Summer in the District

Okay yes, I never did finish my London blogging adventure. BUT I do have pretty decent drafts from back then, so I might fix them up and do them as archived posts at a later date. But right now I have something EXCITING to talk about…

Ya girl is spending the summer in Washington D.C. working as an intern for a historic site and then just livin’ life in the district. 

I KNOW. How cool is that? It’s going to be one hell of a summer. I can’t wait to explore this amazing city even further and make new friends from around the country (and the world). There’s even a possibility that one of my lifelong friends would get the opportunity to come up here and stay with me!

I’ve been here for less than a week and this city already feels like home. Of course, driving here is no small feat. I definitely prefer taking the bus and the metro (London got me way too used to not driving in major cities). I’m living with family members, but I have my own space (which is amazing and I am so thankful). I’m gaining independence and preparing for the real world in major ways (which I also did in London, but I think you get the point). IMG_4677

I’m already working on my DC Summer Bucket List, but Google can only take me so far. I’ve done many of the tourist-y things already, but I’m planning on revisiting many of them. SO, I want to know what you like to do/want me to do this summer in DC! Leave suggestions in the comments or text me or FB message me or email me or send a carrier pigeon and I’ll add it to my list!

This summer is going to be just like my semester abroad – an adventure of a lifetime. I can’t wait to see what these next three months bring me. Hopefully it will include the chance to finish up my London blog posts!


lydia. 

Twenty-One: London Style

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Just one of the three cases of cupcake options at Primrose Bakery in Covent Garden!

As a lot of y’all know, yesterday was my 21st birthday! It was not nearly as exciting or over-the-top here in London as I imagined. I guess it’s because it’s not as big a deal here, since the drinking age is 18.

I want to go ahead and say thank you to everyone who wished me a happy birthday yesterday, and made the day fantastic. Thanks especially to my friends who I got a chance to FaceTime with (y’all have no idea how much that made my day)…mom, dad, Jackson, Jordan, Meme, Cate, and Erin. It was so great to talk to the people who I miss so much.

My day started out like any other: I got up, got dressed, grabbed breakfast, went to class, and went through my new London routine. We talked about Twelfth Night in class, and it got really feminist and I just loved it. Then, Sarah and I went to Primrose Bakery to get some cupcakes, thanks mom!

Sarah had dinner with a lifelong friend, so I went back to my dorm to take a quick nap before I went to dinner. I got to FaceTime a bunch of the aforementioned people, and popped a bottle of champagne to enjoy with my cupcakes to celebrate my turning 21. It was nice to get to catch up with my hometown friends while celebrating.

I’m not going to play innocent here, the drinking age in most of Europe is 18, so going out to a bar and ordering myself a drink on my 21st birthday wasn’t my first time doing so. (I’m still excited for my “first legal drink” in the United States when I get home in December.)

I grabbed a drink with a few friends before they left, then waited for Sarah to meet me (she was going to meet all of us for drinks, but everyone else decided to cut the night short early I guess). It was a little weird just sitting there in the bar by myself, but I guess that’s what being 21 and adulthood are all about, right? Getting outside your comfort zone and being confident and going places by yourself?

What struck me the most was how different this birthday was from any other birthday I’ve had as an “adult”. When I turned 18, I took the SAT, went to rehearsal for the school musical until 7PM, went home and went to bed. When I turned 19, I was just a baby college freshman with only a few friends. We weren’t close enough for them to throw me a party or anything, so my mom and my brother came up and took me to get dinner. When I turned 20, I almost pulled an all-nighter the night before to study for my history midterm. I went to my classes, took a nap, spent a few hours in the library, and went to dinner with my friends. We celebrated with cake and a movie night the following weekend.

This year, I didn’t feel the same love surrounding me that I had the past three years – that probably has a lot to do with the fact that I’m in a foreign country pretty much by myself, and my favorite people are over 4,000 miles away. Getting to FaceTime with some of those people was helpful, but it was nothing like having my roommate/best friend wake me up at 5AM by jumping on my bed to my favorite Rhianna song.

dsc_0012I understand the validity of my feelings and that I’m allowed to miss people when they’re an ocean away, but I don’t want anyone to get the wrong idea: I LOVE LONDON. I am loving my study abroad experience and everything it has brought into my life, but it’s tough. It is teaching me so much about myself. There are just a lot of emotions that you encounter when you study abroad that I don’t think anyone prepares you for — especially when you do a program where you don’t know anyone at all. 

I really did have an amazing birthday – champagne and cupcakes and getting to FaceTime some of my favorite people was really all I could’ve asked for (other than them all being here but for some reason, I don’t think that would’ve worked out so well). Going out when I didn’t really have a group of people to go with or solid plans made it feel a little more awkward than I intended.

I am so thankful for every single person who made me feel loved yesterday — y’all are the reason I’m having the time of my life over here in Londontown. Without your support, I don’t know where I would be.

Cheers to 21 years!


lydia.

Amsterdam Adventures

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This past weekend, my friend Sarah and I took our first trip out of England and made our way to Amsterdam, Holland!

Amsterdam was one of the places I wanted to go most on of my list of places to travel (which is quite long), so I’m glad we got to take a long weekend and experience so much of what the amazing city has to offer.

Friday – Our first day in Amsterdam was a busy one, but we started it as everyone should start their days: with waffles. For whatever reason, Amsterdam has waffles everywhere (don’t look at me, I’m not complaining), so it was only natural we begin our day as the Dutch do. We then hopped onto a sightseeing tour bus to get a good tourist’s eye view of Amsterdam. This bus actually took us to a diamond factory, where we decided to get off and take a free tour. Not only did I learn that Amsterdam is actually famous for their diamonds, but I got to hdsc_01870ld a tray of jewelry that probably cost more than my entire college tuition.

Next was the Van Gogh museum. It was absolutely gorgeous and I learned so much about Van Gogh (my previous knowledge was limited to the one Art History class I’ve taken). It was really cool to see his paintings that I had only previously seen in textbooks or online. I wish I had good pictures from in there, but photography is actually not allowed, so when I tried to take pictures, I had security guards coming up to talk to me. That wasn’t fun.

On our way back to our hostel (located about two streets over from the Red Light District), we decided to go into a museum called Red Light Secrets. Yeah…it was a museum about prostitution. But, when in Amsterdam, right? We actually learned so much about the women who occupy those famous windows, and it gave me a different perspective on their whole experience. I honestly didn’t know much about prostitution in Amsterdam until I went to this museum. If you’re ever in Amsterdam, seriously, check it out. It’s so, so interesting.

dsc_0229Saturday – Sarah and I began our Saturday like any good European would – with beer. More specifically, we went to the Heineken Experience. I have never been anywhere like this. Going into it, I really didn’t know anything about how beer was made, much less what made Heineken unique, but wow oh wow did I learn a lot. Not only are they active in sustainability measures, but Heineken is a family business, currently being run by the great-granddaughter of the man who first purchased the brewery, Gerard Adriaan Heineken. I also learned how to pour the perfect Heineken from a tap (sorry mom & dad LOL). Y’all, there were horses and even a ride in this place. It wasn’t an exaggeration when they say it’s an experience.

Next, Sarah and I decided to check out a museum on the human body. Sarah is a biology major and was really excited about this, while I was more thrown off by the fact that all the body parts on display were from actual human cadavers. It was still a museum, and I still learned a lot, it was just something totally different from the history museums I like to frequent. But I guess sometimes changes in pace like that can be good for you.

Our last night in Amsterdam called for a real celebration – namely, a pub crawl. It was so much fun getting to meet people from all over the world and taking a mini-tour of Amsterdam at night with a big group. It felt a lot safer than just trying to go to pubs by ourselves. We both had a lot of fun, and were still able to get up earlier than our check-outimg_0277 time the next morning.

Sunday – For brunch, we met up with one of my sorority sisters who is studying abroad in
Amsterdam. It was great to have someone from home to spend some time with and to get to chat about our different study abroad experiences. Also, brunch was amazing. Have I mentioned yet that Amsterdam’s food is probably some of the best on earth? Because it is.

After brunch, Sarah and I pretty much made our way to the airport — where our flight was delayed by three hours. It took way too long to get back to London, but that isn’t even something I have the time to get into on this post. It was so crazy. After three gate changes, four flight delays, one hour in line at border control, two busses, and a short walk back we finally made it back to our dorm in London (only to have to wake up for class in four hours).

If you couldn’t tell, I really loved Amsterdam. It was without a doubt, one of the coolest and most unique places I’ve ever been. I can’t wait to go back someday.


lydia.

London Calling

Remember a couple months ago when 1) I said I would post more and 2) I was applying to study abroad in London, England for the fall semester? Well…

I leave in less than a week for a semester abroad in London, England! 

This is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time, and I am so so so excited that it is finally happening! Hopefully this adventure will encourage me to be posting more about London and the adventures that come along with it.

It’s going to be a huge transition and a giant lesson in personal growth and confidence, but I think I can do it.

More on this adventure later.


lydia.

Not to Be Creepy…

One thing I find myself doing far too often is “creeping”. I love looking at people’s pictures on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, what have you. I feel like I do it really often, almost to the point of living vicariously through other people’s adventures.

I find myself doing this with other people too. YouTubers who are in cute relationships, an adorable Instagram adventurer, a friend of a friend who is studying abroad. It’s not that I want to live their lives, but more that I feel like I’m not doing much with mine.

Which isn’t exactly true. I go to school out of my home state, I’ve made friends from all over the country, I’ve explored my new city, found places I feel at home. But that doesn’t cure this need for exploration. So, I find myself creeping on other people’s explorations.

I’ve done this a lot over the years, from Facebook-stalking my high school crush, to finding out what other movies that actor has been in. I consider myself to be somewhat of an expert at finding out things via social media.

But I feel like there is a point where interest ends and longing begins. I do long for some kind of adventure, some kind of change, something magnificent to happen to me. Do I need to go out and get it, or am I content with living quietly behind a computer screen?

Over the past few weeks, one of my friends and I have become somewhat obsessed with this adorable couple on YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter. Of course, I am more obsessed than she is, but nonetheless, we both think they’re absolutely adorable and that their relationship seems to be making them both happy.

It was over the past week that I realized where my problem lies. It is with a dissatisfaction in what I’m doing with my life. I don’t find myself happy spending the weekends locked in my dorm room, or in the library, studying so I can stay at this college that I love so much. This school makes me so happy, but if my grades don’t improve soon, I won’t be able to come back next year.

I’m not happy with how much work I have to put in to remain at a place that makes me happy. Is that messed up? Am I messed up? I don’t know. But I do know that trying to find what I want, and trying to find my happiness isn’t going to be through other people’s adventures.

I’ll have time for my adventures. It will come someday. But for now, I need to figure out what everyone I “creep” on did to increase their happiness. I need to figure out what it is that is going to make me happy.

I’m done living behind a computer screen. I want to keep “creeping” on people, to see their lives and see their happiness. I want to be happy for them, and admire what they’re doing. But I can’t find my personal happiness in their lives anymore.

I don’t know what it is that makes it so hard for me to just get off my butt and get stuff done, but I need to do it. I need to work hard so I can stay at this college. I need to explore what I can right now. If that’s the internet, if that’s the coffee shop, if that’s whatever life is throwing at my right now, I need to explore it.

Because someday, I want to have adventures and pictures worth creeping on.

Cleaning

Basically there is a lot of cleaning that I need to get done in my life.

My dorm room is a wreck, my agenda is full of chicken scratch assignments, my bed hasn’t been made in week, I have a dozen things open on my desktop, and everything is just in a state of disorganization that is becoming overwhelming. And I don’t know how to rectify this situation.

It bothers me, and this pile of clothes that prevents me from opening the door to my room is growing. Just like my anxiety.

But instead of complaining about all the things that I have to deal with and clean up, I feel like crawling back into my bed and pulling the covers over my head until it feels like the night and all I can hear are my thoughts. Of course, I never want to hear my thoughts. It’s weird stuff, ladies and gents.

But I think after spending the past three days wallowing in what I call “blue time” (for days when my depression takes over and I really just want to sleep and eat, and sometimes I do that – which is not good when you have homework), I’ve realized that I need to put on my big girl pants – actually, big girl shorts, it’s been in the 70’s lately – and clean it all up.

Spring Break is right around the corner. While I may not be going to the beach, I’ll get to go home. I have a lot of brightness waiting for me at home. Lots and lots of brightness that I just can’t wait to experience and see and enjoy.

Now, I don’t want to return from spring break and find that this room, this agenda, this life is still as untidy as the way it is now?

Nope.

I want it clean, and tidy, and much more attune to what I want out of it.

I guess it’s time to get to work.


 

lydia. 

Changes

I sat down elevent minutes ago and wrote an entirely different post. Then I realized that those words aren’t the words that I need to say today. Those words have their time, and they have their place, but it’s not today.

Today is for change.

I have been really busy this semester, more than I ever thought I would be, but that hasn’t stopped me from getting it all done.

But one thing I realized in these past few weeks is that I have neglected Thinking in Fragments. This was supposed to be a journal, a honest place where I could remember exactly how I felt at almost any given moment.

Somehow, I found myself pinning stuff to a secret blogging board about SEO and how to have great content posts. That isn’t what I want. I want a blog where I can put my true feelings out there, where I can just let some stuff live and grow. Maybe post some of my writing, start to build a portfolio for whenever I figure out what I want to do. Maybe then I could tell people I have a blog and I wouldn’t feel my face get hot as soon as the words leave my mouth.

This blog moved from being my true feelings to something fake. Not that bloggers who blog for a living are fake or anything. I think that what they are doing is fantastic, and I wish I had the dedication, time, and heart to do that.

I want Thinking in Fragments to be something where I can just put my soul into words and figure out how I like those words to sound together, and move them around until I find the way that flows the most honestly and beautifully to me.

My entire life, I’ve said that honestly is truly one of the most important things to me. If you’re honest with me, then we can eventually work out any troubles that may come between us. And I feel like I haven’t been very honest on this blog. I want to be completely honest and myself and use Thinking in Fragments to help me figure out what else is important to me.

And I want to figure out what those “fragments” in the title are. I want to figure them out and help them find the rest of the words they need to become the complete sentence that they have the potential to become. Because I want to become my own complete sentence. And honestly, this is the only way I can think of to do that.

I’m tired of trying to put on this front. I want honesty and truth, and I want to be able to figure it out myself. So there are probably going to be some changes coming to Thinking in Fragments. I hope you’ll stick around to help me see what they are. If this isn’t your groove, that’s completely fine. I just want to learn how to be there for myself, and I hope that by piecing together the fragments, I will be able to.

lydia.