The Scamp in Croatia

The start of my Ultimate Balkan adventure was in the beautiful city of Split Croatia. Officially known as the Republic of Croatia, it is home to 4.28 million people, over 1,000 islands and a rich history of war and conflict. I would not be able to do the country justice if I tried to give a condensed version, but for those interested, I encourage you to do your research. On 25 June 1991 Croatia declared independence, which came wholly into effect on 8 October of the same year. The Croatian War of Independence was fought successfully during the four years following the declaration.

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It was a little known tourist destination until the rise of Game of Thrones, with enthusiasts flocking to Dubrovnik. It has a mostly Mediterranean climate and is the perfect place for a relaxing holiday.  When the heterolifemate and I landed in Split, we knew that the only thing we really wanted to do was lay on a beach and gear up for our trip. It is on the Eastern shore of the Adriatic Sea and part of the Dalmatian Coast. We stayed at the Croparadise Hostel, and I cannot say enough good things about this place. It is good value for the money, close to the touristy areas, and the people who work there are really friendly and helpful.

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*photo courtesy of Hostelworld.com

There was a really great rooftop patio that Kelsey and sat on and talked to some super naive 19 year old boys from Buffalo. I had had just enough beer to want to educate these young men in the ways of the world. I ended up helping one write an application essay so he could transfer universities.

We spent the first day wandering the open air fruit market for fresh fruit, tasty bread, meats and cheeses and then went on a hike up the Marjan Forest Park and then wandered to the beach for some much needed sunshine.

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As you can see, I really needed the sunshine. We ate a lot of ice cream, listened to a lot of tourists and wandered around Dicoletian’s Palace. The palace is more like a fortress, and this was the least researched trip I have ever gone on, so I feel like I missed out on a lot of the history of the place (Thank God for Wikipedia).

Diocletian’s Palace (Croatian: Dioklecijanova palača, pronounced [diɔklɛt͡sijǎːnɔʋa pǎlat͡ʃa]) is an ancient palace built for the Roman Emperor Diocletian at the turn of the fourth century AD, that today forms about half the old town of Split, Croatia. While it is referred to as a “palace” because of its intended use as the retirement residence of Diocletian, the term can be misleading as the structure is massive and more resembles a large fortress: about half of it was for Diocletian’s personal use, and the rest housed the military garrison.

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*photo courtesy of http://www.romeacrosseurope.com/?p=6807#sthash.ST9ju68a.dpbs

I loved Split. The people were friendly and the city was very easy to get around. We were able to wind through the palace and sample good food and a lot of good ice cream. I would have happily spent a week there just sitting at the beach everyday and taking trips to the islands. I wish that I would have gone to see the synagogue, but hey, that gives me a reason to go back again!

We met the tour group in Split and it also served as the final destination. The first meeting with out Busabout group was not a good one for me in terms of my judgey ways. I’m really glad Kelsey was there because there were a couple of girls that said some really ignorant shit and really got me in the killing mood.

On the upside, I did get to cross two things off my list. Split offered me the chance for a long hike, and when I get to the Greek part of the adventure I will cross learning to dance off the list (there is a video, but I’m trying to decide if I want that out in the world still).

  • Learn how to drive in the UK.
  • Present at an academic conference
  • Start a new tradition
  • Go back to therapy
  • Visit three new countries (Paris, Malta, Hungary)
  • Ride in a hot air balloon
  • Quit the tutoring centre
  • Volunteer for a literacy programme
  • Read a book that has more than 500 pages
  • Make my bed everyday for at least three months
  • Have a solid draft of my thesis completed
  • Master scorpion pose
  • Attend the symphony
  • Learn a rap song from start to finish
  • Host a dinner party
  • Create a  budget so I can pay down my student loans
  • Create something original
  • Create a solid workout regime
  •  Go on a long hike (6 miles or more)
  • Learn to dance
  • Eat an exotic meal
  • Learn to cook a fancy meal
  • Yell at a football match
  • Go horseback riding
  • Master British spelling and punctuation
  • Create a good sleep schedule
  • See my favorite group in concert
  • Fall in love
  • Stop holding grudges
  • Let go of my expectations

 

The Scamp at 200

And here we are. 200. A big number. It has been almost a year since I wrote number 100 (you can find it here: https://ascampabroad.wordpress.com/2013/04/30/the-scamps-100th-post-or-what-ive-learned-from-my-journey-so-far/). I’d like to say that the last 100 posts were as exciting as those first 100, but I am not sure that they were. Life in the States seems mundane and boring compared to the life I was living in Scotland, and the adventures I have here are few and far between. It has also become painfully apparent to me that a lot of the things that I learned in the first 100 posts did not carry over to the second 100. Instead of a thoughtful piece on the last two hundred, I thought it would a better use of the post to show the world what 100 posts looks like in pictures. I’ve decided to share some of my favorite pictures from each of my adventures.

 

My first post was in March of 2012. I had known that I had a spot in the program for three weeks at the time of the first post. I did not take a picture of the moment I found out, and now I wish I had. I told everyone who came to the desk at USD that day that I got accepted overseas. That weekend I celebrated my 25th birthday and began to plan a trip to Scotland for a campus tour.

431209_10150550337841887_784463526_nI told my family and friends of my choice to go at a family party.

 

March saw the first trip to Scotland.

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April saw only one post about me being very worried about becoming irrelevant once I left. To counter that, I spent time with my family to try and forget that feeling.

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May of 2012 was one post about falling in love with a boy who had no idea I was in love with him. It was also the month where Kelly graduated.

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June of 2012 saw a family trip to Ireland.  It was one of the best trips I have ever been on. There was only one post from that month, and it was about my struggle to find housing, my worry about money, and the boy telling me he loved me.

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July was the first month I posted more than one entry. This month was about being tired, getting overseas insurance, and moving from San Diego back to my childhood in Orange County. The photo for this month is one of the last nights out in San Diego with two people who I spent the most time with there.

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August was a crazy month for me. I was stressed about all the plans I still needed to make, how hard it was going to be to leave the boy, and reality of what the next year was going to look like for me. The picture for this month was taken a few days before I left. I hadn’t finished packing, but I spent the day in the sun napping.

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September 2012 marked my first month in Scotland. The posts were about finding my way through the city, going on hikes up Arthur’s Seat. I started to make friends with the people that lived around me, and the people that I was in class with.

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This was the view from the hotel I stayed at before I moved into the dorms.

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In true Scottish fashion, it started to rain during the hike

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The view from the window of my dorm. Not a bad scene to wake up to.

 

October was all about traveling and seeing Scotland, learning to live with 18 year olds, considering what life would be like in my relationship if I stayed to do my PhD, and how to deal with staying on medication that was helping me control my depression and anxiety. 197235_576042665775_1745096337_n

I celebrated Halloween with these two

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Tried to find the Loch Ness Monster

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and explored castle ruins.

November saw me complete the first half of my program, worry about upcoming holidays when I had no job, and no money coming in, and what harvest meant to me. I was able to come home at the end of November. I was reunited with the boy, got to sleep in my own bed, and got to eat real food. The best picture from this month is my first taste of Mexican food when I came home from the airport.

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December of 2012 was a hard month for me. The posts were about my struggles with being home and wanting to be social vs having work to do, juggling my family with the boy and his family, and getting robbed on Christmas. I spent most of my time in San Diego and managed to write 2 very good papers despite not having any of the books and not having my computer.

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January 2013 started off on a great foot. I got to move out of the room in the Freshman hallway, got to experience snow for the first time, and settled into a very interesting class about children’s books. I was happy to be back with my friends and wandering around the city that I love.

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Reunited with the gang.

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Snow changed the view outside my window. Luckily it did not snow enough to really be a problem. I can still remember the first time I walked home in the snow. I wasn’t properly dressed for it, but I loved every minute of it.

February 2013 was a rough month for me. This was the month my relationship fell apart. I tried to hide it as best I could, but it eventually came out. I admitted to the world through my blog that I was depressed, admitted that I was no longer going to marry the boy I thought was the love of my life, and that I was going to seek help to deal with all of these issues. I was sad, but hopeful. This month was not all bad though. I got to go to Belfast, and that was quite an adventure. I loved it (well, maybe not the Titanic part, but the rest of it)

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March of 2013 saw the start of my 26th year, a new tattoo, the end of my coursework in Scotland and posts that ranged from celebrating the birthdays of my brothers, my grandma, and my sister to all of the love I felt from people all over the world about the break-up. I got care packages from friends at home, home cooked meals from the girls in Scotland, and positive thoughts from the world of blogging.

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A birthday present to myself

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71967_587719625055_1326713815_nA proper St. Pats celebration

April of 2013 saw a visit from my parents and real healing. I really started to explore and enjoy the city, spent a lot of time outside of my room with my friends, and showed my dad why I loved the city so much.  April also marked my 100th post.

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This is my favorite picture taken in the course of this journey.

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May 2013 saw the end of my journey in Scotland. I really did not want to leave. I spent as much time as I could with my friends, made a plan of how to tackle life when I returned to the States. I went to Dundee, visited Rosslyn Chapel, and started work on my dissertation.

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June of 2013 saw a mini vacation to see some of my friends and a lot of work on my dissertation. I got a job interview for a teaching position, and attempted to adjust to being back in the States. I only unpacked what was necessary, and spent 8 hours a day writing.

 

Onward ho! Thanks to my awesome navigational skills we found everything we needed

Onward ho! Thanks to my awesome navigational skills we found everything we needed

 

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July of 2013 saw my struggles with writer’s block, my fear that I would never finish my dissertation, and my struggles to readjust to life at home. I was still talking to my friends from Scotland on a regular basis, and I was gearing up to start school at CSUF.

By August I finally finished my dissertation. I was very excited of the work I produced. I went to a wedding and reconnected with an old love, and realized that my wanderlust was not going to go away. I started the doctoral program, and was hopeful about the academic journey I was about to embark on.

Look mom, I'm wearing heels!

Look mom, I’m wearing heels!

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September was stressful for me. I was still waiting to find a job, and saw my bank account quickly emptying. I got the chance to babysit for my cousins, got to see two of my favorite people from college marry, and learned how to get in touch with my inner philosopher.

She feeds herself,  allowing me two hands to hold my textbook open

She feeds herself, allowing me two hands to hold my textbook open

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October of 2013 was the month results for my dissertation was released. I got an A and was on top of the world. I fell in love again, and thought I was in a really solid relationship. I learned how to navigate race and academia, and felt like I was finally getting the hang of being a doctoral student.

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November 2013 was my favorite month since being home. I got to return to Scotland and celebrate my graduation. I got to take Kelly with me so she could finally see the beauty of the place. I finally had a job, and was making a little bit of money, and I got the idea to make a literacy group that allowed kids to read with puppies.

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December saw the end of 2013, and the end of my first year as a doctoral student. I was struggling with juggling work, school, family and the boy, and a wonderful Christmas with my family

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January 2014 saw a new year, and what I hoped would be a new attitude. I started a happiness challenge, tried to make the relationship with the boy better, and made inappropriate posts that made me laugh.

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In February I found myself sliding back into old habits. I was growing increasingly depressed, tried to figure out how to deal with my doubts, and dealt with some uncomfortable feelings about the death of a woman that I did not like. I found myself very homesick for Scotland, and wanting to run away again. I got a new tattoo to celebrate my upcoming birthday.

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March of 2014 passed in a blur. I turned 26, let the depression get the best of me, and spent all of my free time working . The posts were mostly other people’s words, or pictures of me from my youth. I couldn’t really find my own words well enough, and was doing all that I could to pretend I wasn’t miserable. I did enjoy my family, and the support they gave me.

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And now we are almost through with April. It has been an interesting month to say the least. Another love finished, another good long look in the mirror, and another month of being incredibly busy. The good thing about this month is that I recently found out that I have been given two classes to teach in the fall. My class from this semester was cancelled, but now I can quit the job I took to pay my bills in favor of a career. I am very excited about that.

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All in all, this blog has been very good to me. It has allowed me to chronicle one of the best years of my life, and allowed to me learn and grow, and process life after that. I will keep it up for the next 100 posts and see where the road takes me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Scamp’s 27th Year: A Visual Journey

A week old and already a charmer

A week old and already a charmer

1! I'm the cute one

1! I’m the cute one

Thing one and thing two!

Thing one and thing two!

3!

3!

4. Preschool photo shoot

4. Preschool photo shoot

5. I was a little bit of a mess

5. I was a little bit of a mess

I lost my two front teeth before picture day

I lost my two front teeth before picture day

6

Lucky 7!

Lucky 7!

8

9. Less of a mess

9. Less of a mess

Double digits! Perfect 10

Double digits! Perfect 10

11

11

12

12

13

13

14

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15. My love of tanning is evident

15. My love of tanning is evident

Sweet 16!

Sweet 16!

17. on a beach in Italy

17. on a beach in Italy

Who says you have to act like an adult at 18?

Who says you have to act like an adult at 18?

19

19

No longer a teen

No longer a teen

21

21

22!

22!

23 was spent with Sailor Jerry

23 was spent with Sailor Jerry

24 and already a knight

24 and already a knight

25 came with a cake that looked like me

25 came with a cake that looked like me

26 with a sheep from Scotland

26 with a sheep from Scotland

26 songs in Scotland

26 songs in Scotland

 

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