Spring Break in San Diego

After four years of school, I finally bought a ticket to visit one of my best friends in San Diego. Best decision made yet.

I spent 5 days in the sun (after living in snow prior to my departure).

Here’s some moments I wanted to share from my relaxed and happy Cali adventure. I can’t explain how wonderful it was to be with good company, worry free, and spending time on the better things in life. (fresh air and vitamin D)

Sunset Cliffs,  first night there.

Sunset Cliffs, first night there. Watched the sunset and surfers.

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Cold Iced Green Tea for a day in the sun. (from my friend’s favorite coffee shop, “Better Buzzed”)

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Temecula day trip, vineyards

Riding horses through vineyards = why not!

Riding horses through vineyards = why not!

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Mount Soledad, La Jolla. Beautiful views, way better than shopping. (Though UTC is a great out door mall to checkout)

Disgustedly good cookie ice cream sandwich indulgence and people watching on Mission Bay

Disgustedly good cookie ice cream sandwich indulgence and people watching on Mission Bay (treat from the Baked Bear)

Hot Fudge Cake Sundae as recommended by a fellow customer.

Last day,more indulging, Hot Fudge Cake Sundae  as recommended by a fellow customer.

Morning jog, Tecolote Canyon

Morning jog, Tecolote Canyon

Basically, go to San Diego and be in the sun. Adventures are endless and mostly free.

I am also posting on my fitness/health rant blog. tabsonme.wordpress.com

Quinoa and spinach salad with smoked paprika vinaigrette

Chef in disguise

The first Monday of the month means  it is time for our secret recipe club reveal. I always look forward to sharing my recipe choice with the group. Keeping a secret for a month, sneaking around your assigned blog, looking for inspiration is fun but sharing your creation with the others and finding out what the person who was assigned to my blog made is the part I love the most.

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Tahini Buckwheat Risotto with Chestnuts, Sweet Potatoes and Figs

buckwheat risotto with figs2 (2)This is a dish that I love to throw together when I have guests over. It looks so colorful and delicious and, as buckwheat is becoming more popular as a main meal, it’s a great conversation starter! Buckwheat is a high quality protein source that is also low in carbs and low in fat. It is the favoured choice of those who seek organic, chemical free foods as it grows relatively quickly – therefore requiring less pesticides to be used. Regular consumption of buckwheat will strengthen the intestines, improve digestion and lower blood pressure.

The figs in this recipe are of much more use than just making the dish look more interesting. They are such a rich source of many vitamins and minerals! Also, the dried variety are available all year round so we can benefit from them anytime! The high fibre content of figs makes them a good choice…

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REMINISCING

 

His fictional factual sensual casual extraordinary simple words draw me into the past; of his and of my own…

with a daring bowl of wisdom and a clean spectale, you become what you give back to those you meet.

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(I took the photo on my cellphone; fragment from  A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway. I bought this book at Shakespeare and Company in Paris.)

 

 

 

Ms. Walter Mitty

I feel like Walter Mitty now but we all do at some point. We  all have dreams; buying that shiny car to race down the street, taking that thrilling escape to go underwater cave diving, chasing bullets and rolling under cars as James Bond, becoming the next the food critic paid to talk, travel,and dine the menu of the world, or speaking in a crowd of a thousands, ready to effortlessly and unforgettably express your soul through music. We all have dreams, but we don’t always buy the ticket, step off our lawn, or turn the page. I took my dream of studying in Paris,of truly living on my own and I desperately want it back.  But school comes first and Ill be done in a scary blink of an eye.

( link to The Secret Life of Walter Mitty http://www.newyorker.com/archive/1939/03/18/390318fi_fiction_thurber?currentPage=all)

So finally ending my blog and wishing my best to a friend studying in Aix-en-Provence in France the best of luck.

Here are the last weeks I spent in Paris and traveling with my Mom.

We went to Strasbourg,France, St. Goar and Koln, Germany, and London.

We flew home from London four days before Christmas and I oddly had the strangest feeling that I had left a part of me in that bustling city.

 

 

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Strasbourg, the Christmas city.

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Strasbourg Cathedral.Soloists of Zagreb with conductor Marc Coppey

 

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mom’s first dinner crepe with an extra raw egg for flavor 😉

 

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outside Strasbourg Cathedral

 

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Koln, Germany

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St. Goar

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Rheinsfels Castle in St. Goar (we stayed there for a night) with a German family reunion occurring at our dinner, involving many speeches, lots of beer, and piano playing.

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London

 

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Transparency on a whole new level

 

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long train ride.

 

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Blue Rooster in front of the National gallery in London…

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Changing of the guards, Buckingham Palace

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Tower Bridge, we went inside the top and walked across

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I was really surprised by how modern London was, I guess after living in Paris for a time, anything would seem new would seem to contrast. I was very impressed with London’s architecture.

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lost in Germany waiting for any train to come. long story, one split second mistake.

 

Lastly, I took class when I returned called Re-entry back home. (something all those  lines). This class of which I had no opinion of at first was the best decision i made post study abroad.

Three other students, a wonderful professor, and I  would meet up once a week for about an hour and half to two hours and just talk and reflect on our experiences and now how we built and grew from our newly found perceptions on life while abroad. One friend traveled and studied on a ship and went to 16 different countries! Another studied in Seville, Spain, soaking in the long naps and nightlife. and the  other studied in Florence, diving head first into art and dining.  I had truly had the best time in this course, I was able to realize how much I did and didn’t change, talk forever about trips and falls without feeling like I bumbling or bragging along to friends who didn’t want to hear about adventures that I hadn’t a chance to experience. This meetings were the highlight of my week.

We also were asked to read the book The Ugly American by Eugene Burdick and William Lederer in this course.  I understand even more now after reading this work the importance of becoming a world citizen, accepting that all lives grow in their own soil and see the world differently. You can not impose yourself onto others but you can work together with each other in mind to strive for peace.

 

there it is my some what conclusion but truly my beginning to experience travel on my own.

I am very thankful for my study abroad and this will not be my last one. for studying is a never ending process till death do us part.

 

home for now

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I arrived home last Saturday, December 21st. Prior to that I had final exams, last good byes, and  packing. I then traveled with my mom before returning back home.

My mom and I explored Paris together then we took trains to Strasbourg, Saint Goar (we stayed in the Rheinfels Castle for a night) and Koln  to tour Christmas markets. We then went  back to Paris to collect my enormous fridge of a suitcase and then on to London to end our journey abroad.

I am going to add some more  posts of  cities and experiences I didn’t have time to during my return home.

For now, I am very grateful to have had this opportunity to live in Europe, to have met so many wonderful and intriguing people. I had the  chance to see life in a different perspective via other guests at hostels, my professors in Paris, my host family, the daily newspaper on the metro.  I found the art of conversation and observation and the importance of language and listening, the thrill of meeting foreign faces and the beauty of reflection.

I am glad to be home, I had a wonderful and pleasant Christmas with my family and friends.Though, I am experiencing some reverse cultural shock  already like having had my ID constantly checked for being 21 in restaurants ( whatttt? this never happened in Europe…ever), actually driving a car (took a little bit to get used to softly stepping on the gas pedal again), not expecting to translate or guess what I am eating while out in public, so much English everywhere, having a waiter tell me their life story and full name, friendly strangers smiling and waving as they walk (I do live in Texas though), having a shower head on the wall  in our shower and a toilet in the same room (really is a luxury) and realizing once more that I have to drive to get anywhere.(life of the suburbs)

If I am allowed to complain at all, I really do miss the ability to walk anywhere and everywhere easily. The metro in Paris was smelly and dirty but it was so “facile” to jump on line 1 and be at museum or cafe quickly. Also, for the young and the bold, you always had a safe way home in case you had an extra glass of wine or  to many shots of “juice”.

An important part of Paris to me was having the most accessible options of transportation as city transport or walking, you get to know the city that you live in. I remember always passing this older man with thick rimmed square  glasses, a pressed scarf, shirt, and long brown coat who would walked his small curly haired puppy down the street I took to school. Likewise, I always passed a beautiful flower shop after getting off my metro stop for school and then passed the local boulangerie (bakery) that all my classmates and I took advantage of during breaks. I even began to recognize certain musicians in the metro or sadly pass by the same homeless men around the city.There was a man near my school who would put a small box on hook and reel his collections out from a fishing reel among the crowds of tourist and locals passing by.  (poverty exists where there is money).

Secondly, walking makes you break up your day, whether you are in a rush or strolling you still experience the city, the people, the damn pigeons (haha but really) and life around you.  I saw more sunsets and sunrises in my life by waking up early to catch a train, strolling home in the early evening, or running in the local park. I want to continue appreciating reality …  My generation is very clouded with tv, wifi access, and  with upholding an online image, an alter personage in the virtual world. (its pretty freaking weird what lives people can create for themselves online) I am going to try harder to live more in reality and enjoy being in a moment rather then capturing it to sit on my memory chip in my phone. (Though I have to admit, I have an instagram and take photos all the time but ill work on taking just the memorable, significant ones)

After much contemplation, that’s what I will miss the most, walking, being able to walk through history itself in old city and the continent I  traveled. So I plan to go back. Like many young students or those in a mid life crisis I have this strong desire to see the world. I will graduate from college first (no worries mom and dad) but I am hoping to find an internship for this summer abroad or I will be looking for more ways to travel and often.

The best way to see the world and to understand how the rest of the world  works and lives  you have to travel and live elsewhere, personally and up front. You can listen to  media publications and documentaries and scathing politicians but like art, it is never the same unless you experience the  rest of the world for yourself, completely open and ready to explore.

Amsterdam, a lovely surprise

I am finally looking at my blog again. and posting some drafts I had lost the time to publish.

 

Two weeks ago I was in Amsterdam after having a class in Brussels.

I took a train from Brussels to Amsterdam after a class trip to the EU.

I stayed in a christian hostel in the Red Light District. There are so many things wrong with that sentence.(they served the best breakfast every morning though!)

Before visiting, I had envisioned Amsterdam in my head as this dirty and sketchy place full of pot heads. Instead  I saw Amsterdam as a beautiful and refreshing wonder place full of pot heads and families. There are winding canals, huge trees, and tons of dutch houses and shops lining the streets. There are street vendors with the best fried doughnuts and belgium waffles you will ever eat.  The museums here are fantastic. I went to the Rijks Musuem, the Van Gogh Museum, and Anne Franks house.

Both the art museums were worth the lines. I was able to see the famous Waterloo and the Night Watch at the Rijks.  The Van Gogh museum housed his earliest works of drawings and paintings to his last pieces at the end of his life. I really enjoyed seeing his work up close, like most art, you have to see it in person to get the full effect. It was neat to see the thick layering and strokes of Van Gogh’s work. I could have spent hours there. (maybe someone day I can own one of his paintings). His work was delicious.

Anne Frank’s house was depressing but necessary. We had all either read or heard of her diary in junior high. But walking through her house, climbing through the secret bookcase and up the steep ladder into the rooms of the past family, and strolling over creaking floorboards was unforgettable. There were photos of the house when the family lived there, before and during the war. There were images of the household survivors, including her dad who spoke about life alone.

Everyone rides bikes here, seriously, I almost got hit multiple times by people riding bikes.

 

The red light district was awkward. What else would it be? Crowds of men whoring around the windows looking through the glass at loosely clad barbies standing on raised platforms. Sad but a living.

There were some great bars and restaurants around there too. It was brisk during our stay and a warm hot meal was always on our plates. I also had the most magnificent Belgium waffle, titled the strawberry shortcake.

Overall.

Amsterdam was a surreal adventure. Its a zany city that I suggest you experience one day.

 

 

IMG_0389 IMG_0393 above is Anne Frank’s home.

IMG_0394 IMG_0391 IMG_0396 IMG_0404the Rijks is behind me.IMG_0409

IMG_0412 IMG_0415the Van Gogh museum.