Where have I been?

Hi. I’m back.

The past few years of my life, since I started this blog, have been a non-stop whirlwind.

A good one.

But occasionally, one that made taking the time to produce consistent content (that I’m proud to publish) difficult. I debate whether to make this disclaimer for my disappearance or to dive back in as if nothing happened. If you’re reading this, you know which choice I made.

So…now things have finally settled down, where have I been?

Streets and Streams was inspired by my impending semester abroad in Florence, Italy and put into action when my dad called me one chilly February day—my best friend’s birthday, in fact—asking me if I could take a week off of my internship that coming summer to go on a trip with him…but he wouldn’t tell me where to until it was booked. He promised that my supervisors would be 100% okay with me missing a few days.

Unsure why he was so certain, I agreed. I missed a week of my internship at the archaeology museum…and spent it in Egypt instead. You can read a little bit about how that trip changed my life here and here. I have more stories to tell; if you have questions or are thinking about a trip to Egypt, drop me at email at streetsandstreams@gmail.com.

When I got back from Egypt, I went into full swing (well, on top of being a student and working 15ish hours a week on campus) preparation for my semester in Florence.

Julianna on the porch with her polka dot suitcase and big backpack, getting ready to leave for her semester abroad.
Smiles (and a little bit of stress) right before walking out the door….the literal first steps towards Florence.

Late January of 2018, I left with a backpack that felt like it was bigger than me and my signature polka dot suitcase. [Pro tip: If you’re traveling in a group, have really distinct luggage. Not only is it easier for yourself to spot, but others in your group will instantly notice it too! Pro tip part 2: If you have the same backpack as someone you’re traveling with, make sure you have different luggage tags.] Four months later, I came back with memories to last a lifetime—cliché, I know—from countless adventures throughout Italy to a jaunt to Barcelona and Paris with my roommate and travel buddy Emily and finally a solo trip through Belgium and the Netherlands.

During my semester abroad, I blogged through Susquehanna University’s GO Blogger program, which provides other students with an idea of what the study abroad experience is actually like in the different programs offered by SU. I’m incredibly proud to say that SU requires every student to study away and that scholarships transfer! I paid less for my semester in Florence than I did for a typical semester on campus.

While I was in Florence, I grappled with finding a balance between experience and sharing that experience. Why do we take pictures? Why do we share our travels on blogs and social media?

Back at Susquehanna, I was lucky enough to have my post-study abroad reflection class with an anthropologist who was bothered by those same questions. As I reflected on my experience in class, I also curated, designed, and produced my first solo-exhibition, Wish You Were Here…The exhibition discussed the use of postcards throughout history and how their communication purpose has changed over time.

That fall semester was supposed to be the thick of it: once I made it through fall, my final semester wasn’t supposed to be too difficult.

Spoiler alert: it was.

My final semester of college challenged me in more ways that I knew were possible.

There were tears. Lots of them.

Homepage for The Simurgh Initiative, a digital humanities project on the preservation and destruction of cultural heritage in the Middle East and North Africa.
Homepage for The Simurgh Initiative, a digital humanities project on cultural heritage in the Middle East and North Africa.

I started the year with a renewed dedication to blog and share my stories. The time I dedicated to the blog was quickly overtaken by something that came to be known as the Simurgh Initiative, a digital humanities project that talks about the preservation and destruction of cultural heritage in the Middle East and North Africa. I led a ten person student team, wrote, and edited articles. The best part? There’s more to come for that project. More essays to edit and post, more ideas to be written.

The Simurgh Initiative took flight (or, in other words, the website went live) in May. I was named Outstanding Student in Museum Studies. I graduated Summa Cum Laude, with a 4.0 GPA, as the co-valedictorian of my class. Oh, and somewhere in that semester I also spent six days in Ireland and worked a temp position for 16 hours a week (one 8 hour day with a 6 hour round-trip commute, one 8 hour day from campus).

American Alliance of Museums conference, 2019.
A quick picture between my volunteer shift and the next session at the American Alliance of Museums conference!

Three days after graduation, I left for New Orleans. I volunteered at and attended the American Alliance of Museums conference. I made connections from across the globe and ate dates with curators from the Grand Egyptian Museum and the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization.

I stayed in New Orleans for a few days after the conference. Blogs to come.

Remember that museum I interned at in the beginning of this story? That’s the one I temped at during my final semester. After I returned from the conference, I accepted a part-time position. In July (a little over one month later), I transitioned to full-time.

I spent my summer forming a close relationship with Amtrak. Turns out that spending times on trains isn’t quite as fun when the destination is work.

Finally, on August 1, I broke off my engagement with Amtrak and moved to Philadelphia.

That’s where I’ve been. Now I’m here.

Yours in adventures and observations,
Julianna


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