Before I leave for my fall semester in Nagoya, let me share with you some of my summer adventures from my home state of California.
This past month has been full of travel and preparation for going abroad, and I must admit that it has been rather crazy. Every year, my family takes a vacation to SoCal (Southern California), to a place in the middle of the desert called Palm Springs. As undesirable as the desert and the 100+ degree weather may be, we always make the most of our time together by enjoying the pool, finding treasures while thrift shopping and walking the Thursday night farmer’s markets. Luckily, monsoon rains from Arizona made its way up into Palm Springs and gave us a slight reprieve from the intense summer heat.
After Palm Springs, we made the 9 hour drive back up to NorCal (Northern California) and spent a few days in a small town outside of Yosemite National Park. My grammy rented out an old farmhouse for us the spend the weekend in. The rolling golden hills were a nice change from the harsh desert landscape of the south, but within Yosemite, there were a ton of tourists. It was difficult to enjoy the park with so many people around, so we spent most of the time along the outskirts of Yosemite visiting thrift and consignment shops.
Finally, I took a couple trips into San Francisco to get my visa taken care of. The first time was just a short trip with my dad and brother, but the second time was a reunion of sorts with a friend that I have known for nearly 7 years. After picking up my processed visa, we spent the day in San Francisco. We went to an Italian restaurant for an early dinner, visited a Russian bakery and church and drove up to Twin Peaks (an ideal spot in the center of San Francisco where you can take awesome pictures of the entire San Francisco Bay Area). It was a really fun day with one of my best friends in one of my favorite cities.
Besides taking trips around California, I have done quite a lot this month to prepare for my semester abroad. I have bought a smaller computer (after trying out about 3 others), a larger suitcase (that will hopefully be able to hold all of my belongings), gifts for my host family and everything else that I need to survive. Getting ready has been slightly stressful, but has really helped me sort out what I need and what I do not need to bring with me (which is a lot more than you may think!).
It’s strange to think that in just a few days I will have to pack up my entire life in a single suitcase and move to the other side of the world. It seems almost surreal, but I can feel that this will upcoming semester will be beyond amazing. I can’t wait for this adventure to begin.
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<p>Hi, my name is Ashley Bell and I am a Junior Political Science major at Santa Clara University. I'll be spending my spring semester in Nagoya, Japan and am very excited to share my experiences with you. I hope you enjoy seeing Japan through my eyes!</p>