Thai Things

Following my semester in Paris, I spent the entirety of my senior year falling deeper in love with Austin. I balanced my senior level classes (considerably Intermediate Accounting which almost singlehandedly committed me to the library), with all the football games, tailgates, the Greenbelt, and 6th Street.

A trade-off for traversing within Austin, understandably I didn’t travel as much as I had while living in Europe. As frequenters of my blog, you know by now that I made it a habit to film vlogs for my weekend trips. Following my graduation from the University of Texas at Austin, my parents gifted me a vacation to the beautiful country of Thailand.

In those ten days, I was exposed to a culture I had never quite experienced before. While I personally struggled with Thai food (surviving on fresh fruits and margherita pizza), the landscapes were breathtaking and the people were sincere and welcoming. In my video, I hope you can feel the energy of Thailand and enjoy it as much as I did.

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.

Episode 6: Santorini & the French Riviera

Have you ever envisioned your own, unique individual place where everything is drawn to precision per your taste and preference? My place is set on the waterfront, an ocean of crisp, cerulean blue water with purity unlike anything else. Along the waterfront, gentle slopes with white Mediterranean-style houses connected with open, outdoor foyers leading to gardens of white, deep-red, and carmine pink flowers. The houses have arches and wooden accents, drawing a stark comparison to the blue of the ocean. Until just a week ago, my place was a fantasy; however, I’ve been fortunate enough to experience my place, and the place I’ve described to you is Santorini, Greece.

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Overlooking Oia, the upper side of Santorini, a few moments prior sunset.

I explored the largest island of the archipelago in the southern Aegean Sea with my sister and one of our close friends, trying to capture some of the beauty of the island through 24 megapixels. While the simple architecture itself was overwhelming on its own, I noticed a familiar feeling that reminded me much of my own Persian-roots. The kind and receptive people of Santorini instantly welcomed me to their hearth, a smile and gentle eyes on the face of those I crossed paths with. The island is populated with stray dogs that will let you play with them, particularly in Oia, my favorite part of Santorini and the upper side of the island, and at Perissa Beach, the popular black sand beach, where I found a stray and named him Demetrius.

We completed our ten day travels in the French Riviera, where I revisited Nice, Monaco, and spent a beautiful, sunny day in Cannes. My trip was a well needed break from the cyclical work cycle at my French university and the beautiful city of Paris which I’ve been able to experience over the past five months. However, I’ll tell you this much, as much as I love traveling to beautiful destinations, it’s not so much the places you go, rather the people you go with that make it worthwhile.

Edit: For copyright reasons, I can’t upload the video to YouTube. For the time being, watch my vlog on Google Drive. Filmed in HD, watch in 1080p!

Episode 4: Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

Over the last two months, I’ve adapted my lifestyle to living in France where reliance on public transportation trumps cruising down the highway in your own car. I’ve been in more planes, trains, busses, Ubers and taxi-cabs than I ever have over the course of such a small period of time. Having Paris at my disposal and being so centrally located in Europe has also influenced how I spend my time on the weekends. While I do miss going to the Greenbelt for a hike in Austin, walking down South Congress with some friends for a Sunday brunch, and studying on the lake at Mozart’s, there’s nothing I wouldn’t give up to have the mind-opening adventures I experience when I travel to a new country.

I wrote to you about (almost) losing my passport in Munich, but since then, I’ve visited Milan and Prague. I’ve been trying something new by capturing some of the moments of my trip on film, so here are a select few of my favorites.

 

 

Episode 2: Lyo-Nice-Lona

You need not to spend more than a week abroad to understand that there’s more to studying abroad than just studying. Within the first few days, you shake hands with, kiss cheeks, and accept friend requests from over a hundred unique individuals. As a friend of mine jokes, it’s not about the stamps in your passport as much as it’s about the experience you have.

This past week I spent eleven days traveling by bus, train, and budget airlines across the French Riviera and finally to Barcelona, Spain. While I can recount my journeys and tell you about all the beautiful views I saw, food I devoured, and fruitful trips to Zara I made, I rather take you there through film.

I recorded every day of my journey in chronological order. I hope this inspires you, my readers, to view your every day adventures in a different light and open your mind to new opportunities.

Confession: I’m 20 years old. I have Bieber Fever, again. And I’m not quite sure it went away to begin with.

On November 19, I took off of classes early and drove 150 miles to Houston, where I would be reunited with the Biebs. In honor of his forth studio album released on November 13, Justin Bieber returned to the Toyota Center to steal the hearts of every audience member with a raw, truthful, and exclusive evening with Justin Bieber. He shared the true meaning of Purpose and his faith that carried him through the darkest times, answered some questions from the audience, then gave the audience a private concert, even performing oldies such as Hold Tight and Boyfriend. The evening finished with a 45-minute dance film, a compilation of the short films he released for every one of his tracks on Purpose.

To say I became a bigger fan of Justin Bieber after this performance would be an understatement. You can’t deny that he has talent (oh, that falsetto) and his lyrics story-tell the experiences he’s been through in his 21 years of life. I could write about the evening forever, but I decided to take you there first hand. Come with me as I take you to experience Purpose: The Movement at An Evening With Justin Bieber.

VLOG | Houston Rodeo Carnival
(Part II of II)

As promised, here’s part two of my Houston Rodeo video blog experience! My second time at the Rodeo this year, I gathered a few friends who were in town for Spring Break and we all bought nosebleed-section-642 tickets to the Dierks Bentley concert that night. None of us were familiar with Dierks Bentley’s music prior to the show, but we managed to peg a favorite song (Drunk On a Plane) during the drive to the Rodeo. Being there was all about the homestyle Texan vibes, the soulful country melodies, and as my friends persisted… all the fried foods.

Watch the video in HD 1080p! Disclaimer: I’m only 5’5″, so a couple of times I had difficulty fitting myself in the frame as well as my very tall friend. It happens.

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Reunited with one of my best friends from high school!
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These are what true Texan heartbreakers look like.

I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: Rodeo season is one of the best times of the year. And you’d be foolish to think that anywhere else could pull off a rodeo like the Houston Rodeo.

Click here to watch part 1 of my Rodeo Houston vlog series!

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