A Travellerspoint blog

Nice to see you, 2011.

Its a helluva start, being able to recognize what makes you happy.

semi-overcast 52 °F

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The whopping 5 days of 2011 have been very inspiring for me. I've already made goals for myself, which are very typical for a new year, but I feel like this time is different. I brought in the new year with my best friend and 7 straight hours on her couch in Charlotte watching bowl games while eating chili. Pure happiness. Just simplistic happiness. Then I realized, this is the kind of thing thats made me happy all along. This year is going to be a helluva lot different than last.

For my first blog of 2011, I decided I was going to post my very own bucket list for the year. Ironically, as if we're not freakishly the same person already, my friend Madison from Prague posted a bucket list on her personal blog. Its quite inspiring because its nothing cliche like skydiving or whatever. Just goals realistically within grasp. So I decided to create mine for just 2011 alone, so hopefully then, throughout the year, ya'll can help me check items off and I can share these adventures as they come. I'm sure this list will grow with nit picky ones, but these are the biggens for now..

  • Run a marathon
  • Get back on the level of piano where I left off
  • Get a big girl job during the summer
  • Volunteer more often
  • Take my sisters on a getaway
  • Make Dean's List (we'll shoot for at least the Spring for now!)
  • Go to a country I've never been before
  • Rekindle a lost friendship
  • Make it a point to see and learn more about my family
  • Visit an old friend I haven't seen in a while
  • Fall in love and give all my love
  • Keep up going to church
  • Find a new hobby that I can become passionate about
  • Read a classic book
  • Apply to grad school (or somethin' along those lines..)

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Posted by Courtster 12:05 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Traveling Across the U.S. for the Holidays

Struggles make me stronger and changes make me wise -- And happiness has its own way of takin' its sweet time.

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"Trying to forget someone you love is like trying to remember someone you never knew. If you're stupid enough to walk away, I'll be smart enough to let you go.. because relationships are like glass. Sometimes its better to leave them broken than to hurt yourself trying to fix them. If its meant to be, it'll happen."

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I'll admit it really doesn't seem that long since I last updated.. the past four months have been an absolutely blur, its hard to keep track of the time. Theres no possible way I'd be able to recap everything that has happened since August, but I'll do my best to be short and sweet. :)

It was a great semester. Lots of new friends, rekindling with some of my best old ones (Ehem, Kasey Kellum). Its been an emotional rollercoaster ride that has broken me like never before, only to turn around and make me stronger. I have some really great people in my life that I realized I take for granted.. well, not anymore. If I love you, I want you to know that I LOVE you, and some. I've had to make some drastic changes in my life to get to where I am right now. And I couldn't be happier.

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Over halfway done with college. Family followers-- feeling old yet? You ain't kidding. A lot of my good friends are graduating, applying for graduate school or looking for big people jobs. One of my suitemates from NC State just got engaged.. do wahh. Am I really at that point in life yet? Holy heavens, right? Exactly what I was thinking. But when it all comes down to it, I'm at my comfort pace. I'm truckin' through school, enjoying my youth, but if you know me at all, I'm itching to get a move on with things. Internships are applied for, graduate school pamplets scattering my floor. Lets get this show on the road.

Relationship-wise, I've seen my friends take some low blows. I understand now, I understand how it is to be the underdog, the one getting hurt, the one to fall and have someone keep kicking you down. Being in a relationship, its hard to relate to others that want nothing more than to be cared about, to be appreciated.. when you've had it all along. But when its gone, bouncing back is a job. Theres no picking up where you left off.. its starting from scratch. Learning from your mistakes is such an important thing to take advantage of.. you gotta know to roll with the punches. I was going nowhere fast with the whole dating thing, but now I know the meaning of "patience is a virture."

In other news, I HAVE TWINS!.. well, you know, not really. In my sorority. Shannon and Kristen, they have made their way into the center of my world.

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A rundown via photo album..

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Scott and LeAnne were able to visit Wilmington for my sorority's founders day! We had a fantastic time hanging out at Rogers Bay and piddlin' around downtown Wilms!

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My Semiformal with Josh Sorrell. Then Barbie family picture at dinner!

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Allyson and I at the NCSU homecoming game against Wake Forest.

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TKE Semiformal with Henry Schmitz.

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My baby sisters at Thanksgiving. Madison (14) and Paige (11). Amazing how much they've grown.

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Phi Gam Semiformal with Fletch Klavik. Post-all nighter for our National Security Law final. Which I got a 'B' in. Holler!

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For the first time in YEARS, I was able to go to our annual family Christmas party at home. EVERYONE was accounted for (except for Blake and Brady) and we all had such an awesome time! No bickering, no annoyances. Just pure joy. Perfection.

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Then of course, most recently, me and mema went on a weekend date to visit my dad in the Big Apple! If you have not checked out my pictures on facebook, please do. They are breathtaking. What an amazingly fantastic city. It even snowed while we were there! We saw everything.. Rockefeller Plaza, went up the Empire State Building, Time Square, Ground Zero, Battery Park, Chinatown, the Rockettes at Radio City Hall.. many more trips to come, for sure!
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And now the next leg of my journey is good ol' Fort Worth, Texas! Its hard to believe its been a whole year since I've been here.. and boy is it good to be back. On Saturday, we pack up and head over to Mobile, Alabama to spend a few days with LeAnne's family before I finally head home on the 23rd. Then perhaps a week long trip to the QC before my best friend leaves me for 5 months! It's been an amazing adventure so far.
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Shelby and I have been sitting in Starbucks far too long, so I'm going to wrap this bad boy up. Many thanks for keeping tabs on my life, I appreciate the followers and readers alike! I'll update after the holidays. I'm sure more shenanigans will commence, it seems pretty standard nowadays!

Merry Christmas, ya'll! I love each and every one of you.

Posted by Courtster 12:02 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Life has got to be lived -- thats all there is to it.

-Eleanor Roosevelt

semi-overcast 80 °F

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Ahoy to all my subscribers, followers and others that have nothing else to read (:

Obvious point- I'm back in the good ol' U-S-of-A. Its nice to be back, but let me tell you, its been quite the roller coaster ride. Bottom line, life isn't how I expected it to be when I got home. Skipping all the blahdy blah stuff, I'm still standing on my own two feet with some pretty amazing people backing me up all the way.

I've come to realize the reality that people come in and out of your life for a reason. It may not be the best circumstances or the most enlightening situations, but life goes on. You bring people with you and leave some behind, you learn life lessons, you move on and go about your days. Nothing goes unnoticed, but nothing should be held as a grudge either. I am too young to look at my feet, when what I have to look forward to, whatever that may be, could be absolutely phenomenal.

I'm falling in love with life all over again. My family, particularly my mema (and this means a lot coming from her) claims that I'm brighter since coming back from abroad. I'm more vibrant, more lovely, more open, more at ease. And I see it in myself. Take life as it comes. Yes, the future is important, but taking life one step at a time.. well, thats the joy of it all, if you think about it. Appreciating every little bit, especially since you don't know how long you have until its gone forever. I miss Prague and everything about it, but I've taken what that experience has taught me so it can continue to make me stronger as I begin my new life here at home.

Ultimately, I took this back from my trip. Pretty deep stuff, thats for sure.. but I feel it all. I feel it within me, I feel the change and the betterment. I had my good times and made my mistakes that I've had to deal with here and I am. Sorta dealing. I'm finally feeling the affects of a typical 20-year old woman. I almost find a comfort in not knowing whats to come, but it honestly still scares the daylights out of me. The pathway I thought I had for my life has been dramatically altered and I'm still not quite sure how I feel about it, but I guess how I deal is just how I'll deal. Everything will work out how its supposed to. The old times were great but things can only get better from here. I've never really experienced true heartache and struggle before, but my friends are my crutch and my family is my ground. NOTHING can beat that.

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'Til next time, folks. I'll share more enlightening, heartfelt thoughts with ya'll (:

Posted by Courtster 19:39 Archived in USA Comments (1)

Deutschland ist rief meinen Namen.

Berlin.

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Last big trip of this go-round. BERLIN! A weekend, however, ended up being WAY too short for this amazing city.

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The bus ride was lovely! Met a British fellow named John and we chatted pretty much the entire way. I'm pretty sure God meant for us to meet, seeing as the doof didn't bring his passport knowing hes crossing the border. So it was a fine of 25 Euros or JAIL.. of course he only has 10 Euros on him. Haha. Poor dude, hes rolling laughing about this unfortunate event while his gf waiting for him in Berlin is freaking out on him lol. So I lent him the 15 Euro so all was well in the world. We got quite the kick out of that. We proceeded through the evening talking about deep life experiences, IKEA Swedish meatballs I HAVE to try before I leave, and witnessing drunks on the Berlin metro, for which I cursed him for having to leave me alone lol. I survived though, obviously. Haha.

Stupid Friday class made me get into Berlin around 11pm, where I met up with my girls from CEA. Of course, they already had their game faces on to go out, so within 30 minutes, out we go! Well, we tagged along with a random assortment of fellows they met in our hostels bar.. one of which actually has a house in Emerald Isle!! How crazy. So he called me Emerald all night as I proceeded to bag on him from being from Canada. Haha. Thankfully, one was a local, so we followed him around all night. UNFORTUNATELY.. we go to one of the very few clubs that you have to be freaking 21 to get into. SO, since me and Mel are not 21, and Lital and Lex feel for us, haha, we went to the biggest club in Berlin called Matrix. This was probably the most insane, hottest, crowded, and techno-ish club I have ever been to. So many sweaty crazies jumping up and down to this "music" haha. We might need to introduce Europe to normal clubbing music ASAP.

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Day dos. Rain. Go figure. So no walking tour that day. BUT. me and Lex did decide to be doofs and check out some museums.. which were SO COOL. First we hit up the Berliner dom, which was probably one of the most massive cathedrals I've ever seen. There was also a wedding going on while we were in there.. so sweeeet! The Altes (Old) Museum housed ancient Greek and Roman artifacts.. I had a sick obsession with all of the fighting and war materials. Some of the shields and swords dated back to 8 B.C!! INCREDIBLE. So I definitely went picture happy there, that you can see via facebook. As you can see in them, and Garth so kindly pointed out, the ancient peoples had a crazy obsession with penises and sexual carvings haha. Cracks me up. Also, I found my future husband.. -picture below- I saw this sculpture and immediately melted. I'm really not sure why.. eh, nevermind, I do know why! Haha.

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When we got back to the hostel, one of Lital's friends from college had gotten in touch with her about meeting up with all of us. So we got dolled up and headed out to a vegetarian restaurant.. yes, me, a vegetarian restaurant. I think I questioned everything on the menu. Haha. Settled with a bean burrito.. not the worst thing I've ever eaten.. but it was definitely lacking somethin.. oh yeah -- A BIG OL' SLAB OF BEEF! Afterwards, we wandered over to home boys apartment and climbed a ladder up onto the roof to watch the sunset over the Berlin skyline. Holy most gorgeous thing I had ever seen. A little guitar playing, a little wine.. perfection. Like a little idiot, I left my camera card in my computer, so once the girls post their pictures from that evening, there will be some on here! So after a fix of gelato, Lex, Mel, and myself headed back to the hostel to spruce up then go out to a very well recommended club joint called White Trash Fast Food.. what a name, right?! They had a live band playing upstairs and the club part was downstairs. Met the most awesome bartender from Colorado who gave us a hard time all night. But it was a real good time.

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Needless to say, we didn't wake up early enough for the morning tour. Lex, Kayki and myself made our way towards the Brandenburg gate, grabbed lunch, then met up with the free walking tour. Can't go wrong! Same company I used in Munich.. Sandeman's NewEurope Tour.. so great. Our British tour guide Rob rocked.. I can't imagine learning all the information they have to know. Haha. We also saw the Berlin Wall, the Holocaust Memorial, Checkpoint Charlie, the most amazing chocolate factory I've ever seen in my entire life, the place of Hitlers old bunker where he died and was burned, the Nazi book burning, Museum Island, the TV tower, which you can really see from anywhere lol, and so soo sooo much more. Once again, I took a lot of pictures, but so did the other girls, so more to come later!

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WENT TO DOLORES. Well, I was threatened if I didn't go, I would get kicked in the face. Thank goodness it was so good.. me and Lex only had to search far and freakin wide for a dang ATM machine. But success, another burrito! A normal one, at that. Haha. And mint lemonade, yum. Of course, that didn't end up being dinner, just a snack-ish haha. There was an Asian restaurant across the street from our hostel we had been eying. Ended up being BALLER, chicken skewers, rice and PEANUT sauce. Interesante, yes. Had a wonderful conversation with Lex. I love how well we connected this trip! Bluntly, I haven't discussed my faith with anyone in so long.. it was awesome to be able to relate to someone. She might have even convinced me to spent a week in Haiti with her next year for evangelism. Uh, I'm game.

Bars flooded our street, so we chose a little hole in the wall and it ended up being such a precious little place. Almost like a nicer, classier Red Room. Haha. Tried my first White Russian (delicious) but can't go wrong with my new found love, mojito. Ended Berlin chill, calm, cool and beautiful. Had to wake up bright and early for my 9am bus. Crashed hard, of course. Definitely didn't get to spend as much time in Berlin as I would have liked.. there seemed to be sooo much more I wanted to see!

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Now back in Praha.. sittin in Starbucks, attempting to do work, figuring out life -- ya know, the usual. STANDARD. Haha. Home is getting closer and closer, still slightly bittersweet. But with each day, I get more anxious. I can't wait to have my own room AND bathroom, spend time with my family and friends, eat food that I don't have doubts about, wear different CLOTHES!, sprawl out on my big ol' bed.. overall, home will be quite a beautiful thing. I will, however, miss the culture and atmosphere of this place. I've met some great friends.. I can only hope I met them for a reason and we'll meet up again someday. A trip to Haiti might even be in my future! Its that serious!

Now on to my two papers and presentation I have due in the next 9 days.

9 days. Wow.

Caio,
Court.

Posted by Courtster 08:58 Archived in Germany Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

Amo l'Italia

sunny 95 °F

Its been an amazing, eye-opening past week. Not only did I get to see Roma once again, I got to experience the life of true Italian communities in the country.. no tourists, no cheesy monuments with hour-long lines.. just original beauty at its finest.

I flew out of Prague to Fiumicino in Rome. Got picked up by the most precious little Italiano man who took me to Fleur's apartment right in the center of Rome. Seriously, one minute I'm awing at the Colosseum, then two seconds later we're pulling up to her building. Fantastic. The big plan for the night, the main reason I felt it necessary to skip two classes, was the Ambassador's 4th of July shindig at his residence. 3,000 people were expected to attend. Some party, eh?! I still like to think that it was my welcoming party! Haha. Aside from it being my first time in 2 months wearing heels, it was an awesome time! I met all kinds of interesting and rather important people to the embassy and foreign services. Even better, I saw them at their drunken finest! Haha! But really, endless amounts of booze, food, music and people.. it was a really great time. And a very unique experience! Afterwards, we headed down to a very Americanized bar called Dukes for a birthday/going-away party for some of Fleur's friends. Rather interesting partying with 30-some odd year olds! But I couldn't have asked for a better first night in Roma!

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The next day, I did a little bit of sightseeing before I met dad back at Fleur's. So we packed up for a long weekend in Marche, where Fleur's parents have a house in the country. So we hiked over in the ridiculous heat over to the embassy to head on out! Wish I could remember the ride.. for anyone that knows me, I am the worst person to road trip with lol any time over 30 minutes in a car and I CRASH. But since I'm updating this so long after all this happened, I'll just touch on the big events!

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Bottom line - Italian food is the BOMB. I mean, I love pasta and pizza anyways, but nothing is like legit brushetta and ravioli and boar sauce and AH. Just pure deliciousness. Anyways, the first town we hit up during our tour of the countryside in Marche was Montecarotto, a cutie little medieval town. All over the place were signs talking about a Vino (Wine) festival taking place.. that night! So needless to say, we made our way back that night. More on that later! But on the note of vino, I went to my first wine tasting! We only tried three, the brand Moncaro, which is LOVE. It was a cool experience. First of four in this fabulous weekend. What a bonding experience with the parentals, eh? Haha. But Marche was exactly how I would picture the Italian countryside. Sunflowers, miles and miles of farming fields, awesome locals.. everywhere I turned my head was another breathtaking view. I don't blame Fleur's parents for wanting to retire out there!

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We stopped for a lunch at one of those typical Italian restaurants that feel no need to give you a menu. We sit down, tell them we want pasta, and two kinds are brought out to us. Perfection. This was probably the best ravioli I have ever had in my entire life. Shame I don't even know what kind it was since, obviously, I didn't exact ORDER it. Haha. But while we were eating, there was a children's camp going on and there were putting on a performance. Once we started listening more closely, we realized they were speaking in English! Now this is big, we were quite literally in the middle of nowhere.. all locals, no tourists, so hardly anyone spoke English. Very neat to see!

Skip, skip, skip... to VINO festival! This town is literally.. TINY. So there were stations in various places that served different types of food and wine actually produced in the town. At one food stand, we met an Irish girl, probably about my age, who had moved to Montecarotto with her mother just to start a new life. At our last stop of the night, a band was dressed in cowboys boots and hats playing "Sweet Home Alabama" which rocked, and I ran into Laura. She snagged me and took me around to introduce me to her friends. We danced and just had a good ol' time! Yay new friends!

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Montepulciano was the next stop. This town is in Tuscany and where NEW MOON was filmed! So cool! We met up with two fellows from the embassy, Matt and John, who absolutely rock. It was a lovely 4th of July. We sat in the new moon square just kind of reflecting on life. Splendid. Our reservation at our hotel got screwed up so we actually got UPGRADED to an apartment.. which was BALLER. Come to find out, that's actually where the New Moon cast stayed! Haha. Doofy, I know.

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We also stopped by Orvieto, which is another small town in Tuscany. More beautiful churches and medieval architecture.. we were all pretty pooped by this point. Haha. It was very nice getting back to Roma. Fleur's friend Gautam came into town Tuesday morning, so we grabbed lunch then piddled around the center once my dad got home from class. Saw the Trevi fountain again, which is always a beautiful site. Tuesday was also the absolute best, most fat kid day of my LIFE. Vincent took us three and his sister Vanessa on a GELATO TOUR. Yes, it is exactly what you are imagining. We went to FOUR different gelato parlors and YES, we got ice cream at each and every one. Nothing beats good ol' strawberry gelato. It will always be my favorite!

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Wednesday I had to leave.. very, very sad. Gautam and I did the tourist thang at the Colosseum, which will always be my most favorite place. Definitely the perfect end to a perfect week! Watch out, Italy.. I will be back.

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Skip, skip, skipppp.. pooooo on Spain and their constant need to over-dramatize injuries. I was really rooting for Holland to win! Ah well. I LOVED being in Europe for the World Cup. Month long trip in 2016? I think so.

Posted by Courtster 06:40 Archived in Italy Tagged air_travel Comments (0)

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