First Blog Birthday!

So today I was just really feeling a blog post and I guess it was fate because I logged on to a message that it’s my blogs birthday!!!!

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I started this blog 1 year ago on the other side of the world. I started this in New Zealand while I was studying abroad because I just felt like I needed to share some of the amazing experiences I was having and all the amazing things I was seeing.

But while I was in New Zealand I realized that I wouldn’t be here forever but I wanted to continue to blog. And what else would I blog about but books!?

Although I still haven’t found a good balance of blogging and real life I really do enjoy being a part of the book blog community. It is so fun and even though there are times when I just don’t have the time for it I do love it.

So thank you everyone who has made joining this community so fun and I look forward to being a part of it for another year!!!

 

My Thoughts on 2016

So if you read my blog you know my favorite booktube blogger is PolandBananasBooks. And one of my favorite videos she does is her end of the year summary. Because listening to her put her year in perspective always helps me do the same for mine.

The end of the year is always such a rush and with new year’s resolutions we sometimes lose sight of everything we accomplished the previous year. So here I’d like to share some of the big mile stones of my 2016:

1. I studied abroad in New Zealand | January

I had the amazing opportunity to travel to New Zealand all winter to study Animal Science last year and it was the most amazing 5 weeks of my life. I started this blog because of that trip. There I got to see picturesque landscapes, sky dive, bungee jump, white water raft, see a world heritage site, experience a totally new culture and make so many new friends. I’ve done so many posts about it but as it is currently the 1 year anniversary of my arrival date I can’t help but reminisce all the amazing memories. Especially since my little Emiy @ Emiesnook is there right now!

2. I went home for a weekend | March

I do not live close enough to have the luxury to go home for the weekend in college. It’s a 6 hour drive on a good day and I don’t have a car. But in March my best friend Jess @ starswholisten and I took a road trip to Massachusetts so I could show her around Boston to see if she wanted to attend Law School there. Not only did we discover some of the most important Bellarke songs ever on this trip but we marched about 9 miles from Fenway, all through the Back Bay, up the Esplanade, to the Public Garden, Common, Government Center, Faneuil Hall, then all the way up to the north end for a cannoli before joining my parents in the south end for dinner. It was so much fun and I’m so glad that I helped her decided to move up here for Law School.

3. I met my little | March

I know I mention her all the time, but the truth is Emily @ EmiesNook and I haven’t even known each other for a year yet. We met in March when we went on a “girl date” for a sorority to help the new members meet people. The reason I was interested in meeting her is because she had put The 100 under things she liked and then I saw she had Sarah J Maas there as well and I knew we were meant to be friends. Since then she has been responsible for a massive increase in my neediness and I thank her for every second of it.

 

4. I met my favorite author | April

I have Emily @ Emiesnook to thank for this one too, but in April she invited me along to meet Sarah J Maas and it was so amazing. We drove 3 hours to a sleepy little town in Pennsylvania even though we hadn’t even known each other for a month yet. We met Sarah who was amazing. She was so funny and actually moderating for another author but she was so down to earth and hilarious. I was so grateful to get my books signed and I am counting down the days until she coms my way again.

5. I got my little | April

Big-Little week was so amazing for me. I have posts about all the days that you can go read but Emily @ Emiesnook did such an amazing job. All the days were things I loved to much. From James Frase, Jon Snow and Bellamy Blake on man crush monday, to Throne of Glass and Lord of the Rings I was so grateful to all the work she put into decorating my room. Plus after that we started spending way too much time together alone with my big Jess @ starswholisten. We watched The 100, GoT and Outlander together every week, went to the bookstore together and ate pints of ice cream together. PLUS Sarah J Maas herself liked the tweet of the paddle I made my little that said “fire breathing bitch queen” on it!

 

6. ACOMAF | May

In May ACOMAF came out and almost ruined my life. I still blame this book for me almost failing a class last spring because no matter how hard I tried to study I could think about nothing else. This is my favorite book last year and my favorite book of all time at the moment and I have literally been twidiling my thumbs waiting for ACOWAR to come out. No book has ever resulted in me buying so much book merch (you’ve seen the candles). Never have I saved so much fanart, or read so much fan fiction for a book. I am in love with it and so it was definitely a highlight of the year.

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7. Everyone Graduated | May

This year everyone but me graduated. My brother graduated college, my sister graduated high school and my best friend and big Jess graduated from UD. The road trip to Bucknell with my mom was awesome since we always have fun together (even though it was in the middle of my finals week). Then I had Jess’s graduation at UD which I was fortunate enough to still be around for. It was bitter sweet but I was glad to be there. And then when I got home my little sister graduated from high school.

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8. Wildlife Internship | June

In June I started one of the best internships of my life. I had the opportunity to work at a wildlife center and it was amazing. I got to work with geese, ducks, squirrels, song birds, skunks, owls, hawks and of course raccoons!!!

9. I turned 21!!! | July

I finally turned 21 this year. I was the last one of my friend group. And to make it even better Jess drove all the way to Massachusetts to celebrate with me. While it was low-key, just going into the city with my family plus Jess, it was just so exciting to finally be able to get a drink in the bar.

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10. Cape Vacation | July

After 2 months of working 7 days a week, I could think of nothing better than spending a week on the Cape with my family. We ended up in a cute cottage, got to borrow a friends boat and I got to partake in all the late night merriment since I was newly 21. It was so relaxing and nice since my brother had moved out after graduating so I got to see him for a whole week.

11. I’m a senior now? | August

I can’t believe it’s already here but somehow I’m on my last year of college. It feels like I just arrived at UD yesterday and now I’m getting ready to start my final semester of my undergraduate degree. It’s been nothing short of amazing. I’ve met so many amazing friends and gotten to do so many amazing things as a member of the Ag school. I have UD to thank for my opportunity to travel to New Zealand, and some of the amazing hands on experiences I’ve had.

12. I applied to vet school! | September

After doing nothing but applications all August long I finished all the essays and pieces of the application and submitted in September. Being a vet is my lifelong dream since I was 4 years old so to finally apply was so surreal after chasing this dream for all this time.

13. I got a pig! | September

This year I had the amazing opportunity to care for a sow and later her 13 piglets. I have never been so close to a pig before but I loved every second of it. It was so fun being a part of the birth of my piglets and brining my friends in to meet them. Plus it was actually so relaxing for me to have an animal to care for during the semester. I didn’t care that I had to get up early on the weekends and walk to the farm. Or that I always seemed to smell like pig. It is an experience I will remember forever and will always be grateful for.

14. Annapolis | October

In october I got to visit Annapolis with my parents and siblings. It was special that everyone was able to get down to the midatlantic at the same time and we had so much fun exploring Annapolis, a city we had never been to before. Plus it was the first time I’d seen my parents since August.

15. I joined Bookstagram | October

On top of my blog I finally had the courage to jump into the world of bookstagram. I love bookstagrams and had been playing around with the idea but I didn’t want to commit. Since joining Bookstagram I’ve had nothing but a positive experience from the community and I love being a part of bookstagram.

16. I cosplayed for the first time | October

For halloween this year my friends Jess and Emily and I committed to being Aelin, Elide and Manon from Throne of Glass. I have never done anything that required a wig like that before but we had such a good photo shoot and it gave me an excuse to buy “the bookstagram dagger”. Plus we were low-key twitter famous for a bit (for us anyways).

17.  I got accepted to vet school! | November

In November I heard back from one of the vet schools I applied to, University College Dublin with an acceptance! It came out of the blue since I was expecting to need to interview first so imagine my surprise when I was sitting in class and got a congratulatory email from the university.

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18. I went to a Scottish Ball | November

After taking Scottish Country Dance with Emily the whole semester we attended the Argyle ball in our best scottish get up and danced with people who had been doing this for a long time. But it was so fun. Everyone was so welcoming, the music was amazing and it ended up being an amazing night.

19. I picked up a dog on the side of the road | December

This is something I always do. If I see a dog in the street I am always the car that pulls over to get it. I was on my way to a service project for my sorority and there was this little cocker spaniel running around on a busy street. It was running from another woman chasing it but I popped out of the car and crouched in the street until the dog came to me. She was adorable and we were able to get it to a local vets office for animal control to pick up and get home.

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20. I finished my last fall semester of undergrad | December

This was my first and only 4.0 semester! I got straight As and I was not taking a light course load. Lucky for me my roommates birthday was on the last day of finals so me and my roommates were able to all be together and go out in ugly christmas sweaters before leaving the next day. I could think of no better way to end one of our last semesters together.

21. Bruins Game | December

Right when I got back from school my parents had an early christmas present for us. We were all going to a bruins game. I got to see my brother and sister and hang out with them for an entire evening (my parents had better seats) and even though the Bruins lost it was so fun.

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22. The Holidays | December

This year we finished off the year right. We had a great Christmas Eve party (which I may have had a little too much wine at). Christmas was not the best (solely because I was more than hungover. I had a couple dashes to the toilet to let some of that wine back out….oops). But then my family finished off the year with an amazing ski weekend. My family loves to ski and my brother was able to come so we were all together. We went to the mountain where we basically learned to ski, Attitash, NH. There I had a great time snowboarding on fresh snow that fell the day we arrived and we had a great family New Years to finish out 2016.

 

2016 may have not been the best year in the world. Sure lots of terrible things happened, we lost a lot of legends and I can’t say I’m happy about our new president but it’s important to reflect on the good in your life. And I’d say I was pretty blessed this year. Hopefully 2017 is even better as the joke in our house is that it’s “the year of Maggie” since I’m the only one graduating this year.

Hopefully everyone has things to be happy about looking back on at the end of 2016 and has a good start to 2017.

Thanks for Reading

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The End of the Road

I always knew that my journey of a lifetime would come to an end. But now that it has, I still can’t quite believe it. Yesterday, February 3, 2016 was the longest day of my life. In total it was 38 hours long. It started in Christchurch New Zealand, my home for the last 5 weeks and brought me back to school at the University of Delaware, still on the 3rd. It took 4 airports, 3 flight, 2 delays, 2 coffees, countless repeats of the same playlist, and 10 snapchats to documents the progress. And now, it’s over. Done.

I can’t believe that technically just yesterday I was halfway around the world, in the other hemisphere. It was warm, sunny and in the 80s. Now I’m in Delaware where there is some snow on the ground. In New Zealand the sun was out till 9:30pm and now it’s gone by 5:30pm. But even though it’s the end of a chapter, it’s the close of an amazing one.

I started this journey with 40 strangers. Yes I knew some of them already, two or three were already considered friends, but most I didn’t even know their name. And there we were on a 13 hour flight together. And in just a few days these people were my closest companions. We sat on endless buses together, hiked, biked, played pickup games of soccer and volleyball. We ate all our meals together, took class together, and traveled every where together. At the end of the day we unwound together, watching movies and just hanging out.

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Finding Hedgehogs in the Dark

If you ever go to New Zealand and walk around at night, there is a good chance you’ll stumble across a spiky little brown ball at some point. In New Zealand hedgehogs are considered an invasive species, but they are so darn cute. They’re fairly docile animals so you can usually pick them up. We happened to have a resident “hedgehog whisperer” on our trip who knew all about safe ways to handle them.

Basically they’re going to spike up when you pick them up as a natural defense mechanism. And let me tell you, it is VERY painful to hold them when they’re spiky. But if you just set them down on your lap or hold them gently from the underside and stroke their quills most of them calm down and will just sit with you.They really are adorable little animals. If flipped onto their back, they curl up into a tight little ball to protect their middle with just their face poking out.

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Getting Out of my Comfort Zone

So this past weekend I got to venture to Queenstown NZ, the adventure capital of the world. You can do all the crazy things there like skydiving, canyoning and white water rafting but the big one is the Bungy Jump. Bungy jumping was invented here and the original bungy jump is just outside of Queenstown. It was all started by A.J. Hackett and he opened another one in Queenstown that is much higher. It’s called the Nevis Bungy , and it is the worlds 3rd highest bungy. But what’s nice is there is the jump or a swing.

Originally, after watching a video of it I knew I would never be able to do that, so I signed up for the swing. But the night before I was thinking. I would probably never have this opportunity again, and I was going all the way out to the bungy to just skip it?

So the next morning during check in I asked “I’m supposed to swing but can I switch to bungy?” and just like that, in a mere 5 minutes I was on the bungy list. Now is when I started to panic. I was in a group of 20 of my study abroad group who were doing it. I endured the 45 minute drive out there with minimal panic, got my harness and even watched the first group go. Then I was in the little lift to the cable car suspended in the middle of the canyon. There are glass floors so you can see the 134 meter plunge you’re about to take (that’s 440 feet). And I was last. I had to watch my entire group go. And they all did it. Continue reading

My Little Four Leaf Clover

Today I crossed something off my bucket list that I never expected to in New Zealand. I found a four leaf clover. I actually found 2. Now my family heritage is Irish mainly and I’ve been there an met extended family. I listen to Irish Folk Music year round simply because I like it (Tommy Makem and the Clancy Brothers are a jam), but I’ve never found a four leaf clover.

Today I we were walking in cow pastures looking at the grasses and in total I think we found about 25 four leaf clovers. According to a bit of research there are 10,000 three leaf clovers to every four leaf clover. But we just kept finding them. I’m sure it has something to do with their pasture management process and the nutrients they put on their clover that helps it grow but all that mattered to me was I had one.

For me it felt like a connection to those roots that I try hard to hold on to. I love being Irish. And by no means am I the most Irish person I know. My parents aren’t direct descendants, or even my grandparents. But my family still holds on to some of those traditions and roots. And I’ve been making plans ever since I was about 17 to get myself back there and try to live there for a while. Right now I’m considering vet school in Dublin if I get in just so I can go back to that magical country for four years. Something about it just agrees with me and I can’t help but think that today was a bit of a sign that that’s the direction I’ll take.

The Last Time You Danced Like No One’s Watching

When was the last time you danced like no one’s watching? And I mean just really let yourself let loose. Screaming all the words to the song that you remember and not being shy about the ones you don’t know anymore?

Well for me that was tonight. What happens when 30 people gather in a tiny room and listen to throwback songs like Hollaback Girl, Promiscuous Girl, Temperature, Yeah, Wannabe, My Humps, and One Two Step? Well people get really excited. Of course these are all songs we recognize from our middle school dance days and we used to know all the words (and we still act like we know all of them).

But there’s two kinds of people you can be in these situations. You can either hang back and sit, sing along occasionally and tap your foot, or you can get up take a deep breath and belt the song in the most off key voice at the top of your lungs while hopping around awkwardly and calling that dancing. And that is exactly what I did.

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Today I Climbed A Mountain

This past weekend I ventured to Hanmer Springs on the South Island of New Zealand. After being in Christchurch for most of my stay, the landscape was certainly different. The air wasn’t so dry and it was humid. It was also not nearly as much flat land and seemed greener. There were more big trees and forests and the town was very small, just 1 main street that seemed to go from one end of the town to the other. But I loved it.

Hammer is known for their sulfur hot springs which they’ve turned into a little water park with a few slides, a lazy river and lots of other pools to sit in and there is plenty to do there as well such as paintball, bungee jump, go jet boating or wine tasting but I was there to do some hiking. Since being in New Zealand I haven’t really had the opportunity to go on a good hike. So my first day there I did the short hike up Conical Hill. It was only about an hour total and was a nice easy to walk path that was somewhat steep at points but not too bad. To get there we literally only had to walk down the main road and that basically ended at the base of the trail. Up top there’s a nice lookout with 360 degree views of the surrounding town and land.

The next day I was determined to do some real hiking. My group had decided to do the “Waterfall Track” which was one of the hikes out of Hanmer Forest Park, which was  accessible by hiking trails right out of town. There are tons of trail in there and many people out and about walking or hiking. It took us about an hour to get to the base of the “Waterfall Trek” where it said on the sign it was about a 2.5 hour hike.

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On the Other Side of the World

Currently I am residing in New Zealand, on the South Island, in Christchurch. That is 9293 miles away from home. It is without a doubt the farthest I’ve ever been from home and I am here traveling without my family. I am here at Lincoln University for 5 weeks as part of a study abroad program in animal science. And if you didn’t know, New Zealand is the perfect place for that because they have a lot of sheep and a lot of cows. Wherever you go, it seems there are always sheep up on the hill or cows in the fields.

Since arriving here I’ve been to numerous farms to hear straight from the famers about their farming practices, what they plant, how many stock units they have and what their daily routine includes. But in our down time when we don’t have class or farm tours we get a change to get out and explore this beautiful island.

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