One Month Before Departure: Planning and Packing for a Year Abroad

In exactly a month I'm leaving for my year abroad and while my first instinct is to completely freak out, I'm trying to combat that with being very organized.

I know that it sounds hard to pack for a whole year, but it's actually really easy. Normally, the hard part about packing is insuring you don't forget things. It has been surprisingly easy because everything has to go somewhere, I can't leave my toothbrush or hairbrush because I can't leave anything. Things either have to get packed in boxes to be stored, in bags for charity, or in my suitcase. This makes the packing process a lot more simpler. Now the hard part is trying not to overpack.

I'm also trying to nail down my schedule for the first few weeks after I've left. First, I'm going to Boston visiting family for three days, then Paris for four. After that I will be in Madrid for about a week for orientation and then I'm planning on spending four or five days somewhere, probably at the beach. This is the exciting part

Moving to Spain

In February I applied with CIEE to teach English in Madrid- the scariest and most exciting thing that I have ever done. About one week after I applied, I was accepted, and a few days after that, I confirmed enrollment. Although I had been interested in the program since last fall, I didn't think it would really happen- like most pipe dreams, I would loose interest, or wouldn't get all the paperwork in order in time, or not get accepted. Once I applied, the process happened so quickly and I decided very fast that this was maybe sort of kind of what I wanted to do.
Of course there were and still are many fears- how will I communicate with my friends and family back home? What about the language barrier? Culture shock? What if I can't afford it? All of these fears rushing through my head as I pressed enter to confirm my enrollment, sealing my fate for the next year and a half.
The pros completely outweighed the cons. If I didn't do it now, when would I do it? I always wanted to take a year off to travel, and this is the only way that I could afford to spend so much time in Europe.
I may be afraid but I'm so ready to start this experience. In about four months I take off!

Read This Week

I read a lot this week, but I only finished two books because I have been making my way through 4 other books. I feel like I made no progress.

The Sandman Vol 2- Neil Gaiman
I don't like Neil Gaiman. There, I said it. I  have tried so many different works by him and we just don't jive. And I hate it, because he is such a genius, but his books are so chaotic that I can't stand it. I was hoping to start liking this graphic novel series, but I disliked this book just as much as the first one, I'm going to keep them around and try them again in a few years but I'm not expecting much.

The Snow Child- Eowyn Ivey
This book has a little of a misleading premise, so it wasn't what I expected but it ended up being a beautiful book about loss and friendship. I loved it, even though it wasn't my type of book.

And these are the four books that I'm in the middle of. I'm going to make an effort to finish these this weekend so I can start on new books!
The Magicians- Lev Grossman
Maybe Someday- Colleen Hoover
I am the Messenger- Markus Zusak
In the Woods- Tana French

Total unread books- 43

The New Perfume

I've been lusting after the Giorgio Armani Code Pour Femme for so long now, but I just wasn't sure if
it was for me. It's a much older, sexier fragrance than I normally go for. I've been gravitating toward more matuer scents lately with this, the Chloe fragrances, and the Stella fragrances, but to me, Code is on a completely new level, and I've been loving it.

Read This Week

I thought it might be a little less daunting doing weekly reading updates rather than monthly because I do read a ton! I finishes 4 books this week, and I'm in the middle of two.

A Game of Thrones- George R.R. Martin
I finished this book very late last night and AHHH. It was so great. This world is just getting bigger and bigger and the character are fantastic and awful with huge personalities and completely different voices. I can't wait to read the next book in the series.

The Messenger- Lois Lowry
I didn't like this book. This is the third book in the Giver Quartet, and I was hoping that it would connect the stories a little bit, but it didn't. And I really didn't like the main character. I am going to read the last book in the series, because I have heard really good things about it, but so far, this series isn't very good.

The Song of Achilles- Madeline Miller
I finished this book on Sunday, and it was really good. I don't think I've ever read a book with and lgbt main character, and I definitely didn't expect it. It was done really well and I'm a huge sucker for greek mythology.

It's Kind of a Funny Story- Ned Vizzini
I bought this book for two reason, it has a fantastic cover, and it was popular. I didn't think I would like a book about depression. I was pleasantly surprised by how good it was. I may even check out other works by Mr. Vizzini.

And the two that I'm in the middle of are In the Woods by Tana French and a graphic novel: Sandman Vol 2 by Neil Gaiman. Hopefully I'll be done with those two next week to share my opinions with you!

Total unread books: 38 books

Also, check out this beautiful sky!