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  • Greece // December 2011

    A little over a year ago, I traveled to Athens with one of my best friends, Joe. We were there for 3.5 days, but managed to do so much. I have always wanted to go to Greece, ever since seeing The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. Haha. Well, the place I was thinking of was actually Santorini... an island off in Greece. We didn't have enough time to make it out there, but I am glad we were able to explore Athens. (Also you can bet that I'll make it out to Santorini in my lifetime... along with Mykonos and Thessaloniki.)

    It was incredible to see the Acropolis... and to have seen the pieces from it in the British Musuem only a few months before. It was rad to have read Acts the morning before we climbed up Mars Hill where Paul preached the gospel. Authentic Greek food is amazing-- so much better than in the States. We saw the reddest sun setting I have yet to see in my life. We got a ride on a bike with a local, we drank a lot of Coke and we had a grand old time. We made a Coldplay music video (no shame), we played cards, we lived it up. It was also so nice to get away from the cold weather in Italy and be in jeans, a t-shirt and my Birks.

    This is the last installment of blog posts from my European travels from August to December 2011. For those of you have only been recently following me, I was out there studying abroad in Florence, Italy for four months. On the weekends, we would travel... and travel we did!

    During my time out there, I went to a total of 11 countries and over 25 cities. I would recommend doing this to anyone. It was an adventure of a lifetime. You can see my blog posts of Istanbul, Venice, Paris, Rome, and Prague/Vienna by clicking on the links. 

    Before Joe and I left, we had thought it would be fun to do a video series of our travels. They were entitled The European Experience... I helped with a little filming here and there, but Joe was the man when it came to putting them together. You can check 'em out here. You'll notice that I was playing the super touristy role and Joe played the know-it-all. One of our friends Mandie was able to join for the first 2 weeks of our travels and you'll notice her in the beginning videos.

    I am so so so thankful for my time over there and would do it again in a heartbeat.

  • Prague + Vienna

    Prague, Czech Republic

    Vienna, Austria

    I almost didn't go on this trip, but I'm thankful I did. Prague was easily one of my favorite places we visited. It's sad to me that I'm forgetting so much already... I remember Prague having very friendly people, many people spoke English, it was very cold... Joe and I managed to find a legitimate Thanksgiving dinner at an English bookstore that was also a restaurant. During our time there, we also found amazing Thai food and had lots of great wine. We went to a jazz bar and had late night coffee and ice cream. We caved and got a little taste of home at Starbucks. We took trams and visited castles.

    Then it was on to Vienna! We took our first international train ride... people should ride them more often. It was a cold day and grey and we spent most of it to ourselves, reflecting, listening to our tunes and journalling. I enjoyed it. I learned a lot from this trip... honest conversations and silences. I remember seeing buildings I studied in my art history class, I remember late Christmas markets and hot drinks. 

    I cannot believe it has been a year. I still have a few more blog posts from my study abroad trip and yes, the places I went were amazing and incredible. I will always be grateful for all the places I was able to visit, but what I remember the very most from those four months is how much I learned about myself. One of the things I miss the most is the time I had. Life was slow-paced, I didn't have too much responsibility to other people but myself. I spent hours on trains reading and writing. I spent hours walking and thinking. Perhaps too much thinking, but thinking. That's something I don't have here back in the States. It is near impossible to find solitude what with cell phones, social media and the need to always be connected. It is difficult to not want to know what's going on... so the moments that were hard and the moments I had to myself, I am thankful. And I hope to carve out more time for those moments.

    Here's the video Joe made from our time in Prague and Vienna.

    Click on these links to see my past posts from my time abroad of Istanbul, Venice, Paris and Rome.

    I am hoping that you are all having a beautiful Thanksgiving!

  • Rome, Italy // November 2011

    I did the math and I was in Rome for probably about two weeks altogether in the four months I was living in Florence... but, it was always in passing. Rome was the cheapest to fly out of so I was constantly on trains back and forth from home base. It wasn't until mid-November that a handful of friends and I did a weekend trip to Rome, rented an apartment and did the tourist-thang. It was a perfect trip. We got in Thursday and saw Fleet Foxes there (no big deal, right?) and one evening invited some friends over and enjoyed a meal together complete with wine (obligatory). These are photos from the Vatican, our cute little apartment, the Colosseum, the Trevi Fountain and St. Peter's Basilica :)

  • Paris, France // November 2011

    While abroad, we made a list of places we wanted to visit. You might be surprised to know that Paris wasn't on this list (or not near the top anyway) But we made it here mid-November and I was surprised that this city made my heart stop. There is a certain air and feeling to the place and I would come back in a heartbeat. We managed to see the Eiffer Tower light up over eight times, which is kinda awesome. We squeezed in some beautiful sights in the 3-4 days we were there. Musee d'Orsay was the sweetest museum I'd ever been to. And of course, the crepes and croissants were winners. Dinner with a view of the Eiffel Tower was such a gift. Thankful for my time there.

  • Venice, Italy // November 2011

    About four months ago, I took a day trip out of homebase (Florence) while abroad with a friend of mine to Venice, the city of water, bridges and lights. One of my favorite movies is The Italian Job (Charlize Theron is such a BA in this movie!) and ever since seeing it, I have wanted to go to Venice. It was cold and rainy, but still, so worth it. A town full of Venetian masks and water cabs, pigeons and little canals of water to the left and right... known for its tiramisu and Bellinis. Don't worry I bought both ;) I'm definitely feeling a bit nostalgic today.

  • Lexi in Florence

    Lexi was the last friend I was able to coerce into letting me photograph this past fall while I was living in Italy. I'm glad she did, because I loved loved capturing these images of her. She's a beaut. Missing you across the country lovely.

  • David

    David tricked me. I came to find out that he's worked as a model a couple days after I photographed him... and there I was thinking to myself, "Wow, this guy's a natural." It all makes sense now. Ha. But I'll be honest, photographing guys has been such a fun challenge for me. David is one of the few guys I've met while abroad and he's been an awesome friend. We were lucky enough to have design class together and this guy's sense of humor and love of life never failed to make me laugh. He's smart, loves the big guy upstairs, knows what he's doing with his life and there's no doubt in my mind he'll go far. Gonna miss you, David :)

  • Chapman

    Chapman. I'm really going to miss Chapman. My first impression of this kid was a happy-go-lucky, full of life and laughter, I love his laugh... you can't not laugh when you're hanging with him. I was not wrong. He's one of those people you have to get to know. Chapman is here in Florence for the next three years studying Fine Art and he is an incredible artist (check out his work here)! I was able to travel with him along with a few other friends to Palermo, Sicily back in October and it was one of my favorite trips during my time here in Europe. This guy loves Jesus, and makes everyone feel so loved. 

    This morning, the two of us woke up at the crack of dawn and hiked up to Piazzale Michelangelo here in Florence to catch the sunrise, record some videos of Chap on his guitar and have a photo adventure. It's amazing the things you can accomplish when you wake up early, but I'm definitely not a morning person. Regardless, the two of us had a blast taking advantage of my last few days here in Italy! So thankful for days like this.

    It's a holiday here in Italy (don't ask me what holiday, I was just happy classes were cancelled today), so the remainder of the day has been spent not doing much. For me, that means catching up on editing my photos. I was too excited about these images. I can't believe that time has passed so quickly here. Also the fact that my Facebook page has reached over 1000 Likes, which is awesome! Thanks so much for all of your support. I can't wait to get back into the swing of things when I return to Seattle in January! Much love :)

  • Mackenzie

    Every now and then, if you're lucky, you'll come across people who will change the way you see things, challenge the way you think, cause you to slow down and see the world in a new light... Mackenzie is one of those people. She has a beautiful, quiet, yet hilarious sense of spirit. From her, I've learned the importance of words, the necessity for words... and my words will never do justice for the friend that she has been to me. Mackenzie is a poet and I love that.

  • Griffin

    As much as I love expanding my horizons and being challenged to photograph the beautiful places I have been traveling to, it always makes my heart happy to photograph people- this is what I love doing and lately, I've been having serious withdrawals. In the past few months that I've been in Italy, I have been honored to befriend Griffin, who is stinkin' gorgeous. She is a joy to be around and I am in complete envy of her hair. We ventured off and got lost in the city a bit ago and ended up in this beautiful neighborhood, where it seemed like all the mansions were at... In my dreams, right? We were lucky enough to catch the sun going down- I had to snap a few photos of her ;)