This year is the one for the record. With everything that happened, even the bad, it was the best year of my life. I crossed things off my bucket list and met some of the most amazing people in the world.

The year began with my semester in Australia. Words cannot describe all that I learned from my semester abroad. I learned about friendship and life and the beauty of the world. I learned to surf and I scuba dove the great barrier reef and hiked a mountain in Tasmania. I wrote and illustrated a children’s book about colors and the environment.

This was the first ever “wave” that I caught. I had the most amazing time living on the beach (basically) and slowing my life down. Every night, my best friends and I would walk the beach for a while before heading up to the boardwalk to get home. I remember having some deep discussions that allowed my love for the girls (or whomever I was walking with) to grow. I cherish the memory of these evening walks and the comfort that they brought my in my time abroad.

DSC_1497IMG_1223I held a koala at a wildlife sanctuary. It was an amazing experience to visit the wildlife sanctuary with my host mom. She is seriously the most amazing person I met in Australia and I cannot wait to visit again and see her. I held a koala and played with some kangaroos. The most amazing thing happened while we were with the kangaroos: there was a joey moving around in his mothers pouch and sticking his head out. He then stretched his arms out and laid them on the ground. He worked hard to get his little body out of the warmth and protection of his mama. The zoo keepers told us (the crowd around the joey) that it was his first time out of the pouch and walking! I will never forget the beauty of the moment.

IMG_0724I stuck my toes in the southern ocean with a girl who has become one of my best friends. On this day we took an eco river cruise in an incredibly beautiful landscape. When we got to the mouth of the river, we jumped off of the boat to eat lunch on the beach of the southern ocean. A few people braved the cold and actually took a swim in the ocean, but Er and I decided that it would suit us to stick our feet in rather than our entire bodies. There is a whole bunch of pictures that our friend took of us running into the ocean together.

IMG_0108_2I spent the semester traveling with amazing friends. These people were by my side up and down the east coast of Australia. We quickly became a family and I would only have spent the semester with these people. We learned to surf, climbed a mountain, and braved a couple of exams together. Sea kayaking was an amazing way to end the semester and see our home from a different angle.

DSCF3666Nemo and I become best buds at the bottom of the ocean. Scuba diving was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. It is so calming and incredible to be underwater, in the quiet exploring. I was able to feed a sea turtle and get up close and personal with a fish cleaning his anemone. The pictures I have are an amazing documentation of my journey with the sea.

265Things were amazing at home too. I had the most rewarding summer job at a day camp and I spent some awesome time in the city with the boy. We went to a Cubs game (the boy’s first). And we only missed the beer in an authentic experience.

IMG_1542And we moved out of my only childhood home into something smaller and better for the future. It is a step in the right direction and an amazing environment to be living in while I am home.

I headed back to school for my senior year and I am rooming with the bestie again. From start to finish she has been by my side. She has been my best friend since the beginning of college and I cannot imagine my life without her. I am so lucky to have the friendship that I have. And I cannot wait for the future (especially spring break 2o15)!

IMG_1991The semester brought more new friends and some super cute halloween costumes. Halloween was an adventure spent in the city with an amazing girl by my side, keeping me on my toes. This girl was playing pool while the boy and I watched the situation unfold. Os is such an amazing friend and I am so sad to see her leave our house at school, but excited for what this semester will bring for her in DC!

IMG_2052We rolled in the new year at Comedy Sportz Chicago with some good friends and laughs. I cannot wait for 2015 to top the amazing year that 2014 was.



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