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A Picture is Worth A Thousand Words

We've all heard the saying, "a picture is worth a thousand words." As a hobbyist photographer, this has always resonated with me, and as a girl of few words, the small souvenirs I savor and photos I capture do a better job articulating what I feel and the things I value more than I ever could. With that being said, please enjoy the experience of my digital and heavily visual diary, with words to supplement when I want to elaborate :)
Daniela Aaron
France, England, Italy

"A Picture is Worth A Thousand Words"
circa 2022

digital + visual journal

 
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LIFE ABROAD

This is what life abroad looks like for 2 months. Ok, technically 7 1/2 weeks. With no (digital) camera and no luggage (thanks Air France). Did I mention I'm getting married 11 days after we get back? 

What could go wrong?

So here it goes! Lab on tour! Lads on tour! Three (technically four but shhh don't tell) countries, 21 cities, 1 flight, and 12 hotels in two months!
 
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And so, on June 16, 2022, our journey to Cannes began...
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There was no better way to kick off our time abroad than with Cannes Lions Festival. The speakers, panels, agencies, campaigns, and awards were just life changing. Being in that environment was so eye opening, I know that week in Cannes will change my career forever. Some of my favorites I saw were McDonald's and Wieden & Kennedy, The Future of Production, Nike: There is No Finish Line, Bozoma Saint John, and of course, the incredible one-on-one's we had set up with Brent Anderson from MAL, Kirsten Rutherford from TBWA\Chiat LA, Zach Canfield from Goodby, Sean Bryan from McCann, and Craig Bagno from McCann. Seeing the work in the basement by day and the award shows by night, the work at Cannes has truly shifted my perspective on advertising. I know Jeff has always said that they teach us to be creative problem solvers in school, but never have I better understood that advertising isn't just selling and pushing product, it's creatively problem solving brand's pain points, than at Cannes Lions. It reignited my passion for this definition of advertising, and for that, I'm forever grateful. That week, a major door was opened for me. Here is to many more doors, opportunities, and learning moments ahead.
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* enjoy this random clip of me vibing with some big time exec who was *very* drunk at Post Malone and extremely impressed that I knew the words to his most famous hit ?
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I do need to give this particular Wednesday night it's own highlight. We. Snuck. In. To. THE. Most. Exclusive. Spotify. Beach Event. At. Cannes. It took planning, scouting, research, strategizing, creative problem solving, athletic tape, and just the right amount of finesse (coincidentally all qualities that make for a great intern at any agency). And what do you know, bada bing bada boom, we were into Spotify Beach with our acquired wristbands to see Post Malone perform live. I have no other words besides this night was spectacular, thrilling, absolutely top tier. Seeing him perform 'Circles' live was unforgettable.
massive tiktok influencer (25+ million followers) whom we so kindly escorted to his uber
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Ok I'm going to get a little vulnerable here. About 5 days in, I had a massive breakdown about my bag. POV: Air France lost your bag and you don't have so much as an extra t-shirt or toothbrush to your name. You have to handwash your clothes and undergarments in the sink at your hotel every night, which takes a long time. You go to bed late because of it, but are simultaneously starting every morning no later than 8am for the festival. The stress and exhaustion make you start your period MUCH earlier than expected, and the feminine products available in Cannes are despicable. You officially need more clothes, your contacts, your toiletries, feminine products, detergent, and wrinkle release spray (among several other things), ALL which were packed in previously mentioned lost bag that you do not have in your possession. Several things happened to me consecutively that day, all things which would've been an easy fix had I had my bag, and I, officially, had had it. I reached my breaking point and sobbed for hours. However, this was a turning point for me on the trip. There were so many lessons to be learned from this, and I was meant to learn them through this experience.
It was a wonderful end to the week, as we got to attend church in a ward that my dad served in 30 years ago. Not only was it wonderful to see sweet Madeline again, but I got to meet and chat with a wonderful woman that my dad served when he was on his mission in Southern France. Here we are all this time later, and the Mortier family is still in the same ward. It was such a great experience and spiritual moment for me, and fitting that the Sunday before that we attended was Father's Day. I got to attend church in the very Cannes Ward my dad served in, not only on Father's Day but the week after to meet the Mortiers. So so special.
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Our day trip to Monaco was just great. It had a bit of a funny start when one of the groups missed the train stop for Monaco we were supposed to get off on. We mainly just wandered and explored, we found good baguette sandwiches, went to 2 gardens, and I practiced shooting on my new Holga. It's a plastic medium format film camera, the only camera I brought for the trip. I did this on purpose, not only for my passion project but to challenge myself. Film makes me slow down, forces me to be intentional. In a world where storage is essentially endless and you can take thousands of photos a day, our need to be methodical has vanished. Sure, it's extremely convenient, but when you take away constraints, you put a cap on creativity. At least, that's something I've noticed for me. Creatively speaking, I thrive on constraints, limits, parameters. So with this in mind, my goal for this trip was to take out my phone as little as possible and try to use only the limited amount of frames and film that I brought. Lets see how the experiment goes...
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Oh la la, Paris! Paris was something else. Carinne and I had the pleasure of being on the 7th floor, and halfway through our stay both elevators broke. I got sick the second day and had to stay in to recover, and for the rest of Paris I was loaded up on meds. I've been so lucky to have been to Paris before, and this was my third time now. However, I'd never been to the Musee L'Orangerie or the Musee de Orsay, and those were just absolutely spectacular. I rekindled my love of doors and started a massive collection of pictures of my favorite French doors I saw.
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Another must highlight moment. I purposefully wanted to spend more time outside in the gardens and outer buildings at Versailles, and it was such a treat. It was absolutely magical to walk through the gardens and tall tress of Versaille, listening to the Ever After soundtrack. We later decided we wanted to try and see Marie Antoinette's village, so in a massive hurry we rented bikes with Mark and Colette and pedaled our little hearts out across the grounds. We hit a point where there were no bikes allowed anymore so we parked them and took off sprinting so we could make it back to the bus in time. We had a lovely one minute to look around once we arrived to the village, and back sprinting to our bikes we went. We made it back to the bus extremely sweaty, but right on time, and I wouldn't change a thing.
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The Paris Temple is a little hidden gem, a peaceful sanctuary in the chaos of Paris. I, unfortunately, had to spend a part of my time here on the phone with Air France :( only to find the distribution center was also closed. Nonetheless, we carry on! 
Giverny and Monet's Gardens have to be one of my favorite places we went in France. His house is a masterpiece, the gardens pristine, and the quaint little town is so cute you want to move on the spot.
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live footage of me SPRINTING through Versaille
I'm not mad at how glamorous I made it look,
but I assure you it's just how the photo made it seem
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Normandy was so fascinating, it was amazing having our own tour guide to tell us more about the landmarks and battles that occurred there.

Mont St Michel was just a dream, that place didn't even feel real. It lived up to all my tangled fantasies. The little town outside the island was so small and funny, there were cows everywhere, and when I say everywhere I mean EVERYWHERE. We had quite an interesting dining experience that did involve intestine. The next morning, I walked by myself to the island and it was really really nice. I had a chance to listen to music, reflect on what we've done so far, and get a nice walk in beautiful weather. I started the Lunar Chronicles and have been loving them, and while it was a smart idea for the long bus rides, it's not so good anymore because now I just want to stay in and read all day rather than explore. But being in such marvelous places as Mont St Michel adds to the fairytale books I'm reading and makes me feel like I'm in them myself. I love rereading books I loved growing up, so it was a real treat for me to have time to read and enjoy those books again.
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London has been AMAZING. I loved exploring all the different neighborhoods. From Kensington to Notting Hill to Covent Gardens and Soho and Westend and Shoreditch etc etc. It was so fun staying in our apartments with kitchens and laundry and oyster cards and to feel like we actually live here. Wimbledon was fantastic. Loved all the different markets like camden market, borough market, spitafields market, Columbia flower market. Still been reading the lunar chronicles and it's been great. I didn't have high expectations for London for some reason and I was just blown away. Whether I had a really chill day and just wandered around a neighborhood or we had a fun day trip plan, I had the best time in London. It felt like a British version and mix of Boston and New York, which makes sense that New York and Boston feel reminiscent of London because, you know, the tea party and revolution and all. Meeting with Anomaly, Mother, McCann and Lamas at D&AD offices, and Prettybird were so fantastic. Seeing agencies and industry creatives in the flesh made me confident in my decisions of the path I've chosen. They reaffirmed that I can do this. Sometimes its just hard for me to imagine that there really is a big booming advertising industry, and after seeing and meeting with people in Cannes and London, let me tell you there is. Everyone was so helpful and nice and offered such good advice. These were truly some of my top highlights from London. Now, we were in London so long, and I loved it so much that my thoughts and day by days in London would be 100 pages long, so I've opted for this bullet point list that says it all the same, just in much fewer words. 
  • Things that stick out
    • DISHOOM DISHOOM DISHOOM (I went 3 or 4 times and could not have been more glad)
    • Phantom of the opera!!!!
    • All the west end shows
    • Eating my nightly snack of my biscuits with chocolate frosting, amazing
    • Purposely not going to a single museum, gallery, cathedral, etc. - I needed the break so badly
    • Did so many little adventures on my own!!
    • Amazing vlog night premiere in the basement!! it was sooo fun and such a hit, Hannah killed it!!
    • Started realizing I want to go agency route
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infamous 'Mother' wall
THE best indian food on the planet. forever love dishoom and so glad i got to go as many times as i did xoxo
felt like a real Londoner with this
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got some of my Holga rolls developed in London and got a sweet new Olympus Trip XB400 (35mm point and shoot) for only $20!!!
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Wimbledon has me speechless it was such an amazing day. Getting up so early, making the trek out there, and waiting in the queue were all such fun parts of the experience. I did get peer pressured to buy the most expensive tickets because we were only there for one day and who knows when we'd get the chance to come again? And I'm so glad that they did. Centre Court tickets, the quarterfinals, strawberries and cream, nice weather, Kate Middleton - I couldn't have had a more perfect British day and experience. That was a huge bucket list item checked off and I will absolutely be going again (one day).
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Now I get why everyone and their dog wants to go to Oxford. Really enjoyed our private tours of Oxford, and REALLY enjoyed and loved the Harry Potter Studio Tour! As a massive Harry Potter fan, that was such a cool experience seeing the making and behind the scenes of the movie. I got to fangirl with all of the other Harry Potter fans, and it was just so much fun.
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This was one of my favorite days of the entire trip. I got to live my Jane Austen, Pride & Prejudice dreams. We had wonderful high tea with Mr. Darcy, and then for the best part, we wandered around the wonderful Lacock Village. I've never been anywhere like it, I want to go back again and again. We got to pretend we were in a period piece and in Harry Potter and all the things. It was a magical *wink* place and day.
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This was one of those days where
the photos say more than I ever could.
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Bri took the most precious photos on her new
film camera🥺
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Rome was hot hot hot, but so cool. Trevi fountain was incredible, good sandwiches and gelato, had lots of afternoon naps, amazing free water from fountains in the city which I was not expecting, and the Pantheon and Colosseum were insane!
  • Things that stick out from Rome:
    • Rome temple
    • Trevi fountain
    • Sandwich shop
    • Pantheon
    • FINALLY GOT MORE GARMENTS !!!
      • Biggest thank you to Belle and help from the Sheets trying to help me coordinate with the sisters
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They make you put in the work to see the Sistine Chapel, let me tell you. After walking for probably over an hour, and we took a shortcut, we finally got to see the ceiling of the chapel. I'm sorry, after all of that work, I had to sneak a pic (oopsie). There was an amazing mosaic I saw on the way there that made the long walk a little more enjoyable. And after seeing St. Peters Basilica, it made me wonder if it was built before Versailles and if it possibly inspired its grandiosity. When we checked, they started construction on Versailles 10 years after the cathedral was finished… When we left the Vatican, Belle took a taxi with me to the temple to get garments😭😭that woman is an angel and I'm so grateful.
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*said cute mosaic
*said sneaky picture
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Things that stuck out from this day:
  • All singing Pompeii on the bus
  • Playing hide and go seek in the villa oplontis
  • Everyone thinking there was going to be a pool and there totally wasn’t one
  • Fun hotel, amazing restaurant area/breakfast, great AC, body wash smelled great
  • Spent majority of my time wandering the ruins in Pompeii on the phone with my wedding photographer😜
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Drumroll please...
This was THE perfect day. Absolutely magical wonderful fantastic amazing. The weather was perfect, boats were perfect, company was perfect. I felt so cool being on aux the entire boat ride and I think I did pretty well, everyone seemed to enjoy all the different genres I played.  I wore a really cute dress I got vintage shopping in London on brick lane and felt like I was in a movie. When we got back home, our hotel was super cool, and we ate at their alleged Michelin star restaurant. After, there was a random major rave/dance party happening at the beach at our hotel?? We were trying to figure out what that was and ended up dancing on the balcony with Addie to Abba's gimme gimme, an iconic and reoccurring song of the trip.
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This is probably the cutest photo ever, could legit
be a Coke ad
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our cutie group!
night mode
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I did not know what to expect from Matera, and it was SO COOL and BEAUTIFUL, especially at night! We stayed at the coolest hotel that had cave rooms. For dinner we had some good and cheap pasta, then all of us went to get gelato and took pictures, vlogged at the lookout point while street performers sang, and wandered home. Then ended the night with a nice conversation and time with Gwynie <3 where we later joined Mark and Colette on their roof hang out.
street performers <3
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Climbing to the top of the duomo was sooo hard, but the view was beautiful. And navigating the leather markets was a learning experience in itself, I went hard bartering against those guys and they were SO rude and aggressive. We saw the David, saw The Birth of Venus, iconic works of art in art history. A reflection on Italian religious art, it’s beautiful but it just doesn’t resonate with me, but I do absolutely love da Vinci and he could do anything and I'd think it was amazing. It's been so cool seeing so many buildings, sculptures, paintings, etc. that I’ve learned so much about in my art history classes. I’m so grateful to have taken those classes and to have come on this trip with the education I have now, so I can more fully understand and appreciate all the art, artists, buildings, towns, and cities we’ve been seeing.

On the second to last night, I went to dinner with the BAADies crew + Hannah, and we got to see this really random but cool Florence parade - I don’t know if it was something for the mayor or the city but everyone was dressed in this old medieval garb and it was so weird and funny, we literally just stumbled upon it. After we went to the river and bridge, it’s stunning at night. Then, we had another vlog premiere night in Hannah's room, yet another banger hit!! It was so fun.
First night we got there and the first thing we did was go to dinner, and it. was. amazing. We ate at the BEST restaurant of the trip with the funnest group: me, Addison, Annie Kate, Brooke, Gwynie, and Sarah. We ate dinner outside, the weather was amazing, and we were graced with a beautiful sunset. We had such great conversation, even better food, and got gelato after. It was a great night, and the restaurant (osteria pastella) was so good I went twice, and I'm so glad I did. They literally homemake the pasta right in the front window of the restaurant so you can see it when you pass by, and the flambe cheese wheel pasta is not only the coolest thing ever but truly the best pasta I’ve ever had in my life.
On the last night, we went and watched the sunset from the top of this balcony at the top of Florence (you can see the entire city from it). We got sandwiches from the delicious sandwich shop, snacks and fruit from the grocery, and ate our dinner picnic up there. It was a magical view and sunset. Afterward we wanted to get gelato (which sweet Annabelle was going to buy for us with her Venmo money) but then we ran into Mark and Colette and they bought our fun group all gelato, it was so sweet.
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I wasn’t sure how sharing a room with 5 girls with one bathroom (with not great AC) for 4 days was going to go, but it went so much better than I thought, in fact it was really good. The roommate tumble around came at a perfect time for a lot of us. It was the first time me and Carinne had been separated, and I was now with Kennethia, Gwynie, Brooke, and Rachel Ankeney. It was a really good group and a lot of fun. We had fun nights chatting with each other, fighting off the mosquitos that were eating us alive, and I FINALLY HAD ICE AND MILK!!! Our wonderful kitchenette and fridge and a freezer with an ice tray, the first thing I did when I got to Florence was make my beloved ice. The second thing I did was bought a quart of milk and got to enjoy a cold glass every morning and night that we were in Florence. I LOVE MILK!!! That was such a treat for me.
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perfect last night sunset
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A few of us got to climb to the roof of the Siena cathedral, half our group wasn’t allowed to because we were running late, and I was so exhausted from the duomo in Florence. We also climbed to the top of the 360 views at the museum, so there were just so many steps that day. I met a Bulgarian family up there and they were so cute. They were so Bulgarian which is so funny I love it, the dad was so cute with his little son. I also got such cute matching leather cat keychains for me and Anna, and I got the cutest kitchen towel with cats on it for me and Cache’s first apartment! I'm so excited :))
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When we first got to Venice, we went to a cool takeaway pasta place that Addie’s friend had recommended, bought fresh fruit, and went and ate our little lunch picnic by a little square and it was so fun. We walked and explored and Brooke found the most perfect wedding earrings. Then, we went on the most magical gondola ride! It was such a fun group (BAADies + Hannah) and we made a new friend, Ricardo, our gondolier who was born and raised in Venice. He took us through the main canal at the beginning right at sunset which was so beautiful, then we went through all the cool back canals and saw really cool smaller parts of Venice. It was so remote and lovely, we never passed another boat or gondola on the canal the rest of our ride. Then we got amazing gelato after​.
Randomly, some of the best pizza I had in Italy was at this random cafe on the corner of one of the small streets in Venice. I saw the pizza through the window and thought, dang I gotta try that, and I ended up going twice I liked it so much. I got their simple salame pizza and it truly was so good.
​On our second day in Venice, we went to the islands of Murano and Burano. Murano is known for its amazing blown glass and we got to see the coolest demonstration. It’s a trade that’s been passed through the family, father to son, for hundreds of years. It’s so incredibly hard and takes decades to master. Burano is known for its lace (and embroidery) and had the cutest little shops. The buildings were so colorful and cute and all stacked together, with bridges and canals and it felt like Disneyland.​
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​I didn’t expect much from Verona and I absolutely loved it. It had a really cool vibe. It was much smaller than Rome and Florence, felt much more local, and you could actually imagine real Italians living there. It wasn’t too small like there were fun things to see and do, but it wasn’t massive and didn’t feel that touristy. The town was just beautiful and every place we went to eat was an absolute hit, from the trendy cool sandwich spot, to the fun crepe place, to the local papa run pizza shop, to the suave restaurant, it was just a cool town. Also had a really great gelato.
This was the first time I had my own room. It was kind of weird after always being around so many people but kind of nice. It was another good reset before our final week in Milan back altogether.
Right when we got there, the BAADie crew went to the cool sandwich shop, then we went to the Romeo and Juliet museum which was good fun. Later we went to La Traviata which was such a cool experience. It was SO COOL seeing the show in this huge ancient amphitheater! The weather was perfect, perfect ambiance, great set and show, amazing singing, 10/10 experience.
The next day a group of us walked to church. It was a 45 minute walk but it went by pretty quickly and wasn’t too hard of a walk. I always love to see the faith of the members in the wards we go to, it’s been an amazing experience and thing to see. We went to lunch at this shop run by a papa (who is the one who makes all of the pizzas) and it’s the best pizza I had in Italy. It was so fun going to the shop for lunch, with our fun little church group, eating our delicious pizza. Later that night, Mark and Colette hosted a little come follow me session at these castle grounds by the river at sunset, we went and joined them after dinner. It was just so lovely. It was dusk, the weather was so nice, our group was there sitting and listening to Mark as he shared a vulnerable, sweet story with us. After we went to this random splash pad they had in Verona with the boys and played in it for hours, it was surprisingly fun. There were these 2 friends who were really high and just jamming out on their guitar and trumpet. All the locals loved us Americans running around and having fun, by the end they were clapping for us, it was so random and weird, but kind of funny. I guess they found us entertaining.
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​We did a few hours of service before setting off to our final destination of Milan, and it was really nice. The people we served and served with were so so sweet, and the cutest little boy was translating for us. He was so young, but he had really good English and would translate to the sweet lady in Italian. I hope our few hours were helpful to them, and it was so kind that they fed us and gave us gifts after. They were such sweet people. At lunch, me and Hannah got talking with one of the sweet old couples who were members of their church and who had been there. They were so cute and had a cute story. 
Oh Milan, what a perfect place to end. Our hotel was in such a great location, and the amount we had left planned together was perfect, not too much so we could relax and do our own thing, but not nothing. When we first got in, we went and grabbed dinner at wagamama. That place was actually soooo good. We ended up going twice we liked it so much. After we went to the duomo at sunset and it was perfect. Our final roommate and room combo were SO fun. I got to be back with Carinne after like a week apart, and we got to share our room with Addie and AK which was perfect. We had so much fun.
After a few days, we climbed to the top of the duomo in Milan and saw the Last Supper later that day. The Last Supper was incredible. Milan was a great time to wrap up the rest of our loose ends and reset. I worked on so much wedding stuff, trying to coordinate the last final details with all my vendors. That was stressful to navigate while abroad but we figured it out. We would all hang out in the room and try and work on our stuff, I’d mainly work on wedding stuff, tried to figure out more of my bag crap with Air France, got some of the last few gifts we needed, packed, and soaked up the last of the trip.
We also met with Publicis Milan which was so good. The presentation was great. It was helpful, insightful, and inspirational. He actually taught us about advertising and the industry, rather than only telling us about Publicis Milan and their work. He was funny and had a good pulse on culture, there was a great balance in his presentation. Here was where I fully realized that I want to go the agency route. As a content student, it's been a long time debate trying to figure out what I want to do after school, and this trip has solidified it for me. I had time in Milan to reflect on this trip, think about what I’ve learned, reignite my passion for advertising, and got so ready to creatively problem solve for brands this fall.
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LAKE COMO WAS AMAZING! Period. That's it. I'll let the photos speak for themselves.
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It's officially been two months. No bag, wrecked my 2 pairs of shoes, and officially getting married in 11 days. Everyone went from strangers or acquaintances to best friends. We've all now been through so much together, I've heard so many different people's stories, and the bonds we've created here are something I'll never forget.

FINAL NIGHT IN MILANO

This night was a perfect end to our trip. The setting was magical and perfect. It was a full circle moment on the steps, like our first night in Cannes, it was nearly sunset, there was a street performer playing beautiful piano, and everyone was being so vulnerable and sharing wonderful thoughts. The love in the air was palpable, it was crazy. I felt the spirit so strong and couldn’t stop smiling and wanted to give every single person a hug. I just felt so much love for them and gratitude for this experience. It was probably one of the closest times I’ve been to seeing everyone through Christ’s eyes and understanding the love He has for us.
 
Afterward, we got dinner at the delicious Papa Francesco’s (another flambé cheese wheel place). Then we got gelato, walked around the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, and took our final photos outside the duomo. A fun rooftop restaurant and bar was playing Post Malone and it was such a full circle moment for us back to the beginning of the trip, on our final night. Circles by Post Malone started playing as we were walking away. We were singing and dancing and it was truly full circle. We went back to the room, watched Hannah’s final vlogs of the trip (which were so emotional), and ended with our own little dance party in the room. BAADies forever. Room 506 was legendary. It was the perfect end <3.
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FIN / THE END/ FINE

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