Sorry Taylor Swift, I will soon no longer be “feeling 22” because my birthday is Thursday and I will be turning the ripe old age of twenty-three, but to be fair though I packed a lot of things into this last year. It is weird for me to be celebrating my second birthday far from home. I have done many stupid things and I have cried and laughed and laughed so hard I cried but all those little things make for some interesting stories and add a little spice to life. So for my family and friends who are interested or for anyone curious to see my adventures of the past year, I am writing this list of “22 moments” from my twenty-second year of being on this lovely planet.
Last year, I celebrated my birthday in Chicago with some really cool people. I went to Chicago so that I could visit my friend Amanda and it was absolutely fabulous. At the restaurant we waited so long for our reservation that they gave us free Prosecco. I also walked into a bar on my birthday and the bartender and I had a free drink together. Pretty interesting birthday.
In Chicago I got to meet the band Karmin who I LOVE. Go look them up. I was so excited I couldn’t stop smiling.
Easter was really awesome because I was able to spend it with people who are basically my family:my godparents. Going to my Aunt Lynn and Uncle Tommy’s included a very rigorous egg hunt and a ton of food. Fun fact: I won a pair of South Park boxers which were quite comfy.
4.A Surprising Few Days
About a week before graduation, I was at a bar with some of the alumni from my fraternity and I got a picture. The lovely Prudence was in said picture. She is from Australia and this made no sense. So I ran through the rain to get to Hangar 9. Turns out she surprised everyone, and was able to be there both for my graduation and for bar crawl. It was awesome
5. Bar Crawl
So it wasn’t the drinking that made this so much fun. It was the fact that this is such a huge event and everyone who is anyone goes. You don’t even need to drink, it is just about seeing everyone and the hilarity that ensues from this crazy time.
I was able to meet Brantley Gilbert at the spring concert of my university which was definitely so cool.
Obviously this was a super highlight. Many tears, papers and summer classes later. My four-year journey was complete and I received my Bachelor of the Arts in Communication (PR and Advertising) and French with a minor in International Studies. I can’t even explain the pride I felt walking across that stage (while concentrating on not tripping and falling onstage).
8. Super Nerd Alert
I love history, we go to Colonial Williamsburg every year and still love it (it is a fully functioning colonial town). 2013 was the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg and of course me and my dad were ALL over that. It was full of reenactments and museums and history and super fun. Right up my alley. Not even kidding. Awesome. I got to spend time with Mary and Brian (shout out to Mom’s Coffeepot if you are in the Gettysburg area. The stuffed pepper soup is to die for.) Even though it was hot as all heck it was so cool to see all the battlefields. My dad also went wine tasting with me…words I never thought I would say.
9. Losing A Friend
Not every moment was a happy one. I lost my grandfather in July. I was able to rush down there and see him for a few days before he passed away. I told him that he needed to brush up on his card playing because I was going to beat him and I did and he laughed and I will never forget his laugh. Anyway, it’s a bit of a sad note but I am so glad I got to see him and I know he would be proud of all I am doing and all my adventures.
I went to this super awesome music festival with my friends Kayla and Chelsea. It was awesome (partly because I didn’t get lost and make illegal U-Turns this time). Any festival or outdoor celebration I can go to I love.
I was so lucky to meet Grant, my friends Laura and Joe’s baby. He is so precious and I can’t wait to see him again when I get back.
While the decision to become and au pair was not an easy one, I am glad all-in-all that I made it. I went to Geneva, Switzerland for the day with my host family and it is such a cool city.
When I was getting my visa, I met a super awesome girl named Kaitlyn at my appointment. I went to go visit her and we went to the city of Annecy in the south of France. It is an incredibly beautiful city and we peddle-boated on the lake and looked out at the mountains. I don’t think perfect can describe that day.
14. When in Rome…
If you haven’t caught on, I really like history. When the family asked if I wanted to go to Rome I completely jumped at the chance. While my host dad kept telling me the ruins were “just a pile of rocks”, I found those rocks fascinating. It was a dream of mine to see the Colosseum and it was just as fantastic in person. The Sistine Chapel and throwing my wish in the Trevi fountain just did not seem real. Also, the rumors do not lie, pasta in Italy is absolutely delicious and I ate it like three times a day…good thing we walked a lot!
15. Paris je t’aime
Paris is a city all its own. It is beautiful with the Eiffel Tower and l’Arc de Triomphe. I went with my family in the fall to see the window displays and shop and eat delicious food. It will be great to go back again in a few weeks since I have not seen it in the Spring!
16. Yes We Cannes
Me and my friends went to Cannes in the south of France for a long weekend. I was so excited to touch the Mediterranean Sea. I met a lot of interesting people there and the stories are still being told. All-in-all a pretty awesome weekend.
17. Old Habits Die Hard
I first lived in France in the fall of 2011 in Mulhouse, France. I met awesome people and also was able to spend time with some friends I made in the US. I met Maud and Camille in the US before I studied abroad and have kept in touch with these two lovely ladies since then and spent time with them in France as well. For the first time in way too long, I went back and visited them. I am obsessed with Christmas markets. They are these markets famous in Alsace (and in many places in Europe) there is food, hot wine, crafts, and just awesomeness. Seeing my friends was so great and we visited a bunch of different markets. Le Cellier was my favorite restaurant in Mulhouse and we went there so much that when I went back this year, the owner still remembered me (and my accent of course). We met up with my friend Chris to go to dinner. It is still just as good after two years.
18. Fete des Lumieres
So this was a super cool celebration that they do in Lyon once a year. Apparently when they dedicated the statue of Mary outside the basilica at Fourviere, the people all descended into the road with lights to celebrate. In the days leading up to the day celebrating the dedication they do these really cool light shows all over the city. My friend Kaitlyn came in for the festival and we toured the city together….or tried because it was really crowded.
19. Holiday Lovin’
While the holidays were difficult being away from my family, it was actually really cool to celebrate them in a completely different culture. Christmas Eve was like a movie, drinking champagne as the brother or my host mom’s wife says she will not be drinking, they are expecting. Everyone hugged and was crying. Christmas Day was great, until I opened the champagne and accidentally poured it all over my host father’s dad. Luckily he has a sense of humor.
While New Year’s Eve was not as crazy as some, I actually had a really good time. They turned off the lights as the clock struck midnight and we all danced together. It was actually a lot of fun. Definitely a good few days.
20. From London With Love
My friend Cécile is currently living in London and I totally wanted to go visit her. When my friend said she found cheap flights for a weekend, I was absolutely there. London is one of my favorite cities now. We crashed a movie premiere and celebrated the Chinese New Year and played the lottery to attempt to win tickets to the Book of Mormon. Crazy fun and cool. It is so alive and there is so much to see. Seeing Cécile again and meeting her roommates was so much fun. I really hope I get to go back at some point. It is just as great as they say!
21. Val Cenis Mon Amour
I was lucky enough to spend a week in the Alps skiing with my host family. It was the first time I had gone skiing in the Alps and the first time in two years I was able to ski. It was absolutely amazing and so beautiful. I wish that I could have stayed there forever. The little town next to it was so damn cute. I walked to town as much as I could just to wander around.
22. The People!
I have met some really amazing people since my journey here began. It is hard to imagine what my life would be like without them and without coming here. I am surrounded by a constant support group of family and friends. Thank you to everyone who is looking at my pictures and reading my blog posts and commenting on all my statuses and stories. I miss all my family and friends back home but will miss everyone here once I go back! Well you made it through my twenty-two moments.. it is weird to think that in less than an hour I will be twenty-three….getting old over here.