my first amateur photo trip: copenhagen, florence, cinque terre

Only fitting that it takes me three months to publish these.

I recently acquired a Nikon D5200 (my first DSLR) in an effort to back up my writing abilities and a (pending) career in journalism with some sweet photography skills. And to make this site more dynamic! Cascading scrolls of endless words can only be so engaging.

This past January I took a few weeks off to reward myself for finally submitting my grad school apps. I had a year’s worth of PTO saved up and the restaurant was entering the slow season, not to mention half of my hyper-fertile coworkers were expecting… I figured it would be the only time I would be able to get away with skipping town for more than a few days for months, so, 86 LANI until February.

After a super hyggeligt dinner with my fam to celebrate my dad’s 60th, I flew to Copenhagen straight into the drunk and welcoming arms of my former coworkers a few hours into their super hyggeligt julefrokost (traditional christmas lunch/party/night of debauchery).

DSC_0127Cue sweet reunion! I had just seen Rikke three months prior when we spent a week in SF sprinting up all the hills and then plowing through every restaurant and bar that had a good draft list, but it was so, so, nice to see her again. :)

DSC_0139Kasper in the basic beer-d and obligatory Flying Couch t-shirt, wait is this a party full of beer geeks? I didn’t realize.

DSC_0125Rune! It’s ironic that two winters ago I was miserable and freezing in Denmark with no friends, and this year I went out of my way to get back to the gross rain/snow/hail situation just to hug them all. It was very, very worthwhile.

DSC_0148The Lauras and Stan! They were being very patient with me being a dumdum with the camera settings and posed a million times. This was one of the only ones that came out, and then I gave in to automatic. Probably best to figure out aperture/ISO/shutter speed when I am not 9hrs behind on sleep and drunk.

DSC_0165Peter and Razz having an intimate moment. It never happens when Danes get drunk.

DSC_0155The cafe that hosted the julefrokost had only the bare necessities.

DSC_0172Sara’s apartment! She’s all moved out of Egmont and into this beautiful apartment with her boyfriend Thomas. She’s so grown up now, jeez. I leave for a year and everything changes. Thank you again, Sara, for letting me make myself at home in your immaculately clean house. (Living with fewer things = a Danish idea that fights my hoarding gene every day.)

DSC_0188 These goofballs, with small beers to start our gluttonous multi-course dinner that evening…

DSC_0182Oh haaay Rikke. With the trademark Søernes/Ørsted beer candle.

DSC_0193Intermission at dinner, because beer tasting.

DSC_0197Such a nice night at Höst in the city with all these food and beer nerds.

DSC_0201Afterhours at Søernes for Kub’s birthday. It was painful only staying here for a few hours on my last night in CPH after spending so many hanging until dawn the previous summer.

DSC_0207A wonderfully familiar scene.

DSC_0209Made it to Florence! My first time in Italy. Decent Chianti for just five euros, truffle oil, tagliatelle pasta, gelato, pappardelle with a duck ragu, sandwiches, and pizza… all my favorite things in an amazingly romantic city. And I got this girl to come with me!

DSC_0245Even though it was freezing.
DSC_0234 DSC_0224Only the coolest people will take a spontaneous week away from life to galavant around Italy for the first time.

DSC_0223As always, climbing a tower for a view pays off.

DSC_0221I can only imagine how beautiful (but crowded) Florence is in July.

DSC_0215The inside of the Duomo, the site of the most selfie stick-bearing Asian tourists in all of Italy.

DSC_0214Selfie stick or not, though, you can’t fit the Duomo in the frame. A better photo would have been one capturing the attempt.

DSC_0256Monterosso, one of Cinque Terre’s eponymous five villages.

DSC_0252Sunrise, first morning on the coast. I will thank jetlag for this shot from our hotel.


DSC_0248It was cold, so we started planning the next leg of our trip in one of the enotecas. We definitely did this more than once.

DSC_0264Manarolo. Okay. How impressive is this?


DSC_0288Typical Dane… always in search of sunlight thanks to the perpetual Vitamin D deficiency that only comes from living that far north. 

DSC_0275People always ask me if I went swimming here. It doesn’t look it, but it’s maybe 45 degrees out. We did meet a nice local who (in addition to cooking us dinner and showing us a good time even though all the restuarants and bars were closed for the winter) offered to take us surfing, buttttt maybe next time.



DSC_0259All you can see anywhere other than the brightly painted houses are lemon trees, orange trees, and olive groves.

My camera froze over while running around in the rain during the last leg of the trip in Genova, but I already can’t wait to go back. A port city with fried seafood and pesto everywhere, old Roman architectural design implemented with the new, a giant art museum in an old palace. I regret not staying for longer!

There is really nothing like getting away.


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This photo taken with Sara’s iPhone.



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things i want to say in my grad school essays but can’t, because cliché

And we can’t have that, can we.

Constructing a personal statement for a graduate school application is so much more of a task than it seems. It’s crazy to think that as a teenager, those 500 words of insight into the minimal life experience I did have (‘being captain of the varsity waterpolo team taught me how to be such a good leader!!’) was enough to get me into Davis. Now, I’m tasked with crafting a reflection on the last six years of my ‘adult’ life into an expository essay that will convince the admissions people that I’m more qualified than all the others to write about the world.

I want to go to school to learn how to write professionally for a living and for fuck’s sake, I can’t even write 750 words about myself.

Among things I’ve written and then deleted because I can’t re-read them without cringing:

I’m very proud of the simple things I have accomplished thus far, and am confident that they have all led me to further my education in journalism. What does this even mean.

I’ve always been involved in a wide variety of activities. Said every middle-class seventeen-year-old-former-Girl-Scout in the National Charity League that wants to get into an Ivy.

Trying to plan for my future in the six months leading up to graduation from UC Davis made me more anxious than I can ever remember being. Because everyone wants to hear about my first world problems.

This is the story of how one moment of panic and angst manifested itself into a year of growth, humility, and contentedness… Everyone knows what the central thesis of Eat, Pray, Love is and has no desire to read that book again.

I’ve gravitated towards the field of journalism since my high school years. As I have towards shopping, boys, bagels, booze… GARBAGE GARBAGE GARBAGE

Having hardly any formal training in the field has allowed me to find my own voice. And I’m sure everyone appreciates the never-ending wall of unstructured word vomit as a result.

I’ve managed to let all the second guessing get in my own way, again! It’s a paralyzing feeling to think that after all this that come March, when all the admission decisions get mailed out, all the effort could all amount to nothing. I’d feel really stupid about being in an incessant bad mood for a month. I’d feel like I was letting down everyone who supported me, tolerated me, wrote me recommendation letters.

There’s a UC Berkeley advertisement above the escalator at the Embarcadero BART station that I see every day on my way home from work. It goes “YOUR DREAM JOB IS SOMEONE ELSE’S DREAM JOB, WHAT WILL GIVE YOU AN EDGE?” As if that jarring message is necessary on either end of my commute. It took me at least a couple of weeks to see it and not react by tweaking out about how I was spending my time.

The thought of not being good enough is pretty devastating. But isn’t this what we learn time and time again, that only putting yourself out there, as vulnerable as it might make us feel, is the only way to move forward? How many jobs have we interviewed for, people have we pursued, ideas have we pitched, that didn’t ultimately come through for us?

With these thoughts in mind, I somehow I managed to crank out final drafts I was semi-satisfied with and submit them on time. Thankfully, this round of applications is over and I can cease the internal philosophical debate over whether chasing down fate or letting fate happen to me is the better way to go. One of the many mental crises that plague millennials. How difficult is this life.

To further epitomize my generation, I bought a ticket to Europe when the due dates were a week away so that I could just bounce after submitting. The subsequent two weeks away were glorious. Pictures to come.

And if nothing else, it’s crazy what a simple font change and a giant pot of Earl Grey can do for your productivity.


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