Life Lately

 {Enjoying the lake in my town.}

 {Watching my little sister graduate!! Can't believe it's been two years 
since I graduated.}

 {Wandering around the rose garden in Downtown Sacramento.}

 {Visiting Lake Tahoe and Truckee a.k.a. my favorite places}

{Enjoying my bright blue running shoes. Today's run was brutal.}

I guess life has been pretty exciting lately. :) I've been taking everything one day at
a time and it seems to be working for me. I know God has a pretty awesome plan 
for the rest of my summer and I can't wait to see what that is. 

How's your life been lately?

Constants and Consistency

I take great comfort in constants and consistency.

I breathe easier when I know I can rely on something/someone. Don't we all? I blame this love of consistency with my lack of love for Arizona and its weather. I crave seasons and that change that occurs every few months when you feel the air becoming brisker or warmer and you see the Earth embracing change with open arms. Arizona does not have seasons and it stresses me out. To be blunt.

I've recently taken up running. Mostly to make my body feel less foreign after studying abroad in Italy where food is all part of the experience, and then partly because it provides me with a constant. Every morning I go for a run and then figure out the rest of the day from there. But I have that one thing that is constant and it's nice. Summer has always stressed me out a little because it's so very loose. But that's also why I like it. It's a confusing relationship.

Much of the time this need for consistency and constants in my life causes me stress because there may be a lack of it and it also causes me to relax. I've realized I can have a mixture of constants and chaos within the same day and you know what? I survive. Go figure.

So this is something about me. And I apparently really love "C" words...

{also this picture has absolutely nothing to do with this post, and that seems to be a trend around here, but I just realized that the people seem like they are walking up to Heaven and it kind of puts me at ease.}

I Have to Admit Something...

I'm slightly embarrassed to say this but I recently deleted someone off Facebook because
she is in Orvieto right now, on the same program I was on, and I just can't
bear to look at her constant stream of photos. 

I think I can't bear to see her photos and hear her stories because that's my place. That's where
I met some incredible people, experienced new things, and I don't want to look at 
someone else's photos and have it change my view of Orvieto. 

I don't want to see Orvieto through anyone else's eyes, only mine. Is that selfish?
I think it has a little bit to do with self preservation and helping with my adjustment
back to regular life. 

Maybe eventually I'll be able to hear other peoples stories of Orvieto. But for now I
want to keep my memories locked safe within my head, this blog, and my pictures.

I'm a Little Stuck

{photo via Tumblr}

I love reading other peoples blogs and every once in a while finding inspiration for my own,
but lately (ever since I returned from Italy) the inspiration and desire to write a 
post has dwindled and I feel like I just need to figure some things out in my life right now.
Get myself together after living abroad kind of things. 

I'm sure any person who has studied abroad has felt this way, like they changed
while they were gone yet they come home and feel slightly the same and completely different
at the same time. Like life almost stopped and then continued once I came back. 
So now I am trying to pick up the pieces and figure out my life back in the States.
What do I want to do? What kind of person do I want to be? How do I want
to improve myself? And honestly, seeing all these blogs and comparing mine to others
and my life to others is not helping very much. So perhaps this is where I take a break.

Have you experience this kind of need for a break in blogging before?

Film Shots of Italy

 {mom and I in Venice}

 {Florence at sunset}

 {Orvieto duomo}


{Cinque Terre}

I thought it would be fun to switch it up a little bit with some of the photos from
my parents visit. I love how these turned out. There is something imperfect
and beautiful about film. 

Firenze with my Parents

{my dad just relaxing in the crowded city}

{Pitti Palace}

My parents had never been to Florence before and with two days to roam the city,
we covered a lot of ground. One thing we did which I had not done before was 
explore Boboli Gardens. If you are expecting palace grounds with a lot of green
but not much else, then this is your place. If you want flowers, I recommend you go elsewhere.

Unfortunately, my family wanted flowers. But hey, I got some nice photos out of it
and we got some exercise. One other cool thing we did was visiting this bar called
Volume in Santo Spirito. The decor is artsy and hipster and the drinks are great!
I definitely recommend dropping by on your next visit to Firenze. :)

I'm Home!

Being home so far has been amazing/weird/comforting all at the same time.
Part of me feels like I never left and the other part of me feels like everything
has changed. I went to Safeway for the first time in a while yesterday and that 
was interesting and slightly embarrassing when I pictured how tiny the markets
are in Italy.

I think it will be a slow adjustment back to American life but so far it has
been pretty fun falling in love with my country and all of it's little quirks
all over again. Oh, and the fact that everyone speaks English? Fantastic! 
I have been failing at speaking English without mumbling my words and/or
forgetting that the person behind the counter knows English so I don't need to break
out into a sweat trying to come up with the words in Italian.

The little things make this transition hilarious and interesting. 

{photo from Cinque Terre. This was our view from out hotel room}

On the Airplane

While jetting home from Europe to California, you tend to make friends with those around you
since you are all stuck together for 10 + hours. I just so happened to be sitting next to a man
who had a story to tell...

I opened up to his story because it seemed like one that needed to be told and one that held weight.
He began by mentioning that his wife had passed away a year ago due to cancer, and 
with pain in his eyes, you could tell he was still hurting. He went on to tell me the story of his
wife growing up with her mom and grandmother in Poland during WWII. 

By some miracle, all three women survived the Nazi attack with the help of a friend who
took them in and said they were Christians. Because of that woman's bravery and
courage, all three women survived and went on to live free and beautiful lives.

He went back to the town that his wife stayed in for the duration of the Nazi occupation
and was greeted with a welcome display of affection and love by the people of the town.
There were news crews and newspaper reporters lining up to hear about the Americans
that were visiting to finally meet the amazing woman who saved his wife and 
her family. They were celebrities in a town that had nothing but gave everything.

It was the kind of story that novels are written about. It was a story that could 
change your perspective on life and help you realize that people can be so
wonderfully good. 

He shared this story with me and I wanted to share it with all of you (though the condensed
version). I hope this story gave you a bit of hope in a world that really needs
a good lifting of spirits. 

{The photo is one I took in Lucca that has nothing really to do with the story other 
than it is a public display of love and this story is filled with love}