Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A Year in the Life : 2014

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 Being as it's the last day of 2014, I thought I'd do a bit of a round up post and reminisce on the year gone by. I really enjoyed making this post last year, and this year was no exception. I feel like the year passed by so quickly so it's nice to see it all in one place and remember some of the things I did early in 2014 which now seem so far away!

In January I went to this conference called Winter conference with my bible study group and absolutely loved it. It was a great way to start off my year and really helped me to learn about and develop my faith with a really solid group of friends.
my best friend Katie and I at opening ceremonies
 I spent February getting back in to the rhythm of school and working on lots of bloggy things. I did link ups, recipes, and guest blog posts, and really loved it.

In March my family and I went on a Mediterranean cruise to France, Monaco, Italy, Spain, and Tunisia and it was incredible. It was my first time ever being abroad and we had such a good time all together. I also got my study abroad acceptance from Nottingham the day before we left, so all in all March was a very exciting month!
gelato in Italy
Rome (Trevi Fountain, The Colosseum, and The Vatican)
 Not much happened in April besides me enjoying Spring and LSU and loving crawfish season, which is my favorite time of year.
*insert heart eyed emojis here*
LSU's quad
my cousins and I for Easter
 In May I worked at the capitol for the second year in a row and absolutely loved it. Because I was much more comfortable and familiar with the capitol this year, it was so much more fun, and I really hope to go back in 2015!
playing baseball in the House chamber
me with Governor Bobby Jindal
  In June I started working at a new job on a local campaign. It was a bit scary because I was really out of my comfort zone and felt unsure of what I was doing, but I really enjoyed it and I feel like I learned a lot, especially about being confident in what I'm doing and not worrying about perfection so much. I hate learning curves, but I think it's something I've got to learn to live with. 
Me and David at a candidate's fundraiser we got to help with.
My family always goes to Amelia Island in July and this year was a blast. As my sister and I get older we get to do more things by ourselves and just go exploring together, which is always fun. The beach has always been my happy place and I always look forward to this trip!
Hannah and I on my uncle's dock
collage from a day spent riding bikes around the island
August was spent working and trying to get everything ready for England. Getting my suitcase packed was a nightmare (as evidenced by the million and one stressed out facebook statuses about weight limits and space bags), but most importantly, my BFF Allyce and I went to the One Direction concert in Houston and it was so much fun. I absolutely loved that weekend and wish I could do it again once a year.  
Allyce and I waiting for the bae.
the bae.
September was a very momentous month for me. I turned 20 on September 9th, and then on September 10th I left for London and Sarah Smile turned 1! I arrived in London on September 11th and it was all go-go-go from there. Meeting Amy was amazing and we had such a fun week before I left for Nottingham. Looking back, that was one of my favorite times this year because everything was so new and Amy and I had so much fun together - no worrying, no stressing, just tons of exploring and laughing and doing tons of cool things in one of the coolest places in the world.

day trip to Cambridge...Bridge of Sighs.
Amy and I having a picnic outside Buckingham Palace.
first day in London.
October brought my first weekend trips - to Brighton and Dublin - but also brought me a lot closer to my friends in Nottingham. It was such a whirlwind month, but I did so many things that were so cool and the weather was still extremely good, so I hit it lucky!

Cliffs of Moher.

Guinness Factory.
me and Finn's first selfie.
Me and Erin.
I got to experience my first ever bonfire night and visit cool places like Birmingham, England for their Christmas market as well as Amsterdam, even though I did accidentally book a hostel in the red light district...whoops. My mom also came up for Thanksgiving and I took her to Edinburgh and London, which was really neat. It was cool to see Edinburgh, because it's now one of my favorite cities, but it was even cooler to show my mom all the things I had been loving about England for so long.

bonfire night with Cassie.
Edinburgh castle.
spent Thanksgiving day at Parliament meeting Members of Parliament and it was too cool.
December passed by way too fast. I only had two weeks to spend at Nottingham before traveling for a week and we filled it with tons of Christmassy things. We went ice skating, we shopped around at the Christmas market in the city centre, and we had our last formal dinner. Of course, when it came time to leave I cried ridiculously and couldn't pack my suitcases yet again and just stressed a ton, but I will never forget them running alongside my train on the platform while I cry laughed in a completely silent train carriage. 
After leaving Nottingham I went to Prague, Vienna, and Venice, and then spent a few days in London before heading home on Christmas Eve. It was a magical week and half filled with things like history tours and visits to royal palaces along with choral masses at both St. Paul's and Westminster Abbey and I felt both incredibly blessed and exhausted by the time I had to make my way to Heathrow. Two overweight bags later, I made it home just in time for a wonderful Christmas with my family.
me with some of my favs at Christmas formal.
and again.
ice skating in city centre.
Prague Christmas market.
John Lennon wall in Prague.
Christmas market next to Rathaus in Vienna.
Schonbrunn Palace.
gelato in's never too cold.
Bridge of Sighs in Venice.
All in all, 2014 has been the year of travel for me. I've visited 11 countries this year (Tunisia, France, Spain, Italy, Monaco, Scotland, England, Ireland, Netherlands, Czech Republic, and Austria), which officially means I've seen more of Europe than the US, and I couldn't be happier with that. I love the US, and I love my hometown, but I ended 2013 itching to get away and explore somewhere new, and I really couldn't be happier with the way I did that in 2014. I've got a few study abroad posts coming, so I'll elaborate more on my individual trips and things like that later, but I can't say enough how much I'm so glad I had the opportunity and made the choice to study abroad. It was absolutely one of the best decisions I've ever made and is without a doubt my favorite part of 2014. 
Robin Sharma once said, "Don't live the same year 75 times and call it a life," and that quote both scares me and encourages me. I never want to be the sort of person that falls into a rut, wanting things but never really going for them and living with regret, but I'm glad that I can say in 2014 I said "yes" to so many more things than in my years before. Yes, it was scary, and yes, I jumped in to a lot of things without looking or planning, but I'm honestly so grateful that I did. My life has changed in so many good ways this year and I wouldn't do a single thing differently.
Happy New Year my loves..make it count!
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