Just checking in

Sorry fellow blog readers but I figured I would give you a little break from reading while we got the work week started! Plus I am rather pleased to say that not much has gone on the past few days so I have thoroughly been enjoying that! I did however get to meet with Sheradin on Monday night and today for lunch as well. It was the first time we have actually met but spent over 2 hours Monday just chatting away. She told me a lot of stories from her trip abroad and even gave me a ton of helpful tidbits. From what to expect in classes to even directions on the Metro, which I might add right now the Metro seems a bit MUCH! I am a Kansas girl, born and raised. Around here we all have cars and started driving at the age of 13-14 and before that our parents took us everywhere. I must say the only time this girl has rode a train or “metro” was in New York City this past Summer and mom and I even managed to get lost doing that hehe! So maps, Google and more maps will surely help a girl out when I get there.

Thank goodness for Sheradin, I posted a picture the other day with questions I had and she helped guide/direct me through each one! That helped put my mind at ease with all of the constant wondering. This process is ultimately helping me just let go of the desire for control and instead let things happen. That is hard when you are trying to make sure you have a place to stay when you get overseas, making sure you have everything that is needed documents wise, your classes are picked out, knowing then where to go and when classes even start…sheesh! It has all been kind of mysterious and thrilling though and like I said this helps me step back, relax and accept that France just does not work the same way we do which is all apart of the experience. See mom, already learning so much and I am not even there ๐Ÿ˜‰

Tomorrow I am off to Viva Las Vegas to the CES show. CES stands for Consumer Electronic Show and it is the biggest Electronic show Internationally so HOLLA! No my dad actually gets free tickets since he is a dealer for Car Audio and Vegas is by far one of my favorite U.S. cities so why not a last little HOORAH!? I leave tomorrow AM and will be in Sin City by Noon and then meet up with my dad at the JL Audio booth which they just so happened to rent out the 2 story villa a top of The Palms which I might add has it’s own pool and patio! Will definitely be posting pictures of the Vegas trip when I return on Sunday.

With my mind at ease I am just counting the days, 18 now to be exact! On Monday we are having a work going away party for me. I am super excited because we are all getting dressed up and everyone will be there ๐Ÿ™‚ I love my job and will definitely be sad to leave. Over the past year we have all become family but it is nice knowing family is always in heart no matter how far away! So here’s to all of the crazy times we have had and the times to come.

Short and sweet but I am off to hot yoga, talk to you soon!
Kels

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More Excitement

This posting everyday thing will probably become a norm seeing as how there are so many things that change or happen in a day the closer departure gets. Spent my Sunday being lazy with mom and actually went to see the movie “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” earlier this afternoon and I must say it definitely added to my endless desire to travel! I am a frequent movie goer and by frequent I mean the most movies I have seen in a week is a whopping 5, kind of ridiculous I know but hey I love movies and if you have never gone by yourself you should try it one day, all about the “me” time ๐Ÿ™‚ Came home and started reading this excellent book by Rick Steves. This man has a LOT of good info on traveling in not only Paris, but all over Europe! A big thank you to Dennis, who works with my mom, for the travel necessities. I spent some time reading up on the Paris book about sightseeing, getting around, to dos, culture and many more!

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When I was searching Rick Steves’ website I came across another, Weekend Student Adventures which his son is actually in charge of. This website has 9 different cities in Europe designated for students studying abroad to travel to the hottest cities in just a weekend! Each trip includes your own tour guide, room and board in a hostel, top museum entrances, skip-the-line sightseeing entries, transportation in the city of choice, local guides and tours of bars, museums, restaurants and soo much more! I happened to stumble upon St. Paddy’s Dublin and what more than spending this St. Paddy’s Day in the home land of IRELAND!? I think so! This is what the trip will entail Itinerary wise:

St. Paddy’s Dublin Celebration Weekend – March 15thโ€”18th
Friday, March 14th (optional early arrival)
Opt into this night when booking and get in any time on Friday. Our team will take those who arrive early out on the town, and likely hitting up including the pub where PS I Love You was filmed!

Day 1 – Saturday, March 15th
The party weekend starts Saturday! WSA will kick off the celebration with a walking tour of the city. Tonight we’ll enjoy a 3-course dinner and drink specials at our favorite Irish restaurant in town. We’ll catch the famous ‘craic’ and live traditional music in the Temple Bar district.

Day 2 – Sunday, March 16th
On Sunday, we’re heading out to the Irish coast for a picnic lunch. We’ll zip back to the center and skip the line into the Guinness Storehouse and Brewery. Afterwards, hang in our hostel’s private speakeasy ‘shibeen’ before kicking off WSA’s exclusive St. Patty’s Eve Party where we have a room reserved for shennanigans all night!

Day 3 – Monday, March 17th
Don’t forget to save your energy for Monday when the city officially celebrates the holiday. For those interested, we’ll head to St. Patrick’s Feast Day High Mass in Irish with the President of the Republic. Stake out great spots for the world famous St. Paddy’s Day parade!

Day 4 – Tuesday, March 18th
The official tour and celebration wraps up on Tuesday morning. We’ll cap things off with a walk to a morning market and for shopping on Grafton Street.

I AM OFF TO VISIT MY ANCESTORS IN IRELAND FOR ST. PADDY’S DAY PEOPLE!

*Officially 3 weeks today and counting! It was decided some time ago that my mom would take me to Paris when I leave and help get me settled, which I might add makes it that much easier to be one less “see you later” when leaving Wichita. So we booked our hotel today for the first week we are there and it is NICE. Hotel Les Jardins d’Eiffel located in the 7th Arrondissement in Paris which is also the Eiffel Tower District and a beautiful one at that! This is also a big Arrondissement known for tourism while featuring the Eiffel Tower, lots of shopping, quite a few universities and beaucoup de (a lot of) French cuisine, mmmmm. Fun fact of the day, if you do not already know, Paris is divided into 20 Arrondissements, districts, and each one has its own significance to the city. My school (ESCE) is located in the 15th Arrondissement right next to the 7th and actually only a couple blocks away from the Eiffel Tower.

While I am staying in Paris I will be living in a dorm at Citรฉ Internationale Universitaire de Paris (Citรฉ U) located in the 14th Arrondissement. With 40 different dormitories all resembling their host countries, around 12,000 students, artists and teachers take up residency from over 140 nationalities each year! I have been accepted to Maison du Cambodge (Cambodian House) so excited! However, my dormitory is about 13m2 (140ish ft2) equipped with my own private bathroom (which is seldom in Europe, especially for dorms), a bed, desk and chair, lamp, minibar and it is even cleaned once a week! A shared kitchen on each floor is available to everyone as well. Very excited to see and share pictures with you along the way.

Until next time (probably tomorrow)
Kels

Preparations

What a lovely Saturday afternoon in Wichita to be cozying up to the fire in my Shockers sweatshirt and my baggy sweat pants with a cat on my lap as I type out my 2nd blog! Already almost to 100 views in just 2 short days. Thank you thank you thank you for all of the love and well wishes! Took me a few minutes to start writing this, as I was enjoying Snickers (my cat) cuddling up on me (and partly sitting on my computer), I was taking in every second of the now and realizing how much I was going to miss being here. The comfort of being at my mom’s new house on a dreary day with no worry in the world ๐Ÿ™‚ I moved in with my mom the end of November, my lease was up and this gave me some extra time to save some money and enjoy spending time with her. We have so much fun together I am blessed to have a mom, best friend and soul mate all in one! She is definitely the spaghetti to my meatballs and as some of you know I make some pretty good spaghetti haha!

As I sat here thinking of the things I was going to miss, tears started rolling down my face. I am not usually a crier but I know through the next 3 weeks as I say my “see you laters” that may become more of a daily thing. Not only is this experience exciting but there has been quite a bit of emotional processing that I have been through and will continue to go through as I make this big change. Moving out of my “comfort zone” to a whole new country, 4700 miles away from what I call home can be sad. This emotional process is a huge step for me though. Letting go of things and letting life happen is one thing this experience has taught me. Along with the excitement of experiencing the new, being in a new place and having no idea where life will take me this semester is kind of thrilling!

Today I have spent some time making a to do and to ask list. I plan to meet up with Sheradin on Monday and get a lot of info and guidance from her (told you it was a lot Sheradin lol) This list is everything to figure out before I leave just so I can make sure I am on the right track and that I have everything I need or a plan to get it. Most of this is my to do list so yes this process is NEVER ending. Thanks to Pinterest I think I can now pack like a pro for a 5 month voyage. However, I have NO idea how to open a French bank or get a French social security card and half of the paperwork I receive I cannot understand (all in FLUENT French, remember I am a beginner). Although, thank goodness for lists and writing things down! Definitely nice for the constant spin of questions in my head to now be on paper. I am sure there will be more ๐Ÿ™‚

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So while many of you have asked about being excited here lies the truth. In my blogs I vow to tell you the truth and they will always come from the depths of my heart and soul. Like I previously stated this blog is going to be my journal, my diary and my memories. What better way than to share them with the people I love the most! Best of wishes to you all.

Kels

Ready, Set, BLOG!

Welcome fellow friends, family and even strangers! Where to even begin? This is my first time blogging but I am really looking forward to using this as my journal and keeping friends and family up to date on my future adventures as well as hoping to inspire others traveling in Europe and some of what studying abroad for a semester may entail. I sure have learned a lot along the way but the few things that have helped me the most are the people I talk to and the research I have done. I want to give a special shout out to Robbin Gheesling, Sheradin Fabrizius and Ann Burger for putting up with my never ending questions ๐Ÿ™‚ and helping spread the knowledge! I only hope to do the same.

The countdown has begun, actually it began a year ago, but we are now down to a mere 24 days until departure! YIKES. Still seems so unreal I have chosen to do something like moving to Paris for 5 months to study. Dream come true? I think yes! Minus the whole “studying” part. Ha just kidding Ann Burger ๐Ÿ™‚ The recent question of the month seems to be “Are you excited?” Well let me just put this into perspective, how would you feel? Honestly I feel a whole lot of everything, from excitement to nervous but surprisingly not scared. As most of you know I am a pretty independent soul and this kind of change is right up my alley. I must say this is pretty much the biggest change I have yet to encounter though. Maybe my desire for the adventure is the Sagittarius in me!

This process started about a year ago when I first stumbled upon the opportunity to study abroad at my hometown college, Wichita State University. Immediately I looked into attending a Study Abroad session with Ann Burger and found myself there a couple weeks later. From day 1 Paris jumped out at me. Before, I had never really had a set dream to visit Paris but I mean what girl would not want to visit the City of Love? This was the point of no turning back. Once I set my mind to something I make it happen. Again the Sagittarius in me hehe. For the next few months I researched and researched studying abroad, Paris, the process to do so and so on. Ann Burger is my study abroad advisor, and a great mentor at that, and she has helped guide me the past few months through the longggg, confusing process. As well as Sheradin who actually spent this last Fall semester (2013) over in Paris from Wichita State. Ann gave me Sheradin’s contact and blog information and that is where our friendship began! I was an avid reader of her blog just dreaming of the time I would have my chance to be there. The more I researched Paris, the more I fell in love.

For anyone who has studied abroad you know it is not all a walk in the park. From getting your passport (if you do not already have one) to visiting the Consulate to apply for the Visa plus the never ending paperwork, I have spent the last few months making sure all of that was up to par. Needless to say there are not step by step directions for any of this unless you are fluent in French :/ Most of you are probably wondering if you are not fluent in French how or why are you even doing this? Well through the direct business exchange all of my classes will be offered at ESCE in Paris in English. Since I decided to take this leap a year ago though I have taken 2 French courses at WSU in the last year. By NO means am I anywhere near fluent but since French is not required for this exchange program I decided long ago that learning as much French culture as possible is exactly what will make this adventure that much more intriguing. French is such a beautiful language but not the easiest to learn I must say!

With only 3 weeks and 3 days until I depart, I have been focusing on all the last minute to dos such as: travel abroad doctor visit, making sure I have enough vitamins and/or prescriptions and hair/body/makeup products to last, getting all the documents needed together (and enough copies to take with as well as leave some with my parents), making sure everything 4700 miles away is finalized, gathering last minute information on packing, saving that $$, and the bon voyage parties with family and friends!

So the answer to the question above “Are you excited?” is a H*@# yes!

ร€ bientรดt (Talk to/See you soon)
Kels