As I looked into my blog in the last few days, I came across one of the first posts I created in 2015. Like a diary, it became my day to day platform to write a story or two about my life abroad. Fast forward 5 years later, I’m still writing on this very same platform. It seems that the posts I wrote abroad, during and after had a higher impact and I can see why. I was once that same person searching for answers that would help my move abroad easier or what to do when returning back home. To this day, those posts are still relatable even to me. Here are my top 10 posts of all time.
10 – Volcano Night Tour (Hawaii, The Big Island)
In 2017, my cousin invited me to her wedding destination at The Big Island, Hawaii. I was excited for her finally tying the knot and the fact that we were able to do a family reunion marked an important date for all of us. On the last leg of my trip I decided to book a Volcano Tour to finish off my vacation. The tour had series of activities from onsite plant observation of trees used to make coffee, to doing coffee tastings and lastly, ending the tour walking through a park where we had sightings of the active volcano that we all learned erupted a year later.
9 – Why NOT Milan?
This post was written before my big move to Milan in 2015. I had no idea what I was getting myself into with my knowledge of the city based on google search results. Re-reading this post now reminds me of the excitement I felt in getting ready to embark on this year long journey very soon. I was nervous of the unknown yet looking forward to the possibilities of my new life. For the most part, all of the information I had on this post was spot on except #4 & #9. I did not see a Filipino community anywhere nor did I meet anyone who was Filipino. As for #9, well, I managed to learn a few words here and there but, I never became fluent.
8 – Roadtrip to Scottsdale, Arizona
Probably the shortest post I’ve ever written but, stands to be one of the highest views of all time. At the time, I was a few months in after returning back from my yearlong study abroad program. I was lost, unsure of where to go from here, I debated whether I should stay or go and the most random thing came to my mind which was to go on a roadtrip.
7 – Tanning & Topless in Ibiza. Oh My!
Ibiza was one of the most fun trips I went on while studying abroad. V, my travel partner, and I spent most of our time scoping out the best beaches around and we succeeded. On our first day we walked around our hotel area with one thing in mind and that was to go to a nearby beach. We found one that wasn’t too crowded, plopped on the ground with our items and basked in the sun. As soon as we settled in our beach blankets, we both looked up and saw a woman run towards the water, topless. At that moment, we started noticing from our left to right sides that there were others too that were topless. We had no idea we were in a topless zone….or so we thought. On another day trip to a different island and a different beach, we learned that there were many other women who were topless there too. We concluded that Ibiza would be the Topless Island; hence the name of the post.
6 – The Most Resourceful Study Abroad Expat Blogs
As I mentioned, google was my main source of information before my trip abroad. I was determined to find the most resourceful information I could get to help me prepare for this year long trip. Imagine, I was going alone abroad for a year without knowing anyone and my memory from previous trips in Europe was the only thing that comforted me on this new journey I was about to take. These articles and bloggers were very resourceful and are worth sharing.
5 – Top 9 Favorite Meals in Europe
If I could eat every meal on this list again I think I’d have a feast everyday. It’s tough to pinpoint which one was my favorite as they were all very good.
4 – How to Get an Electronic Metro Card in Milan
I remembered the first time I had to get my monthly metro card in Milan. It was downright confusing and I dreaded the whole experience from buying the metro card to using the machine. It was not my favorite thing to do to say the least but, I am glad it helped a few of you.
3 – Dichiarazione di Valore
Another system with a complicated process yet, a highly important document to have. Getting one would require a long lead time before you officially take off abroad as this document requires careful attention and definitely not to be missed.
2 – Apartment Hunting in Milan
Between dealing with paperworks and looking for an apartment in Milan prior to moving was stressful. I’ve moved several times but, never abroad. This was an event that no one ever prepared me for. Later on, I learned that everyone I knew in Milan also had the same issues I went through which helped ease my worry a little bit. However, at the time when I was searching for an apartment in Milan I was alone. I had no one to lean on regarding my troubles because no one understood what it was like looking for an apartment abroad, the resistance I was facing, the language barrier, the time difference and so forth. However, one thing I learned through it all was that it taught me resilience and patience that I never knew I had.
1 – You Know You’re (an American) going to Study Abroad in Europe when…
And when everything finally comes together nothing beats the exhilaration and excitement of it all. I could not believe the time had finally come to move abroad. Honestly, I don’t even remember going to the airport, flying and landing. This post reflected the last minute details I had in mind prior to leaving. Everything was a blur at that point on. Time moved quickly after I landed, I traveled from one country to another, met so many people, left with new friends & next thing you know the year had already gone by. It was one of the best time I had that shaped me in many ways and if someone asked me if I could do it again? Of course, in a heartbeat, I would.