“The things you are passionate about are not random, they are your calling.” – Fabienne Fredrickson

Is it really that simple? Say I was extremely passionate about surfing… If I don’t become a professional surfer or instructor, does that consequentially mean that I’m not following my calling? I’m not quite sure. But what I do know is that I feel like a dog who’s finally caught scent of something promising; I finally feel like I’m onto what will be a fulfilling career direction, somewhere in the world of marketing, social media, and public relations. That being said, I’ve also started studying hardcore for the GRE and semi-want to die. What a buzz kill! So far I’ve only taken one initial practice test, and have since hit the “Cracking the GRE Premium Edition” book daily, inundating my brain with dozens of new vocabulary words, writing sample thesis statements for the Issue essay, and slugging through annoying math problems. I am going to take the real deal in early November here in Barcelona.

IT’S ALREADY OCTOBER! What? Where does the time go!! I am very thankful that temperatures are finally starting to drop a little and it’s starting to feel more like fall around here. Sadly due to a foot issue, I haven’t been able to run much this last week, though I did manage to do get in my quickest 5k yet. But I’m hoping that with some R&R I’ll be ready to go because I have another 10k race this coming Sunday, the Corre Barri.

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Last week I had dinner at Marta’s and got to meet her two new students, Eric and John. Marta fixed up quite the spread and the guys were really nice so it was a good evening. Friday Damian and I finally went to la Pastelería Mendieta, aka the infamous Argentine bakery /café near the Encants metro stop. It definitely lived up to the hype! We got lunch there and between the two of us I was able to try sandwiches de miga, empanadas de tomate y queso, y de jamón y queso, & un arabe de carne y cebolla (typical Argentine sandwich, empanadas, and a Runza-like pastry). Then we ordered half a dozen media lunas to take home and share with Sergio. Media lunas are similar to croissants but a little different and then filled with dulce de leche and powdered sugar on top. Yum!

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Later Friday we decided to make some last minute plans to go to Valencia Saturday – Sunday, since neither of us had ever been before. We quickly booked buses, a cool looking hostel, and packed a bag to share. Unfortunately due to two unforeseen 5-minute metro delays, we missed our 7am bus by two minutes. So we did what we then had to do, wait in the Nord Bus Station until we could hop on the next bus departing to Valencia at 10am. Not ideal to say the very least, but by 2pm we had finally arrived in beautiful Valencia! We painlessly navigated to the Innsa Hostel located smack in the heart of El Carme, the old area of the city. We checked in with the amiable owner, Teresa, looked around the place, and unloaded. The hostel is a gorgeous old Spanish artist’s house, with much of the original architecture and structures in tact. On nearly every wall hang uniformly sized, brightly colored paintings. The center of the hostel is open-air, filled with natural light and greenery.

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Damian and I set out to make the most of our short trip by walking around El Carme y Ciutat Vella, strolling down the tiny side streets and innumerable plazas that dot this section of the map. We rented bikes and rode along side el Río (like a big, central park that runs horizontally down the middle of the entire city) till the City of Arts and Sciences, the recently built up area that is home to the impressive Opera Theatre, the Hemispheric, the science museum, and more. It was awesome to finally get to see that with my own eyes.

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After stopping by Los Serranos, we returned the bikes and went back to the hostel to get a pitcher of Agua de Valencia and tapas at the charming hostel bar. We did a bit of bar hopping afterwards and then ended up at Calcatta, a discoteca/bar near Plaza de la Reina.

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Sunday we had breakfast at the hostel and then checked out. We walked from there to Valencia’s pro-soccer stadium, Mestalla, about 20 minutes away. After checking that area out, we power walked back to the bus station just in time to make our bus back to Barcelona. Since we’ve been back I have done not a lot besides studying. I am still slugging, barely, through Gabriel Marquez’s Cien Años de Soledad. It just has yet to become a page-turner. Damian started working at FedEx here yesterday so that was exciting. Finally! I think that’s all for now folks… until next time!

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