I’m Bad at Blogging

It’s a Sunday night in London, I’m sitting at my friends dinner table and preparing myself a cup of tea.

Tomorrow is my last full day of my Europe trip and I feel so strange.

So why am I bad at blogging?

Because I’ve gotten lazy with it, because I think I am having a hard time distinguishing between what is a trip and what is just my life.
That is to say, I really like it here. I feel very much at home in London, my experience has been very eye opening.
Which is why I’ve been so hesitant to blog- because all I’ve been doing is walking around like any old day in Santa Barbara, doing the same exact things!
(I know that’s not a valid reason, but it’s certainly harder to write when you feel you have less interesting things to say)
Also, to be completely honest- it is challenging to muster up the social energy to write a whole blog post. I naturally write everyday in a personal journal, so I am used to writing.. And it’s not a bad thing, but it is certainly interesting how simply writing can feel so different when it’s for more than your own. (Introverts unite!!)

But alas, here I am again. Back at it again. (Damn, Daniel) I’m writing because I think it’s important to finish what you start, and because I do like to be social and share these adventures. 🙂

So what’s been up?!?
So much. My gosh. London is such a fun place with loads of things to do. The free museums are really incredible, I have spent hours meandering around staring at beautiful art, fashion, historical, and scientific exhibits for the price of 0. So special.

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While Paris felt very knowingly regal and rich, London feels more airy and modern. There is that deep history that is throughout the city, but it is a different feel. Paris is chocolate and London is coffee.

I had a wonderful moment about four days ago, after busking. It was a very cold day out and I was busking outside of St. Paul’s cathedral (felt like the feed the birds moment in Mary Poppins) and decided to take a break for a coffee. There was a place around the corner that I had heard of called Taylor St. Baristas, so I closed up shop (very slowly with frozen fingers) and scurried over to the little spot.
This particular branch has no inside seating, but I’m always willing to sacrifice for a good cup of coffee.
So I walked in and opened my ukelele case to pull out a few pounds I had just earned, when the lady cashier offered me a coffee and cake for free!!! She was so sly about it and not willing to budge. She also gave me a costumer card with stamped marks so that I could get another free coffee at one of their other branches. To say it made my day is an understatement, because here I am 4 days later talking about it. I got a lovely piece of carrot cake and a cappuccino, and thoroughly enjoyed every bit of it. What a nice woman.

imageThere are some amazing markets here, good street art, and lots of good spots for coffee and food in general.

imageI’ve had some really good ramen which is fun, and really yummy matcha ice cream in Chinatown. 🙀

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On another note, I do have to say I am surprised by how few strange and random things have happened to me whilst busking over here in Europe. In Santa Barbara and LA, people do/say the weirdest things. (I’ve received avacados for pay, I’ve been given tobacco for pay, I’ve been invited to multiple yoga sessions, I’ve been proposed to, it’s a whirlwind). It is true that Europeans are much more reserved in their public lives.
Anyway.

I am enjoying staying here with my friend Quinn very much. He goes to the Royal Academy of Music, and has been able to give me a good idea of what life as a musician is like in London. Also he’s great and has a wonderful family and girlfriend that have all been very welcoming and hospitable.
The music scene here seems much more active (in terms of frequency of gigs) than LA which is not surprising, since LA is so spread out.

Funny how we met actually, completely randomly at USC. There’s this great rooftop that overlooks all of LA and a couple of my friends and I were sitting up there one night listening to some music, when a guy and a girl came up to us and said they liked the music! So they sat down and we all started talking and it turns out, the girl, Elizabeth is in my program and we just hadn’t met yet! Quinn said he studied in London so we just talked about all that fun stuff and generally all enjoyed each other’s company! So now I’m here in his flat in London sleeping on an air mattress, enjoying the UK! AND on top of that, Elizabeth is here at the same time doing an internship!!

We all met up and went on many adventures that included a free four course meal for the ladies at one of Quinn’s gigs. Life is funny.


I have one last day and then it’s back to California! I’ll be throwing together one last blog post on Tuesday so look for something amazing I guess. (Incredibles reference I hope for your sake you understand)

✌🏽️💕

The art of panicking & a summary

How to panic:

.
..

Don’t.

Some serious curveballs have been thrown at me in these past few days, and keeping a calm relaxed attitude is the only thing standing between me and a public sobbing session.

So Luxembourg was awesome. Staying with a family and relaxing was a good break from the city.
One thing that I totally didn’t take into consideration while planning my trip was that I had been living in the very center of a city for 9 months, and would probably be tired of it. And I did get tired of it… So it was nice to relax and spend some time with a cool new friend and her family just hangin around. 🙃

So I had a train scheduled to leave at 5:09pm and to arrive in Paris at 7:30pm. When I got to the station in Luxembourg everything seemed fine until I saw a bunch of confused people speaking in French crowding around a train worker… So I politely squeezed me way and said “I’m sorry I don’t speak French, what’s going on?”
Apparently because of the Luxembourg rain (just send it to California geez) the tracks between Lux and the first stop were flooded and unusable.
Boo.
So hundreds of us were sent to stand in the rain and wait for enough buses to arrive. Actually getting on to one of the buses was the fight of the century..
(Thankful for being small in this case)
So around 7:15 I finally got on a bus, already almost the time I was scheduled to leave.
We arrived at the stop at around 9:00 just in time to catch the train.
Or a train.
I don’t even know if I got on the right train!!! But it ended up in the right place so I don’t really care.
So I got back to the station in Paris at around 10:30 and headed right away to my metro to get back to my cousins house.

Meanwhile!!! I’ve been trying to contact my cousin but had no wifi and no service. So she had no idea what was going on. Turns out she had gone to the train station and they told her that there were no problems that they knew about and that to their knowledge my train had arrived on time at 7:30. So she was very rightfully worried….(communication?!?!?!) Incroyable.

She was about to call the police when I finally texted her.
Damn.

So this is a pretty stressful situation, and if I had thought about how stressful it was I definitely would’ve broke down. Haha.

But I made it back and that’s the important part.

On a more positive note!!! Here are my top 5 Paris things to do: (in no particular order)

1. Walk around Rue de Babylone and end up at the Eiffel Tower. It’s a big walk but totally worth it and pretty.

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2. Walk around the in the Gardens of the Royal palace and enjoy the sunshine! Walk to the Louvre and take in some beautiful art. (Only 15 euro to get in)

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3. Walk around Montmarte and go to Cuillier for some amazing coffee. Walk to the Sacre Coeur then hit up Marcel for dinner and a drink. Yum.


4. Walk around the St Martin Canals and go to Comptoir Generale for a very hip and fun drink out.

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5. Buy cheese and ham and bread and eat it in any park anywhere and you will have immediate joy. Read a book… Watch Paris. 🙃🙂

 

I think those were my favorite things. Enjoy Paris if you go. Also only 5 things leaves out SO much that I did and enjoyed… But that’s what first popped into my mind.
Back to my London adventures!!

Madeleine times two

This trip has been weird. I guess I didn’t really think about it until yesterday, but so much has happened it feels like I’ve been here for a very very long time.
This is so odd? Because every other time I’ve traveled to a place I’ve been wanting to go to, the time really flies by. I think it’s probably because I’m alone.
But so much has happened! I’ve met so many people and had some weird experiences…
I don’t regret coming to Europe alone, but it has certainly been challenging… I feel a little bit more lonely than I was expecting.

That being said I think I only realized this because I had a really great day in Paris this Thursday, an actually relaxing day that gave me a moment to stop and reflect. I found the Cuillier (my favorite coffee shop) in Montmarte.

imageI sat there for a while reading my F Scott Fitzgerald novel (would recommend: his first novel, called “This Side of Paradise. Just finished it.) which really got me thinking about my situation in life. The story follows a young and clever bachelor through his youth as he discovers who he is. Pretty run of the mill coming of age story, but with plenty of charming commentary on human nature and society at that time. (A scarred post WWI world)
I took a pause and I put my book down.

First I looked out the window and got internally upset/amused at a middle aged American couple eating at an Italian restaurant across the street… You’re in France. Why.
Second I started thinking about why we all worry so much about what others think. Not just in the like, “who cares, go out in your pj’s!” way, but also why we let other people’s opinion of us put our whole personality on the line… Insecurity gets blamed for most of everything but insecurity can’t be solved unless you choose to accept yourself and your relationship to the world around you.

I accept the fact that I am 5’3 (and a half) and will never be able to have a modeling career. But GUESS WHAT I wasn’t supposed to!!!

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(Kinda how I feel about it… Also if you’re tall and a model. Boom. Good thing.)

Anyway. Lots of thinking, including the increasing and ever present regret I have for my last blog post.
It felt so complainy and negative. Lame.

And I had a great day busking on Montmarte, proving my negative self wrong. (Always seems to happen)
Everybody was cheery and welcoming.
Good day.

Best part is this weekend though. Here’s why:
While at my family friend and her husbands house in Paris, her husbands cousin, also named Madeleine (also NOT Madeline) came over for dinner. She is a Parisian born, American, Luxembourg educated young artist going to an art school in New York. Needless to say we totally hit it off and had a great night of food and wine with our hosts.
(Not to mention the very original jokes of asking if “Madeleine” wanted anymore food, and both of us offering our plates- thankfully there was enough to to share)

Anywho, I was messaging Madeleine about Paris and I expressed that I was a bit tired of the city and she was like “oh haha you could just come to Luxembourg lol” and I was like “haha totally wouldn’t that be awesome”
…..
But then I was actually so down. So we talked more and BOOM. I’m in Luxembourg!! Staying with her lovely family and getting the full Luxembourg experience. From Madeleine.
So great.

So I made a new friend.
Or two:

imageBut really. I feel super thankful for a new friend and such a fun time to see American life in Europe! So many of my American friends have dreams of living in Europe but are too scared, so this was nice to see what it would actually be like. And it’s been great so far.


A good cure to a crumb of loneliness is a fun night out with your twin in Luxembourg. I’d recommend. 😉😊👯
Good fun.

musik problemmes

Alright. Busking in Paris officially sucks.
I’m not just saying this because I had a few little old ladies raise their eyebrows at me, but I’ve seriously received some looks (and words) of disgust that I’ve never experienced in my whole life!!!

Now before you jump up and defend little old me, I’d like to say that I don’t think it’s because of me.
I really think that street music is not at all a part of Parisian culture, and probably represents something different here than where I’ve been before.
(Here again looking at the bright side. I went through other phases to reach this one: annoyance, anger, laughter, more anger… But I made it back to the light eventually)

I’ve tried playing in several different places around town and only one seems to have really been good, and that was the first day. Other than that it’s been all strike outs. And I really have been trying. I sit in a place and enthusiastically play a whole set (about 30 minutes at least).
So, that’s a bummer. But hey, I’m not that surprised either.

I am staying with my cousin now in the Northern part of Paris. We had a lovely dinner last night and talked about pretty much everything there is to talk about! Food, romance, wine, school, France, America, family… It was great to catch up. 😌 She lives in a lively and hip part of town in the 18th district.
(Had some yummy Malbec and ham at a fun restaurant called Marcel. Would recommend)

imageToday I planned on going to the Saint Chapelle church, but then coincidently arrived in the hour that it was closed.
So naturally I went on the search for my coffee spot, called “telescope” and found it after a little confusion.. It was a little spot a bit hidden away and I ordered my classic cappucino, but yikes the vibes I got were just so so bad. I’m sure it was an off day or something, but I couldn’t handle it. I finished my (too bitter for my taste, not smooth enough) cap and went on my way.

I’ve been in Paris for about a week now and I am now starting to get a little bothered by the general sense of discontent… But hey maybe I should’ve learned a little more French. (Definitely)
So I was pretty upset leaving the coffee shop. I walked all the way there and just wanted a good cap and a good vibe but was not satisfied.
Since I was right there I wandered back into the garden of the Royal Palace and ordered a cortado (for all those at a loss I believe it’s a 2 parts espresso and 3 parts milk ratio. Roughly the same size as a cappucino just less foam. I could be wrong but I think that’s correct) at a place I remembered was in the gardens. It was decent, but the vibes were better so that improved my mood. I sat in the garden and read and enjoyed the sun.

imageThen I wandered back to the Louvre to see how busy it was (because my cousin reprimanded me for not going inside😉) and I was holding my ukelele.
So there’s this line that’s super long to go in and then there’s an express lane. The guy working the express lane was trying to talk to a Spanish couple and totally failing… For some reason (maybe I look Spanish now?!) he asked if I spoke Spanish to help him, and I said a little bit. So I figured out that the couple just wanted to know how expensive it was and they went on through. (Yay high school Spanish!) Then the fellow asked me if I was a musician and of course I said yes! I am a singer! And he got super stoked about that and let me through the express lane!!!!?!?!?!!! That was a really nice vote of confidence.
And a good reminder that just because people won’t spare me their change (or their respect) the people of Paris still love music. 👍🏽🆒

I am glad my cousin told me to go in the museum because wow it was insane. Huge.
I really liked Napoleon III’s apartment and the Greek sculptures.

Honestly Napoleon III probably had such bomb parties. I mean?!

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The museum was so huge and after about an hour and a half I was so tired. I was happy to find a room all to myself and took the opportunity to do a few spins. 🙃☺️imageAnyway I’ve got an exciting night out at a jazz club ahead of me and a very exciting weekend to come!

Thoughts on Paree ⚜

What do I think about Paris.

Hm.
I think it’s really beautiful. I like the winding streets and the fact that you can buy bread on every corner. (Also if you ever need a pharmacy then there’s those everywhere too)

There’s this whole thing about Parisians that you expect. You expect people to turn their noses up at you and never to smile or say hello. And let me tell you that is very very true. BUT. I will also tell you that I have found that if I intentionally smile at someone they smile back. Wow what a concept! Parisians are used to fostering this vaguely annoyed and disapproving look but I think it’s sort of a cyclical stereotype… When I have been playing music or just smile at someone I get probably 70% positive feedback.
The other 30% is usually elderly Parisian women who raise their eyebrows in extreme disapproval at my English, but you know that’s fine with me. Honestly it’s pretty funny.
That being said I have a great cold glare that I have utilized to fit in. So if you want to fit in, you’ve got to come prepared with some icy looks.
I kinda like it.

I remember a few years ago my dad told me something that’s stuck with me: he said Americans are like peaches- they’re soft on the outside but hard on the inside. He said Europeans are like nuts. (Love it) They are hard on the outside but soft on the inside.
I like this. I’ve often thought about which way I would rather be, and honestly I think I’m both depending on my mood. I’m an outgoing gal but (you may not believe this) actually pretty introverted.
I’ve become more and more introverted and introspective as time goes on.

Anyway. Less about me and more about Europe.
Today I went to the Louvre, Palais Royale, Notre Dame, and tracked down another good (and very hip) coffee shop.

imageI did not pay to go into the Louvre. This was a personal choice because it was too crowded which stressed me out. Plus museums are great but I’m more of a walker. So I skipped that.
But I ventured into the gardens of the Palais Royale which was totally awesome.

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Walked to Notre Dame and found lots of locks put on by happy couples.

imageWalked to Strada and had a good cappuccino and a yummy piece of chocolate cake!! Yay!!!

imageI was seriously in awe of the architecture. I did a lot of staring and standing.
It may sound silly but being in such a grand place made me feel like I can do anything I put my mind to.
(Except I still don’t think I’ll ever like tomatoes 😕)

Left Strada and yet again was soaked by a heavy rainfall. Walked a long way back to the metro station with a huge smile on my face. I got a lot of giggles from people I passed, but it was sort of fun. Got to smile at a whole bunch of people and offer everyone a reason to have a laugh. 🙃 I was very wet. And cold. But it’s okay.
Good day.

My conclusion is that I fit in here in Paris. At least based on looks. (Once I get past the hi how are you stage of talking my true colors show) but I seriously do look very similar to a lot of the girls my age… as I said on my Instagram, if you like the way I look but don’t like my personality, you should move to Paris. 😉 I’ve got an icy glare if needed, I’m not too loud, and I enjoy efficiency. My sense of style in California is more of the “hot mom” look, but here in Paris I fit in perfectly with my own age group. (Ha) The fashion is more modest and reserved.

Because good coffee shops are popping up and the food is good, I think I can handle a little more of Paree. 🙃💋

Tôürístēę

We left off at a very soaked me drinking a sort of dry Cappuccino and trying to figure out what was next on my last day in London. (I go back in two weeks don’t worry I’m not letting go that easy)
Except I didn’t really plan anything, I ended up wandering aimlessly.
I found myself in a nice neighborhood in Westminster and eventually all the way to Kensington Gardens. And WOW. The beauty was overwhelming.

imageThen I just kept walking. I ended up somehow in a mall of some sort, played some music, earned some money, and then it started raining again. So to coffee shop number two. Another lovely one.
Then it was approaching dinner time so I retraced my steps, walked into a pub and asked what was on the menu. The (Parisian) bartender said there was no menu.

Now blog reading people, I am not a happy hungry camper. It’s a weakness, but coffee and food are the only things really that I always want to be in control of.
So in this pub I am the only girl with a bunch of British guys, hungry, watching a French soccer league (?!) and no food options. What do I do?

imageBoom. That’s what I do.
I remembered there was a restaurant around the corner so I decided to take in the scene and sip on a Guinness.
Favorite thing was when the British guys behind me started talking about girl problems: “well yeah she was American, and American girls never know how to drink”.
I couldn’t keep in my laugh. They heard me and told me I was an exception. Hahaha
Anyway. Dinner. Made my way back whatever.

THEEEN in the morning on Thursday I hopped on the Eurostar and arrived in Paris.
Had a lovely homemade dinner made by my wonderful hosts. A family friend from my childhood and her husband who are being so kind to open their fun Parisian space with me.
Before dinner I had some hours to spare (and was also locked out but that was my fault) so I just decided to walk around and see what was up in the neighborhood.

Very nearby I found a street that had quite a bit of shopping on it, so since I had all my stuff with me I just decided to whip out the ukulele and see how the Parisians would respond.
I was pleasantly surprised at all the smiles (and Euros!!!) I received.
Good first taste of Paris I’d say.

First full day of Paris I really went in. Walked with my host Leisl to her work in the morning, which is relatively close to the Tour Eiffel and a coffee shop that I had my eye on.
Honestly nothing really that crazy happened. Pretty normal tourist day. Although I will say that the Eiffel Tower is not a disappointment. If you have the chance to go, I would definitely recommend. I didn’t go to the top, but the craftsmanship of the tower itself is enough.

ALSO I had the best Cappuccino of the trip so far at a little place called Cuillier. The coffee was kinda smoky tasting and very rich and yummy! This is a pleasant surprise because (sorry frenchies) the French are known for having terrible coffee, and not really caring- so this was a good find.

imageI just walked a lot. Like 13 miles.
Was so exhausted so I used my little bit of French to order a baguette and some ham and cheese for a simple yummy dinner. 🙃

There’s a lot of preconceived notions I have/had about Paris and I think it’s time to figure out what’s really goin on.
I shall report back.

To Busk Or Not To Busk.

Alrighty folks. First day in London and we already get down to the meat of my trip.
After a moment of insanity and purchasing my ticket to London (at a student price, please all students buy your tickets from StudentUniverse it’ll save you a fortune) I realized that up-keeping the lifestyle I enjoy will take a bit more pocket money than I had.
Not to say that I lead a lavish life- BUT I do enjoy my daily cappuccino and a nice meal here and there.

So my plan for Europe was to make money every day for dinner. And if I don’t make enough money one day I can use my backup money- but I’m hoping to use very little of that.
Thankfully, because Santa Barbara is so expensive I was not turned off by all the warnings I was given about the challenges of visiting London. It’s true- London is a very expensive city- but I have found it as maneuverable as Santa Barbara.
(Thankfully even more, most places aren’t as expensive as these two spots but hey I’m trying to look at the bright side)
Now you may ask- how do you: a degree-less, 19 year old musician make any spending money?!
I’ll tell you, and I’ll explain.
Firstly, I do not get it from my parents. Which I am thankful for; I’ve learned to provide for myself which is a huge lesson. (Thanks mom and pops)
I get my spending from playing music on the street- also known as busking.
Many question this method and give me some (frankly hilarious) responses.
Here’s what I say: I don’t think busking is lowly, and I don’t think it’s stealing either. I put as much energy and effort into my street performance as I do with any formal stage performance. I am offering a product and those people who tip me are just showing their appreciation.
So yes! I am busking in London! And I will be busking in Paris as well.
Day 1 of busking (yesterday) was very successful. I went to Camden Market- which was totally awesome- and played for about 3 hours and made enough for a coffee, nice meal and a cider to go with it.
Woohoo!!!

imageThere were a few annoying guys but I always drive them away. (Those who know me well know that I’ve got some bite)
One guy asked me to read his poems and edit them.
A group of junior high age girls peeked out from behind a corner with wide eyes… I became friends with a Bollywood director who said he thought I actually might have a chance. (He’s great)
So that’s it! Nothing too insane, but very exciting.

imageToday I tried to get out again to go play music in the Covent Gardens market, but it started raining. And then my bus changed directions. So now I’m in a cafe enjoying a scone waiting for the weather to change.
Didn’t bring an umbrella. Not my best British moment.

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All good things.

Baby steps? Ft. Yikes

Here’s a little play by play of my thoughts these past 24 hours.

3:00pm- Sunday- USA

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Last Handlebar run with the fam before my endeavor. Zuko trying to get at pops. I love Handlebar 😭

4:00pm USA
Finished packing and now I’m leaving?!?!

7:00pm USA
In the airport and so terrified. Trying not to text all my friends and family for moral support because I’m stupid and stubborn and want to feel like I can do everything by myself. (I caved, thanks Mallory)

8:00pm USA
Now I’m finally thinking about my trip and there are a lot of worst case scenarios but I’m gonna ignore that because who needs that!!!

8:30pm USA
What’s the point of my trip?? I think it’s just to see if I can live outside of fear.. Lol good start Mad

9:00pm USA
Flying virgin Atlantic and everyone’s pretty nice and helpful… Not that much leg room. The plane is so hot. I hate being hot.
Three English guy friends sitting in front of me who tried to all start the same movie at the same time. (Didn’t work at all)
2 girls from LA sitting behind me spraying something in the air to make a “force field of good air” … (Good luck with that)
The safety video is narrated by English people trying various American accents… Amazing.

4:00pm- Monday- UK
Flight was alright.. Watched Adele’s new taped concert and Joy and The Danish Girl. Cried so hard in the Danish Girl, it was probably funny for anyone who noticed. I was really goin at it. Awkwardly asked what the drinking age was and then promptly ordered a glass of red wine. Forgot that I hadn’t eaten yet so there were a few pretty exciting minutes during the Danish Girl (probably why I sobbed).

5:00-7:00pm UK
Heathrow is the most confusing airport ever of all time and I went to the wrong place three times.
Paddington station is also confusing.
Maybe I’m just inherently confused.

8:00pm UK
Finally met up with my awesome host Kristin and made it via underground to her place in Notting Hill.
Took a little stroll so I wouldn’t fall asleep to early.

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10:00pm UK
WE OUT.

(Yay I’m alive)

Baby steps. Yikes.

My Mom Said I Could!! (feat. Fight On)

Well. Here I go. I’m finally finishing my Freshman year of college at USC. I study Popular Music in the Thornton school, and I have never worked harder in my life.
It’s crazy that this year is coming to a close.
I guess I understand it when people say it felt like it flew by, but honestly, every day feels like 48 hours long- with rehearsals, classes, friendships, remembering to eat food, more rehearsals, learning songs, etc. And it only goes up from here… yikes.
It’s been hard, but so rewarding. Blah blah hard work pays off.. if you don’t know that by now I just don’t know what to tell you. ha!
But rest is also important. Rest makes the work you do more valuable and more productive.
If you’re like me, the prospect of rest is boring. I like to be moving, (doin’ it ya know?) going places and seeing things. And I think that can be rest- but I think the rest comes in a mixture of things you are comfortable with, but also not sticking to the things you do all the time.
This is why I decided to take this crazy trip to Europe. (I bought a ticket for a three week trip at 1 in the morning, that’s not impulsive right?!) I NEED a break from music and USC and Los Angeles, and so I am leaving the country. (drastic maybe, but you know me(if you don’t there’s a concrete detail about me)) I like to do things and go to new places. So this is a grand adventure!!! But it will also be a lovely time of rest for me because I am doing things I am comfortable with: I’ll be walking, reading, eating, and singing— same routine roughly, just a new setting. 🙂
So here we go!!!
I hope you enjoy following my journey. I’ll be posting lots of pictures of me playing on the street and all the various coffee/food/beautiful pictures that I want. IMG_1465
Yay.
Let’s do it.
Plus… my mom said I could.
FIGHT ON!!!!