Study Abroad Series | Packing to Live Abroad.

I signed up to study abroad during my junior year of college. An entire semester in Spain designed to immerse students into the culture, learn about the history, and live with a host family who spoke zero English.

Literally, zero. No habla. Just a Madre and a padre who discussed current affairs every night at the dinner table (I'm guessing, I actually had very little idea what they were talking about. Like I said, everything was in Spanish, and they talked so fast!), and a host brother who was super into Shakira. My roommate and I heard the song Rabiosa through the thin walls of our piso AT LEAST once a day.

Spending a semester in Spain sounded like a great opportunity. I mean, yea, my Spanish skills sucked - even after two semesters of the basics, my ability to string a sentence together usually went like this: "Hola. Como estas? Chaqueta, biblioteca, gracias, tienes un pluma?" Which Google Translate will tell you means: "Hi. How are you? Jacket, library, thank you, do you have a pen?" Clearly, I was ready to navigate a foreign country.

Getting out of your comfort zone.

We went hiking on one of our first dates. I say "one of" because neither of us can remember which "one" it was. I think it was the sixth or seventh, and Kyle thinks it was, "Maybe the fourth? Fifth? I don't know."

Here's what I can tell you - it was late enough in the game that we were comfortable spending an hour and twenty minutes in the car together, yet it must have been in the EARLY stages, because I remember waking up at 6 AM to shower and "get ready".

Get ready. For hiking.

A day in the woods. Weaving through trees. Climbing over rocks. Walking through spiderwebs.  Doing that thing people do where they take really big, wide steps over puddles and act all, "What? Like it's hard?"

Saint Patricks Day 2018 | Chicago, IL

Before we could even DISCUSS plans for Saint Patricks Day, I had already made up my mind that I wanted to go into the city. It's tradition that Chicago dumps green food coloring in the river that runs through the city, and the whole day is just one big-huge-ginormous Saint Patricks Day party. All of the people from all over the land come to Chicago to party it up. They wear green, and watch a parade, and have a grand ol' time.

And I told my boyfriend - again, before anyone ever said anything about Saint Patricks Day - "I want to do a blog post about it." 

#ThingsBloggersSay

Out and about!

Full disclaimer: I am not a photographer. Sure, I take a lot of pictures – but that’s essentially all I am: a picture-taker. When purchasing a new camera, photographers are people who consider things like shutter speed, lens selection, aperture, and various camera-words-that-I-don’t-know-because-I’m-not-a-photographer. Meanwhile, in the other camp, a “picture-taker” will pick out a camera based on… “I don’t know, is it easy to use? Is it heavy? Do I have to know stuff about cameras to be able to use it? Will it take better pictures than my iPhone?”

These are all real questions that I asked when searching for a new camera.

Photographers don’t like picture-takers (I’m just guessing). At least they don’t like the picture-takers who like to call themselves photographers. (Again, I’m just guessing.) I feel like if I had taken a lot of time and practice to hone my craft, I’d be pretty annoyed with the person who shows up with an iPhone and an Instagram account and refers to themselves as a “photographer”. Congratulations, you officially have as much photography experience as Chrissy Teigen (who, for all I know, could actually be a very skilled photographer.)