So, it begins.

20 05 2014

I love adventure. Ever since January 30th, 2013, I crave it on a daily basis. Something new. Something different. It drives my hopes and dreams. And on the 15th, I started a new IMG_4323adventure by moving to Atlanta. Since then, I’ve settled into my new apartment. It’s in a quaint gated community with plenty oIMG_4292f people sitting on their decks enjoying the cool weather until the heat consumes us.

I haven’t started my new job as an intern yet, but I am experiencing something new by living by myself. I have a pretty nice apartment, with a full kitchen, spacious living room, small deck and a very big bed to flail on. The feeling of being on my own is a lot like what I experienced walking the streets of Paris or Prague: in control and independent. Though arguably, those places had much nicer sites to see.

I am beyond excited to start working at CNN. I am slightly less enthused to begin driving there. Talking with the other interns reminds me I’m surrounded by just as [if not more] talented colleagues that I should try to help in any way I can while learning myself. So often young journalists are told that this is a cut-throat and competitive field. But as I am often reminded, while it may be competitive, I don’t think any true journalist got where they are by being cut-throat.

And if all else fails, I’m going to remember just how nice Anderson was. I adore that man. IMG_4370





ATL BBY

14 04 2014

I’d be lying if I said that I rarely stress out about my future. I’m actually 5% water and 95% stress-induced panic. And one thing that has been especially pressing is the inevitable summer internships that young and competitive journalists vie for to round out their education. I was no exception. I was applying to all the major places I imagined myself: New 1377177_10201998566476494_803836019_nYork, Washington D.C., Atlanta. I could just hear the phone call that would uproot me from my Tennessee home and whisk me away to a place of big city news. And I waited. And waited. Waited some more.

Before long, spring break had come and I just knew that my phone call was coming.

Picture it: Monday of Spring Break. Out with my grandmother shopping. Look down and check my phone: missed call from Atlanta.

My heart dropped. I called the number back only to be directed to the CNN main hotline where they couldn’t direct me to whom had called. The rest of the break was spent in a sulk waiting for another call that did not come. And then more waiting occurred.

Flash forward to last Friday: prepping to do our sixth show of UT Today and sitting on the couch after just having a conversation with Dr. Swan about alternative places to apply for an internship. As the show went into commercial, I looked down to see my phone ringing with the caller ID: Atlanta, GA. I jumped up and ran out of the studio, waving one arm behind me and turning just enough to see Rilwan mouth “CNN?” and me nod.

It was the Newsroom calling and subsequently interviewing me via phone, causing me to pretty much freak that I had not prepared. The questions weren’t ridiculously difficult, to say the least. As she offered her three important traits, I tried to offer just as equally important answers that could shape her opinion of the kind of journalist I strived to be. [Three traits?: Proactive, Common Sense, Prioritize.] She then asked if I had any questions, which I subsequently offered two or three that popped off my head.

Then she said she had one last question for me. If I had the right answer, she would hire me on the spot. Oh, and by the way: only four interns in her seven years had ever gotten it 1381438_10201998566756501_467516068_nright.

I won’t offer the whole situation, but the gist was a scenario with multiple options where we had to offer an order to do them and why. Not surprisingly, I missed it and I instantly saw the “We’ll be in touch” speech quickly approaching. I tried to be personable and interactive, hoping she wouldn’t hang up without offering a time frame of me knowing.

She did me one better.

She offered me one of the eight Newsroom Intern positions. Although I had always imagined I would be professional and not get giddy – well, I got giddy.

“Oh my God! Really?!” was out of my mouth before I could help it and after a couple of very quick consultations, I accepted the job.

Knowing where I am going to be this summer [and even having an apartment already!] is such a relief. Atlanta is close enough to be almost convenient, and I’ll even have my car. I’m too excited already.

Visiting CNN back in October was one of the first slap-in-the-face moments I had in broadcast. I rocked my world seeing the huge Newsroom, the studios, the technology and people hard at work to keep the network on air literally 24 hours, 7 days a week. And now, I’ll be spending 40 hours a week in the summer helping make it all a reality.

Tot ziens.





March Madness: Episode One

7 03 2014

Okay, so doing the New York update was definitely wishful thinking! Of course, upon my return I was submerged in school work that has often gotten the best of me! That being said, New York was phenomenal. Although I won’t dive into my usual ‘step-by-step’ layout, the brief overview will be just as sufficient.

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Me and Times Square IMG_2108 IMG_2222

While there we had the opportunity to meet [literally] some of the best in the business, including Gayle King and [drumroll!] ANDERSON COOPER, who is safe to say the nicest human being on the planet. I touched his hair.IMG_2306

You read that right.

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We saw all the major networks, ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, CNN. I also got to see my dream school, Columbia! And talk with a graduate school adviser [Eek!]. I hung out with some of my favorite people and got to know quite a few better while there. Overall, one of the most memorable experiences thus far! [Study abroad still holds the number one spot, never fear.]

And now?

Spring break is fastly approaching and I am instantly reminded that last year over spring break, I was backpacking in Italy.

me and trevi basilica view two its leaning church of Florence

This spring break?

Greeneville, Tennessee. It doesn’t sound as pleasant, I’m afraid. Not to mention that March is pretty much the definitive month that decides what I am going to be doing this summer and that TERRIFIES me. I just hate playing the waiting game. Other than that?

Filming, interviewing, making packages. Living the dream, I suppose.

More to come in the future when my life becomes more interesting! But for now, tot ziens!





Look Out, World!

12 01 2014

It’s so strange to think that this time last year, I was packing my bags, finishing paperwork and about to embark on one of the most rewarding and stressful trips of my life. It feels like only yesterday that I boarded the plane in Atlanta [after MUCH turmoil] and IMG_0124landed in my second home of the Netherlands. It’s been nearly seven months since I came back and I still find myself missing Europe and all its majesty  from time to time!

If there is one thing that is true, I am very glad to be back in Knoxville [and UT] studying my favorite subject surrounded by people who are just as in love and obsessed as I am!

On that note, internship season has graced everyone with its presence in the JEM department. The past few weeks have been filled with resumes, cover letters and applications. There’s no telling where I’ll end up this summer: New York, Los Angeles, San Jose, Washington D.C., Atlanta… wherever I am, I am looking forward to a summer filled with knowledge, tons of work and hopefully passionate people!

Now the most pressing of the news…NEW YORK CITY. Yes! In only eight days, I’ll be boarding the plane with 20 other JEM IMG_0197students and [of course] Dr. Swan to spend a week in arguably one of the most exciting cities in the world! That being said, I have seen the other big-name cities in Europe, so I am hoping that the city is just as dreamy and awe-inspiring as it was three years ago. [I might have shed a tear or two.]

While there, we’re planning on doing a multitude of things [CNN with Anderson Cooper, Daily Show, CBS, ABC, NBC, Fox News, NY 1, and…WICKED]. My hope is that I’ll get to do an update just like old times! I know this is going to be an amazing trip and I can only home it lives up to my expectations.

For now, I’m slowly packing a carry-on and trying to start the semester right in my interesting classes. I’ll update soon, but until then, tot ziens!





Top Five Memories of Europe

4 08 2013

HONERABLE MENTION: London with the Tennesseans

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Although this was pretty great, it didn’t make the list, mostly because I spent a lot of the time talking about internships/practicums, classes and UT things. But I did get to experience London with a group of people that kept it interesting, so it definitely warranted mention.

NUMBER 5: Alone in Prague

selfie with castle

This was probably one of the scariest things I did [besides actually going to Europe by myself]. Although I did travel to Europe by myself, the second day I was there, I met friends to hang out with. In Prague, I was completely on my own, fending for myself in a city and doing whatever I wanted. It was my first trip completely on my own and kind of a turning point for me. This trip helped me realize I could do travelling and maneuvering on my own without a guy to defend or a girl to accompany me. Much as Emma had preached to me, travelling alone was a liberating experience and eventually became enjoyable and easier [NOT easy, easier]. Travelling alone also gave me an immense freedom by not relying on someone else’s feelings or wants while travelling. I did what I wanted when I wanted to and had an amazing time.

NUMBER 4: Eiffel Tower at Night

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I won’t lie. Going to Paris by myself had me worried not because I was alone, but because I didn’t have anyone else to experience such a romantic city with. Let’s be real, Paris is the kind of city you want to go to with a boyfriend and do all the lovey-dovey things. I was missing one thing: the guy. I was worried the trip may not be as enjoyable. But as I mentioned before, Emma’s determined lecturing on the point of a woman’s individuality was again correct. I had probably a better time in Paris by myself than I would have with a companion. Luckily, I did meet and see different people throughout my visit, including an old theatre friend. After we had dinner, we got a couple of bottles of personal wine and sat on the lawn of the Eiffel Tower and waited/watched for it to light up in the hour. It was calming and definitely something I can look back on and enjoy remembering about Paris.

NUMBER 3: Living in Utrecht

dom in the dark spring 3 utrecht canaals

The Netherlands is arguably one of the best countries in Europe. The people are pleasant. About 93% of the population is fluent or near fluent in English. The architecture is stunning. And as much as people may agree/disagree, it is a much different experience living in what I think is the most liberal country in the world. The lifestyle was something that was just so different that it was hard to not love it. Okay, so about 95% of my time riding a bike was spent complaining about riding on said bike, but some days you couldn’t hate biking through a park during lovely spring weather. Going down to the city centre and getting coffee may seem mundane to some, but for me it was always a fantastic experience, sipping on my cappuccino from Coffee Company and walking down the Oudegracht. Or maybe it was riding on a train. Or maybe it was being up early enough to walk through the centre and see the Dom in the dawn. Or walking to the SPAR while on de Uithof campus and getting one of their amazing chocoladebroojdes. Or going to Tivoli with my friends and having a fun time. Obviously, I could go on and on and on. It was simply a great experience.

NUMBER 2: Last Night in Berlin

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Uhm, yeah. So those involved only really understand what made this night so memorable. And to be honest, I think that is the perfect word to describe it: MEMORABLE.

[Insert Drum Roll]

NUMBER 1: [Not So] Secret Bakery of Florence

secret bakery

OKAY, SO THIS JUST REALLY EXCITES ME. Maybe because we were ‘technically’ breaking the law? Or maybe because I am a huge, huge fan of bread. I’m not sure. But this story always comes to mind when people ask me about specifics about Europe because it is just so ridiculous. Because pastries are the last things that come to mind when you tell people you were in an alley at 1 a.m. in the morning and knocking on a translucent door. Were you illegally buying drugs? Nope, just getting an apricot pastry.





But There’s No Place Like London!

4 08 2013

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Well, hello internet world! I guess it is about time to write about my experiences in London, my final stop in Maggie’s crazy European adventure! Unfortunately, I don’t have my notebook with me that details everything I did to a tee, so I’m just going to hit the highlights!

Goodbyes

Yes, I said my biggest goodbyes to all of my amazing friends in Utrecht. It was tough. I teared up on a couple of occasions mostly because IMG_2950these people had become such a big part of my life. I mean, I LIVED this experience with them. That’s pretty bonding. I wish I could have brought them back with me, because they are the only people who really understand how much this changed my outlook on life, travel and functioning for the first time as an adult. I really should thank them for that! I miss them all so much and I really owe a big shout out to Emma, Marissa and Lisa to putting up with me during literally the hardest time of my life thus far and still being the ones to reassure me and remind me how lucky I am. I miss you all so much! Come visit!

American-hating Europeans

Okay, I was extremely, extremely lucky. I didn’t encounter ANY of these types of Europeans [that didn’t act like it to my face]. At least I didn’t until I was trying to leave Brussels to go to London. Brussels Border Control pretty much told me that I was ‘illegal’ in Europe [the 600 euro (app. 800 dollar) visa that I IMG_2917paid for begs to differ]. In addition, they told me that ‘just because I was American, I wasn’t exempt from the rules.’ It was pretty rough and I thought they were going to DEPORT ME. Luckily, they let me though and I made it to London A-okay.

Reunion

Finally I was reunited with some Tennesseans in London! I was super excited to see Rilwan and Butch once I arrived in London. I had missed UT interaction so much! Even better, I got to know the five girls that were there on study abroad as well and they were super nice about letting me tag along with them! A big thanks to Caroline, Kelsie, Catherine, Chloe and Christie for letting me hang out with you guys and doing all the more girly things with me! Although London would have been a great experience on my own just as Paris had been, I was so glad I had some familiar faces and accents to be around during the trip! Also, I was really lucky to meet back up with one of my friends I made during my trip to Paris, Lachlan! We had been temporary roommates during our trip and it was nice to hang out and have him show me around some places of London!IMG_3071

Sight-Seeing

You can’t go to London and not see all the really big sights. Although I didn’t get to do everything, I did get to do a lot during my short time, including seeing Big Ben, Parliament, London Eye, Tower Bridge, Shakespeare’s Globe, Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar and Leicester Square and King’s Cross with Platform 9 3/4! I also did some unique things like a rock and roll pub crawl [I learned A LOT] and seeing a West End show! Caroline, Kelsie, Catherine and I saw Once, and I was blown away! I also got to spend a couple of hours inside Herrods, the craziest department store I have ever seen! I hadn’t even heard about it until getting there and was so glad the girls invited to me explore it with them!

Packing

platformI like to think that I have become quite a connoisseur in the packing department. I’ve had quite a bit of experience the past six months and now it’s not so terrifying to pack a week’s worth of clothes into a backpack. Luckily for me, this packing luck crossed over when I was finishing packing for home. It was not nearly as bad as I had first imagined it to be and obviously, I made it home with [almost] no incident.

Now…

Now, I begin a new adventure: my junior year of college! This year is going to be full of fun, firsts frantic episodes. I’ll be a Welcome Week Leader, telling all of the newest volunteers about all the opportunities they can encounter while at UT! I’ll be doing a practicum as a News Intern for WBIR, Knoxville’s NBC television affiliate. I’ll be taking three upper level journalism classes. I’ll continue to have my amazing job working in Neyland Stadium [how much longer until football season?]. I’ll be applying to work for UT’s television station, TVC. And I’ll be applying for an AMAZING opportunity through the journalism department. I can’t wait to see what amazing adventures this year will offer! Although they may not be as ‘glamorous’ as travelling Europe, I’m sure they’ll be just as memorable.

Tot ziens!





Parisian Nights: A Weekend In Paris

12 06 2013

Howdy Ho, Neighbor!

I am happy to report that my trip to Paris was an amazing success! I had such a fantastic time exploring and meeting new people, all of which I’ll be conveying to you in the subsequent [EXTREMELY LONG] blog post!

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I started out very early on Friday morning, up and packing by 5 a.m. to make it to Rotterdam. Once there, I realized I had gotten there a bit early since I didn’t have a time on my ticket, so I sat patiently as the time passed. Eventually, I was on the train to Brussels. It was about a two hour train ride to Brussels, where I got to wait around 30 minutes for my fast train to Paris. But the time did pass and once again I was on a train, this time the destination to Paris.

Once arriving at Gare du Nord, I headed down to the Metro. I had been given directions by my host, Braham, and followed them to the dot which brought me to the apartment complex. I got inside the building into an outside courtyard and began to wait. I waited and IMG_2455waited, but no Braham was showing. I was instantly worried, especially since this was my first time booking with AirBNB. But after about 20 minutes of internal panicking, Braham showed up and took me to his apartment.

Now, I knew his apartment was tiny, but this had to be THE TINIEST APARTMENT I HAD EVER SEEN IN MY ENTIRE LIFE. No really, this apartment was smaller than my room here in Utrecht. At first, I was honestly stunned at someone living in such a tiny space, but the price was good [especially for Paris] and I decided to roll with it.

Although I had been worried about the apartment itself, I was also worried about the company, especially the man I was renting from. But Braham turned out to be a very eccentric and nice French man who was kind to help me out in any way he could. He said ‘Voila!’ a lot. He offered to take me up to the Sacré Cœur Basilica and show me around. It IMG_2446wasn’t very long [maybe about 45 minutes?], but he showed me the less touristy part and gave me a few tips on Paris, which I was thankful for.

After leaving Braham, I left to head to the [of course] Eiffel Tower. I maneuvered the metro quite nicely and caught a quick glimpse of it before leaving to go meet up with an old friend from Greeneville GLAWPIGT! It was nice to see and old familiar face and catch up with Amanda [who is also doing big things in Europe]. We had dinner at a little café [whose name escapes me] and afterwards, made our way back to the Eiffel Tower to take photos. We ended up crossing the street and going to the fountain side which was just a beautiful! We walked back down to the grass side and decided to stick around for the next twinkle session since the Eiffel Tower twinkles on the hour at nights. It had gotten pretty cold [much colder than I had imagined] so I urged the hour to go by pretty quickly. Before long, though, the night was lit up with sparkles from the tower and We made our way back to the metro stop where I said goodbye and headed back to my tiny apartment to crash.

I had planned to get up early and go to Versailles on Saturday, but because of my early Friday morning and late night, I ended up sleeping much later than I planned. I woke up and started getting ready when I met my bunk mate [whom had also had a late morning] Lachlan, an Australian living in London. I had been pretty worried about this as well [I try to always be cautious of other people when traveling] but lucky for me he ended up being a perfect gentleman. I offered that we go exploring together and before long, we were out the door heading towards IMG_2347Notre Dame.

Notre Dame had been one of my must-sees during my trip, mostly because of Dr. Rubenstein’s class back at UT [where I discovered most of my destinations]. He played it up as the top of Gothic architecture and after visiting, it is clear as to why. Notre Dame is gorgeous. Maybe not as big as I pictured it [a reoccurring concern of mine], but none-the-less, it did not disappoint my love of cathedrals. The rose windows were marvelous and worth the visits themselves. Just as amazing as Rubenstein had painted. We walked around the church and went back outside to wander around. While walking, I saw one of my food destinations I had seen while researching: Bertie’s Cupcakery! A cupcakery run by an ex-pat American, I had to go in and get a cupcake, purely for support reasons. We had a quick chat and I chose the Oreo Cupcake, which was AMAZING. But we were back on our way again.

We ended up splitting up after some walking, so we said our goodbyes and I set out to find a grocery store. I’ve found that buying from grocery stores instead of restaurants is much easier on me as well as my wallet when traveling. I walked around for close to an hour, wandering and ducking down streets, hoping to see a store but to no avail. Eventually, I decided to head to the Eiffel Tower, mostly IMG_2586because that was the only grocery store I knew of and having a picnic on the lawn of the tower didn’t seem like such a bad idea.

In fact, it was a great idea. I loved taking in the atmosphere, listening to the people around me and enjoying the nice day. I spent about an hour there eating and sitting in the grass before heading back to the apartment. I ended up taking a nap before dinner, where I decided to just walk around until I found something. I enjoyed some pretty good pizza [how many countries have I had pizza in now?] and started to make my way up to the Sacré Cœur. After climbing what felt like TEN MILLION GILLION stairs, I was at the top of the humongous mountain admiring the dusk skyline of Paris. This second trip what much prettier than the first, and I enjoyed getting to see the sun set. I headed back home to rest up.

Sunday morning, I woke up with the determination to go to Versailles. I was up and out by 9:30, en route to the RER C to Versailles. About an hour and a half later, I was in line to see the palace. Luckily for me, the admission price [normally 25 euro] was free for residents of the EU who were 25 and under. I had brought my passport with my Amsterdam stamp and when paired with my student ID, was able to get in free. [Hooray for saving money!] While waiting for access into the palace, I met two couples from New Jersey named Leslie and Ken with G and Jim. We talked all the way through the hour-long wait and I ended up being the unofficial tag-a-long of their group. I was really glad they let me stick with them and they were much nicer than they had to be to me. I was really grateful. We made our way through the palace and ended up outside, waiting for the tram to go to IMG_2609Marie-Antoinette’s section. G ended up paying for my tram which was incredibly nice of them to do, and before long we were on our way to the village. We went through and after seeing it, I split up from my adopted group to go see other places around the enormous estate. I walked back to the Grand Trianon and looked around and then took the tram to the Grand Canal where I had some of the best ice cream I have had since being in Europe. By this point in the day, I had gotten pretty exhausted from all the walked, seeing and learning. I decided to head on home around 5ish.

Although, before heading home, I went back to the Notre Dame cathedral to see the Lock Bridge [shout out to Maci for reminding me!]. It was crazy the amount of locks that were on it, but it was pretty clear that the city must do a ‘cleanse’ every year or so since most of the locks were within the past year. Who could blame them with its popularity! I admired [and self-pitied at my alone-ness] for a while longer before heading to something I had saw while walking towards it: Shakespeare & Co. I had seen it in my travel guide and thought it had shut down, but to my surprise it was open for business and even better, is an English-language bookstore! I couldn’t resisted buying some IMG_2700books, including Misery by Stephen King [I’m a fan of the movie; hopefully the book, too] as well as the seventh Harry Potter [IT WAS THE BRITISH VERSION]. By this point, I could have dropped down right in the street so I made my way back to the apartment, ate a sandwich and promptly fell asleep.

Monday came all too quickly. I ended up sleeping late but by 10:45, I was out the door and on my way to the Louvre. I was expecting a very long wait after hearing Lachlan’s horror story of two hour waits, but to my surprise, I barely waited 30 minutes before being in the Louvre. One step further, I ended up not having to buy a ticket for it as well since the same rule applies like Versailles. I passed the security and made my way to the first stop of 99.9% of Louvre attendees: the Mona Lisa. Finding her wasn’t that difficult. There were signs everywhere and in the off chance you couldn’t read, the masses of people walking the same way could have been a dead giveaway. Before long, I was in a room ready to battle the group of people trying to get to the front. One of the advantages of travelling alone is not having to keep up with someone, so I was able to get near the front rather quickly [no thanks to the older man who kept IMG_2735getting RIGHT UP ON MY BACKSIDE and whom I promptly elbowed every time]. But eventually I was at the barrier, looking and Miss Mona for myself. It was hard to admire, what with everyone harassing you to move so they could get their photos. I eventually headed out of the huge mass and made my way to other places. I decided to not even stay in that part of the Louvre [once you’ve seen 100 Madonnas, you’ve seen them all] so I looked at the map and decided to hit the main points it listed. I ended up seeing a sphinx, Venus de Milo, the Code of Hammurabi [Dr. Rubenstein can’t say I didn’t learn anything in that class!] as well as some other pieces that were neat and interesting. But I’ll be real with you: I’ve seen A LOT of museums here in Europe. A LOT. And as much as the hype is about seeing the Louvre, it’s honestly just a really huge museum, just like every other one. Except bigger. After about two hours in there, I decided to call it and made my way to the top and see the infamous pyramid.

Afterward leaving the Louvre, I made my way to one of my must-destinations: Angelina’s. I discovered this place while reading the blog of a former UT’s student’s trip to Paris and decided I had to try it. Essentially, it’s an upscale tea room with the fanciest desserts I have ever seen in my life. I was told that the hot chocolate was a must so I ordered it and so sort of chocolate-by-death dessert [not actual name; only interpretation]. The hot chocolate ended up being ABSOLUTELY AMAZING. It was legitimately like liquid chocolate with a pot of whipped cream to help thin it out. I couldn’t finish it or my dessert because if I had, IMG_2803I was pretty sure a heart attack would have been in my near future! [I was quite disappointed in myself.] Afterward, I headed back towards a garden and started walking towards the Arc de Triomphe. It was pretty much the longest walk ever [probably needed after my massive sugar intake!]. I walked down the Champs Elysées, ducking into stores every now and then. It was a good two hours before I made it to the Arc. It was interesting to see what felt like the center point of Paris. By this point, I was pretty tired, so I decided to head back to the apartment to rest up. I had  a sandwich for dinner and went back out to souvenir shop for the family as well as a quick trip to see the Moulin Rouge [hello, theatre geek, I knew you were still there]. But by the time I had done that, It was getting dark, so I made my way home to get some sleep before Tuesday’s travel day.

Paris was an extremely successful trip! I loved seeing the city of love [or is that Rome?] and seeing all the sights and things that before were just figments. The trip was a good learning experience and I am so glad I went! Only six more days until I head off to London to visit some of my sorely missed JEMers! And not too long before I’m on my way back home to Tennessee! It’s so crazy that this has come to an end, but I am more than ready to be reunited with my home in the Smokies!

More to come!