Americans Stranded in Nepal Mountains for 5 Days Tell Their Story of Survival

My friend from Barcelona, Corey, is safe and sound!

TIME

Sitting in the library of the U.S. embassy in Kathmandu, Corey Ascolani, 34, signs on to his Facebook page for the first time in a week. In the top right corner of the page, the notification’s icon is flagged bright red — the result of family members and friends pleading for information.

Beside him, eyes affixed to their own monitors, are Eric Jean, 32, and Della Hoffman, 31, from Colorado. On April 25, these three Americans, along with 50 others, were stranded in Langtang district, a popular trekking region in central Nepal, when the 7.9-magnitude earthquake, and subsequent landslides, destroyed the region’s celebrated trails. Stranded for more than six days, the trio was rescued Thursday when U.S. Special Forces choppered them, and 27 others, to safety.

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The serrated snow-capped peaks of Langtang have lured intrepid travelers for generations. Last Saturday, with mild temperatures and clear skies, this trekking…

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Hogar Dulce Hogar

Time at home… has been awesome! Sorry for the delayed post but better late than never right? I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to see family, friends, and meet a pretty sweet new baby (looking at you, Michael). Highlights have included going out in Omaha with my Phi’s, getting to dine at the Green Gateau with quality company multiple times, and going out with my oldest friends here in Lincoln. On my first weekend home, I got to meet cute baby Michael, my cousin Evan and his wife, Kristin’s first-born. He is such a sweet, happy lil guy! I have also loved getting to see new spots in Lincoln (at least new for me) like Hacienda Real, The Doughnut HoleThe FlatwaterPaper KiteSelect StyleDempsey’s, and Honest Abe’s. So much good stuff with my favorite people.

It’s definitely been great to come back to favorite spots in LNK… I have also loved getting to try Lotus yoga classes with Hayley, seeing Jank’s new gallery, tailgating on Barry’s roof for the Spring game, and relaxing at home with my mom and Lucy! I have kept busy with driving my mom around, trying to help her as much as possible around the house, visiting friends, and continuing my work with Family Box.  The photos below were taken from our trip to visit Aunt Charlotte down in Summit, MS over the Easter weekend.

My mom and I flew into Jackson, MS on the first day of April and then drove south to Summit. God bless Enterprise – we definitely were digging our upgraded ride. We had been planning this trip for a while, as we were going to help my (great) Aunt C recover from her first cataract surgery. Aunt C is nearly 90 years old and lives alone in the country (her late husband passed last year). It was both of our first time seeing her since we had been there for Uncle Bill’s funeral; suffice it to say that losing your spouse of 60 years is not easy and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. That being said, Aunt C had been holding up on her own, still cooks a mean chicken n’ dumpling, and is a fiercely loyal member of her nearby Baptist church. Pictured above our just a few snapshots from our time down south — the ever-tasty Krystal burgers on the road, our favorite spot out for southern cooking: the Dinner Bell in McComb, and my personal love affair with the Topisaw General Store on McComb’s Main Street.

I feel the need to go ahead and spell this out for those of you unfamiliar with southern cooking: While in MS we had fried chicken, fried eggplant, rice and gravy, biscuits and tomato gravy, spicy sausage, seafood gumbo, cheese grits, bread pudding, Blue Bell ice cream, sweet potatoes, chicken n’ dumplings, fried catfish, peas, beans, squash, and strawberries with coconut cake. Holy deliciousness. It was awesome because my mom’s good friend, Jean, came over from Baton Rouge to meet us at the famed Dinner Bell. It was nice to get to spend the Easter holiday with my mom and Aunt Charlotte there. Since we have been back in NE, Aunt C has broken her hip. She already had surgery and is recovering well, but we would greatly appreciate any prayers!

Now back in LNK I am just loving the spring weather and getting to walk Lucy daily. The Spring game this last weekend was too much fun. I am definitely looking forward to Saturday – it’s my mom’s, Beth’s and my Uncle Al’s birthdays. Scott is coming home from MN tomorrow night and then let the weekend begin! I am really missing Damian, friends, and Barcelona in general at this point.. But when I have further life updates I will share them! Until then…

How social media can actually help you get hired

So cool that is written by a friend of mine, Andres!

Fortune

The Leadership Insider network is an online community where the most thoughtful and influential people in business contribute answers to timely questions about careers and leadership. Today’s answer to the question “What are three tips for nailing a job interview?” is written by Andres Traslavina, senior global recruiter at Whole Foods Market.

The following three tips will help you demonstrate determination, showcase what makes you unique, and ultimately, put you in the best position to receive an offer:

Use social media
Everything you do on social media can (and will) be found by recruiters and this can be good thing! You can back up the experiences on your resume by pointing to specific examples of work stored on your social channels. In fact, you should devote time every day to developing a “voice” on social media and following companies and individuals in your industry. Use tools…

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Treat Yoself: February Edition

The lovely Hannah Copeland is getting her blog off the ground… Be sure to check out her stuff if you appreciate a comedic writing style and great tips about life in Barcelona!

Ways to Cope

Oversleeping, Patatas Bravas, books, pancakes, cerveza, long city walks, Icelandic bakeries, outlet stores, cappuccinos, a healthy bit of Spanglish, vino, friends, and checking off lists: if ONE of these things happens in a day, you know it’s been a good day.  Now, if they all happen in one day it can only mean one thing: today is a TREAT YOSELF Day!

The plan was to head to Tarragona this weekend, but due to the fact that the our dear Sammy was feeling under the weather and couldn’t join us, we decided to postpone this jaunt and opted for a homey Barcelona day.  We soon realized that our bucket list mostly revolved around food and by our third food stop just decided to justify all decisions by inaugurating it our first “Treat Yoself” day.

Stop 1: Caravelle 
This has got to be one of my favorite spots in the city…

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Top 5 Cafés

Another great article on several lovely cafés in Barcelona…

LetsBiteBcn

Lo prometido es deuda, así que hoy os vamos a presentar 5 de los nuestros lugares favoritos para tomar un café en Barcelona… El “momento café” es todo un ritual para algunos, así que para elaborar este pequeño Top Five nos hemos fijado algo más que sólo el café. Siguiendo el espíritu de LetsBiteBcn, hemos seleccionado 5 lugares que a parte de servir un gran café, tienen un encanto especial.

1. Caravelle: Un clásico del Raval que no podía faltar en nuestra lista. Caravelle es un local sobrio pero muy trabajado, decorado de manera sencilla pero con mucho gusto. Nos encanta el estilo retro que nos traslada a las aulas de antaño por sus sillas y mesas de estilo retro con un toque industrial. Tampoco puedes perderte sus ya clásicos centros de mesa florales, todo un objeto de culto para los foodies fotógrafos de Barcelona. El café está de…

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Top 10 (Things to Do in Barcelona): October Edition

studyabroadbcn

Top 10 (Things to Do in Barcelona): October Edition

  1. Start using Uber
    1. Uber has arrived in Barcelona! Download the application on your iPhone or android, make a new account, and then make sure you plug in the promo code: AASHILIST to cash in on two free taxi rides (each for 15 euros or less)
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  2. Corre Barri
    1. If you’re new to the area and looking for runs, look no further! The 3rd annual Corre Barri will take place on Sunday, October 12th along Barcelona’s scenic beaches. This is a fun 10km race amongst the main 10 barris (“neighborhoods” in Catalan) of Barcelona, where each barri wears a different color/ designed shirt. For more info, check the FB page; signup ends on the 7th!
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  3. Fiesta Nacional de España
    1. Coincidentally enough, the 12th of October also happens to be Spain’s national holiday, which is celebrated throughout the country…

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So much to see, so little time!

Can’t believe it’s been two weeks already since my last post on here. Yikes, August is flying by! Here’s the latest…

Las festes majores de Gracía 2014 (Gracía festival) officially started by on Friday, August 15th and lasted for the following week. Annually throughout August and September many neighborhoods in Barcelona have weeklong festivals; Gracía’s festival is well known for being the best (in terms of street decorations, creativity, nightlife, etc.). Last summer, Cass and I weren’t really aware of what exactly was happening, so this time around we were amped to participate and have a better idea of the festivities in our area. Although our personal street doesn’t get decorated, many streets very close-by go all out! Once again, Verdi Street won the best-decorated street competition thanks to their “Amazon” theme this year; it was pretty impressive! I also really liked the “Musical” and under the sea themed streets.

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One of the first evenings of the festival, Cass and I went out with Marta and a friend of hers to check out the streets and such (before Marta headed off to Ethiopia)! Saturday afternoon Cass and I had planned on going to a free ceramic workshop in the Plaza de la Virreina. After we had waited a bit for the hosts to get set up, we quickly realized that we would be being joined by half a dozen children and one mom; nevertheless, we stayed and made cute dishes that sadly never got fired in a kiln. Take what ya get I guess. Saturday night, Cass, Brenden, Damian, and I ventured out again to soak it all up and finished the night off with a reggae concert in Plaza Joanic.

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Last Monday evening, Damian and I went to Camp Nou for a non-liga match up of FCB vs. Club Leon of Mexico. Thanks to a new partnership between Damian’s team and FCB, we got free tickets! We made sure we got their early, so as not to miss the Luis Suarez presentation before the game started. It was great weather for a game and I was delighted to have my second Camp Nou experience; plus Barca won – always good!

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These last few weeks I have done a decent job of keeping up with running regularly. Looking forward to a few 10k runs in September (including La Cursa de Poblenou y La Cursa de la Merce). I have been trudging along through John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath… It was kind of hard for me to get into at first, but I now I’m over halfway done and I’m really enjoying it. The Joads sure are a tight squad of folks I would not want to mess with. In other news, this last week we celebrated Dylan’s second birthday! I watched him all day the day before his actual birthday, so we had a fun day celebrating with painting, gifts, cupcakes, and extra time at the park! What a cutie.

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Friday morning I took an express train down to Torredembarra to visit Jesús’ and his family’s place there; Jesús is a friend of mine here whom I met in my language exchange at the local library. He is like my grandpa here and graciously invited me to spend a few days at their apartment in Torredembarra, a small beach town south of Sitges. Friday he showed me around the town, the neighboring town of Altafulla, and their area near the beach. His wife, Marcela, made a delicious traditional Catalan lunch, which we followed up by a much needed siesta. Unfortunately, the weather was not very good on Friday so beach time was postponed in favor of mini-golf with his granddaughter, Anna. Friday night we had dinner at their home due to downpouring rain!

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Yesterday morning we got up bright and early to have a good breakfast before heading to Tarragona for my inaugural visit! Back in the times of the Roman Empire, Tarragona was known as Tarraco, aka the capital of the Roman province on the Iberian Peninsula. Jesús expertly led me around the main sites of what’s left of the Roman ruins there – including the amphitheater, the Circus stadium, and the Forum. It was all really cool and not shockingly reminded me of visiting Rome. We also walked around and saw the ancient cathedral and town square, where stopped for tapas before driving back to Torredembarra. After a late lunch and short siesta, we all walked down to the beach for an early evening dip in the ocean. I caught one of the last trains back to Barcelona last night.

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Thankfully, this week finally looks like we’re going to get back to good summer weather around here! Until, next time y’all!

Closed for August.

Happy Saturday to all! Yesterday officially marked the one year anniversary of my and Cass’ move-in day to our apartment on Sant Joaquim, 40, cuarto piso. In that very apartment we have both laughed, cried, shivered, sweat, burned ourselves, packed and unpacked bags too many times to count, and grown immensely as young women. Saying I cannot believe that 365 days have already gone by is simply an understatement; as many times as I’ve complained about our little home away from home, it was a loyal, humbling, adequate abode for our time thus far living and loving in Barcelona.

In the two weeks that have passed since my last post, we have slid our way across the transition between Spain’s working-time-summer to her vacation-time-summer. You see, in Barcelona the daycares, summer camps, nurseries, etc. function until the end of July-ish. The entire month of August is known as a time when locals take several weeklong vacations to escape the city life and get to the beach. Hence, I had my last week of my nanny job for Mar and Clara until they return from vacation in September. Those two little Catalan girls have me wrapped around their fingers; they are adorable and I already miss them!

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Along with the aforementioned August transitions, I’ll be watching Dylan even more often this month as Cynthia takes another intensive Spanish course in Eixample. Likewise, I will be embarking on a new employment endeavor in a sort of social media assistant position with one of Barcelona’s main nightlife promoters. With these things along with continuing English lessons with Jesús, I am lucky to have plenty of work during Spain’s vacation month.

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A week ago today, we threw Brenden an early-birthday celebratory BBQ at our apartment. It ended up being a great turnout. We even had homemade potato salad and a pasta salad (both thanks to Cass), bizcocho cake with cream cheese frosting, strawberry Jell-O shots, burgers, Blue moons, and more. Between taking turns grilling out and playing beer pong, we sang Brenden happy birthday and helped him ring in his 24th year. Towards the end of the night, we eventually made our way over to Otto Zutz with everyone.

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This last week began with Damian and I celebrating 10 months together; I am a lucky girl. At the last minute we decided to take advantage of the vacancy by going up to Tossa del Mar Tuesday with Cass and Brenden. Only one and half hours by bus, the winding ride is worth it once you arrive in beautiful Tossa. It’s arguably my favorite beach town in Costa Brava, and luckily for us, Damian’s family has an apartment there in a complex called Saga Barra. The four of us spent Tuesday-Thursday, playing Ping-Pong, lounging at the pool, soaking up the sun on the beach, swimming in the crystal clear ocean, and playing card games at night in the apartment.

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Wednesday evening we walked down to the ancient castle that once was the entirety of Tossa, and managed to snap some really great photos. Brenden has a super nice camera, as well as a Polaroid camera, and they let us share some so that was fun! Sometimes last minute things work out the most beautifully, and this little trip was certainly one such example. Cass and Brenden took the bus back to BCN on Thursday afternoon, while Damian and I returned Friday afternoon.

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While in Tossa I finished reading Joan Didion’s The Year of Magical Thinking. In those 227 pages, she candidly recounts her personal experience with the grief and loss after losing her husband of nearly 40 years, not to mention other family crises also happening around that time. It was a gripping memoir that reminded me time is a gift not to be taken for granted; it also made me want to read more by Joan Didion and her late husband John Dunne. Now I am reading Sara Gruen’s Water for Elephants. So far, so good there; I’m excited to see how the novel will pan out in comparison with the movie version. On the horizon, we have Sergio’s birthday tomorrow. Cass and Brenden head to Andalucía early tomorrow morning. That’s all I have for now friends… until next time!

…You look weird.

Holy tolito does time ever fly! It’s been a packed three-weeks since I last had a chance to blog, so here goes a fat post. July started off with the USA’s sad loss against Belgium in the World Cup. We had a lot of fun cheering on the home team with fellow Americans at the Ovella Negra off La Rambla.

The night before the 4th of July, Larissa, Cass, and I hopped on an overnight bus from Barcelona to Bilbao, where we arrived bright and early at 7:30am. Cass did a good job picking the hostel where we’d be staying during our girls trip for the long weekend- Ganbara hostel was located right off of the Casco Viejo metro stop, aka the old quarter of town. We wasted no time in dropping off our backpacks there and then headed out to catch a bus to Bakio, a small town about a half hour north of Bilbao. Once in Bakio we took another bus further up the coastline, and then got off and started our hike towards San Juan de Gaztelugatxf (that last part is in Basque); for clarification here San Juan is a monastery out on a cool little peninsula that has what looks like a mini Great Wall. The whole area is so beautiful… the scenery definitely made up for the semi-crappy weather.

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We walked the whole way back to the center of Bakio and then bussed back to Bilbao.  We were finally able to check-in at Ganbara, cue nap. So later for the night of the 4th we went out for pintxos on Somera Street, a happening street in Casco Viejo that is lined with fun pinxto bars. After a late start to our Saturday, we hopped on a bus over to San Sebastian for some late afternoon beach time on Playa de la Concha. We then bar hopped, ate more pintxos, and got to watch Argentina beat Belgium whilst nomming.

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Sunday was a rainy day in Basque country, but we made the most of it by going to the Guggenheim museum after we checked out of our hostel. Luckily, I was able to run into the Cayla Berry in the museums atrium and from there Larissa, myself, Cayla, and her friend toured the museum’s exhibits together. My favorite parts were definitely the Yoko Ono temporary exhibition and the sound and sight room at the end. I was so happy to get back to the Guggenheim since the last time I visited was back in 2010. And it goes without saying that I loved getting to catch up with Cayla- it was like having a lil piece of the big white house with me again! Afterwards, Larissa, Cass, and I got vino y pinxtos one more time before we got on yet another bus, this time en route to Pamplona.

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Two rainy hours later, we pulled up to the bus station in the center of Pamplona. For Larissa, Cass, and myself respectively it was our first, second, and fourth time to go to Pamplona for the annual weeklong event of the Running of the Bulls, aka San Fermin. Right away we changed into the standard garb – all white with a red scarf and bandana. Next we stowed our backpacks in the bus station lockers and purchased the standard beverage of San Fermin – Kalimotxos (red wine and coca cola). Some of the more noteworthy staples of San Fermin include a truly impressive amount of trash in the streets, an equally impressive amount of drunk people in the streets, and partying until the morning where you then gather to watch the approximately 7 minute affair that is the actual bull run. In short, we danced, durum-ed, scouted at seats on the railings around 4:30am, and watched the first run of the bulls that would begin the week.

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Per tradition, churros con chocolate were had post-run, as well as a very necessary train station nap before sleeping the whole way home to Barcelona. It was a very successful, if exhausting girls trip to northern Spain! That Monday night was sadly Larissa’s last night of her trip, which we commemorated with a pizza party at home. Down time was very short-lived however, as I had to clean in preparation for Lindsay and Maggie’s arrival the following morning!

So Linds and Mags arrived to El Prat on time and with all of their luggage; man was it good to squeeze them right out of the arrivals exit! As timing would have it, I started dog/house-sitting that day so first things first we took care of Apollo and got the girls settled into my apartment. We had a traditional Catalan lunch at La Taberna and then I let the girls sleep off their jet lag while I went to work. Later that evening we met up with Tess Gosda and some UNL friends at Ovella Negra to watch the semi-final match between Brazil and Germany. After watching that shutout we made our way down to Plaza Real and ended up in Jamboree. Very fun first night.

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For their first full day here, we walked down Paseo de Gracia all the way to Plaza Cat, toured the Gothic quarter, and explored the Boqueria market. That night we went to the tapas bar on Blai Street in Paralell and then walked to 100 Montaditos nearby to watch the ARG game. It was a boring 90 minutes, but then ARG finally came through with an exciting win. The girls got to meet Damian after the game… it was so good to have them finally meet one another! The next day we all got Boldu pastries for brunch on the go, then took the 6 bus down to Poble Nou for an afternoon at the beach. After work, I went with Linds and Mags to the grocery store to load up on supplies for our dinner. We lovingly slaved away over chicken cordon bleu, au gratin potatoes, snacks, and mojitos before Brenden, Damian, and Rodrigo came over. Dinner went really well and later we eventually taxied down to Plaza Real to get our groove on at Jamboree again.

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Somehow we managed to get up just in time to make it to the meeting spot for our day trip to Costa Brava with Excursions Barcelona. We definitely all slept on the 1.5-hour van ride to Playa del Oro in Costa Brava, but once there we were ready to go! This was my second time doing this day trip, as last August Cass and I went with Clare Maney.  The second time around was just as fun; we had great weather for a day of kayaking, snorkeling, and cave exploring. Unfortunately, our group had a few casualties during the day – Damian was quite seasick at some points, and Mags & Linds got flipped over in their kayak while going through a pass with some big waves. All in all though, great day trip to Costa Brava! We were all very happy to get back home and have a chill night in, complete with frozen pizza.

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Saturday afternoon we walked through the Borne neighborhood and ended up having a little picnic at Ciutadella Park with some tinto de verano. Afterwards we winded through Barceloneta towards the Champagneria for euro cava and cheese. On our way back to the metro we stopped by Papabubble and got to see how they make artisanal caramels – it was cool and who doesn’t love a free sample!  We had dinner at home and later went out to Opium Mar, a fancy discoteca on the beach.

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Sunday got off to a late start, but we made up for lost time by doing some power shopping for Argentina gear and Spain souvenirs. We got all ready in our Argentina jerseys and face paint and took the metro over to Damian’s. From there we went to their family friend’s house to watch the World Cup final match between Argentina and Germany.  They were awesome hosts and the night up until the very end was super fun- just not the ending we wanted!

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We were up and at em’ Monday morning, starting the day off right with breakfast at Lukamas here in Gracia. From there we walked to Gaudi’s Park Guell, entering for free via the side entrance. I think the girls really enjoyed walked around the beautiful park, especially the view from the cross and stumbling upon a band at the top. After seeing the whole park, we walked back to my apartment and had lunch on the terrace with Damian. Later we ventured out to shop, hitting up BE, Tiger, Brandy Melville, and the Moritz Factory store. That night we attempted to go to Betty Ford’s, but sadly it was closed for cleaning. Thankfully we decided to try a cute place in Raval called Marmalade. Holy yum they had great burgers and nachos! After a much overdue table push-up, we made our way over to George Payne’s- finally an Irish bar to Maggie’s delight!

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Tuesday we decided to do some more shopping – the girls were getting lots of cute things for friends and family back home. We worked our way to Bar Lobo, a luminous, airy restaurant off La Rambla at the edge of Raval. They had a really tasty menu del dia. More shopping ensued, and I had to work. Afterwards, we gathered up stuff in preparation for a sunset picnic at the Bunkers. The sunset was gorgeous and we got there just in time as it was really painting the sky. Unfortunately we didn’t stay as long as we had intended because there were A TON of pesky little bugs up there. Nevertheless, you cannot beat the view of Barcelona from the Bunkers.

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For Linds and Mags’ last day here, we took a train Wednesday morning to Sitges to get in one more quality beach day. We walked around Sitges a bit before plopping down on a spot near the water. Mid-way through the afternoon, we had lunch at the nearby beach café – bocadillos y bravas. By the time we packed up our stuff to leave, we were all a bit fried, Lindsay’s flip-flops busted, and ice water was urgently needed.

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Once back in BCN, we got ready and made it to Da Greco just in time for our dinner reservation.  Per the usual there, the food and wine was delicious. It was fun to celebrate their last night here by saving Da Greco. Afterwards we decided to go to the cocktail bar across the street, Old Fashioned; we all ordered something different and each drink was made with so much care and attention to detail. I had a small-world moment when we realized that the guys who were also sitting at the bar with us just happened to be the owners of POPS, the fabulous champagne bar in Chicago. Before calling it a night, we made a pit stop by Otto Zutz and then walked back to the apartment.

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Thursday morning we lugged their suitcases back down the five flights of stairs in my lovely building. As I saw them off onto the handy Aerobus, we had a teary goodbye. It really sucks to see your best friends go… but such is life (or at least right now). Since then, life is settling back into a normal pace. Cass and I switched rooms for the final time yesterday. I’ve loved getting to watch Dylan this weekend.  We are already starting some plans for Brenden’s early-birthday BBQ this Saturday so that should be a good time. My apologies for the novel this time- just lots to recap! Until next time.

He Deserves Balloons.

Good morning to everyone from this cloudy Monday in Barcelona!

It’s been about two weeks since my last blog post, dang it. The idea of weekly posts is so sexy yet so seemingly unattainable I have come to find. Regardless, some cool things have happened since we last spoke. Namely, Cass’ best friend Larissa arrived in BCN on the one-year anniversary of Cass and I leaving Nebraska to set off for Spain. It is so wild to think that (over) a year now has already flown by! Also noteworthy happenings: Damian and I have been going strong as a “we” for nine months now, the US and ARG are still (knock on wood) in the World Cup, though sadly Spain got the boot rather quickly, and sweet summertime is finally here in all it’s humid glory.

So fun to get to catch up with Christie while her and Heath were in town! Post-drinks at the W!
So fun to get to catch up with Christie while her and Heath were in town! Post-drinks at the W!

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Nothing says hello summer like the celebration of San Juan here, aka the major holiday that falls annually on June 24th (celebrated the night of the 23rd). As Cass and I had already spent two San Juans in Barcelona, we decided to plan our festivities to take place on Ocata beach this year, joining our friends from Sant Cugat. We made sure we were well prepared in advance this time, attempting to leave nothing to chance. Brenden and Damian joined us and we took a train to Ocata, and then met up with the crew the evening of the 23rd. We picked a prime spot of real estate on the beach and proceeded to make the hoguera (bonfire), and set up all of our stuff surround the hoguera. Throughout the night everyone had dinner, drinks, played games, and did fireworks. It was a very successful San Juan; we eventually caught an early morning train back into the city, thank god!

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Besides showing Larissa around the city and its hidden jewels, we’ve just been busy working, finishing up our intercambios (they take a remission during July and August), enjoying the World Cup, and getting excited for our upcoming weekend getaway trip up to Bilbao, San Sebastián, and Pamplona. Larissa, Cass, and I will head out on an overnight bus to Bilbao on Thursday night; we will return via bus by Monday night, as Larissa has to catch her flight Tuesday morning (not to mention Lindsay and Maggie arrive that morning as well)! I am stoked to get to re-visit Bilbao after all this time, go to the Guggenheim, and experience San Fermines (running of the bulls) for my fourth time!

Marta and I cheering on the USA at George Payne's!
Marta and I cheering on the USA at George Payne’s!

Now, some things I have learned after living in Barcelona for over a year:

  1. While there are of course exceptions to the rule, in general you can buy crap-brand products and they will still get the job done just fine – think shampoo, laundry detergent, alcohol.
  2. Never assume that oncoming foot traffic will move for you on a narrow sidewalk, it’s just not going to happen so step into the street before it gets too late.
  3. Dos beso-ing is not about efficiency. So you best believe you’ll be doing it upon greeting people and saying goodbye.
  4. Never be embarrassed to sprint to catch the metro as it’s about to leave. You don’t know the people in the last car.
  5. When in doubt, order a caña.
  6. Need cheap clothing items? Primark. Household items? Al Campo. Also, never forget the Sorli customer card!
  7. Puree de tomate can and is frequently used for innumerable dishes – over rice, pasta, fideos, you name it. Never be low on the tomate.
  8. Wifi is gold. Personal network passwords are ridiculously long. Public hot spots are a godsend.
  9. Life is too short to work 65 hours a week. (Think Eat, Pray, Love- “Americans know entertainment, but they don’t know pleasure.”) Sometimes you just gotta enjoy…
  10. It is the people that make life worthwhile. You choose with whom to share your time.
View of BCN beaches from las Golondrinas!
View of BCN beaches from las Golondrinas!