School’s Out Forever – What’s Next?

Hey everyone, it’s been a while. The past 6 months have been a whirlwind, leaving me with little time to focus on blogging. But now I’m back and ready to provide some updates.

The last time I posted on A Girl and Her Visa, I was finishing up my first year in Brussels, so excited to go home for the holidays. At the time, I was interning with Women’s Economic and Social Think Tank (WESTT) in Brussels, a job that required lots of writing. I could feel myself getting a bit burnt out and I decided to take a break from the blog before writing started to feel like a chore, rather than a creative outlet. Now that my life is calming down a bit, I finally feel like I have a chance to do my adventures justice – so here we go.

I spent the second half of December in the U.S. with my family. We started off by visiting my family in New Orleans (rest assured, we stopped at Pat O’s several times) and made it back to Cincinnati by Christmas. Although I had to work on my final papers, it was such a relief to be back with family and friends after a year away.

In February, I returned to Brussels to work on my dissertation. During this time, I also accepted my current job as Program Coordinator of the American Cultural Ambassadors Program (ACA), in which I participated the past two summers. Although the days were long while I worked on these two projects, I made sure not to waste my last few months in Europe. Work hard, play hard – am I right?

In February, I met my friend Sage in Athens for a long weekend. Fun fact – although Sage is American and went to college a few hours from me, we have yet to hang out in the U.S. We met in China last summer and decided to reunite in Greece. Yay for friends who like to travel! Two weeks after Athens, I went to Rome with some friends to see one of their cousins perform in a touring dance company. Rome was as I expected – impressive and full of great food.

March 15th was the long awaited due date for my dissertation. In celebration of both my dissertation’s completion and my roommate’s wedding, a big group of us went to Spain and Portugal for a week. I absolutely fell in love with Sevilla and the Portuguese coast. I’ll be writing a blog post completely dedicated to this trip, as it was one of my favorites.

A couple weeks after Spain, my dad came to visit for eleven full days of travel. Last time he visited, we tackled Paris, Barcelona, and Madrid. This time, we decided to go a different direction and made our way through Prague, Budapest, and Krakow. This trip, once again, deserves its own post.

After some difficult goodbyes, I left Brussels and returned to the U.S. to work on ACA and wait for my Chinese work visa to process. It was so nice getting to live in Cincinnati as an adult with some of my favorite people in the world. But obviously I couldn’t stay in one spot for the whole two months. In May, my dad and I went down to Florida for my brother’s track meet (go Robby!) and visited my cousin who works at Disney World. My inner child came out for a few days while we rode roller coasters, met princesses, and visited Harry Potter World at Universal Studios. If you want to get an embarrassing story out of me, ask about the Avatar ride in Disney.

But after two wonderful months at home, it was time to leave again. I flew to China the day I received my visa and immediately started working; as usual, my exit was spontaneous and a little chaotic. But hey, that’s what makes life exciting, right?

Currently, I am traveling around the Zhejiang Province, managing a group of American college students as they teach English at Chinese summer camps. I’ll be spending the summer here, teaching and working on ACA until the end of August. From there, I’ll be starting a new life in Taiwan as a full-time English teacher!

Now do you see why I’ve had no time to write?

More updates to come!

– Christine