Year 1

I finished a year of university, and it still doesn’t seem real. Not where I live, what I study, or the simple fact that it’s the last year I will be a ‘teenager’. I saw photos from my high school’s graduation this year, and my first thought at seeing friends in those familiar maroon and white gowns was they can’t be that old! if only because that means I am even older. Yes I know, I’m only 19, but somehow I became an adult this year and I’m not happy about it.

One of the first things people have been saying to me now that I’m back in Texas has been ‘you look older’. While that might be the short hair and look of exhaustion, it still makes me feel older. I do feel older. I have responsibilities, I live alone, I can’t always call my mom when there is a problem. All good things, but not always things I want. Mostly when it means I have to make phone calls because those are still terrifying.

I’ve been thinking about the highlights of my first year and thought I’d share a few

Copenhagen: my first trip, and a wonderful trip at that.

   
   

Vagina Monologues, the show but more than that, the friendships it gave me. 

   
   
Romania. The entire trip, the project, everything that it represents (except maybe the stress)

  
Seeing family in Portugal

  
Spending hours alone in art museums in Madrid 

   
24 amazing hours in Brussels 

 
the little moments on busy days where it hit me that this was life. That despite all the stress over where I was going to go to school, the move, how far I was from everyone I knew, how incredibly amazing things turned out.

   

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MAY

This is the last month I will end here in the UK until I come back in September, and that feels really strange. I’m not leaving particularly soon, but I will end June (very jetlagged) in Austin. So here is May.

When writing these monthly summaries, I pull up my calendar and look at the month overview. May looks empty in comparison. In reaction to April’s weekly travel, I stayed very much in Lancaster this month, with only one trip of about 30 minutes away to attend a Romanian Orthodox Easter service. My rule was no trips I had to pack for, and that happened. For the first time since before I moved I’ve spent every night in the same city. It feels wild to say that, but its been nice. I’ve felt settled.

May is a transition month. It’s between spring and summer, it’s almost the end of a school year, it’s just so in between. This month has felt different, and for so many reasons it has been. Sometimes it’s felt like I’ve just been waiting for something. I don’t know if that’s exams, or going home, or anything really. I’ve felt jittery and on edge, and not just from too much coffee. Not having lectures has left a lot more empty space in my week, and it can be hard to structure life with so much empty time.

 

I really think one of the things we don’t discuss and don’t know how to prepare for as university students is the fact that there isn’t a schedule or routine. Life is not 9-5 where the day ends and you might take work home but not always. Your classes are scattered around, the work you do is always changing, just like the amount. You both always have studying to do, but also have so little structure around when all of that occurs. You don’t have an office, you work where you socialize where you sleep and eat and live and everything else you do with your life. It means that “work” doesn’t get to stop because you went home, or its the weekend. And I know actual jobs can be the same, but there is something incredibly challenging about that structure for students.

May was different. Both March and April were so busy and stressful, its hard to compare them to May because it was a different stress. I don’t feel like I’ve been running for the past 31 days this time around. I’ve got one exam left and less than 20 days till I’m back in Austin.

I know June will be about how strange and difficult leaving will be, so lets leave May as the month I spent just here, not being pulled around the continent, or the world, just here (mostly in the library) for the last time this year.

Alex

Madrid

There should a better string of words here to describe what Madrid was, what I did, and all the things I loved. And hopefully in the coming months I’ll get it together and do that. But until then, here are just some photos of the city that I fell head over heels for in April.

** warning, I spent a lot of time in art muesems

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Lisbon

It’s honestly been over a month since this trip, but it fell in the middle of the travel hurricane that was March-April and nothing was posted. I’m not going to write a lot about what we did, but it really was an a wonderful trip.

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