Let Summer Begin

It was 2 am when I first decided to write a new blog post, just after I finished turning in all of my assignments and papers for my last ever spring semester of college! (Dancing lady emoji). To celebrate, as we all would have guessed, I am now sitting outside of a Starbucks, sipping a vanilla blonde latte, enjoying the weirdly muggy/breezy Tulsa weather. A lot of my friends will be graduating tomorrow, and it hasn't really hit me yet; I met most of these friends during my sophomore year, two years ago, but it just seems like we've been friends forever. And soon, this December, I too will be done with college! (Another dancing lady emoji). So crazy.

This summer, I will be taking two classes at a local community college back home and working at a bookstore until it's time to come back for the fall semester. What do I plan on reading over the summer? Well, funny you should ask! I really want to read books that I'm not used to reading (i.e., nonfiction). I mean, obviously I will be reading some fiction books, but I wanted to broaden my horizons this summer. 

Fiction reads:  

  • The Fates Divide by Veronica Roth. I mean, I have to find out what happens to Cyra and Akos. Although, I'll probably have to refresh my memory on all the Carve the Mark lingo. 
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling. I read the first six books last summer (and don't worry, I've seen the movies, so there are no such things as HP spoilers for me).
  • Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison. This is one of my required readings for a class in the fall, and I wanted to get a jumpstart on the readings. 
  • The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway. This is another required reading for the same course I'm referring to above. I'm especially excited to read this one, because (this may sound like a weird reason to be excited to read a book) the last line in the novel is so beautiful
  • 1984 by Geoge Orwell. Classic. And it's a classic.
  • Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. I read about half of this book pretty quickly for a book club, but I want to read it again and take my time the second time around.
  • Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger. I know, I know, how have I not already read this? 

Nonfiction reads: 

  • The Opposite of Loneliness: Essays and Stories by Marina Keegan. This book looks incredible, and Marina sounds like she was an amazing person. This book is a compilation of essays and stories written by the Yale graduate that was published after she died. 
  • Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur. I know, I'm late to the game. 
  • Rising Strong by Brené Brown. I've already started this one and am only in the introduction (it's a long introduction, mind you), but I already know that it'll be a good read. 
  • Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. Again, I've already started this one, and it's kind of a tough read so far. But, I've really enjoyed her podcast and think her writing style is beautiful. 
  • On Writing by Stephen King. I have maybe 50 pages left of this book and it's SO GOOD.
  • Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain. Well, I'm an introvert, so I'm interested in knowing more about my personality type. 
  • My Life on the Road by Gloria Steinem. I recently watched a documentary that featured an interviewed with the author and activist, and I think this would be a very interesting read. 


As you can see, I have my work cut out for me this summer. I'll keep you all updated on which ones I actually read and what I think about them. Have a happy summer!

Reagan Fleming

Days 1 + 2 + 3: Berlin

For those of you who don't know, I have been in Europe for the past 2 weeks.

My mom and sister surprised me with this trip of a lifetime just a mere week and a half before we left. Here is the story as to how they did it: they placed my plane ticket confirmation paper on my face while I was sleeping, and then played a German children's song called "Schnappi" a little too loud to actually wake me up from a deep and glorious sleep. (If you feel so inclined, here is the link for the song, it's quite cute.) It was an awesome surprise, but I honestly didn't understand what was happening at first; I was extremely confused and knew that the song they were playing was in German, but what the heck was this piece of paper? As I began getting more and more awake, I slowly realized that it was the confirmation email that they got for buying an airplane ticket, but my destination said TXL. Where is TXL? Am I going to Texas? I kept staring at the paper, and my mom and sister were just sitting there, waiting for it to click in my brain. They lost patience, so they had to tell me, "You're going to Germany, Reagan." 

Hey, apparently TXL is the airport code for the Tegel Airport in Berlin, Germany. We're all supposed to learn something new each and every day, so I fulfilled my quota pretty early on in the morning.

As you may have guessed, I brought books:

Thanks to my sister and her miraculous packing skills, I managed to only bring a light backpack and a small suitcase. Organization, am I right? She told me to limit my books, so I brought... 3. In my defense, one was a mass-market paperback. Just like she thought, I partly read only 2 of them. But in my defense, you never know what kind of mood you'll be in, and which books you'll actually want to read. I brought: Catcher in the Rye (Salinger), Blue Shoe (Lamott)and Between the Lines (Piccoult)Needless to say, I was not bored on the plane.

Day 1

It rained during our first day in Berlin. It rained hard. I'm one of those people that like to write and read when it's all gloomy outside, but when you need to actually be outside to get from point a to point b... I'm not as big of a fan of the rain anymore. We visited the Reichstag building + dome (pictured below), but like I said, it was raining quite profusely. Thankfully, it only rained on the latter half of our outing, so we were only partially soaked on the walk back to the place we were staying.

The first picture is of the Reichstag building. We went inside, to the dome (picture 2), and received a little cassette-player-sized device with headphones. We each put in our headphones, listened to the audio tour, and walked up the ramp at our own pace. It was really interesting to hear the history behind this building and the other significant buildings neighboring this one. 

Day 2

We had the pleasure of walking past this scene (pictured above) many times during our trip. Guys, Berlin is beautiful. 

This is a picture of the coffee beverages and pie that my mom, sister, and I got at a coffee shop we stumbled upon. The café was called La Tazza (thank you for reminding me, cup), and we all ordered Americanos. (Americans ordering Americanos. Ironic, I know.) The drinks were served with these tiny biscotti bites, and we also got what we thought was a piece of fig pie, but turned out to be a surprisingly delicious plum pie. I highly recommend it. 

Day 3

Reader, before I show you this next picture and you worry about my health and how much caffeine I consume on a daily basis, let me share this with you: I have tried weaning myself off of coffee before. But, I simply discovered that it's not the caffeine that I enjoy, it's the taste and the experience you get when you drink a cup of coffee. Also, the migraines that I got from being coffee-less were excruciating. So, here we are! I am also currently at Starbucks, sipping a latte, and writing about coffee. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em. 

Sunday before church, we went to this coffee shop called Bonanza Coffee. You may remember my picture (below) that I posted on Instagram. It was taken inside this very coffee shop... I really love her haircut.

Never have I ever had a better iced flat white before in my life. There were moments where I almost lost all the contents in my cup (due to the lack of lids present in that establishment), but every sip was worth the risk.  

After our 3rd day in Berlin, we went to Venice, Rome, then Florence. My next post will be about those adventures.

Till next time,

Reagan Fleming.