What is this life?! (Life Abroad Check-In)

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Needless to say, it's been a whirlwind few months. I'm so tired, exhilarated, overwhelmed, and grateful all at the same time. Seriously, what is this life?!

I've already been abroad for over a month, and I honestly cannot believe it, I feel like time has just been flying. I have absolutely fallen even deeper in love with France, with Caen, and with living life in a different language. I've been journaling a lot, and I've definitely taken time to reflect on my time here in France and how I've grown.

Parlez-vous le Fran├žais? 

I do... kind of. :) 

Just kidding. My French has actually improved tremendously since I've been here. I think it helps that about 90% of my day I spend in French, and the only time I speak English (or really, think in English) is when I'm with my friends at lunch, or when I read before bed. I've even started dreaming in French. 

Creativity is cool.

For the longest time, I have refused to consider myself creative. I come from a family of artists: My mom is a painter/interior designer/ballet dancer, my dad is a photographer who also happens to have an art gallery, my cousin Kat is a wicked awesome drawer, pottery maker, tattoo designer, and my cousin Bri is basically an artistic wunderkind. She is in art school in England right now, studying costume design and is AMAZING at it, but she can also draw, paint, and basically do everything. So, I've always been the academic black sheep in the family. 

But lately, I've been embracing my creativity. My dad bought me a wonderful gift of a nice camera before I went abroad, and I've been using it all the time, and even trying to take "artistic" pictures. I also recently bought a watercolor pencil set, and I have loved playing with mixing colors and seeing my surroundings differently. These are some of my favorite photos that I've taken: 

T-minus 30 days until Amsterdam! 

Way back in July, I posted about all the places I wanted to go while I was studying abroad. Amsterdam was at the top of the list. It's actually happening... I'm going to Amsterdam! I cannot wait to see it all. I've already planned out all the things I want to do, and it's going to be an amazing trip!

I'm in love with the sea...

This is very much a newfound love for me. Before coming to France, I had been to the beach 3 times in my life: California when I was a kid, my second trip to France in high school, and Belize. I've been more than that in the past month, and I go every chance I get. I never understood why everyone was so crazy about the beach... some sand and water? How could that possibly compare to the mountains that I call my home? But it very much can compare. It's breathtaking. 

I finally own a pair of rain boots! 

I have never in my life owned a pair of rain boots. I've had several pairs of snow boots and Ugg boots... but never rain boots. I'm used to snow. I like snow... for the most part. But rain? This is a whole different animal. And I love it.

The McLeese Clan takes Europe.

My dad is officially coming to visit at the end of the month over my mini vacation. I'm so excited to show him where I've been living, and then we're going to have our own adventure in London (he can't speak French... so England is a good place to go). I love traveling with my dad, and I can't wait to add this to our memory bank! 

Flash back to 2012... when my dad and I went to Europe together! This is us at the top of the Eiffel Tower.
My first post on the DU Study Abroad Blog went live!

I'm blogging for Academic Programs International as well as my University's study abroad program, DU Study Abroad, and my first post went live! It's all about how I've been adjusting to school in France, and the biggest differences I've encountered. 

I guest posted on The Darling Daily! 

I have found that I really like writing for other bloggers. It's a really fun challenge, trying to think in a different way. I wrote about how important it is to believe in yourself, and how to transition from dreaming about your life to living your dreams. Check it out

Coming Up...
This weekend is going to be awesome. 

Part of the reason that I chose to study in a town in Normandy was because of the immense, intense, and important historical fabric of this place. This weekend, I get to experience two of those amazing historical events. First of all, I get to see the Bayeux tapestry, and I've been doing some research on the tapestry, and it's pretty awesome. Second, I get to visit all the landing beaches from D-Day, which happened 70 years ago this year, so it's a huge deal, and a huge honor to be able to visit these beaches. 

Also, spoiler alert, the two are actually more connected than you might have guessed. What does a tapestry from the Middle Ages have to do with one of the most destructive wars in the 20th century, you ask? Well... stay tuned!

That's a lot of stuff... so much going on, it's crazy! 

What are you up to? How's life? 

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