The Foundation Louis Vuitton in Paris, France
The New Year always makes me nostalgic, and usually I try to keep my sentimental feelings off social media. But if you know me in person you know that communication is my number one core value and I love giving and receiving advice. I think that each of us has a little bit of wisdom inside of us and collectively we have a wealth of knowledge and experience, but too often we’re afraid to open up and share it.
Today I’m spending the day unpacking but mostly reflecting on everything that happened in 2015, and I feel God telling me “this is the year you faced your fears.” I’m really terrified of not having control over my life and opening myself up to criticism. So I lived in Paris where I barely understood the language and forced myself to speak kindergarten-level French. I took a class on public speaking and allowed myself to be criticized and come out better and stronger. Those two things ended up being the best experiences I had this year.
I graduated college. I was really paranoid that after all this time it wouldn’t happen. It didn’t seem real. I kept checking my grades, afraid that I had missed something and would fail a class and have to go to school for another semester and everyone would know. But my GPA was the highest this semester that it has ever been in college.
My three-year, living-in-the-same-city relationship turned into a 16-hour-time-difference, 24-hour-flight-away relationship, and I’m learning how to be together but apart, alone but not lonely.
Sparrow and Lace Photography
I’ve moved apartments and places four times. I left New York. I moved in with my best friend just an hour away from my little brother and sister, so I can watch them grow and love on them. I’m pursuing real happiness, not social media likes or the “coolness” that comes from living in the coolest city in the world. And I’m still scared. But also really, really excited for what’s next.
This week I went on a day trip to Giverny, a commune outside of Vernon that is a short train ride from Paris. It’s best known for being the location of Monet’s home and his famous water lily pond and gardens. If you know me at all, you’d know that I love Monet and especially his water lily paintings, so this was a place that has been on my bucket list for quite some time.
My friends and I took the train to Vernon and then planned to bike to Giverny, which is a 30-minute bike ride through the countryside. I haven’t ridden a bike since I was probably ten years old, but they say you never forget how to ride a bike, right?
I didn’t exactly forget how to ride a bike, but I’m comically bad at it. My main problem is that I don’t have great balance, and on top of that every bike I tried had a problem with it, which I didn’t realize because I haven’t been on a bike in ten years. The brakes didn’t work, the gears wouldn’t shift, my feet didn’t touch the ground so if I stopped I fell over – I think you get the idea. Luckily, I had great friends who traded bikes with me, pedaled slowly along with me, and didn’t laugh (too much) when I fell into the bushes (twice).
But the ride was absolutely beautiful, Monet’s gardens were charming, and the water lily ponds were literally picturesque. If you plan on traveling to France, I definitely recommend taking a trip to Giverny!
Top: Brandy Melville // Skirt: UNIQLO // Shoes: Victoria // Bag: Brooklyn Industries
Bonjour mes amis! Many of you have been asking why I’m in Paris, for how long, and, most importantly, what I’ve been eating while I’m here. I thought I’d write a post and update everyone on how things are. Spoiler alert: they’re great.
I’m in Paris for a six week study abroad program with nine other students. I’m studying French Culture, Art, and Civilization, which means I’m spending most of my time at some of the best museums in the world. I’ve only been here two weeks and I’ve already been to Notre Dame, St Denis, Chartres, Sainte-Chapelle, the Eiffel Tower, Versailles, the Arc de Triomphe, the Musée Carnavalet, the Musée de Cluny, the Musée de l’Orangerie, and the Louvre (twice!). I’m exhausted, but loving every minute of it!
It’s a scary thing living 3,625 miles from home. I knew I’d be challenged to grow when I decided to take my very first flight abroad to live in a country I had never even visited. But I’m having a great time doing things that push me out of my comfort zone. I rode on a hot air balloon even though I’m terrified of heights. I tried escargot. I ordered a chocolate croissant in French even though I feel like I have a toddler’s vocabulary. It’s scary, but it feels great.
For anyone who has been to Paris, please leave a comment or send me an email with your favorite spots to visit and must-eat pastries. Merci in advance!
To see more pictures from my trip, follow my instagram here.