My Happiest Place on Earth

Hello there! It’s been such a long time since I’ve updated you guys on my travels. I had no idea I would be as busy as I’ve been, but I’ve finally had a chance to sit down and write a few entries! Here are 3 things that I’ve had on my list for a while and finally got to check off!

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On the bus from the train station

We came into Paris on a windy day of October. Back in Montpellier, they were warning us that the weather might be cold, rainy, un-agreeable even, but we got lucky and the whole weekend was just gorgeous. As soon as we stepped out of the train and onto the platform, I just knew I was home. We walked to our hotel and dropped our bags off, freshened up, and set off to make some dreams come true.

 

 

 

 

Stop #1: Ladurée AKA the Heaven of Macaron. 

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First time Trying Macaron at Ladurée!

If no one knows what Ladurée is, you have to listen. There is literally no place like this on earth. Here’s some history:

Parisian tea rooms’ history is intimately tied to the
history of the Ladurée family. It all began in 1862, when
Louis Ernest Ladurée, a miller from the southwest of
France, founded a bakery in Paris at 16 rue Royale.
In 1871, while Baron Haussmann was giving
Paris a « new face », a fire in the bakery opened
the opportunity to transform it into a pastry shop… And the rest is history! This tea hose has the best macaron in the world, not to be confused with macaroons which are the coconut swirl of a desert widely found in America. Thy have flavors that range from coconut (niox de coco) to pistachio (pistache) and even rose petal (pétale de rose)! These pastries are super delicate, so don’t throw it in your bag or drop them , because they will crumble into a million delicious pieces! I waited to try macaron for the first time in France, and they were amazing. If anyone ever goes to Paris, don’t leave without trying them first!

Stop #2 Trying Escargot for the first time. 

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The parsley and butter sauce is marinating in the escargot just right!
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These Escargot were actually really good!

When you go to France, do as the French do, yes? It’s commonplace to have escargot, or snail, as an appetizer, or entrée when having a traditional 4 course dinner in France. So naturally, I wanted the whole experience! Only served as an entrée, escargot are not hard to cook. Chefs typically cook them in a simple reduction of butter, thyme, parsley, salt and pepper. The snails cook in this simple sauce for less than 25 minutes and then they’re ready to go! Escargot are served in a dish that has a concave hole for the shells to rest in –>

I thought that it would taste weird – or slimy even, but it was surprisingly pretty firm, like a properly cooked shrimp or conch, which is a sea-snail that shows up in Caribbean fare. It’s pretty safe to say that I’ve found a new favorite appetizer! Now if only I could find this on a menu in the States…

Stop #3 Dreams Really do Come True 

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Eiffel Tower at night

You know that feeling that you get when everything feels right in your world and all things suddenly click into place? That’s exactly how I felt when I saw the Eiffel Tower for the First time. Two of my friends had already been to Paris, so they were excited, that I was excited. They were telling me that as soon as I turned the corner from the metro stop I would be able to see it. I had been dreaming of this moment since I was 5 and I though about it as a real thought in the 8th grade and started learning French, but I never wrapped my head around the idea of actually seeing it.

We turned the corner and I laid eyes on the Eiffel Tower for the first time and like the Cancer that I am, I got emotional and couldn’t help but burst into tears. Suddenly all my hard work, all the sleepless nights studying and missing events to get ahead on assignments, were all worth it. And I couldn’t be happier. We went back to the Eiffel tower every day after that, and one night to see it light up on the hour. It took my breath away.

Guys, when you’ve found your happiest place on earth, write to me, comment and let me know, but I can tell you right now, I’ve found mine. I’ve never been so content then when I was in Paris for those 3 glorious days, and this was only day one! This city has stolen my heart and I can’t wait until I go back.

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My Happiest Place on Earth

Never stop chasing your dreams, don’t ever settle and keep pushing because the finish line is closer than you think. Don’t forget to comment, subscribe, and let me know what you think guys, I want to hear from you! Be blessed ☀️

Sincerely,

Subi

 

My First Full Day in France! and more

Hi everyone!

This was my Facebook post after I arrived in France on September 7th:

Hello from France!

Today has been eventful to say the least! I arrived safely in Paris yesterday morning bright and early, and it was smooth sailing from there! I love my host mom and her son, they were so welcoming and easy to talk to! Here are my first meals for today (September 8th) breakfast, lunch and dessert at lunch. Thank you for all the well wishes and prayer, much needed and appreciated. is going to be an amazing 3 1/2 months.

Bonjour de France!!

Donc, Aujourd’hui a été riche en événements pour le moins! Je suis arrivé en toute sécurité à Paris lumineux hier matin et au début, et il a été la voile en douceur à partir de là! J’aime ma mère d’accueil et son fils, ils étaient tellement accueillant et facile de parler! Voici mes premiers repas d’aujourd’hui (le 8 Septembre) le petit déjeuner, le déjeuner et le dessert au déjeuner. Merci pour tous les souhaits de puits et la prière, bien nécessaires et appréciés. va être un incroyable 3 1/2 mois.

Where:  I will be in the south of France in a town called Montpellier. francemap-1

It’s the 8th largest city in France and the majority of the population consists of students both foreign and native to France.

Who: I’m not staying in a youth hostel, but chose a program that places me with a host family. They provide 2 meals a day for me and I’m on my own for lunch, but that’s the most exciting meal of the day! I found that if I get a sandwich and yogurt, lunch can cost less than 3 euros! I speak French all day every day unless I’m with some of the other UGA students and even then we try to speak french and practice with each other. I’ve only been here for a week, but I already feel like it’s been forever.

When: The program (UGA en France) lasts from early September to early December

Adventures: I have some trips planned, of course!! Europe is amazing because all you have to do is pick a country and you have access to the whole continent. It’s all because of the train system here. In France it’s called the TGV and it’s a high-speed train that can take you to almost any country in Europe. You’d be crazy not to take advantage of it!

I’ll have more exciting news without a doubt! If you have questions for me, suggestions for places to see, good places to shop, let me know! I am so excited to go on this journey with all of you and most of all, to experience the world. I’m so blessed to be given this opportunity and I can’t believe it’s real! AAAHHH! I’m in France! Je suis trés contente. (I am very happy).

Sincerely,

Subi

Waiting… and Waiting

Dear Reader,

As I step into my junior year at The University of Georgia, I experience a different feeling. I which my closest friends go from class to class and meet up for lunches and catch-up between advising appointments and yet, I am not doing any of these things. I am not attending classes, I’m not booking advising appointments and I’m certainly not gathering syllabi from professors. I am waiting. I am waiting for my third year to start. I am getting my passport situated and researching “how to pack and not go over the weight limit” or booking my plane ticket. Instead of going to class August 11th like all of my friends, I’m preparing for my biggest adventure and challenge: Study Abroad.

I got the news that I had been accepted into the UGA en France study abroad trip in the Spring of 2016. I was over the moon with excitement. New place, new continent, new language, new culture? It’s everything I ever dreamed of. But somehow in the midst of that I still found myself at a standstill. When I applied, I was encouraged to go on a trip without any of my friends in order to get that full experience all for myself, and I did. Now that I was in, really in, I started to put things in perspective and really think about how I wanted this experience to go. The doubt started to settle in. And the what-ifs piled up.

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Finding out I got into the program

What if I don’t make any friends? What if I don’t do well in my classes? What if my host family doesn’t like me? What if I don’t like my host family? What if I can;t pay for the trip?What if I get robbed? What if I get taken? All these suppositions and I hadn’t even gone to the first orientation, and I realized that that’s all they were, was supposition. These thoughts were based on fear. So, I took it one step at a time. I created a gofundme page at https://gofundme.com/SubiToFrance and I became proactive in raising the necessary money needed to get me to where I needed to be. I have been waiting for this opportunity since the 10th grade when I started to look at UGA seriously. I knew the ins and outs of the trip and I had researched and prayed and worked for this. I knew I was ready. All that was left to do was get there.

The summer passed by, May, June, July, and suddenly it’s August and classes are starting… and I’m still waiting. It’s a different kind of feeling, being on campus when I don’t have obligations to attend classes or buy books, and all I have on my agenda is work. You have a new appreciation for meeting up with friends in the Student Center or grabbing coffee and a muffin in between classes. All the time is precious. I leave Athens for home in 4 days. That gives me 96 more hours with my friends until I disappear for 4 months to another continent. But you know what? I’m ready for this adventure, ready to challenge myself and immerse my thoughts in the French language and culture. So while I sit and wait for another 24 days until my departure, this is what I have to look forward to, am looking forward to. This is what I am waiting for.

Sincerely,

Subi

You are your Greatest Adventure

Dear Reader,

There is no time like now, today, in these moments. And that is why it’s called the present. ~ Some Wise Person

As a young adult in America, you see so many new ads, trends, the new hype of fashion and the aesthetic of not caring about the world and living in the moment. It get’s to be a little overwhelming, don’t you think? These all-natural diets that claim to make you feel good inside and more alive (been there done that), let m put it this way: all the bs gets old. But as a young adult in America in this day in age, you have the opportunity to do what our parents may have not been able to do: Look for the real you.

 

First things first, you need to really stop and think. This is big step, finding you, it’s going to be a little hard, hey, and maybe it’ll be easy! You up for this?

Make a promise to yourself: When the going get’s rough, you’ll look in the mirror and say, “Hey there gorgeous/handsome. You can do this.” Make a list of all the things you’ve always wanted to do just to get you started. Here are some of mine:

  • Go hiking
    • If you’re not the adventuring type, this might just be the thing for you! Now hear me out, hiking doesn’t mean you need to scale up Kilimanjaro tomorrow, but find a nature trail near you, get some good sneakers and some comfortable clothes. Leave your phone off. Or on do not disturb. You’d be surprised how much time you have to think when you’re not snap chatting your nature walk or sending videos of the cool bird you found or the sunset in the woods.

 

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  • Swim in a clear ocean
    • You know what that means! T R A V E L. Save up and go to that place and getaway just like you always wanted to. Yow that’ll love it, I promise. I’m taking my own advice and doing that soon!!! (Another post to come)
    • And if you’re afraid of the ocean (some people are) find a natural spring, maybe a national park, and swim there. Still good.

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  • Fly a kite
    • Let’s be real I just thought of this one, but now that I think about it. hey, why not! I’ve never done it before. It looks like fun!!
  • Go to an art museum… and really look at the art
    • This past week, I went to the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, Georgia. Now it’s not the Louvre or the Guggenheim, but man it was fun! Three floors of art, one space, winding staircases and the light, don’t get me started on the amazing sunlight all throughout the building. (Not to mention the selfie lighting! Ladies you know what I mean)

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  • Read all the books you’ve wondered about (make that list)
    • I used to read all the time. When I got to college I “didn’t have time anymore” but you make time for the things you want to do so I’m going to do just that. Starting with Ana Karenina.
  • Eat new foods (another list)
    • Try new restaurants… alone
    • Ethnic food is always a  y e s. Do it.
  • Find a new favorite food
    • Right now mine is shrimp, I can make it into anything.
    • When I tried sushi for the first time I found a new favorite fish – yellowtail. But I only like it raw and classic sushi which is interesting!

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  • Pray more
    • Believe in something. The Bible and the Quran are holy books there is so much to learn, so much knowledge. And even if you decide not to convert, prayer is soothing and it helps sort out all the gunk in life. There is this calm that passes over you, and this feeling of… completion. Try it, let me know what you think, just throwing it out there.

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Always remember that you owe it to yourself to find out who you really are. This journey is going to change your life and you’re almost there! Last piece of advice: trust you. You got this. And even if you don’t you will eventually. There’s no rush on the creative process and you are your greatest masterpiece.

 

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Don’t miss out.

Sincerely,

Subi

 

 

I Promise.

Dear Reader,

This is all new to me, writing. Some say they were always born to write, some just pick up a pen one day and the rest is history. For me, this is something I have alway wanted to do, but never did. But I think one thing that is most important in the writer-reader relationship is trust, as is most important in all relationships. So I dedicate this first post to you, to the ones who took the time out of their busy, or maybe not-so-busy day to read my work, my thoughts, my words. And with this dedication I also have a promise. To you. To you, I promise always to be real. If I’m having a bad day or if something doesn’t go well, I promise to convey that in the best way possible. I promise not to be perfect, because who can be perfect but God? I promise to answer your questions to the best of my ability, and to let you know when I can’t answer a question. I promise I don’t have all the answers, but I also promise to do my best, to be my best.

Thank you for buying a ticket to this crazy ride called Life with me.This journey will be filled with so much of me, and you’ll soon find out who that really is. I promise you this will get interesting.

Sincerely,

Subi