Un Bon Voyage: France Recap

And we’re back! Thanks for sticking with me the last few weeks everyone – I promise this will be worth the wait!

In case you missed it, I spent the last three weeks on a “cross-cultural” trip with my school – basically, a three-week term in another country with the goal of providing a more hands-on learning experience. Our trip took us to Strasbourg, France, located in the eastern region of Alsace (practically sitting on the German border). Most of our trip was spent in Strasbourg and the surrounding area, with a final three days in Paris.

Right before we left, I wrote a blog post about the things that scared me and excited me about going on the trip. I’m pleased to say it was just as exciting as I hoped, and nothing was nearly as terrifying as I feared! But I’ll save the details for later – I promised a recap of the trip, and a recap you shall have.

But hey, if you’re pressed for time, I understand – you can watch the special edition of my 1 Second Everyday project for the three weeks I was gone!

 

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Going on a Scary/Exciting Adventure

When I was a kid, I was terrified of flying in airplanes. Not because I didn’t like heights, or because I thought we would all crash and die or anything. I knew that was highly unlikely – my dad used to explain to me how planes had a gazillion safety features, and how they could land anywhere, even in the water, if they needed too. So, in the event of a bizarre aircraft malfunction, I knew that I would probably be fine.

No, what I was terrified of more than anything was losing my favorite stuffed animal in the event that our hypothetical flight had to make an emergency water landing. I was incredibly distraught when I learned that luggage usually did not make it out of situations like that. So I, at whatever young age I was, resolved to never, ever fly in an airplane, especially over water.

I am pleased to report that I did eventually overcome this (perhaps irrational) fear. I actually took my first flight when I was in middle school for a class-related trip, and it was without my parents if you can even believe it. I survived. And I’ve taken plenty of flights since then, the Florida, California, Arizona, and Montana. Now, I’ve learned that of all the things to complain about on a flight, safety is usually not one of them. You can complain about the cramped seats and you can complain about the food, but ultimately, safety is not usually one of the main concerns. And I’m glad about that, because of all the things that I have to be terrified about for this upcoming trip, I’m glad that flying is not one of them.

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Lessons Learned from Role-Play Writing Club

Let me tell you a story. When I was in high school, I had this idea to start a creative writing group. I’d been a part of one in middle school, but sadly, my high school was lacking in that area. I had spoken to other students to get their feedback, and then my English teacher gave me the go-ahead.

She also mentioned that my “Writer’s Nook” would be teaming up with another group. Each group would be led by different people and have different goals, but since we would attract a similar group of people, it made sense for us to share a digital space.

This other club called themselves the “Role-Play Writing” group (RPW), and I didn’t know much about them. They struck me as a rather… eclectic collection of students (not that I’m one to talk, but I digress). I wasn’t really sure what to make of them at first.

As it turns out, what they did wasn’t really “roleplaying” in the sense I was used to, but more of a collaborative writing project. Each writer had one or two characters (some had many, many more, but perhaps we’ll save that for another day), and using those characters, they would build a story. Once that was explained to me, I was interested. I decided to join the group, but I warned them I wasn’t sure how active I would be, since I had my own leadership responsibilities.

My warning was ultimately meaningless, because it didn’t take long for me get into RPW (some might say in too deep, but that’s a bit harsh I think). I fell in love with the challenge of writing a complete story together, especially on a time limit – the length of the school year. The people I was working with were funny, interesting, and all brought something unique to the table. We became more than just writing partners; we became friends. Even now, three or four years after we all graduated, I still keep in touch with a few of them.

All of this to say, RPW was a unique writing experience for me that I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to replicate. I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately, so today, I invite you to do on a little nostalgia trip with me as I share a few of the things that RPW taught me about writing.

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21 songs for 21 years

21 Songs for 21 Years

I had another birthday yesterday (May 5), right on schedule. I spent most of the day writing papers and working on projects for school, but I got to do it while eating cake, so it was still an improved experience!

Anyways, for my past birthdays I’ve done posts with fun facts about myself, the things I want to do as I grow older, and the lessons I’ve learned throughout my life. They all sound very profound (though some are actually rather silly), so I wanted to shake it up a bit and do something that’s a little less words-focused. This is mostly because I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately about how information and stories can be conveyed through other media like images and audio, but also because I have two days before exams begin and there is so much to be done.

So this year, as I turn 21 and become an actual adult (so I’m told), I’m sharing 21 songs that have been important to me over the years. I might write a sentence or two for each one, but for the most part, I hope they’ll speak for themselves.

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April 2019: Month In Review

April 2019 Month In Review

Happy May! This is arguably the best month of the year (not that I’m biased or anything… it is my birthday month after all), but April was also a great month! I’m excited to share just a little bit about what I did this month, but first, in case you missed anything I wrote about…

You can also check out my 1 Second Every Day compilation for April!

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Favorite Lines from Camp NaNoWriMo April 2019

Favorite Lines from Camp NaNoWriMo April 2019

It’s every college student’s favorite time of the semester, and by favorite I mean that we have a week and a half of classes left before exams and it seems like everything is due all at once.

Anyway, in between working on research papers and rewriting the end of Jane Eyre, I’ve spent the past month starting the rewrite of my fantasy project. The working title for this project is Quest, though I have been playing with some more official ones… but I’ll save them for another day.

animated image of teenager aggressively writing in a notebook
Some days the writing feels like this…

I set my goal to write 25,000 words by the end of April, or about 850 words a day, give or take. I knew that wouldn’t complete my story by any stretch, but I wanted to hit the ground running and get off to a good start before life got too busy. Fortunately, I did reach my goal on April 26, which has given me some breathing room to complete my other responsibilities.

animated image of octopus in an office chair slapping a keyboard with a tentacle
…and other days it feels like this.

Anyway, as part of my big writing push this month, I’ve been sharing my favorite lines on Twitter every day. I did it as a way of motivating me, because sometimes when you write a lot in a short period of time, you get frustrated with the quality of your work. And yes, I know that a lot of what I write will be cut and revised and altered in the future, but I wanted to appreciate the parts that I do like, as a reminder that there is still some good that comes out of this first draft (other than it being written, of course).

So as April is coming to a close, I thought I’d celebrate what I accomplished this month and share a few of those favorite lines here. Most of them don’t have context, but hey, that’s part of the fun!

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A Time of Rest

A Time of Rest

I was home visiting my family this past weekend for the Easter holiday. My school is gracious enough to give its students a few extra days off, so I got to have a long weekend back home.

I didn’t do much during that time. Well, if “doing things” means being productive. I worked on my Camp NaNoWriMo project, did some homework here and there, but I mostly did things that I enjoyed, like reading and gaming and spending time with my family.

It was a quiet, relaxing weekend. I didn’t pressure myself to do much.

Sometimes, it seems like a lot of people make a big deal about their “social media fast” or taking a “Sabbath” or what have you, and I, being cynical by nature, see those sorts of mentions as attention grabbing. But in hindsight, after a weekend where I didn’t do much and didn’t talk to many people, I gotta say that there’s some truth to it. Sometimes it’s nice to spend a morning just reading a book instead of texting people or scrolling through feeds.

It’s not something for everyone, but maybe it’s worth a try. Enjoy quiet moments and quiet days. You often don’t realize how much you need them until they’re passed.


How do you like to spend quiet moments? What do you do to rest your mind and body? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

Until next time!

Real-Life Reading

Real-Life Reading

I talk a lot about books around here. Most of it’s fiction, because if we’re being honest, stories are sometimes way more interesting than reality. At least, it often seems this way. When I was younger, I thought nonfiction meant the kind of books you use for research projects – big chunky things like textbooks. I never really thought of nonfiction as something people enjoyed reading for fun.

Fortunately, I got over that misconception as I got older, and even though nonfiction still isn’t my genre of choice, I read a lot more of it. I even have a couple of favorite nonfiction books, which I’m sharing today!

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Seven siblings from stories

Seven Siblings from Stories

Siblings. Love them or hate them, you’re pretty much stuck with them. They’re always there for you in when you’re knocked down… sometimes to give you a hand, sometimes because they pushed you. Such is life.

In case you don’t know, I have a younger brother (just one – the header image is of me with my brother and my cousin). So as someone who’s experienced having a sibling, I feel like I can be a pretty good judge of when someone writes sibling relationships well… and most of the time, they don’t. They usually fall into one of two extremes: always getting along 24/7, or hating each other’s guts. Going off of my own experience and what I’ve learned from others, sibling relationships usually fall more in the middle.

But anyway, just because most people can’t write siblings to save their life doesn’t mean there aren’t good, well-written sibling relationships in stories. I’ve compiled a list of seven of them, just to prove it. So here we go.

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March 2019 Month in Review

March 2019 Month In Review

Happy April, everyone! I hope you’re enjoying the transition between seasons like I am – we finally started getting some warm weather here in the past few weeks, which is a relief after such a long winter.

I’ll tell you a little more about my month in a moment, but first, here’s what I blogged about this month in case you missed anything!

I’m still keeping up with my 1 Second Everyday project as well – here’s March’s compilation!

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