September 25, 2015

An Endless Midsummer's Night

Look at me, blogging on the road. Now, had I been able to do this while I was on my grand European Tour I might not be posting about it fifteen months later. But then again, the "road" I'm on only involves a measly three cities and five days, rather than six weeks and eight countries; more importantly I have my laptop on hand, some spare time, and fifteen months ago I was too busy making the most extraordinary memories of a lifetime to be worrying about blogging. Better yet, as I've said before, getting to relive those fantastical moments is the best part of writing. So here, for your enjoyment and my reminiscent mind, is country number six: Sweden. 

We arrived at a dinky airport on the periphery of Stockholm on the 21st of June, the Summer Solstice, and date of the Swedish Midsummer celebration.

Anyone who knows my best friends and I well will not find it surprising that at my adamant demand we flew nearly a thousand miles to partake in a foreign holiday, mostly because you get to make flower crowns. Anyone who doesn't know us may call us a little crazy, which we are, so that's fair. 

August 29, 2015

Family is closer than you think

It rained today, not much, but enough to soak the earth and release the sweet, fresh petrichor (thank you Doctor Who for teaching me there is actually a word meaning the pleasant smell after a first rain). Unfortunately, especially for us parched Californians, the rain did not last. That scent, however, seems to have permeated the air and stripped away that last hint of summer. 

Summer has always been my favorite season. An adoration of the schorching season, for most, is spurred out of the freedom it brings, ie. school's out for summer. For me, it has always been a little more. I love the potential of summer, a few months to just detach from reality and soak up all that extra energy from the sun.

Despite the long hours of each day here we are, somehow, already at the end of August. The past few months were spent as they were meant to be, in true unencumbered spirits and venturesome delight. All beginning with a week spent in Idaho with maternal family Jewel and I had never met, but were undeniably related to. 

Most of us have had that moment at some obscure family gathering where you meet someone you haven't seen since you were about two feet tall (a fact they notoriously point out) and after the gushing, you are left with a vacant familiarity.

August 25, 2015

8 tips for falling in love with Paris

The only thing that has been more dragged out than my Euro-trip as a whole, is the four days spent in Paris. To say "I took too many pictures", is an understatement. To say "I can't let go of reminiscing about the splendor that is the City of Light", is just a fact. 

Can anyone really blame me for my infatuation with Paris? Anyone, other than those preposterous people who think Paris is smelly, rude, and overrated? I think not.

So here, despite my nostalgic attachment, is my final post on Paris: our last day and a few tips on how to not be one of the aforementioned, absurd Paris-haters. 

Tip #1: Eat crepes. Specifically, crepes loaded with chocolate and/or Nutella, because no one can sh*t-talk a country that is responsible for this kind of scrumptious treat.   

August 21, 2015

Tragedy on the Pont des Arts

Sometimes we make plans, and they just don't go the way we, well, planned

A little over a year ago, my two best friends and I sat in a chinese restaurant in Paris (because we felt a need to eat it in every foreign country, escargot be damned), talking about our return trip to the city in 40 years. 

The idea of re-living our backpacking trip forty years from now arose when we were in Barcelona and learned that La Sagrada Familia is believed to be completed somewhere in between 2020 and 2040 (2028 to be exact, but the Spanish don't seem to be overly optimistic that it will ever be really completed). In any case, given this excessive range of years and the assumption that we're going to get a little caught up in families, careers, and the craziness that is life over the next four decades, we decided at about 60 we would be ready to recreate the trip and see how Europe evolves in that time.

August 17, 2015

Artful Bliss

When I decided to major in European Humanities, I was constantly asked "Ok, but what is humanities?" In some ways it is hard to define such a broad topic. When you refer to studying history it is still broad, but people understand that you are learning about the past. The humanities often encompasses a study of antiquity, but goes a step further. I chose my major because I wanted to study culture, and that is the focus of a humanities major. Literature, architecture, religion, art, and all forms of human creativity are studied, both past and present. I like the way that the Stanford Humanities Department explains it:

"The humanities can be described as the study of how people process and document the human experience...Knowledge of these records of the human experience gives us the opportunity to feel a sense of connection to those who have come before us, as well as to our contemporaries."

Since graduation and the onset of my post grad crisis, I have sometimes stopped and questioned if I chose the right major: "Maybe I should have majored in something more judicious like Communications or Business". However, despite these moments of self doubt, I am still sure that I chose the correctly in following my passion. Nothing makes me light up like the opportunity to see a great work of art, some great feat of humanity, and that's the kind of zeal I want to build both my future career and life around. 

My trip to Europe was, of course, the ultimate way to feed my love of art, Paris especially. 

July 27, 2015

Cheese: the glue of friendship

It may be many years of friendship (Brooke: 21 years, Lindsey 8 years, Nicole: 4 years) that have bonded me to my best friends. It may be our shared memories, like high school shenanigans and malicious mischief with Brooke and Lindsey, or the past summer we spent backpacking Europe. Nicole and I's college memories of freshman dorm debauchery, road trips, and an 18 hour day at Disneyland probably did a pretty good job of solidifying our bestie status.

However, in all those collective years of amity, my college best friend and my high school best friends never really came together. There was only one thing that could bond my lovely ladies together after all this time: ooey gooey melted cheese. 

July 1, 2015

C'est la vie

What I would give to be in Paris walking along the Seine at this moment...probably the same thing I would give to actually have finished editing all my photos and be talking about this summer and not the last. Then again, why would I want to give up reliving the memories of the most dazzling adventure I've had to date. 

Recalling my memories from Paris is like slipping into a black and white movie; everything is far away and as if from another time. It's an image of a life that I could not have possibly lived. 

June 7, 2015

The Adventures of the Lost Macaron

After a morning of Renaissance culture spent at Notre Dame, Brooke, Lindsey, and I went off in search of my other personal favorite cultural time period. 

June 5, 2015

Post Grad Crisis

"Remember, you should be incredibly proud of yourself and everything you have accomplished in the last four years." 

I have spent the last five months having intermittent panic attacks about my wayward life, and I know many others who seem to be having this same post-grad life crisis. It is petrifying to have completed what we have worked our entire lives for and be haunted by THE question: 

"What am I doing with my life?" 

The only thing more daunting than that question, is the answer:


(just look at the girl below: is she ready for the real world? *forbidding music plays*)

May 9, 2015

Notre Dame

No one could ever deny that I was an odd child. I'm still a little weird, so this shouldn't come as any surprise. Though I loved Disney Princesses as much as the next little girl, one of my all time favorite Disney movies was always The Hunchback of Notre Dame. I was fully obsessed with it and the saucy Esmerelda. I would watch this twisted film frequently, curled beneath my Esmerelda blanket, obviously. 

Now, for those of you who haven't watched this movie in a few years, or maybe a decade, I really think now is the time. From the plot line to the soundtrack, I do not use the adjective "twisted" lightly. There are often underlying themes in Disney films to entertain adults, but once you get to an age where you can fully comprehend the plot of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, you realize that the adult content wasn't hidden in the least. On the lightest end, you have a ridiculed misshapen orphan, and on the darkest, an angry Judge Claude Frollo lusting after the "gypsy girl, the witch who set this flame". Then there's the delightful middle ground of persecution of the Gypsies in Paris. It's really a splendid movie. 

If you can't appreciate the film for its outrageous subject matter, cleverly targeted for children, then you must at least give Disney kudos points for the phenomenal illustration. When we started our second day in Paris with the agenda to go see Notre Dame, I didn't believe it would actually bear such a resemblance in detail to the animated version. Bravo Disney, bravo: not only did your film spur my initial intrigue into the grand gothic cathedral, but it guaranteed that I could hum haunting melodies all the way through the great halls, but not before Brooke, Lindsey, and I started our day with pastries and café au lait, like proper Parisians. 

April 15, 2015

The first 5 hours in Paris

I think I should preface this little bout of narrative by saying that Brooke, Lindsey, and I absolutely adored Paris. While I think we all were equally excited to go there, I particularly was a little wary of it, simply because I had heard various things about smelly streets and snobby Parisians. During our brief romance with City of Light, however, we had a nearly entirely enchanting experience.  

I say "nearly" not because we had any kind of Barcelona-esc trauma, but rather because our first evening excursion in Paris, after a quick flight and a long taxi ride, was so incredibly comical. 

While there is no photographic evidence of the first part of this story time, I can supply one iconic image to pretty much summarize what occurred within our first hour of wandering the airy Summer streets of Paris: 

March 25, 2015

Being infected by an Airborne Toxic Event

To begin, it is important that you fall madly, deeply, forever in love with the incredible band The Airborne Toxic Event immediately. The quickest way to make that happen is to click below and listen to the best song ever (I don't exaggerate): 

March 13, 2015

Good ol' USA

There is no question that I am a wee-bit obsessed with Europe (hence my degree emphasis in European Studies). I'm afraid that I must admit this obsession sometimes clouds my appreciation of my own country. I live in San Diego, California and it is therefore kind of my job to just take for granted the fantastic place I live (I apologize to the rest of the country, as I sit writing this in a breezy café, while the temperature drifting through the open windows is a perfect 85º).  

California isn't the only great state in our oversized country either; as I've mentioned before I'm also a huge fan of Oregon. Having been to this state maybe a dozen times previous, when we went this past summer I feared we may have run out of things to be awed by. 

This was not the case: we found big foot and solved the scientific mystery of the ages.

March 6, 2015

The answer to life, the universe, and everything

About a week ago, Nicole and I got into a very enthusiastic and emphatic conversation about, well, everything. While I know the answer to life, the universe, and everything is 42, sometimes having the solution doesn't prevent me from just having these moments where I abstractly think about existence on its most fundamental level, which, to be honest, only makes life that much more mind boggling. Though I know I'm not the only one on earth having these dramatic thoughts of "BUT WHAT IS LIFE?!", it's not a subject that comes up on a daily basis. So having this little chat with Nicole was somewhat calming, in that it reminded me that I am not the only one sitting around being completely confounded by the world. 

We talked about a lot of different things, but eventually our conversation turned back to where it originated, which is, essentially, why the hell are people fighting all the time? This may seem like a naive question, but really, I just don't get it. The whole cliché "world peace" thing was basically our answer and desire. In an ideal world, people would flourish and create without the conflict of religion, economy, race, power, opinion, etc, etc, etc. We could just be, and as an individual, isn't that all we really want? To be alive. However, that is most definitely not how the world works, for it is far more complicated. 

In this ideal world, the goals of the organization established to figure out the whole "world peace" thing, also known as, the United Nations, would reign true:
  • To keep peace throughout the world;
  • To develop friendly relations among nations;
  • To help nations work together to improve the lives of poor people, to conquer hunger, disease and illiteracy, and to encourage respect for each other’s rights and freedoms;
  • To be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations to achieve these goals.

February 16, 2015

Laughter is the Best Medicine

"My life isn't perfect, but it does have perfect moments."

To be fair, you don't need much cheering up while you're galavanting around Europe, living the life. Still, I have been thinking a lot about how exceptionally lucky I am to have wonderful people in my life that can make me laugh until I cry, even when I maybe only want to cry. On top of that, it is only becoming clearer how true it is that we don't always remember the exact details of our lives, but we do remember the moments that made us smile the most. 

When Brooke, Lindsey, and I were in Geneva we did a lot of things, but what I remember most vividly, was the afternoon we spent doing nothing but frolicking through this one incredible and ginormous park (which Google informed me is called the Parc de l'Ariana). 

January 29, 2015

Couchsurfing: Switzerland Edition

Brooke, Lindsey, and I have all been asked more than once how we possibly afforded our Euro-adventure. We had to be pretty frugal. There was a lot of grocery store trips (nothing is cheaper than pasta), food splitting (or "rationing" as we called it), picking and choosing of what "splurge" sites we would pay to see, and just general attempts at being thrifty. However, nothing saved us more money than

For those of you who haven't heard of this webpage, it's basically what it sounds like, except sometimes you get a couch, sometimes you get a bed, sometimes you get a futon, sometimes you get a floor, sometimes you'll take whatever you can get. Essentially you make a profile and then request to stay in strangers' homes.

Now the appropriate and usual reaction to this idea is "STRANGER DANGER!!" While this is a practical concern, we had a really great and safe experience with the whole thing. Profiles are linked to reviews from other surfers and that's largely how we chose who we stayed with. The people you request to stay with must also approve you, and you can talk with them prior to your visit. 

To be fair, there is a decent part of this that is trusting your gut. I am sure that not every Couchsurfer is a safe and hospitable new friend. There are creepers everywhere, but just as well, there are wonderful people everywhere. We tried to be as safe as possible, like I said, trusting other surfers' reviews and especially steering towards people with a large quantity of positive comments. 

While I had my first Couchsurfing experience on my trip to England, and Brooke & Lindsey had their's in Florence (while I was off galavanting in Southern Spain), we had our first joint experience in Geneva, Switzerland

January 25, 2015

Where to Start?

When you don't blog for over two months and are already eons behind on sharing your adventures, it is really difficult to know where to start. I had a New Year's post plan, but well that didn't really pan out. The New Year didn't feel new enough.

So here, instead, is my I'm-back-in-San-Diego-and-I-Have-No-Idea-What-I'm-Doing-With-My-Life post, which is basically as new as it gets for me. I have officially finished my undergraduate career and have a shiny new degree (it's coming in the mail eventually, or so I'm told). I also have all the new freedom to figure out what I'm going to do next, feel free to give me suggestions. It's not that I don't have any ideas, I just have too many and a lot of different directions. I am feeling a bit like Alice, not knowing which sign to follow. 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...