“Traveling, traveling, traveling. Looking for something, what can it be?”

– Joni Mitchell, ‘All I Want’

This may be the most cliché statement I’ve ever typed, but here it goes: sometimes, it seems, you learn the most valuable lessons in the least likely places at the most inopportune times. Sometimes they’re lessons you didn’t even know you needed to learn.

I’m typing to you from Melbourne, Australia, which is roughly 10,285 miles away from Hawk Hill. Two weeks ago, I left the United States with four Beatles pins, three stuffed bags, two pairs of glasses, and a broken laptop in my backpack.

You read that right: my laptop decided to stop working a mere two hours prior to my flight from New York to Los Angeles.

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“I’m leaving on a jet plane. I don’t know when I’ll be back again.”

– Peter, Paul and Mary, ‘Leaving on a Jet Plane’

Well, actually, I do know when I’ll be back again: four and a half months from now. November 19.

In a little less than eight days, I’ll be heading over 9,000 miles across the world with no one I know (know one I know yet, anyway). In just over a week I’ll be in Sydney, Australia, and in two I’ll travel to Melbourne. And once there, I’ll be officially a University of Melbourne student for the next four months.

I’m typing all of this,

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Senior year: Friends

Am I the only one feeling like I’ve met so many cool people senior year? Between new people I’ve met in class, old classmates I’ve built stronger relationships with, and the regulars at Tuesday night Quizzo at Landmark, I have handfuls of new, cool pals. I always stop and think, “where were you for the last three years of my life?”

I have this idea, and I want to know where you guys weigh in on this. There’s a whole senior year experience, like there was a freshmen year experience, that brings us all closer together.

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“Fall in love, stay in love, and it will decide everything.”

It has been over two months—TWO MONTHS—since my immersion trip to Ecuador. As time goes by, I find it harder and harder to process the experience that I had. I flew from Philadelphia to Miami and then from Miami to Guayaquil, Ecuador’s economic capital, with twelve other eager, but anxious participants.

I had never been outside of the country before so I was nervous that I would be so shocked by the culture that I would not be able to fully take in the beauty of the country, while still noticing the extreme levels of poverty. However, I can say that while these fears were definitely rational,

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New Year Resolutions: Yay or Nay?

Most people seem to either be avidly in favor of making New Year resolutions or avidly against making New Year resolutions. While everybody’s got their reasons, one way or another, I am 100% a New Year resolutions person.

At the start of 2015, after returning from a semester abroad, I lived off campus for the first time and truly started to feel like an upperclassmen. With that feeling came my resolution to find an internship closely related to my field: education. It started to hit me that I had only three semesters left and the handful of jobs I’d held had not actually given me any real experience in what I hoped to do for the rest of my life.

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Thankful for a Different Bird

This Thanksgiving, as food is splayed out on tables across America, we will say our prayers and count our blessings for all that has happened in the past year, and for the family and friends that surround us. We’ll dive into piles of food, laugh (or bicker) with family, and merriment will be had by all around. Mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy, cranberry sauce, and ultimately– the inevitable turkey, the “bird.”

 

And though I do indeed harbor a fondness for turkey on Thanksgiving, this year, I’m especially grateful for a different bird.

 

As a senior who will be leaving this campus in a mere six months,

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Café con Leche

We are officially one month in. With school now in full swing, I’ve been spending most of my free time exploring new cafés to mix up regular homework time. My roomates and I have been trying to find a new one almost everyday…definitely spending more time wandering for hidden gems than actually studying. It didn’t take long to get accustomed to the traditional Spanish coffee order- a café con leche and usually churros con chocolate to go with it. Only two windy streets from our house we found an amazing market called Mercado San Miguel, which reminds me so much of Redding Terminal back home.

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“Got no time to for spreading roots, the time has come to be gone.”

– Led Zeppelin, ‘Ramble On’

Let me ask you: have you ever had a dream – a huge, seemingly unattainable dream – that you chased after, strived toward, and ultimately lived out to the fullest of your capabilities?

Up until this point, if I’m being honest with myself, I never truly have. In all actuality, a great deal of my life has been spent grasping circumstances that were already somehow within my reach.

Let me preface this with the fact that I consider myself immensely, inexplicably blessed to have such selfless parents,

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Making Madrid Mine

Today marks my first week living in Madrid and I’m already feeling like a Madrileño. I live with a host mother we call Mar, her husband, two sons, and baby daughter named Inoah. No one in the family speaks English, so while at home it is complete Spanish immersion. Our apartment is located in the heart of Madrid, right next to Puerta del Sol. Fun fact, Madrid geographically is the center of Spain, and Puerta del Sol is the center of Madrid… so we are quite literally centrally located. My room has a beautiful balcony that looks out over El Palacio Real,

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“The world’s my home when I’m mobile.”

– The Who, ‘Going Mobile’

I’m writing this to you from a café in Kraków, Poland. It’s nighttime here; back in the States it’s mid-afternoon.

Everything feels just a little bit backwards. My parents are often just falling asleep at midnight when I’m waking up at six in the morning. Trams run on tracks above ground, unlike SEPTA, which rides the rails below Philadelphia. Obiad, the largest meal, is eaten at midday, contrary to more filling American dinners eaten later in the evening. Ice cream, or lody, seems to comprise more than half of Krakowians’ food pyramid,

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