Enjoy the Ride.

The last few weeks have flown by! In between Valentine’s Day and now, I have observed Lent, gotten more into my ICB Community Group, and had my last week nannying for Ferran’s girls, Mar and Clara. All last week the new nanny, Mateja, shadowed me as we got the girls all ready and off to school and then the PM routine as well. She’s from Slovenia, and seems sweet and capable; it’s definitely bittersweet, though, to see that chapter close.

Whether flying solo, with our gal’s small group, or simply meeting a friend (Hannah) for coffee, I’ve also continued trying new places and continue to fall in love with most. I don’t know if it’s the fact that I’m relatively easy to please, or if it’s that there are innumerable cute spots with great food and drink. Whichever the case, I am now a big fan of Oma Bistró and Caravelle.

Oma Bistró (c/ Consell de Cent, 227) is a bright, open, trendy spot as of late that’s located in Eixample. While I’ve only personally tried their original coffee (the “Stumpy” – a twist on a flat white), I’m looking forward to tasting their cheesecake, craft beers, and myriad brunch offerings. Sadly, the name does not have anything to do with Omaha, I asked; rather, Oma happens to mean “grandma” in German.

Caravelle (c/ Pintor Fortuny, 31) is an Australian owned homey café in Raval. I finally crossed this place off my to-try list when I met Hannah there last week to catch up over coffee and talk social media stuff. Our waitress was super nice and friendly (turned out she was from Miami), and I ordered a chai latte while Hannah opted for the standard café con leche. Not after too long, though, they brought out freshly baked strawberry and ricotta cheese muffins. Needless to say, we had to share one. It was heavenly… arguably the best muffin I’ve ever had. Lovely spot in general –definitely recommend!

Juicy Jones (c/ Hospital, 74) is also located in the heart of Raval. Juicy Jones, in terms of the physical space, is covered in bright, attractive murals from floor to ceiling. A juice bar and vegan restaurant with reasonable prices, Juicy Jones is sure to please the masses. I am not entirely sure what I ended up ordering but it was green and bubbling and delicious.

I already posted about my calçotada experience, which was delightful and I would love to do that every weekend. Staying with my Lent intentions has been good, though some days quite challenging. The hardest one by far has been to work on my blog daily, which if you’re unfamiliar with blogging, actually requires a substantial amount of effort and work. Especially when I got a cold/flu thing last week so that has been extra fun!

Preview for this week: an upcoming post on my take on the chapter of Ruth, Mexican send-off dinner with my awesome community group, meeting Hannah’s best friend who’s in town for the week, watching Dylan and baby Ryan a few last times, gift shopping, and packing!

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Calçotada: Take 1

Yesterday was yet another first to check off the ole bucket list: go to a calçotada – aka a traditional Catalan onion BBQ. Calçots are long, skinny stalks of onions that are a local staple during the winter months. Family and friends gather together in restaurants, in parks or at home, to eat a vast amount of barbecue grilled calçots and meats, most often accompanied by pan con tomate (slices bread with tomato, olive oil, and salt) and beer.

My church here, the International Church of Barcelona, hosted a calçotada yesterday at a camp area in Les Planes. More specifically, Awaken – the young adult community group of ICB, hosted the event and about 75 young adults ended up coming and enjoy the afternoon with tasty food and great company.

I took the FGC train from Plaza Cataluña to Les Planes with the gals, and thankfully only got slightly train-sick on the ride over. The ICB Awaken team was ready to roll with bags of freshly sliced bread, tomatoes, salt, the delicious calçot sauce, cutlery, chips, and beverages. Technically it was BYOB and bring your own additional side, as the five euros per person covered pan con tomate, calçots, and butifarra (Catalan sausage).

It was a wonderful event and the weather held out for us! I would love to fit in another calçotada before my trip home coming up here… but we’ll see. Nothing planned so far. Also, plug: If you’re a young adult in Barcelona and looking for fun things to do, an awesome community, interested in having a relationship with Christ, or all of the above, you should really consider joining Awaken at ICB. People from almost sixty nations are members of ICB and they are shining examples of Christian hospitality and compassion. Don’t hesitate, just check them out!

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First Time For Everything

My birthday was lovely… It was my first birthday away from my family and good friends, but Damian, his family, and my friends here spoiled me. The actual birthday was spread out in about a week’s worth of festivities – one night I went to a cabaret show here (The Hole 2) with my old host-mom, Marta, and a mutual friend, Janelle, as a joint bday celebration for Marta and myself. It was a racy show and I probably blushed through the majority of it but some pretty good stand-up acts and amazing circus type performances. I was impressed and it was a fun first time experience.

The celebrations continued by having a delicious brunch at Marmalade with my gal friends here on Saturday the 7th. There are few ways I’d rather start my day than with Eggs Benedict and a mimosa. That night Damian and I went to our favorite pizzeria (Tío Mario) and then got drinks at Balius Bar, a cute old-school cocktail bar in Poblenou. On my actual birthday, when I got home from church at ICB, Damian and his dad had made a large quantity of milanesa, homemade fries, and a bizcocho cake. So far 24 has been lovely!

Día de San Valentín: The day started off lovely with donuts at Lukumas with the gals and then spent some quality time hangin’ with them. I had my first legit Valentine’s Day plans this year. For my birthday, the parents of the American family for which I nanny gave me a gift certificate to their favorite restaurant in the city, Santa Gula. So we made reservations early, and then Saturday the 14th Damian and I had dinner there – the food and wine were amazing and the atmosphere was cozy yet light. Also, first time getting Valentine’s Day flowers!

I am still loving my church here, ICB, and I am now in a new small group that is led by a missionary couple from Texas and Kansas- they are missionaries here that are working to open a dream center in Raval (a very diverse inner city area of BCN)- So I’m hoping to get involved in that helping in some way or another. Also, looking forward to going to my first ever Calçotada tomorrow afternoon in Les Planes with Awaken, the young adults group at ICB. Good company + an onion BBQ? Yep!

I’m also getting super excited to be coming home soon! Woo hoo! Less than 3 weeks!

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#Lent2015

Growing up at Southwood Lutheran Church in Lincoln, Nebraska, I have always known about Lent and, moreover, enjoyed it. Considering today is Ash Wednesday, I thought it opportune to talk about Lent and what it means in today’s world and how you can actively participate this year. I currently live in Barcelona, Spain and recently as we approached the start of Lent, my small group gals and I discussed the topic, where it originates from in the Bible and how to best take part in this annual occasion.

Tuesday mornings w/ the gals at Skye Coffee Co.!
Tuesday mornings w/ the gals at Skye Coffee Co.!

Here’s the deal, Lent is about giving up something for the 40 days following Ash Wednesday up until Easter. Hence, the act of giving something up involves temptation. Just as the serpent in Genesis 1 tempted Adam and Eve, so are we today tempted by any given number of things each and everyday.

I don’t know about you, but I am tempted by many things – procrastination, sweets of any kind, and comparison – just to name a few. This year for Lent, I am choosing to give up two things (adding sugar to my coffee & drinking pop), and making two other commitments (floss at least once daily & add something to my blog daily). For me personally holding myself accountable to these resolutions will surely prove difficult at times. But those are exactly the times at which you are adding opportunities into your daily life to lean on the Lord, pushing yourself to depend on prayer for that extra self-control.

Some of my friends are also doing these things: reading the Bible daily, cutting out all refined sugars, spending time with people who need a friend, working out daily, etc. Whatever you think is going to better your life and help you get closer to God, do that! Use this time of the year to refocus energies on keeping God at the forefront of your mind and leaning on Him when holding yourself accountable gets hard. You, and all those around you, will be more successful if you go into Lent truly committed.

Considering it’s already evening time here in Barcelona, by posting this on my blog, I will have so far been successful at keeping my Lent intentions! Woo hoo! I am currently drinking my second cup of coffee sans sugar, and while I’m not entirely satisfied, it’s progress in the right direction. Also, today is officially THREE weeks until I will be roaming the wild streets of Lincoln, NE, USA again! Aka I need to start gift shopping stat and am looking forward to seeing family and friends! Have a great week everyone!

Bogatel Sunset




Related articles that might interest you…

“Your Children are Distracting” via The Family Box

Ash Wednesday Devotional via Southwood Lutheran  

“Pope Francis’ Guide to Lent: What You Should Give Up This Year” via TIME

But first, café(s)

Although I didn’t even like the smell of coffee until college, I have since come quite a long way; nowadays I almost always have at least one cup in the morning and then often times another after lunch (and/or siesta). Now don’t get me wrong, I’m definitely not a coffee snob nor addict, I just really enjoy a steaming cup of joe in the winter and an iced coffee in the summer.

So, I wanted to share a list of my favorite cafés in Barcelona – some are more noteworthy for their artisanal coffee, others for their seriously scrumptious baked goods. Also, just so we’re all on the same page, in Spain the norm is a café con leche (coffee with milk)…

Cup & Cake –> You guys. Cupcakes… need I say more? In my humble opinion, Cup & Cake has the best cupcakes in Barcelona. Tucked neatly into Enric Granados Street near Diagonal, Cup & Cake serves up over a dozen different flavors of fresh cupcakes daily, plus some delicious lattes to boot! Especially recommend the crema catalana, Kinder, Oreo, and Nutella cupcake flavors.

Lukumás –> Greek-owned bakery that makes amazingly yummy Greek donuts in a wide variety of flavors, shapes, and sizes. Originally, their lone location was in Gracia, though now they recently opened a second shop in Raval. Some highlights: blueberry glazed donuts, huge cinnamon rolls, hot bagel sandwiches, and to go coffee + free Wi-Fi.

Molika Café –> Such a good underrated spot near the Plaza de Tetuan, Molika Café offers the ambiance of a neighborhood café plus an impressive selection of fresh juices, cakes, quiches, coffees, sandwiches, and your more standard bakery items. Personal favorites include the fresh pressed apple, orange, carrot, and ginger juice and their Americanos.

Fav juice + media bocata
Fav juice + media bocata

Granja Petitbo –> A short distance from the Verdaguer metro stop, this high-ceilinged space fills up during peak hours of the day and whatever you order here is sure to please the senses. Add free wi-fi, trendy décor, affordable prices, and delicious locally sourced food and drink and you can see why Granja Petitbo is a BCN gem!

#tbt to your classic café con leche
#tbt to your classic café con leche

Satan’s Coffee Corner –> What once was a stall inside a bike shop has since moved to the heart of the Gothic Quarter in a light and airy space of its own. Despite the name, Satan’s is a very hip(ster) café that’s proud of their lack of Wi-Fi, chia seed puddings, and high quality coffees. Menu changes daily. Personal favorite: chai latte (2 euros).  

Chai Latte + an orange scone (if I remember correctly?)
Chai Latte + an orange scone (if I remember correctly?)

Federal Café –> Located in the cute area of Sant Antoni, this Australian-owned café offers a full menu of tasty treats served in a modern yet cozy two-story corner space. Federal highlights – comfy window seats, free Wi-Fi, friendly service, coffee made with fresh milk and delicious avocado toast!

Mendieta –> This Argentine bakery /café is an underrated gem of a spot for breakfast, lunch, snacks, and of course coffee and traditional mate. Usually busy, Mendieta offers a daily spread of Argentine baked goods like media lunas, facturas, bizcochos, alfajores, and cakes. Located near the Encants metro stop, they also make amazing sandwiches de miga, empanadas, and a mean dessert coffee. Don’t forget mate to go!

Media ulnas with dulce de leche !!!
Media lunas with dulce de leche !!!

Honorable Mentions:




Related articles that might interest you…

10 lugares para leer y tomar un café en Barcelona

LUKUMAS, DOUGHNUT SHOP, GRÀCIA

TARANNÀ, CAFE & BAR, SANT ANTONI

BRUNCH & CAKE, AMERICAN, EIXAMPLE

SATAN’S COFFEE, 3RD WAVE COFFEE, EL BARRI GÒTIC

From Seed to Cup: The Third Wave of Coffee Culture in Barcelona

TOP 5 CAFÉS – LetsBITEBCN

Love is this. Love is that.

Most people are familiar with the bible verse that details the nature of love in its purest form. This particular verse was in fact my confirmation verse back in the day- first Corinthians 13: 4-8 states: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trust, always hopes, always perseveres.”

I don’t know about you, but I can’t help myself from having mixed emotions upon hearing that verse. I mean there’s comfort – I know no matter how many mistakes I make in this life, my mom will patiently love me infinity times infinity forever. Then there’s frustration with myself – as a mere mortal I constantly struggle with envy, pride, and anger despite my best intentions to love on people. And then there’s joy, a rapturous all-encompassing joy at the knowledge that God’s love is never-ending and at the end of the day love will always win.

This verse has been on my mind lately, since it was one of the selected verses for our small group bible study this week. It’s been a healthy reminder to me that while receiving love from others is so wonderful and fulfilling and needed, it’s equally or even more important to shower those around you with selfless, honest, and persevering love. Personally, I’m trying to focus on being slow to anger, critically examining sources of envy and pride, and loving people for who they are and where they are currently in this life.

Some life updates for any inquiring minds… I am still finishing up the application process to the UPF and Barcelona School of Management Masters program; I’m hoping to schedule my interview (aka the last step in the process) in the very near future. Otherwise, I have been busy nannying my Catalan gals and American boys. Damian and I joined Anytime Fitness in mid-December and have been pretty diligent about going 4-5 per week. I dig the Pilates classes and being able to watch the New York Times’ videos whilst getting down on the elliptical.

Family Box is going strong and I enjoy the work I’m doing there; I learn something new (usually many things) daily and the work is fulfilling and relevant. On another work note, last week I had the exciting opportunity to interview for a marketing position at Pronovias, the high-end Spanish bridal company. Conducted entirely in Spanish at their headquarters in El Prat, the interview went well and now I’m just playing the old waiting game. Whatever happens, it was a cool experience to have under my belt.

Rainy Poblenou
Rainy Poblenou

Yesterday I finished reading Cheryl Strayed’s Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail. Not knowing much about the story aside from the fact that it was about a woman who hikes, I was pleasantly surprised by the memoir. I’m all about a transformative journey as told by a young female narrator, and it was refreshing to learn about something new (the world of hiking).

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365 New Days

So it’s 2015. …What?! This spring that means I will be SIX years out of high school, and that is absolutely wild. Pardon my delayed post; December went by in a whirlwind and now I’ve been revamping the majority of the blog in general so this is the final piece of that puzzle.

First things first, since the last post I’ve finished reading Janet Fitch’s White Oleander, Chris Cleave’s Little Bee, and am currently reading Truman Capote’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Our book club January pick is Wild by Cheryl Strayed, and I’m also looking forward to my library find: Red Pony by John Steinbeck. On this note, I am planning on creating another new page on this blog solely dedicated to book reviews, so keep your eyes peeled for that addition. Also, I have watched seasons one through three of HBO’s Girls; great content, hilarious predicaments, and relatable happenings.

Apartment hunt update: That chapter was put on hold for now. Not only did we not have enough money to put down four months on a new apartment, but also we realized that logistically it just does not make the most sense for us right now. Side note: it was crazy to see how many scams are out there (on the web) with people trying to get potential renters to deposit money into Western Union or PayPal or Airbnb, etc. before even seeing the space!

Masters update: I am almost done applying to the UPF Barcelona School of Management for a Master of Science in Management with a Specialization in Marketing. I have all of my necessary documents in, now I’m just waiting for confirmation of submission on my transcript and letters of recommendation. Thankfully, they use a rolling admissions schedule and they usually let candidates know their fate in a matter of mere weeks. Prayers and crossing of the fingers would be much appreciated!

December Happenings: On the 4th Damian and I went to the annual Barcelona Shopping Night all along Passeig de Gracía. Cass and I went last year. It’s a festive evening to kick-start the holiday shopping season where the stores are all open later, plus there are fashion shows, lots of DJs, free food and drink, discounts, etc. Another fun holiday outing was going to the Santa Lucia Christmas Market with Jesús; highlight was definitely the suiza (thick hot chocolate with tons of foamy whipped cream).


Of course I’ve continued to nanny for both the American family (Dylan and now baby Ryan), and the Catalan family (Mar and Clara). Ferran, Mar and Clara’s dad, was nice enough to give me two bottles of really nice cava as an early Christmas present. They rock. I’m also still working for the Barcelona promotional venture (though that is now coming to a close) and Family Box. I am thankful to be learning a lot by working for Family Box… Also, quick plug: if you’re busy with a young family and just can’t seem to find the time/strategy/etc. necessary for family devotionals, you should check out Family Box!

I’m still going to the International Church of Barcelona, aka ICB. It is a wonderful ministry and I’ve made some quality new friends there. Mid-December I went to the ICB Women’s Sugar & Spice holiday event, which entailed snacks, testimony, and ginger bread house making.

Christmas: Cynthia and Will (parents to Dylan and Ryan) invited myself and Damian to go with them to Baquiera-Beret (a town in the Spanish Pyrenees about 4 hours from BCN) on a last-minute Christmas holiday! We gladly accepted their invitation and drove up into the mountains with them on Christmas Eve. We pretty easily found the rental house in Salardú upon our arrival in the late afternoon. Once we unloaded the van and got settled into the “ski lodge” we walked down into the village and had tapas at the one open restaurant in the main plaza. It was so much colder there- holy brrr.

On Christmas Day, Cynthia said they’d rather go snowboarding the following day, so Damian and I were free to go skiing! Considering the fact that Damian had never seen snow up until this trip, you can imagine his simultaneous excitement and fear at the now near prospect of going skiing for the first time. After a hearty breakfast, we got all bundled up and the whole crew drove over to the Beret ski resort. Anticipation continued to rise as we got fitted for boots, tried out the skis, and attached lift tickets.

Once out on the actual bunny hill/practice area what have you, Will and I were trying to give Damian some general pointers and beginners tips as to how to stop, turn, and not wipe out. Although Will is a really good skier and snowboarder, I quickly realized that Damian would have greatly benefitted from a proper class before we took to the slopes ourselves, but that was too little, too late.

After the family left to take Dylan sledding, Damian and I spent about another half hour on the bunny hill. While I hadn’t skied in many years, I was surprised at how fast it all seemed to come back to me. Aware that daylight was burning, we decided we’d warmed-up enough and it was ski-lift time! Not recalling how stressful/frightening it is to mount the lift until we were literally on the precipice, I was helped (thrown) onto one of the fast-moving chairs alone with Damian still approaching the loading area. Seconds later I hear the lift operators yelling “Stop! Stop!” and turn around to see that they’ve momentarily stopped the entire lift and that one of Damian’s skis fell off. After a quick dialogue, they help Damian off the chair and re-start the lift.

Less than one minute later, I noticed that I was on the lift that went to the very tip-top of the entire mountain, rather than the one that stops mid-mountain allowing one to ski in the green category area (which is what we had paid for). Perfect. Seemingly a century passed by the time the lift inched to the exit area at the apex. The female worker called out to me, and assisted me to make a much less than graceful dismount from the ever-mobile chair. Finally on my feet, I looked around to notice that there was not another living soul for as far as the eye could see. Nor directional signs. Nor any interest from the aforementioned worker.

Alas, I picked to descend to my left, a decision that in hindsight was less than ideal. As I began to pick up speed, before I knew it I was flying down the mountain and barely caught sight of a passing sign notifying skiers via a blue circle and a black diamond. For a split second I debated stopping, sitting down, and waiting for help to get down, but then just as quickly resolved to ski down without help. Continuing the terrifying (yet exhilarating) solo descent, I wiped out once and thankfully caught myself with my hands. There were also passing signs reading “Slow” near patches of particularly icy spots. Good looking out.

As I got closer and closer to the foot of the mountain, it was more exhilarating and less terrifying. When I eventually (successfully) reached the bottom, I had been assuming to see Damian there waiting for me. I was wrong! He had actually gotten himself onto the other lift, gotten off mid-mountain, thinking that was where I was going to be as well. In the end we found each other about an hour later and the whole adventure was still to fresh to be funny. We grabbed a warm lunch in the resort cafeteria before going back out, right as fresh snow began to fall. All in all, we had a great day!

New Years: In Argentine culture, it’s really important to ring in the New Year at midnight with your family, as opposed to in the U.S. for my age group it’s more of a time to be with friends. That being said, Damian and I rang in 2015 with Mar & Sergio’s family and friends at her parent’s apartment in Poble Nou. It was quite a spread of food, drink, and party trinkets for the little ones. For the first twelve seconds of 2015 everyone stuffed a total of twelve grapes into their mouths, a Spanish tradition said to bring good luck. Later we went out to a Latin club in Eixample with friends.

NEWS: I will be flying home for several months on March 12th! I am very much looking forward to spending time with friends and family, visiting my Aunt Charlotte, and attending bachelorette and wedding festivities!

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