Fall in Charleston, South Carolina

May 26, 2020 Charleston, SC, USA

Over my long fall weekend in October, my family and I traveled to Charleston, South Carolina for a family wedding. Since it is now May, it is clear that this post is very long overdue and I debated not even uploading it due to the fact that I visited months ago. However, because so many of us are now stuck at home due to the coronavirus and have no idea when we might be able to travel again, I thought it would be enjoyable to reminisce and look back at these photographs from Charleston.

I had only visited this city once before as a pit stop on a road trip home from Georgia, but I remembered very little of the city. Aside from spending time with extended family, my family and I spent most of our time browsing the many stores along King Street and eating lots of delicious food.

Porto, Portugal

May 25, 2020 Porto, Portugal

Last August, my family and I spent around two weeks exploring Portugal. We flew into Lisbon, where we stayed for a few days wandering the city streets and visiting historic sites, and then drove south to a town called Vila Nova de Milfontes from which we took day trips to Portugal's beautiful beaches. Our last destination was Porto, a city north of Lisbon, with a pit stop in the city of Evora.

Because I was very busy preparing for my junior year upon returning from Portugal, I was not able to share my travels on the blog. It was not until the wintertime and I had ample time due to being on break from school that I had ample time to sit down and share my photographs from my trip to Portugal. My winter break came to an end, however, and I was one blog post short of finishing off my series of posts from Portugal: our last stop in Porto.

Since August, my mom and I have also traveled to Charleston, South Carolina for a family wedding, Paris, France to visit friends and family, and also southern Spain and Morocco (a country we dreamed of traveling to for years). Seeing that the academic year is now over and I will be staying home over the summer due to the pandemic, I am sure I will be able to get caught up with sharing these travels.  

Porto is a coastal city known for its river, the Duoro, and its beautiful bridges, the colorful houses lining the waterfront, and of course, port wine production. As with the city of Lisbon, Porto is home to an array of beautiful historic sites. Again, similarly to Lisbon, one of the aspects of the city I enjoyed most was how walkable it is. From the walking paths on the bridges to the famous Barredo stairs, the city provides endless opportunities for exploring every part of the city on foot. And if that wasn't enough, Porto also has a telefarico, or cable car, that offers a stunning view of the river and multicolored homes along the water.

Currently: Turning 18, Summer, & Dostoyevsky

May 24, 2020

I am officially finished will my junior year of high school. Due to the switch to virtual learning, classes ended a week earlier than usual, and the last two weeks students had few class meetings due to having to take AP exams. The last couple of weeks of school were pretty stressful for me, as I was working hard to finish off the year strong with all of my class assignments while also juggling studying for AP exams. While I know that had this year proceeded as normal these final few weeks would have been all the more challenging, the present circumstances did add some difficulties as well, as students had to adjust to new exams formats as well as simply try to maintain motivation whilst working from home. Junior year was very challenging, and while I really enjoyed my classes this year, I am grateful for summer and the opportunity it brings to explore some of my passions - such as blogging and reading for pleasure - that I was not always able to do during the busy academic year.

On the Bright Side: 5 Positives of Quarantine

May 14, 2020

As I am sure you have heard before, human beings are social creatures, and so naturally, practicing social distancing is not always easy. I have found myself scrolling through my old photographs from spring and summer of last year, looking at pictures with friends and family, of delicious dinners from nights out at restaurants, at sandy beaches and crowded museums, and reminiscing on these memories, wondering how long will it be before life returns to this kind of normal? I often feel a sense of guilt at these nostalgic thoughts, however, as I recognize what a privileged position I am in and am incredibly grateful to be for myself and my family to be safe and healthy, and also not to have to worry about where my next meal is coming from during these difficult times. Though it can be easy to dwell on the negatives thoughts and be caught up in anxieties about the future, I wanted to dedicate this post the positives of being in quarantine - the simple things that have brought me joy and I have been able to focus on more since staying at home.

A Quarantine Favorite: The Daily Show with Trevor Noah

May 11, 2020

Recently I have been a little obsessed with listening to Trevor Noah's podcasts. His daily recordings are actually meant to be watched on his Youtube channel, The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, where he has amassed a following of 7.38 million subscribers, but I have taken to listening to his Ears Edition of his videos prior to going to bed each night. 

Trevor Noah is a comedian originally from South Africa, and I first discovered his videos after reading his autobiography entitled Born a Crime in which he details his experiences growing up a post apartheid societyHe is incredibly funny, extremely thoughtful, and very well spoken, and his episodes never fail to make me laugh out loud. I love that I am able to walk away from his podcasts and videos feeling informed, enlightened, and amused. During these unprecedented times, when the future holds so much uncertainty and the daily news is often filled with so much negativity - from rises in the death toll and new outbreaks of the virus in middle America to a hauntingly increasing unemployment rate - his podcasts come as a breath of fresh air amidst the typical heaviness of news channels. 

How To Finish Virtual School Strong

May 9, 2020

For those of us who are now taking classes online, the end of virtual learning is in sight. I will be finished will school in just about two weeks, and though I am already finished with most of my assignments for my classes, I will be taking AP exams over the course of the next two weeks. Online school has been a new and strange experience for many of us, and has definitely created challenges and has required some getting used to. I wanted to share with you all some tips I am trying to implement in my own studies to fend off the quarantine slump and push through the end of the school year on a positive note.

Currently: Life Under Lockdown

May 3, 2020

My family and I have now been in quarantine for around a month and a half. Though stay at home orders and restrictions are gradually being lifted by state, the grim reality is that without a vaccine, we are far from returning to normal life prior to the outbreak of coronavirus. Practicing social distancing is still the most effective and responsible way to prevent the spread of the virus, and even though guidelines may be lifted, it is still important that those of us who are financially and physically able stay home. In this tenth edition of my currently series, I thought I would give a little glimpse into my life under lockdown and share some of my reflections, thoughts, and experiences living in quarantine.