Over a week ago we had our midterm evaluation meeting. *Cries internally* I didn’t want to come to terms with over two months being over, but it was nevertheless forced upon me against my will. So, of course, my neurotic mind left me no choice but to blog about my every thought regarding this whirlwind of a trip. Sorry everyone.
So where has the time gone? I feel like I’ve barely had free time to travel, work on film projects, spend time with my host family, sleep or plan my documentary (I’m low-key panicking a little because I want it to be perfect and I have so many ideas- ahhh).
To be honest, sleep has probably been the least of my priorities. (as they say, sleep is for the weak) Which is probably why for two solid weeks I was congested and my throat burned like hellfire but – ah well, haha.
Then, at the same time, I feel so at home with my host family, so comfortable at the AIB and so close to my classmates here that it seems I’ve lived here for ages. Lmu seems like this distant little bubble that I both think of endearingly and really don’t want to go back to. If I could just bring all of my friends and family here I probably wouldn’t want to go back. (for at least a year or so) The idea of leaving Europe has been making me all sorts of emotional.
So why do I feel that way? What have been the pros and cons of this experience? What do I still want to do? I’ll delve into one of the best/ worst experiences combined, because I feel like I learned something valuable from it: London.
My trip to London, in a sense, embodied the hardest part of my study abroad experience. Too much to do, too little time. How so? Well, I got a 2 day (more like 1.5 day) taste of an incredible city and then was yanked away from it. For the first time since coming here, feel like I missed out on so much to the point that I almost would have rathered not go at all. That’s not to say I wouldn’t study abroad again. I’d do it a thousand times over and in the future, if I could.
*Spoiler: That picture wasn’t taken in London*
This also isn’t to say I didn’t love my trip – the city was fantastic. We did one of those tacky bus tours so that we could at least see as much as possible in the one full day we had, and then went on a pub crawl to various bars/pubs and clubs with a very interesting group of people we didn’t know. (Which I’ll just say was quite the whirlwind) Of course I also had some fantastic Indian food as well as some classic English dishes. (had one of the best breakfast plates of my life)
My favorite experience was visiting the Westminster Abbey, which was honestly one of the most beautiful structures I’ve seen in my life. I’d show you pictures, but cameras were not allowed. All I can say is that if you’re in London, it’s definitely worth the money and the time. Recap: Beautiful architecture + marvels of religious history + marvels of European history + remains and/or memorials of individuals such as Charles Darwin, Chaucier and many more.
We tried to tour the Tower of London, didn’t make it in time, but got to take pictures at the various touristic staples such as Big Ben, the tower bridge, Piccadilly square etc. Anyways- London was great, but it was rushed. Five minutes here, five minutes there. In the end, I didn’t feel like I had a chance to really take any of it in.
Back to the point. Study abroad is now closer to its end than its beginning. In fact, Nader and I helped shoot Kim’s documentary the weekend after London, which I’ll explain more in my upcoming blog post. The rest of us are approaching the filming of our docs (shooting weeks are officially October 29 and end November 9th- but I’m shooting mine November 4th-8th) so things are getting tense, stressful and rushed. Most people have either taken their last weekend trip or have just one or two left, as we only have one or two free weekends remaining in our program.
Why? Because over a month is dedicated to us spending every waking moment downstairs in the editing dungeon. Hence I did ALL of my traveling from late September-October in one insane whirlwind of travel. As my host mom likes to say – I storm in and out of their house like a “hurricane girl.”
*Note: This probably refers to the fact that I also wake up just in time to rush to school, spend most of my time scrambling, cramming clothes into a suitcase or running out the door with food in my mouth, lol.*
Which reminds me- let me tell you about my second to last hurrah. So. Despite getting back Sunday at midnight and having to be up at 5 am for our AIB Leipzig excursion (again, sleep is for the weak) a group of myself and 7 others actually went to Dublin last weekend. Yup. London, Brussels and then Dublin.
At first, I was honestly regretting the decision. Not that I didn’t want to see Dublin – but I’ve honestly had NO FREE TIME. Heard that enough? Here’s been/is my schedule: After shooting Kim’s documentary, the following weekdays were spent finalizing our documentary plans and meeting composers. We left for the airport about half a hot second after presenting and picking the person who would be essentially scoring our film. Got back Sunday night, then this Monday- Thursday we spent on a four day film intensive excursion with the AIB to Leipzig. Tomorrow (Friday the 30th), kicks off shooting weeks, for which the first weekend I will be spending in Paris to visit my friend Lea. My last trip!
I know what you’re thinking, why Paris? Well, my documentary subject is not free during that time, and since it is the only time I can see one of my best friends this trip (it’s been over two years now since I’ve seen her beautiful face), I feel like it will be a wonderful Halloweekend-themed reunion. It will also be a great break from film to clear my head before shooting my doc. Plus, the trip will be followed by the back to back shooting of Naders and my own documentary in Berlin. There are no temporal breaks in between any of these events, and many of them include sleeping on buses while I travel. Anyways, Dublin. Where to begin?
First: the Guinness Factory was fantastic. I have mad respect for beer- despite being 100% loyal to my love of wine. Getting a free beer at the end of the tour was also a perk. Second: Irish food is far superior to English food and I probably had some of the best meals of this trip in Dublin. (BANGERRRZZZ) I honestly think Irish sausage might even be better than German weisswurst. It’s a close call.
Third: the Howth Cliffs of Ireland would have made the entire excursion worth it, even if we hadn’t done or seen anything else. The colors, the scenery, the sounds of the birds and the crashing of the waves on the rocks below… it was honestly surreal, and very magnificent. We split into small groups and spent over an hour just meandering around. As much as I loved the city of Dublin, I’m so happy we spent Sunday in the countryside.
We had quite the crack. Yes, that’s an Irish saying. I did not do drugs. I also did not fall off of any cliffs. Although I spent a good amount of time living my life on the edge (literally, haha) and having meaningful conversation with Eddie -the love of my life- as we cuddled on boulders.
The walking tour we took on Saturday was also fantastic. Our tour guide gave us a low-down on the history of Ireland in a very witty Irish way, and then convinced us to buy tickets for the pub/club crawl later that night. I mean, what’s the point of visiting a new city without experiencing it in all hours of the day? Sláinte!
Note: The man in the picture on the right did not assault us,in case you were worried. It was a close call though.
Overall, Dublin was fantastic- and as exhausted as I was on the bus to Leipzig this Monday, I had no regrets.
Anyways, thank you for reading this post! I’m currently sitting in our hostel in Leipzig, taking a break from the documentary film festival and preparing to leave for Paris. I’d tell you everything about Leipzig, but I feel like I’ve talked so much already and most of my time has been about getting inspiration for my upcoming doc. My schedule has involved watching 3-4 documentaries a day, participating in Q & As, going to professional mixers etc. I’m so happy to have had this opportunity, but other than re-capping a few of my favorite documentary films (which I wouldn’t want to spoil, hehe) – I don’t have much more to add. For a bunch of film nerds, it’s been great.
So that being said, Tchuss! The next time I write (after the second post I’ve written for today, haha) will probably be after I’ve shot my documentary. Ah, wish me luck!