My beginnings

The summer I turned 15, I studied abroad in France and took courses in culture & cuisine and photography. For this experience, I bought my first dSLR camera and formally learned to cook and I haven’t stopped with either hobby since. Below are some pictures from my time in the south of France. france 2011 (1)

Even just the simple things caught my eyes: flowers were everywhere and the smallest of candy shops looked gourmet. france 2011 (117)

With my culture and cuisine class, I learned to make a wide variety of dishes from professional French chefs.  DSC01884 DSC01894 DSCN5915 DSCN5922

As a class, we went on many excursions together, trying out different pastry shops and restaurants, and visiting the local farmers markets. france 2011 (134) france 2011 (118) france 2011 (264)
Below are some pictures from our trip to Palavas, a city along the Mediterranean.  

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french fishies france 2011 (807) france 2011 (808) france 2011 (810)The last night of our stay, we went out to a private dinner in the French countryside. 

france 2011 (1212) Going to France at age 15 was truly a transformative experience for me. It was full of firsts: first time abroad, first time traveling alone, first time taking a photography class, first time away from home… 

I was full of excitement at the time, but I didn’t realize how pivotal the trip would be for me. It has inspired me to want to continue to travel, explore and push myself out of my comfort zone. It has inspired me to continue to study French, as well as other languages (and though I tried to study Chinese the year after I got back, I decided my efforts would be best spent working on perfecting my Spanish and French). Most importantly, it was my trip to France that inspired me to develop my photography and baking skills and to eventually start this blog and write my own book.

france 2011 (1220)When I applied for the study abroad program, I was very doubtful. I knew that the only way that I would be able to go was if I received a full scholarship and I knew that very few would be awarded that opportunity. After a couple anxious months went by, I got a call saying that not only was I accepted, but I would be going for free, that I had earned the scholarship! Going to France when I was 15 made me feel like I could do anything, that nothing was out of my reach. I strive to continue to have this outlook on life and hope to inspire others to the same! :) 


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