Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Au Pair Adventures

      Last summer, my good friend Mansi went to Madrid as an au pair and ever since she excitedly told me about her plans to do so about a year and half ago, I have been thinking about doing the same. After endless months of trying to figure out my plans for the summer and general future, I am so incredibly excited to share with you guys that I am officially going to live in Madrid for twelve amazing weeks this summer! The tickets have been bought and everything, so I guess I can finally start letting myself believe that this is actually happening.
{one of my favorite quotes}
      Truth me told, this year has been pretty stressful for me. I seriously considered transferring out of my current university to a school five hours away, changed my major from Economics and Communication to English and Creative Writing with a minor in Film Studies, and generally just panicked in terms of all things related to my future. Since then, I've learned to better balance my life, and rather than focusing every decision I make on how it will impact my career, I now actively think about living in a more well-rounded way. I've learned to appreciate DC and GW more than I ever thought possible and for the first time in what seems like forever, I finally feel a sense of stability and excitement rather than pure, raw anxiety. I am so grateful to know where I am going to be for the next two years, and for that place to finally feel like home. And going to Madrid feels like the culmination of all of that. I am so proud of myself for letting myself enjoy my life and truly live it, rather than spending every moment focusing on improving my resume. And holy Yeezus, I am so. Damn. Excited. Here's a (short) list of my goals for this summer:
  • Learn flamenco and salsa. I took salsa lessons one summer but that was about six years ago. Regardless, I absolutely loved it and consider it to be one of my favorite dance forms. Dance has always been a part of my life and I can't wait to get back into the groove of devoting my time to learning more about it.
  • Become bilingual... or at least as close to bilingual as possible. I've now been taking Spanish classes for six years, with some breaks in between, and love the language so much. It has taught me so much about the languages I already know and I've become so interested in theory of linguistics. I plan on speaking Spanish every chance I get and working on perfecting that gorgeous Spanish accent.
  • Practice photography. When I went to Europe last summer, I hardly knew how to use my camera. It's so disappointing to see my photos and notice how even if the composition has potential, the exposure is off. I feel like I've made improvements on my photography this year, and hopefully the photos I take this summer will reflect that.
  • Blog! One of the benefits of having a blog is that I have an outlet to post photos and chronicle my adventures as they happen. I plan to post much more often than I have during this past school year and can't wait to look back on these posts of my memories in Madrid.
  • Survive. Not get taken. Not get arrested circa Bridget Jones in Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason. Not get lost to the point where it stops being fun and starts getting scary. 
      At this point, after countless applications and interviews, I have found an incredible host family and purchased my plane tickets. I have an overly ambitious list of about twenty-five cities I plan to visit throughout Spain, Italy, and Portugal. My Pinterest boards on travel have never looked so good. The wanderlust bug has bit me hard you guys, and I. Can't. Wait. I can't wait to share these twelve weeks of my life with you through photos and posts. I can't wait to travel everywhere and immerse myself completely in the culture. I can't wait to let Spain form me and shape me and change me, the way that India does every time I visit, or even the way living in DC for the past two years has done.
      I am so incredibly grateful to my parents, for not only allowing me to live in Spain (read: not be with them at home this summer) but also understanding my passions and encouraging me to follow them. I feel so fortunate to have this opportunity and keep reminding myself to take a moment to step back and appreciate how amazing all of this is. I'm looking forward to seeing how these weeks pan out. 
      As always, feel free to ask me about any questions you may have. And please, let me know if you have any advice, tips, or recommendations for restaurants, sights to see, etc. To chronicle these au pair adventures, I will tag all related posts with "aupair." 
      ¡Hasta luego!
~ V

Friday, April 10, 2015

Love letter to the blogosphere

      Looking back, starting a blog eight months ago seems like a natural progression. I was a big part of my high school newspaper and after that ended, I had missed writing in all its forms throughout my freshman year of college. I am so grateful for that hiatus, though, because it’s what pushed me to take that Creative Writing class last fall, which then propelled me to pursue my degree in English and Creative Writing with a minor in Film Studies and hopefully a future career in television writing. It’s what reminded me that writing has become a part of who I am, and it’s what pushed me to begin this blog with my fellow writer and friend Alana.

      But even beyond the immense joys (and struggles) of starting your own blog, something that I’ve found myself appreciating more and more about the digital age and the blogosphere is the ability to find other blogs and bloggers that I connect with and feel inspired by.

      I’ve written before on the blog about how much I love and admire Emily Schuman’s Cupcakes and Cashmere and Kate Arends’ Wit and Delight (I'll be forever envious that I didn't think of that name first!). Reading these blogs, along with so many others, makes me feel like I am connecting with a mentor even if this interaction is fully unidirectional. Through these blogs and the brilliant, fearless minds behind them, I find support and advice regarding matters ranging from the concerns that daunt me dailymy career and the future in generalto the relatively trivial matterswhat sort of suitcase to buy, how to perfect my skincare routine, where I'm going to grab lunch if and when I go to Prague.

      I am forever grateful to have a support system of amazing family and friends, but sometimes I wish I had an older sister to provide me with the basis of wisdom, advice, and compassionate understanding I hope to create for my younger brother. But when I find these blogs of people who are so willing to share advice and compassion and camaraderie with their readers, I feel like I've found the sort of comfort I need. The blogs I follow often remind me that my career is not (and should not) be the sole focus of my life and that things always have a way of working out.

      I can only hope to provide that same connection, outlet, and reassurance for other readers through One More Saturday.
Thanks for reading!

~ V