And Let the Summer Adventures Begin!

“Not all those who wander are lost.” – J.R.R. Tolkien

Hello lovely people of the internet,

My name is Kelly, and I am currently a rising senior at the University of Florida who is double majoring in English and history, with a minor in educational studies.  In one week’s time, I will begin studying abroad in Paris and England with the UF in Cambridge Program, a month-long trip in which I will acquire sore feet and amazing experiences while conducting research towards my children’s literature honors thesis next year.  This summer will be my second time going abroad, as my first trip was back in freshman year when I traveled with UF’s Gator Marching Band to play in the 2012 London Olympic Games.  Although the trip only lasted eight days, I absolutely loved my stay in London and I’ve wanted to return to the United Kingdom ever since.  When I heard about the UF in Cambridge program last fall, I just knew that it was the perfect fit for me.

I am incredibly excited to explore England and France this summer, and I’m even kick-starting things early by going to Ireland and London with my mom a few days early (but more on that in my next post!).  In all honesty, I find this traveling adventure both exhilarating and (usually mildly) terrifying, but what’s life without a little bit of both? Although it can be scary to put myself out there, I can’t wait to meet new people and learn about their cultures.

Before I get too carried away, I guess I better let you know a bit more about me.  (Hopefully, this won’t sound like a terrible dating profile.)  I am currently a 21-year-old with a(n) (un)healthy obsession with reading and writing, though I promise I’m a social creature as well.  I particularly love to read and write fantasy stories, and as such (rather unsurprisingly–please forgive me) some of my favorite books are Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings.  I’m also a fan of Doctor Who, Once Upon a Time (alas, a recent addiction of mine), and anything to do with Sherlock Holmes (yes, I do like both Elementary and BBC’s Sherlock–they’re both wonderful in their own way).

Overall, I really just love good storytelling, and more than that, I love sharing stories, whether they’re my own or someone else’s.  I truly believe that stories are more than entertainment–that they can change lives.  I know because they’ve changed mine, especially one in particular: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.  Up until age 9, I hated reading (mostly because I struggled with it), but once I picked up Harry Potter, I found a love for language and stories that has shaped not only my undergraduate studies (in fact, my research while abroad is going to be focusing on Harry Potter), but also my life goal of sharing stories with others, which I hope to do either as a teacher or as an employee at Disney (something which I’ve recently been looking into).  That’s looking beyond graduation, though.  This blog isn’t about that (at least, not directly).  Rather, it’s the story about my summer and the many adventures (and ramblings)  that will come with it.

But, you know, more on that later.

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