I know that the academic year has begun, but I can’t help thinking about the summer I just had each day. After class, after this meeting, that practice, that job, all I can seem to do is remember and relive through memories of where I was this summer, thanks to Fontbonne.
Fontbonne offers many study abroad programs for a variety of times, majors, and countries. I decided about ten months ago that I was going to do it. Finally study abroad.
Fully committed, everything somehow came together, and I spent five weeks in London, one in Paris, and then one week on holiday in Prague and Barcelona this summer. I studied at Regent’s University: London, and took two classes related to my major, Fashion Merchandising.
Yeah, I missed out on that wonderful St. Louis summer, and came back so dreadfully tired, but none of that matters. The experiences I had, both in and out of the classroom, don’t compare to any others in my lifetime. I would go back and do it all over again, given the chance. Studying abroad definitely helped me see the world in a new way, and how I fit in it. Before, I used to think St. Louis was enough for me. Now, I don’t know. Maybe Fontbonne is the stepping stone, the mother university to prepare me for what I’m really meant to do in life — that being anything I wish.
I finally went on a trip that has been on my bucket list for a long time: Los Angeles! I started planning this vacation a few months ago with two of my closest friends, Delane and Taylor. The three of us have fun together no matter what we do, especially when we visit one of the most famous cities in the world. I have family that lives in L.A., so we were very lucky to be able to stay with them. My cousin, Stephanie, also gave us rides everywhere, so we didn’t have to face the crazy L.A. traffic on our own.
In just a few short days, we packed in so many adventures that I don’t even know where to begin! We did a lot of the touristy things of course, such as reading the Hollywood Walk of Fame names, hiked to the Hollywood sign, stalk celebrity homes in Beverly Hills, a visit to Venice Beach and Canal, and shopping around Downtown Disney and Universal Studios. We considered all of these essentials when visiting L.A. We also did some things that are a little less traditional, such as a hot air balloon ride in Orange Country and browsing the Observatory in Griffith Park.
One of my favorite parts of traveling is trying new food. We considered going to famous restaurants, like having Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Instead, we ate less crowded places (well, at least a little bit) that locals recommended. I love cities like L.A. that are so diverse, so you can find such a wide variety of foods. My favorite dinner was the one at a Brazilian restaurant in Burbank. I tried plantains there for the first time. My favorite breakfast was at The Griddle Café in Hollywood. They had the largest and most unique dishes, such as Chips Ahoy French toast and Frosted Flakes pancakes.
It is has been a goal of mine to travel as much as possible before I graduate in less than a year. I like exploring a variety of cities so I can get a better sense of where I might want to move outside of St. Louis (if that’s what I end up deciding to do). Also, I know that once I have a full time job, it will be harder for me to take off work whenever I want. Something that surprised me about L.A. was how spread out everything was. It is not as compact as other major cities I have visited. Also, the weather was not as hot as I expected. Especially at night, it gets chilly there. Delane, Taylor, and I all really enjoyed our time in Los Angeles. I would like to spend more time there again someday. Who knows, maybe I will end up living there!
Recognize this sign?!
Each week during the summer, half of my days are spent babysitting. I guess I shouldn’t really say babysitting anymore since the girls aren’t babies. We can just call me a nanny. That sounds more sophisticated anyway. Emma is 13 and Kara is 10. I have been with them the past few summers, and knew the family well before I started watching them. The girls go to school and play softball with my cousins, so I met them through that.
Although Emma and Kara fight a lot like typical sisters, the three of us have fun together no matter the adventure. Some of the things we do are trips to the zoo, Six Flags (we have season tickets), the pool, and parks with playgrounds. If we just want to get out of the house for a little bit, we’ll grab lunch out or walk up the street to the snow cone stand. Another routine is going to the movies. Wehrenberg theatres have a good summer special. Every Wednesday and Thursday they play a movie for just $1. The movies are typically only about a year old, so they are fairly recent. I enjoy kid movies just as much as they do, so this works out well. Some days are more relaxed and we just chill around the house. But even that is fun, considering we jam to all the One Direction albums while we make One Direction collages. Or we play board games, which is most often the One Direction board game that we made out of an old Candy Land. Do you sense a theme here?
Being with the girls definitely adds a level of excitement to my summers. There is never a dull (or quiet) moment with them. I can’t completely blame it on them though. I get pretty loud myself when we are having too much fun together. We are so close that I practically consider them the little sisters I never had. It’s nice to get paid for something that I hardly consider work.
If you are into music and pop culture, you probably think of Justin Timberlake when you hear the initials J.T. However, before the modern J.T. was James Taylor. He was the original, considering he first rose to fame in the 1970s. He continues to be an outstanding singer, songwriter, and guitarist, and I feel lucky to have the opportunity to see him perform live.
The people that I went to the concert with were my mom, her best friend, and her husband. This is the same group that I went to the Paul McCartney concert with a couple years ago. They tend to be my buddies for the oldies concerts. I like a wide variety of modern music, but part of me has an old soul when it comes to my music taste. James Taylor has a very classic and soothing sound. It made for such a pleasant night. Also, it was actually nice weather, despite the fact that it was in the middle of summer in St. Louis. The show was at Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre, which is an outdoor theatre. We had lawn seats, which is something I had never experienced before. I just love seeing live shows, and this was another one I had looked forward to for a long time. And there are more coming up soon! Next are Miley Cyrus (which was postponed from April) and then One Direction (for the second time!). Like I said before, I listen to a variety of music styles, obviously. Bring on the summer shows!