listen to your body
Okay so hard post… I have to come home from Europe. But before I say anything else, I’ll be back spring/summer time for a few months to continue my semi-adventures! I will also be continuing my blog and vlogs from California! I’ve found a new love in travelling and exploring new places, so I’m going to go as many new places as I can while I’m back. I’m determined. (They will also be less boring because I’ll actually have friends in them. They’re funnier than me lol. And I promise I’ll use this time to get better at them hehe.).
Okay, so without getting into too many details, I’ve always struggled with health/mental health and my immune system. Since I’ve been here, my body has started to shut down, and I’ve been getting terrible headaches and getting sick frequently. This has caused me not to be able to make the most of my time here, which makes me really sad. I was really struggling before I moved, but right before I went overseas I started a new health regimen that was working really well. But since I’ve been here my body has started to revert back to its old ways of being ill lol. So as advised by my doctors and parents, I’ll be moving back for a while to hopefully get everything figured out. I had been putting it off for a while, but I’ve learned from multiple people recently that you have to listen to your body. If you don’t, you’ll be unhappy and unhealthy. Choose healthiness and happiness. I was scared that people were going to judge me and think of me as a coward for moving back so soon. But I was talking to my dad and he reminded me that this was just something we were trying out, and I didn’t have a set time I was going to be here. I can always come back. It’s not giving up, it’s making the healthy choice. So this is just a huge learning opportunity to learn how to listen to my body and choose happiness. And to not care what other people thing, as long as you’re making the right choices for YOU. It doesn’t matter what they think.
So I’ll be back soon. But in the mean time, I have learned so much this month (more than I have in the 20 years of my life), and plan on continuing to share that through the blog a vlog. So please continue to follow! My journey is just taking an unexpected turn J
Has anything like this ever happened to you? Advice? Thoughts? Anything you want to see in CA? You guys rock.
(Just beware: this is basically a love story between two star-crossed lovers named Kami and Amsterdam). Let’s be honest. Ever since the Fault in Our Stars came out, I have wanted to go to Amsterdam. I needed to live my Augustus Waters dreams. Duh. (Before we start, I would just like to say no, I did not get to go to the bench they sat on. Next time.) Well, I finally got to go and it was more amazing than I could’ve imagined. My friend Nate told me I was going to absolutely love it, but I had no idea I would love it this much.
I took the train up to Amsterdam from Belgium for literally 7 hours. But those 7 hours were worth it. I got there and walked out of the station and saw: water, boats, and BICYCLES. I’ve never seen so many bikes in my life. They literally have a bike parking lot with thousands upon thousands of them. The city has its own bike roads everywhere. They have their own stop lights. Like you can literally ride your bike everywhere. How cool is that? The city is unlike any city I have ever seen. It’s built throughout canals, so there is water everywhere you look, which is beautiful. The city is somehow so hip and so classy and historical at the same time. I’ve never experienced anything like it. I decided to walk everywhere because it’s beautiful and also I didn’t want to figure out the public transit system lol. I also just thoroughly enjoy walking. So I started out to where I was going to go on a walking tour. As I was walking I found a street fair/market type place at Waterlooplein. It was awesome. They had everything from food, to vintage post cards, to clothes of all kinds. They had second hand everything. Piles and piles of winter coats and denim jackets and shows. It was amazing. Too bad I have no room in my suit case for any of that lol. Next time. I spent a while there just browsing. The vendors were very nice and talkative, and everything was pretty cheap! I got a few things, which shall remain a surprise since some of them are gifts. On the same little square of area I found a vintage store called By the Kilo. They literally sold everything by the kilo. You weighed it and it told you how much it was. This store was my heaven, and had more things I had no space for. (you might not know, but vintage stores, record stores, and book stores are my weaknesses). I cried a little bit when I stepped out of the store empty handed. I’m fine. Everything’s fine. As I kept walking everything started looking a little older, and I ended up in the Jewish Quarter which was where my walking tour was. I went into the Jewish Historical Museum for the remaining time I had left before the tour started. It was beautiful and thought provoking with art pieces and videos and stories. I wish I could’ve spent more time there. The walking tour started (Anne Frank and the Jewish Quarter) which was so awesome. Our tour guide, Talia, was born and raised in Amsterdam and brought the stories of Jewish heritage and Anne Frank to life. She showed us the memorial, and statues, and walked us by many important places. She told it through the eyes of Anne Frank and he diary, which was an interesting and beautiful perspective of the city. I also found out that she used to be a film editor, so we talked about the business for a while. That was awesome and unexpected. She felt creatively stuck as a film editor after 15 years, and started teaching and guiding tours. She is a gem. We walked to the Anne Frank statue (beautiful and pure) and to the Anne Frank Hius. I didn’t have enough time to go inside, but Talia gave us all of the information about the house so when I do get to explore it, I’ll have an insiders perspective on it. After, we were done I only had a little bit of time left, so Talia suggested I walk around the area we were in before heading back, so I did. Whatever Talia says goes. I walked by the tulip museum, cheese museum, cafes, bars, countless canals and bridges, and ate a crepe along the way (with strawberries and Nutella). It’s a peaceful town, while also being full of love and so many interesting people. I learned so much just from being amongst the people. Learning about the city through the eyes of World War 2 made the vibe of the city make a lot more sense. They were tricked by propaganda and split up from their loved ones. Now, they just want peace and happiness. I want to stay there forever.
At the end of the day, Nate and I were gushing about how in love we are with the city. It feels like a theme park, but you can LIVE THERE. Everyone seems happier there, and rides bikes and boats everywhere. Everyone is friendly and will talk to you. They’re not in such a hurry to get places. There is a tulip museum and a cheese museum. Coffeshops, cafes, and pancakes and crepes on every corner. And they have richest history which they are so proud of. Moral of the story: I wish I had more time in Amsterdam. I’ll be back soon.
Have any of you ever been to Amsterdam? What were your favorite places? Anyone who hasn’t been want to go?
finding happiness in belgium
Belgium. Is. Beautiful. I knew very little about Belgium going into this trip (except WW1 stories). I still don’t know a lot about the country, but experiencing the culture is wonderful. The craziest fact to me is that to live and work here, you have to speak at least three languages. The culture here is so diverse because of all of the government places here (European Union headquarters, Nado, etc.), so everyone speaks at least Dutch, French, and English. You have to know those 3 languages just to get a job at a fast food restaurant! Man, America is slacking hardcore. It makes you feel very ill equipped lol. Another thing I love, is that they take their comic books very seriously. They’re expensive and you put them up on the shelf right next to your hard cover Les Mis. Brussels even has a comic book museum. How cool is that? Their most favorite Belgium creation here is Tintin. Apparently, he’s as famous as Mickey Mouse all around Europe. He’s a normal hero that all the little kids aspire to be. There are five comic book schools just in Brussels, and the artists are commissioned just like any other artist to paint murals and design post cards. You see comic-like paintings all around, and it’s incredible. (I learned all of this off of a short video the family I’m staying with had me watch lol). We spent the day in Brussels. First, we actually went to a market just outside of Brussels, filled with waffles and flowers and produce. I had my first and second of three waffles of the day. (AMAZING.) We headed in to the city and straight to the palace. Did you know Brussels has a king and queen? Because I didn’t. It’s a beautiful palace with gardens and huge gates and lion statues. We went to the Fine Arts museum, which was crazy cool. I spent most of my time in the Magritte section. He’s a surrealist and had some very radical ideas back in the early 1900s. They had photos of him and his wife and friends, and a ton of his pieces. I’ll post some of my favorites in the pictures section of my website. In school last year, we had to do movement pieces based off of the artist Francis Bacon’s pieces. All I wanted to do while looking through Magritte’s art was create movement. He was an amazing artist. There were also a bunch of “Dutch Masters” pieces, like Rembrandt. Those were huge and beautiful to see. Then we walked down to the main square where all of what you think of when you think of Brussels is. We saw the huge buildings, waffle stores upon waffle stores, and the Manneken Pis, and so many chocolate stores. We bought Belgian chocolate, another waffle (this time covered in strawberries and whipped cream), and Belgian Frites. Don’t call them French Fries. They get angry, and they’re better than French Fries (apparently they’re double fried). The waffles have melted lumps of sugar in them, and I could literally eat them all day. The chocolate is expensive, but worth it. Melt in your mouth goodness. We also got to go to a second hand record store which was tight. They had the Sex Pistols in Dutch, and I wish I could’ve found a way to carry it home… oh well.
I’m staying with some old friends of my Dad’s who are wonderful and treat me well. I get to help cook and they have Mexican food and peanut butter and cookie dough and all is right with the world. They also have two cats and two dogs, whom I love and cuddle with. The other night we watched Princess Protection Program (they have a daughter a few years younger than me, so we decided to throw it back a bit) and ate ice cream and cuddles with cats. It’s been a great few days. Everyone seems happier here than they are in Paris. More friendly, I guess. If I smile at someone, they actually smile back. I love it here.
Have any of you ever been to Brussels? Thoughts?
Heading to Amsterdam for a few hours tomorrow! Next blog AND vlog will be up soon
I was reading someone else’s blog posts about solo travelling and came across and app called TravelMate. It’s specifically geared toward people who are travelling alone and want to meet locals or fellow travelers to explore with. Sounds sketchy, right? But desperate times called for desperate measures. I wanted someone to explore with because no matter how great travelling solo is, social interaction is necessary at some point. So I signed up. You can put your itinerary on there and a little bit about yourself and it comes up with people who are going to your destination at the same time and locals. So, this guy messaged me and he was coming to Paris from London for a few days and asked if I wanted to go to the catacombs with him. I hesitantly and enthusiastically (that doesn’t sound possible, but trust me. It is.) responded with a yes and we set a time. For all of you parents out there who are worried: don’t worry. I set up a place to meet him in public and didn’t give him any information about where I lived or anything. I can be smart sometimes lol. So we met and were extremely comfortable right off the bat. It’s fun to meet people from different countries because you always have something to talk about no matter what: differences between countries. So we chatted and waited in the freakin long line to get into the catacombs. It was cheap though… so worth it. The catacombs are so strangely beautiful. It’s literally heaps of dead skulls and bones… but when you think about it… these were actual people. It isn’t some haunted house with plastic bones. It’s an eerie place because these were REAL people who are now just skulls. Tip: talk about ghosts while you’re in there. Perfect topic right there. Disneyland Paris was randomly brought up in conversation in between ghost stories, so we made last minute plans for me to take the day off and planned to go the next day! That was crazy. One, someone actually went along with my last minute plan ideas. Two, it was a complete (but cool) stranger. Three, when we got there, we got in for FREE. TO BOTH PARKS. A woman was standing in line to talk to the front desk workers and she gave us two free park hoppers because they couldn’t use them for some reason. We went with it without asking questions. So, if that doesn’t say “great day” I don’t know what does. We rode almost everything (except Indiana Jones was closed L) and got starbucks!!! PLUS Tower of Terror is still there, so I got to ride that again… probably my favorite part of my day. We ate yummy baguettes and cookies and had a magical Disney day lol.
For those of you wondering… Disneyland vs. Disneyland Paris: I like Disneyland better. I know, that’s very controversial, but it’s just my personal opinion. Disneyland just has a more magical vibe about it. BUT Disneyland Paris has a Ratatouille land which serves alcohol and crepes and everything French you can imagine, plus a really fun ride. It also has Toy Story land and a Pirate land with boats and caves to explore. SO there are really great things about Disneyland Paris, but Disneyland will always have a special place in my heart… I might be biased though…
It’s a strange thing experiencing new places with new people, but it’s also great. For one, you actually have someone to take pictures of you lol. Two, you have someone new and interesting to talk to. Three, they don’t have some weird preconceived notion of who you are, and it’s fun to talk about what they think of you. And sometimes you might get lucky and find a friend, like I did! We’re keeping in touch, and I’m hoping to see him when I go to London. So I would really suggest trying something like this if you’re travelling and want someone to tag along! Especially if it’s a fun touristy place! But still… be careful J
Next blog… Belgium!
LOL you guys. The idea of going to foreign places by myself literally used to scare the living bejesus out of me.. It confused me. I see a ton of performers on vacation by themselves or college kids on break from school going to foreign countires by themselves. Why would someone want to go somewhere so beautiful by yourself!? That's terrifying! I was literally talking to my mom about this like a week ago, and now I’m blogging about the opposite of what I was telling her lol. Life changes quickly. Well… now I’m learning how BEAUTIFUL travel can be when you’re flying solo. Also… I have no choice so like… it’s that or nothing.
Reasons why travelling alone can be dandy:
Those are just a few things out of SO many. I’m sure I’ll talk about it more in a later post. But, I highly recommend taking a small trip by yourself and having some time with yourself. It can do crazy things.
Do any of you have experiences travelling alone? Thoughts?
An American In Paris
Get it? Also: cue California by Joni Mitchell throughout this entire post please.
For the first time since I got here, I went into Paris today!!!!! We were only there for a few hours, but it did me well. I learned the metro system and had the opportunity to explore by myself (FYI New Yorkers… Paris metro is SO much easier). It was just the couple I’m living with and me. They made me try and navigate the metro system on my own, and I did it! Except for the time I tried to take us down an up escalator. For some reason I literally have a terrible time distinguishing between the two… my friends can vouch for me. I’ve tried to go the wrong way on an escalator plenty of times. We went to an area where they had to run some errands, so I was let loose on my own. I ate lunch and ordered by myself for the first time (it wasn’t hard… they spoke English don’t get too excited lol)! After I ate, I walked to the Opera and sat on the steps just soakin’ the city and its people in for a while (let’s be honest though… I was tired of walking and needed to sit). After, I walked down to Place Vendome and to the park right next to it. The park was beautiful, and so different than American parks. There was mostly gravel/dirt and no grass which was strangely beautiful. There were restaurants in between gardens, and little food stands. There were two big fountains on either side of the park with chairs around them, so I sat in one and read my book for a while (Tales of the City by: Armistead Maupin… check it out). While I was sitting there I heard AMERICANS and AUSTRALIANS, and let me tell you… hearing English on the streets is a joyous thing. I didn’t understand how alone you could feel while walking the streets and not understanding anything… Joni Mitchell was right you guys. SO sitting in a park in Paris, France (get it?) I was rejuvenated. And walking out of the park, I held the gate open for a couple carrying a stroller up-stairs, and they said “thank you” and I got way too excited to have Americans speak to me.
I’m gonna be real honest with you guys… these past few weeks have been hard. I haven’t gotten into a schedule yet, so I’ve been feeling really lonely and in need of some joy. I woke up today the saddest I had been so far. I talked to my mom because I love her and I talk to her about everything, and I was telling her how much I wished I was home. But, going to Paris made me be excited to be here all over again. So I can already tell you guys: this is going to be a journey stock-full of ups and downs. But I am here for it and I hope you guys are too.
Keep contacting me, you guys! I love hearing from you, and would love any travel suggestions in Paris/Europe in general! Thanks for reading J
Fwance! (as Henry calls it)
Okay, so as I am coming out of my third day in Saint-Cast-Le-Guildo, I am feeling so many things: Joy, lonliness, heartache, artistic drive, nervousness, etc. I recently had a skype lesson with a voice teacher, and we talked about hating the term “gap year” and how this should be a year of growth and exploration. Gap year has such a negative sound to it, and makes it sound like college is the end-all be-all of all 18-22 year olds. It makes it sound like you’re taking a break from life and not being productive, while really it should be the opposite. Doing something huge and scary like this is a big deal, and being taken out of your comfort zone and being placed in a totally different culture can only help you grow as a human being in the long run. So, I am only excited for what is to come. Obviously, I’m having somewhat of a hard time adjusting and not being with friends and family, but that’s what made me realize that I can do nothing but grow here.
Being with this family is fantastic. The kids are awesome, and I’ve had so many great talks with their mom, and their dad remembers to teach me everything there is to know about everything. The social aspect is hard since I don’t speak the language… BUT I was taking a walk today and some locals greeted me, and I said “bonjour” back and I don’t think they knew I was American… so 10 points for Gryffindor, am I right? The town is beautiful. There are a lot of world war two memorials and famous landmarks which is awesome. I love learning more about history and culture. Speaking of culture, I went to my first mass today… in French… so that was about as confusing as it gets. But I did pick up some words like God… that was about it. I guess I didn’t do as well as I thought. It was still a great experience, and it was cool to think about how everyone was there for the same purpose, no matter what language they spoke. I think the language barrier will be the hardest thing while I’m here. There are so many people I would love to talk to and learn about, but I get embarrassed that I literally know maybe 20 words in their language… definitely not enough to have a conversation. Unless they want to talk about how their cat is white, or how their children are eating strawberries. I know I just need to get more courageous and try to talk with people, but that will come with time.
Today was the first day I really had alone time, and it was fantastic. I went on a walk and explored. The nice thing about not speaking the language is that I couldn't read private property signs lol. I'm pretty sure I ended up in a meadow I wasn't supposed to be in, but it was so worth it. There was a trail that led all the way to a cliff that had more trails leading down to a little private beach. It was across from a beautiful old naval station. Let me tell you... I stood there for a while in so much peace. I'm looking forward to more beautiful experiences like that while I'm here. It made me very hopeful for the rest of my time.
Do any of you have any suggestions as to how to immerse myself in the culture more fully/ how to learn languages? Leave some comments please! I’m lonely in a foreign country J
(WARNING: this post is the heaviest I will ever get. Most of my posts will be very light-hearted lol)
Since I was 13 I knew I wanted to be a performer. Specifically, be on Broadway. I suffer from a lot of social anxiety, so being able to escape myself and put all of my emotions into a character was exactly what I needed. I had my life figured out. I was going to go to school on the East Coast, get my BFA in musical theatre, move to New York and audition. Then I found straight acting and changed my mind. I got into an awesome BFA acting program in New Jersey and was so excited!! Then, life happened. *queue record scratch*. A few months before I was supposed to leave for college, I went through a break up that changed the course of my life. (relationships, am I right ladies?) I made a lot of mistakes in this relationship which caused me to not be mentally healthy when it ended. Thankfully, I had some amazing friends and family who helped me get into the mindset to go to school and move. So I did. I moved 3,000 miles away from my safety net, and let me tell you… that was hard BUT life-changing. I was fine at first. I was super distracted and met a ton of new people and had a lot to do in my classes. After about a month, my depression came back full force: ugly-crying myself to sleep, major anxiety attacks, mood swings, not wanting to talk to anyone, etc. Thank God for the program I was in and the people there. They got me through that semester, and I will always love them for that. Despite everything, I loved my classes and loved the people there. Being there made me fall more in love with art than I ever had been before. But, when I came home for Christmas I decided not to continue in school. I was sick and advised by family and doctors not to go back. So I trekked back 3,000 miles, had gall bladder surgery, and gained 30 pounds. Needless to say, it was a great time :). But I got to do 2 shows while home, and they saved me. Getting to leave all my stress at home and do two beautiful shows which helped me work through those emotions that I was pushing away saved me. If you’re interested in how theatre saved me, I will post more on that later! As I was home and trying to figure out what my next step was, I found myself being freed: I wasn’t stuck for four years at a school. I didn’t have every step of my life planned out anymore. Sure, it’s scary, but it’s also crazy beautiful! I could do anything I wanted! There was and is a huge weight lifted off my chest. There is something beautiful about being lost. That is where I found myself and my happiness. I've fallen deeply in love with humans and learned to love every one of them, including their flaws. I've grown tremendously in my artistic and life endeavors in ways i didn't even know were possible, and I am now so excited for life.
And that, my dear friends, is how I ended up here. On my way to France. Preparing myself for what could possibly be the adventure of my lifetime :)
So I'm curious:
1. What do you guys want to see come out of this blog?
2. Do you have similar stories?
I'd love to hear from each and every one of you! Use the comment section below please! See ya soon, friends.
Hi friends! I'm 20 and don't know what I'm doing with my life, so I'm embracing life full-force and moving to France for a bit.