June 20, 2013

France: A day trip to Ventimiglia, Italy

Let's get back to the France trip! Shall we?

This post isn't really about France though. This is the one day that I left the country and dipped my toes in the Italian shore. A group of us heard that it only takes an hour to get to Italy, so we decided to take a day trip out to this little Italian coastal town literally right across the border. Ventimiglia was so charming and so quaint that I just wanted to stay there forever. While it was very similar to the French coastal towns, it felt distinctly different and was full of a totally unique culture and language. We ate lunch at a cute little restaurant that was so perfect. I had the BEST pasta of my life. Not exaggerating here. Really, the best. We walked through the town and went down to the coast, which we found was covered in large pebbles! I had never seen a beach like that. We may or may not have seen a few topless Italians.

We finished the day off with gelato and then took the train home. I'm so glad we took the time to explore a different area not included in our itinerary. I know it was a random town that no one has ever heard of, but I can say I've been to Italy! One day hopefully I will see the rest.

June 19, 2013


This past weekend my baby brother graduated high school. He is the last of our family to finish high school and move into adulthood, and all of us were so proud! You can tell by the smile on his face that he is, too. He is going away to college in August and will be doing the ROTC program. He's got a lot of life stretched out in front of him and I may be a tad jealous. Not that I'm old or anything (I know I still have a LOT to look forward to myself), but that summer before college is one of the most exciting times. So much lies ahead in those next few years and it's amazing to discover how it all plays out. What you learn. What you choose to do and what you choose not to do. The friendships you build. The places you go. I'm really excited for him to experience all of that!

It also worked out that I was in town the weekend of my college friend's bridal shower. She is marrying a Brit this summer and moving to England so I am trying to see her as much as I can now! I have hopes to pay her a visit overseas in the next couple years. It was so fun to be there on her special day and shower her with love. I'm looking forward to her wedding in July that will be another college reunion!

June 11, 2013

France: Monaco

On this excursion, we actually did a legit field trip to a famous hotel to discuss the business aspects of technology and hospitality. While that was exciting, the better part of the day was when we got to explore Monaco. And lucky us, we were right smack in the middle of the setup for the annual Grand Prix! It was quite a sight to see, and I have never seen that quantity of expensive cars in my life. The Lamborghinis, Ferraris, Maseratis, and Paganis were literally parked on the streets everywhere we went. We also got to see the gorgeous Monte Carlo Casino! [We didn't go in because it cost money just to get in. Clearly we were on quite a different level than those Ferrari drivers.] Did you know Monaco is actually its own government entity? It is a principality that is geographically located within France, but is totally excluded from French government and law. It's the second smallest and most densely populated country in the world. Due to seeing references to Grace Kelly everywhere (she was the famous American actress who was also princess of Monaco), it was not surprising that there was lot of quoting of the "Can I have your number?" video. Stupid Americans. Stupid Americans we were. And ashamed we were not.

Enjoy the pics of my day in Monaco!

June 10, 2013

France: Cannes Film Festival

Because my trip was organized through a study abroad program, we had a lot of group activities built into the calendar. Class wasn't really first priority for our professors - hands on activities were. And we were not complaining one bit. The first thing we did outside of Antibes was visit the city of Cannes during the infamous Cannes Film Festival. I had high hopes of spotting Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, or Julia Roberts, but alas, we did not see anyone famous! We did, however, get to see the festival itself and explore the gorgeous city that is Cannes. The festival felt a lot like an American festival, just in a European city. We walked around like tourists, seeing all of the hullabaloo going on for the festival, ate lunch at a cute little outdoor cafe, and people watched. It was hot and crowded, but it was a great day for exploring.

June 7, 2013

France: Arriving in Antibes

Throughout my junior year of college, I had several friends do semester-long study abroad programs and got to hear about their amazing experiences. I have always loved travel, but seeing it through my friends' photos and experiences really got me interested. I realized that there was no better time than while I was in school to do a long trip overseas, because once I started working in the real world, how much time off would I really have (and not to mention money)? I knew I didn't have the money to do an entire semester, and honestly I didn't want to miss out on a whole semester of my senior year of college. So when I heard about this summer program in the French Riviera that my business school was offering, I attended an interest meeting and immediately knew I needed to apply.

Over winter break I discussed it with my dad, and he basically told me that he was willing to make it happen but that I would be paying for it in student loans later. I knew I would have student loans to pay when I graduated anyway, and I figured what's a few thousand more dollars in the whole grand scheme of things? Having an opportunity to travel with a group of peers for an entire month and explore places I had always wanted to see was not something I could put a dollar amount on. I knew the experience would be worth far more than the extra debt I would carry after school. I decided that this trip was worth it. And let me tell you - it totally was.

June 6, 2013

A trip down memory lane: My Study Abroad in France

Back in 2009 I went on a summer study abroad trip to France for a month. It was in between my junior and senior years in college and it really is in the top five best decisions I've ever made in life. I'm so glad that I had the opportunity to go overseas and really experience the French culture for longer than just a week long vacation. I don't know if there's ever another time in my life where I'll get to do that!