Welcome to 2014, blog fam! I hope everyone had a lovely holiday season filled with friends and family and all of your favorite things. I decided to leave the Tumblr world and make the switch to WordPress as it affords free users with more statistics in terms of reader demographics, page views, shares, etc. I hope you all enjoy the makeover! Anyways, my good friend Garrett arrived at our door the evening of December 30th – it was so good to get to hug a friend from home after so long! After giving him the royal apartment tour and letting him get settled in, Cass, Garrett, and I headed out for the night; we started at El Cine in Gracía, then walked to Dow Jones, and ended up at Ovella Negra off La Rambla. Garrett loved the final stop and couldn’t stop raving about “the awesome, hidden German beer hall!” Successful first night! On New Year’s Eve, we made quite the day of it by taking Garrett down Passeig de Gracía, Plaza Cataluña, La Rambla, La Boquería, Gotico, Born, the churches, and finally Park Guell.
As 2013 is quickly coming to a close, here is what we’ve been up to as of late… The second week of December was more or less another normal workweek in terms of fulfilling personal assistant duties, English lessons, intercambio, and babysitting. It is nice to find a routine even with a super polyvalent job description. On Friday the 13th, Fino went back to the states so that was a sad parting. We have definitely missed her since then! That night Cass and I went to Cantina Machito in Gracía and met Marta, Adrian, Bree, and Shri for dinner. Trying to be frugal, I opted for a cañita (small beer) and queso fundido (chips & cheese). The food, drinks, and atmosphere were great – it is now in the running to beat Rosa Negra for our preferred Mexican food spot. Other highlights from that weekend included making hot chocolate, playing Mario cart, and watching Christmas movies (Cass had never seen National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation so that was a must). That Sunday I went to watch Damian’s soccer match in Sant Cugat and got to see him score a goal for the first time!
Picking up where I last left off, the pancake dinner at Marta’s was a big hit. We even had some blueberry jam to top them off! Pancakes are not even close to being a breakfast staple here, but rather more of an American novelty dessert item. Hence, we had them as the much-anticipated dessert post risotto. My and Cass’ 5-month anniversary of moving to Spain came and went and we celebrated with the Sant Cugat crew at the beach clubs.Continue reading “Sweater Weather.”
Moving around the world teaches you many things. It isnât for everyone. It takes a special type of person to be able to do what we do. Packing up all your things into two carry-on bags and two chec…
So Halloween ended up being a blast here! Halloween is a thing here, but not as big of a holiday as it is in the states I would say. On the actual day of Halloween, Cass and I went to Damian’s family’s apartment for a festive dinner (there were even Halloween cake-pops involved)! What I had thought was going to be a normal dinner at their house was quite the evening – Mar’s parents came over and we had Halloween themed paper ware, not to mention quite a spread of grilled meets. Later we went to the popular beach clubs here for Halloween night; I dressed up as a pirate and Cass went as Waldo, which here instead of saying, “where’s Waldo?” they say “Donde está wally?”Continue reading “Shaking Things Up.”
All you need is less.
I have been thinking about that quote a lot lately… given my reality at the current period of time, less is the name of the game. Doing more with less, having MUCH less of an autumn wardrobe from which to choose, and making less of a deal about Halloween costumes. Speaking of, HAPPY HALLOWEEN blog world! I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday filled with family and friends. In terms of my Halloween plans, this afternoon I’m going to do a Halloween-themed English lesson with Abril, Marc, y Laura. After that Cass and I are having dinner at Damian’s with his lovely family. Tonight, I plan to throw on a pirate hat that I found already at the apartment and call myself a pirate as we head to the Halloween party at Shoko with the Sant Cugat crew. So it should be a good day/night!Continue reading “All you need is less.”
Hello again friends! It’s been about a week and a half since I last updated the blog… Since then I have worked at Betty Ford’s twice (the last two Sunday nights). I am elated to get to work there, even if it’s just one shift a week so far; it is such a cool bar with quality co-workers. Needless to say, I am learning a ton whilst working there as a waitress/ bartender. Until around 11pm the bar offers a limited food menu consisting of half a dozen types of burgers and fries with a homemade ranch sauce that is to die for. Spaniards do not seem to share the same universal affinity with ranch that Americans do. Anyways, when I take orders it’s usually about 60% Spanish orders, 40% English; every now and then someone will initially speak to me in Catalan, which spurs my deer-in-the-headlights-look and then I have to admit that I don’t speak Catalan. It has been cool to use my Spanish in this new context – last night I learned how to say the different degrees of cooking a burger patty.
Along with working at Betty Ford’s, I have been doing a few individual English lessons lately. Last week I had my first meeting with Martín, a cool guy from Cordoba, Argentina who works at the ISA office here in town. He has a substantially high level of English already so I am looking forward to continue to work with him weekly. I also do a weekly lesson with Abril, Damian’s little half-sister. Abril is almost four and has absolutely won my heart. This Thursday two of her fellow preschool classmates will join her for the lesson so that will be interesting I’m sure! She has a brain like a sponge. After our lesson last week, Damian, Abril, and I walked to the Diagonal Mar indoor mall that is super nice; I had never been there before and it was a fun time. We took Abril to the indoor play-bounce-area before eating at the mall. When I took her to the bathroom in the restaurant, she surprised me by asking if she could come in the stall with me, to which I responded “Claro q sí!”
Last Saturday night Cass, Gabi and I hit up Catwalk for their “hip-hop night” – it was a blast. Talk about throwback jam after throwback jam. I felt like I was back in the lunch room at LSW. After we broke it down like it was 2008 for a while, we met Damian and his friends at Olympic. I think the next time we went out was this last Wednesday night, as we couldn’t possibly pass up another opportunity for a free “welcome” dinner at Shoko. Hence, Fino, Britt, Cass, and I made sure we were there right when the doors opened and we feasted on croquettes, paella rice, sushi, patatas bravas, bunuelos, and all you could drink wine and cava. As the night went on and Shoko transformed from dining facility to discoteca, we made our way up to the open bar (for girls). By the end of the night, we were toasting goblets of Redbull vodkas with a handful of guys from Dubai who had bottle service in the VIP area of Shoko. I ended up telling one of them that I didn’t have Facebook or any other form of social media in order to prevent future communication.
This week Cass and I walked to “the bunkers,” which is actually the old bunker structure from the Spanish civil war in the 1930s… Nowadays it is a park and offers the best 360 degree view of the entire city. It was a bit of a hike to get all the way to the top but the spectacular views are well worth the sweat.
This last Friday, Cass, Sergi, and I went to La Maquinista – a huge, outdoor shopping mall. Neither Cass nor I had been there before and it was a perfect fall day to do some much needed shopping. I ended up getting some desperately needed tights, a pair of booties, a blanket for my bed, and a few warm things to wear as the weather continues to cool off here. Friday night, Cass and I met up with Damian and Rodrigo before going to Sotavento together for the guest appearance of Mike “The Situation” from Jersey Shore. I have never considered myself a fan of his but the other three really wanted to see him so I was along for the ride. It was surreal to take a photo with him in the club and see him in person; he is even uglier than on TV. After the ritual Olympic last stop, we ended up at a Donor Kebab shop in the Port, where Cass and I proceeded to eat more than the boys. I had falafel for the first time ever and loved it!
After hanging out with Damian most of Saturday, I eventually ended up making Puppy Chow finally! I had been waiting for the Chex cereal in the care package from my mom that arrived this last week. Although I was nervous for how it would turn it out since I had never made it on a stovetop before, it came out perfectly and was a huge hit at the BBQ on Sunday with the Sant Cugat crew. For that outing, Sergi kindly picked up Cass and I and then we drove to Caldes de Montbui for a Sunday afternoon filled with BBQ-ing, Ping-Pong, futbol, y good company. We got lucky with great weather yesterday too. The menu for the BBQ consisted of roasted/ grilled chicken, pan y aioli, patatas, sangria, y puppy chow for dessert!
Random tid-bits and /or updates: the lack of central heat in our apartment is starting to get old… quickly. I have discovered my favorite bakery in the city…, which is far too conveniently, located a 2 minute walk from my apartment. Damian and I are dating now! We have three guy friends of Cass staying at our apartment for the next week so it’s a full house here! We are hoping to hit up Da Greco, Rosa Negra, and Oveja while the boys are in town. I’m hoping to go to Damian’s game next weekend. We might go to Sitges on Wednesday if the weather is as good as the forecast is projecting currently! I am hoping to invest in a leather jacket and thick socks soon. And that is about all I know! Until next time people.
So Emily, Cass, Brittany, and myself met up with Ignasi and Billy on Saturday night to go out in the Marina area of the city, which we had heard nothing but good things about. I hadn’t been out in Marina since back in 2011 (going to the Oveja Negra over there and to Razzmatazz for the Skrillex concert). We eventually found our way to the massive Oveja there and got a table in the middle, quickly followed by a massive beer tower. We played a few drinking games to get the blood flowing again; after a few rounds we had changed the rules so that we could only speak in Spanish, while Ignasi could only speak in English. Win win for everyone! After Oveja Negra we walked to another local bar in Marina and treated ourselves to “el agua de Valencia” (aka a lethal mixed drink served by the liter consisting of cava, vodka, orange juice, and I’m not sure what else).Continue reading “At the end of the day, you can roll with it or opt out.”
Hi friends! Forgive me for getting a little bit more lax in keeping you updated… September has been such a great month here so far… There is always someone visiting Barcelona and September is a holiday / festival-filled month. Not only does each neighborhood (barrio) in Barcelona have its own annual festival, but also the entire city comes together yearly to celebrate Barcelona’s patron saint, La Mercé – the saint of Mercy. So, from Sept. 20th – Sept. 24th, the city was ablaze with fireworks, free outdoor concerts, shows, fair-like attractions, wine and cava exhibitions, and more. It was awesome to be here for this annual celebration.Continue reading “Hot Child in the City”
September updates… Since we last spoke here are some updates on my life in Barcelona:Continue reading “September Updates…”