Uncharted: Mint Polkadot Blazer + White Lace Dress

winter outfit college style
winter outfit college style
winter outfit college style
Blazer, Kohl's | Cowlneck, DKNY | Dress, Forever 21 | Boots, China

Application Decision for Middlebury School in France: Bordeaux

My heart began racing as I thumbed over my phone's latest email notification. The subject line revealed nothing, the email body sent me to my application portal, my application portal directed me to a pdf of my decision letter. By this point, the flood of adrenaline nearly petrified me. I was an introvert before a massive, expectant audience. I was an acrophobic preparing to skydive.

I clicked the link. My anxiety soon became exuberance--I leapt outside of my room, pounded on the door of one of my closest friends, barged right in with the good news, flew right out, and gleefully pranced to the common room. 

I'm going to France.

While my study abroad plans are far from complete, it's such a comfort to know that I have the opportunity to immerse myself in a completely unfamiliar situation. To practice the language I've loved since middle school. To encounter diverse, resonant souls. To be excruciatingly uncomfortable, and to learn volumes about myself in the process.

That night, I felt happy and peaceful. As I lay in bed, enveloped in the calm darkness of night, I smiled, closed my eyes, and drifted into the world of dreams. 

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Southern Florida, Days 2 and 3: Miami

college travel style florida
Cardi, Burlington Coat Factory | Button-down, thrifted Ralph Lauren | Skirt, H&M | Boots, Marshall's
choices kitchen miami florida
outfits for the beach
outfits for the beach
outfits for the beach
Cardi, Burlington Coat Factory | Swimsuit, Target (separates) | Hat, China
st. bernard de clairvaux monastery

I eagerly grabbed the salad from the fridge, but my heart immediately sank: the greens were drenched in ranch dressing and coated in cheese. 

"I can't eat this, mom and dad. I'm really sorry."

I felt awful. 

Because of my vegan tendencies, I had to resign to a meal of appetizers at the upbeat seafood joint where my family had eaten dinner. After black beans and rice, grilled veggies, and guacamole, I still felt unsatisfied. I remarked that I craved a salad, and thought nothing more of it. 

So when my parents returned from their nightly walk with a salad, I was touched. But that warmth soon pooled into guilt. My parents had gone out of their way to get me more food, and I couldn't even eat it. I felt bad that I was so particular. I felt bad that my preferences diverged so greatly from those of my family. I felt bad that we no longer knew each other as well as before.

The longer I'm away at school, the more home feels like placeholder, a pause on actual life, a layover. It is a transient space in-between, and I am suspended in its ambiguity. 

I am a guest in my own family, an inconsistent mentor to my younger brother, a mere coffee date to old friends, another nomadic soul inhabiting Ohio, a disappearing act. 

I am suspended in ambiguity even away from home--the vague connections trail me, and my family's trip to Florida was no exception. That night, at a hotel in Key Largo, I realized how distant I'd grown to my upbringing. I realized how fleeting and tenuous meaningful relationships could be.

In my reading today for class, I stumbled upon a quotation that couldn't be more pertinent:

"To live as if everything around you were temporary and perhaps trivial is to fall prey to petulant cynicism as well as to querulous lovelessness" (Edward Said, Reflections on Exile).

Nearly everything is transient, but transience doesn't compromise the meaningfulness of the moments, links, processes themselves. I may only have a couple months with my family each year, I may no longer be a part of my friends' immediate lives, I may feel lost in the mélange of divergent experiences, but I am so grateful. I am grateful for my family's flexibility and support (Florida-wise, they tolerated quite a few pretentious meals at vegan eateries and offbeat expeditions). I am grateful to have grown closer to my brother. I am grateful to share a slice, however small, of my friends' experiences. I am grateful for the opportunity to nuture and recreate resonant connections.

Back at school, I am grateful as well. Life is fleeting and challenging regardless of my location, and I will continue to seek vibrant moments.

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Southern Florida, Day 1: Key West

summer outfit sun hat maxi dress
summer outfit sun hat maxi dress
date and thyme key west vegan food
sibling photo
beach outfit when it's chilly
Dress, kid's section at Nordstrom Rack | Cardi, Old Navy | Shoes, Steve Madden | Sun hat, China | Gold tattoos, Kohl's
Outfit shots by my brother

The warm, salty breezes. The golden beams of sun. The soft rustle of palm leaves. Ocean waters the purest shade of mint.

All of this feels so distant as I wrestle with problem sets, attempt to decipher befuddling readings, run from class to class, responsibility to responsibility.

Spring semester is in full swing, and another tough few months are ahead. Though I feel most alive when I'm busiest, I'm always happy to savor a few days of empty schedules and spontaneous adventures. 

My family's short getaway to Florida before school was just that. As I tackle the challenges of now, I'll continue to cherish these memories of carefree fun.

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