Maine Lighthouses

November 28, 2016

maine lighthouses

For my Thanksgiving break, I headed up to my home in Maine to spend the week with my parents and sister. I'm from a tiny town in midcoast Maine, and there's not much to do... So sometimes you have to get creative! This vacation's entertainment came in the form of seeking out a few hidden lighthouses tucked in little peninsulas.

maine lighthouses

First stop: a little lighthouse by the name of Doubling Point Light. Having grown up minutes from one of Maine's most iconic lighthouses, Pemaquid Point Light, I hardly saw them as something special. Now, though, I love their stately presence, a reminder of an earlier time. They evoke a kind of nostalgia for simpler times along these rugged coasts. Nowhere is this more apparent than the quaint little lighthouse keeper residences, like this one.

maine lighthouses

Tucked away in a woodsy neighborhood in Arrowsic, Doubling Point Light can be a bit hard to find, if not for the tiny "Lighthouse" signs tacked onto trees leading the way. All said and done, it's really not too far out of the way, especially if you're heading down to Reid State Park in Georgetown, one of Maine's most beautiful beaches. The lighthouse peeks out from the woods into the Kennebec River, so it's fairly calm and protected – not as dramatic as those cliffside oceanfront lighthouses. Between the peaceful setting and empty grounds, my mom and I felt like we had discovered a hidden gem.

maine lighthouses

Wouldn't it be fun to go up the Maine coast stopping at lighthouses along the way? Although a bit of a detour, Marshall Point Light in Port Clyde is well worth the trip. My parents and I ventured down to the lighthouse one cloudy evening just as darkness was arriving.

midcoast maine

Sweeping views, a holiday wreath, and lobster boats chugging into shore as we arrived – what more can you ask for? Marshall Point Light is about a 25 minute drive from the nearest town (Thomaston) down a winding peninsula – which is classic Maine. I think that midcoast Maine has managed to avoid much coastal development simply because of the tricky geography. 

marshall point light

These tiny finger-like peninsulas deter everyone except the most persistent and hardy... which is just the way we like it. Southern Maine, you can keep your flat, sandy beaches lined with shops and houses. We'll take our rocky coves and pine-covered islands – and hidden lighthouses – any day.

maine lighthouses

Morning Person

November 21, 2016

This morning I woke up a glistening coat of snow over my neighborhood and campus! It was magical as only the first snowfall can be. (I can't believe I barely saw any snow last season since I was in Spain.) But before I fully embrace winter, I wanted to share some photos of morning moments during the last few weeks of fall.

Fall is just the prettiest season here in New England and I couldn't get enough of it this year. One of the habits I've adopted lately is waking up early and starting my day. I've been getting up at 7 every weekday morning and heading to my local coffeeshop to get work done before class. In a college town, it feels like I'm the only student up and I savor the quiet of campus early in the morning.

Also... morning light.

There's nothing like that early morning golden sunshine, especially when there were still beautiful leaves on the trees. It made getting up every morning worth it!

I think I'm officially a morning person.

What do your mornings look like?

Being Present

November 11, 2016

What a rollercoaster week. There have been crazy highs and sad lows, but it was an important week, and I find myself thinking about some lessons that I feel like the universe sent my way.

On Sunday, I met my mom in Boston to see Le Corsaire at the Boston Ballet, which was an incredible show – a little bittersweet after deciding to move on from ballet myself this year, but nonetheless I enjoyed every minute of the incredible production.

My mom had to catch the bus back up to Maine shortly after the show, but I couldn't resist a stroll around the city. I wandered into Boston Common with the – I'll admit – ultimate goal of getting pretty photos of the foliage. I snapped the one above and... my phone died. Even more frustrating is that the setting sun cast the prettiest golden light across the park as I walked back to the subway. I wanted so badly to capture it!

I've been reading a lot on the importance of being present lately, though, and this seemed like a little reminder from the universe to do just that. I've been trying to be more mindful – to walk around without music in my ears, to look out the window of the bus rather than down at my phone. My phone dying forced me to walk through the park and enjoy the moment without taking out my camera and trying to document it all.

On Monday, I had the incredible opportunity to see President Barack Obama speak at my university.

It was amazing. The energy was electric and inspiring. President Obama is an incredible speaker and just commanded the room. I, of course, had to document this once-in-a-lifetime event with my phone. At one point, though, Obama had just finished a part of his speech to a round of applause, and he turned in the direction where I was standing, looked directly at me and the two people next to me as we energetically waved and smiled... and gave us an undeniable thumbs up. What?! It was hands down one of the coolest moments of my life.

And guess what? I didn't have my phone out... And I'm so glad I didn't. I'm glad that I didn't experience that through the screen of my phone. Instead, I was fully present, and it was magical.

Obama's speech was motivational and inspiring, and I excitedly voted for the first time on Tuesday. The energy on my college campus (in political hotbed/swing state New Hampshire, nonetheless) was electric. It was great to see so many fellow students getting excited about voting and passionate about the issues. Unfortunately, the result wasn't what I, or many of my peers, had hoped for.

I won't go into that too much, because most of what I feel has already been said. But, despite the negative result, I have a strangely positive outlook. I feel that this may represent a chance for a strong, grassroots movement for us younger generations and those who feel their voices weren't heard to campaign for something bigger than a presidential candidate – real change in this country. I, strangely enough, felt a lot of hope after not getting the outcome I wanted. Because it motivated me more than ever to get involved, and I can only hope other people felt that too.

So instead of thinking about the past, or even concerning ourselves too much with the future, let's look around and see what we can do now, in the present. I'm starting to think that doing just that – focusing on the present – might be the key.

Asheville Photo Diary

November 10, 2016

A couple weeks ago I flew down south for the weekend to Asheville, North Carolina for my cousin's wedding! It was great to get my travel fix and explore a new place (and the 70º weather wasn't bad either)!

Asheville was such a quirky city. We had fun exploring the little shops, seeing the street art, and trying the delicious restaurants.

Here were some of my favorite places we checked out:
  • Voodoo Donuts fun doughnut flavors and good coffee 
  • Duncan and York pretty paper goods 
  • Shady Grove plant store with plenty of pretty greenery and a courtyard in the back 
  • River Arts District brightly painted wall art and artisan vendors 
  • Tupelo Honey Café Southern comfort food and hospitality at its finest 
  • Hole Donuts and Coffee classic fritter style donuts fried-to-order 

Side note: If you're a craft beer lover, Asheville would be the place to be! There are so many breweries around.

It was so nice to catch up with family from far and wide that came for the wedding!

Obsessed with this dress!

Have you ever been to Asheville?

Reflections on Studying Abroad

November 1, 2016

Whether a late coffee keeps me up at night or a stressful week puts me in a not-so-great mood, my mind always seems to wander to the streets of Granada – the city I called home for four months, the neighborhoods I came to know like the back of my hand, the routines I developed, the life that I lived, the person I became. In the 4 months since leaving Spain, it's become increasingly apparent to me just how big of a role studying abroad played in my life.

It's no exaggeration that studying abroad truly changes your life. I grew immensely more confident while in Spain, overcoming nagging habits of self-doubt and insecurity. I can't place why – maybe it was the mature friendships I formed through bonding over this incredible experience, maybe it was the independence and initiative I felt booking my own plane tickets and hopping to different countries with no one else in charge... I get the feeling, though, that it was simply the day-to-day. As I weaved through the dense city blocks on my way to and from school, or as I spent a Saturday exploring and wandering on my own, I began to care less and less about what people were thinking of me. It was an empowering realization.

This realization gives you the freedom to be who you are, to wear what you want, to walk into stores where you know you're going to bungle your way through the language, to sit alone in a park reading just because you feel like it. Because you're just one person in a world of billions. This realization I had in Granada allowed me to become this confident self that I feel slipping from my daily life a little as the days go on, but I think it's still in there.

I sometimes remind myself to channel that confident version of myself, who took risks and plunged headfirst into things I never would have thought I could. My life now, with its monotonous routines of school, work, and studying, is definitely not as exciting as my time abroad. I talk to my friends that I went abroad with about this a lot and we all seem to have reached the same consensus that life back here in the States just isn't as exciting after you've had such an adventurous, whirlwind season of your life. I'm trying to make the best of it and I'm trying to plan ahead for future adventures.

In light of that, I'm headed to the Dominican Republic this January to take a two-week international marketing course with my school – hopefully I'll get my adventure fix for at least a little while!

Anyone else who studied abroad experiencing the same thing?

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