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Author Topic: Jamsession in VT
JamsessionVT
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I'm at war with the search function right now, and my old thread is a billion years old anyway.

So, I'm Abbie. I'm 18 now, but in, oh, 23 days, 6 hours and 19 minutes I'll 19, (yes, I actually figured that out.) Still live with the rents; I'm not college bound yet. I graduated this spring from high school, but I've decided to take a year off before college (not because I'm a bum or anything. That seems to be the common assumation; I'm taking time off because I got a late start on college applications due to a family tragedy, and I want some time to focus on myself, and figure out what I want to do; there are so many things) to do some traveling, volunteer work, and find a job that actually pays well. To give you an idea of where I want to go, I applied to SUNY Cobeskill, and also had looked at UNC, UNH, with UVM as my backup (although it's getting harder and harder to get in these days, especially for in-state students.) I'd like to go into Equine Sciences, possibly pre-vet or veterinary science. I've always been very passionate about animals, and my dream since I was a little kid was to have a farm for horses rescued from slaughter. I have a horse of my own, an old man named Ernie, who I fondly refer to as Pops. He'd live out the remainder of his days on said farm, but hey, we'll see how that turns out.

As for now, I'm taking this summer to spend some time with my family and plan my year. In September I'll be off to Germany for 2 weeks to stay with some friends. From there I'll be hitting France, particularly Marseille and the coast, and then to Ireland and Great Britain. I'm lucky to have so many contacts and family friends in Europe; otherwise, I'd have some serious budgeting to do. I'll be back for Christmas and New Years, and after that...you'll just have to wait and see!

[ 08-01-2006, 08:17 AM: Message edited by: JamsessionVT ]

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JamsessionVT
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I just finished getting everything I need booked (well, almost). I was actually a little surprised to find that the plane tickets were cheaper than I thought; the plane ticket over to Germany was around $250, which was the cheapest one I could find. Apparently location is everything when you are looking for plane tickets.)

I'm flying out of the JFK international airport on the 5th of September on Lufthansa Airlines, and I'm meeting the family friends over in Berlin at the Tegel airport. They offered me a lot of advice on where to fly to, who to fly on, so I owe them a huge boat of thanks. I'll be staying with them for a couple of weeks; they are very friendly people, and have already sent me the list of all the places they want me to see, where they want to bring me, all these things they are planning. I honestly had no idea they were so excited about my stay!

I am really glad that Europe has such a good train system, because I knew I'd be relying on it to get around, since it seems a little impractical to take planes within Europe. Once again the Starkes were my saving grace, because I had no idea what to look for. So they suggested I buy I youth Eurail Pass so that I can travel in between countries as much as I wanted to. The passes are especially for those backpacking through Europe who are under 26. They are discounted, which is great, and can be used to get in and around Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Holland, Hungary, Italy, Ireland, Romania, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. I did have to change my plans a little bit because I was planning on flying out of London originally, so now I think I'll be flying out of Dublin (which is the "almost" part about finishing booking) to get back to the U.S. The pass wasn't cheap, around 640 dollars American for a month, but with what I'll be doing it'll come in handy.

The details are still being ironed out, but I'm relieved the basics are good to go. I'm glad I'm starting in Germany, because I don't know what I'd do without the Starkes help; they've pretty much assisted me in my trip planning from top to bottom!

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Abbie
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Bobolink
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Takeing a year off befor college can be a very good thing. My son did it. My ex sister-in-law did it and both benefited greatly from getting away from the academic grind for a year.

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Karybu
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The Eurail pass is FANTASTIC. It may seem like a lot of cash now, but having one will end up saving you a lot of money on your trip. When I backpacked Europe a couple of years ago with my best friend, we bought Eurail passes, but weren't sure if they were really worth it at the time - they ended up saving us a lot of hassle and tons of money over the two months we were there.

All that said, have a wonderful time on your trip! Any idea which towns/cities you'll be visiting specifically?

[ 08-05-2006, 11:51 AM: Message edited by: karybu ]

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DarkChild717
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I highly, highly recommend picking up a few of Rick Steve's books. He does the Europe through the Backdoor. He has great tips, and the books are easy to navigate. I used his Florence and Tuscany book two months ago.

Oh, you'll have so much fun!

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Ecofem
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I hope you have a blast on your trip, Jamsession! Too bad we're not going to be in Germany at the same time [Frown] , because I'd have loved to put you up. (Maybe you'll like it so much that you'll want to come back later! I'll be back in Berlin starting October 1st.)

I would recommend getting an international student ID. In places like Germany there are big savings (like 3euros instead of 5euros) for students (hs, college, etc. until age 26) at museums, etc. You could probably use your old high school id to fill out the initial paperwork. Here's more information: http://www.istc.org/sisp/index.htm?fx=static&page=%2Fistc_info%2Fisic_how_to_apply.html (Not an ad but this is pretty much the card.)

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JamsessionVT
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Hey thanks guys! I feel like I'm stumbling around blind here; my desk has turned into a veritable planning headquarters, and I've got map after map and book after book and page after page of ticket verifications and all these printouts of emails and directions and AHHH! It's like a swamp! I never though planning and trip would be so stressful!

Anyway, I've got some more of the details down, but that'll have to be saved for later...I've got some more paperwork to do. Apparently something was wrong with my passport. [Confused]

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JamsessionVT
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So, all the while as I am planning this trip, I put in the backseat the fact that I get totally freaked out by flying.

I was watching that movie with Jody Foster, Flight Plan I think, last night at, oh, midnight, while reading the information the Travel Office in Brattleboro gave me for the international student ID (thanks, Eco!). It was at the scene where she wakes up and realizes her daughter isn't there, and is flipping out because no one can find her. I'm sitting there thinking "This is silly, how many places on a plane could she be..." Then she starts thinking her daughter could be hurt somewhere, and I think "that's ridiculous, too, planes are pretty safe..."

And that's when I remembered.

And of course, I'm by myself on these flightS. Yes, plural. The last time I was on a plane was several years ago. I was 14 and we were going to DisneyWorld (DisneyLand? The one in FL, not CA). It was an evening flight, so I couldn't see too much out the window, but my mom had to ask everyone within three rows of us to pull their window covers down because her teenage daughter was about to have a panic attack. I didn't have one, but I did spend the first leg of the flight in the lavatory throwing up because I was so nervous. And I HATE throwing up. Needless to say, it was not a good experience.

Now I'm trying to figure out ways to keep myself calm. It's been a few years, but I still have some reservations about flying. I won't not go just because I've got a case of the pre-flight jitters, but I have to say it is putting a dent into my enthusiasm. For the time being I'm staying away from anything flying related. the tickets are now said and done; I am leaving from Dublin, a few days later than expected, but that's OK. (Ecofem, I didn't realize you sent me a PM until this morning...I totally missed the little sign that said I had one [Wink] . I would have loved to have come back to Germany, but unfortunately now that the tickets are set I don't think I'll be able to. I don't have a reliable email right now, but do you think you could PM your contact info in Berlin to me? If not, I can set up a new email account and get it from you that way. Thanks so much for your help!)

[ 08-22-2006, 08:58 AM: Message edited by: JamsessionVT ]

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Abbie
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JamsessionVT
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Oh, here is the list of places I'll be visiting (I know you asked about this, karybu)...there is always some room for editing, though! [Big Grin]

  • Paris: though you can usually find someone who speaks French anywhere in Europe, I've always wanted to visit the capitale, if only to just to use the language (over 10 years of French, you bet your butt I'll be using it every chance I get) and eat at a cafe. But I'm hoping to do the Louvre, Eiffel Tower, the Latin Quarter, and of course the street markets!
  • Venice, Rome, Florence: I decided, confirmed when I got the Eurail pass, that I HAD to see Italy, just because I don't think I'd forgive myself if I didn't. Plus (and here's the booster, right here) a woman my grandmother used to work with recently moved back to Italy after 20 years or so in the states. She gave her contact info to her, so when my grandmother mentioned that she had Francesca's address and number, I jumped on it. She lives outside of Venice, offered to put me up as long as I'd like (apparently she knew me when I was a little girl, so as soon as I said I was Shirley's granddaughter, she got very excited).
  • Marseille: I did a research project on the city my junior year of highschool, and I've always wanted to visit. Not only is it on the coast with some of the most beautiful beaches in the world (I'm bringing some sand home) but the whole area is breathtaking.
  • Dublin: I have some Irish heritage, so I thought Dublin would be a good place to start. Dublin Castle, the Guinness Brewery, National Botanic Gardens, and the National gallery are on my hit list.
  • London: I'll have to get a separate ticket to get here since England isn't included on the Eurail pass, but I can't even begin to list off the areas I want to go.
  • Germany: I have no idea what my plans are for Germany. The Starkes have told me not to make any, because they have their own itinerary for me. So I'll have to wait and see on that one!

It's quite a list, but it is certainly doable. There will be a lot of in-betweens to. I'll try to keep it updated as things happen. Countdown is at 27 days!

[ 08-08-2006, 09:23 AM: Message edited by: JamsessionVT ]

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Abbie
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Whiskeyginger
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You shoud really check out UNH they have an awesome ciriculum for exactly what you want to go for. I could never go to UNH it's just way to old school and traditional for me. But the campus is nice, small little downtown area, although it is big into the greek scene there aree always killer parties going on around there. I live probably 10-15 minutes away from campus and I have quite a few friends that go there so if you have any questions feel free to ask them and I will answer them to the best of my ablity.

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cool87
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Hey JamsessionVT, do you need a little bit of help with your French ? You know I'm here to help if you want the basis.

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JamsessionVT
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(Thanks for the offer, cool87. I've actually been taking French for quite some time, which I mentioned in my posts, so I've become pretty fluent in it, at least to the point where I can carry on a conversation. Mais merci! C'etait une offre d'aide genereuse. Si j'ai besoin votre d'aide, je sais ou regarder pour toi [Smile] )

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Abbie
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cool87
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(Pas de problèmes. En passant, tu semble être très bonne pour parler français. Juste une petite correction par exemple.

Il faut dire : Si j'ai besoin de ton aide et non pas si j'ai besoin votre d'aide.

Ou as-tu appris le français ? À l'école ou est-ce par toi-même en écoutant disons la télé et en lisant ?

J'espère que tu as compris ce que je disais.)

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JamsessionVT
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(Oui, j'ai compris [Big Grin] )

It's funny, I don't think I've ever actually carried on a conversation in French with anyone other than my teacher (and random classmates, during oral exercises.) I tend to babble random French to myself from time to time at home. But yes, I learned in school. When I was in middle school you were automatically enrolled in a French program when you reached first grade. You started with colors, days of the week, all that good stuff. And I suppose you just moved up from there. I also took French all through high school.

I don't think I'm talented enough to just pick up French from TV. Plus facile a dire qu'a faire! But I will admit I watch the Canadian station from time to time. I like the French soap operas [Big Grin]

[ 08-09-2006, 05:43 PM: Message edited by: JamsessionVT ]

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Abbie
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JamsessionVT
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I went and saw Bela Fleck and the Flecktones the other night. They came to do a show @ the Shelburne Museum; I've had my tickets for months, literally.

If you haven't heard of them, shame on you. For your penence, you can visit this site:

The Best Band You'll Ever Hear...Ever

Basically, it was the most awesome show I've ever seen. I was afraid it was going to rain because...well it was raining all day for one [Big Grin] But it cleared up just before the show started. Bela Fleck (yes, that is his name) is considered THE premier banjo player in the world...you really have to hear him. I always have a hard time describing their music to others because it doesn't really fit into a genre; it is sort of in its own genre. It's bluegrass, but not tradition bluegrass: there is a bit of a rock/techno/pop/blues/world music/spoken/jazz twist. The band is a bit granola, down-to-earth, and a bit conservative. My favorite of the group (besides Bela) is Jeff Coffin, the sax player. It might be because of his incredible talent with a saxaphone...or because he has a dreadlocked goatee. I'm not sure.

I probably sound like a lovesick 12-year-old. But I think it's refreshing to see a band that not only has real talent, but does something with it, instead of just basking in its glow.

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Abbie
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JamsessionVT
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I drove by my (now former) highschool the other day. I went and watched some of the varsity women's soccer tryouts; to say the least I am now feeling the effects of graduation. I never really thought too much about "Hey, I'm now a highschool graduate, which means I won't come back next year". I was happy to be done, to be going on to something bigger, but at the same time I will really miss (most of them anyway, hehe) my teachers, my classes, my advisor, just the school in general. Watching the tryouts gave me an overwhelming feeling of nostalgia, so after a while I headed home.

I know, I know, I'm such a baby. I am thanking my lucky stars, though, that I decided to take a year off, because I don't think I would have been able to handle going straight to school without some sort of intervention.

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cool87
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In what area of study will you be in university ? (if you ever wanted to go there)

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-Lauren-
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I agree, Abbie: Most the people I've talked to who did badly their first couple semesters in college are the ones who went immediately after high school, some without even the faintest idea of what they wanted to major in. I've taken a break as well, and I think it'll do me good. School burnout isn't fun, especially with such a harsh transition.

By the way, keep updated on the trip to Europe. It sounds like so much fun! [Smile]

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JamsessionVT
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cool87: I'm looking to study in Equine Sciences. What kind of a degree that means I'll get I don't know...another reason I'm taking a break before heading off the university [Smile]

As for Europe, so much has happened since my last update:

As of late, everything travel wise is set. Tickets are good, I've got my boarding passes already. I've just recieved my Eurail pass the other day by mail, so that is set. I got the international student ID last week; boy was that a heck of a pile of paperwork. With my birthday in a couple days, and things still needing to get done, the excitement and anticipation is killing me.

Of course, being the uuber-organized (bordering on ridiculous) person I am, I created a neat little packing list. Since I'll be moving around a lot, I have to be careful about how much I'm packing. I'll be able to do laundry at the Starkes house, and likely at Francesca's too. So I think if I bring a weeks worth of clothing that I can wear more than once I'll be OK. I've got a map of Europe that has my itinerary and everything drawn on it; I'm making a circle, sort of. I'm starting in Berlin, obviously. After I visit with the Starkes for a couple of weeks (I think I'm leaving on the 22nd of September, so a little longer than 2 weeks. This is when I'll get my Eurail pass validated), I'll head down through Austria to Venice, where I've arranged to meet Francesca. Her sister lives in Avezzano, which is an hour or two outside of Rome, so I'm staying with her when I go to see Rome. There are plenty of hostels in and around Florence as well.

After Italy, it is back up and around the coast to Marseille. This is when it will be a little harder because I have to find someplace to stay, but all of my contacts have assured me that there is an abundance of hostels around pretty much anywhere you go. I don't know how long I'll be there, probably not too long, because I'm stopping over in Lyon before I get to Paris.

From Paris I actually got a discounted Eurostar ticket (the Eurostar is the channel tunnel train) to get to London. So I take the 9:10AM train on October 10th out of the Paris Nord station to London Waterloo, which will take a little less than 3 hours. Once I get there, my friend Joe is meeting me and will take me back to his place where I'll stay for a few days. I'm really excited to see him again; we were classmates and good friends for a long time when his dad came over with his job, but they moved back just before we graduated from middle school. So I will get to do London after all. I'll be getting another train ticket to get into Ireland, but from there I'll be in Dublin (the Eurail pass will still be valid, so I may visit other areas as well). Joe invited me to come back to London to stay for a little longer with him and his family before I head back to the U.S. So once again my travel plans change: instead of leaving from Dublin, I'm staying with Joe until November 3rd. I'll fly out of London Heathrow on the 4th.

I'm looking at this now and seeing how hurried it all looks. I don't have nearly as much time as I'd like to, mostly because I've planned my trip around who I'm staying with and when, as well as the Eurail pass. The last few weeks have been really stressful; there have been so many changes to the original plan, but so far it has been for the better. So I think this trip is going to turn out wonderfully.

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JamsessionVT
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So today is the big one-nine. So far nobody has said happy birthday to me [Frown] , partly because both my parents left for work early this morning, and my brothers are, well, my brothers (besides they are still in bed. I don't expect them up until around noon)...but I did get a call from a good friend at midnight wishing me happy birthday. She was apparently having trouble sleeping and remembered it was my birthday, so decided to call.

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Happy birthday, JamsessionVT! [Smile]
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Karybu
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Happy birthday, Jam! Hope you have an awesome day. *birthday hug*

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"Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." -Arundhati Roy

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Aww, Happy Birthday! Make it a good one [Wink]

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-Lauren-
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Happy Slightly-Belated Birthday! [Smile]
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Happy Birthday! Your itinerary sounds awesome: I'm sure everything will work out when you're on the ground, but it's surely worth the effort to have gotten it all figured out beforehard. [Smile]
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JamsessionVT
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Thanks everybody!

The birthday went well. My dad, in honor of my trip, gave me a really, really nice (like, eek, the real deal) travel/hiking backpack for me to pack everything into. I almost broke down in tears. I don't know why; it's funny because my dad didn't like that I was leaving for so long, that "his little girl was going to be running around some foreign country" (my dad isn't much of a traveler). So for him to do this for me was a huge surprise, but made me really happy all the same [Big Grin]

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DarkChild717
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Yay!

When I went to Italy, my friends gave me a sweet little day pack. It was my savior. It held my big ole' camera, as well as my wallet. It was small enough to hold in front of me, so I never had much to worry as far as pick-pockets. They got it at REI. I highly, highly recommend some sort of daypack like it.

You are going to have so much fun!

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JamsessionVT
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AH!

4 days until I leave! I'm so excited, scared, anxious, spaztic, what have you! The plane part will be hard; it's a long flight, but I think I'll be OK. I have everything together, just a matter of putting it in something. The pack my dad gave me is amazing: everything I'm bringing fit in there, with room for more (which is good, because who knows how many souvenirs I'll bring home!)

But I'm thinking calming thoughts right now. I'm beginning to think there is such thing as too excited. But this is a such a huge deal for me, it's hard not to be!

(You can probably tell I'm freaking out; my posts will be rather wishy washy and largely made up of rambling for the next few days! You may also note an increase in exclaimation marks)

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Abbie
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DarkChild717
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[Big Grin]

Jam, you're going to have so much fun. One last little thing I highly recommend, if you don't already have one: A travel Journal. Something to write in about what you did, where you went, who you met, etc. I also used mine for therapy, because I dislike traveling in groups. [Wink]

It's fun to re-read what was written. You'll be thankful for it later.

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Caylin, Scarleteen Volunteer
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JamsessionVT
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Hehe, thanks DarkChild. You've been chock full of suggestions for this trip, I owe you one!

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Abbie
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Karybu
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Have an awesome time on your trip, Jam! I'm so jealous that you get to go - reading about you preparing for your trip brings back memories of mine. (And I second Darkie's suggestion of a journal - I wrote in mine every day, and it's so helpful once you get home and start forgetting little details!)

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"Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." -Arundhati Roy

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JamsessionVT
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So, I am off.

Well, not right now, but in approximately 14 hours, if I did the math right. And if my flight isn't delayed.

May thanks to all who gave me advice, little or a lot. You guys are all awesome.

It'll be a while, but I can't wait to see you all (metaphorically speaking) in November! Wish me luck on my journey (or journeys, as it is)!

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Abbie
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JamsessionVT
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And I'm back.

What a trip. I've been pulling together all my disposable cameras and rolls of film to take in to get developed. I saved my good photography camera for pictures of nature, the ocean, etc. I ended up taking a lot of the people there, though. As I'm counting, I have over 20 rolls of film; I feel like getting the pictures developed is going to be almost as costly as the trip itself!

I'd set a record for the longest post on Scarleteen ever if I went into all the details, but I assure you all I will post some of my favorite stories, and I'll try to get links up to my PhotoBucket account.

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Abbie
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JamsessionVT
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Eek. Why didn't anyone tell me it had been so long since I posted.

So everything is (sort-of) back to normal. I've been having a grand time being a total couch potato, and allowing my body to re-adjust yet again to the time zone. It takes a long time for me to get re-adjusted, I'm not sure why though. I woke up the morning after getting back from Europe with the biggest jet lag hangover ever. I probably slept a total of 22 hours that day, getting up only to go to the bathroom and eat something. But I guess that's what I get for having a freaking awesome time.

I have to say, not having to worry about school is incredibly relieving. I got a call the other day from a very good friend telling me how bummed he was that he didn't take the same route I did, taking a year off and all. I could only smile, b/c less than a year ago I was just as worried about whether this would be good for me, what it would mean for my future, and what I would do with my year off. But I am SO happy that I did what I had to do, b/c it really is paying off.

Unfortunately, mother nature isn't being as cooperative as I'd like. I live in Vermont, but I've never been skiing or snowboarding. So I know that is one of the things that I have to do before I run out of time. But too bad for me that we've had an unusually warm December so far, with little to no snow. It's been so warm and wet that the ski resorts aren't even making snow b/c it all melts by the next day. Unless I want to take up mud skiing, I guess I'll have to wait.

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Abbie
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DarkChild717
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Dude. You should visit me.

I've got snow in spades in *my* mountains. [Big Grin]

(I'll even offer to teach you to snowboard--I've been doing it since I was 13. [Wink] )

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Caylin, Scarleteen Volunteer
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