Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Winter in Europe

Since my last post I've finish up this semester with both the university finals and the other finals for the french government. As you can imagine I needed a break after all these test. Since the last day of the semester I started out my travels with a great weekend in Paris saying goodbye, or see you later rather, to some great friends I've made since coming to France. After Paris I went to Munich Germany with a friend.

Germany gets it's own paragraph lol. I loved Munich so much...they had an amazing Christmas market which was perfect for getting me in the holiday spirit. They also had snow which was nice as I have been craving snow since then end of October when everyone back home got so much!! In addition to the wonderful winter atmosphere the food was amazing!! Maybe because it was more similar to what we eat in america compared to what I've been eating the past few months in France...Don't get me wrong I love the french food with all it's healthy aspects but sometimes its just nice to have a pretzel and beer. My German was certainly not as up to par as I would have liked lol. I went to check into our hotel and I started the sentence in German and halfway through with out realizing it I had switched to French. lol But the language difference really wasn't a problem as most everyone we encountered ended up speaking English...

Right now I'm in Belgium staying in Bruxelles. After a interesting start with mixed up train tickets and getting lost trying to find our hotel we are finally settle in and having a nice time exploring the city...I already miss the German food but OMG is this chocolate here amazing!! It's also nice being back in a French speaking country where I don't really have to worry about the language barrier like in Germany...

I must say I am looking forward to going back to Caen, since coming to Europe it's become my second home. I can't wait to start teaching. I met the teacher and two of the classes I will be working with and it seems like it will be such a great experience. I'm also looking forward to getting back to Caen so I can start running again and doing those 8 min ab work-outs again...I'm going to need them after this Belgium chocolate lol.

As far as the new year is concerned I'm very optimistic about many successful new beginnings. After reflecting on the past two-ish years I feel like I've grown so much and changed in so many ways...and yeah in the past few months I've had some set backs but I feel like over all this next year might finally be the year when my life will start to flourish with things I've been working towards.

Best wishes for everyone to have a safe and happy holiday + new year!! :)

Monday, November 28, 2011

Fall in Europe

It's been awhile since I've checked in here. Since my last post I traveled to London for the weekend. I had a great time. The city has a unique charm that holds its own when compared to Paris or Rome. I was able to have tea in London which I can now knock off my bucket list...I also tried a variety of different beers including a chocolate beer!! Aside from London school has been keeping me pretty busy with tests and h/w. Around mid November I was getting a little unhappy with what I thought at the time was a lack of progress...I guess I was expecting to be fluent after two months here...Funny I know, but I've been making a lot of progress and my final exams coming up aren't so frighting anymore...Hopefully I'll do well!!

I tried ice-skating a few weekends ago and I ended up having a lot of fun...I guess that's what this time over here is about, going outside of my comfort zone, trying new things and little by little growing as a person.

I've been comparing the lifestyles of France and the US lately...there are a few things I would like to bring back with me, as well as some things I hope to leave here for the French to learn from...(maybe I'll write a post on that at some point in the near future) 

I spent my first Thanksgiving away from my family over here with my french family :-) I couldn't have asked for better company/better food!! There is so much to be thankful for!! :) 

Also I got the teaching aid position that I applied for next semester. I'm so excited to start!! It sounds like a lot of fun and I keep thinking about different activities to do with the kids. Funny since I never really wanted to be a teacher...

Other then that I have finals starting next week... wish me luck!  

And naturally I miss everyone back home!! So skype me!! :) 

Sunday, October 9, 2011

The things we don't talk about...

Time for a new post! Fall has always been my favorite time of the year. I love the smell of fall and of course the perfect weather to wear a hoodie. Although France seemed to have a late starting fall it seems to have come finally!! I went shopping yesterday and bought my first hoodie here. J  Last week was my 21st birthday which was a lot of fun even though I have been able to legally drink since I got to France in September.  My friends here made an amazing dinner and really made it a very special day. J
France has been pretty great so far. Classes have started up and I’ve been adjusting nicely to the homework and each teacher’s different teaching techniques.  My friends and I rented two cars and we took a road trip to the south of France.  It was my first road trip and it was so much fun. Car is really the best way to see/experience a country. When we got down there we went canoeing along the Dordogne River. It was so much fun!! As for my French…My comprehension has gotten so much better since getting here…My speaking skills still need work though, but all things come in time…I just have to keep practicing.

Changing topics a little bit, I read this article and I wanted to address it.

The other night I was reading the headlines on yahoo news and I read a headline about a kid that killed himself after being bullied for being “different” or gay...It was so heartbreaking to read the article and the watch his “It Gets Better Video”.  The writer of the article wrote how this boy’s family was all very supportive of him and accepting so it was such a big shock. I don’t know for me, it was interesting to read that. I think one of the hardest parts about being gay is just accepting yourself. I mean yes everyone wants to be loved and accepted by others but it really starts from within. It’s not an easy process and it takes time.  I think we have to tackle both issues (simultaneously) of bullying and the complex issues of “growing up gay and accepting it within” in today’s world. I think by simply focusing on the bullying itself we’re only eliminating half the problem.  It just seems like the youth are the ones that are suffering, because of their silence. It’s not easy speaking up…I think it takes time to find your voice.  I’ve always been a little critical of events like The Day of Silence and after things like this I feel like more than ever we need to encourage talking. Now I’m not saying that TDS is encouraging people to not talk I’m just saying that I don’t know if it is helping any, it seems like more of a political fighting tactic…I don’t know I’m far from an expert on it. Maybe we just need some fresh ideas in the LGBT community? 

Here is a link to the article:

I took the photos out of the album that Lisa and Amber gave me at my going away party to hang up around my room, I realized I needed some decoration and I was starting get a little home sick…So what better way to fix that then surround myself with friends and tons of memories pictures offer J I must go start some homework and studying now. Until next time hit me up on skype!! J

Monday, September 12, 2011


I finally got to Caen after an unexpected layover in Germany. Since getting here I have met some amazing new friends that come from all over the world. Caen is a beautiful city filled with lots of fun bars/pubs and clubs; as well as many breath taking churches and châteaux! The teachers and program leaders have been pretty helpful after the initial first night in which we had to kind of fend for ourselves. The people in Caen have been really helpful and friendly as well. It seems like almost everyone I’ve encountered so far as been very willing to help.

 I have been going to a local pub where I met some nice locals that so graciously offered to show us around town.  The first night at the pub me and some friends ended up leaving with a Caen native and her husband. They took us to this really cool club not too far from the university. Those of you reading might have a hard time believing this but I actually went clubbing and danced and had so much fun!!  I finally just opened up and let lose a little bit and had an amazing night… A few days later we went out again to the pub and we ended up back at the club and then other clubs including a karaoke bar which was equally fun.  I’m sure I’ll be exploring more of the city in the next few months!!

Another cool aspect about Caen is the living arrangements. I get my own room with a bathroom and balcony. We have a shared kitchen that me and some friends have been making dinners in most nights. I love the sense of freedom it gives us!  

Yesterday was September 11 and I had the unique opportunity (thanks to a recent friend I made J )  to attend a conference in Caen about this sad and memorable day.  The conference was very interesting to hear about what went on over here when that happened and the days after. The event had a board of higher up French media people on both the local and national level. It was interesting to hear that the day after sept. 11th the French government had teachers in the schools take time to let the kids express themselves in the forms of drawing and writing. They also talked about the differences in memory and post traumatic problems that occurred after September 11th .  This memorial conference helped me connect in spirit since I couldn’t actually be home to properly reflect the events and honor those that were lost.   

We had our first day of orientation classes today. I got placed into B1 and as of now it seems to be just right for me.  Certain parts were a bit difficult but it was nothing I can’t get through.  I look forward to continuing and improving my French.  Studying abroad thus far has been one of the best decisions I have ever made. The past few months have had me second guessing things but I’m happy to say that things are going so well!! I really feel like I’m growing so much and maturing so much in ways I never could have without this.  J

I miss everyone at home and I hope to be able to find time and make arrangements to Skype with everyone soon!! I’m still trying to find postcards that aren’t really expensive and find out how much they would cost to send but until then you can find my address on facebook if you’d like to write me (wink wink nudge nudge. I <3 hand written letters)  

Sunday, August 28, 2011

It's not Goodbye, it's Hello :-)

It has been awhile since my last post so I figured I would give a little update on things. I have continued to work a lot at the doctors office. I've learned so much there and it's given me the sense of purpose that I was craving. There are only a few more days left of summer for me and I would say looking back it has been very successful. I'm getting ready to study abroad in Caen, France for nine months. This as you can imagine is both exciting and nerve racking. The last few weeks I've been getting ready: buying my luggage, getting my phone unlocked/getting an international sim card, my visa, buying supplies, studying, and of course saying my goodbyes. I've been getting sad about what I'll be missing this coming year. Like everything in life it's all about perspective. I can easily think about all the amazing experiences awaiting me in France. I'll finally get the opportunity to continue learning French and perfect what I've been working on for years. I'm looking forward to meeting new people, trying new things, learning as much as possible.
Going back to the past few weeks, my family and friends have made this difficult transition (the goodbyes) so much easier on me. I've been fortunate enough to have not one but two going away parties! Both parties were so great. I see more and more each day how lucky I am to have certain people in my life. Ever one's support has made all the difference for me.

The next nine months are going to be pretty amazing. Friday night I'm going to see Sugarland. I honesty can't think of a better concert to bid farewell to the U.S. with. It's going to be the start of the next chapter of my life. One that I have a feeling will be most influential and life changing to date.

Well that's all for now, wish me luck and stay in touch with me!! :)

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Summertime and stuff

I am way over due to write a new post so here it is. A little update on life...I finished up a pretty successful semester at Millersville. This was the first semester that I really jumped into extracurricular activities. They kept me very busy and I learned a lot. I met some pretty amazing people this semester and I continued to build some close bonds with my friends there. So despite some bad times it was a nice school year. With that said I am very happy to be home. I really missed my friends from home and of course my puppies... Speaking of puppies we just got an addition to the family, a little pug named Otis. He is so cute. Bella and Luigi are still trying to get use to him. I started working at the doctor’s office again. It’s really been an amazing job. I have learned a lot and I’m pretty good at it from what I’ve been told. I love helping people…this I continue to realize. I also will be bird sitting in the next week for the two parrots that we’ve been taking care of for years. I love when they come to visit I can’t wait to see Otis’s reaction to Et (the older/bigger and more talkative parrot) I’m sure it will be funny lol Since work has been keeping me pretty busy I haven’t had a whole lot of time to myself…I would like to get to Jacobsburg more as well as the dog park…Speaking of dog park I have to be careful with Bella, she just about got over the fence the other day :-/ I’m sure she has springs in her legs. I’ve been able to hang out with most of my friends since I’ve been home however there are still a few whom I need to track down! :-p

            France is coming up fast. I’ve got a mix of feeling, everything from nervous, excited, to kind of disappointed about things I’ll miss here. I’m getting ready to start my visa and what a pain in the butt that has been with all the paperwork needed. I’m sure it will be worth it in the end though. I also have been studying my French more lately…Watching more French movies(if you have any suggestions let me know) and reading some of the 99 books I got from the book sale at the library lol. I have to take my placement test soon and I hope I do well. Also coming up in September is the Sugarland concert that I can’t wait to go to with Becca. Awe it’s gonna be such a good show and a perfect way to kick of the start of my 9 month adventure to France.

            I’ll try and write more often provided I have something to talk about…But until next time you guys know how to reach me J

Monday, March 28, 2011

Life Lessons

So as my first official post I'll start out by saying that this isn't going to be a blog just about travel...More about life. Which I guess is a journey all its own no? I should also warn you in the beginning that my spelling and grammar may get a little bad here and there...With all that said if you're still reading then I'll get started. I should also warn you that this will probably get pretty deep...As nervous as I am to share all of this I'm ready to get it all out and have it on pointless as it may be I'm owning this story now and taking control of it. I promise my posts won’t always be this deep…This stuff has just been on my mind as of lately.

So lately I have been thinking a lot about the past year. About accepting myself, and coming out of my shell, which I suppose go hand-in-hand. All of these have offered and continue to offer life changing lessons, not without challenging me first. I guess I should first mention that it's been about a year since I came out. GAY!! Oh no!! lol I guess that's when I really started growing as a person. My views on the world changed completely. I went from being a very good conservative Christian boy to a (gayby= gay baby) diving head first into a very unfamiliar world. The gay world. I had so many bad stereotypes and connotations. Over the past year these stereotypes were both broken and unfortunately reinforced patience is a virtue I'm SLOWLY picking up lol. Better late than never right? As far as accepting myself, I find that patience rings true again and again...recently I've to rush the whole coming to terms with who you are only bit me in the ass. It's funny how most everyone I know accepts and loves me for me, they could care less that I'm gay, the only person that still has hang-ups about accepting it is me. Again I'm realizing everyday that this to will take time. I just have to be patient. I’ve learned so many important lessons about myself and I am very grateful looking back. I’ve come a long way in a short year. Although I’ve been hurt by relationships or attempted relationships with guys, since coming out, it seems like all that pain couldn’t have happened in vain. I learned a lot through all the tears, mostly about forgiveness and acceptance. Forgiving the ones that hurt me intentionally and unintentionally. Forgiving myself, and finally starting to accept myself. Accept life and its twist & turns. We only have one so we have to make the best of it, right? Keep looking forward to a future that will hopefully be better than anything that we’ve seen before. It’s important to realize that life will have bumps along the way. I can attest to that. But a year out and I guess I’m doing pretty well all things considered.

I guess coming out of my shell was bound to happen eventually since I came out.
The only problems that I have been running into are 1. I hate change, and 2. I was more or less perfectly content with myself prior to coming out. “The only thing in life that doesn’t change is that everything changes.” I’m not sure who said that but how true those words ring. As far as number 2 above I guess that has been the biggest problem for me. Trying to find that balance of what I was, with what is “expected of me.” now, the “gay me” verse the “straight me”. It hasn’t been easy to keep my morals and values I grew up with while trying to transition. I have made mistakes along the way. But these mistakes have all come with lessons learned. I’m guessing I’m not the only LGBTQIA person that feels or felt this way in the transitional years. I’m just another example of someone coming of age. It’s interesting that society puts so much pressure, perhaps unintentionally, to make people fit into a certain group. Why can’t we just be who we are love who we love? Why do I have to be called or classified gay because I like guys? I hope I don’t offended anyone reading this…These questions are just a few that are always on my mind. It’s a shame to see the effects of years of suppression towards the LGBT community. The suppression runs deep and I have seen/met and talked to many guys that are a byproduct of this. Fortunately for me I am an optimist at heart. This although very difficult at times, has helped me to bounce back from some blows in the past year.

So why did I decide to make this my first post? Some of those closest to me have heard all of this from me already, mostly as I’ve been experiencing it, so I guess I’m writing it all down now to let it go, get it out. If you made it this far I think a congratulations is in order. You’ve just read some of my deepest thoughts and you should feel privileged. I normally don’t let people get this close. It’s not a bad start to be up front and honest with my readers. Hopefully it’ll give you a better perspective of me as you continue to read about this journey that I’m on. Btw I realize that my thoughts are kind of all over the place…I just had so much to write after I got started.

-Till next time