Episode 7: Paris, Je T’aime

To quote Charles Dickens, “what an immense impression Paris made upon me.”

I left the states unsure of what I’d find in Europe. I hadn’t ruled out the possibility of living my very own Lizzie McGuire moment, nor had I expectations to become fluent in French in just five months. Well, the latter isn’t entirely true. In retrospect, I’m shaking my head at how easily I was able to navigate the city using the limited French vocabulary that I learned in elementary school. My novaturient wishes were to find myself in the places I would explore, the scents I would inhale, and the people whose words and energies would stimulate my thoughts.

Packing my life into four suitcases, I bookmarked the states in my past and set off to see the grand trouvailles that would decorate my life for the next five months. Let me tell you this in all honesty– I was not disappointed.

I could write you a  novel with all of the tales of this semester, detailed with every inside joke and conversation that made me love the people I spent my travels with. Like that one time, rather every time, when I over-packed my carry-on past the 10kg limit allowed and had to give some of my things to my friend to keep so I could board the plane inconspicuously. When we celebrated the beginning of our study abroad and my 21st birthday on the first floor of the Eiffel Tower (and when Justin Bieber was having dinner at the table across from us during my birthday dinner). Those long, Tuesday night dinners at Napolitain and passing notes in 3-hour classes. And the countless amount of times my friends picked on me for trying to capture the perfect candid photo in front of national monuments and world heritage sites. Oh, how could I forget that time we went to an FC Barcelona match and spent the night on the cold floor of the airport waiting for our 7am flight?

The people I met on this trip, and the memories we shared, will stay with me forever. Words fail to express and detail all that happened in the course of five months. I’ve filmed several vlogs on this trip, and my final of this series will be around my home in Paris. I easily took the city for granted, not filming most of my adventures in the city. However, I filmed my last two days in the city of lights and some of my dear friends sharing their favorite things about the city. Because this project was the born in the midst of late night study session at so last minute, I was unable to film everyone that I wanted to (you know who you are)! But nonetheless, they made this trip what it came to be.

This is the final chapter and concludes concludes my study abroad episodes as I’ve written and filmed for you. Now, almost the middle of June, I’m in my new home in a new city, looking forward to spending my summer interning, meeting a whole new ocean of people, taking daring opportunities, and making more unforgettable memories.

I brought y’all to Paris, now come with me to Dallas.

When you have…

  • Four midterms
  • 20/30 volunteer hours left to complete
  • Several organization meetings
  • A quiz
  • 8am’s Monday-Thursday
  • Case studies and Excel assignments with electronic deadlines
  • The last possible academic advising appointment scheduled for the hour after your registration opens

It’s hard to catch a break. That’s just a typical weekly schedule now that I’m in my second year at the University of Texas at Austin, and additionally in the business school. It’s tough, and I sometimes I get so caught up in my work that I forget how to balance everything else. In fact, it feels as though 80% of the school year my Snapchat story consists of me complaining about Accounting, or a “0mph” snap of how exhausted I am.

Screen Shot 2014-10-21 at 12.18.51 AM

Though when I take a step back, and reevaluate everything on my plate, I start to count my blessings and realize how minuscule my problems are. That Accounting assignment? Sure, it’s tedious and I only understand one third of it now, but it’ll be okay. Too tired from staying up all night studying? No big deal, I’ll sleep when I’m dead, it’ll be okay. The fact that I have no idea what classes I’m taking next semester? It’ll be sorted out, it’ll be okay.

I’m so blessed to have problems like these filling the cracks in my mind. When I think about some of the burdens that people have to face every single day, I realize how selfish and egocentric my problems are. There are people around the world who wake up asking themselves if today will be their day because there’s not enough food to eat, or water to drink. There are people struggling to make a living as everything else seems to fall against their favor. There’s someone laying in a hospital bed asking God how much longer they have.

I can’t begin to imagine how that feels. I don’t ever wish to feel that. I don’t wish for anyone to feel that pain. I wish that everyone can receive the blessings that I receive every single morning when I wake up, put on my contacts, and go to class. I wish for everyone to receive the gift of education, including all of the petty-problems we assume with it. I only wish for everyone what I wish for myself.

Stepping back into the frame, I realize that my problems aren’t unimportant either. To completely ignore the pressing way my burdens stress me out, and weigh heavily on my schedule, is to ignore all of the blessings in which I receive daily. I think that the reason why I have all of these obstacles, whether it be endless midterms or trying to balance spending time with friends and school, is so that I can step out of the frame every now and then and appreciate how fortunate I am in that moment. Without these pesky-problems, I wouldn’t be able to realize how significant and contented I really am.

Freshman Year

tumblr_m7jvfcFgjX1rvptfso1_500

That right there is a pretty accurate description of where I am right now, post-finals, writing this.

How is it that my first year at the University of Texas at Austin (boldface so it’s more epic when you read this in your head) is already over?! Alright, so first semester seemed to last forever once football season ended, and let me tell you this: when they say Turn Up DKR, they’re not kidding.

1167243_4571968675657_1588416770_oAs a freshman, coming from a 5A public school in the big city of Houston, making the adjustment to classes with over 500 people and a student body of over 50,000 students wasn’t all that difficult. Given stats like that, you may be wondering how it’s even possible to make yourself noticeable, and to find a core friend group when there’s an almost inexhaustible amount of people around you daily.

That’s where my incredible friends come in. Started by a friendship I made during orientation, branching to signing up for football seats with a huge group in the student’s section, to starting a group text which grew larger and larger. That’s how I made some of the closest friends I’ve ever had, and they know who they are, and I love them to bits.

Freshman year also provided me with countless amounts of lessons. No, you will never get used to Quest. No, there’s no such thing as an “easy class.” Yes, you should carry an umbrella at all times. No, you will never get tired of coffee. No, nobody will notice if you use dry shampoo today. Yes, you will fall behind if you skip too many Friday lectures. Yes, Fireball is always a bad idea. Yes, you will spend all of next semester avoiding eye contact with the guy you made out with at a party.

But it also taught me about myself and the people who I surround myself with daily. Only when you’re comfortable with yourself is when you’re able to see the true colours of others. Freshman year was certainly a “weed out” year for some friendships, but most of all, it harvested numerous more. Can we just talk about how I met my best friend in a M 408K Facebook group the first weekend of school!? Friendships start in odd places, but give every single one of them a chance!

1653352_771420109534940_779735179_n

Another thing I learned, wear your orange, and be proud. Take part in any and every opportunity you get to wear burnt orange. It looks good on virtually every skin colour too (unlike certain, I don’t know, melancholy maroonish hues).

One thing I really enjoyed this semester was the Turtle pond. Yeah, okay, Turtle Tuesday may have been a thing last semester, but this semester it was all about spending time at the pond and really watching the turtles interact. It’s so calming when you step out of your world, take a step back from all the exams and studying, and take a look into their ecosystem.

Also, always carry carrots with you when you’re near the SAC. And don’t be scared to get close!

photo

Another plus about Austin? The beautiful sunsets over the lake. An evening studying outside at Mozarts will provide you with the most beautiful sunset, so don’t miss it.

ssss One thing I regret, somewhat, is not going to 6th Street all that often. If I had a nickel for every time I’ve had to turn down a sixth street invite this semester, I’d be able to pay for all my textbooks through grad school. This year I really focused on my GPA and gave my school work the priority. Next semester, I’m definitely planning on letting myself enjoy Austin and everything it has to offer. Plus, 6th is the birthplace of Keep Austin Weird, and when you go there, you’ll know why.

So as I bring this post to a close, just like my first year, I would like to thank everyone who was a part of my first year at UT. A special shout out to my sister, my one true bae and room mate, for always being there for me and giving me amazing advice (except for telling me to take GEO 303 which is so not an easy A, no matter what you try to tell me). I can’t imagine a summer without all of the friends I’ve made here at Texas, but God knows I can’t wait to be back in Houston and see all of my friends from home!

Thanks, and Hook Em Horns!

P.S. only 68 weeks until Canvas, woo!