Force Quit on your Losing Streak

Almost a month in, and I’ve stuck to the most important of my new year resolutions: to grow in faith. At the end of last year, I was at odds with relationships in my life and wanted to turn everything over to God. Not only would dedicating the New Year to God bring me closer to Jesus, I felt doing so would also give me the answers I needed to mend the troubles I was having.

2017

In order to hold myself accountable, I made a list of 12 people in my life I wanted to either improve my relationship with or needed to forgive; I make a similar list of 12 topics I wanted to focus on, in order to be a better Christian. I decided I would consciously pray each day for the person I dedicated that month to, and would read specific scripture each day addressing the topic of the month.
The list included subjects such as my parents, my sister, specific friends, my desire for a boyfriend, and working to overcome the negative perception of news. Topics included forgiveness, jealousy, worry, judgment, and being enough for myself.

What I’ve learned in my first month is that both mending and growing relationships, with people and God, takes time. I approached the resolution with optimism and was quickly rewarded with lines of open communication between me and the person I chose for January. But praying and reading the Bible does not automatically grant me positive mending every day. I’ve learned this is a process – there will be days I feel I’ve taken a step back. Yet, overall, I feel more complete. In just one month, a peace has overcome me. While I know there will be days and months full of ups and downs in 2017, I also know I have a God that I can always turn to. And as I grow in this journey, I hope to learn how to better listen and hear His voice, in all the times I turn to Him.

 

Disclaimer: I have not stuck to my resolutions to practice French twice a week or practice piano three days a week.

14 Things I Learned, My 14 Days Abroad

My one year anniversary of traveling to England and France is coming up, and as my heart aches reflecting upon one of the greatest times in my young life, I realize I learned some great lessons.

14 Things I Learned, My 14 Days Abroad

1. Knowing the currency in the country you are visiting is important.
2. Walking tours. Do them. They really are the best way to experience the city, and you have more freedom to spend your time where you’d like, as opposed to bus tours.
3. Stereotypes aren’t always true. The French helped us hopelessly lost Americans more than the English.
4. Pack your bags. Then repack them with half the things you originally packed. The less luggage you have, the better. And the smaller luggage you have, the better.
5. Your best memories won’t come from the itinerary.
6. You will forever be bonded to the friends you traveled with – no matter when or where you meet up later in life, you share a piece of each others’ lives that you both consider one of the most precious. Staying out at a club until 4 a.m. then falling asleep in mass at St. Paul’s Cathedral the next day? Our little secret.
7. Traveling solo is empowering. Knowing you can get by on your own, in a foreign country, without knowing the number in your bank account, makes the rest of life seem pretty easy.
8. You have to roll with whatever you are dealt. Flight delays happen. You will survive.
9. Not every memory can be captured by a photo. Don’t spend all your time charging your camera, or you’ll miss out on so much. See #5.
10. America is not everyone’s cup of tea. Don’t ever feel entitled because of your nationality.
11. You will meet so many more interesting and well traveled people abroad – take advantage of talking and learning from them.
12. Don’t worry about money. You may never get the chance to travel to this city again. Don’t sit back and wish you could have the extra dessert or go to a play. Just do it, and worry about making up the difference later.
13. You will regret spending time in your hotel room. The best decision I made abroad was refusing to take naps. Get out and go see.
14. You don’t know how great it is, until you leave. Take advantage of everything you possibly can while exploring a new place. The only regrets you’ll have are not seeing or doing what you now wish you did.

The City of Love

After spending two full weeks in London, England, I opted into the optional two-day trip to Paris, France. For someone that has never been outside the country, the opportunity to go to two countries in a two week span was incredible.
As a former architecture student, the anticipation of traveling to a famed architecture capital built with each passing day.

My first day in Paris was spent as a tourist. While I would argue you don’t fly eight hours to Paris just to skip visiting the Eiffel Tower, I’m going to let you in on a little secret. The experience is exactly what you’ve always thought it would be – taking hundreds of photos millions have already taken, standing in long lines, and pushing through other tourists who are crowding around you trying to get the perfect photo. It is something I’m very glad I did, and can cross off my bucket list.

The second day was my real favorite.
We had a tour guide help navigate us around the Parisian streets, as no one in the group spoke French. In tourist-y parts of Paris, English is widely spoken and recognized. Not all natives are happy about it, but the simple use of bonjour or merci (the only French words I know) can go a long way in warming up a native, exhausted from the pouring in of tourists.
We spent the day on a walking tour of the city. I highly recommend walking tours in any new city. You are able to better photograph sites, especially in comparison to bus tours, spend as much time as you want at one stop, and ask lots of questions. The city was absolutely beautiful. Every street I looked down held another breathtaking view. I felt as if I was getting a VIP tour of the hidden treasures of Paris. It is days like these that make people want to move to The City of Love.

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The day really was one out of a storybook. We passed open markets, vineyards, churches, and local shops. As I ate my lunch (and dessert, it was Paris after all), artists surrounded me painting and selling their work. I went shopping for scarves, jewelry, macarons, and other small treasures that I couldn’t live without but could still fit into my already overstuffed suitcase. When I was tired, I sat atop the stairs that lead to the Basilica of the Sacré Cœur, the highest point in Paris. The view left me speechless, and as the wind blew through my hair, I knew this was a place I would need to come back and explore a second time.

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The day ended quickly, and with it, my trip abroad. I boarded a train back to London for the night before catching my flight back to the U.S., but the two weeks packed in so many memories and experiences.

I can only hope my life holds many more chances to travel the world.

Journalism: Uncovered

As an aspiring journalist (more like an aspiring writer, but with a journalism degree, I feel I should own the profession as well), I am well aware of the reputation journalists have. And it’s not a good one.
I have had numerous conversations, even with my own mother, trying to defend the profession and at least some of the professionals in it.

The truth is, the profession of journalism is just like every other profession – there are honest professionals in the field, ones that really make a break-through for all, and those that are dishonest and ruin the reputation of all other journalists. The profession is no worse than any other profession, in my opinion. The difference with journalism is that the profession is so outward and public. One mistake, one dishonest journalist and the whole profession is blamed and judged.

I love the profession of journalism for the good it presents the world, all the knowledge and awareness it sheds light on.

One of my favorite things about my experience with journalism is all the new, truly neat things I have the pleasure of learning from my sources. I very rarely use every single piece of information I learn from speaking with a source, but I always listen to everything because I know I will learn something new and unexpected.
I find it a treat to work in the journalism profession, as I feel I almost get an “insider look” on untraditional people or ideas, and I consider myself very lucky to have been given the opportunity to share my experiences with others.