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Captured by Cameraphone

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From the days of the half-megapixel camera on my old middle school flip phone, cell phone cameras have come along way over the past several years. I’m constantly amazed that my iPhone can often capture a better photo than my Canon point-and-shoot can, without the fancy lens or mechanical zoom.

And so, over the past month or so, I’ve captured a good amount of photos using my phone. While I’m still using the indestructible Samsung phone that I bought in Turkey last semester––sans camera, a pain to text on, yet comes with a nifty Bejeweled knock-off––I tend to often have my iPhone on me as a portable way to connect to the internet or take photos on the go.

Here’s a selection from my January photo stream:

In the air

The tundra of Chicago on my layover from San Francisco to Frankfurt on the flight out.

The tundra of Chicago on my layover from San Francisco to Frankfurt on the flight out.

Apparently, this was enough snow in Chicago to delay transferring the aircraft from the hangar to the gate by two hours...

Apparently, this was enough snow in Chicago to delay transferring the aircraft from the hangar to the gate by two hours…

WHOOHOO! Look at this leg room! I think I could get used to this.

WHOOHOO! Look at this leg room! I think I could get used to this.

Chasing the sunrise.

Chasing the sunrise.

On my Lufthansa flight from Germany to Italy, the flight attendant handed me this. I guess I looked like I was/could speak Italian? (Score!)

On my Lufthansa flight from Germany to Italy, the flight attendant handed me this. I guess I looked like I was/could speak Italian? (Score!)

Now too shabby of a view: sunrise over the Alps.

Now too shabby of a view: sunrise over the Alps.

Strange chocolate/nougat dessert popsicle thing that Lufthansa gave me for dessert after breakfast.

Strange chocolate/nougat dessert popsicle thing that Lufthansa gave me for dessert after breakfast.

In Fiesole

The view from the lookout on my first day in Italy.

The view from the lookout on my first day in Italy.

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After every pranzo (lunch) during the week, we have espresso and dessert––my favorite part!

After every pranzo (lunch) during the week, we have espresso and dessert––my favorite part!

What my everyday walk to school from the bus stop looks like.

What my everyday walk to school from the bus stop looks like.

Sunset from the Villa. (I have a feeling this will be a theme this semester.)

Sunset from the Villa. (I have a feeling this will be a theme this semester.)

Not a bad view for a Monday morning.

Not a bad view for a Monday morning.

The best cappuccino I've had so far from my favorite bar in Fiesole, named Alcedo.

The best cappuccino I’ve had so far from my favorite bar in Fiesole, named Alcedo.

 

CAFFEINE.

SO GOOD.

The burning of the olive groves around this time of year make for some beautiful sunsets!

The burning of the olive groves around this time of year makes for some beautiful sunsets.

In Firenze

Poetry street art posted on some city walls.

Poetry street art posted on city walls.

During the first week, I tagged along with the Art History class on their field trip to the Bargello and Uffizi.

During the first week, I tagged along with the Art History class on their field trip to the Bargello and Uffizi.

Someone get her some clothes.

I think someone forgot to get dressed this morning.

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Awkward Medieval wooden statues.

Awkward Medieval wooden statue. (Almost as good as the many mannequins I photographed last semester in Turkey… maybe this should be my new theme.)

At home

Every morning, my host mother puts out a breakfast spread for us. We eat the traditional Italian way--with a light breakfast of tea, yogurt, cookies, or a pastry.

Every morning, my host mother puts out a breakfast spread for us. We eat the traditional Italian way–with a light breakfast of tea, yogurt, cookies, or a pastry.

Another view of the kitchen.

Another view of the kitchen.

The refrigerator and TV, which we usually have on in the background during dinner.

The refrigerator and TV, which we usually have on in the background during dinner.

Cabinet in the kitchen. So homey!

Cabinet in the kitchen. So homey!

Photos from when I first moved in... Here's my desk.

Photos from when I first moved in. Here’s my desk.

Surfboard on the wall. (So I can pretend that I'm a surfer even in Italy.)

Surfboard on the wall. (So I can pretend that I’m a surfer even in Italy.)

Some of the CD collection in my room. Iron Maiden, Radiohead, Pearl Jam, etc.

Some of the CD collection in my room. Iron Maiden, Radiohead, Pearl Jam, etc.

My adopted dog for this semester! She's named Iside (EE-see-day), after the Egyptian goddess.

And lastly, my adopted dog for this semester! She’s named Iside (EE-see-day), after the Egyptian goddess.

Hey, is this thing on?

My daily walk to Pleasure Point

I’ve got about a week to go until my departure date, and I think it’s just finally hitting me what I’ve going to be getting myself into for this next school year.

Holy cow.

Last spring, when I first put this whole plan into action, the idea of spending an entire year in foreign countries remained abstract and tenuous. As an undergraduate at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, I always knew that I would spend some portion of my undergraduate time abroad. In the words of my dean, study abroad is “strongly suggested” and there are few better ways to enrich your study of international affairs than to actually go visit those foreign countries.

And so, after some soul-searching last spring, here’s the plan: For the fall semester, I will study in Alanya, Turkey, at the McGhee Center for Eastern Mediterranean Studies. Then, in the spring, I’ll spend my semester at Villa le Balze in Fiesole, Italy.

As the days count down, I am ridiculously excited to begin this crazy year of travel. In all honesty, I feel slightly jittery and unprepared. I mean, I’ve got my passport and travel plans and background reading squared away, but the Type-A in me gets anxious with the idea that you can’t completely prepare for everything that living abroad might throw at you. In the meantime, I’m trying to quell that by reading all I can about life in Turkey before I actually arrive in little over a week.

I’ll write in greater detail about my plans for Turkey later on, but I thought this would be a good time to give a run-down about what I’ve been up to this summer, in the good ol’ U.S. of A.

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The view from Healey Lawn, with Copley Hall in the background.

In May, I said goodbye to my beautiful city of Washington, D.C., for the whole next year. Oh Healey Lawn, I already miss you.

This summer, one of the important things for me was to spend time with my family and friends at home in Northern California. Since I go to school on the opposite coast––and would be going to school on the opposite side of the world––I truly cherished spending my time at home. Like getting to see  this goofy guy:

Spotted: One reticent almost-middle schooler hiding in the clothing racks at Target.

Spotted: One reticent almost-middle schooler hiding in the clothing racks at Target.

He just started middle school, and while he’s often embarrassed by me, he’s the coolest kid I know. Case in point: At karaoke, he once told the employee that his name was “C-Dawg” and he was from South Africa before he belted out “God Bless America” to a crowd of Baby Boomer cruisegoers.

In June, my family  took a trip to Alaska, where we stalked Sarah Palin’s house, landed in a ski plane on Mt. McKinley, took an 8-hour bus ride on a dirt road into Denali National Park, got devoured by mosquitoes, and met a handful of the gloriously colorful people who reside in our 49th state.

Back in California, I lived for a good portion of the summer in Santa Cruz, Calif., where I taught SAT and college prep classes in Watsonville and Aptos for high school students through a really cool company called CollegeSpring. (Check them out!)

The rest of my summer included waterskiing in Arkansas, visiting the location of the very first Walmart, interning for a legal-related start-up called MyLawsuit.com, and spending lots of time with my wonderful boyfriend Shawn.

Hi Shawn!

Hi Shawn!

Right now, it’s just a matter of taking care of the last details––you know, procrastinating on packing until the last minute, googling what actually is in a Turkish Delight, and daydreaming about where else I want to travel to during my fall break.