3.30.2012

and this is why i'm here.


 Deliciously cheap wine. The Pantheon, the Colosseum, the piazzas. Remembering how bright the sun can be. Buildings that look like pastries. GELATO GELATO GELATO {the strawberry is the best} Sketchy, possibly gay bars in sketchy parts of town. Sore, sore feet. Too tired to move.

Rome is amazing. This is the picture of my rooftop terrace where I pretty much want to live from now on. Seriously. I mean, look at it.

Also, there is a swing.

Just saying.

More pictures soon, I promise!

3.28.2012

just a little trip trepidation. nothing to worry about.
























In less than 4 hours, I leave Leicester to go gallivant around Europe for the next 5 1/2 weeks. Sounds exotic, huh?

So is it normal that I should be having an outright panic attack right now?

I just tried to take a nap because I am getting on a bus at 3 a.m. to take me to the airport and hop a plane for Rome. And I lay there for 2 hours, both too exhausted and too stressed to sleep, playing over and over in my mind all the myriad things that could go wrong in the next 39 days. Even in the brief interludes that I did manage to drift off, I was practically hyperventilating in my restless dreams. I will be traveling in Europe for 5 1/2 weeks. 5 1/2 weeks, during which the only person I'll be able to rely on is myself, and honestly, I just don't know if I'm responsible enough for that. I don't know what's going to happen, and although I love the promise of the unknown, I HATE the fear of it because it's something I can't control {which for a control freak is absolutely the worst feeling in the world}. 

You know, I thought studying abroad would be my real test, seeing if I could handle myself on my own, but being here in Leicester is just about as safe as being home {despite home being thousands of miles away}. However, being OUT THERE with only a backpack, staying in hopefully not-too-sketchy hostels, eating my meals from grocery stores because I can't afford restaurants... There I will be truly alone {not to mention that none of the countries I'm traveling to speak English, nor Spanish, which is the only other language I sort of understand}. I guess I'm just afraid I'll screw something up.

But at the same time, I know that screwing up is probably a part of the experience, an experience I'll appreciate once everything is over and I'm safe at home. I'm trying to calm myself, because I know I am prepared in every way that it's possible to be prepared and that everything else is up to destiny and chance. But really, I've never been the type to stay calm in the face of my fears. I'm more the freak-out-call-my-mom-and-have-her-talk-me-down type. Of course, talking to my mom usually does manage to calm me down. And just being scared has never stopped me from doing what I fear anyway. Just like it won't this time. {well, it really can't, because I am being kicked out of my dorm and I can't come back until May 6th, but whatever...}

And you know what else helps calm me? Writing. Surprisingly enough, my breathing is much more composed than I was when I started writing this post. I guess this time I talked myself out of it... Or well, wrote myself out of it... 
Hmmm. I still think I'm going to call my mom. 

Ciao, bellas. 
See you in Rome. 

it's the worst.


Packing.

Seriously. It sucks. Especially when you've got to move out everything you own and put it in storage.

Blergh blergh blerg.

Do you know what would be REALLY nice? A Hermione bag. You know the one. That is what I want.

More later, when I can find my room again.

For the record, while I've been here I've accumulated an entire second suitcase worth of stuff...

3.26.2012

DONE.


Ahhhhhhhh!!!! Officially done with my junior year. Yes, done done done
NO MORE PAPERS FOR THIS GIRL FOR THE NEXT FOUR MONTHS.

How can I even express how good of a mood I'm in right now? 
How can I even express how good this day has been?

1) Finishing my FINAL paper {5 papers in 3 weeks? Never doing that again}.

2) Receiving my beautiful camera love in the mail {and now having the whole evening to figure out how to use it instead of having to do homework}.

3) Getting permission to take an independent study course to create my new literary magazine next semester.

4) Taking a walk in the oh-so-gorgeous weather. And knowing that in a few days, I'll be taking a walk in Rome.

5) ... chocolate?

I know I've been kind of MIA the last couple of days, but I honestly thought that if I had nothing to say except complaints about my papers, you all would probably rather not hear it. But I'm emerging from my cave out into the world SO VERY SOON NOW and I'm so excited. Expect great things. Or well, great things for me, probably not so much for you... But there will be floods of really awesome pictures with my really awesome new camera {which I will undoubtedly be clutching to my body with the hands of death for the next 5 weeks. NO ONE will be getting anywhere near it}

Change is in the air, guys, and I don't just mean spring. Starting Thursday, the next 39 days are going to be quite the whirlwind. But I'm so ready.

See you soon!

3.23.2012

hunger at nando's.































{Note: This post is a BIG mess. Please just try to follow along.}

Seriously, America. First you shun Nutella, and then Nando's? What is WRONG with you?? Get in on this!
Conversely, while I'm on that subject, Britain needs to get a Sonic up in here
But I digress.

Nando's was fantastic. Look at that beautiful portobello mushroom burger. Kind of rocked my world.  

And of course chips again, but I am deliberately declining to comment further on those.

Aaaand last night... after supper...

Half pint of Half Baked Ben & Jerry's. And then popcorn. And then, because the movie theater tap water wasn't {and I quote} "drinkable," {and because there is not a single drinking fountain in all of Europe} a soda.

By the end of the movie I literally had a migraine from the sheer amount of sugar I consumed.

Before I get to the movie, just a tiny obnoxious American comment:

After eating British movie theater popcorn, I now understand why America is fat. Yes, we may eat too much, BUT OUR FOOD IS SO MUCH BETTER. British movie theater popcorn was the biggest disappointment of my life {er, well, okay, it was at that particular moment in time...} Seriously, Britain, if you ever try American movie theater popcorn, you will want to be fat, too. Just putting that out there.

The Hunger Games was a great film, faithful to the books but also a workable adaptation if you hadn't read them. I really did like it, but I've come to realize that I'm not a huge fan of book-to-film adaptations in general. I always come away with the feeling of missing something {which would probably the the 100 to 200 pages they left out}. The Hunger Games was probably the best book-to-film adaptation I've ever seen, although... And this is going to sound really sick... But it wasn't bloody enough. In fact, it was ridiculously, unrealistically unbloody. Which I guess I understand, because they didn't want too old of a rating so they could capture the teenage crowd. But honestly, it is a film about kids killing each other. The brutality of that should really be depicted. It's just not a "kids" book, no matter that it's technically YA fiction.

But most of the actors were so spot on. Jennifer Lawrence IS Katniss, so much so that it freaked me out a bit. And Caesar? Brilliant. BRILLIANT.

So all in all an amazing evening. Even if it did put me in a food coma.


P.S. I leave for Rome in less than a week. {I just squealed in my head writing this, so try to read it that way}

P.P.S. I finished my 4th paper today. Only one more to go and I promise I'll be my fun, cheery self again...
haha jk

3.22.2012

just checking in.


Big bowl of juicy strawberriesAnother sunny day {Leicester, you spoil me}Only 3,000 words between me and Eurotrip 2012.  Nando's for supper. And tickets to The Hunger Games premiere for dessert. {!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!}

Hope your day is going as well as mine.

Cheers!

3.21.2012

disclaimer.


This is what my life has been reduced to:

Me glued to my desk in a constant state of dishevelment. A never-large-enough mug of coffee nudging my elbow, with only my austere, badly lit, suspiciously asylum-like dorm room to keep me company. In earlier days, I would have been embarrassed to post a picture such as this. But I have since lost all pretense of dignity and decency.

Aaaaaand cue following post.

Today my mother said to me {and I quote}:

"I've really enjoyed reading your blog these last few weeks. It's like watching your descent into psychosis."

In light of this, I would just like to take this time to apologize to my small readership collection.

1) I will admit that this endless paper-writing nightmare is making me a LITTLE BIT crazy.
{#Downplay}

2) And I'm sorry that I've been a big spaz lately. I'm hoping this will end a week from now when I am officially on summer break
{Okay, who am I kidding? I'm always a big spaz}

3) I promise I have more interesting things to talk about than how much my paper-writing is making me crazy. 
{Haha, LIES!}

4) But until next week, YOU'RE JUST GOING TO HAVE TO DEAL WITH IT OR LEAVE because my brain is only functioning on this level.
{For your sake I'm recommending the second option}

Okay?
That is all.

3.20.2012

spring hopes eternal.

The first day of spring should always be one of those days when you're just content to be alive.

It should be a day when the air smells like grass.
A day when the sky is so blue you wonder if it's been Photoshopped.
A day when the first butterfly you've seen all year lands in your hair.
And a day when you finally see dirt, real dry dirt, and for the first time you realize dirt is beautiful.

It should be a day when you don't feel guilty to have eaten a chocolate bar for lunch.
Or a spoonful of Nutella for a late-afternoon snack.
A  day when you wear long-sleeves but no coat and still find yourself sweating outside. 
{Excuse me, not sweating. Glistening
A day when you get humorous cards in the mail from your mother with "I saw the potato and thought of you" written inside.
And a day where you write your paper with the curtains thrown open and the windows cracked, and there's a {small} part of you that is happy to be at your desk if you can't be outside.

The first day of spring should remind you of running barefoot in the cool grass and drinking crisp water from your backyard hose. It should remind you of your neglected four-leaf clover collection and the fact that you really, really need to paint your toenails.

The first day of spring should be a day just like today, and it should always be a promise, just a promise, of all the year to come.



3.18.2012

picturing the future.


"It'll be a picture of your future," my mother said to me on our last day in New York City as I posed in front of one of my dream companies, Simon & Schuster. "You can frame it, hang it up. It'll be like a goal for you to work toward."

And I was so happy that day, so hopeful, because I was THERE. Where I always wanted to be, so close to my dreams, only one street and 2 years of college away.

And yet, here I am, only one more year left of college and with a great summer internship already lined up, and I've never felt so far away from that day. And that doesn't have anything to do with the fact that there's an ocean between us.

Writing papers is bad for my mental/physical/financial health. I mean, I now know way too much about John of Gaunt and it takes me just as long to format a bibliography as it does to write the actual paper. I ate an entire jar of Nutella in 2 days {why did I just share that? shamefaced}. And I was so bored writing that I sidetracked for 3 hours to research and buy a $500 camera. But I also use this time to think about anything {ANYTHING} other than the task at hand. And besides the fact that this helps me to accomplish nothing, it also means that I dwell on things that I really shouldn't be dwelling on now, especially because I still have 2 more papers to go. And for the last 24 hours, productivity and me haven't exactly been hanging out.

You see, I talked yesterday with a friend on Skype about our plans {or lack thereof} after college. It's just, all of a sudden I've realized there's this Big Looming Graduation Date and then it's 'Welcome to the Real World, Sarah. Have fun feeding yourself and paying for grad school and finding a job and filing your taxes and figuring out how to file your taxes.' And, to be honest, I don't know if I'm ready for the Real World. It's still a year away, yes, but it's only a year away. And look how fast this last one has flown by. I don't even think of myself as an adult yet. How am I supposed to survive when I eat entire jars of Nutella in 2 days and yet ignore my frozen peas at supper??

There's so much I want to do in life. But at the same time there's so much I'm afraid I'm not going to be able to do in life.

I want to go to NYU. So badly. I've reached a point where I don't even know if grad school is worth it if I can't get into this program. Although, not to sound conceited, but it's not the 'getting into the program' thing that that terrifies me. It's the 'somehow managing to pay the $15,000 semester tuition' that is a little off-putting. Especially when I just randomly decide to drop $500 on a new camera. And, well, let's just say I'll be dropping a little more than that to live like a vagabond in Europe for 6 weeks. 

And about that? Yeah. I'm going to be living like a vagabond for 6 weeks. Does that sound adultish to you???

It's just so much to think about. And there's this constant pressure on me to do more, to get ahead. Work two jobs, take more classes, read more books, be smarter, be better and write write write write write because that's all I can really do... 

And what if, after everything, it still isn't enough?

Or, scarier still, what if I do it all but it turns out to be not even worth it? I'll say it, I'm afraid of proving everyone right. I'm afraid the path I've chosen could get me nowhere in the end. And what then? At that point, there will be no going back.

I want to be happy in life. That's why I left the job security of pursuing a degree in the medical field. I want to do what I love. But sometimes I wonder if that is just naive. What if money is all that's important in life and you don't realize it until you're already too far gone? 

Where do you go from there?

{Shakes head}
Sorry for the negativity, guys. It's just been a long day.

And do you see what these papers do to me? I'd rather go through my own intense personal crisis than think about John of Gaunt's diplomatic strategy in Aquitaine.

Ugh. Two more weeks and then, like the child I am, I can go gallivant across the continent and not think about Real Life for a while.

Two more weeks...

3.16.2012

life as I know it.

For Danielle.

Too many boring books.
Hate primary sources.
Ran out of coffee.
Doodling in my planner.
Hideous curtains.
Terrible lighting.
Too cold for open windows.
Freezing anyway, can't stand stale air.
Obnoxious freshman screaming.
If they pull the fire alarm again, I'll cut them.
Sore back, sore neck, sore eyes.
1,500 words left to write.
Nothing to say.

why in the night sky are the lights hung?


You know what really amazes me?

It's not how different each place is. It's not how new and exciting they are.
It's not the sometimes unidentifiable languages the people speak, nor the {fantastic} fashion sense they have, nor the fact that they drive on the wrong side of the road... It's not even the fact that so much can change in so little space, how each country has their own unique take on the world.

Instead, it's every simple thing in every country that ties the world together.
The grass. The trees. The dirt. The water. Farms. Hills. Roads and roadsigns. Ducks and fish, mice and spiders. And humans. Always humans. No matter where you go, they're there. And although they're all different, they're also kind of the same.

Sometimes, when you're traveling the world and so far away from everything you know, you need those little reminders that perhaps things aren't so strange after all. Regardless of the country, there is always something that holds us all to each other.

And in the midst of the unknown, that's a comfort.

Title song: "Blue Spotted Tail" -Fleet Foxes

3.15.2012

okay, it's cool, i can breathe again.

So I just accidentally bought this.






























Isn't it beautiful???

And after initially having a a full-on panic attack, I talked myself back into it. I've wanted a camera from the Canon G-series for a while now. My old compact camera is just not getting the job done; so many of my pictures come out grainy and blurry and not right and it's just so frustrating. I'm going to seven countries over spring break, and I really want my photography to compliment the stunning scenery. I may never visit most of these places again, so I only have one chance to get the photos right.

Of course, I wasn't counting on spending almost $500 today, but after I stopped shaking I realized I would be able to use this for a long time, and I'll finally be able to learn to take photos For Real, which I've wanted to do forever.

So I'm biting the bullet, guys.

All I can say is that it'd better be worth it.

Still terrified. 
But also ridiculously excited.

um, oops?

Guys. I just accidentally bought a new camera.

For $480.

I didn't mean to, I was just exploring my options! I wanted to check out shipping costs, and it said there were 5 steps to checkout and I was only on step 3. So then I pressed the "continue checkout" button but it placed my order instead, and they have sent me no confirmation emails and I don't know how to cancel it and I am FREAKING. OUT.

No matter how badly I want this camera I wasn't ready to order it yet.  And now I just spent $480

I'm supposed to be working right now but instead I want to vomit.

What should I do??????

3.14.2012

my heart in six.

I discovered a little series that the lovely Micaela started on her blog, Dolce Vita, and I must say that I kind of fell in love with it. Michaela asked some people around the blogosphere to show their heart in six ways: with a photo, a poem, a song, a quote, a piece of clothing and a place. And I thought, what the hell, this is completely cute and looks like fun and I REALLY don't want to be writing papers right now.  So I'm going to give it a go.

a photo.






























This picture was taken in Scotland about a month ago right at the start of a flash hail storm, and in this picture at that moment, I think I was the happiest that I've ever been. Since I've already exhausted my Scotland trip here and here and here, I won't go into the mushy details. But I will say that Scotland is the place where, I don't know, I sort of found myself... In a way... Or maybe just truly recognized myself for the first time. The trip kindled my soul and irrevocably changed me. Not only that, but it was one of those defining times of my life that I will always look back upon with joy and the knowledge that it was the first time in my life that I finally understood why I was here, in the big picture sense. I left a piece of my heart in Scotland. And I carry a piece of Scotland in my heart.

Also, you gotta love the random Asian guy photo-bombing me in the background...

a poem.

I'm not a huge fan of poetry, and I'll admit that without any shame. It's simply not for me. But there is one poem that captured my heart when I read it way back in high school, and for some reason I've never been able to let it go.

dive for dreams
or a slogan may topple you
(trees are their roots
and wind is wind)
trust your heart
if the seas catch fire
(and live by love
though the stars walk backward)
honour the past
but welcome the future
(and dance your death
away at the wedding)
never mind a world
with its villains or heroes
(for good likes girls
and tomorrow and the earth)
in spite of everything
which breathes and moves, since Doom
(with white longest hands
neating each crease)
will smooth entirely our minds
-before leaving my room
i turn, and (stooping
through the morning) kiss
this pillow, dear
where our heads lived and were.

silently if, out of not knowable

silently if, out of not knowable
night's utmost nothing,wanders a little guess
(only which is this world)more my life does
not leap than with the mystery your smile
sings or if(spiralling as luminous
they climb oblivion)voices who are dreams,
less into heaven certainly earth swims
than each my deeper death becomes your kiss
losing through you what seemed myself,i find
selves unimaginably mine;beyond
sorrow's own joys and hoping's very fears
yours is the light by which my spirit's born:
yours is the darkness of my soul's return
-you are my sun,my moon,and all my stars

~ e. e. cummings

It's just such a powerful, enduring poem, one of those rare poems that surges through your very veins and buries itself deep in your soul. One of those poems that makes you breathless as you read, too prevailing for you to catch up with your own racing heart. It's hope and fear and diving, diving wholeheartedly for your dreams. It's not looking back and always remembering and it's forever in an instant.

It's a poem that urges you to listen.
For once.
To listen.

And doesn't it make you want to live?

a song.


This one is easy, and for anyone who knows me, could you really expect anything different? The first song I ever really heard by what is now my favorite band, entering my life at a time when I wasn't a girl and wasn't a woman and was all sorts of confused and happy and terrified. The day was warm apple cider and an orange leaf in my hair, the moment I knew I could finally fit in, into my life, body and soul.

a quote.

"I always fall in love with an open door, or the horizon on an endless sea."

Yes, again, Death Cab, and although this is not technically a quote {actually, it's a lyric}, this pretty much embodies who I am. A romantic, yes, a romantic {albeit a cynical one}, and I'm finally brave enough to admit it. A romantic and a dreamer, always a dreamer, desperately chasing the future and the satisfaction of possibility that drives me forward. There will always be a part of my heart above the clouds and out of even my reach.

a piece of clothing.







































Or, well, shoes, to be more exact. Plain black flats. Sensible, rational, yet versatile and unassuming. The kind of shoes that hint at understanding but don't flaunt their relevance. Open shoes, but not open to the point of no cover. Just the perfect amount to allow you to breathe. And of course they're oh-so-very chic {okay, so maybe this is just where I WANT my heart to be...}.

a place.

This one was hard for me. There are so many places that I feel close to, connected with. I considered New York in my head, and Scotland, and Lawrence and my childhood home. But nothing felt right, nothing completely fit. And then I realized, my heart is in every place and one place at the same time. It's inside of me {both literally and figuratively speaking} anywhere I go. It's with anyone I meet. And yet when it comes down to it, it's all just me. That's something I've come to discover in the few months I've been abroad. My heart doesn't need to have a fixed place, because I am not fixed. I don't want to leave my heart anywhere. I am always changing, always growing. My sense of self is fluid, and the only place my heart really belongs is with me, to experience my life and and to love every part.

My heart should be everywhere I am and everywhere I've been and with everyone I've loved. I think that truly is the only way to live a fulfilling life.

That being said, this is where my heart way too frequently is:




























Wow. Loooong post. Also, just a random observation, but how is it that my posts that suck the most are the ones that get the most views {coughthelastpostcough}? People should check out my more flattering posts. You know, the ones in which I'm not paper drunk. Er, well... Flattering... Yeah, okay, I get your point, guys. Carry on.

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