Did I Achieve My 2017 New Years Resolutions?

At the beginning of each year, I like to set out some goals that I’d like to achieve. I think they call them New Years resolutions… At the start of this year, damn I must’ve been incredibly ambitious because I wrote a list of 52 things I want to achieve in 2017 (you can read it here).

So before I write a list of things I want to achieve in 2018 (I definitely won’t be setting a goal of 52!! What was I thinking?) I want to look back at the year that was and assess whether I met my goals or not, and how I can maybe check them off next year and what I need to do to turn these goals into actions.

  1. Play netball
  2. Do yoga – every week –  I need to bring yoga into 2018 for sure!
  3. Meditate – outside in fresh air for replenishment
  4. Get flexible – being flexible makes you sexible (Thanks Logan Paul)
  5. Don’t eat shit – steer clear of fried food, fast food and cakes (birthday cakes and pizza are allowed) (birthday pizza is allowed and also encouraged) – yes if home made pizza is acceptable
  6. Eat mostly vegetarian – buy and cook vegetarian, if you see something tasty on the menu like some chicken, treat yo self
  7. Compost
  8. Learn how to compost- fail
  9. Buy an awesome coffee mug and bring it everywhere (no more takeaway cups)
  10. Buy an awesome French Press coffee maker to put awesome coffee in my awesome coffee mug
  11. Make my lunch the night before
  12. Make an entire meal for my friends and family
  13. Learn how to cook an impressive meal. E.g bake a fish, lasagne, brownies, pad thai
  14. Go to a new country  – went to 4 (Thailand, Mexico, Belize and Guatemala)
  15. Learn Spanish – on the list for 2018 for sure!
  16. Visit Tasmania – points for a camper van, extra points for hitch hiking or bike riding – no but I did camper van explore around Western Australia so I’ll count this on. Tasmania I’m coming for you next year!
  17. Visit home more often – sorry mum. I’ll make that a goal for 2018
  18. Have coffee and cake with my Grandma & Grandad, Nan & Pop – 2018 is going to be very family oriented!
  19. Send letters
  20. FaceTime my friends overseas – yes but I need to do this more
  21. Experiment with video styles
  22. Make a video once a week
  23. Blog once a week – it hasn’t been once a week but between writing for Twenty Something Humans, making videos and doing uni work, I think I’ve been going pretty well.
  24. Make some money from said videos and blogs
  25. Graduate (with distinction) WOOOOOO
  26. Watch 12 sunrises (once a month)
  27. Learn to surf
  28. Try Bollywood/Pole Dancing
  29. Volunteer at uni
  30. Make a killer CV #employable
  31. Go on a roadtrip Hello Byron Bay
  32. Have lunch at the grounds of Alexandria
  33. Work hard at uni. HD’s come at me.
  34. Enquire about honours/masters (overseas)
  35. Go to careers central and plan my future career path
  36. Go to a trampoline park and learn how to do a back flip
  37. Read, read, read – bulk books have been read this year!
  38. Go in the City2Surf
  39. Work hard at work
  40. Practice my French by watching French films, French YouTubers and as part of the French Society – Salut French Major!
  41. Don’t buy things for the sake of it. How many more clothes do you really need?
  42. Complete the waste challenge
  43. Have at least 1 make up free day a week – Fuck make up! I’ve started going fresh face every where and my skin is loving it!
  44. Make people birthday gifts
  45. Make a vision board and decorate it with fairy lights – did the vision board (turned into being a vision wall) but no lights.
  46. Learn how to edit videos – I think I’m getting better but I’d love to upgrade from iMovie to Adobe or Premier Pro. 
  47. Make a snapchat filter
  48. Meet new people and put myself out there
  49. Go to a festival/concert I’ve been to so many gigs this year I wish I could cross this one out twice!
  50. Stress less
  51. Promote peace and understanding. Try not to be as critical of others and myself. Believe in myself, my values, decisions and choices. Don’t drink as much as I did in Montreal (sorry liver). Look for the joy in life. Be accepting of others.
  52. Be FIERCEYAS QUEEN!

I guess the thing to take away from this is that it’s OK not to achieve all of the things you set out to do (especially if you set 52 goals!). New Years Resolutions are about setting a list of goals and dreaming big. About trying, failing and trying again. They act as a reminder to what you want, what you wanted and may even help reassess where you’re at. I may not have achieved all of my goals for 2017, but I’m pretty damn proud of what I have achieved!

Stay tuned for my 2018 goals! Coming soon….

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These Are A Few Of My Favourite Things: FEBRUARY 17

Ok, so I get that February’s a weird little month. 28 days, 4 weeks, 672 hours, and damn have they disappeared. My first full month back in Australia and in Wollongong. And it’s been a freakin amazing. Let’s get to it!

Discovery Days

Let’s be honest, I have one of the best jobs on earth! And the best time to work as a student ambassador is definitely the annual Discovery Days. Not only is it a heaps of fun for the kids, but it’s fun overload for us as well. And this year was no exception, pouring rain and sweltering heat… nothing could stop us from having an incredible time. I’m so lucky to work with such an awesome team of inspiring people.

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My Montréal Video

So I FINALLY put together my Montreal video. It took hours of gathering footage, editing and then re editing (because my original upload got muted due to copyright – oops) but it’s finally alive and chillin out there on the internet! I’m so proud of this video. It makes me so freaking happy to watch!

[If you haven’t yet subscribed, click here to subscribe so you don’t miss a thing! I’m nearly at 100 subscribers and I’ll have to do something epically awesome when I reach 100]

Finding a new HOUSE

If anyone knew me during the beginning of the month, they would’ve known how freakin stressed I was looking for a place to live. Khal, Rhys (my two amazing friends) and I were searching for a house to rent in Wollongong and damn is that market competitive. However, this goes to show how far positive thinking can go. I told the universe that I would have a house by Sunday the 5th Feb, and on Friday the 3rd Feb we got a very exciting phone call confirming this!

80s Prom Party

It was one of my beautiful friend’s 21st Birthday party and she decided to have it as an 80’s Prom Theme. OMG. First of all – why can’t I wear puffy pastel dresses around all day every day?! Secondly, damn it was so much fun! It’s always so nice going to a good house party, catching up with people you haven’t seen in forever and meeting new people. The night ended with a swim in the pool, me ripping the petticoat out from under my dress because I could barely breathe, and then crashing in an awesome van for the night. Top night!

Speaking at Orientation Week 

I know I’ve included a few little speech related moments through these posts, but every now and then, you gotta show yourself some love and be proud of what you’ve achieved. I was asked last minute to give a 10 minute presentation of a ‘Uni Survival Guide.’ I had prepared my slides but hadn’t really prepared much else. Yet I was able to get up there, smash out a great speech and speak confidently and calmly. I’m super proud of yet another speech I’ve made at UOW. It was even better when a student approached me afterwards asking me about my degree and uni experience, saying that I inspired her to look into doing exchange. (Awww).

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Tunes

Maître Gims. Yep, this whole French major thing has really got my head because now suddenly everything is in French. Regardless of whether you’re into French music, this song is actually freakin awesome!

Benjamin Clementine. I’ve only just discovered this guy and I’ve been listening on repeat. His music is so unique, the piano is enchanting and his vocal range is huge! Plus this video clip is just so stunning, I had to include it in my faves for this month.

Childish Gambino. So somehow last year I lived under a freakin rock and missed his amazing album that came out! Urgh it’s soooooooo good I’ve had this on repeat all month!

Flicks

Call My Agent. Netflix, you’ve done it again. This is a brilliantly dramatic yet light hearted TV show about agents and their crazy actors that they manage. It’s in French and I’ve been opting to have the French subtitles on to work on my French. It’s soooo worth the subtitles though! C’etait magnifique.

La La Land. Ooooh la la I’m in love. Emma Stone has been my ultimate girl crush since Easy A when I could finally relate to an awesome red head on screen being awkward and somewhat cool (at least, that’s what I thought I was). The soundtrack is amazing, it’s simple, beautiful and just so damn lovely to watch. Though I would recommend letting your friends know that it’s a musical before going. I somehow failed to mention that and they weren’t too happy! haha

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YouTubers 

RayaWasHere. I’ve been following Raya as long as I’ve been following Louis, but it’s not until recently that she’s really won me over. I think it was the video below, that really pulled me in. I feel that she has a very genuine and beautiful way of capturing her friendships and connections with people and I’d love to see more content like the one below! You go girl!

A Worldly Addiction.

I’m going to give myself a little plug here but I feel like this month I’ve really produced some great content. One of my favourite videos I’ve ever made is absolutely killing it and it’s received over 1300 views so far! WHAT?! I’ve been feeling super proud of myself and my drive to put myself out there, live life to the fullest and create beautiful moments, so why not do yourself a favour and chuck us a subscribe. If you go to my channel from here make sure to comment “Shameless Plug” on one of my videos. OK let the blog continue as per usual.

Books

I haven’t technically finished it (I kinda got caught up in Season 3 of How To Get Away With Murder ((OMG))! But it’s so so good! ‘I wouldn’t start from here’ by Andrew Mueller is a reflection on his career and experiences as a war and conflict correspondent. I love in each chapter you’re taken somewhere completely different and never quite sure where he’s going with it. From Kosovo, to  Palestine, London to Lichtenstein, it’s a fascinating take on ‘the 21st Century and where it all went wrong.’

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Quote

The quote below has really helped me through this crazy month. It reassures me that if we want something, if we want to be something, then we must accept the change that inevitably comes with growing, learning and evolving. It reminds me to let go of things that are no longer important and embrace the new, the scary and the exciting.

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Well those 4 weeks just absolutely flew by! March is going to be absolutely hectic. I’m organising another overseas trip (can you guess where?!), uni will hit with it’s full blow, my little sister is turning 21 (HOW?!) and the adventures will continue as always! I hope March treats you well and you treat life even better! xxx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I Don’t Know What I Want To Do After University: And I’m OK With That

So I’m about to finish my 3rd year of university, with only a year to go until that glorious graduation day. So it’s common that I get asked what my plans are for when I do graduate. And of course, I’m OK with people asking me this. I’ve got big dreams and big plans. But people give me a somewhat unsatisfied look when I can’t give them the name of a profession. Like somehow that doesn’t align with their idea of what my degree leads to or their expectation of me. I usually sit there trying to defend myself and the fact that I don’t know what I want to do, but that’s a good thing etc… but I can see it in their eyes. They think I’m delusional.

So this has prompted me to realise and accept the following…

The truth is, I don’t know what I want to do after I graduate, and I’m happy about that.

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What ideas do I have?

Well let me name a few to get us started.

I’m considering doing honours (thesis). Taking a year off to work. Taking time off to travelVolunteering for an NGO. Applying for a graduate program. Doing my Masters. Doing my Masters overseas. Start my own business. Become involved in politics. Be a foreign correspondent. Be a freelance content creator. 

I have no shortage of ideas. But I feel like I shouldn’t be narrow on my focus or goals. That I shouldn’t discount anything just yet, because who know’s where life will take you. Or should I say, where I’m going to navigate my life.

The reality is, I’m only 22 years old. Some people at my age know exactly what they want to do in life and that’s fantastic, and I support that! But I feel that where I am right now in my life, it’s basically impossible for me to be sure which direction I want to go in. There’s endless possibilities out there. They say that young generations are going to switch careers multiple times during our work life anyway. At my age right now, I value life experience and the skills and lessons I’ve learnt outside of a classroom, more than pursuing a traditional lifestyle of finding a job, husband and settling down. Ain’t nothing settling down around here anytime soon.

I think the most frustrating thing is that the people who ask you this question, are usually the people who know you the least. You’ve usually just met and they’re making awkward small talk, which I hate. So when someone doubts my ability, accomplishments or ambitions, it’s extremely frustrating. Because they’re making an immediate judgement and assumption from our first meeting. Not cool.

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So what can we do about this?

Instead of people asking ‘what you want to do when you graduate’, or ‘what career do you want’… let’s ask something more meaningful. Maybe we can ask them what goals they have? Does what they do make them happy? Where do you see your goals taking you? What’s your biggest dream?

I also think that’s it’s dangerous to put so much pressure on young people. I think society perceives us as invincible, but I feel kind of the opposite at the moment. I feel vulnerable and susceptible to societies expectations but I feel strong in my determination to make something of myself and make myself proud.

I think that by asking these sorts of questions and being encouraging and nurturing of people’s ideas and dreams is the way forward. Questions and conversations that mean something to people. I believe that by moving away from the traditional conversations, we can adapt and change our conversations and belief in others to one that is nurturing, inquisitive and encouraging to ensure we leave a conversation inspired and not judged.

[If you’re still unsure what I’m talking about… check out this amazing TED Talk below, explaining why she, and many others don’t have one true calling – and that’s a good thing!]

Sunshine Blogger Award

One of my favourite things about blogging is the community it creates. You find yourself reading, befriending and caring about the blogs you read and the people behind them. And then every now and again you’re rewarded with a kind praise and ‘keep it up’ with a blogging award. Now these things are super informal and don’t have much significance in the traditional sense of an award. But DAMN do these mean so much to people (like me) who blog for the love of blogging and feel that their words have impacted someone’s life in a positive way #thedream. 

The Sunshine Blogger Award is given to “bloggers who are positive and creatively inspire others in the blogosphere”

So more of less, the lovely Little Sunshine, nominated me (you can check out her awesome blog here). She’s asked me 10 questions which I’ll answer below. Then I need to nominate 11 other bloggers and ask them 10 questions as well. It’s a great way to get to know a little more about me and continue contributing to the amazing blogging community I’m a part of.

Ready? Let’s Do It!

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Some bright sunshine-ness quote to get this post started

1. What is your biggest dream?

Admitting to your biggest dream is scary, because it means putting it out into the world. Which means you’re somewhat accountable. But honestly, one of my deepest, biggest dreams is to write a book and have it published. That would honestly be unreal and a dream come true!

2. If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?

Ooooh this is a tough one! There’s sooooo many places such little time. At the moment I’m going to say EGYPT, my best friend is there at the moment and she’s making me incredibly jealous! But it’s somewhere I’ve always been fascinated with. I want to learn about their history and their present. It’s a country with so energy and creativity that I really want to experience first hand.

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My beautiful best friend living life to the fullest and exploring Egypt

3. Do you consider yourself an introvert or an extrovert?

Extrovert all the way. I have introvert tendancies because give me a book and a cup of tea any night and I won’t leave my room, but damn I’m pretty outgoing and I’m quite proud of it.

4. Is what you’re doing now what you always wanted to do growing up?

Well at the moment I’m studying in Montreal on exchange. I don’t think that idea ever crossed my mind but I sure am happy here. For me going to university was something I always wanted to do. Not only to further my education but to grow, learn and meet people who will challenge and encourage me. And so far, that’s exactly what university has provided me.

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Some of my amazing friends I’ve been lucky enough to meet through university

5. Do you usually follow your heart or your head?

I’m a low key hopeless romantic and always follow my heart. Sometimes I have to follow my head, but for big decisions, I’m going to follow that crazy thing pumping away in my chest.

6. What are you most thankful for?

The opportunities and experiences I’ve been blessed with. Words really can’t describe how grateful I am for the people who have guided and encouraged me to bravely pursue my dreams.

7. What’s on your bucket list this year?

Well considering that the year’s nearly over, I think I might change this one to next year. I think I want to do the City2Surf again next year and I really want to learn how to surf!

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Attempting to surf in San Sebastian, Spain

8. What´s your favourite food ever?

I love Japanese food! Hit me with that salmon sashimi, ramen and dumplings any day and you’ll find a very happy Adelaide.

9. What is the best advice you’ve ever received?

I’ve received a lot of good advice lately, but I think the thing that stands out the most at the moment was said to me by Ben Brown, when we met at Buffer Festival. He said that we’re all just trying to figure out what we’re doing. That we make mistakes, we learn, we improve and life goes on. That we shouldn’t stress over the little stuff because it’s the big stuff we should focus on and go after.

10. Which of the places you’ve traveled to inspired you the most, and why?

Oh damn this is a tough one! Edinburgh really inspired my creative spirit and it’s a feeling that I carry with me to this day. I have to admit that Paris is eternally inspiring. There really is something magical about that city that makes me want to be the best I can be and soak up all the beauty that city has to offer.

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Jardin de Tuilleries, Paris

OK so here’s some bloggers that I’m absolutely loving. To all of you, please keep up the amazing work! Your posts inspire me and many other in more ways than you’d know. The world (and the internet) need your voices so keep on spreading your sunshine.

  1. The Nigerian Nomad
  2. Journal By Assia
  3. Me Myself and Everything Else
  4. Expand the Horizon
  5. Evelina
  6. Samantha In Transit
  7. Roving Lioness
  8. What Makes Mary
  9. Sweet Jini
  10. Ella Sykes Blog
  11. Anges Voyage

Alright… so now… my questions are below. Hopefully they provoke thought and you enjoy answering them.

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Sending some love to you all
  1. What’s your ideal Saturday night consist of?
  2. Where would you love to live in the world?
  3. Where do you think is the most peaceful place you’ve visited and why?
  4. Mountains or ocean?
  5. If you could have any superpower what would it be?
  6. What advice would you give to yourself at age 16?
  7. Where’s your happy place?
  8. What’s one thing you can’t leave your house without?
  9. What’s the best book you’ve read recently?
  10. If you could be president or prime minister of your country for one day, what would you do?

[If you’re not sure what to do, read below]

  1. Thank the person who nominated you
  2. Answer the questions from the person who has nominated you
  3. Nominate 11 other bloggers for this award
  4. Write the same amount of questions for the bloggers you have nominated
  5. Notify the bloggers you nominated

An Open Letter To My First Crush: Johnny Depp

**Content Warning: This article discusses domestic violence.** 

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Dear Johnny Depp,

 Mrs. Depp. That’s what I used to write on my school books. Ever since I saw the first Pirates of the Caribbean film I became completely and dramatically obsessed with my very first crush, you, Johnny Depp.

Your performance in that movie motivated me to learn more about the man behind the dreadlocks and eyeliner (which I thought was the sexiest thing I’ve ever seen). This interest (obsession) lead me to purchasing two biographies and a lot of god damn movies, with Edward Scissorhands, The Corpse Bride and What’s Eating Gilbert Grape being some of my favourites (hello young Leonardo DiCaprio as well).

Johnny, you made me believe that no matter what life throws at us, we can get through it. That we must embrace our flaws, our quirkiness, and our uniqueness. You made me feel like it was OK to be different. That is was good to be different. You helped me through those high school nightmares of worry, comparison and self doubt.

You ignited the rebel within me. Whenever I’d talk about getting a tattoo, or listen to heavy rock music, I’d think about the opening chapters in your biographies and your early career in music. You’ve inspired me to pursue my passions, to be daring and to embrace my inner artist.

But lately, something’s been eating me Johnny. Not all flaws can be forgiven despite how quirky or sexy you may have once been to me. Domestic violence is not something that one of your quirky characters can distract me from, yet you’ve done a pretty good job of deflecting it in the media. Somehow you’ve become the victim and walked away stronger than ever.

At first I found myself defending you – ME! An avid feminist and activist against domestic violence. That’s what you made me do. You – your fame, your characters, your artistic flair made me think for one second that, “no that can’t be true.” and maybe that’s why this entire conversation has disappeared from media discussions. Because you’re Johnny Depp, you’re untouchable.

The media reported Amber Heard’s statements as ‘allegations’ and that her reports weren’t ‘verified.’ However, like the majority of sexual assault and domestic abuse, there’s little to no evidence of these violations. This doesn’t mean that we disregard them and attack the character of the woman whilst the male character is able to walk away unharmed. I thought we had finally moved on from victim blaming, however the response from the media would suggest not.

This reflects a very dark side of society. Like Edward Scissorhands, we try to speak up and someone gets cut. Well it’s not going to be me, your wife, or your children. It’s you. I’ve loved you since I was a teenager. A 10-year crush shattered to pieces. Well Johnny Depp, my first crush, I’m letting you go. Maybe you’ll embody your character like in ‘Lone Ranger.’ But sadly, for you, you no longer have our hearts.

From Adelaide

*You can read more here

If you or someone you know has experienced sexual or domestic violence, you can contact 1800 RESPECT which is the National Sexual Assault and Domestic Family Violence Couselling Service.

Call: 1800 737 732

Visit: https://www.1800respect.org.au/

This article was written for Twenty Something Humans. You can check out the awesome things they do here. 

These Are A Few Of My Favourite Things: SEPTEMBER 2016

OMG It’s been nearly a month since I’ve blogged! What have I been doing?! Well I’m about to tell you exactly what I’ve been doing but damn I’ve been busy. September really was an interesting month. Starting my classes at university, feeling like I actually belong in Montréal, meeting some really awesome people, having friends coming to visit and just being busy not being busy. It’s always difficult when you’re trying to figure out a new city and way of life. But I feel like I’ve reached a point where I’m not so lost, and that’s a pretty big achievement in my books. OK, let’s throwback to September 1 and see what’s been going on.

Side note: because life has been pretty damn awesome as of late, you can keep up to date with my adventures by following me on Instagram [@aworldlyaddiction for the pretty stuff or @missadelaide_ for the behind the scenes stuff]

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Just chilling out with a book and some coffee in Old Port

FROSH

For everyone outside of Canada, Frosh = Freshman + Orientation, which therefore equals a week of being ridiculously drunk. Usually, Frosh is reserved for first years however when you’re an exchange student, you can kind of do whatever you want. Whilst it was pretty much just a week of going out and drinking copious amounts of beer, I made some really great friends that have helped me settle into life here in Montréal.

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Frosh out for Harambe rocking it for ASFA’s Tropic Like Its Hot Frosh
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Frosh

Working on my video taking and making

I really wanted to improve and explore my video editing whilst here in Montréal. So I’ve been busy making some videos. I’ve been trying to go out and do some interesting things with some interesting people. You can check out my channel here.

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Adventures

This month saw me adventuring mostly around Montreal. I had two friends, Abdul and Chloe come and visit (they’re my friends from back in Australia), I went hiking with the Geography association at Concordia, went out numerous times with friends, and I even went to a cat cafe!

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Tunes

So my boys are back with another AMAZING ALBUM! This is probably one of my favourite songs on there, it’s filled with bangers! Whilst nothing will ever compare to their first album (hello perfection), this one is still good enough to leave me swooning over Dan Smith and hoping that one day we’ll (not so secretly get married).

Another album I’ve been listening to on repeat is Benjamin Francis Leftwich’s After the Rain. It’s become my new ‘I’m having trouble sleeping because I just saw a mouse run across my floor I need to listen to something soothing and peaceful to help me drift off’ album.

Movies

Like usual, I haven’t had a chance to watch many movies, but one that really captured my heart, Amy.  I absolutely love her music and found it incredibly sad when she died. I think it was the first time I’d seen someone die from drugs in the most tragic way, publicly. Seeing this movie showed me such a beautiful insight to her life before drugs and the sad decline of her career and personal life.

Reads

Noam Chomsky’s Who Rules the World?’ is a must for someone wanting a fresh perspective of historical and current issues regarding the power of the United States in other countries, particularly in the Middle East.

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Quotes

This month I bring to you two quotes/little mantras/things I’ve been telling myself that have been pushing me onward and forward.

The first is the following. I guess that when you’re trying to sort your life out, it’s hard to get a little bit lost along the way. I think it’s always nice to remind yourself that you are one of a kind and that you shouldn’t feel pressured to change who you are in order to fit in. So I’ve really been trying to embrace who I am and be my own biggest fan.

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The following one here is just a bit of fun but damn is it accurate. It’s easy (well at least for me) to get caught up in the never ending story of looking for a soul mate, partner, friend, who even knows. Another thing that I need to keep reminding myself is that I’ve got plenty of other shit to do before I need to stress myself out about boys.

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Things I Want To Improve On

This month, my laziness level has risen to an all time high and my sleep pattern is officially wack. Whilst I have been able to be somewhat productive, I know that I’ve wasted a lot of valuable time that I could’ve been doing something meaningful and creative. So next month, I’m really trying to be more self aware and try to get up early, stop lying around in bed for hours, stop binge watching netflix and get out and do something!

OK October, you’ve been warned. Adelaide is going to be productive, adventurous and creative af.

 

Why You Should LIVE ABROAD At Least Once In Your Life

Every second person these days are posting their travel pictures or posting about their plans for up coming travel. Travelling is AMAZING and I love it, but when you’re living out of a suitcase, it’s difficult to genuinely embrace a new culture and way of life. In 2013 I lived in London for the year, this July I lived in La Rochelle, France and now I’ve just moved to Montréal for an exchange at university. Whilst I’m still adjusting to my new life here, it’s really made me appreciate my previous opportunities of living abroad. So this post is dedicated to those of you who have ever thought about living abroad and I’m here to tell you why you should do it and do it now.

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It’s one thing to move, it’s another to move to another country

Sure – you may just think that if you want change, you can just move houses in your town or city, or maybe even move interstate. Sure, that’s a big thing. But at the end of the day, you have a common language, culture, and have your support network not far away.

Moving to another country, even if they speak English, is overwhelming in every sense because literally everything is new and foreign. From big things like adjusting to a new culture, way of life or new language, to the little things that we take for granted like knowing where to do grocery shopping, what phone provider to go with, how to take out the garbage or finding the best cafe on your street.

Now is this exciting or scary? I’ll leave that up to you to find out.

Nothing is familiar and you’ll look like a lost puppy

Like I said… everything is new! Back in your home city/town, you know exactly what you’re doing and where you’re going… all the time. You walk through the streets without even thinking twice about crossing the road. But in a new place, you’re constantly looking at street signs, hesitating about crossing the road, walking for 10minutes up the street only to realise you’re going the wrong way and having to turn around and go back.

For me this is a really big adjustment. Is admitting that I have no idea what’s going on – but that’s ok because you’re not expected to magically know everything about a new city. I guess the transition from being so sure and confident walking down the street, to literally feeling like a lost puppy looking up at street signs, is a hard one to make.

Sure it’s damn hard, but when you start to familiarise yourself with your area and begin to figure it all out, it’s such a rewarding feeling.

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Your support network is 14hours ahead of you

Sure it’s beyond easy to keep in touch with people back home these days with the internet. But one thing the internet can’t change is time zones. Sydney is 14hours ahead of Montréal. 14 HOURS! Sydney is in the future! It’s always ‘tomorrow’ in Sydney. It’s not impossible, it’s just more difficult when you need to talk to someone.

I think this is one of the hardest things about living abroad, is that the life you had is 14 hours away. And when you don’t have someone to talk to, you have to learn to deal with your thoughts in a positive way yourself, which can at times be challenging. It gives you a unique opportunity to get to know yourself on a very personal, different and deep level. To understand your strengths and also acknowledge your weaknesses.

A new city, a new country, a new start

How often do you get to move somewhere and have a completely fresh start? You’re free to reinvent yourself in whatever way you choose! Usually when you move abroad, you don’t know many people in that city… moving to Montréal I knew of 3 people that lived here (when I moved to London, I knew 1 – my cousin). When you don’t know many people, you need to put yourself out there and say yes. By doing this, you’ll be surprised by how many people you’ll meet.

I’ve been in Montréal for just over a week now and by going out to drinks with my housemate and his friends, meeting up with girls from Facebook, or meeting some locals to take you to the best cafes in your area… I feel that I’m steadily building an awesome network of friends which I’m extremely grateful for.

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It will challenge you to your core

So thankfully in the few days I’ve been in Montréal this hasn’t happened yet (but I know it will come)… there will be times when everything seems too hard. When things go wrong, you don’t get paid right, you lose something important, you miss out on an important celebration back home, you spend a rainy day in your room, and get a bit lonely or homesick.

“What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” These things are hard enough when they happen at home. Add the complexities of living in another country and it can sometimes become a lot to deal with. But it’s all of these little experiences, good and bad, that help you to become a better and stronger person. To be resilient, motivated, dedicated, strong and accepting or yourself and others around you. There’s not too many times in your life that you get to experience something like this.

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You never know what’s around the corner…

But why should you do it now?

I feel that the older you get, the more commitments you have, and the harder it is for you to uproot your life and move to another country. I’ve already found it significantly more challenging this time around. I think because I was so comfortable in my routine back in Wollongong. And I’m only 22! I barely have any responsibilities! Imagine when I’m 25, 28, 30, 30+… I would imagine it would only become harder with age and responsibilities.

Sure – the list above may not be all that encouraging… there’s definitely huge challenges you’ll need to overcome, there’ll be moments when you’re lonely, lost and just have no idea what’s going on. But for every challenge and difficulty there is… there’s about 50 positives. Like making lifelong friends, immersing yourself in a new culture, (sometimes) learning a new language, getting to discover new neighbourhoods, towns, cities and countries nearby… the list is endless.

So… the only real question left to ask is… where to?!

Arriving in MONTRÉAL: First Impressions

The time has arrived! I’ve finally made it to Montréal! It’s so surreal being here! After months and months and months of planning, emailing, organising, getting excited and nervous…. I’m here! Inspired by one of my blogger friends, Assia from Journal by Assia, I thought I would share my first impressions on this incredible place!

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The Architecture

The first thing that really struck me was the incredibly unique architecture! It’s a fusion of classic American red brick buildings, with cute French stair cases, balconies, pot plants and terraces. I really haven’t seen anything like it before and it’s quite amazing just wondering around and being constantly surprised.

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The French-ness & THAT accent

A lot of people told me that it will be useful knowing French in Montréal but no one ever said just how useful it would be! Literally everything is in French! Especially the area I’m living in – near the Mont-Royal metro – called The Plateau – it’s super French! It’s great because it means I get to practice my French on a daily basis!

I was also ‘warned’ about the Quebecois accent. But again – no one warned me enough! The first time I heard it I just assumed they were speaking a completely different language and were from out of town. Then I understood a word or two – then a phrase… and then it clicked that ‘oh my god… that’s French!’ It’s quite difficult to understand because they speak really fast and the accent is quite thick but I’m getting by!

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EVERYTHING is in French

It’s a good place to be creative

Even the streets of Montréal ooze creativity and artistry! There’s murals everywhere and they’re absolutely spectacular! On my first day here I went to a cafe to get some much needed coffee and read a book. In the cafe there were people filming a video clip for a song they were about to release! I said that I could leave so I wouldn’t disturb them, but they insisted I stay. It was pretty cool just chilling in this hipster cafe with such cool art everywhere, watching the making of a video clip! Definitely feeling the inspiration!

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Just a causal mural off of the main street

My apartment is simply gorgeous

It’s all well and good to see pictures of where you’re going to be living and thinking it looks nice. But it’s such an amazing feeling when you arrive to find it is even more beautiful than in the pictures! My room is ENORMOUS! I don’t even know what to do with all of the space! It’s got beautiful wooden floor boards, the wifi is fast, the shower is hot, and it’s in the perfect location! Literally 2 minutes to the metro and there’s coffee shops, restaurants and boutiques on each corner.

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My room slowly coming together with some photos, pillows and plants

Greenery is a must

Right outside of my metro is this cute plant store (picture below). And wondering around, the streets are lined with gorgeous trees, there’s pot plants and flowers on balconies they’re just absolutely adorable. Naturally, I had to get my hands on some!

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Flowers, pots, herbs and succulents galore!

So for just $3 each, I managed to get a cactus, a succulent and a purple thing (I forgot the name). They just make my room feel like home. Along with my cute candle, I also bought some incense too which is so soothing and relaxing! Positive vibes all around!

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So it’s only been 2.5 days here but I think I’m in love already! My housemate arrives on Monday (tomorrow) and I’m excited to meet him! It’s been good having these first few days to figure things out for myself. To speak franglais, to find cafes, supermarkets and my way around.

It’s scary and exciting at the same time! This place is going to be home for the next few months and I’m just so relieved I’m living in a nice place in an awesome part of the city! These are just my first impressions and I’m sure as time goes by, and I meet more people and get started at uni, my thoughts will continue to change and evolve!

 

Learning A Language: Why It’s Important If You Want To TRAVEL

Having the ability to speak another language is one of the most admirable, useful and incredible skills we can have. Nothing else quite compares. Yet in Australia, learning a language is not overly encouraged or common. We already speak English, which has become a sort of universal language in itself, so why would we need to learn another? Since I was young, I’ve always had an interest in other cultures and ways of life and as I grew up, I came to realise the extremely important role that language plays in a culture.

At my high school, it was compulsory to study French for a year. However, that year was year 8, when everyone’s about 14 years old and really doesn’t care about school, let alone learning another language. I really took to it, and chose it as an elective for year 9 & 10. I wanted to continue it for year 11 & 12 however my school put French and Mathematics on at the same time so I had to make a decision. I chose French, however because of it being the same time as Mathematics, they didn’t have enough numbers. So I looked in to doing French by correspondence. I remember my year advisor taking me out of class one day to talk to me about my subject selection. He told me how French was not going to contribute towards a university degree or a career, unlike Mathematics. He told me students who take Mathematics at high school do far better in their HSC (high school certificate) and go on to get better ATARS (an ATAR is a number we use in Australia to determine what university courses you can get in to – so it’s pretty important). So… listening to my teacher and his ‘world of wisdom,’ I decided against doing French and chose Mathematics instead.

Fast forward a few years and I’ve never used that Mathematics in my life, that subject didn’t even contribute towards my final HSC mark, it’s compulsory for me to study a language as part of my degree, and I’ve just finished an intensive short course in France. Mmmm…. Yep, it seems that French really has not been beneficial in my life at all.

(To read about my short course in La Rochelle, click here).

Travelling and meeting people from across the world has helped me realise the true importance of learning a language. So here are my reasons for why learning a language is one of the most valuable life skills you’ll ever learn.

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It’s respectful

In Australia, we never have people come up to us in shops, restaurants, on the street to ask us something in their native language. If they did we should shoo them away and  think ‘you’re in Australia mate.’ However as soon as the role is reversed and you’re on a Eurotrip trying to order tapas and beer, it’s OK for you to speak English and expect the other person to know English as well?

Even if you’re not perfect and make mistakes, that’s OK. They’ll appreciate you trying.

It’s so much more than being able to say hello

When going to a new country, a lot of people learn hello, thank you and good bye. Whilst this is a good start, being able to be conversational in a language opens you up to so many more experiences. Sadly, French is the only language I (partly) speak. At the beginning of August I spent a week in Spain (awesome right?!) And yes it was indeed awesome, but I genuinely struggled with the language barrier. Sure, everyone spoke English and we could get by, but I couldn’t help but constantly feel reminded of the fact that I was a tourist. I felt like I was missing out on something. Whilst of course I had an amazing time, I’m sure that if I spoke Spanish, even just a little bit, I would’ve had an even more incredible time.

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It allows you to have a much more genuine travel experience

By being able to speak the language of the country you’re in, you’re going to feel much more immersed in their authentic culture. You can meet locals at bars, tell them about your life and learn about theirs, discuss current topics and the country you’re in.

It’s a skill that you have to keep working at

Sure, knowing a language is a lifelong skill, but you have to keep practising. And the best way to practice isn’t in a classroom or on an app, but by travelling or better yet, living in that country and speaking that language all day every day. Is there any other skill you can think of that forces you to travel? Cool right!

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You’ll learn a lot about yourself

By learning a language, you not only learn about verbs, tenses and vocab, but you also learn a lot about yourself and your personal style of talking and about you. This one is hard to explain so I’ll just use an example. My grammar is by far my low point of my French skills. Tell me a rule and I’ll remember it and use it. But don’t then tell me there’s a million exceptions to this rule… hello passé composé! But my speaking and oral skills are by far my best. Sure, you need grammar to talk properly, but it’s not the biggest deal if you use the wrong tense or use ‘tu’ instead of ‘vous.’ Many of my French friends have told me and sure they notice it, but personally I’d prefer to be able to talk to people and express my opinions and thoughts that be able to write an essay with perfect grammar.

I think this just says about me as a personal that I don’t sweat all of the rules and I’m happy to go with the flow and just have some fun, even if you make a few mistakes along the way.  Well, that’s just my little psychoanalysis of myself.

 

My month studying French in La Rochelle is probably one of the most challenging yet rewarding things I’ve ever done. I’m incredibly proud of myself and that I managed to learn more about a language and culture, but also myself.

These Are A Few Of My Favourite Things: JULY

July!!! One of my favourite months of the year! Always because… well, it’s my birthday in July. Usually it’s always cold on my birthday because at the moment in Australia it’s about 10degrees (even colder). But this month, July in France has been sunny and superbly spectacular. I can’t believe how quickly the month has gone and how much I’ve squeezed into just 31 days! Voilà, here are my favourite things from this month!

THE UK

It feels like a lifetime ago now, but at the beginning of the month I was still in the UK. Those last few days were so special because I got to see some very special familiar faces. First was James & Beth in Leeds. I met James in 2013 at a Green Day concert in London and we kept in touch. In 2013 I visited him in Harrogate and was introduced to his friends and his (now girlfriend) Beth. 3 years later I was staying with them at their gorgeous place just outside of Leeds.

Then I went to a quaint little town called Yarm which is home to one of the greatest Englishmen I’ve ever met… Khal!!! Khal was my housemate in Wollongong last year so it was very special to be able to meet his family, his twin Jaz, and see his home town. I can’t wait to see him again in Australia one day soon!

After a few nights up North, I ventured back to London and out to Essex to see Jack, a guy that was in my Politics class in Wollongong. It was cool seeing a new part of the country, and one of the oldest parts of England. His father and him kindly dropped me off at the bus stop in town the next day so I could get to the airport.

I’m extremely grateful to all of these people who put me up and went above and beyond to make me feel at home. If you even need a place to crash and a friendly face in Australia, you know where I am.

La Rochelle

La Rochelle was the place I called home from the 3rd of July. La Rochelle is probably one of the most picturesque places I’ve ever seen in my life and to be able to call that place home and live with an absolutely incredible woman. It was definitely an experience I’m never going to forget. I blogged each week in La Rochelle and you can read them here.

Week 1 

Week 2 

Week 3 

Week 4 

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PARIS

Hands down, the best weekend here in France was when I went to Paris for the weekend with my American friends. We stayed in Montmartre and just wandered the streets, drank cocktails and wine, went to the Sacre Cœur and just enjoyed the beautiful weather and atmosphere that Paris has to offer. The highlight was when we went on a river cruise at sunset. It was one of the most spectacular things I’ve even seen and I’m so glad I got to spend it with such special people.

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Île de Ré

Île de Ré is an island just off the coast of La Rochelle and one of the most unexpected surprises of living in La Rochelle. It’s connected by a huge bridge which makes getting there extremely easy. If you have a car, you can venture further around the island and get to more secluded and beautiful beaches. My first weekend in La Rochelle, Delphine took me to Ars-en-Ré, La Flotte and some secret beaches. It was at this moment that I realised that I was kind of on holidays.  I also went to Île de Ré for Bastille Day, one hot afternoon, my birthday and with my Dad to Saint-Martin.  It’s such a beautiful place which screams à la mode and chic! It’s definitely one of my favourite places I got to discover.

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My Dad Arriving

On Thursday the 28th July, my Dad arrived in La Rochelle! It was so cool and I still don’t think it’s really sunk in that we’re actually in France together! On the 29th it was his birthday and we went out to dinner with Delphine to one of my favourite restaurants in La Rochelle The Cave. We had beer, wine, wine and more wine, along with cheese, cheese and even more cheese! It was such a lovley evening and I hope I was able to make his birthday a memorable and special one.

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Delphine, me and my Dad

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FRIENDS

Now I’m all for solo travel etc, but sometimes, there’s just nothing better than sharing a special moment with the people around you. And I’m so lucky that I got to meet some absolutely incredible people from all over the world! Let the pictures tell you our stories, but all you need to know is how grateful I am that I can call these people my friends.

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TUNES

One of the hardest things about travelling is trying to keep on top of your music and making sure you’re up to date on the latest tunes. So when in doubt, just bulk download and then you can spend all of those hours on trains and buses discovering the music you’ve downloaded.

This month I’ve been loving Vallis Alps. They’re just super chilled and also work perfectly for Youtube videos. (you can check it out here).

Chance the Rapper! LOVE LOVE LOVE!!! That’s the best thing about long bus/train rides, it gives you time to discover some of those tunes you downloaded but haven’t got a chance to listen to yet! My fave songs are ‘same drugs’ and ‘no problem’

 

FLICKS

Because I’ve been so busy, I haven’t actually had a chance to watch any movies (except for Finding Nemo in French – that was pretty cool). But I did watch Season 4 of Orange is The New Black!!! If you’ve seen this season let me know because I NEED TO TALK TO SOMEONE ABOUT IT!!! It’s killing me not being able to grab someone’s hand and say ‘OMG!” Legit one of my favourite shows out there and I’d recommend it to anyone!

QUOTES

This one comes from the beautiful Delphine. Présent. It’s a reminder that every day is a new day. That there’s no use worrying and stressing over what’s to come or what has been, because we just need to focus on the now. On today. And trying to make today as good as it can be. And if it’s not good, then that’s ok. Because tomorrow is another day, and there’s a new présent to live in.

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July – you have been incredible. I’m so excited and kinda scared by how excited I am to see what August has in store for me. Whatever it is – I know it’s going to be spectacular.