1st Time in VEGAS

Friday, June 16, 2017

I love spontaneity. It produces the best memories - the ones that count. Anything that disrupts a routine is healthy for the soul in my opinion. When my friend asked me Friday afternoon if I'd like to accompany her to Las Vegas for a show the following day, I didn't hesitate to accept the invitation. It wasn't just that it was a free ticket, but the fact I love last minute getaways; I'd rather my weekend be exhilirating and spontaneous than boring and dull. I've learned to always have a toiletry bag handy and I can whip together an overnight tote in a few minutes. I'm pretty much always game for a new adventure.

People told me the ride from SoCal to Las Vegas was boring. I had an entirely different outlook. I thought the desert was beautiful with the massive hills and expansive prairies full of Joshua trees and cacti. I love open nature that isn't disturbed by industrial life. Maybe it's because I'm bored of seeing cornfields in the Midwest but I loved the drive to Nevada. Time also flies by when you're catching up with an old friend!

My first impression of Las Vegas was that it is a very small city. I had to remind myself that it was created for people's leisure and not a place for business or work. It's comprised of hotels, restaurants, and of course casinos. We had found a cheap hotel room on "the strip" so we would be right in the middle of everything. It was an excellent desicion and totally worth it to be in a central location. Plus our "cheap" hotel room happened to be enormous and more like a suite! We only wished we could have stayed longer.

The main purpose of our visit was to see the Cirque de Soleil show at the Bellagio Hotel. It was the most spectacular performance I've ever seen. The acrobats were doing unfathomable stunts and I was awestruck at how impossibly easy they made it all look. Such talent I witnessed! The coolest part of the show was that it used a stage with a pool in it. They called it the "O" theatre as in "eau" or water in French. Very clever. Between each act the pool would disappear and reappear and I couldn't believe the technology behind it all. Looking back, I'm still speechless as to how the acrobats were so fearless in every move they made but nonetheless it was pleasing to watch and enjoy.

After the show we watched the water fountain "show" outside the Bellagio. As the sun went down it was beautiful to see the waterworks display at night with the "Paris" of Las Vegas in the backdrop. Just having gotten back from France, I was in my Parisien heaven with the faux Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe.

The rest of the evening was spent walking up and down the strip. It was a Saturday night so it was very busy. One of my favorite parts about Las Vegas is the weather. It's always the most perfect tempurature to walk around in without even needing a light sweater - and I get cold easily! My friend and I visited the M&M and Hershey's worlds where everything was overpriced but fancy to the eye. Walking along the strip was fun in its most simplest form. The lights at night were mesmerizing and wonderful. I loved the vibe of Las Vegas and how everyone was happy to be there. It definitely is a world of its own since there's no place quite like it. To compare it to Monaco seems unfitting but the fact it was so small and for an elite group of people made me think of the comparison. In Monaco it's all about the fancy cars or yachts, the casino, and the wealthy and in Las Vegas it's similar with the mentality of living (or vacationing) in luxury. Monaco is of a higher caliber and holds more class but in some ways Vegas reminded me of it. 

My mini getaway was over before I knew it but the drive home wasn't entirely uneventful. About 30 minutes outside of Vegas in the middle of the desert is the famous landmark the "Seven Magic Mountains." I'd seen lots of Instagram posts about it and was excited to experience it for myself. From what I know, a European artist created it and it was installed a year or so ago. It will only be up a little longer so I'm glad I could witness the large art piece. What stood out to me about the sculptures were the bright colors contrasted against the brown hues of the desert. It was a bold flash of color in the middle of nowhere. I love color and it was a happy place for me. There was a steady stream of toursits that kept coming in and out. Thanks to social media, it has become a top place to see and take pictures at. It's amazing how the Internet brings people together and drives common interest among individuals.

Well, my very first trip to Vegas may not be the stereotypical one where "what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas" (especially since I've basically noted everything I did there on this blog), but I'm happy I got to see what it was like! Sometime soon I'd like to go again! Cheers! <3

Nouvelle Fenêtre

Monday, June 12, 2017

I'm not going to lie, I miss being abroad. On the daily I daydream about past memories and incessantly scroll through my camera roll. France stole my heart away, and Grenoble still feels like home. I loved my life there and was perfectly content and happy. I didn't know my strong feelings would linger around this long, however I can't expect such a big part of my life to just slip away and be forgotten. I wouldn't want that, and I'm glad my experiences affected me so deeply. That journey is always going to be there with me as time moves forward. That being said, I've just begun a beautiful new chapter in my life that has already surprised me in more ways than one. After such an incredible year behind me, it's exciting to watch new opportunities unfold. 

I intended to be home with my family all summer, but it turned out to be only for a month. I was excessively determined and eager to find an internship, and I could find nothing in the Chicago area. At my last breaking point before giving up entirely, I finally got a window of opportunity. This particular fenêtra, was in California. This happened on a wim near the end of my search when I started applying to internships out by my school. I had no expectation of actually getting something, yet taking one! Moving out to CA for the summer at first seemed like a bold decision, but the extremeity of the situation decipated. I still can't believe sometimes how quickly my summer changed, but I could not be happier with my decision. It took a lot of work planning and making it possible, but I wanted this summer to be different where I could learn something new and grow in a different way. There were so many times I could have given up as many frustrating barriers got in the way, but I would not let them defeat me. I finally got blessed with an opportunity and I grasped it not letting go. The moment I arrived in California, I knew it was the right move. 

From that point on, it definitely felt like the real deal. I knew it was going to be a busy summer but I prefer it that way. I've taken on a summer class and I commute by train to my internship. On the bright side though I have views of the coast during my long ride and am thoroughly satisfied. My stop leaves me practically on the beach itself! My marketing internship has turned out to be even better than I imagined. I basically took over a women's job as she left for maternity leave for the summer. Everyone in the office is so friendly and the company has an open door, relaxed policy. I'm learning what it's like to work a 9-5 full-time job and the rigors of a daily workload. I even get my own cubicle and computer! It's so cool observing a new company culture and adapting to the norms and expectations of a professional environment. So far I seem to be striving in it, but I still have the rest of the summer to explore the benefits and challenges of an office based work dynamic. The best part of my internship is I actually get to help create some of the marketing material and use my creativity, love for writing, and other skills! 

Another huge perk of being in CA over the summer is catching up with friends that I haven't seen in a whole year. It turns out many of my close friends are here this summer making the whole idea even more rewarding. We may have limited time during the week and usually just the weekend to hang out, but as I learned to do abroad: take full advantage of every moment you have! I plan on going on some fun adventures and using my free time to the fullest. 

I've essentially learned to design a life for myself. One day you realize the whole world is at your fingertips and you can do anything you set your mind to. The moment you figure this "superpower" out, you discover it's been there all along. It takes strength, confidence, positivity, and an openness to take advantage of everything this world has to offer. Studying abroad helped me see this and there's no turning back. The way I see it, there's no reason to be unhappy with where your life is at and let the tide turn things for you. You're the one in control and the momentum is exhilirating and addictive. Once you get going, nobody can stop you. So far, the superwoman in me has managed to study abroad for an extra semester and move to California to start an internship. I completely paved this path for myself because it was what I wanted, and I've been blessed with the outcomes. I wouldn't lead my life any other way and I hope everyone finds this mentality in themselves to reach their goals and chase their dreams. 

"Be the girl who decided to go for it."
"Don't wait for opportunity. Create it."
"It always seems impossible until it is done."
"Take the risk or lose the chance." 
"Don't put off your happy life."
"Remember, it's up to you, and only YOU, to design the life you want..."