Let's Study Abroad

It's kind of funny how life takes such unexpected turns.

I'm a firm believer that God's plans for your life are bigger and better than anything you could ever dream up on your own. Time after time God showed how marvelous his plans were for me.  From when I was laid off from my architecture job to then becoming a photographer, working from home, traveling the world, and meeting amazing people. To when I met Lance and he had characteristics, qualities, and interests I hadn't even considered looking for in a husband, but yet matched me so well. It was all part of God's plans for my life. Putting my faith in God and trusting Him really changed my life. 

Looking back on my life I don't have too many regrets, but the one thing that is most prominent is the fact that I didn't study abroad in college. At Cal Poly, my architecture program curriculum dedicated a year to studying abroad. You're meant to go travel and discover architecture of other countries and cultures. But it was expensive, so I didn't even bother applying to any programs. After college when I started traveling a ton, I realized the value of traveling abroad (and even out-of-state) in order to not only progress my career and design aesthetic but also to open myself up to difference experiences, to leave my Californian bubble. With my travels since, I feel like I've made up for it in a way, but there was still always that lingering regret. 

Flash forward to now and I'm in London with a study abroad program. Granted I'm not a student and I'm only here to be with Lance, I still feel like I'm finally getting to study abroad and it's thrilling. I get excited talking to the professors and students and hearing what they're seeing and learning. The students give me fresh eyes on the city, as they're experiencing it (and for some a big city) for the first time. I'm so thankful to be given this experience. 

I definitely would never have thought at the ripe age of 32 that I'd be in London with a study abroad program, but wonders really never cease. 


London, England. March 21, 2014 | Fuji x100s


Happy World Elephant Day.  

Today is a day to consider the welfare of elephants throughout the world, their dwindling numbers and vanishing natural habitats.  When I was Thailand and India I got up close and personal to these massive, yet gentle creatures.  It was such an experience being with these elephants.

I love elephants, and it's awful what a threat we've become to them. According to http://worldelephantday.org, 

"The escalation of poaching, habitat loss, human-elephant conflict and mistreatment in captivity are just some of the threats to both African and Asian elephants. Working towards better protection for wild elephants, improving enforcement policies to prevent the illegal poaching and trade of ivory, conserving elephant habitats, better treatment for captive elephants and, when appropriate, reintroducing captive elephants into natural, protected sanctuaries are the goals that numerous elephant conservation organizations are focusing on around the world.

World Elephant Day asks you to experience elephants in non-exploitive and sustainable environments where elephants can thrive under care and protection. On World Elephant Day, August 12, express your concern, share your knowledge and support solutions for the better care of captive and wild elephants alike."

And just because.... here's an image of that time I charmed cobras.  It was thrilling! I love snakes. 

*images of me were by Richelle Dante


Kanchanaburi & Phuket, Thailand.  December 2009 | Canon 30D

rome | character

Oh how I miss Europe. Sitting here at my desk, and I love that I've been in California for more than a month. I love that I don't have to finish everything before a trip or catch up after a trip. I'm just here and content. I do miss the travel and the exploration of new places, but I'm loving exploring the Bay Area. I'm so happy to meet up with friends in between deadlines and meetings. I love that I've had time to read in the in betweens, when I'm waiting in line for the post office or taking the train or when I arrive early for a meeting. I love it. Traveling can't compare to being at home, but I love both all the same.

Most of my heart will always be in California (the other part is in New York, of course).


Rome, Italy. January 2013 | Canon 5d markii 45mm tse



I love a good list.

I list everything... as you can tell by this and this and this.  So when I see a fun list on someone's blog, I'm always a fan.  Today's list was prompted by Leigh's post.

My current faves are as follows... 

1. regular skittles with green apple instead of lime
2. m&ms. 
3. redbull
4. my "happy happy happy songs" playlist I made in march. (I label my playlists with dates so I remember when I liked songs. it makes me nostalgic.) 
5. google search. I'd like to know who made up the work "nostalgic"... (Greek & Homeric, evidently) 
6. dress shirts. Although, I'm always a fan. But I think they're extra snazzy with shorts. 
7. this summer reading program. Maybe it'll help me get to my 52-books-in-a-year goal. 
8. my workstation. I really love doing work on this desktop. 
9. the colors of my branding. so classy and fun. (just like me!) 
10. crafting. been really in the crafting/scrapbooking mood. Trying to use all the supplies I've bought and never used. 
11. prepping packages for my clients. I really love packages. And I'm going to bring awesome excitement to anyone who's ever wanted a brown-paper package. :D
12. "Attachments" by Rainbow Rowell. I thought I didn't like fiction, but I'm on my second time reading this book. It just gets better. 
13. my instax mini camera. 
14. reading outside. 
15. fiction...surprisingly. 16. warm summer nights. 
17. hugs
18. the melt. A restaurant downtown that serves the most delicious grilled cheese. 
19. girl time with my relatives and friends 20. being home.

p.s. The picture above is the building Sam and I stayed at in Rome. I left the shutter open so that when I looked up from the courtyard I'd know which room was ours. I miss our Europe trip.


Rome, Italy. January 2013 | Canon 5d markii 45mm tse

the day I (really, really) missed my flight.

I just finished the most stressful part of the most stressful day I've had in a long time.  But let's start from the beginning....

Yesterday (Tuesday) I arrived home in California from New York.  The previous night (Monday) I had only one hour of sleep, but I had to hustle because today (Wednesday) I was leaving for Cambodia.  I needed to unpack my winter clothes from New York and repack summer clothes for Cambodia in addition to finishing as much work and tying up as many loose ends as possible (since I hadn't been in California for over two weeks).

I woke up early this morning (slightly) well-rested but feeling sick.  So I took a nyquil to help my cold and let me sleep on the plane.  But I got on the road and did an errand which made me race the clock to the airport.  I make it to the airport just 2 hours before my flight leaves and come to find out I need 4 months on my passport to fly to Cambodia (I only have 3 months left).  I'm certain I checked before booking the tickets so I ask that they call the Cambodian consulate just in case.  Sure enough it's actually 6 months not 4 months.  I'm screwed.  Both my girlfriend and I had checked and doubled check and there was no restriction of any kind.  nuts.  nuts.  I'm almost always prepared so this sucks for my ego.  They're not going to let me get on my flight.

I race to the passport agency (thankfully there's one in San Francisco).  I get on the elevator, go through security and enter the passport agency.  And everyone person I pass stares at me with empathetic pity as I walk pass each of them with my luggage.  The ladies at the counter are extremely sympathetic and friendly.  ptl.  And I get them to renew my passport even though they only expedite passports for people with appointments.  yay.

Then I get the airline people to rebook my tickets for the next flight out tomorrow (thursday) but then they say cant. then they say then can.  Then they say they can't.  But they refund my ticket and I buy a new one.  whew.

So I'm still headed to Cambodia, but tomorrow. thank goodness. Thank God, literally.