Thursday, April 11, 2019
LACOSTE WEEK ONE

LACOSTE WEEK ONE

Hello! Can you believe it? Week one, DONE! And if we're being honest here, so is week two, I'm a bit behind in my posting! Nonetheless I'm HERE and ready to share with you some shots and my vlog from week one living here in Lacoste, France!

Overall, this experience so far as been surreal, the fact that I get to wake up with the sunrise, in a place so calm, so pristine, each day fresh, ready to be explored, it's magical. Everyday I am doing something new and exciting here, I don't know how I got so lucky! All I can say is that I am endlessly grateful for it all. More on that in another post coming soon...
I'll be doing a full room tour towards the end of the quarter, but this is a little snippet of what it looks like. Real stone walls, real finger paintings, real evidence of me overpacking too many scarves I really didn't need... it's all here.
Every corner of the village is a glistening fairy land. No kidding, it's ancient stone overgrown with flowers everywhere and constantly tickled with sunlight. It's so wonderful it's like I have to use words like "glistening fairy land" and "tickled," there's simply no other way to describe it.
We arrived to Lacoste Friday afternoon and basically just spent the rest of the day getting to know everyone and settling in.

The next morning all 107 (give or take, it's something like that) of us hopped onto some busses and went to the markets of Apt. Booths everywhere with things from hand woven textiles to cheesy postcards, to wacky instruments for sale and fresh baked pastries and tiny cheeses on bread on a silver sample tray, Apt had it all. Most definitely want to go back.
Next on the list was a picnic lunch at the Pont Julien, an old ancient Roman bridge built in 3BC! Sitting with strangers on staggered rocks in the spotty stream we made new friends while eating caprese paninis. No complaints there, obviously.

We met all the professors, made our way back to Lacoste and then had tours of the campus.
The rest of the day was spent doing more orientation type things. It was lots of fun, and got us all very excited about the quarter to come.
The next morning (Sunday) some friends and I, (Ethan, Sophie, Kate, DJ, and Liam) ventured out to Bonnieux, the other hilltop village across the valley. It was something like an 8 mile hike in total, but that's because apparently we went the totally wrong way... classic.

I quite enjoyed it though, and it made the view at the top of the mountain all the more rewarding, and oh man, made dinner taste SO good. We were all so hungry by the time we got back to campus. Lucky for us, the food is super good here!
After dinner, some more friends and I (I have a lot of friends okay, it's fine, I'm cool, I know) went up to The Chateau on top of Lacoste and in addition to that, found an abandoned house ready for rummaging, and the old theater and quarry. SO cool, ruins new and old, both abandoned.
Week one was a dream full of splendid sunsets, snuggly sheep, and sleepy sunrises (last pic is the view from my room at sunrise!!) 
I'll be posting about the ongoing fun that has been week two here soon, until then, enjoy my week one vlog! xo, O
Wednesday, April 3, 2019
FLOATING THROUGH VENICE

FLOATING THROUGH VENICE

Hello! Today it's a rainy day in Lacoste, so I thought I'd bring it back to sunny Venice! Venice was our last stop of our Italian adventure. Similarly to Florence, we had little to no time to spend here, I really do wish we had more time to explore each place, they're all so beautiful and different, they deserve it! Not just rushing from one tourist attraction to the next...
We arrived in Venice after a disaster of a train journey late at night on Tuesday, we had the full day Wednesday, and then Thursday morning we flew to Marseilles to meet up with the SCAD group to travel together to Lacoste on Friday. So in full, we really only had one day in Venice.

Not enough time. Never enough time.

As far as the train disaster goes, basically we unknowingly bought tickets to Venice for the wrong day, and were trying to leave from the wrong station. To set the scene for you, I spent some time crying on the cold sidewalk with all of our luggage, while Kate was on a hunt for wifi, fending off sketchy men in greasy pizzarias. Euros spinning down the drain after buying more and more and more train tickets we didn't need, it was a disaster.

But we made it. We somehow made it.
Flash forward to the next day, we kicked off our trip by spending the morning in Burano, the most colorful little lace making island.

Burano is as colorful as it is due to the fact that when fisherman would come home late at night, since all the houses looked so similar, they would get lost in the canals not be able to get home! The houses were permanently painted super bright colors to help the fishermen identify which house was theirs.
Now, it's a haven for instagrammers and bloggers alike, to feed their needs for not only getting caught in a web of tourism for photos but also aesthetics.

Only sort of kidding. I was actually so pleasantly surprised by how little people were there that day. Sure, it wasn't empty, but it wasn't the total tourist trap that Venice is.
We knew we had to try a cappuccino while there, and also the famous Burano S shaped cookies, only made in Burano. The first order we got the guy insisted on bringing it out to us at our table, a few minutes later, we were so pleasantly surprised by the beautiful coco dusted cappuccinos and whip cream dolloped cookie platter we received as seen above...

We enjoyed the cookies with whipped cream so much we had to order some more. Catching another waiter to put in our order... He was far less flirty... we received the plate of cookies below... HA! Clearly the second waiter didn't take to us as much as the first one did... lol
I made a big deal about not throwing this water bottle away. There weren't any recycling bins on Burano, so I just decided to hold on to it until we returned to the main island.

After going on and on about how we can't just throw it away to Kate, how we MUST recycle, I slipped up and accidentally dropped it into the water... So much for that.
The rest of the day was spent walking around Venice looking at all of the big attractions, starting with The Bridge of Sighs. So beautiful.
We went inside of Basillica Di Santa Maria which of course, was beautiful. And although the Piazza San Marco, where the Basillica was, was PACKED with people, getting into the actual church wasn't too bad, little to no lines.
We crossed the Rialto Bridge where we took a bunch of photos of strangers, and got strangers to take photos of us, the view was beautiful, but there were just SO many people everywhere. I truly don't know how Venice has not just sunk due to the weight of people... yikes.
We walked around for a while, got some pizza, sat in a café, got charged for sitting in a café, got lost walking down the tiny alleys and through the mazes of streets, it was fun. It was freezing.
That night I knew I couldn't leave Venice without riding in a gondola. It was such a pleasant experience. The lights of the buildings on to the water were so beautiful, it was quiet and so serene. Although way too expensive, I really enjoyed it, especially since I honestly don't see myself returning to Venice.

Unfortunately it was just so touristy, overpriced, and small to the point where I feel like I did all I needed to, and I really don't need to go back! Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed it, I just don't need to return any time soon.
The last thing I did before we made our way to the airport was watch the sunrise. I had been awake all night editing my Rome vlog, when I saw it begin to get light outside I grabbed my blanket and made a run to chase the sun.

I sat on some ledge on the edge of the water as I watched the sun rise over the island across the water waking up Venice. This moment will stick with me forever. I sat shivering, meditating, setting my intentions for the day and my next few months of travel. It's moments like this when I'm alone and get to take some time to myself that I really cherish. It was the perfect way to say goodbye to Italy and cap off our travels.
Overall, Italy was fantastic. The food was delicious, the art was stunning, and the sights were unbelievable. Even in the messiest of moments, I loved every second. I'm so grateful for my ability to travel, and cannot wait to see where I venture off to next!

Until then! xo, O

To stay up to date, be sure to follow along on my Instgram
Also on Kate's and my travel Instagram- more funny finsta type content
And my YouTube! 
HELLO FROM FRANCE!!!

HELLO FROM FRANCE!!!

BONJOUR!
It's official. I am in Lacoste, France, have gotten totally settled, and am excited to announce my stay here for the next few months! It is an absolute dream here, so beautiful, a whole new world unlike anywhere I have ever been to or even know about. I am so happy.

I'm taking three classes: travel portfolio, intro to fibers (which I weirdly got put into even though I've taken fibers classes before and am a minor, but I'm super excited regardless) and treasures of Provence, an art history class.
I am working on doing daily sketch practices and really thoroughly documenting my time spent here. I want to be able to look back on all the good memories I have made through art.

Although I do desire to travel, I don't think this is going to be like Hong Kong where I take big trips to other countries. I know everything is so close and accessible, but we have excursions just about every Friday and a full week long trip to Paris!

In addition to that I will be spending time with my parents in Monaco, so I will make my way around France one way or another, which you can be sure to follow along and live vicariously through, here!
I am so unbelievably grateful to be able to study abroad. Thank you to not only my parents for being the actual BEST parents ever, but to SCAD for having these opportunities! If you guys are thinking about coming to SCAD, seriously consider the fact that we have some super special campuses which will totally enhance your college experience. 

I am BEYOND happy here, honestly more content than I have been in a while, Lacoste is exactly what I needed. Here's to a clear head, a happy heart, and a fun adventure ahead of me. I cannot wait to watch this quarter unfold. 

YAY! 
xo, O

To stay up to date, be sure to follow along on my Instgram
Also on Kate's and my travel Instagram- more funny finsta type content
And my YouTube!