th very top I am wearing in this post.

The Rome Program is directed by two people, one is which is Ben. During a large portion of the semester, however, he was back in the States due to his work visa or something. I like to just joke that he was deported from Italy. The week he left our other leader made a joke, saying “We’ve lost Ben. Have you seen him?” Ever since then students constantly made the joke “Where’s Ben?”

I later thought of the idea of having this be the theme for our shirts, while my friend, an awesome art major, did the drawing portion. After giving some options in terms of design placement, we turned it in and won the design competition!

It’s a perfect inside joke that will for sure put a smile on our faces.


The delicate beginning rush,
The feeling you can know so much,
Without knowing anything at all.
And now that I can put this down,
If I had known what I know now,
I never would have played so nonchalant.

Sometimes we would have lectures in the city.
Since technically campus was on the outskirts of Rome, via driving it takes a little less than an hour and by commute it’s almost two hours (pretty rough). So whenever there was an opportunity to go into Rome via driving, students relished it. From getting gelato to shopping at Tiger, it was always a blast. Tiring, but still a blast. We even managed to attend the Papal Audience! Since this is a hardcore Catholic school, this was particularly a big idea. I’m pretty one of my friends who was standing next to me was almost to have palpitations from seeing the Pope.

Funnily enough, as time went on, walking by the Colosseum and the Roman Forum became the norm. Yes, this is so spoiled of me to say but that was our reality for a whole semester. Going into some of the world’s most beautiful churches, visiting esteemed museums, and so much more was given to us.

My personal favorite is the Trevi Fountain.

It was first introduced to me by the Lizzie McGuire movie (yes, I know), but nothing could have prepared me for how beautiful it is. It’s much bigger than I expected and was just absolutely breathtaking.

And yes, I threw a coin in and made a wish.


What was nice about the program was that almost everyone had the same classes: English, History, Theology, Philosophy and Art History. There was a handful of students, including myself, that took an Italian class and replaced one the other classes with it. That way everyone suffered studied together.

Every exam felt like a squad mission that we had to complete in order to survive (which is basically true).

Finals week was both the worst and the best.

Worst because, well, finals.

But the best because everyone banded together. It was comforting to know that I wasn’t the only one struggling to retain so much information in a short amount of time.

Plus the study breaks were like mini parties.

It could be playing cards, singing/dancing to music (particularly Thank You, Next by Ariana Grande), or fooling around on the piano that was in the lounge room. It’s always a blast even when it’s serious studying time. Specifically when it gets to the point wherein we’re delirious and laugh at anything.


The semester was by far the most grueling, exhausting, wonderful, exhilarating, experience I’ve had thus far.

Yes, it had it’s downsides. Such as constantly being exhausted (whether from the traveling and/or the intensive classes), or being in close quarters with everyone 24/7, or having to eat pasta 3 time a day everyday, or not being able to see your family.

But it also gave me the opportunity to travel to so many places! From Paris to Vienna to Venice to London, I was blessed to see some of the most amazing and awesome places in Europe.

I will say, however, that it is most definitely the people that can make or break an experience. And the people I was with those four moths are truly spectacular. From the staff to the students to the professors, everyone contributed to making the semester what is was. Whether you were someone who taught me, or I became close with, was someone I was already close to, or even if we only said “Hi” once in a while passing each other in the hallway, I am thankful for you. So thank you for the most incredible semester of my life! There is truly no word or words to completely encompass everyone about the experience.

F(all) ROME 2018


This is when the feeling sinks in,
I don’t wanna miss you like this,
Come back.


September by Earth, Wind & Fire

Africa by Toto

Thank You, Next by Ariana Grande

Apple Bottom Jeans by T-Pain

Dancing Queen by ABBA

Take Me Home, Country Roads by John Denver

Edelweiss from The Sound of Music

Hey Stephen by Taylor Swift

Love On Top by Beyonce

Jordan Belfort by Wes Walker & Dyl

Come Back, Be Here by Taylor Swift


The Unquenchables

Pretty Little Galway Girl


For those of you who don’t know, I spent my first semester of the current school year in Europe. The University of Dallas has what is called the Rome Program. A group of 95 students, 5 professors, and a small group of staff live together for four months on the outskirts of Rome. Almost every weekend is a four day weekend, so everyone is allowed to travel outside of Italy until classes resume late Monday morning. There were also tons of class trips made throughout Italy and Greece.


For my last long weekend, I went to Dublin and Galway.

At this point, many students had gone there and I had heard nothing but good things about Ireland. Everyone there is either incredibly kind, hilarious, and/or laidback. There was not one mean person that we came across during our visit.


Our first day in Ireland was spent running around Dublin, trying our hardest to see as many things as possible. From the Ha’penny Bridge, to the Chester Beatty Library, and many, many more!

For lunch we had super delicious (and super cheap) food at an American-inspired bar. It was one of the few times I had chicken during those four months (why don’t Italians eat more chicken???).

What I remember most from that day were the rainbows.


As in plural.

Dublin was rainy and super cold, but we welcomed with three different rainbows that day. One of which was a double rainbow!

How lucky are we?!


After spending the morning in Galway, where I ate BIG chocolate pancakes with cinnamon hot chocolate and bought a Claddagh ring to show off my singleness, we headed to the Cliffs of Moher.

Right before we arrived it had been raining quite heavily. So when we were walking along the cliffs, it was extremely muddy. Boot-ruining, mushy-sounding, feet-trapping muddy. I lost count how many times I almost fell (not off the cliffs at least).

But the views were absolutely breathtaking.

Every inch of the place was something out of a painting. The dreamy blue waters, the massive cliffs, the flocks of birds that flew at a distance, all encompassed a gorgeous scenery.

Truly an unforgettable experience.


We ended our time there with a big, hearty dinner.

Eating soup, various breads, huge slices of meat  and tons of potatoes.

After stopping by a chocolate shop for some last minute desserts, we headed back to Dublin and caught our flight back to campus the following morning.


Strut Like You Mean It


For those of you who don’t know, I spent my first semester of the current school year in Europe. The University of Dallas has what is called the Rome Program. A group of 95 students, 5 professors, and a small group of staff live together for four months on the outskirts of Rome. Almost every weekend is a four day weekend, so everyone is allowed to travel outside of Italy until classes resume late Monday morning. There were also tons of class trips made throughout Italy and Greece.


Since Thanksgiving happens right before Winter Break, the majority of students decided to stay in Europe instead of flying back to America.

A lot of us chose to spend Thanksgiving in Barcelona.

Of course, the Cheetah Girl in me flipped out.

If you don’t know why, we can’t be friends.


I was lucky enough to visit La Sagrada Família, a gorgeous and modern church still under construction. It’s not for those more inclined to traditional styles, but it’s definigely a unique structure filled with amazing stained glass. Also, from afar the outside looks like a cavern. Particularly those in the Natural Bridge Caverns. But up close, it’s covered in sculptures and engravings of religious scenes and symbols. Even if you don’t want to go inside the actual building, I would most definitely recommend at least seeing the outside.

I also managed to go to Parc Güell. While most of the park isn’t free, it’s the Monumental Core that attracts people the most. It contains tons of cool designs and patterns that are incredibly intricate. With tons of cool columns and arches. It also gives the most amazing view of Barcelona and is where the “Strut” scene was shot in the Cheetah Girl’s sequel. It was literally a childhood dream come true!


I also fell in love with La Boqueria.

A lot of people may just wave it off and say it’s only a tourist attraction, but it really isn’t. It’s an awesome market filled to the brim with quality and cheap items. From fresh fish, to cartons of eggs, to homemade chocolates, and freshly made juice! The marketplace is gorgeous and was a 5 minute walk from our place. If you don’t do or see anything else in Barcelona, at least go to La Boqueria!

It’s definitely worth it.


Compared to my other travels, this one was quite chill. With the stress of school and the constant backpacking, having time to just stay in one place and rest was absolute Heaven. My time in Barcelona was one of the very few places I visited where I actually had time to nap.

It was glorious.

IMG_0165IMG_0166It was also great to just hang out with the squad.

I hadn’t been with this particular set of friends I traveled and stayed with since my first Paris trip. So being with them was really nice. We would buy groceries for our meals and make them together for meals, or for those of us who didn’t cook (like me) cleaned up while listening to Christmas tunes, or watched Blue Bloods on the tv that was provided at our place.


We would also make hot choclate on late nights listening to Nat “King” Cole songs.

As well as fresh toast with butter and scrambled eggs for breakfast, paired with awesome orange juice.


Thanksgiving dinner was amazingly.

We made mashed potatoes, mac ‘n’ cheese, tons of other stuff, and bought buckets of KFC chicken. Originally we were going to try cooking chicken ourselves, but KFC seemed like the better option.

And it was.

It was HEAVEN.

Despite missing my momma, Thanksgiving in 2018 was a wonderful experience. Not just because of the gorgeous city I was in, but mostly because of the people I spent it with.


My First Women’s Retreat


For those of you who don’t know, I spent my first semester of the current school year in Europe. The University of Dallas has what is called the Rome Program. A group of 95 students, 5 professors, and a small group of staff live together for four months on the outskirts of Rome. Almost every weekend is a four day weekend, so everyone is allowed to travel outside of Italy until classes resume late Monday morning. There were also tons of class trips made throughout Italy and Greece.


On one of the weekends, students were offered a chance to go on a Women’s Retreat at a center in Albano.

The guys had theirs a few weekends before us, so we had a Girls’ Night watching She’s the Man, eating snacks, and having a mini dance party.

The retreat was about three days. It was a completely silent one and all meals were prepared for us (the bread was amazing with some oil, pepper, and salt).


I had never been on a retreat before so I was hesitant to go at first. But after some urging from my friends, I decided to go anyway.

It was free after all.

What was also nice about it was that while there was a schedule, no one was obligated to attend all events. So technically I could have just skipped everything (except meals) and relaxed/slept.

The only “events” I participated in was a Rosary prayer and Adoration for one hour.


My favorite part, however, was being able to just journal while looking at the amazing panoramic view of Lake Nemi. The clear, blue water was literally sparkling whenever the sun was up. The sunlight felt like absolute perfection against the cold, winter air. But it was the most relaxed I had been that entire semester.

I almost dreaded going back to campus, especially when all the girls erupted into chatter when silence was over.

It was actually painful…


Waterloo, Promise to Love You Forevermore

Top from Ivory Ella.

For those of you who don’t know, I spent my first semester of the current school year in Europe. The University of Dallas has what is called the Rome Program. A group of 95 students, 5 professors, and a small group of staff live together for four months on the outskirts of Rome. Almost every weekend is a four day weekend, so everyone is allowed to travel outside of Italy until classes resume late Monday morning. There were also tons of class trips made throughout Italy and Greece.


London was probably one of my favorite places to visit.

It was expensive, yes, but place was just so cool.

AND it was the first time in months that everything was in English. #BLESS

The three of us stayed in, what was probably the coolest hostel I’ve been to, The Birds Hostel. It’s placed right above a bar and constantly holds fun events. Like themed trivia games (i.e. Harry Potter, Disney Villains, etc.), movie nights (in our case, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1), and had an overall cool setup. Not to mention that the people there are genuinely nice and hilarious to be around.

Oh, and the food is to die for. I most particularly loved their chicken popcorn.


We spent our first morning in Covent Garden, particularly in a tea store called Whittard of Chelsea. While I am not a big fan of tea, the shop was filled with gorgeous items and delicious smelling teas. There was also tons of Alice in Womderland themed products, one of which was chocolate that I gladly ate and shared at school later on. If not for the chocolate itself, then for the beautiful packaging.

We then scurried off to see Buckingham Palace and Kensington Palace.

One of us is an art major and I, for those of you who don’t know, considered being one myself. That was, of course, before I realized I didn’t like being stressed out by deadlines when it came to art. Now you can imagine how excited we were to visit the National Gallery, where some of the world’s greatest artworks are. Although our time was limited, the one piece of art that I absolutely HAD to see was the famous Sunflower by Vincent van Gogh (the one with the vase to be precise).

My good friend and I took turns geeking out over our favorite artists and taking pictures with their pieces.

Van Gogh is my guy, Monet is hers.

We also made sure to visit Abbey Road (although we could’ve been run over) and Platform 9 3/4 (despite the long line).

We even made reservations to have tea at a place called Candella. It’s a quaint but beautiful place, perfect for living out one’s tea time dreams.


We ended the day with a live show of Les Misérables.

Earlier that day our group met a very nice woman staying at the same hostel we were in. She had discounts on tickets to musicals being shown during our stay, and graciously offered us to any of our choosing. Since two of the three in our group had never actually seen the production, the third a fervent fan of it, we decided to watch Les Misérables.

Despite its tragedy and dark tone (don’t worry, no spoilers here), the story was beautiful and filled with talented actors.


On our last night in London, all three of us went on the London Eye.

The initial idea was to be in it while the sun was setting. But London, however, is all fog and rain. So that plan went down the drain. But the overall experience was so much fun. The line, while long, was exceedingly fast and the views were amazing.


My two favorite things about London are 1) their Metro system and 2) Primark.

For the first point, it’s so incredibly easy to understand. And no, not just because it’s in English. But the lines make more sense and aren’t incredibly complicated like freaking spiderwebs (ahem, Paris). The Overground, which we particularly used, was never a stressful thing. We never once got lost.

Primark, which I know can be found in other countries, was first discovered by moi in London. It’s basically a cool place to find clothes and other items that will not break the bank. Unless you go overboard of course, but that’s not the point.

Overall, London was the best. With it’s red buses and telephone booths and cool accents. I definitely recommend going there and encourage study abroad students to seek out The Birds Hostel.

And remember to mind the gap!


Wheelin’ Around Northern Italy


For those of you who don’t know, I spent my first semester of the current school year in Europe. The University of Dallas has what is called the Rome Program. A group of 95 students, 5 professors, and a small group of staff live together for four months on the outskirts of Rome. Almost every weekend is a four day weekend, so everyone is allowed to travel outside of Italy until classes resume late Monday morning. There were also tons of class trips made throughout Italy and Greece.


Now, home girl did something pretty stupid before the Northern Italy trip.

It was the Halloween Party.

I, who was perfectly sober by the way, sprained her right ankle getting too lit. I danced that night, hardcore like I usually do, on an ankle that was already somewhat fragile from a previous rolling. But if you know me, you know that once my jam(s) come on, there’s no way to stop me.

So I got a cane.

And a wheelchair. Just in case.


Our first stop was Assisi and the first site we went to was the Basilica of San Francesco d’Assisi.

The mosaics and artwork there was absolutely breathtaking.

But what really took my breath away was the climb. The very steep climb. At this point I only had my cane, which was named Ichabod by its previous owner, since I didn’t know where the wheelchair was. Or if the staff was being serious when they said they were bringing it.

While I successfully, and triumphantly, climbed up on my own, the climb down was a different story. You would think it’d be better considering, well, gravity but it wasn’t. By the time we had to leave, I had physically exhausted myself from climbing up to the basilica and going around the big church exploring (stairs and such). I literally could not hold myself up.

So my friends, my wonderful and insane friends, decided to manhandle me against my will. At this point we were behind the pack and needed to find a way to speed me up. So the carried me. Literally one friend per arm and another for my legs. And Ichabod landed with someone. It was probably a really weird sight. Seeing these American students hustling and carrying a human being in the middle of Assisi.

And in front of our professors.

But honestly, by then they had seen weirder things from us.


Our next stop, which was my favorite, was Florence.

From it’s gorgeous monuments to it’s leather markets and it’s delicious food. In fact, I had Asian food there for the first time in months.

I almost cried right there.

In a restaurant filled with the most amount of Asians I had seen in what felt like forever.

But another reason why I loved my time in Florence so much was that everywhere I went I was wheeled around. So imagine a bunch of college kids running around a foreign city, pushing their friend around and having wild races. If we didn’t stick out already, we most certainly did after decorating my chair in gold tinsel.

Now at this point I’d been carried around multiple times. Assisi was the first. And then two piggyback rides in Florence, both in one day and most appreciated.

But my dumb ass, probably due to pride and ego and insanity, was determined to climb up the Duomo. If you didn’t know, the Duomo has 463 steps (I looked it up). I can’t even climb one flight of stairs with both of my ankles, now I wanted to climb hundreds on a crutch.

But despite my ganky ankle, I actually made it. AND in under half an hour.

Did I almost die?

Hell yes.

Was it worth it?

Hell yeah.

Especially since I had a whole squad with me for motivation and in case I fell.







We then moved on to Venice.

As an avid fan of the novel, The Thief Lord, being in Venice was exciting. If you don’t know what that is, definitely check it out!

While Venice itself is indeed beautiful and unique, it was the hardest place for me to be in. Venice is small, therefore the pathways are narrow and there are multiple bridges to cross. It’s basically inevitable to encounter some. And a special shoutout to Mia, who was basically stuck with me for a whole day in Venice. She most definitely did not plan on having to wheel me around all day, but she did so anyway. Mostly because she had no choice, otherwise I’d be stranded. But I am, however, incredibly grateful.

It also meant that we took as many water taxis as possible. But it gave us a great opportunity to see all of Venice in the limited time that we had.


My favorite places in Venice was Palazzo Ducale (Doge’s Palace) and St. Mark’s Square. Both are gorgeous places one should definitely visit!

Venice, however, was where I had one of the worst not chocolates ever. I meant, it was baaad. It was so viscous and burnt my throat. Also, BEWARE OF THE BIRDS. The birds are vicious as hell. They will actually fight you for your food!!! So I advise you, no matter how nice it is outside or how pretty the views are, don’t eat outside unless you want to fight or die…

Despite the scary birds, Venice was overall really nice. Since Northern Italy was the last class trip we would all be taking together, everyone spent the last night being together and thanking our professors and the staff for all the trips they put together.

It was a wonderful last night spent together on the last class trip.





After making a quick stop at Ravenna, where we ate pizza and visited Dante’s grave, we headed back to Rome and went back to work.

I also said goodbye to my wheelchair since campus is incredibly small.

Less than a week later I also said goodbye to Ichabod.

And as a way of saying “Thank You,” I bought Pringles for the friends who consistently helped me get around all of Northern Italy and for being just overall awesome people.

I have very sweet friends.

But don’t tell them I said that.


I Can Go the Distance


For those of you who don’t know, I spent my first semester of the current school year in Europe. The University of Dallas has what is called the Rome Program. A group of 95 students, 5 professors, and a small group of staff live together for four months on the outskirts of Rome. Almost every weekend is a four day weekend, so everyone is allowed to travel outside of Italy until classes resume late Monday morning. There were also tons of class trips made throughout Italy and Greece.


Our class trip to Greece was basically a week-long vacation.

We went on an overnight boat, which I had never done before! Although the rooms were incredibly small and tight (four per room), the boat itself was massive. The bar was open to all and was placed right in front of a lounge area everyone hung out in.

There are two things I remember most that night:

First, there was a long drive to the port itself. It was a 7 hour drive, so by the time we got on the actual boat I had so much energy! Amongst all the other students who were jetlagged and tired, I was doing the “Wobble” like the fool that I am.

Second, the party of the top deck. Despite the chilly wind and legit fear of falling overboard, it was a lot of fun. It was basically filled with only University of Dallas kids doing random things. Like singing and rapping along to music, reading Aristophanes’ The Frogs for homework, having a dance party, and playing Ninja.

I even scraped my knee pretty badly playing Ninja too hardcore. But I won. Twice. And that’s what really matters.


So many things happened on this trip that I couldn’t possibly write about. Mostly because, to be honest, I can’t remember a lot of it off the top of my head.

But I do remember visiting some of the most gorgeous monasteries in the world. One of which was on Meteora. While the climb was a nightmare, the view was an absolute dream. With the gorgeous rock formations, and clear blue skies, and amazing landscapes that blew me away.

I will say this, however, beware of the bathrooms in monasteries . . .


Over the course of our time there, we had multiple on-site lectures given by our professors. One of which was the Temple of Apollo in Delphi.

Now at this particular archaeological site there are three different levels you can see. So on every level we had a different professor give a lecture.

In general I hate climbing, so imagine how it was for us when it began to rain. And I don’t mean just a little drizzle, but like hardcore pouring rain.

While everyone checked earlier that morning what the weather would be like, none of us could have anticipated just how bad it would be. Some of us didn’t even have umbrellas or rain jackets that day.

But despite the nasty weather that day, it was one of the most memorable afternoons those ten days.

Everyone persevered and listened to all three lectures, despite being given an out. We all chose to instead enjoy that afternoon by singing rain-related tunes and jumping in/over puddles we pretended were oceans.

This one, big insane family stuck together in the rain like pros.


Another on-site lecture we had was at Mycenae.

It’s an archaeological site that contains a tholos tomb called the Treasury of Atreus. This tomb is shaped like a beehive and allows visitors to go inside it. Initially we were outside when our professor began the lecture. Midway through, however, it began to rain…

So this big group of Americans (except for myself and one other kid) rush to the tomb below us to take cover and finish the lecture there.

Our professor, noting the amazing acoustics in the tomb, invited students to stand in the middle where the sound was best and sing.

From Italian opera to a sea ballad to a Shakespeare recitation, we filled the tomb we glorious sound. But it was the finale that was unforgettable.

One of my best friends goes up and invites us all to sing Take Me Home, Country Roads by John Denver. Now throughout our semester together, there were a few songs in particular everyone knew and sang together. Such as Edelweiss from The Sound of MusicHey Stephen by Taylor Swift, Thank You, Next by Ariana Grande, and the song mentioned above.

So altogether, in a circle with our arms around each other’s shoulders, we sing.

Loud and proud and happily.


We also spent a whole day island hopping.

There were two boats we went on where the top deck was open for seating. The ride was about 2-3 hours long, so some of us would sleep under the warm sun on the top deck or even talk with our professors. I distinctly remember how nice it felt to have the sun come down on my shoulders as the cool wind blew in my face. There was also music paying in the background along with a bit of chatter.

That day we visited two islands that were just gorgeous. One of which had awesome food and views, and the other an open beach and adorable shops. The day was spent looking at things to buy in a bathing suit and running around like madmen.

Even the boat ride back to our hotel was fun. In order to pass the time, we would play cards or hand-clapping games with each other.

The day was equal in fun and exhaustion.


Our last night in Greece was spent dancing.

There was a group of professional dancers that came to both perform for us and teach us some moves. The night was filled with loud music and sweaty people joyfully dancing the night away. I remember being in my polka dotted and flamingo print dress that I had bought on one of the islands, hair up in a ponytail, with my black ankle booties stomping the ground.

Greece was truly a one-of-a-kind experience.


P.s. Gibbs and the Kids rule.

Stephen’s Heathens suck.

The Hills Are Alive


For those of you who don’t know, I spent my first semester of the current school year in Europe. The University of Dallas has what is called the Rome Program. A group of 95 students, 5 professors, and a small group of staff live together for four months on the outskirts of Rome. Almost every weekend is a four day weekend, so everyone is allowed to travel outside of Italy until classes resume late Monday morning. There were also tons of class trips made throughout Italy and Greece.


My second long weekend was spent in Austria.

Just like Paris, I was luck to to visit Salzburg more than once. But I’ll talk about that a little later. For now it’ll be about Vienna.

For my first trip, a small group of us went on an overnight train crossing the borders between Italy and Austria. It was one of my favorite parts of the semester. The train was set up like the one that goes to Hogwarts. A carriage compartment you can share with friends and have tons of snacks in.

One of us even had our 20th birthday that night.

So we had our own little celebration with pringles and some beer (well, in my case orange juice). Everyone spent the night talking and making jokes as we headed into another new country.


Our time in Vienna was calm and lovely.

We hit the ground running once we arrived.

As we walked to our hostel we stopped by a few places since checkin wasn’t open yet. I had, what I personally believe, to be the best hot chocolate ever. The lady even asked if I wanted white hot chocolate, dark hot chocolate, or milk ho chocolate. I didn’t even know I had options! Pair that with some yummy brownies and I’m good to go.


After dropping off our bags at the hostel, we went exploring.

Right outside a church we were visiting, there was a small fresh market that sold freshly baked bread and fruits. Everyone sat together, having our own little picnic, eating strawberries and raspberries and pumpernickel bread (a whole loaf of it!).

Soon after we came across a playground with a big merry-go-round and a set of swings. One of which was like a mosh pit and so big that two people could ride it!

Are we too old to be fooling around on playgrounds?


Did we care?

Not really.

After spending what was probably an unhealthy amount of time there, we stopped by a burger place nearby.


Our last day in Vienna was spent visiting a museum and studying at a cool place called Pickwick’s. It’s actually a British pub with tons of great food and books to read for fun.

But our time in Austria wasn’t just spent in Vienna…


It was also spent in Salzburg, where every Sound of Music fans’ dreams come true!

We went everywhere we could.

From the beautiful gardens where the children learned how to sing, to the Von Trapp household, to the gazebo where two thirsty teenagers shared their first kiss, and many more!


We even climbed up to the Hohensalzburg Fortress.

Now, when whomever proposed us visiting the place, it was never mentioned that there would be a climb. A big, STEEP climb. Probably the worst I’ve ever done.

Out of the five in our group, two of us were struggling hardcore. And the worst part is that there are literally no places to take break! It’s just a constant uphill battle.

You know, when Mother Superior said to climb every mountain, I thought she meant it figuratively. Not literally for a bunch of out-of-shape college kids.



We were also fortunate enough to visit Salzburg while a festival was being held there.

We didn’t exactly know it was for, or understood when we tried asking someone, but it was a joy nonetheless.

There was a never ending stream of booths that sold pretzels, and schnitzel, and gelato, and ornaments, and other wonderful things! There was eve n a few rides set up, like a small Ferris wheel and swing ride.

We spent the day eating as much as we could handle (both interns of our stomachs and our wallets), starting from chocolate covered strawberries that tasted like heaven. Afterwards, a young group of drummers and singers were leading the general crowd towards someplace. Intrigued, we joined in until we reached the beautiful church Kollegienkirche. Although Salzburg is typically a quiet place to be in, our time there was filled with festivities and fun that will forever be cherished.


Little Me, In Paris


For those of you who don’t know, I spent my first semester of the current school year in Europe. The University of Dallas has what is called the Rome Program. A group of 95 students, 5 professors, and a small group of staff live together for four months on the outskirts of Rome. Almost every weekend is a four day weekend, so everyone is allowed to travel outside of Italy until classes resume late Monday morning. There were also tons of class trips made throughout Italy and Greece.


I was fortunate enough to visit the City of Lights twice.

It took both times and two 3 hour visits for me to barely finish one floor of the Louvre. And let me tell you, that Mona Lisa is teeny. The museum taunts you by putting up signs everywhere saying “She’s this way” and making visitors climb stairs after stairs after stairs. And of course you do so quickly because you want to get there before the crowd gets too big. But at least I got to say that I saw it in person.

The museum is a maze. It is never ending in its treasures and beauties. The floor I explored was 1 (the others being -2, -1, 0 and 2). My personal favorite was the Denon Wing, in particular the Napoleon III Apartments.


There is also a great cafe called Hubsy that I recommend to college students visiting Paris. It is exceedingly cheap considering all the things they provide you. You pay a set fee depending on the number of hours you are there, and in return you get free WiFi and unlimited snacks and drinks. It also helps that the place itself is pretty cozy.


Lucky for us, climbing the Arc de Triomphe was free!

Since we had to stay for such a long time in Italy, everyone has student visas that made us legal residents of the EU for the time being. Apparently for EU residents it’s free to climb the monument!

The climb, while exhausting, was worth it in my opinion. The view allowed us to see not only the overall city, but also the Eiffel Tower during it’s light show. It was just a few of us, fooling around in the cool air while looking around like the tourists that we are.


During my second visit, we took a day trip to the Palace of Versailles.

Although we had purchased tickets online, the line was simply horrendous. It was so long that it created three huge loops outside the palace, kind of like a huge snake. And while the wait was long and the heat was strong, our little group passed the time making jokes and playing games.

The palace is gorgeous.

With it’s black and white tiles and elaborate gold ornaments, the palace was indeed beautiful. A friend and I even had a meal there. Albeit a little expensive, but delicious nonetheless (with a much cheaper dinner that night). Their orange juice was probably one of the best I’ve ever had. It even came with their own fancy bottle and label! 😀

I was most excited to see the Hall of Mirrors, but ended up falling in love with other items within that room. While the mirrors were indeed impressive, it was the multiple chandeliers and painting-covered ceiling that made me awestruck.

We ended the trip with some macaroons from Laudurée. Expensive, and small, but delicious! If you ever visit one, make sure to get a ribbon there! There’s blue, green, lavender and pink.


My favorite part of both my trips to Paris was seeing the Eiffel Tower at night.

After the trip to Versailles, we took our macaroons and sat down in an open space right in front of the Tower. It’s a clear, grass field that is open to the public and perfect for seeing the entire Tower.

There were tons of people there.

Families with their children playing around, couples taking romantic photos, and groups of young adults just like us having picnics.

We watched the sun set right before the light show began.

The rest of the night was spent eating our macaroons, making funny videos, and dancing along to “Stand By Me.” It was one of my favorite moments in the entire semester.


And while I was blessed to see Paris twice, there is still so much more to see and do there!

Such as climbing the Eiffel Tower (once I earn more money, of course).

And visiting Saints Chapelle with all its glorious stained glass!

And the booklover in me must of course visit Shakespeare and Company too!

There is still so much wonder to discover in the city that I have yet, and will hopefully one day, see for myself.

I will, however, warn future fellow university student visitors that Paris is very expensive. It is a very hectic place and their Metro system made my head hurt.

But Paris will always have a special place in my heart, as it was the first time I had ever traveled somewhere without any parental OR school guidance. Not to mention that it’s also the first, and I proudly proclaim the only, place I was ever lost in.

For two hours.


With a dying phone.

It was truly an experience to remember.


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