My Japanese Transformation

How my move to Japan has since transformed me into one–or seven–new people.

Some people say that moving overseas transforms you into a whole new person. I’d have to 110% agree it’s true. Between adjusting to a new culture, figuring out your daily routine, (sometimes) conquering language barriers, and making a new home, there’s a lot going on that can change who you are. Japan has certainly done the same for me, even in the three months I have been here. Actually, it’s more like I’ve become seven new people… Continue reading “My Japanese Transformation”

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The Only 9 Toiletries You’ll Need for Your Flight

Pack these essentials in your carry-on and you’ll be ready to step off the plane looking fresher than your fav celeb.

When you begin to plan a trip and get excited at grabbing an early morning flight, you might think “Yes, now I’ll have the whole day to explore!” But the reality is, flying is exhausting, especially when it’s overseas. The only people I’ve seen step off the plane looking rejuvenated and fresh-faced are in movies. Still, there’s something to be said for trying. Here are my nine essential toiletries to pack in your carry-on in order to survive a red-eye flight and step off looking #flawless because you really did wake up like that. Continue reading “The Only 9 Toiletries You’ll Need for Your Flight”

11 Reasons I Can’t Wait to Come Back to America

The most important American essentials that Japan severely lacks.

Life in Japan is a wonderful, enriching, delicious, confusing, mysterious, delightful adventure. For the most part, moving here has been nothing but new adventures and rich stories. Still, moving to a new country isn’t easy. People ask me all the time what I miss from America. I answer there will always be things from home to miss dearly. And I don’t take them lightly; these are some of my most powerful motivators to buy my return ticket. Continue reading “11 Reasons I Can’t Wait to Come Back to America”

A Moste Terrifying Halloween Night

Forsooth, this is my moste fearsome and terrifying All Hallows Eve in Japan–and all my lessons leading up to it

From Halloween night to the holiday’s celebration in Japan and how it figured in my English lessons, I give you it all. *Warning: This post may or may not have been written under the heavy influence of Halloween vibes and terrible puns*

The Terrible Fright on Halloween Night

This story of woe and fright began, like any other, on a dark and stormy night… the night before Halloween (Author’s Note: I am not kidding. We had a typhoon the night before pass through). Continue reading “A Moste Terrifying Halloween Night”

The Cold Heart of Japan

Sweater weather in Japan image

Now that it’s finally October, all I’ve seen on my Facebook and Twitter feeds are “Give me sweater weather!” posts. Usually I’m right along there with you. Give me fall any day–waking up in the early morning and taking the first breath of icy air, walking instead of taking the bus or driving just to see all the trees in the glorious colors, the delicious aroma of coffee filling the air… But shockingly, I’m not exactly wishing for the same in Japan.  Continue reading “The Cold Heart of Japan”

The Power of Words from 1992

“At school, even in kindergarten, you teach us how to behave in the world. Then, why do you go out and do the things you tell us not to do?”

A few days ago, I attended a speech contest for the JHS in my city as a JET. While I was incredibly impressed with all of the student speeches, I was hit particularly hard by the recitation of Severn Suzuki’s 1992 UN Earth Summit speech. Particularly in light of the world today–Sierra Leone, Peru, Mexico, Harvey, Irma, California… Continue reading “The Power of Words from 1992”

My Story

In honor of Harry Potter’s 20th anniversary, I reflect on what stories mean to me.

As a little girl, my parents often scolded me for staying up past my bedtime. They’d put me to bed, turn off my lights and tell me goodnight. But I rarely listened. Instead, I’d wait for them to leave, listening to their footsteps down the hallway, and spring up to turn on my glass lamp. I wasn’t sleeping yet! But it was not television, games, or movies that my kept me up so late, burning through light bulbs and sitting through scoldings—it was books. And at that, usually Harry Potter. Continue reading “My Story”

The Hostel Way of Life

Weekend trippin' in Bruges with hostel friends

Everything you need to know about staying in a hostel and more.

Hostel. To the unexperienced outsider, the word might easily be confused with its negative homonym or lost among an exaggerated mess of travel horror stories. Let me be the first, if not the hundredth, to tell you those are largely false. To those who have experienced the hostel life, however, the word often brings laughter and good memories of cities well traveled. Particularly popular in Europe and Southeast Asia, these budget-friendly social accommodations are the best friends of the frugal backpacker. Whether you fall into that category or if you just want to give the more informal rooms a try, here’s all you need to know about why should stay in a hostel, what you should be aware of, and what you should bring.  Continue reading “The Hostel Way of Life”

12 Ways to Travel the World from Home

An expensive plane ticket isn’t the only way to see the world.

When people find out how much I love to travel and all of the place I’ve been, they’re often amazed just how far a girl from Nebraska has made it. The expressions I’m met with when I say I’m from the center of the U.S., completely landlocked, are largely confused. How could someone like me fall in love with countries across the world when I’m not from the big cities like New York or Los Angeles, or even Chicago? It’s easy–I travel the world from home. For all my fellow wanderlusters, here’s 12 ways how I travel the world without even leaving The Good Life in Nebraska, USA.  Continue reading “12 Ways to Travel the World from Home”

Write Your Own Bestseller

what it means to college image

My challenge to you is this: Explore. Build a complex character and your story can’t help but be a bestseller.

Incredibly, I was honored to speak at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s 2017 Honors Convocation after being invited by Dr. Patrice Berger of the UNL Honors Program as one of 49 Chancellor’s Scholars (graduating with a cumulative 4.0 GPA). I have to admit, I didn’t realize it was such a big deal until I was lining up backstage before the ceremony and a marshal told me I would be speaking right after and sitting next to Chancellor Ronnie Green. That, I think, is when the nerves kicked into high drive. Continue reading “Write Your Own Bestseller”

Two Day Shipping to the Other Amazon

View from Surama Ecolodge image

A recap of my arrival to the Surama Eco-Lodge and Amazon Rainforest in Guyana.

During my final spring break at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, I was lucky enough to be accepted into my third and final study abroad program: a consulting project for an ecotourism lodge in Guyana’s Amazon rainforest. Though my scratch-off map is pretty filled across the U.S. and Europe, South America was completely colorless before this trip. I didn’t know much about what I should expect, traveling to the middle of the Amazon and to a country I didn’t know much about. But the rainforest proved to be an exciting, challenging, and eventful new experience for me. Even if it was two days of shipping on plane, boat, and van to get to the middle of the Amazon rainforest. Continue reading “Two Day Shipping to the Other Amazon”

17 Side Effects of Studying Abroad

Why you should go to the doctor’s now and ask for a prescription for study abroad.

Studying abroad is one of the most rewarding and influential experiences any college student can have in their four years at university. From growing your soul, wanderlust, stomach, and alcohol tolerance, it’s impossible to return from a life-changing experience like this without being a different person than before. Even coming back home can feel like you’re traveling to a new country for the first time. After my fourth international tour and talking with a few of my other #GenerationStudyAbroad peers, here are 17 side effects I’ve experienced after returning from studying abroad. Continue reading “17 Side Effects of Studying Abroad”

Football 101: A European Crash Course

How to hide the fact you know nothing about “football” (aka soccer) from Europeans.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned on how to quickly befriend strangers, it’s that sports are among the fastest ways to connect with someone. Want to build a network with Europeans? Ask out the cutie with the foreign accent? It’s simple–talk to them about football.  Continue reading “Football 101: A European Crash Course”

The Real 7 Feelings You Get Before Going Abroad

An honest description of the roller coaster of emotions before studying abroad.

As I get ready to leave for the internship in Belgium this summer, my feelings are in as much disarray as my room currently is (which, I assure you, would rival even that of the messiest high school boy you know). As you can imagine, I’m pretty darn excited to have this experience and go abroad again. But I would be blatantly lying to you if I told you that was all I felt. And honestly, remembering how I felt last year, a lot of the same feelings are coming up. After reading blogs from fellow travelers and talking to my own friends, I’ve come up with a list of seven feelings that you will likely experience in full intensity before going abroad. Here they are, in complete honesty. Continue reading “The Real 7 Feelings You Get Before Going Abroad”

One Moment to Relive

The one moment I would choose to relive, and why.

Life is full of moments—the good and the bad, the surprising and the expected, those that make us question ourselves and those that reaffirm where we’re heading. Even in my 21 short years, I have lived through countless moments. Some are dull and dusty, others are well polished, but a few shine brighter than the rest.  Continue reading “One Moment to Relive”

A Letter to Remember

Why Angers, France will always hold a special place in my heart.

My dearest friend,

I know it isn’t easy to adjust to a different time zone after living seven hours away, especially with a new job and a new semester creeping up. But as the days and the weeks and the years melt by, as you grow from college student to professional to parent and grandparent, I want you to remember something.  Continue reading “A Letter to Remember”

A Taste of Europe

My adventures across Europe after studying abroad in France.

As I finally finish packing (stuffing) all of my clothes, souvenirs, and books into my backpack, I can’t believe it’s really time for me to leave Angers. I don’t want to go at all, it’s been an absolutely wonderful July here and I will always remember it fondly. Nevertheless, life goes on because c’est la vie. And now I have something equally as exciting to look forward to: my ten-day tour of Europe. Continue reading “A Taste of Europe”

Back to (Summer) School

The adventures of school in France.

As much as I feel like I’m on vacation in France, it’s still sadly back to school for me, complete with early mornings and multiple tests. To be honest, I wasn’t quite ready to go back to school even though I signed up for a study abroad program. It’s just that the whole studying part didn’t really cross my mind until we took our placement test Continue reading “Back to (Summer) School”