APRIL 2018 | Wrap-Up

T.S. Eliot famously wrote in The Waste Land that “April is the cruelest month.” Fortunately, this particular month of April has been remarkably kind to me! Between traveling, spending time with friends, starting a new term, and planning for some exciting days to come, this past month was filled with moments that I know I won’t soon forget. Here’s what I was up to in April:

In April I read a total of 12 books:

  1. Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  2. All That She Can See by Carrie Hope Fletcher
  3. Chronicle of a Death Foretold by Gabriel García Márquez
  4. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
  5. Death and the King’s Horseman by Wole Soyinka
  6. Butterfly Burning by Yvonne Vera
  7. Changes by Ama Ata Aidoo
  8. The Autobiography of My Mother by Jamaica Kincaid
  9. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery 
  10. Nervous Conditions by Tsitsi Dangarembga
  11. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by J.K. Rowling
  12. Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf {yup: second time this year!}

I read a lot of fantastic books this month (shout out to my Oxford required reading list) but I think my favorite is probably the very first one I read: Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. This novel is so well written and really uproots you and plants you in the United States at the time before Obama’s first presidential election. As a book blogger, I adored the fact that Ifemelu ran a blog about race in America as an outsider as well as all of the issues and delights that came along with it. I would recommend this book to anyone and everyone!

+ MOVIE: Definitely, definitely, definitely The Sound of Music. Up until early April I was one of the seemingly few people left on Earth who had never seen this iconic musical film, so you can imagine how confusing my life must have been before due to all of the reference I never fully understood. Well, I’m happy to say that this problem has finally been resolved, and I LOVED it. My friend and I watched it in preparation for the Sound of Music bus tour we went on while traveling through Salzburg on our break and I honestly still can’t believe it took me over two decades to finally see it. How have I lived???

The back of our Sound of Music tour bus in Salzburg, Austria.

{Also shoutout to Marvel’s Infinity War as an honorable mention. I went to the midnight screening of it (my first one ever) and it was a WILD time.}

+ MUSIC: I’m tempted to say the Sound of Music soundtrack, simply because it’s SO. DARN. CATCHY. However, in the interest of not repeating myself a million times, I think I’m going to go with an artist I was recently introduced to by one of my friend’s before we saw her perform live in London: Dodie. She has a lot of music up on her Youtube channel and she’s also released a few EPs, which are lovely. A few of my favorite songs are “When,” “6/10,” and “Party Tattoos.” Definitely check her music out if you haven’t already!

+ FOOD: Literally anything that is not granola bars, Lays and Pringles chips, fruit, and packets of oatmeal. This was basically all I ate while traveling with my friend for two weeks because I didn’t want to order anything in other languages due to my nut allergy, and now real food with substance tastes AMAZING. Actual protein! Meals that are cooked in a kitchen! Food that isn’t classified as a snack! What a life!

+ PLACE: I had the incredible opportunity to travel to many different European cities in April, so there are a lot of amazing places for me to choose from! However, I think the place I loved the most was Austria, particularly because I didn’t expect it to be so beautiful! We stayed in Vienna for several days and then spent some time in Salzburg and Mondsee for the Sound of Music bus tour and all of those places were just gorgeous. I would absolutely go back some day!

Wow, so much to say! The first half of April was one of the most incredible experiences of my life: traveling to five European cities in two weeks! The trip began by visiting my friend who is studying in Edinburgh this semester, and then from there we went to Amsterdam, Berlin, Vienna, and Salzburg. I don’t even know where to begin talking about this amazing experience! We went to so many places, from countless museums and parks to the Dutch amusement park Efteling, the East Side Gallery, the apartments of Beethoven and Mozart, actual sites used in the Sound of Music film, and more. I’ve been back in Oxford for weeks now and I still can’t believe I actually went to all of those places!

To be honest, before coming to Oxford I never, ever, ever thought I would go on such an adventure. Not only does my nut allergy make traveling quite difficult and stressful, but I’ve always been a bit of a homebody and have preferred to do things well within the bounds of my comfort zone. However, I am so, so SO glad I took advantage of the opportunity to travel while I’m already in England because it ended up being one of the most fun, exciting, eye-opening things I’ve ever done.

I’m in the process of writing MANY posts about all of my traveling adventures, so stay tuned for them over the course of the next few weeks!

So much Harry Potter graffiti in the bathroom at the Elephant House cafe in Edinburgh!
Amsterdam is so. pretty.
Loved all the tulips out in Amsterdam!
Efteling is so fun but also SO WEIRD.
Found the American flag at the East Side Gallery.
We were so lucky with the weather on this trip, and Berlin was no exception!
BEETHOVEN LIVED HERE?!?!
Anyone recognize this from the “I Have Confidence” number?
Casually visited the church where Maria gets married in Sound of Music (!!!)

I arrived back in Oxford at the beginning of 0th week, and then Trinity term started right up with work, work, and more work. It’s so strange thinking that I’m already well into my third and final term here at Oxford. I know that I’m going to miss this place immensely when I go back home to the States in June– cue the nostalgia already!

 Here are some notable posts from my blog this past month:

Here are some posts that I loved reading this month:

How was your month of April? What was the best book you read? Did you do anything really fun or exciting? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

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39 thoughts on “APRIL 2018 | Wrap-Up

  1. Oh, the hills are alive with the sound of music! I love Austria and of course that musical as well. Glad you had a great trip, I’m looking forward to reading your posts about it. 🙂
    What did you think of Butterfly Burning? I have it in my Kindle but haven’t read it yet. 🙂
    My book of the month was Educated by Tara Westover. I would go as far as to call it the book of 2018 for me so far. 😉 Loved it and enjoy raving about it whenever I have an opportunity. 😉
    Thanks for the shout out. Glad you enjoyed that post. And happy to be able to check other bloggers’ posts I might have missed otherwise. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Butterfly Burning is SO GOOD. I read it for my Postcolonial Literature course and it was one of my favorite novels of term. I’ve never heard of the book you mentioned before but I’ll have to check it out!

      Hope you have a lovely May! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Aaah all of those pictures are amazing! what a marvellous adventure for you! I love Dodie too, and I want to read Americanah, and Chronicle of a Death Foretold was convoluted and bizarre. Do you feel like you define your identity by your nut allergy? have you been allergic all your life? I really want to travel Europe one day, but in April I settled for flying to the South Island to see my family two times, which was okay. April has had it’s ups and downs, but I am mostly liking uni so that is good.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahhhh isn’t Dodie great?!?! ❤

      My nut allergy is definitely a huge part of my identity. I had my first allergic reaction when I was two years old, so it's been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. Unfortunately, it's not something I can try not to think about because I have to take it into consideration every single time I want to eat something, cook something, go somewhere… it can be overwhelming sometimes!

      Hope you have a lovely May! 🙂

      Like

  3. Sounds like a great month! I am v jealous of all of your travelling. I am planning to do some Europe city hopping later in the year – so exciting!

    Chimamanda is the bessst! I LOVED Americanah, but I think Half of a Yellow Sun is even better. Honestly all her writing knocks me off my feet, in a literary sense.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oooh so exciting! Do you know which cities you’re planning to visit?

      Also, thanks for the recommendation– I’ll have to read Half of a Yellow Sun soon! 🙂

      Like

      1. I haven’t totally decided yet! I’m likely going by myself because none of my friends are in a position to travel right now, so I’m thinking of joining a group tour through Contiki or something. I just have to pick one, which is difficult because they all look excellent.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Aaah how I envy your travels, Holly! Do you keep a travel notebook for your adventures?

    It’s been so long since I’ve watched The Sound of Music! Infinity War was so good! I’m normally not a fan of Marvel movies but decided to watch it because of Guardians of the Galaxy and having enjoyed Thor Ragnarok. I’m so glad I watched it in the cinema 😍😍😍

    I’ll need to put in an order for Americanah soon.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I did keep a travel notebook during this trip! I usually try to write in a journal every day anyways, so I just carried that habit along to different places. I’m glad I did because it’s so much fun reading through my record of each day ❤

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  5. Oh wow it seems like you had such a fantastic month, Holly and wow, so jealous of all the traveling, it sounds like you had such a fantastic time. I’m so happy for you! ❤ I hope you'll write more about your trips to each city sometime 🙂
    Thank you so much for sharing my post! Wishing you a wonderful May ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much, Marie!!! ❤ I'll definitely writing a lot of travel posts soon…. so many photos and adventures to share! It already feels like ages since coming back from that trip…. 🙂 Hope you have a lovely May! xx

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Loved reading this! One thing I love about Europe is how connected it is–I swear it’s way easier to travel around Europe with the easy visas and tiny countries and cheap flights/train rides between them than lots of other places. It’s also so weird how you can have an incredible experience like that and then go straight back to studying at oxford and having heaps of work. Also The Sound of Music is amazing and I can’t believe you went so long without having seen it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Shar! ❤ Having almost no transition between traveling for weeks to immediately writing essays was strange and not very fun, but it was definitely worth it! 🙂

      Like

  7. The photos from your travels look absolutely STUNNING! ❤ Sounds like you had an amazing time! As for reading, Americanah is one of those books I always think I'll pick up one day, but I don't know when that day will come. I really should get to it though, I'm glad to hear you enjoyed it so much 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Awww you are so blessed to be able to study in Oxford and now traveling too! ❤ Thanks so much for sharing and letting us get a glimpse of what fun you are having… The Sound of Music is so incredible… I actually know a man who traveled through the mountains to escape just like the movie… he was a child then and so now is an old man but I always think of him when someone mentions the movie!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow, that’s incredible! I’d love to learn more about the actual family that the musical is based on… it’s such a powerful story!

      Thanks so much! 🙂

      Like

    1. Efteling was so fun! I was surprised by how strangely dark and twisted some of the things were there— I definitely would have been a bit scared if I was a little kid!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Amazing! I’m looking forward to reading your travel posts! Berlin is one of my all-time favorites. We had someone with a nut allergy (so severe that all of us had to refrain if we were going to close to him, especially when we’re all crammed in that mini bus) and I felt so bad he often went hungry. While it sucks, it’s a small price to pay for such amazing experiences! Good for you for stepping outside of your comfort zone and I hope finding food wasn’t a total inconvenience 🙂

    Rachel || anotherstationanothermile.com

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much, Rachel!! I definitely feel for your friend— there were times when all I wanted was a meal that was actually filling and substantial, but the amazing traveling experiences were definitely worth it in the end 🙂

      Like

  10. I’m so glad you had a good trip! I can only imagine how stressful it must be to travel with a nut allergy. I have enough trouble with meat/fish, but at least I know that accidentally eating it won’t land me in the hospital. 🙊

    Liked by 1 person

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