Advice, Communication, Observations, Student Exchange, Travel

August: Humboldt County

In August 2012, I arrived in Humboldt County. To embark on a journey that I thought would lead to the discovery of a wildly different culture to my own, to the discovery of new perspectives, new ideas, new relationships, to the discovery of both amazing and disgusting food. But I discovered more than I bargained for because I was not expecting to discover myself.

My time at Humboldt State University seemed to be nothing but challenge after challenge. Some would have put it down to homesickness, others might have seen that I wasn’t content working toward a degree I was no longer happy studying. Don’t get me wrong, I was still determined to pursue photography, I simply didn’t have the strength to pursue my studies of it. I knew my time in America was limited and I made choices, I prioritised. I threw myself into my social life and travelling America. I did so because I didn’t want to spend so much of my time trying to complete assignments that had no bearing on my discovery of the culture I had long been fascinated by. Nor did I want to capture – and therefore interrupt my experience of – my friendships, adventures and discoveries. I wanted to experience the culture – and in my mind that was very much the opposite of what taking photographs would allow me to do. It would only ever be a superficial documentation if I did not have any deeper level of understanding and would serve as a reminder of the experience I had missed out on.

Despite failing half of my classes, I don’t have any regrets. I gained strengths socially and emotionally through friendships that will hopefully last a lifetime. My confidence has been at an all time high since my exchange because the people I met on exchange believed in me. My personal identity was strengthened by peers who accepted me wholly – with all of my faults. Funnily enough, putting my insecurities on show allowed me to accept those parts of myself because others had accepted them without question.

CK.

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Student Exchange, Travel

Reflecting on Exchange

It’s been nearly six months since I left the United States and other than a few conversations here or there I haven’t thoroughly reflected on the discoveries I made during my student exchange. You might be wondering “Well why now?” I guess it’s mostly because I’ve returned to university this week and it’s solidified the fact that I am a different person now. Continue reading

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Student Exchange, Travel

I Dropped My Wallet in a River

No, that’s not a euphemism for anything. I was walking back to my room after going to see Jordan’s film “Remnant’s of the Past.” when Courtney informed me that it was snowing in New York. I was so happy I did a little skip. Courtney laughed and said “Did you just skip?” I said ” I am so happy that I’m even going to do a heel click.” I was walking across the tree bridge so it was a little cramped but I did a little jump and clicked my heels. Then my wallet that I had tucked under my arm fell onto the railing and bounced into the creek that flows beneath it. I ran to get it out but I was scared of falling in my self, so Courtney came down and picked it out of the stream of frigid cold water. We continued to laugh up the hill until I realised my ticket to the New York City Ballet’s Nutcracker performance was in there. So I ran up the hill to get to my hair dryer.

CK.

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Road Trip, San Francisco, Student Exchange, Travel

Last Minute Decision…

Last night, after being told earlier in the day that two of my three Thursday classes were canceled, I decided quite impulsively to visit Mercedes. There isn’t really a reason, not even just the need to see a familiar face, as I’ll be seeing her next Thursday, as we embark on our journey to LA and Washington DC for Thanksgiving. I suppose it’s just my love of City by the Bay, and the fact that I only have free accommodation down there until the end of the semester so I should use it before I lose it.

I’m pretty excited even though I have a bit of work to do this weekend. I am going to try and get some done on the bus, but I’ll need to work hard to get some photographs taken by Tuesday. I might even buy a Medium Format camera if I find a good deal.

I’m also really hoping to buy a car in San Francisco, they’re much cheaper down there and it’ll be a lot easier to get to LA that way. But if I don’t get a car we’ll just hire one, because it ends up just as cheap as catching busses but way more convenient.

CK.

P.S. I’ve decided I’m probably the worst combination of my Mother’s and my Father’s daughter. I’ve got my mum’s frivolity and my dad’s impulsivity.

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Finance, Student Exchange

Mickey’s in McKinleyville

I went to buy a car today. It didn’t end well. I really wanted to go with someone just for moral support. I was pretty set on buying this one car in particular. I called the dealer to let him know we were coming to test drive the Toyota Rav4 that I’d been thinking about for a week.

I went in with all intentions to hard ball the dealer. I was going to offer him $2,500 cash, but after the test drive he told me that the car was not as cheap as he originally lead me to believe. It was now worth $5,000 before tax rather than $3,000. I was so taken aback by this figure. It wasn’t even in the ballpark. Continue reading

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